Chamber president says ‘Chamber of the Year’ award is ‘happy surprise’ for local organization
In only its fifth year, the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce has received top honors among 47 similar groups nationwide.
The Washington, D.C.-based National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced last week that the local organization has been named Chamber of the Year for 2010.
The announcement was made during the North Texas GLBT Chamber’s 5th Anniversary Dinner at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel on Friday, March 26.
Tony Vedda, president and CEO of the North Texas Chamber, said the award will be formally presented during the national organization’s annual dinner in Washington, D.C., in November.
"It’s huge," Vedda said, adding that shortly after it launched in 2005, the local chamber received the Rising Star Award. "To be recognized as Chamber of the Year five years later, was certainly a happy surprise to all of us."
Vedda said other recent winners of Chamber of the Year have included groups in Minneapolis, Seattle and San Diego. The North Texas Chamber is the youngest chamber and the only chamber in Texas to ever receive the award.
"These are all much older, more established organizations, so to be thought of in the same light as those organizations is really quite flattering," he said.
The chamber began five years ago with about 75 member businesses, Vedda said, but has since grown to just under 300.
Vedda became the chamber’s only staff member in 2007.
About 160 people attended last week’s anniversary dinner.
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns presented the chamber with proclamations on behalf of their respective cities. Leppert thanked the chamber for things such as the group’s support of a proposed city-owned convention center hotel.
"Your involvement in that really made a difference," Leppert said. "One of the strengths of Dallas and this entire region is its diversity."
Burns, who also received the chamber’s ExtrAA Mile Award, talked extensively about the community’s response to last June’s Rainbow Lounge range.
"The GLBT business community was at the forefront," Burns said.
Others honored during the dinner included Matt Burckhalter, who received the Emerging Leader Award; David Wickham of the Warwick Melrose Hotel, who received the Member Service Award; attorney Rebecca S. Covell, who received the Business Person of the Year Award; Crain & Craig, which received the Business of the Year Award; and Dallas-based Texas Instruments, which received the Corporate Ally Award.
For more info on the local chamber, go to www.northtexasglbtchamber.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 2, 2010.