Author Archives: Dallas Regional Chamber

DRC10: Ten Things You Need to Know in April

By: Erica Mulder, Communications Manager

Your monthly look at the big stories and upcoming events we’re talking about at the DRC.




  1.  Leadership Dallas applications are now being accepted, and you can learn more about the program by attending one of our information sessions on April 9 or April 24.
  2. The DRC Economic Development team is in Australia supporting DFW International Airport’s efforts to support service on Quantas Airlines.
  3. Dale Petroskey has officially taken up his role as the new DRC President and CEO. You can learn more about him here.
  4. The DRC Public Policy team is headed to Washington D.C. next week along with 40 regional business leaders for the joint 2014 DFW Congressional Summit. Stay turned to the DRC Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates.
  5. The State of Higher Education will be held April 10th featuring presidents and chancellors from seven regional higher education institutions. There are still seats available.
  6. The DRC has some great networking opportunities on the calendar. Coffee Cup Connections is April 23 & Leads Over Lunch will be held May 14. Register for both and get a $5 discount.
  7. The Dallas Entrepreneur Center will host Startup Weekend NEXT later this month. It’s a 3-hour weekly program over five weeks providing start-ups with a hands-on mentor.
  8. Have you SAVED with Member Marketplace? The member-exclusive benefit is a place for your organization to offer products, services and promote your business to the world – for free.
  9. Leadership Dallas Class of 2014 members announced their class project, building innovation labs at Uplift High Schools in Dallas. Interested in helping out?
  10. 10. We will be taking nominations for the ATHENA Award and the Young Professional Leadership ATHENA Award beginning April 21st honoring professionals who’s work in the community encourages others to succeed.



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Quality Pre-K Matters for Our Students, Our Community

By: Alan Cohen, Executive Director of Early Childhood and Community Partnerships at Dallas ISD


As a community, we must focus on our earliest learners. Research shows us that 85 percent of a child’s brain development occurs before the child reaches 5 years old. This provides us a critical window in an early learner’s life to set the foundation for long-term future success.

However, in Dallas ISD, we have too many students beginning kindergarten already behind. The longer we wait to provide necessary interventions to these at-risk students, the more difficult, more costly, and less effective those interventions will become. As a District, we are working hard on a comprehensive early childhood plan to reach more children with a quality Pre-K education. But we have our work cut out for us.

Research shows us that children who receive a quality Pre-K education and start kindergarten developmentally on track will be more successful throughout their academic career, and therefore, more successful throughout their lives. Yet currently, Dallas ISD estimates more than 17,000 eligible 3- and 4-year-old children are not accessing our Pre-K classrooms – representing a missed opportunity of more than $60 million each year to support our early learners.

While our first priority is the educational and social development of our kids, the benefit to the community at-large should also not be forgotten. The Institute for a Competitive Workforce issued a report in 2010 titled, “Why Business Should Support Early Childhood Education.” The report states that “for every dollar invested today, savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17.50 in the years ahead.” These returns are based on long-term educational, social and economic benefits, including increased earnings and tax revenues and decreased use of welfare and other social services, resulting in lower expenses for states and communities.

The need for drastically improved access to quality early childhood education in Dallas was created over many decades and will not be solved overnight. But our sense of urgency is high, and there are steps we can take right now to support more kids. For the first time in Dallas ISD history, the District is hosting a Prekindergarten Round-Up Week, a new annual event encouraging eligible families to take advantage of free Pre-K. From April 7-11, parents may register their children at any Dallas ISD elementary school.

Children who live in Dallas ISD who will be 4-years old by September may be eligible based on any of the following criteria: unable to speak and understand English; educationally disadvantaged (eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program); homeless; child of a member of the U.S. armed forces; or has been in state foster care.

We urge the business community to keep the issue of early childhood education top of mind as we work together to build a better future for our kids and our city. Thank you for your ongoing support and please help Dallas ISD spread the word about Pre-K Round-Up Week April 7-11.

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Become a Leader in the Region – Leadership Dallas Applications Now Live!

By Erica Mulder, Communications Manager

LD-circles-2-jpg300x287Leaders come from different backgrounds and each possess unique strengths and weakness, but every leader has a desire to drive improvements. Leadership Dallas, the region’s premier leadership development program, gives class members the tools to become a successful leader both professionally and within the community.

