The president of the Southwest Indiana Chamber says several “aggressive” initiatives helped the organization win Chamber of the Year from the Indiana Chamber Executives Association. Christy Gillenwater says the chamber launched efforts involving downtown development, work force diversity and the nonprofit sector. The award recognizes leadership, finance, advocacy and membership. She says the organization is driven by the “energy” of the region's business community.

March 12, 2015

News Release

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Southwest Indiana Chamber today announced it has been named 2015 Indiana Chamber of the Year by Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA).

The Chamber of the Year award is presented annually by ICEA to a chamber of commerce in Indiana that has demonstrated exceptional performance in four categories: leadership and governance; finance;

advocacy; and programming and membership.

A panel of judges from outside the state reviews award applications then selects the year’s finalists and the top chamber of commerce. To be considered for the award, a chamber of commerce must submit a

detailed application that includes 10 essays and dozens of work examples, such as the organization’s strategic plan and press clippings.

The Southwest Indiana Chamber launched new initiatives in 2014, which helped the organization earn its Chamber of the Year recognition, according to Indiana Chamber Executives Association President Shelli Williams. “The Chamber is focused on its members’ needs and has seized opportunities to serve the Southwest Indiana region with new initiatives like its Diverse Business Alliance and Nonprofit Alliance.”

Other achievements cited in the award application submitted by the Southwest Indiana Chamber include: a net gain of 359 members in 2014 and an improvement in ranks from third-largest to second largest chamber of commerce in Indiana; the launch of the new Southwest Indiana Chamber brand, new website, and new fully-integrated membership database; the launch of the organization’s Diverse Business Alliance, Nonprofit Alliance, Restaurant Alliance, and Downtown Alliance; the success of the Chamber-led restaurant competition called “Evansville’s Main Course Restaurant Challenge”; and improved financial performance led by an increase in sponsorship and event-generated revenue.

“When it comes to serving our members, we've set the bar high,” Southwest Indiana Chamber board of directors Chairman Jeff Mulzer said. “This award recognizes the organization's dedicated, passionate,

and enthusiastic volunteers, board of directors, and staff. As we celebrate a century of supporting the business community, we can add this significant milestone to our Chamber's history and continue our

commitment to commerce.”

Past recipients of the Chamber of the Year award include the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce (2014), the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce (2013), the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County

(2012), the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce (2011), and the Daviess County Chamber of Commerce (2010).

About Southwest Indiana Chamber

Since 1915, the Southwest Indiana Chamber has been a trusted ally of the regional business community. Today we are one of the state’s largest, strongest, and most impactful nonprofit business organizations,

representing a total membership of nearly 1,700 businesses, organizations, and agencies. About one third of members have invested in our organization for 10 or more years and 71% of our member

businesses have 25 or fewer employees. Our initiatives include Tri-State Manufacturers’ Alliance, Tri-State World Trade Network, Young Professionals Alliance, Diverse Business Alliance, Family Business

Alliance, Posey County Alliance, Downtown Alliance, Restaurant Alliance, and Nonprofit Alliance.

Learn more about the Chamber, our members, and the Southwest Indiana regional business community at www.swinchamber.com.

Source: Southwest Indiana Chamber

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