History

The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce started as The Business Men’s Club of San Antonio, established in 1894. The next year, the organization elected its first slate of officers. In 1910, we changed our name to the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

Many events and organizations that represent the flavor and makeup of modern San Antonio were started by The Chamber. For example, in 1911, The Chamber started the Fiesta Association – which is now known as the Fiesta San Antonio Commission. This organization manages, organizes and runs the annual hugely popular cultural festival “Fiesta” each April.

This timeline outlines the enormous impact members of the Chamber have made on local business, military development, transportation, farm and ranch industry, water resources, sports industry, international trade, and much more. The list is impressive:

The Chamber held 7,000-8,000 acres of land under option for Kelly Air Force Base; the Chamber assembled the land, leased it from the landowner, and sub-leased it to the government.

The Chamber assembled 873 acres of land in the southeast corner of the city, near Bergs Mill, for Brooks Air Force Base.

Led efforts to locate Kelly Air Force Base and Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Developed and carried out a plan to purchase land for Randolph Air Force Base, now Joint Base Randolph.

Worked with officials of Trinity University and the University of San Antonio, which merged, resulting in the relocation of Trinity University from Waxahachie to San Antonio.

Organized the Farm and Ranch Committee, chaired by Joe Freeman, which planned and successfully developed the Freeman Coliseum complex.

Formed the South Texas Medical Foundation, which developed the South Texas Medical Center.

The Chamber’s Highway Committee developed a master highway plan for metropolitan San Antonio and Bexar County, and presented it to the Texas Highway Commission for approval as the basis of our local highway system.

The Farm and Ranch Committee directed the development of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition.

Organized and directed the Produce Terminal Market, the first major produce terminal in the United States built by private capital.

A Chamber committee was formed to investigate the feasibility of an international “HemisFair” in San Antonio.

A Chamber committee began studies on a river development program which led to the Paseo del Rio project, leading to the development of the world famous San Antonio River Walk.

The Chamber employed a Washington, D.C., attorney to represent San Antonio to lobby the Civil Aeronautics Board for the needs of air carrier service between Florida and California via San Antonio.

Thirty Chamber members appeared before the State Coordinating Board in Dallas to lobby for a state-supported university, a college of dentistry, and a nursing school for location in San Antonio.

The Chamber supported $675,000 of road bonds for FM 1604, a 95-mile loop encircling metropolitan San Antonio.

The Chamber funded a $25,000 feasibility study of HemisFair Plaza, which was the home of the 1968 HemisFair, and ultimately has become acres of green parkland in the center of downtown.

The Chamber funded a $16,000 tourist movie on San Antonio for release in theaters throughout the United States.

The Chamber raised $12,000 to help the city pay for an Air Transportation Study.

The Chamber raised $30,000 to help pass a $65 million bond issue for city roads.

The Chamber conducted a phone blitz and obtained commitments for 1,053 summer jobs for youths.

The Chamber conducted a trade mission to Mexico City.

The Chamber filed a legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the McAllister Freeway.

The Chamber staffed and underwrote the expenses for a state visit to San Antonio by the President of Mexico.

The Chamber conducted a study to have San Antonio designated a “Bicentennial City.”

The Chamber authorized $31,000 to pay for a national marketing study to determine San Antonio’s image among U.S. industries.

The Chamber authorized $25,000 for an economic feasibility study on sports in San Antonio.

The Chamber conducted trade missions to Vera Cruz and Mexico City.

The Chamber sponsored the Mexican Trade Show for 250 Mexican firms showing 1,000 Mexican products.

The Chamber arranged for an Amtrak train trip to Mexico City to promote train travel from San Antonio.

The Chamber led efforts to limit urban encroachment around the ends of runways at Kelly and Randolph Air Force Bases; such encroachment would eventually cause closure of flying missions and possible closure of the bases.

The Chamber sponsored the Mexico Trade Fair featuring 1,300 exhibitors.

The Chamber created the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.

The Chamber created the Leadership San Antonio program to provide leadership training to men and women from all walks of life in Bexar County.