In its 40 years, Leadership Dallas has provided our city with an ongoing source of diverse leaders committed to serving as catalysts of positive change for the quality of life in the Dallas region.

This 10-month leadership journey includes class days focused on regional issues in criminal justice, health care and economic development among others. Leadership Dallas members take the work they do in the classroom out into the community actively participating class projects, discussions and on-site visits.

In addition to activities, unprecedented networking and a significant alumni base, Leadership Dallas ensures participants are connected and equipped to face challenges in Dallas region. Alumni of the program include former U.S. Trade Secretary and Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk ’86, and former U.S. Ambassadors Kathyrn Hall and Jeanne Johnson Phillips.

You can learn more about Leadership Dallas by attending one of our Information Sessions held April 9th and April 24th. Click on the date to sign up.

Leadership Dallas is celebrating its 40th class, this year. Ready to change the region, click here to fill out your Leadership Dallas application now.

If Leadership Dallas doesn’t sound like the right, click here to watch a short video about all 5 of our Dallas Regional Chamber Leadership Programs.

Questions? Contact Kari Nelson, Director of Leadership at


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Education Policy Committee Discusses Potential Legislative Priorities with Regional Public School Leaders

By Lanet Greenhaw, Managing Director of Education

Edu Council-1

The Dallas Regional Chamber Education Policy Committee is beginning the journey of crafting the 2015 DRC’s education priorities for the upcoming 2015 Legislative Session next January.

First up was to hear from four regional school board members and a superintendent about what they foresee as potential legislative issues impacting area public schools districts. The knowledgeable panel included:

  • Dr. Michael McFarland, Superintendent of Lancaster ISD
  • Richardson ISD Board of Trustees member Karen Ellis, who is also President of the North Texas Area Association of School Boards (NTAASB) and the Texas Association of School Board (TASB) state legislative co-chair
  • Garland ISD Board of Trustees member Linda Griffin
  • Coppell ISD Board of Trustees President Anthony Hill
  • Mesquite ISD Board of Trustees President and TASB Past President Robert Seward

This highly engaged group of public education advocates described engagement and support from the business community, especially in the area of career and technical education, as a vital need for local districts to develop graduates ready for the evolving north Texas workforce.

They will be encouraging legislators to not make any further changes to the state’s new graduation requirements, asking for time to implement the sweeping changes made with House Bill 5 in the 2013 Legislative session. They also cited the need for increased guidance and counseling resources so districts can help students and parents understand the new flexible graduation plans and work individually with students to develop the Personal Graduation Plans the new law requires.

The education leaders talked about the need for further reform in the area of accountability and assessment, including innovative 21st century measures such as student portfolios and ways to assess student academic growth. They also expressed support for the work of the High Performing Schools Consortium and the 10 north Texas districts collaborating to pilot innovative assessment and accountability approaches.

Critical to all of these efforts is the need for increased and sustained state funding to provide local school districts the resources to help students meet and exceed state academic standards. They will continue to call for an end to unfunded mandates, as well as increased local control and managerial flexibilities in order to better utilize their limited resources.

In the coming months, the committee will be hearing from Dallas ISD Trustees and administrators, area college and university government relations representatives, and education advocacy groups.


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Innovative Member Q&A Presents: Experion Technologies

By: Tara Vornkahl, Program Coordinator-Innovation

ExperionThis week, the Chamber would like to highlight an innovative member by the name of, Experion Technologies. Named one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Asia, Experion Technologies Experion has delivered software products and custom applications to customers in 26 countries across Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Middle East. Co-founder and head of business operations, Manoj Balraj, explains the company’s competitive advantage as well as challenges and how this small business friendly region has helped them to become successful.

Tell us about your company and your role:
Experion Technologies is an Enterprise Mobile solutions and applications development company which has served over 150 small and mid-sized customers across US, Australia, Europe and Asia in the last 7 years. The company is owned and operated by six stakeholders.
We have 172 ‘Experionites’ spread across 5 offices and 2 development centers. Experion Technologies emerged a finalist inTop 100 fastest growing companies in Asia.

Our flagship offering is FieldMax. FieldMax is an evolving enterprise mobility platform with various solutions. One of them is an affordable mobile based sales force automation solution designed for small and midsized manufacturers and distributors to improve retail execution as well as sales & distribution operations. Another variant of FieldMax is a mobile based catalog management solution; yet another solution is an Android based Asset Tracking solution for mid to large manufacturers.

