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Turlock Chamber of Commerce recognized for excellence
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The Turlock Chamber of Commerce has been named among the best in the state – yet again – by the California Chamber of Commerce.

The local chamber was one of 21 across the state – out of more than 320 total chapters – to earn the President’s Circle award, given to chambers for their excellence in business advocacy and aiding members’ compliance with California employment laws.

“When people call CalChamber and ask, ‘Who the top chambers are in the state?,’ it's the President’s list that is given,” said Turlock Chamber CEO Sharon Silva.

It was the Turlock chamber’s third consecutive President’s Circle award in the three years the award has been given. Twenty –two chambers earned President’s Circle recognition in 2010, and just 13 won the award in 2009.

Despite its small size, the Turlock chamber’s success has been driven by its strong programs, Silva said. The chamber operates its own Political Action Committee, intended to help business-friendly candidates reach office.

“In order to meet the needs of our membership and of business, we needed to make sure the people that were elected were really business-minded, and that there was a voice for business being heard,” Silva said.

The political relationship doesn’t stop once candidates are elected. The chamber’s Government Relations Committee stays in touch with elected officials at the local, state and federal level to lobby for business interests, and to inform politicians of the possibly unintended negative consequences the actions of government sometimes have.

"We really want to know what effects it's having, and we want them to hear what effects it’s having on our business because they take it back there," Silva said.

Recently, representatives from the chamber travelled to Sacramento to testify on budget initiatives to eliminate Redevelopment Agencies and Enterprise Zones statewide.

The President’s Circle award is also based on informing member chapters of California employment law, a task the chamber tackles with training, seminars and an annual business summit.

“It’s all just part of what makes the Turlock chamber what it is,” Silva said, “but barely scratches the surface of all the work the chamber does.

“I don't think people really know what all we do,” she said.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.