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Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce recognized as one of 141 '5 Star' chambers nationwide

Chambers that achieve "5 Star" status are "truly leaders in their industry," Raymond P. Towle, U.S. Chamber vice president, federation relations, said.

Chamber of Commerce East Grand Forks and Grand Forks.
Chamber of Commerce East Grand Forks and Grand Forks is located in downtown Grand Forks. (Herald staff photo)
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GRAND FORKS — The Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce has again achieved a "5 Star" accreditation, one of 141 chambers nationwide to do so.

It's the second consecutive "5 Star" rating for the organization. The accreditation lasts for five years.

Chambers are rated on a varying scale, from "Accredited" to "3 Stars," "4 Stars" and "5 Stars." The final determination is made by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members. There are more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce in the U.S.

Chambers that achieve "5 Star" status are "truly leaders in their industry," Raymond P. Towle, U.S. Chamber vice president, federation relations, said.

“This rigorous review includes all aspects of a chamber’s policies, operations and programming. When chambers of commerce earn the distinction of becoming accredited, it is a mark of excellence for the organization, its staff and its leadership," Towle said in a statement provided to the media.

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Barry Wilfahrt, president and CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce, attributed the designation to the organization's "outstanding volunteer leadership and engaged Chamber membership."

As Wilfahrt credits the organization's staff, members and board, his leadership makes a difference too, according to Tommy Kenville, local Chamber of Commerce Board chairman.

"Barry is one of the best (president/CEOs) in the country. He's been at it so long and is just so full of energy," Kenville said. "And I think the whole team's attitude makes a difference. There are only four of them (on staff) and they just get a lot done."

Kenville said the organization stands out for a number of reasons, including local programming and outreach efforts, ranging from military affairs activities, leadership programs or community events. Membership among Greater Grand Forks businesses is high for a town this size, he said.

"The overall attitude of all of the people there, plus the programming and the numbers — it's pretty amazing," Kenville said.

Offering valuable resources to members is important, according to Towle.

"Accredited chambers are recognized for their ability to serve as a resource to their region’s businesses while maintaining transparent governance practices, sound financial controls, safe work environments, effective communications and value in programming," Towle said. "They are commended for their continued advocacy of free enterprise, and for their commitment to serving members and their local businesses."

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Korrie Wenzel has been publisher of the Grand Forks Herald and Prairie Business Magazine since 2014.

He is a member of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. board of directors and, in the past, has served on boards for Junior Achievement, the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, United Way, Empire Arts Center, Cornerstones Career Learning Center and Crimestoppers.

As publisher, Wenzel oversees news, advertising and business operations at the Herald, as well as the newspaper's opinion content.

In the past, Wenzel was sports editor for 14 years at The Daily Republic of Mitchell, S.D., before becoming editor and, eventually, publisher.

Wenzel can be reached at 701-780-1103, or via Twitter via @korriewenzel.
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This piece was written for Prairie Business, which covers business in the Dakotas and Minnesota. To receive a free digital edition each month, see the instructions at the bottom of this story.