The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is acquiring some new hardware after receiving international honors this week.

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) named West Alabama's local organization the 2021 Chamber of the Year Tuesday afternoon during its annual Chamber Innovation Summit. The event was a virtual affair, made so by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a Wednesday press release, ACCE is home to "more than 1,600 chambers of commerce and related business and economic development organizations from across North America and Europe." The international organization is based out of Alexandria, Virginia.

The release added that Chamber of the Year is given to worthy teams that demonstrate "organizational strength" and make an impact in areas like business development, education and quality of life.

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“Being named Chamber of the Year by our international association reflects the passion and dedication the Chamber has in not only serving its members, but in working to make a difference for all of West Alabama,” said Elizabeth Winter, Market Executive for Regions Bank and Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors in the release. “Despite significant obstacles encountered in 2020, the Chamber positively impacted the economic growth of the region, and better positioned our business community to move forward.”

Chamber CEO and Executive Director, Jim Page, called into the Steve Shannon Morning Show on 95.3 The Bear to talk about the team's win.

"Yesterday was a fantastic day for our organization, but really this whole community," Page said. "This is a team effort and community-wide, or nothing. We all should be celebrated for it."

The Chamber was named a finalist for the honor on July 6. Page explained that the team had to participate in an arduous process comprised of several interviews, tasks and phases, and to even be a finalist is an honor in itself.

"We feel like we had a good year over the past year with everything our groups have been doing, especially in workforce development and our COVID response, and so we applied for it," Page said. "We thought, 'Hey, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.'"

Page added that the distinction is organized by market size, and finalists among the West Alabama Chamber's category included Forsyth County, Georgia, Loudoun County, Virginia and the North-Central Massachusetts Chamber. Page's team researched the competition leading up to the big day, and with nothing but kind words to say about their peers, he asserted that the win was made even sweeter by knowing the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama was truly among some of the finest and brightest.

“Through the challenges of the past year, the value and relevance of chambers of commerce have never been more apparent,” ACCE President and CEO, Sheree Anne Kelly, said in the press release. “This achievement reflects how hard chambers work to ensure their impact and success well beyond these difficult times. Congratulations on the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s remarkable leadership, commitment to its community and dedication to the chamber profession.”

Reveling in their win, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is looking forward to having the opportunity to host other cities' chambers in Alabama and show off why Tuscaloosa's team is, quite literally, the best in the world.

To hear Page's full interview on the Steve Shannon Morning Show, check out the audio clip here:

To follow the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama on social media, check out their Facebook (The Chamber), Twitter (@chambertusc) and Instagram (chambertusc).

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