The Chamber helped plan and support the Alamo Plaza redevelopment concept.

The Chamber developed a surface water plan and supported acquisition of water from the Guadalupe Basin.

The Chamber recommended naming the North Expressway the “McAllister Freeway.”

The Chamber donated $40,000 to promote the Mexican Trade Fair.

The Chamber supported the Federal Highway Administration’s and Texas Department of Highways & Public Transportation’s plans for IH-35 and IH-10 downtown improvements.

The Chamber urged the city to plan for the development of a third general aviation airport.

The Chamber promoted a medical industry package which could produce an annual revenue of $3 million for San Antonio. The package included round-trip air fare from Mexico to San Antonio, hotel accommodations and a thorough physical examination.

The Chamber urged the City of San Antonio and City Water Board to proceed with development of the Applewhite Reservoir Project.

The Chamber sent a delegation to Zurich, Switzerland, to participate in the “Investing in America’s Cities” conference.

The Chamber participated in “Expo de San Antonio” in Mexico with a $15,000 exhibit built and underwritten by Chamber members.

A Chamber delegation visited Toronto to promote San Antonio as an investment location.

Chamber members conducted a tour to Portland, Oregon, to study their transit mall, foreign trade zone, light-rail system, and new bus fare collection system.

The Chamber produced an audiovisual presenatation to publicize the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The Chamber endorsed the 1983 drainage bond issue.

The Chamber endorsed expansion of the Alamo College District’s boundaries to the city limits.

The Chamber made a presentation to the State Highway Commission on the need for highway funding for San Antonio.

The Chamber supported the Central Business District Tri-Party Committee’s downtown transportation study.

The Chamber endorsed the creation of a single, multi-purpose assessment district in the Central Business District of San Antonio.

The Chamber helped secure approval and funding for Highway 151, to provide access to the growing north and west sectors of San Antonio.

The Chamber endorsed a $55 million general obligation bond issue for streets.

The Chamber made a presentation to the State Highway Commission on the Northwest Expressway.

The Chamber supported legislative proposals from the Select Committee on Public Education Reform.

The Chamber endorsed the construction of a multi-use sports facility for San Antonio.

The Chamber endorsed the City of San Antonio’s $100 million 1985 bond issue.

The Chamber supported state constitutional amendments on Texas water development bonds and Texas agricultural water conservation bonds.

The Chamber led the defeat of the proposed spending cap, as it would limit beneficial growth and improvements to the quality of life.

The Chamber supported passage of a $34 million justice center bond issue to provide a more efficient, productive and timely justice system.

The Chamber developed a mechanism for prioritizing collector/arterial streets improvement projects.

The Chamber supported creation of the Downtown Improvement District.

The Chamber endorsed a comprehensive six-point plan for liability, tort and judicial reform.

The Chamber endorsed the city’s $23.6 million bond issue for crime and fire prevention.

The Chamber’s efforts to establish more air service (San Antonio to Mexico) resulted in a U.S. Department of Transportation grant to Braniff for service from San Antonio to Mexico City and Acapulco.

The Chamber developed a comprehensive plan for city use in solving current and future budget deficits.

The Chamber endorsed an $85 million bond issue for educational facilities for two-year college education (Alamo Community College District).

The Chamber endorsed and supported a multi-purpose stadium.

The Chamber formed the Sports Task Force to study the economic benefits of hosting amateur and professional athletic events in San Antoino.

The Chamber endorsed a city streets and drainage bond issue.

The Chamber created San Antonio Sports to develop and attract national amateur and professional sporting events to San Antonio such as Final Four tournaments, international competitions and youth sports training programs.

The Chamber helped secure doctoral programs in engineering, biology and computer science at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The Chamber helped establish the San Antonio Education Partnership to promote excellence in academics and attendance in our public schools.

The Chamber was selected to house and staff the Export Assistance Center.

The Chamber helped secure funding for the new 450-bed Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) hospital, which has now grown into the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) located at Joint Base Fort Sam Houston.

