Chamber Execs Prominent on Power Players List

Tania Kohut on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

Cincy, the magazine for business professionals in the Cincinnati Metro tri-state region of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, published its Power 100 list in the February issue, and it turns out that the list features a substantial number of people connected to chambers of commerce, either as chamber executives or volunteer chairs.

Included on the list, alongside the likes of Proctor & Gamble President and CEO Bob McDonald, House Speaker John Boehner, and Cincinnati Reds CEO Robert Castellini, are: 

  • Steve Stevens, president, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Ellen van der Horst, president, CEO, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
  • Brent Cooper, immediate past chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Alfonso Cornejo, president, Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati
  • Sean Rugless, president, CEO, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Matthew Van Sant, president, CEO, Clermont Chamber of Commerce
  • Michael Fisher, president and CEO, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and former Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber president
  • Joseph Hinson, president, CEO, West Chester, Liberty Chamber Alliance

Click here to view the entire list.

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Chamber Wins 3 Emmy Awards

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

The Greater Memphis, Tenn., Chamber’s Communications & Programming Team recently brought home three Mid-South Emmy Awards in the Writing, Editing and Arts categories for “The Soundtrack Project.”

The Project, a series of eight documentary shorts – or movements – produced by the Greater Memphis Chamber, began in 2010 as a partnership between the Chamber and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. The shorts bring together and highlight Memphis’ arts community and the local small business community through narrated stories and original music composed by symphony musicians.

“These multimedia movements serve as both a local point of pride and as a snapshot of Memphis’s business community for a global audience,” said John Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber.  “You really get a sense of the authentic and determined spirit of our small business owners when you watch each video.”

According to the chamber’s press release, the businesses featured in the Soundtrack Project were chosen by the Chamber’s Small Business Council. The businesses then shared their experiences with Running Pony Productions, John Hubbell, Lance Murphey and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra who worked together to produce the final movements. The Symphony assigned three of its composers to work with the team, sending them on factory visits, citizenship swearing-ins, helicopter flights and canoe rides, to name a few.  Inspired by their interactions with the small businesses, the composers created original works, which when merged with the story, produced an insightful and honest movement for each short. 

Perhaps more Emmys are in the chamber’s future? Following overwhelming positive response, the chamber plans to produce more Soundtrack Project documentary shorts in the future. 



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For Your Members: Don’t Wait to File New H1-B Petitions

Tania Kohut on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

Here’s an item your members should take note of if they hire foreign nationals. This news alert, courtesy of Kansas City, MO, law firm Lathrop & Gage, LLP, came to ACCE’s attention from Mary Birch, former president of the Overland Park (KS) Chamber of Commerce. Today, Mary is the firm’s government relations coordinator.

The alert is reprinted here with permission from Lathrop & Gage, LLP.

Increase in Demand for H-1B Quota Suggests Employers Should Not Wait Beyond April 1, 2013, to File New H-1B Petitions

Employers who hire foreign nationals often do so in a classification under U.S. immigration law known as “H-1B.” This category is used often to fill jobs in occupations that typically require at least a bachelor’s level education in a specialized field. Examples of jobs for which the H-1B category is used might include engineers, physicians, graphic designers, scientists, accountants, and teachers.

To hire a worker in H-1B status, an employer must obtain authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). For many years, Congress has imposed an annual quota on the number of new H-1B cases USCIS can approve for a federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). An H-1B case can be filed up to 6 months in advance of the date an employer wants to hire a foreign worker. Hence, the earliest a case can be filed for the quota in an upcoming fiscal year is April 1 of the fiscal year before.

Prior to the downturn of the economy in 2008, the demand for H-1B workers consistently exceeded the annual quota. As a result, employers routinely filed all of their H-1B cases for an upcoming fiscal year on the April 1 before. USCIS then used a lottery to decide which cases it could process without exceeding the quota.

When the economy slowed, the demand for H-1B workers dropped dramatically, so it was no longer essential for an employer to file its H-1B cases for the next fiscal year by April 1 for the cases to have a shot at being processed. Over the last three years, however, the situation has changed. The period the quota for the next fiscal year has remained open after April 1 has gotten progressively shorter as the economy has improved.

