By Dale Petroskey, President & CEO
In the short time I’ve been at the helm of the Chamber, I’ve been incredibly impressed. I’m impressed with all the great programs and events the Chamber hosted, and I’m impressed with how infused in the city the Chamber is. But mostly I’m impressed with the incredible commitment of the volunteers from our member companies.
In the last two months I’ve come to realize it is our members who make the Dallas region such a great place to live and work. There are so many people committed to the strength and vibrancy of the region! And those individuals donate their time and effort by sitting on our board, actively participating on our councils and committees, and supporting our initiatives, making the Chamber a success. They do it because it helps their companies – and for the good of the Dallas region. It’s a humbling experience to be part of something that makes such a wonderful impact on a city and region that my family and I have grown to love.
This volunteer commitment has made the successes of the last two months possible.
Fifty business leaders from throughout the region attended our trip to D.C. with the Fort Worth Chamber to meet with the legislative delegation. This unified approach to legislative issues that are key to the region exponentially increases the impact we can have in Austin and Washington.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx chose our headquarters as the venue to address Dallas business leaders on his recent tour to discuss transportation funding. His message was music to our ears as we prepare to support Proposition One, a transportation funding initiative on the ballot in Texas this fall.
The Chamber’s Leadership programs – Young Professionals, Leadership Dallas, Leadership Dallas Alumni, Executive Women’s Roundtable, and Senior Executive Briefing – all hosted significant events and met new milestones in April and May. It has been a pleasure getting to know these programs, a wonderful way to support our future leaders and provide them with a springboard to give back.
Toyota announced its upcoming move to the North Texas region in April, and the Chamber had the opportunity to support them during the decision-making process. The groundwork for this exciting announcement was done long before I arrived at the Chamber. It was the efforts of Amb. James Oberwetter and key community leaders like Ray Hunt and Margaret Spellings, Chamber staffers like Sarah Carabias-Rush, Jessica Heer and Mike Rosa, and the city officials in Plano that helped make this announcement possible. I look forward to working with everyone to provide continued support to Toyota as it transitions its teams to the area.
The Chamber’s commitment to education has also been front and center in recent months. We hosted the State of Higher Education event in April, providing a platform for seven of North Texas’ university leaders to discuss higher education challenges and opportunities throughout the region with 200 influential business leaders in the room. In May, Dallas ISD and the Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI)were our focus, and I had the privilege of advocating for TEI in front of the Board of Trustees. We are pleased this groundbreaking effort will be incorporated into Dallas ISD operations this fall.
When I look back over my calendar from the last few months, these events and initiatives are just the tip of the iceberg. But it is when I look ahead that I start to get really excited.
Our greatest opportunity at the Chamber is in membership. There are still a lot of companies who don’t know all the Chamber has to offer. When they learn about how the Chamber can help them and their companies, and that they can positively impact the business climate simply by getting involved, most of those I talk with want to join. I’m excited about more companies becoming part of the Dallas region’s business family. I’m even more excited about those companies who are already members getting closer to us and even more connected to all the different ways they can be involved.
The beautiful thing is, in Dallas, we have the wind to our backs. The whole world is beginning to realize the Dallas region is a great place to do business. Now is the time to cement our future and grow so that future generations will have even more opportunities and have a great quality of life here. Let’s work together to build an even stronger economic juggernaut that can never be stopped.