The other side of our business is developing Enterprise Mobile applications using iOS, Windows, Android and Tizen technologies. We have had the fortune to develop some well received mobile applications for our customers across DFW, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, New York, California and Arizona.

My role as a Co-Founder and head of business operations is to grow Experion’s footprint in the United States. And we have a long and interesting journey ahead of us.

What innovative aspect of your company sets you apart from you competition?
Since 2008, we have been building software solutions for feature phones, smartphones, sensors, remote monitoring tools, set-top boxes, scanners, bar codes …basically “Internet of Things” as it is referred to today. We have rolled out over 100 applications to customers across various Industries.
Our flagship solution FieldMax, acknowledged by Oracle, Samsung and Microsoft, is one among the fastest growing Android based solution for the consumer products Industry.

How involved are you in the DFW innovation ecosystem and which part has served you best?

Experion Technologies moved to DFW in 2013. We are in touch with local Universities; participated in mentoring programs, very active in entrepreneur focused networks while also looking around for lots more help in getting the word about us out there….and Dallas has plenty of interesting channels for growth opportunities.

Why is DFW a good fit for your company now and in the long term?

We assessed three states. Texas won hands down. And DFW showed the most promise. DFW has several well-known strengths. This is a hub for manufacturing, supply chain and logistics.

Our long term goal is to establish our HQ and R&D center here in DFW and serve North American market as we evolve both our solutions as well custom development services business.

What has been the most useful member benefit of the Chamber for your company?

The opportunities to network within the DFW community, listen, interact and learn from local business leaders. The Regional Chamber has been doing some great work reaching out to smaller companies and helping small companies find their way in the DFW market.

What are some of the biggest challenges your company faces?

Like with any small company which is organically funded, we are looking for ways to scale our operations much faster. And especially with reference to FieldMax which has tremendous potential but has limited visibility currently in the US market. In Texas alone there are thousands of CPG/Food/Beverage manufacturers. The challenge is to get in front of as many of these companies and demonstrate the value of FieldMax.

People Experion


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Higher Education Leaders Answer Your Questions

By: Erica Mulder, Communications Manager

Education logo

Curious how our regional higher education institutions are forming industry partnerships, improving graduation rates, and working to build research facilities? Now is your chance to ask and win tickets to attend the State of Higher Education for FREE!

The Dallas Regional Chamber is excited to host a panel of seven higher education institution presidents and a chancellor during the State of Higher Education Luncheon on Thursday, April 10 from noon to 1:30 at the Westin Galleria.

The panel includes:
Dr. Joe May – Chancellor, Dallas County Community College District
Dr. R. Gerald Turner – President, SMU
Dr. Neal Smatresk – President, University of North Texas
Dr. Ronald Brown – President, University of North Texas Dallas
Dr. Vistasp Karbhari – President, The University of Texas at Arlington
Dr. David Daniel – President, The University of Texas at Dallas
Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky – President, UT Southwestern Medical Center

The panel will address several questions from the public during the event. Submit your question to us on the Dallas Regional Chamber Facebook page via text or video clip,
by clicking here. We’ll collect them and select one. If your question is selected, you’ll get 2 complimentary tickets for the event and the opportunity to ask your question in person. Click here to see some examples of questions already being asked and for additional details. Click here to register for the event.

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Belk Chairman and CEO to Speak at DRC Event ahead of New Dallas Store Opening

By Erica Mulder, Communications Manager


Tom BelkBelk’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas M. “Tim” Belk, Jr. is expected to give an in-depth look at the family-owned retail giant during the Board of Advisor’s luncheon on Wednesday, April 2. Belk currently operates 300 stores in 16 states. The newest addition will be what it calls its 18th flagship store in the Galleria Dallas, set to open in April.

Click here to read the Dallas Morning News article looking at the projected impact Belk is expected to have on North Texas.

The Board of Advisors event is limited to Board of Advisors designees only, click here to register now.

Not a Board of Advisors? Contact Matt Miller to upgrade your membership today and attend the event.


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A Dallas Entrepreneur Center Update

By Tara Vornkahl, Coordinator-Innovation

indextheDECFebruary was a month of celebration for the DEC with Global Entrepreneur Day with IBM, a company graduation with HAUL moving into their new digs, Dallas-based OrderMyGear raising $550,000, and the launch of the DEC: EDU series.

