By Mark Ambrogi
OneZone completed an unusual feat by combining two large chambers of commerce from Fishers and Carmel into one unit.
Indiana Chamber Executives Association recognized that achievement at their annual statewide conference in naming OneZone the 2016 Outstanding Chamber of the Year.
“It’s an extreme honor for all the staff,” said Dan Canan, executive vice president of OneZone. “(Merging is) not something that is done a whole lot in Indiana chambers, especially when you have two chambers that were very successful independently. But looking how it would benefit the membership was what drove us to the merger.”
Canan, a Fishers resident, was the executive director of the Fishers Chamber. OneZone President Mo Merhoff was previously the president of the Carmel Chamber.
The Outstanding Chamber of the Year award for Indiana is annually presented by ICEA to a chamber of commerce that displays organizational excellence and accomplishments in the four areas of leadership and governance, finance, advocacy and membership development.
“Our staff has worked very hard throughout and after the merger,” Merhoff stated. “They and our board deserve congratulations for their super efforts.”
Some achievements named in the award application beside the merger include: Continuation of advocacy councils in Carmel and Fishers to address local issues and policies in each city, formation of a state advocacy committee to advocate for business-friendly legislation in Indiana, the launch of new branding, website and communications, a first-year increase of 185 new members, strong volunteer board leadership, and merger of young professionals groups in Carmel and Fishers.
Canan said retaining members while attracting new ones has been key.
“I attribute that to the diligence that the two independent boards put into the merger discussions and analyzing the merger and making sure it was going to be successful before it was even announced,” Canan said. “We were a success, but that was because of a lot of planning getting us there.”
OneZone is the fourth largest chamber in Indiana with 1,300 members from across Hamilton County and central Indiana.
“We’re going to continue working hard for our membership, providing the best value we can for this community,” Canan said.