The Chamber endorsed and supported legislation creating a domed stadium, now the Alamodome.

The Chamber established cultural and economic ties with Kumamoto City, Japan, by signing a sister-chamber agreement with the Kumamoto Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber helped secure final approval of master’s degree programs in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering at UTSA.

Chamber volunteers provided support for the XXIII AAU/USA Junior Olympic Games, which brought over $2 million into the San Antonio community.

The Chamber began the Maquiladora Project to find local suppliers for Maquiladoras in Mexico.

The Chamber formed the Northwest Area Task Force to help meet the needs of members located in this growing sector of our city.

The Chamber organized and led the “Operation Noel Get Well” project and mobilized the community to attend to the needs of soldiers flown to San Antonio for treatment of injuries sustained when the United States launched “Operation Just Cause” to help restore freedom in Panama.

The Chamber’s presence in Austin helped ensure approval of a new workers’ compensation reform bill.

The Chamber held three key retreats on education, economic development and the organization’s strategic plan to identify priority issues and ensure that The Chamber maintain focus. Water was identified as the top priority.

The Chamber helped create the “Water Now!” campaign to provide community-wide information on the Applewhite Reservoir project.

The Chamber’s Export Assistance Center became the International Trade Center dealing with both importing and exporting. The purpose of the change was to expand The Chamber’s leadership position within the international trade arena.

The Chamber formed a Military Strategic Planning Task Force to strengthen San Antonio’s position as a location for future missions.

The Chamber created the Operation Desert Storm Support Project to assist the local military effort with regard to taking care of the needs of military personnel and families affected by the conflict in the Persian Gulf.

The Chamber’s presence in Austin helped ensure passage of bills dealing with public education, horse racing, biomedical research and the Texas Highway Commission.

Through trips to Mexico, Laredo, and Washington, D.C., The Chamber helped ensure “fast-track” authority for a proposed free-trade agreement with Mexico.

After working on the issue since 1987, The Chamber achieved a victory when Governor Ann Richards signed a bill in June 1991 reducing the state’s take regarding thoroughbred horse racing pari-mutuel wagering.

The Chamber served as a catalyst for the creation of San Antonio Works!, a new board overseeing the Job Training Partnership Act programs in the Alamo area.

The Chamber became one of four partners in a new venture, the San Antonio Education Coalition, which organized the community’s objectives in accomplishing the national education goals (America 2000).

The Chamber took an 80-member delegation to St. Louis, Missouri to brief executives and employees of the Southwestern Bell Corporation as our city welcomed the largest corporate move in San Antonio’s history.

The Chamber and the City of San Antonio joined forces to create “Medical Destination: San Antonio,” an organization designed to focus on marketing San Antonio’s medical facilities throughout South Texas and Mexico.

The North American Free Trade Agreement was initialled in San Antonio, and The Chamber and the White House hosted a luncheon honoring the individuals who served as private sector advisors during the trade talks.

The Chamber formed a bi-partisan Political Convention Task Force and represented the city at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in an effort to promote San Antonio as a national political convention site.

The Chamber developed and implemented the “I Care Enough to Vote” voter registration and voter participation project, resulting in the registration of over 1,000 Chamber members as well as the selection of Chamber member businesses to serve as mobile voting sites.

Setting a record, The Chamber responded to more than 12,000 referral calls for goods and services. Only the names of Chamber members were given in response to those requests.

The Chamber’s Northwest Area Task Force and the Leon Valley Area Business and Professional Association joined forces to form “Team Northwest,” providing more programs and services for businesses located in the northwest sector of the city.

The Chamber formed a Committee on Existing and New Missions in continuing efforts to place San Antonio in line for new missions in light of the nationwide series of base closures.

Chamber efforts resulted in the consolidation of various water-related agencies into a single entity, the San Antonio Water System.

When Kelly Air Force Base was placed on the “review” list for closure, Mayor Nelson Wolff called on The Chamber to help save this vital community resource. The Chamber led “The Case for Kelly” effort, pulling together a community-wide coalition that resulted in Kelly’s survival through the round of base closures.

