Life Member Awards

Historically called “Honorary Member,” this pinnacle award is bestowed by ACCE on those who retire after stellar careers in chamber leadership. The present “Life Member” name recognizes both the lifetime of success in the chamber profession as well as the member-for-life status granted to each honoree.

Life Member designees are honored during the ACCE annual convention's awards ceremony.

Criteria for Consideration: 

1.  Successful Chamber

    • Shown measurable success in building their communities and organizations

2.  Mentorship

    • Willingly mentored their own staff members and others who sought guidance to grow in the profession

3.  Prominent Role in Leading/Advancing the Profession

    • Made a significant contribution to the profession:  ACCE participation and leadership, U.S. Chamber institutes and programs, State Regional Association Officer, etc.

Factors Influencing Selection:

  • CCE
  • 5-Star Accreditation
  • Chairmanship of state/regional chamber execs’ association
  • ACCE Board Service
  • IOM Board of Governors Service
  • “Seconding” or supporting letters/testimony/recommendations

Requirements & Eligiblity:

The Candidate’s chamber (current employer or chamber to which a retired candidate is most closely affiliated), must be a member in Good Standing of ACCE

  • CEOs
    1. All retired CEOs with 12 or more years of service, who have been out of the profession for at least one year, may be nominated for Life Member consideration, regardless of current employment status. If less than 12 years as CEO, candidate must have been out of the chamber (or related) profession for at least 18 months prior to nomination.
    2. A currently serving CEO of a chamber or chamber-like organization may be nominated for Life Membership if he/she has served 12 or more years as CEO.  Those nominated for life membership while still serving as CEO of a chamber must be approved by the selection committee two consecutive years. 
  • Non-CEOs
    1. Staff members of chambers may be eligible for Life Member nomination following full retirement from the profession after at least 20 years of service.

NOTE:  No more than two currently serving CEOs may receive Life Member designation in the same year.

Nomination Process:

  • A nomination letter that includes appropriate information about the nominee must be submitted prior to the published deadline. In addition to evidence of excellence in regards to the criteria, the nomination must include current contact information for the person being nominated.
  • Late submissions, as well as those nominated in a prior award cycle, will be re-submitted for consideration in the subsequent year(s).  Re-nomination is not required. 
  • Notice of acceptance (winning), rejection (unlikely to receive Life Member status at any time), and tabling (under consideration in the future) will not be provided to nominators prior to the announcement of Life Member awards. For this reason, it is recommended that nominators do not alert candidates at the time of nomination.
  • Life Member designees and the primary nominating party will be notified at least six weeks prior to the date of the awards ceremony.


2015 Life Members Announced!

Winthrop M. Hallett, III

Win Hallett served as president of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce for 22 years, retiring from his post in 2013.  

During his chamber career, Hallett was an active volunteer with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, serving as a member of its board of directors and the board nominating committee. He was chairman of both the chamber’s Committee of 100 and the accrediting board and the bylaws committee.

Hallett also served ACCE as a member of its board of directors and chair of the Metro Cities Council.

At the state level, Hallett was a member of the board of directors for the Business Council of Alabama and the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, and served as vice chairman of the Alabama District Export Council. He was also a board member for the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science Foundation.

Closer to home, Hallett was past president of the Rotary Club of Mobile, past chairman of the Metropolitan YMCA board, and past president of Leadership Mobile. He served as a member of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program Executive Committee and as a member of the Aerospace Alliance (AL-FL-LA-MS).

He is active in conservation and environmental issues: past president of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, and a board member of the Mobile County Wildlife and Conservation Association. 

A native of Mobile, Hallett graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He’s a graduate of the 1992-93 Class of Leadership Alabama and a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership. He was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Spring Hill College, Mobile, in 2008.  He is married to Reneau Matthews Hallett. They have two daughters and two granddaughters.

Hallett is currently vice president of the Coastal Land Trust and is principal of W.Hallett.3 Consultant, a firm assisting individuals, organizations and communities in assessing challenges and improving performance based on problem-solving using a moral compass.



Mark A. V'Soske, CAE

Mark V’Soske is the former president of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, a 2014 Chamber of the Year winner. After leading the chamber for 23 years, he retired in December. His chamber career spanned 40 years, including positions as president of the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Regional Chamber of Commerce; president of the Erie County Chamber of Commerce in Sandusky, Ohio; and vice president of the Monroe County (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce.

In Toledo, V’Soske served on numerous boards including the Business Advisory Council for the University of Toledo College of Business, and Local Initiative Support Corporation. He is past chairman of ACCE, the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio, and ACCE’s Community Growth Educational Foundation.

V’Soske is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, and the Academy of Organization Management conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the University of Notre Dame. He also is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N. C.  He holds an associate’s degree from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. He also holds the Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives.

V'Soske and his wife Karen currently reside in Murphy, N.C., where they are enjoying outdoor activities in the Smoky Mountains. They have two grown daughters, Erika and Devon. V'Soske has been a photographer for 50 years, and is devoting more time to his fine art work.




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