IVAC added 28 new members in FY 2021

Chamber retention rate exceeded national average by 5%

The Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development added 28 new members and boasted a membership retention rate of 92%, besting the national average of 87%.

IVAC leaders had more good news to share at Thursday’s annual dinner. Despite infection controls there were 19 ribbon cuttings and more than 70 event and connection opportunities.

“Even with the changes we were able to make progress and resume programs, even if under a ‘new normal,’ ” said Chuck Studer, president of the IVAC board of directors. “Through the changes, one thing has remained consistent: Our continued hard work to set a strong foundation for the members of IVAC and the people of the Illinois Valley.”

IVAC also welcomed a new executive director, Bill Zens, who in turn saluted one of the chambers most stalwart employees. Penny Volkert, who oversees chamber operations and membership, was recognized for her seven years of service to the IVAC and its member businesses.

“This past year with the changes in leadership, and changes due to COVID, she really stepped up and made sure that the Chamber continued to run,” Zens said. “She was always here to answer questions and help our members and our community in any way she could. Without her dedication I am not sure where we would have been as an organization.”