Erksine Bowles and Fix the Debt

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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A huge thank you to the State Chamber Policy Center for allowing ACCE's Government Relations Division to participate on Tuesday's call with Erskine Bowles. If you were unable to join the conversation, please review the links below for more information.

From the State Policy Center:

The Policy Center would like to thank Erskine Bowles and the Fix the Debt campaign for speaking to our members on Tuesday regarding the long-term federal debt and how to get our fiscal outlook under control. In April, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson released “A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America's Future” (download the summary or full report). They describe their report as “not our ideal plan, it is not the perfect plan, and it is certainly not the only plan. It is an effort to show both sides that a deal is possible; a deal where neither side compromises their principles but instead relies on principled compromise. Such a deal would invigorate our economy and demonstrate to the public that Washington can solve problems, and leave a better future for our grandchildren.” For more information see the two-page summary (pdf) of what Fix the Debt is calling for from the upcoming budget conference committee and an op-ed published in the Washington Post.

The Fix the Debt campaign now has chapters in all 50 states

Tags: Erskine Bowles, fix the debt, government relations, GR Division, peer to peer, State Chamber Policy Center

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Lyons, Co., Chamber Seeks Your Help

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Last month, the community of Lyons, Co., was ravaged by flooding that washed away its roads and bridges, devastating many of this small town’s small businesses.  The Lyons Chamber of Commerce, an ACCE member, is appealing to fellow chambers for financial support. 100% of the special flood relief membership dues and donations collected will be dispersed to their small businesses as cash grants to assist them through business interruption.  All donations are tax deductible.

According to the Chamber’s website, they are seeking your support because:

  • Insurance won’t cover many of our businesses because they weren't insured for the 1000 year flood.
  • SBA disaster loans, bank programs, and all of the “typical” forms of assistance are not designed to address the needs of the small businesses that have incurred significant uninsured losses and must go for months without income.
  • To-date Lyons is still without water, sewage, gas, and, in most places, electricity. 
  • Lyons is made up of almost 100% small family owned businesses that are falling through the cracks and face significant losses due to business interruption at the same time they are facing evacuation from their homes.
  • These businesses form the backbone of Lyons’ economy. If they were to fail it would have a devastating impact on the town’s economy, jobs, schools, and residents.

Click here for more information or to donate funds.

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Strategic Planning Resources at ACCE

HERO Team/ Sarah Myers on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Where do you go and what resources do you use for your chamber's strategic planning process? One place to turn and return to is ACCE's Strategic Planning Chamberpedia page from the HERO portal. We have put together a collection of resources on strategic planning and our page specifically address available Online Resources and Examples, working Samples of Strategic Plans from our members, Presentations from the ACCE 2013 Convention, and Articles from previous issues of ACCE's Chamber Executive magazine. Just want to get your feet wet? Check out the Strategic Planning Samples from the ACCE Samples Library.

Like all our Chamberpedia pages and in our Samples Library, we invite and welcome your contributions to help us continue to grow and expand on these valuable resources. Have a sample Strategic Plan or go-to resource you use at your chamber? Let us know by emailing or visit Ask ACCE to connect with more ACCE resources.

The HERO team can also prepare a customized Operations Survey PowerPoint presentation for your chamber. This presentation is great for planning purposes and provides a way to show your board or staff how your chamber compares to other chambers across the country. This PowerPoint presentation, customized with your chamber's logo, includes all of the charts and graphs from the 2012-2013 Operations Survey report. Your chamber's survey responses and calculated measures are plotted on each chart.  This is a visually appealing graphical representation of your chamber's membership statistics, financial indicators, and operating ratios relative to chambers across the country.  The presentation can be purchased anytime. Available now at ACCE's Bookstore.

Questions? Please email us at

Tags: Chamberpedia, Customized Operations Survey PowerPoint Presentation, HERO, Strategic Planning

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A Vote of Confidence Revealed in Seattle

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber recently revealed the results of two polls (each conducted by different research firms) that show that Seattle voters view the chamber favorably and would be more likely to vote for a candidate backed by the chamber. View survey questions and results.

While the chamber does not directly make candidate endorsements, its political affiliate, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), has played a major role in the 2013 primary elections. As a result of CASE’s work, all of the candidates it endorsed will be appearing on the general election ballot this November. Goes to show that a good government relations program can make a difference!

According to the chamber, “Not only are these poll findings positive reinforcement of our work, but they also counteract some long-held ‘conventional wisdom’ about the influence that candidates receive from Chamber support.”

Read more about the polls here. For more information, contact the Seattle Chamber's George Allen.


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The Award for Best Chamber Staff Webpage

Ian Scott on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 11:45:00 am 
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The part of my job I love most is visiting our members (that’s you) in their offices. I love seeing your communities and the command centers where you make things happen. Before I visit, I always dig around your website. While I’m scoping your online presence, I always check out your staff webpage.

