Nearly 150 area business people and civic leaders heard about opportunities for future growth and increasing economic expansion during the McKinney Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and quarterly luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 15.

New Chairman Michael Puhl of Puhl, Berbarie and Hewett said the Chamber is committed to working hard to promote McKinney as a welcoming business environment. “The Chamber board is here to support business in McKinney, and we want to make sure we have programs that are relevant to our members and help them be successful,” he said.

Baylor Medical Center at McKinney sponsored the event, which took place at Eldorado Country Club, and Louis Rosenthal, pastor of McKinney First Baptist Church, offered the invocation.

Scott Peek of Baylor Medical Center at McKinney spoke to the guests as Chamber president Lisa Hermes looks on.

Scott Peek of Baylor Medical Center at McKinney spoke to the guests as Chamber president Lisa Hermes looks on.

 

Mabrie Jackson, president and CEO of the North Texas Commission, was keynote speaker. She encouraged North Texans to think toward the future and encourage students to train for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, which will continue to yield the greatest number of high-paying jobs and business opportunities. Jackson also encouraged attendees to expand their focus and think globally, both in terms of competition and opportunity.

“We all need to be telling others about the benefits of North Texas,” she said. “Think about this: What is it that is making so many people and businesses move here? We have a business-friendly environment. We don’t have the beaches or mountains, but we’re friendly to businesses, and we have friendly people, and that makes a difference.”

 

 
Outgoing Chamber board president Ray Eckenrode (left) stands with incomming president Michael Puhl.

Outgoing Chamber board president Ray Eckenrode (left) stands with incomming president Michael Puhl.

 

Lisa Hermes, who took the reins as Chamber president just two months ago, pointed out that 2014 was a period of change, and the year ahead will likely see increased growth.

“Communication remains a top priority to keep our members and growing community connected,” she said. “As of Jan. 1, McKinney’s population is just over 155,000. Through our events, weekly updates, McKinney Magazine, McKinneyOnline.com and social media, the Chamber alone is making over 16,000 digital connections a week – that’s 6,000 more than last year.”

Hermes also recognized the Chamber’s many volunteers, including its Ambassadors, who help keep members engaged and attend many ribbon cuttings and other events throughout the year. Chris Nickell with Legal Shield was presented with the Ambassador of the Year Award. The Ambassador Team of the Year was led by Crystal McDonald with Carpet Tech.

Hermes and Puhl also honored Ray Eckenrode of Appian Commercial Realty, outgoing chairman of the Chamber, for his major contributions over the past few years.

“Ray made sure the Chamber continued to work closely with the City of McKinney and our partners to ensure we fostered a strong business environment,” Puhl said.

This year’s board is focused on four main goals for the future, Puhl said:

McKinney Online

Ambassador of the Year winner Chris Nickell (left) was presented the award by outgoing Chamber board president Ray Eckenrode.

 

        Expanding advocacy outreach with its joint legislative initiative with the city and McKinney Economic Development Corp.

        Expanding economic opportunities and job creation.

        Expanding the Chamber network to increase business-to-business connections.

        Developing leadership and community capacity by refining leadership programs.

 

 

About the McKinney Chamber of Commerce

The McKinney Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for the McKinney business community and proudly serves as the unified business voice of McKinney. The Chamber represents over 40,000 employees from more than 1,200 business investors in McKinney and throughout the North Texas region. With a rich heritage of leadership and collaboration, the Chamber works in concert with the City of McKinney, community partners and the corporate community to promote, advocate for and expand business. As publisher of McKinney Magazine, McKinneyOnline.com and McKinneyChamber.com, the McKinney Chamber markets the community’s advantages as the foremost location for doing business and to keep a growing community connected.