Kalispell Chamber Receives Top Accreditation Honor

The Kalispell chamber received a five-star accreditation for its effectiveness, positive impact on the community

By Beacon STaff
Joe Unterreiner, president and CEO of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, speaks during a luncheon on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce with one of its top honors, recognizing the local organization for its effective structure and positive impact on the Flathead Valley.

The Kalispell chamber received a five-star accreditation for its sound policies, effective procedures and positive impact on the community. The chamber advocates for local businesses and the community as a whole and regularly hosts luncheon events that focus on top issues and topics, such as the importance of the health care industry and the school district expansion. The upcoming presentation on March 21 will focus on the redevelopment plan for downtown. Chamber staff also work with local, state and federal officials on issues related to the valley, such as completing the U.S. Highway 93 Alternate Route.

The accreditation program is the only program in the U.S. that recognizes a chamber’s effective organizational procedures and community involvement. To receive an accredited status, a chamber must meet strict minimum standards in operations and programs, including areas of governance, communication, fiscal responsibility, government affairs, and technology, according to the U.S. chamber.

There are more than 7,000 chambers of commerce across the country and only about 200 are accredited. Being distinguished as a five-star accredited chamber recognizes the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce as performing in the top 1 percent of chambers in the nation.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive five-star recognition from the U.S. Chamber,” said Joe Unterreiner, the Kalispell chamber president and CEO. “The credit is due to the outstanding volunteer business leadership we enjoy, talented professional staff, and the support of our entire community. We are looking forward to continuing to serve this community we love at the highest possible level.”

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1904 and consists of roughly 700 businesses and organizations that collectively employ over half of the workforce in Flathead County. The chamber’s mission is to be a leading voice in strengthening the community and business climate and leverage the talents and resources of its members to improve economic opportunities. The chamber also provides opportunities for individuals and businesses to be involved in community issues and top business, civic, and social priorities.

Accredited chambers are reviewed every five years by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members and chamber executives from across the country. The Kalispell Chamber began preparing for this review in the first months of 2016 and was previously accredited in 2006.

Local chambers can be designated as accredited, or accredited with three stars, four stars, or five stars.

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