Going into spring, the DEC is gearing up for another big month by welcoming the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for office hours and a signature event, Why Trademarks are Important for Your Startup. Also in the line-up is the announcement of the first class of DEC Ambassadors and the preparation for April’s 5 week Startup Weekend NEXT.

The DEC and USPTO have been hard at work collaborating in efforts to educate the startup community on the importance of trademarks and intellectual property (IP) protection. Beginning on March 26th, Managing Attorney in the Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks in the USPTO, Craig Morris will open up office hours to meet with entrepreneurs and innovators in the Dallas area. Office hours will be held on March 26th 10AM-12PM. Click here to register

A free presentation will be held as well titled, Why Trademarks Are Important for Your Startup, on March 26th at 4PM.

Key Takeaways:

  • Highlight how trademarks, copyrights, patents, domain names and business name registrations differ.
  • Answer why it is important for any new business to select a trademark that will be both federally registrable and legally protectable, focusing on critical factors when choosing a mark.
  • Discuss the importance of doing a complete search and whether an attorney should be used.
  • Review what may happen if another trademark owner believes it has stronger rights in a mark and issues a “cease and desist” letter.
  • Detail the federal registration process for the USPTO and how to avoid scams perpetrated by companies that request fees for services not required by the USPTO.

4:00 – Networking, light food/drinks
4:30 – Welcome introduction
4:45 – Presentation
6:00 – Q&A

Announcing the Inaugural Class of DEC Ambassadors
The DEC is proud to announce their first inaugural class of DEC Ambassadors for 2014! There are 23 candidates that were chosen to help build on the vision for the startup community in Dallas and all across North Texas. The class was chosen based on their passion in lending a helping hand and desire to help grow the startup community both on a local and national level. The group has a great of mix of backgrounds from designers, developers, students, researchers, entrepreneurs, event coordinators, and corporate innovators. This will bring in unique experiences and perspectives in the efforts to lead the city of Dallas to be a top startup community. This program will give each ambassador the opportunity to be in various leadership and volunteer rolls throughout the startup community. The group, along with the DEC, shares the same value and mission in creating a collaborative ecosystem through supporting local talent, innovation and success.

Startup Weekend NEXT
Starting April 23rd, The DEC will be hosting Dallas NEXT every Wednesday from 6PM-9PM until May 21st. NEXT is the #1 pre-accelerator program that helps driven early stage startup teams get into accelerators. The program consists of 3 hour weekly sessions for five weeks. During the program, teams will test their startup idea and team, get weekly mentorship, and grow their network of startup experts and other founders. At the end, the best NEXT teams will get invited to the NEXT First Look Forum-a global demo day style event with accelerators, investors, and media. Click here for more information and registration.


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When Life Gives You Lemons, Participate in Lemonade Day Dallas!

By: Tara Vornkahl- Program Coordinator, Innovation


I am pleased to announce, with much excitement, that Lemonade Day has made its way to Dallas! Held on May 4th 2014, Lemonade Day Greater Dallas is “empowering today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.”

Lemonade Day Story
In 2007, Lemonade Day was founded in Houston, TX by successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, Michael Holthouse. The vision was to empower youth and introduce them into the exciting world of entrepreneurship by helping them start their very own business…a lemonade stand! Since its start, Lemonade Day has grown from 2,700 kids in a single city to more than 200,000 kids in cities all over the country and has now made its way here in the DFW Metroplex!

About the Program
Lemonade Day is a free, community-wide, educational program that educates youth how to start, own and operate their own business (lemonade stand). Youth of all ages are encouraged to register. Upon registration, they will receive their free yellow backpack, entrepreneurial workbook, and mentor guide. Kids can participate individually, with an adult mentor or participating school or youth organization. After registration, participants are taken through a 14 step lesson plan (guided by their mentor) to help them on their journey of opening up their lemonade stand. During the process they will learn valuable life skills such as leadership, communication, budgeting, team work, and responsibility. This process helps kids not only start their lemonade stand but also will give them a sense of confidence by setting a goal and achieving it. Once they are taken through the lessons, the participants will be ready to open up their stand on May 4th! Please click here to check out designated locations around DFW. The kids are encouraged to ask permission from the business owners of where they would like to set up their lemonade stand.

LemonadeDay1How to Get Involved

Everyone in the community is encouraged to get involved! Participation roles include volunteers, mentors, lenders, sponsors, businesses to provide stand locations, and customers to purchase lemonade from the young entrepreneurs on Lemonade Day.

