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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Communications

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 knelson@dallaschamber.org


Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Communications

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Communications

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


Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Communications

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Communications

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Communications

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Communications