After the invocation, Charles Pierson, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters, welcomed guests. Chris Wallace said a few words in subbing for immediate past chamber chair Daryl Walker who was ill.
Then current chair Mike Gonzales helped with a One Irving check presentation of $10,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Mary Jean Moloney of Atmos, the event’s presenting sponsor, talked briefly about her company’s latest news.
Then it was time for the mayor. Beth Van Duyne opened her speech by mentioning Irving’s “many wins.” She talked about corporate relocations, the Malcolm Baldridge Award, other city awards, job growth, the decreasing crime rate and the city’s good bond rating. She also mentioned many of the fun events that came to the city throughout the year—including the LPGA North Texas Shootout, Texas Wild tennis tournaments, Red Bull Flugtag, Canal Fest and Dragon Boat Festival. She also touched upon the diverse school district and the recent $12 million gift given to the University of Dallas. She promised to fix the natatorium problem and to keep encouraging the building of single family homes. Van Duyne also gave a shout out to DART for being ahead of schedule on the Orange Line, which is scheduled to open at DFW Airport by December. And she didn’t forget the arts, proudly praising Lyric Stage and the Irving Arts Center. While giving her speech, she clicked on a slide show to highlight the city’s “wins.”
Among the guests were the three candidates applying to be Irving’s city manager.
Also spotted in the crowd were Irving school board members, City Council members, Gary Thomas of DART, Coppell Mayor Karen Hunt, Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia and Rep. Linda Harper Brown. It was the third State of the city for Van Duyne, who has said earlier that she will run again for mayor.