For More Information
Click here to learn more and to get involved

Like Lemonade Day Dallas on Facebook:
Peggy Bessellieu- City Director, Lemonade Day Greater Dallas

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Chamber Hits Home Run, Names Dale Petroskey President & CEO

smilingDale3SmlToday the Dallas Regional Chamber hit a home run when we announced Dale Petroskey will join us as President and CEO following Amb. Oberwetter’s upcoming retirement on March 31.

His resume is impressive.  You can read it here, but here’s the short version:  Dale comes to us with over 30 years of leadership experience, a national network of resources and a proven track record in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.  His talents have been put to work in the White House, as Assistant Press Secretary to President Ronald Reagan; at National Geographic, as Senior Vice President for Mission Programs; and as President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.  In addition, he has served as Executive Vice President, Marketing and Community Development for the Texas Rangers; and Vice President, Public Affairs, for Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

His references are equally impressive.

“I’ve known Dale for many years and worked closely with him at the Rangers.  He works well with people, and I feel this is a good fit for him and for Dallas.  Ruth and I look forward to Dale and Ann being back in Texas,” said former Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan, who is now executive advisor with the Houston Astros.

And, local business icon Ray L. Hunt, chairman, president and CEO of Hunt Consolidated, Inc., shared his insights as well.

“I am extremely pleased with the selection of Dale Petroskey as the new President of the Dallas Regional Chamber.  It will be extremely difficult for anyone to follow Jim Oberwetter, but if anyone can do it successfully, it will be Dale,” said Hunt.   “I have known Dale personally for a number of years and he possesses a set of skills and experiences in the private sector, the not-for-profit community and the public sector that would be almost impossible for anyone else to duplicate.  Fortunately, Dale’s set of skills and experiences is exactly what will be required for the Dallas Regional Chamber to continue to grow and expand its influence in the future.”

Needless to say, this is an exciting time for the Chamber and its members.

“Dale is eager to build on the solid foundation Amb. Oberwetter built, and will continue moving the Chamber towards achieving its strategic initiatives, driving economic prosperity and improving the quality of life throughout the region.” said Stephen L. Mansfield, Ph.D, FACHE, Dallas Regional Chamber chairman of the board, in a recent email to members.

“I am humbled and thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Dallas Regional Chamber and serve this wonderful community,” Petroskey said.  “Ambassador Oberwetter has built a fantastic team and worked closely with the Board to develop and implement a strategic plan that I believe in.  What an impressive job he has done over the past five years!

“There is now no more attractive place in the country for business, and I look forward to working with the Board, staff, member companies, policymakers, and regional partners to help make life here in the Dallas region even better than it already is.”

The announcement comes after a four-month national search led by former board Chairman Clint McDonnough and a team of board members, and aided by executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

“We had several highly qualified candidates, but the more we spoke with him the more obvious it became that Dale belonged at the Chamber.  He is poised to take the next steps in helping the Chamber meet the growing needs of a dynamic region, and is committed to providing our members with the resources they need for their businesses to excel,” said McDonnough.

“We are confident that he is the right man to lead the Chamber going forward, and we’re excited about what the future holds,” said Dr. Mansfield.

Petroskey is relocating from Los Angeles, but thanks to his time with the Texas Rangers he is no stranger to Dallas.

“I knew Dale during his time with the Rangers, and worked with him on a United Way fundraising initiative.  I have always been impressed with his leadership skills and his ability to energize a team around a common goal.  I’m really looking forward to seeing him put those skills to work at the Chamber,” said McDonnough.

Petroskey will meet with members and community leaders during the months ahead, and is looking forward to returning to North Texas.

“Ann and I experienced first-hand what a welcoming and vibrant community Dallas is, and we are very excited to be coming back,” said Petroskey. “It’s alive with opportunities and a can-do spirit, and you can sense an optimism about the future more than any other place we’ve lived.  We look forward to being back with our good friends, and to making many more in the business community and beyond.  And, of course, we’re thrilled to be back in the same town as our daughter, Kathleen, who came to SMU in 2006 and has never left.”

Petroskey and his wife, Ann, both graduates of Michigan State University, have been married for 35 years.  They have three grown children: Kathleen, an SMU graduate living in Dallas and working for Worldwide Express; Frank, a Tufts University graduate living and working in New York City; and Claire, a College of Charleston graduate living and working in Charleston, SC.

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