Most of you have a webpage listing all staff. Many of you include staff position descriptions and/or bios, some also include photos. But a few of you go the extra mile and inject genuine humor and personality into your staff listing page. Those chambers are in the running for Ian’s (unofficial) Best Staff Webpage Award.

The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce has long had my favorite staff listing page. The headshots for Casey, Sheena, John, Jackie and the team are the perfect blend of fun and professional. Descriptions of their roles are clear and concise yet wonderfully playful. When you can click to learn more you get answers from everyone on staff to great questions like: “if you could possess any super power, what would it be?” and “as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

I would have named the Durham Chamber undisputed winner of Ian’s (unofficial) Best Staff Webpage Award, until my recent swing through central Florida. There are a couple more that deserve consideration.

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership has given their staff listing page a kick with cool blue tone headshots, direct links to all staff’s LinkedIn and Twitter feeds, and quirky (often funny) insights about each member of the team. Communications Director Jarod Kintz authored these short quips and wasn’t afraid to push the envelope.

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber also deserves a nod for their super cool staff portraits in lieu of traditional headshots. The drawing of chamber president and CEO Chris Steinocher is probably my favorite. I guess the red eyes come from lots of late nights and early mornings.**For more on the organization and artists that supplied the staff portraits, check out

I’m not the only chamber website visitor who delights in some humor and personality. Where better to show it than on your staff listing page? After all, you chambers are run by individuals with fascinating skills, hobbies and lives. If your staff page is bland, why not take a hint from Durham, Ocala and St. Petersburg and liven it up a little!

Think your chamber’s staff page is a contender for Ian’s (unofficial) Best Staff Webpage Award? Leave a comment with a link and tell me why.

Tags: staff, website

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Several new titles in ACCE's store

HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Search the ACCE Store by title, author, desciprtion, publisher, or genre and purchase titles directly through Amazon, or in some cases, through the publisher directly. You can also rate each title and give a commentary review. To purchase titles and give ratings and reviews, you will need your ACCE login credentials. To obtain your username and password, you can request it here. Please email if you need assistance.

New titles recently added include:

When the Boomers Bail: A Community Economic Survival Guide, by Mark Lautman
As the industrialized world recovers from the great recession, we face an even graver economic threat. A structural shortage of qualified workers is creating a zero-sum labor market that is forcing communities to steal talent from each other in order to survive and grow. In When the Boomers Bail, economic architect Mark Lautman details the causes of the problem, explains how it changes the game, and what you can do about it.
230 pages, Logan Square Press (February 4, 2011)

When we are the foreigners: What Chinese think about working with Americans, by John Doggett, Orlando Kelm, Haiping Tang
Of course it is a matter of your starting point, but as Americans, don’t we usually think of the other guys as the foreigners? After all, they are the ones who talk with an accent, right? When We Are the Foreigners provides readers a new perspective, seeing international business from the vantage point of the Chinese. What is it like for them to handle working with Americans? The eight case studies illustrate many of the cultural issues that bewilder Americans and Chinese when they interact with one another.
158 pages, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 22, 2011)

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael Gerber
In this first new and totally revised edition of the 150,000-copy underground bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed.
268 pages, HarperCollins; 2nd Edition edition (2001)

New Realities for Funding Economic Development Organizations, by Swati Ghosh, Dana Crater
Funding for economic development organizations (EDOs) is changing in response to various global, national and local shifts. Not only are funding mechanisms impacted, but also EDO structures and their business practices.
72 pages, IEDC

Unlocking Entrepreneurship: A Handbook for Economic Developers, by Swati Ghosh, Shari Garmise
In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, the capacity of a community's entrepreneurial firms will be the driving force behind economic recovery, job creation, greater resiliency in the face of disasters, and regional economic transformation. For economic developers charged with job and wealth creation in their communities, the significance of entrepreneurship requires them to adapt their practice to focus on access to tools, strategies, networks and institutions that support entrepreneurial firms.
150 pages, IEDC

Jobs in the Making: Economic Development Strategies to Grow Manufacturing, by Patrick McHugh
This report from IEDC, the result of a year-long research project supported by the Economic Development Research Partners program, explores the evolution of the manufacturing sector and what communities can do to foster its viability. It combines high-level discussions of important market trends with nuts-and-bolts guidance on what those trends mean for communities that are working to protect and grow manufacturing jobs.
150 pages, IEDC

Have a bookstore recommendation? Email with suggested titles.

Tags: ACCE Store, books, bookstore

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Breaking Records in Springfield, MO

Tania Kohut on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Last month, over the course of three days, 410 business and community leaders worked to help the 2012 Chamber of the Year award winning Springfield Area (MO) Chamber of Commerce bring in a total of 425 new members. This impressive achievement surpasses the chamber’s own record for the most investment dollars brought in by a chamber in a three-day membership event.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment, not just for our chamber, but for the community as a whole,” Chamber President Jim Anderson said. “The fact that we could do this not once, but twice, shows just how committed the business and professional community is to making a difference here in Springfield.”

