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Newsmakers in Business June 20
Pamela Nix Elms
The Times wants to know about new management hires and promotions, major awards and other newsworthy accomplishments involving local businesses. We'll publish the information each Sunday on the Business page and Send information, including photos and contact information, to; please put Newsmakers in the subject line. You also may use regular mail at Newsmakers, The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503.

Habersham Chamber earns four-star status
The Habersham County Chamber of Commerce has been accredited at the four-star level by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The honor was confirmed in a call from U.S. Chamber spokeswoman Allison Steely.

"We had been waiting for this call since the middle of March when our application with all supporting documentation was submitted," said Dr. Judy Taylor, president of the Habersham Chamber. "The documentation was the result of about 10 months of work by Chamber staff and directors."

Taylor credited Dr. Judy Forbes, former superintendent of the Habersham School System, with heading the effort to recognize the Habersham C of C.

"Accreditation indicates a standard of excellence as evaluated and determined by an outside source. It validates this chamber and gives it credibility," Forbes said.

Board Chairman Joey Duncan said the four-star status will boost the county's economy.

"When companies are thinking about locating in Habersham, an accredited chamber lets them know the services and programs are in place to support business and industry," Duncan said. "The handling of financial matters by the chamber was scrutinized in detail. As a CPA, this gives me a feeling of comfort."

Only 21 out of 150 Georgia chambers are accredited (14 percent), and only 11 are accredited above the three-star level. This puts the Habersham Chamber in the top 7 percent of all chambers in Georgia, as determined by accreditation.

"It is unusual for an existing chamber to become accredited at the four-start level," Taylor said. "Usually a chamber grows or develops to that point."

The application required specific procedures, programs and services in nine standards, with detailed documentation submitted to verify them, Forbes said. The standards include governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, technology, communications, facilities and benchmarking.

"The chamber works for the community and county of Habersham. We believe this is one more positive step for the county," Taylor said.

Gainesville native Elms makes 40 Under 40 list
Pamela Nix Elms, a Gainesville native and director of marketing for Downtown Vision, Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., was selected to the 40 Under 40 list of business leaders by the Jacksonville Business Journal.

Elms, 36, provides strategic leadership and management of the organization's efforts to market downtown Jacksonville. She has more than 12 years of marketing and public relations experience.

The 1991 Gainesville High graduate previously worked in Baltimore, where she managed agency accounts for the National Historic Seaport of Baltimore and other agencies.

Elms began her career on Capitol Hill working as a legislative advisor for former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal. She received her bachelor of science degree in education from the University of Georgia.

White County's Smith earns state DOT honor
Coy Robinson of White County was honored at this year's Department of Transportation District Employee Appreciation Day with the 2010 Commissioner's Annual Preventative Maintenance Award.

Robinson began his career with DOT in 1983. He currently serves as assistant foreman with the District Concrete Repair Crew that serves Northeast Georgia.

"Coy works daily to ensure that Georgia gets the most out of every piece of equipment under his supervision," Commissioner Vance C. Smith Jr. said. "We are thankful to have him as a friend and coworker. "

Smith presented Robinson with a plaque.

Robinson and his wife, JoAnne, live in the Town Creek Community.