Randy Halfacre, president/CEO of the Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center, has been named South Carolina’s Chamber Executive of the Year by the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. The award was presented July 19 at CACCE’s annual conference on Pawleys Island. Halfacre is a native of Newberry.
“His sense of regionalism, cooperation, and intergovernmental relations stood out,” said Liz Horton, the 2011 South Carolina Executive of the Year, who helped judge the contest. Halfacre’s nomination also pointed out that membership had increased 17 percent since January 2010, membership retention was more than 80 percent, and a revamped website created sponsorship opportunities and revenue that topped $70,000, all during the worst economy in recent times.
“We really noticed that $70,000,” added Horton, executive director of the Kershaw County Chamber and Visitors Center in Camden.
The CACCE Executive of the Year Nomination Committee bases its decision on specific accomplishments relating to the nominee’s effectiveness in addressing challenges, work development and implementation, fiscal management, community involvement, stature and leadership in the community; personal attributes, and professionalism.
“There was an excellent slate of candidates and accomplishments,” said Susan Vaughan McPherson, CACCE executive director. “Randy’s work was award-winning in several categories.”
Halfacre’s nomination detailed his public policy work, including organizing the MidState Chambers Coalition to improve the region’s inter-jurisdictional cooperation and relations between both the public and private sectors, and galvanizing the legislative battle to keep Amazon in Lexington County. Supporting Halfacre’s nomination were Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, Lexington Rep. Todd Atwater, Lexington District One Superintendent of Schools Karen Woodward, First Community Bank President/CEO Mike Crapps, Lexington Chamber board chairman Mike Flack, and immediate past chair Barbara Willm.
Though names and locations are deleted from nomination materials, it wasn’t hard for judges to discern Halfacre was being nominated because of his civic service as Lexington’s mayor, Horton said. He is the only known person in the country to serve simultaneously as mayor and head of a local chamber of commerce.
“The fact that he can maintain and wear those two hats so seamlessly—that was pretty impressive,” Horton said. “I don’t know that everybody would be able to do that.”
Halfacre became the Greater Lexington Chamber’s president/CEO in 2007. The Newberry native graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1970 and has lived in Lexington since 1975.
“From my perspective, getting an award of this nature is analogous to successful economic development practices and strategies,” Halfacre said. “It’s a ‘team sport’ with many different moving parts and players. Consequently, I could not have received this award without all the support and cooperation of many, many individuals, particularly the ‘blue chip’ staff at our Chamber. You can’t vie or win championships without ‘blue chip’ players!”
CACCE is a professional development organization dedicated to improving the professional development opportunities for chamber of commerce executives and staff members in North and South Carolina. The organization was formed in 1994 when the North and South Carolina state chamber associations merged.
The Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center strengthens and promotes economic prosperity, public policy, quality of life and workforce development in the greater Lexington community and MidState Chambers Coalition region. A nonprofit, 501 (c) 6 organization, the GLC&VC represents more than 900 businesses and 30,000 employees.