Life Member Awards

Historically called “Honorary Member,” this pinnacle award is bestowed by ACCE on those who retire after stellar careers in chamber leadership. The present “Life Member” name recognizes both the lifetime of success in the chamber profession as well as the member-for-life status granted to each honoree.

Life Member designees are honored during the ACCE annual convention's awards ceremony.

Criteria for Consideration: 

1.  Successful Chamber

    • Shown measurable success in building their communities and organizations

2.  Mentorship

    • Willingly mentored their own staff members and others who sought guidance to grow in the profession

3.  Prominent Role in Leading/Advancing the Profession

    • Made a significant contribution to the profession:  ACCE participation and leadership, U.S. Chamber institutes and programs, State Regional Association Officer, etc.

Factors Influencing Selection:

  • CCE
  • 5-Star Accreditation
  • Chairmanship of state/regional chamber execs’ association
  • ACCE Involvement
  • IOM Board of Governors Service
  • “Seconding” or supporting letters/testimony/recommendations

Requirements & Eligiblity:

The Candidate’s chamber (current employer or chamber to which a retired candidate is most closely affiliated), must be a member in Good Standing of ACCE

  • All CEOs retired from the chamber profession with 12 or more years of service may be nominated for Life Member consideration, regardless of current employment status. If less than 12 years as CEO in the chamber profession, candidates must have been out of the chamber (or related) profession for at least 18 months prior to nomination.
  • Non-CEO members of chambers may be eligible for Life Member nomination following full retirement from the profession after at least 12 years of service.

Nomination Process:

  • A nomination letter that includes appropriate information about the nominee must be addressed to the ACCE Life Member Committee c/o ACCE, 1330 Braddock Place, Ste 300, Alexandria, VA 22314 or emailed to by February 1, 2021. In addition to evidence of excellence in regards to the criteria, the nomination must include current contact information for the person being nominated.
  • Late submissions, as well as those nominated in a prior award cycle, will be re-submitted for consideration in the subsequent year(s).  Re-nomination is not required. 
  • Notice of acceptance (winning), rejection (unlikely to receive Life Member status at any time), and tabling (under consideration in the future) will not be provided to nominators prior to the announcement of Life Member awards. For this reason, it is recommended that nominators do not alert candidates at the time of nomination.
  • Life Member designees and the primary nominating party will be notified at least six weeks prior to the date of the awards ceremony.


2019 Life Members 

ACCE honored the work of these individuals and their enduring influence and lifetime of service to the chamber profession at the #ACCEAwards Show on Monday, July 15, during #ACCE19 in Long Beach, California. 

Jay Clemens, CCE, IOMClemens

Jay Clemens most recently served as president & CEO of Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) from 2006 to 2017. At the request of the Board, he extended his stay to help lead that organization through merging the Oregon Business Association into AOI to become the Oregon Business & Industry Association, the organization from which he retired in November 2017.

With his long track record leading business and economic-development organizations, Jay is known as a high-energy, visionary executive with extensive and diverse leadership experience. 

His 44 years in the chamber of commerce industry has deep roots in Washington state where he began his chamber career in 1973 as the membership department manager and inland empire program manager for the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce. From there, Jay went on to serve as executive director and CEO of the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce (1976-80); manager of operations and finance for the Association of Washington Business (1980–81) and president, chief executive officer of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce (1981–85). In 1985, he moved to Idaho to serve as president & CEO of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and then, in 1998, he led the Tulsa Metro Chamber (Okla.) for eight years. 

In Tulsa, in addition to providing strategic leadership, Jay and his extraordinary staff championed several economic development projects, government and public issues, and programs designed to benefit member businesses and the region. 

In his long involvement as a chamber professional, Jay served in many leadership roles in local, regional, and national organizations.  His participation with ACCE goes back many years as a board member and ACCE Treasurer as well as trustee and chair of the ACCE Benefits Trust. Jay also worked with the U.S. Chamber in leadership roles with the Institute for Organization Management and as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 for many years.  He also participated with the Council of State Chambers and the Council of State Manufacturers Associations.

Jay has been a participant in, and, advocate for continuing professional education for himself, his co-workers and chamber industry peers throughout his career.  


F. Ben Haskew, CCE, IOMHaskew

Ben Haskew’s career spanned 42 years in chamber of commerce management, the last 12 and a half as president & CEO of the Greenville Chamber (S.C.). He also served as president of the Spartanburg, S.C. and the Cobb County, Georgia, chambers.  His senior staff positions included stints with the Florida Chamber and the Tallahassee, Fla., and the Greater Chattanooga Area, Tenn., chambers.

A product of community college in Florida and a graduate of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management program, Ben has been committed to lifelong learning and the importance of helping others move up the chamber career ladder. He served as a class advisor multiple times at the Georgia Institute and also taught fund raising.

Ben served as president of the South Carolina Chamber Executives Association and later in the same role for the merged Carolina Association of Chamber Executives.  He was also named South Carolina Chamber Executive of the Year on two occasions.

His involvement with ACCE included service on numerous committees and the Board. In the early 1990’s he participated on a committee which founded ACCE’s Center for Creative Leadership initiative and then as a member of its first class.  He is most proud, however, of his nearly 10-year term on the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) Commission, serving two years as its chairman. The CCE program was strengthened during this time with new process innovation and more diversity on the Commission Board.

His chamber philosophy has been simple – define “big things” that could be achieved to make his community stronger economically; and do his best to align community and business leaders toward a unified goal.  In 1992 he was on the team that recruited BMW to South Carolina, an investment that has mushroomed to over $5 billion and 12,000 jobs.

Upon his retirement in March of 2016, the volunteer leadership of the Greenville Chamber established the F. Ben Haskew Collaboration Award to be presented each year at the organization’s annual meeting.


McCoyBob McCoy, CCE, IOM

Bob McCoy spent 35 years in organizational management, following a career in teaching and working in the private sector. He retired in 2017 after serving as president & CEO of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce (Wis.) for 23 years. Under Bob's leadership, the organization was a five-star accredited chamber for 20 years.

Bob’s areas of expertise involve economic development, strategic planning, coalition building and public policy. His first chamber job was in Rock Rapids, Iowa, where he served three years as the executive director of the Community Affairs Corporation (chamber), Economic Development Corporation and the Municipal Housing Agency.  From Iowa, Bob moved to Fairmont, Minn., where he served three years as the executive vice president of the chamber and the economic development corporation (Fairmont GO). He then spent eight years in Albert Lea, Minn., as executive vice president of the chamber and Jobs Inc., the economic development corporation.  

Bob attended Institute for Organization Management for 27 years in Boulder, Colorado Springs and Los Angeles.  He served on the Board of Regents for West Institute and also served as the chair. He served on the State Chamber of Commerce Executive Boards in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin where he also served as the Wisconsin president. He was on the board of  Mid America Chamber Executives, a six-state organization for over 700 chambers where he was also selected as the Chamber Executive of the Year.

A proud Certified Chamber of Commerce Executive (CCE), Bob was a member of the CCE Commission. He also served on ACCE's board of directors as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.

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