Rare recognition for Rochester Chamber

Local News

A 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has leaders at the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce thrilled.

We discussed how the accreditation is determined and what it means for economic growth in the Rochester Region with Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Bob Duffy Wednesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“We started last February applying,” said Duffy of the accreditation process. “We’ve never applied for accreditation before. Chris Wiest from the team was the project leader. It was months and months of preparation from our entire staff. Our package that we put together to submit in August was probably as big or bigger than the Amazon project that we submitted this year as we sent it to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And they have different levels. They have no accreditation, accreditation, 3, 4 and 5-Star. We thought, at best, maybe 3-Star and we got notified it came back as a 5-Star and we were thrilled.”

Duffy said Rochester is one of two Chambers in New York State which has received a 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Of the 7,000 to 8,000 Chambers across the country, only about 150 or so are rated 5-Star. “The only other 5-Star accredited Chamber of Commerce in New York State is Plattsburgh. So it’s a stamp of approval. It’s a third party validation for what we do. It takes into consideration the entire organization and it’s a pretty complex organization. We have many business lines there. I’ve been there three years and I learned an awful lot coming in, but it really showed the strength of the organization.”

Duffy credits Sandy Parker, who led the organization prior to his arrival, and Paul Speranza, former Chief Counsel at Wegmans, who urged him to apply for the Chamber designation about three years ago, with helping build a strong organization. “Both Sandy and Paul led a Health Care Planning Team that really was a factor in some of the community aspects that they consider. I equate it to going on Google or going on Amazon and getting a 5-Star review. It’s just a great validation for our people, for our organization and something we’re very proud of.”

We asked Duffy how a 5-Star Accreditation can help grow local businesses, jobs and the economy. “First of all, the accreditation reinforces the fact that people can have a sense of faith and trust in our organization, in terms of how it’s structured, what we have and what we have to offer. Coming from the U.S. Chamber, it’s a great thing for us to have. We are constantly looking to improve our services. We are looking for ways to support businesses. We are talking every day and week about things we can do differently for our members – small, medium or large businesses. So we are trying to look at best practices across the country for what we can do. Reaching out. We ask our members. We visit our members weekly. We’re in the offices of many businesses each week, and one of the things that I always say is, tell me, if we do one thing for you in the next year, what would that one thing be? It may be connecting businesses to other markets and customers. It may be helping them advocate for changes in laws and regulatory issues across the state, but it’s really based on a customer. We are a customer, member driven organization and we listen to what they need and try to follow through and do the very best that we can.”

To learn more about the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its 5-Star Accreditation, click here.

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