For Fiscal Year 2011, the quota stayed open approximately nine months. For Fiscal Year 2012, the open period lasted approximately seven months. For the current fiscal year, 2013, the quota was only open for about two months.

It will therefore be prudent for employers who want to hire H-1B workers for Fiscal Year 2014, which starts October 1, 2013, to file their cases on April 1, 2013, lest they not be able to file at all. Considering the steps that need to be completed for filing, employers should begin the H-1B process in the next few weeks, if not sooner.

Examples of foreign national prospects for whom employers may need to file H-1B cases include the following:

  • Those in student (F-1) status who are currently employed based on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization or who are about to complete their degree programs;
  • Those currently working for another employer in another nonimmigrant status such as L-1;
  • Those who may wish to change their nonimmigrant status to H-1B from another status, such as J-1 or TN; and
  • Those recruited from overseas.

The annual H-1B quota mandated by Congress is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 reserved for those who hold U.S. master’s degrees or higher. A limited number of employers - higher educational institutions, nonprofit entities affiliated with higher educational institutions and nonprofit and government research organizations - are not subject to the quota. A limited number of foreign nationals, such as those who have previously been counted towards the quota and granted H-1B status and physicians who have received “Conrad 30” waivers, are also exempt from the quota.


Lathrop & Gage, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 2200, Kansas City, Missouri 64108.
The information contained in this document is provided to alert you to legal developments and should not be considered legal advice. Specific questions about how this information affects your particular situation should be addressed to your legal counsel. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.


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On a roll. . . at the top

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

At only 30-years-old, Mike Evans is on a roll . . . all the way at the top. And, people in Naperville, Ill., are recognizing this young talent. Last December, Evans took the helm of the Naperville (IL) Area Chamber as its new president and CEO, following five years as executive director of the Bolingbrook (IL) Chamber of Commerce. Get to know Mike Evans, who is eager to “foster the next generation and help them to grow and become leaders and entrepreneurs,” when you read this article from last week’s Naperville Sun.

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Riding Success Wave in North Myrtle Beach

Tania Kohut on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

For North Myrtle Beach (SC) Chamber President Marc Jordan, CCE, last week’s editorial in Myrtle Beach’s The Sun News was perhaps the best Christmas gift he received. The newspaper published an editorial saluting the chamber’s five-year growth plan and gave a nod to Jordan’s “obvious and contagious passion.”

Despite the tough economy, the chamber’s initiative, “Building North Myrtle Beach,”  whose goal was to raise $2.5 million over five years, has met great success. Not only has the chamber already met its goal, but they are now planning to raise $3.5 million. And most remarkably, it’s all been driven by the private sector, with the rallying call for support coming straight from Jordan.

ACCE joins The Sun News in commending Jordan and his team’s tremendous effort! Read more about the campaign when you read the editorial in its entirety here.





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Is Your Chamber "Closing the Loop?"

Tania Kohut on Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

In this YouTube video, WACE President Dave Kilby explains how, in order to excel as the voice of business, it's important for chambers of commerce to report how their elected official voted on key business issues. Click on the image below to view the video.






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Hoboken is Hob"open"

Tania Kohut on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Local businesses in Hoboken, N.J., many of which were affected by Hurricane Sandy, are getting some attention and support from their local chamber of commerce. Earlier this month the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign, “Heart Hoboken? Let's Keep the Charm,” promoting the city as a place to eat, drink and shop.

According to an article on, Greg DellAquilla, president of the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce, says that since Hurricane Sandy, “many business owners are reporting business has been down roughly 30 to 70 percent, depending on where they are located.” But, he noted, “We are open for business. The hurricane left out-of-towners unaware that we are open, or hesitant to come here thinking that there is a lot of damage. And there was...but there are perhaps 20 stores that are still closed while hundreds and hundreds are open.”

Read more about the chamber’s campaign here.

