You are hereAtlanta Business Chronicle: U.S. Chamber’s Tom Donohue tells Atlanta Rotary how business is faring in D.C.

Atlanta Business Chronicle: U.S. Chamber’s Tom Donohue tells Atlanta Rotary how business is faring in D.C.

-By Maria Saporta

June 13, 2011- There was lots of patting on the back at he Rotary Club of Atlanta’s luncheon Monday with Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as the keynote speaker.

Donohue was introduced by Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, who said Donohue was “making an incredible difference in Washington.”

Williams also told a story of when Donohue, president and CEO of the American Trucking Association, was being considered for the top chamber job in 1997.

He visited with Oz Nelson, then CE0 of Atlanta-based UPS (think brown trucks) , who told Donohue that he could be a catalyst in building the business organization.

Williams said that at the time, the annual budget of the U.S. Chamber was $50 million. It now has grown to $250 million.

The U.S. Chamber also has been building a much more visible political profile. In 2010, it raised $60 million to help elect members of Congress who were friendlier to business.

There was another Atlanta connection. The chairman of the U.S. Chamber during was Atlantan Tom Bell, former CEO of Cousins Properties and now executive chairman of SecurAmerica, who has just ended his term heading the organization.

Donohue, however, said Bell wasn’t going anywhere. “He’ll be chairman of the executive committee, and he’ll be around another six years,” Donohue said. “He’s a talented executive who I have known for 35 years.”

Donohue also praised Williams.

“There’s no better regional chamber in the country, and there’s not a better manager of a regional chamber,” Donohue said of Williams. “He is the best, and you’ve got him.”



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