With chambers of commerce struggling to find members and sponsors amid a tough economy, Atlanta‘s top Israel-focused business group is leaning more on its community partnerships.

The American Israel Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Region has 500 members across six U.S. states and in Israel. In 19 years, the chamber has played a role in deals valued at more than $1 billion altogether, said Tom Glaser, the chamber’s president.

The chamber’s strong leadership and willingness to work with other organizations will allow it to continue offering programs connecting businesspeople in both places, Mr. Glaser said at the chamber’s annual Eagle Star Awards gala.

“Some groups like ours have succumbed to the tough times. Others are struggling to survive,” he said, adding that the chamber plans to thrive with the help of new partners despite facing the prospect of less funding.

Partnership was a common thread in speeches by key leaders at the gala, which was held June 6 at the SunTrust Plaza Garden Atrium.

The Technology Association of Georgia won the community partner award for promoting with the chamber sectors where the interests of Georgia and Israel intersect.

Atlanta is a hub for financial transactions, health care information technology and information security. It’s also strong in medical devices, telecommunications and logistics. The chamber often hosts Israeli companies and organizes business exchanges to link them with U.S. counterparts.

Though TAG has more than 13,000 members, working with other groups is key, especially with so many local organizations clamoring for influence, said Tino Mantella, the association’s president.

“We realize that we can’t do it on our own, and we’re so proud to be recognized and honored by one of our great partners,” Mr. Mantella said in his acceptance speech.

In welcoming remarks, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed highlighted the strong ties between Atlanta and Israel.

 He recalled a “transformational” trip to Israel as a state legislator, saying that the strength and resilience of Israel’s people were evident in many conversations.

He noted that Delta Air Lines Inc.’s nonstop flight to Tel Aviv will be an “even easier” connection when the Atlanta airport’s new international terminal is finished next year. He also pledged to support global business.”I want you to know that you have a mayor that is completely committed to exploring global economic development opportunities,” Mr. Reed said.

The chamber’s deal of the year award provided tangible proof of the partnerships discussed. Atlanta-based Commnet Wireless agreed to use cVidya‘s software to save money across operations. Commnet is cVidya’s first customer in Georgia, where it plans to get more business.

Verint Systems, a Tel Aviv-based software provider, took home the chamber’s Israeli company of the year award. Verint entered Georgia by acquiring Witness Systems for $950 million in 2007. Over the past five years, Verint’s revenues have grown from $279 million to nearly $704 million.

Though Atlanta is the epicenter for the 45 Israeli companies in the Southeast, the chamber’s momentum is spreading outside Georgia. Mr. Glaser pointed to its South Carolina Collaboration, an effort to introduce Israeli companies to top research institutions and economic developers in that state.

Other speakers at the event included Ester Levanon, CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, and Bill Rogers, CEO of SunTrust Banks Inc.

For information on award nominees, read: Israeli Chamber Announces Award Finalists

Visit www.aiccse.org for more information.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...