The chamber’s 2012 Annual Meeting held Thursday October 25, at the Westin DFW was a success. The meeting started with a warm welcome from Yolanda Lockett, the Chamber’s Board Vice Chairwoman of economic development, and recognized several special guests. Jo Ann Goin called the meeting to order and recognized the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber in celebration of its 80-year anniversary. Through the continued efforts of the investors, board, committee members, and staff numerous opportunities will continue to build on the legacy in the next year and the years ahead.

Goin called attention to Irving’s reputation as a great place for business, as well as to live, which was reaffirmed by several national rankings.Most recent of which, Irving was named in the Top 3 Tech-startup hubs in the entire United States! Based off per capita, siezeup.com, a research firm discovered Irving has more than other city in the State of Texas. In addition, Career Bliss, conducted a survey of more than 38,00 young professionals in America’s largest metropolitan areas, and Irving was named in the Top 15 for happiest cities for young professionals.

Goin mentioned through the course of this past fiscal year, the Irving economic development team achieved a combined total of 30 economic development wins included 11 corporate relocations, 5 new retailers, and 14 corporate retentions, which equates to more than 2 million square feel purchased or leased. This also means the creation of more than 5,300 jobs and the retentions of almost 4,000 additions. In comparison, to the previous year, that was an increase by 88% in jobs, 86% in taxable investment and 400% in new taxable sales.

The Jennings Smith Community Service Award was presented by the 2011 award winner, Mary Higbie. The Jennings Smith Award was created to pay tribute to Past Chairman Smith who was a true leader who promoted and represented outstanding community service to the great city in the areas of education, healthcare and the arts. Kitty Boyle was named the 2012 recipient in honor of all her volunteering, which has helped mold the Irving Community into what it is today.

Chamber president Chris Wallace honored John Danish, DART Board Chair, for his efforts in bringing the Orange Line to Irving. As the city continues to grow, the Orange Line will improve and enhance the reputation of Irving as a great place to locate business. Irving is fortunate to be centered in North Texas and within the United States because of its location organizations from all of the world have chosen to grow their business in Irving. Chris Wallace also recognized the chamber’s retiring board of directors. Chirstopher Converse, Gardere Wynne Swell LLP, Mark Dickenson, Cousins Properties, John Loyack, Rockaway Energy Partners LLC, Stacey Price, TXU Energy, Shelia Renzulli, Coldwell Banker Relators, David Schmid, Infosys Consulting, Ricky Stephenson, Rick’s Independent Car Kare, and Gary Underwood, ExactCommunication.

Chairman Daryl Walker announced the newly elected and appointed board members. They are Craig Banaszewski, Gail Cooksey, Mark Dailey, David Fiegenschue, Mike Goff, Abe Hadded, Reggie Marable, Vince Puente, Claire Shahzad and Jeff Youngblood. Walker also acknowledged the past chairwoman and the board for continuing to make decisions which best serve the interests of the Irving-Las Colinas Community. “It’s a real honor to be your chairman, working to advance the work of previous chairs like Jennings Smith, and more recently Lisa Sturgeon, Peggy Masters, Carter Holston, Rick Lindsey, Robert Martinez, and Jo Ann Goin.” said Waker.

The meeting ended with a discussion among radio personality Mike Gallagher, Aaron Demerson, who heads Economic Development and Tourism for the Governor’s Office, and Aaron Cox, a vice president for the Texas Association of Business.

The Chamber would like to thank all its sponsors included the presenting sponsor, Reliant Energy and supporting sponsors: Irving Texas, Irving ISD, Kroger, Dart, NEC, TXU Energy, ONCOR, La Cima Club, Linda Harper Brown, Si, SOS, Cotten Schmidt & Abbott LLP, Aviall, Microsoft, hms, an NRG company and Cooksey Communications.

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