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Irving-Las Colinas Chamber Presents End of Fiscal Year Meeting

The Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce toasted the completion of another fiscal year during their 2018 Annual Meeting held at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas on Thursday, Oct. 4.

With the completion of the Toyota Music Factory and a renewed focus on the city’s Heritage District, the 2017-2018 fiscal year has been a positive one, according to Beth Bowman, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

“As we wrap up this fiscal year, I am pleased to say that it’s been another very good year for the chamber, for business industry, for our city, our workers and our residents,” Bowman said. “We have the pleasure of serving over 1,900 member investors, representing every type of business from start-ups to some of the biggest corporations in the world.”

The Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce completed the final year of “Delivering Irving’s Future,” their three-year strategic plan. The chamber now begins a five-year plan that will focus on leadership excellence, collaborative partnership, and continuous improvement for the chamber. Lars Rosene, the incoming Chamber of Commerce chairman for the 2018-19 fiscal year, said the number of business both large and small that call Irving and Las Colinas home is impressive.

“There are 25 cities in the North Texas region, and all of them are great communities vying for the next big corporate deal or multinational corporation,” Rosene said. “However, there is simply no place like Irving-Las Colinas. It’s a city of more than 240,000 people. Anywhere else, we’d be a major city, but we are conjoined with the Metroplex. We’ve got a remarkable number of corporate headquarters, and in fact, we have more Fortune 500 and more Fortune 1000 companies per capita than anywhere else in the country.”

Rosense added that all those businesses have had a profound impact on Irving and Las Colinas as a result.

“The business community impact on our city is enormous,” Rosene said. “Our workforce population alone almost equals our residential population. We’re the second largest employer center in North Texas, second only to the Dallas central business district, and that’s in no small part due to the 8,500 small, medium, and large-sized companies that do everything from bake cookies and cupcakes to sockets and heavy equipment.”

Beth Bowman said the city’s highly diverse population sets Irving apart from its 24 other Metroplex competitors and helps attract more businesses.

“Among all the attributes that make Irving-Las Colinas a preferred destination, diversity may be an unexpectedly important differentiator,” Bowman said. “More than 90 nationalities are represented in our community, which has helped make Irving-Las Colinas the 13th most culturally diverse city in the country. The diversity of our population is a real asset for Irving-Las Colinas because all of these corporations want to hire a workforce that’s as diverse as their customer base.”

This year’s event featured a panel discussion with Peter J. Holt, CEO and general manager of HOLT CAT, and his sister Corinna Holt Richter, president and chief administrative officer of HOLT CAT. Holt and Ritcher both spoke about the challenges millennials face in the workplace, especially when rising to positions of power within a company.

“I really think, at the end of the day, our similarities are greater than our differences,” Richter said. “We are all looking for purpose more than anything, and I recommend that millennials also look at it in that way: how can you relate to your fellow co-workers, how can you work together for something greater, and how can you focus on common goals.”

The chamber also presented awards recognizing outstanding individuals for the year. Robert D. Martinez receiving the Chairman’s Award. Pam Brown received the Jennings and Flor Smith Community Service Award. Rick Bidne received the Mustang Legacy Award, and Kelly Wilson received the Employee of the Year Award. The chamber also recognized Lori Bunger for her service as chairwoman during the 2017-18 year.