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Frank Ryll, Jr. Honored in Miami

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Last week, ACCE Life Member and former Board Chair, Frank Ryll, Jr. was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Ryll was recognized during the sixth annual International Business Leadership Awards at Miami’s Jungle Island. The awards program recognizes business leadership in international activities that significantly impact the economy of South Florida.  

Ryll began his business career at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, moved to the Greater Greenville, S.C. Chamber, and joined the Florida Chamber in January 1980 as senior V.P. for economic development. It wasn’t long before he was promoted to president. Since then both the foundation and the chamber have grown to be the premier voice for Florida’s businesses, and a benchmark for chambers across the country. In his current role as director of global outreach, he is helping secure Florida’s future by leading the Florida Chamber’s efforts to double Florida-origin exports by 2015 and make the state a hub for international trade and logistics.

Frank Ryll (center) accepting his award with Commissioner Willie Gort of CAMOCOL and Olga Ramudo, Owner of Express Travel. Photo Source:

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Post-Sandy Support: You can still help

Tania Kohut on Monday, December 3, 2012 at 7:00:00 am 

A month has passed since Hurricane Sandy’s wrath and many of our friends and colleagues are still cleaning up the damage in areas hardest hit by the storm.  As we enter the season of giving, consider supporting communities and businesses affected by Sandy.  Below is a message Jack Friedman, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, wrote in response to a fellow ACCE member’s request on how her members can help. 

“As I am quickly learning, the needs after a disaster like this change daily. While clean-up efforts continue, we have been inundated with supplies like clothing and water. Now that power has been re-stored to most, our early needs of flashlights, batteries and generators has waned. There is still a need for winter coats, hats and blankets and personal health items like toothbrushes, soap and cleaning supplies. What is needed most however is financial support. Many organizations have been set-up to receive support. However, those contributions do not always wind up going to the intended communities. Our Chamber of Commerce (as well as the Chambers in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan) have all set-up relief funds as part of our 501 C-3 Chamber Foundations. In each case, 100% of the money received will go directly to businesses in the impacted areas.”

Queens Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Attn: Sandy Relief Fund
75-20 Astoria Blvd.
Jackson Heights, NY 11370
For more information, click here (and scroll to beneath the homepage welcome graphic). 

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Foundation: 2012 MCC Small Business Recovery Fund
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Foundation is working with business partners to raise funds for small businesses throughout the city affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Foundation is accepting donations and small grants will be given to businesses to help with rent, payroll, clean up, etc. To learn more and to donate, click here.

Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
After contacting the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, ACCE learned that the chamber does not have a fund for Sandy relief and is instead recommending that donations be made to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. To make a donation, visit: According to the Foundation's website, "All donations will benefit those that have been adversely impacted by the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy on the New York City and New Jersey coastlines."

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, together with the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, established the Brooklyn Recovery Fund. This pooled fund is providing support to Brooklyn’s nonprofit organizations working with the communities and individuals most affected by Hurricane Sandy. To learn more and to donate, click here.



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Oslo Business for Peace Award: Submit Nominees

Tania Kohut on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 2:00:00 pm 

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Oslo-based Business for Peace Foundation are seeking nominees for the 2013 Oslo Business for Peace Award, a global honor recognizing inspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs who combine ethical responsibility with business success. Submit a nomination for the award by Feb. 1, 2013.

“The Oslo Business for Peace Award aims to create a better union between business and society, where each contributes to the other," said Per L. Saxegaard, chairman of the Business for Peace Foundation. "Our goal is to inspire business leaders to be business-worthy, to have them apply their business energy with the purpose of creating economic value that also creates value for society. The honorees who have been selected by our independent committee of Nobel Prize recipients are all strong exemplars of the merit of this idea.”

The 2012 award attracted more than 90 nominees from 60 nations.

“We are delighted to be a partner of the Business for Peace Awards, encouraging businesspeople to foster peace and stability to the benefit of humanity,” said ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier. “As the world business organization, ICC is proud to show how ethical business conduct is not only good for business but good for global living standards and good for peace.” For more information please email WCF or visit ICC Business for Peace and the Business for Peace Foundation.


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