The Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce has received a three-star accredited status from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The designation places the organization among the 3 percent of chambers nationwide to receive such an accreditation.

To receive the designation the chamber had to demonstrate quality programs, clear organizational procedures and meet governance, program development, governmental affairs and technology standards.

“This process really helped us make sure our bylaws matched our policies and procedures and that our audits were clean,” Harper said. “It gave us a good indication of where we are and where we need to be based on U.S. standards that they set forth.”

One of the categories chambers are evaluated on is their level of involvement with local, state and national political figures. This summer state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, state Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, and U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, spoke to chamber members about legislative initiatives.

Fred Welch, executive director of the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council, said the accreditation helps the chamber leverage its credibility when advocating for local businesses in the political realm.

“We have a chamber that’s active and recognized,” Welch said. “When they speak and advocate on an issue of importance at the community, state or federal level, it brings that extra level of accountability and credibility.”

Welch said the accreditation also appeals to businesses evaluating the Conroe area for potential relocation.

“It shows that as a community we are invested in making sure that the business community and those around them [use] the best practices possible,” Welch said. “Being accredited is another indicator to a business that’s looking to come in to see the city’s growth.”

Harper also graduated from the Institute for Organization Management program through the University of Georgia on July 1. The IOM is a development program for chamber professionals by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Looking ahead, Harper said the Chamber would re-evaluate comprehensive plans to advance goals of attaining higher ratings.

The Conroe/Lake Conroe chamber is the first chamber to receive accreditation in Montgomery County and is among 207 chamber of commerce organizations out of approximately 7,000 chambers nationwide to do so.

Local chambers are rated accredited, three stars, four stars or five stars. Accreditation allows the chamber to renew, improve and promote sound business practices, policies and procedures, President Scott Harper said.