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Paducah, Bowling Green chambers of commerce in running for national Chamber of Year titles


A pair of Kentucky chambers of commerce are in the running for national Chamber of the Year titles.

The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce were recognized as finalists in the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ annual Chamber of the Year competition in their respective categories.

“This year’s finalists are among the most impactful organizations within the chamber industry,” ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly said in a release. “We’re in the midst of a chamber renaissance. Chambers of commerce have never been more essential to regional prosperity and are being called on to serve as partners, thought leaders and innovative problem solvers in new ways on new issues.”

The award recognizes excellence in chamber operations, member services and community leadership. Each chamber is one of three finalists named in their size category, which is based on annual revenue, membership, area population and other data submitted to ACCE by the chambers.

The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce is a finalist in Category 2, facing off against the Henry County Chamber of Commerce in McDonough, Georgia, and the West Des Moines Chamber in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Paducah chamber president and CEO Sandra Wilson is thrilled with the news, noting some of the chamber’s work highlighted in their application.

“It is a multi-stage application process that has required a lot of time to prepare and now being named a finalist makes it all worthwhile,” Wilson said in a release. “The Chamber has expanded our programs to assist small businesses and we worked closely with West Kentucky Community and Technical College through their MacKenzie Scott gift to expand opportunities for those who have traditionally faced barriers to education and workforce training.”

The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a finalist in Category 3. It will be competing against the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, in Conway, Arkansas, and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, in Eugene, Oregon.

The winners of the competition will be named on July 27 during an awards ceremony at ACCE’s annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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