Anderson attributed much of the event’s success to membership consulting company Your Chamber Connection. Jimmy Cusano and the team at Your Chamber Connection have been in the membership development industry for 24 years and have worked with more than 630 chambers across the United States and Canada.  In 2010, during ACCE’s annual convention in Milwaukee, Your Chamber Connection also assisted ACCE with its own membership event to bring in new members.

“Our chamber volunteers made this happen, not once but twice,” Brent McCoy, the chamber’s vice president of membership said.  “They, the volunteers, have worked non-stop over the last three days. You can only be the best chamber in the world if you have the best member-volunteers in the world--enough said.” 

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New Scorecard and Salary Surfer Tools to Aid Community College Students in California

Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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For 2.6 million students, the California Community Colleges system is the gateway to higher education and a fulfilling career. As California seeks to dramatically increase the number of credentialed and college educated workers to remain economically competitive, the California Community Colleges system is a vital link to a strong and skilled workforce.

On Friday, September 13, the Los Angeles Area Chamber's Education & Workforce Development Council hosted a discussion with the region’s newest Los Angeles Community College District leaders, Trustees Mike Eng and Ernie Moreno and East Los Angeles and Los Angeles City College Presidents, Marvin Martinez and Renee Martinez.  They outlined their plans for implementing the ground breaking policy reforms recommended by the California Community Colleges Student Success Taskforce.

One tool that was discussed was the “Student Success Scorecard” unveiled earlier this year. Since its release, the Scorecard has been lauded as a user-friendly tool, which provides all stakeholders with important information about their local college’s outcomes.

The Scorecard includes a groundbreaking “Salary Surfer,” which provides comparative information about the median earnings of recent graduates by college, discipline or program area. The Salary Surfer highlights the return on investment that a community college certificate or associate degree program can provide to students.

The data reveals that students who complete an associate degree double their annual pre-degree earnings after two years in the workforce and nearly triple their pre-degree earnings after five years in the workforce. Furthermore, nearly 45 percent of students who graduated with an associate degree earned more than $54,000 annually five years after getting their degree, which is equal to the median wage of someone with a bachelor’s degree living in California according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

This scorecard represents an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability on student progress and success in the largest public higher education system in the nation. Using this data, faculty, staff and community stakeholders can also determine if colleges are narrowing achievement gaps, which is vitally important for our students and our state's economy.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce continues to work with California Community College leaders to advance student success in Los Angeles. 







Tags: economic development; workforce development, Education, higher education

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New Chamberpedia Page on Dues Models

HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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From the Chamberpedia page on Membership Management, ACCE members can now access the new section on Dues Models and added two new topic pages for Tiered Dues and Fair Share Dues. The Dues Models page was previously called Membership Investment Management and the HERO Team recognized the need to expand this section to allow for new resources on Tiered Dues and Fair Share Dues. These new pages were developed in conjunction with the forthcoming Chamber Executive article (Fall 2013) on Tiered Dues, which references the samples we have highlighted on the Tiered Dues and Fair Share Dues pages.

By visiting these new Dues Models resources, you can access Sample Dues Schedules (for both Tiered Dues and Fair Share Dues) with numerous real-life dues examples (including membership applications and brochures, investment schedules, and links for online applications with member benefits) from chambers across the country. Additional resources include articles from Chamber Executive, Surveys and Research (including the Operations Survey and relevant QuickPolls), Books and e-Books, and Courses and Presentations, all that will augment your knowledge and awareness on dues models.

The Tiered Dues page also has supplemental resources with a Menu of Tiered Dues Benefits and a section on Explaining Tiered Dues to Members.

For questions, research assistance, or if you have a sample or web resource to contribute to these new pages or any of our other Chamberpedia pages, please email


Tags: HERO, Information Office

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Rebranding Napa Chamber

Tania Kohut on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Earlier this week, Chris Messina, IOM, ACE, president and CEO of the Napa Chamber, announced in the North Bay (CA) Business Journal that a renewed brand and vision for the organization would be rolling out in the coming weeks.  

Messina previewed the chamber’s new logo, explained what went into the new look, and provided a rationale for the rebranding process. He wrote that the “rebranding process required an evaluation of every aspect of the organization, allowing us to redefine priorities and achieve a better understanding of where we need to go in order to best serve our members and the greater Napa Valley Community. Reflecting an engaged, progressive, and agile organization, this rebrand represents the Napa Chamber’s role in a growing and changing community.”

Messina, who assumed the chamber’s top post in February 2012, added, “This organizational face-lift will align our public image with a more modern, streamlined internal vision for the future. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to reinforce the foundation of the Napa Chamber. With a new team in place, a new brand about to be launched, and a more targeted vision, we are ready to take the Napa Chamber of Commerce to the next level.”

Read all about the effort here:


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