For the fourth time in a row, the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance has received a five-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce bestowed the honor this month, citing the Alliance’s sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive effect on the community. The announcement was made Friday by the Alliance at Boonsboro Country Club.
Megan Lucas, CEO of the Alliance, said the organization will maintain its five-star accreditation for the next five years. Accreditation takes place every five years.
“Our members, as well as the business community, can be assured that by acquiring the five-star accreditation that the Alliance is meeting the highest possible standards with programs and services that benefit our local economy and positively influence the community,” she said.
“It truly reinforces that the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, as a leader of chamber and economic development organization regionally, nationally, and internationally, it’s important to know that chambers only take the time to go through this process if they meet minimum standards, promote performance and impact their communities.”
To receive five stars is the pinnacle of achievement, she said. The designation indicates excellence in governance, finances, human resources, government affairs, program development, technology, communications and benchmarking.
The Alliance received perfect scores in the categories of governance, finances, program development, technology, communication and facilities. It also received above 90% in human resources, government affairs and benchmarking.
Lucas recognized the staff of the Alliance who worked hard to make the organization a success.
“Their focus every day is this business community and this community as a whole,” she said.
Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, said earning five stars once is a tremendous achievement but achieving it four times in a row is extraordinary.
She said through her years in the House of Delegates, she has been fortunate to have such a strong organization working on behalf of the region and its business community.
“This five-star status confirms everything I know about the Alliance already,” she said. “Advocating effectively on behalf of businesses in our region and the General Assembly doesn’t mean you just come to Richmond for a few days when you’re in session; it’s a year-round, everyday commitment, time and time again. The Alliance has been an integral and vital pro-business ally on issues of workforce development, regulatory reform, broadband access, education, transportation and so many more issues that affect our region’s business climate and the vitality of our communities.”
Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, could not attend the event but spoke via video message. He said only 200 out of 7,000 local chambers have received this level of accreditation.
“It’s really a demonstration of your excellence, your innovation and the quality of the programming that you have within your organization,” he said. “It’s because of the strength of our local chambers and economic development organizations that Virginia has a bright future and specifically today this accreditation is one that you should be proud of.”
Marjette Upshur, economic development director for the City of Lynchburg, said she could attest to the strong support of existing businesses and collaborative efforts to grow the economic base and position the region for new investment.
“When the pandemic hit, this team convened the regional COVID Task Force and hosted webinars for the business community in real time with up-to-date data and information and provided resource links to help our businesses navigate the ever changing environment that we all found ourselves in,” she said. “I was a part of that COVID Task Force and I can say that their collaborative and coordinated efforts helped all of us in economic development and tourism as we work to disseminate accurate and timely information.”
Economic development work is complex, competitive and based on strong relationships, she said, both within the industry and within the business community.