In a ceremony delayed one year by the COVID pandemic, the United States Chamber of Commerce presented the McAllen Chamber of Commerce with 5-Star accreditation status. The local chamber is one of 129 chambers across the country to achieve the highest-possible designation out of seven thousand chambers nationwide.

“Chambers that rise to five-star accreditation, like the McAllen Chamber, are the most effective, and they support the business community in the best way possible,” said John Gonzalez, executive director of government affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Southwest-South Central Region. “It says a lot about the organization. It says a lot about the people supporting the chamber, and most importantly, it’s a reflection of the business community here in McAllen.”

Accreditation by the U.S. Chamber focuses on nine categories, including governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, communications, technology, facilities and other metrics.

In receiving the award, McAllen Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Ahlenius singled out Gerry Garcia, the chamber’s Vice President of Special Projects & Government Affairs, for coordinating the year-long certification process. But, he added the award is shared by the entire community.

“Shared effort is part of the DNA of this community,” said Ahlenius. “You see it play out in the successes that we have. You see it play out in the types of policies, and the things the city invests in, and so it is a reflection of everyone who continues to invest in McAllen, and who continue to want to see the best for this community. This is something that we’re really proud of. We’re really fortunate to be in such a great community that can make such a difference.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s accreditation program has been in place since 1964. This is the second time the McAllen Chamber has achieved a 5-Star rating, having earned the distinction in 2014.