SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
From left to right, board members Karen LaPensee, Ellen Aquilina, Chamber President Mary Ann Brockman, board chairman Mark Davis and board member Chuck Webb
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH – It doesn’t get any better than this.
The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce has been honored by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals as the top medium- sized chamber in the state.
This is the Island Chamber’s first time to receive this award, according to Chamber President Mary Ann Brockman. She received the award last Thursday while attending the association’s 88th annual leadership conference in Jacksonville, and at a news conference at the Chamber Monday, she quickly deferred all the credit to her board of directors, staff and volunteers.
Chairman of the Board Mark Davis praised everyone involved.
"We are extremely proud of the Anna Maria Island Chamber’s board and staff of volunteers who made this award possible," he said. "It is extremely gratifying to know that all the programs that we do in the community have been recognized by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals."
The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce was first formed in 1949 to serve mainly the resort owners. It was incorporated in 1979 and staffed by a part-time director and volunteers until the early 1990s.
Brockman came on board around 1994 and the membership base has risen from around 300 to approximately 500 members. There is a fulltime staff of two, including Brockman. There are four officers and 11 members of the board of directors.
The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals also named the Manatee County Chamber as top organization in the state for Chambers with budgets of $1 million or more. This was the third time in seven years for the Manatee Chamber. It also won in 2000 and in 2004.
Brockman said that having the two chambers win from one county is impressive and she talked about a third group’s record.
"The Longboat (Key) Chamber won it in 2002," she said. "That means all three chambers in the area have won within the last five years."