Chamber legislative efforts resulted in securing funding for both the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. As part of The Chamber’s legislative agenda, a management plan for the Edwards Aquifer was adopted into law.

The Chamber created “San Antonians Against Lawsuit Abuse” in an effort to educate citizens that frivolous lawsuits and excessive damage awards cause a loss of jobs, increased costs to consumers, increased medical costs, and limit the availability of many goods and services.

The Chamber reported that the “I Care Enough to Vote” program now has more than 2,000 members, a 100% increase from 1992.

The Chamber hosted the first city-wide tourism symposium to more fully explore ways San Antonio can capitalize on our number two industry.

The Chamber organized VIP hospitality at 20 venues during U.S. Olympic Festival-’93. The 10-day event yielded over $26 million dollars for the local economy.

The Chamber celebrated its Centennial Year with special events, projects, and published “San Antonio, the Soul O Texas,” a commemorative, hardbound book featuring Chamber members and highlighting The Chamber’s history. Every Sunday, the San Antonio Express-News ran a “Chamber Centennial” copy block, focusing on a significant Chamber accomplishments.

As a major Centennial project, “Forward San Antonio” raised $2.7 million to fund margin of excellence programs, including the “BRAC ’95” effort. Other focus projects included the establishment of an Area Councils program, the creation of a Business Retention and Expansion Center, and a renewed focus on small business programs and services.

The Chamber produced a Centennial Video, narrated by former Chairman Red McCombs and highlighting 100 years of Chamber accomplishments.

More than 200 people attended the “Jobs for the 21st Century – A Business Community Perspective” Conference.

The Chamber implemented the programs of Forward San Antonio, created the Major Industry Council to support targeted industries, and brought San Antonio’s hospitality industry together by creating the San Antonio Area Tourism Council.

More than 300 people participated in the second Forward San Antonio-sponsored planning conference: “Higher Education in South Texas and the Border Region: Gateway to the 21st Century.”

The Governmental Affairs Council created “The Advocate,” a monthly newsletter on government issues affecting the business community.

The Major Industry Council conducted an international agribusiness export conference, “Breaking the Border Bottleneck.”

Following the decision in Washington, D.C., to close the Air Logistics Center at Kelly Air Force Base, the BRAC ’95 Task Force became the Initial Base Adjustment Strategy Committee (IBASC) and moved to the City of San Antonio, where it began efforts to help privatize the workload at Kelly.

Working through local, state, and federal officials, The Chamber helped obtain federal funding for construction of an overpass on IH 35 to facilitate access to the new Brooke Army Medical Center.

The Chamber developed and implemented the Area Councils program, beginning with the North East Area Council.

The Chamber’s Medical Committee completed the first-ever study of the overall impact of the health care industry in San Antonio. The study found the industry employs over 99,000 people and contributes over $6 billion annually to the city’s economy.

The Chamber’s Agritech Task Force was instrumental in the creation of the International Agritech Center, only the second of its kind in the world. The Center will help create more local jobs through its efforts to develop new food products, food processing and storage technologies, and will serve as an incubator for new agribusiness ideas.

The Chamber helped negotiate an agreement between the commanders of San Antonio’s two military medical centers and the presidents of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the University Health System to form a San Antonio Trauma Consortium. The agreement will preserve the excellent emergency medical care afforded to San Antonio citizens, and facilitate greater collaboration between military and civilian medical experts.

The Chamber launched the Northwest and East Area Councils, adding to the pilot program begun in the Northeast in 1995.

The Chamber created an Education Council to serve as the business community’s catalyst to improve the quality of education and training in San Antonio, while providing support for other coordinated community initiatives.

For the first time, The Chamber retained two Austin Lobbyists to assist in promoting The Chamber’s agenda during the 75th Legislative Session, allowing effective advocacy before local government to continue.

The Chamber’s Business Retention & Expansion Center played a major role in helping to create or retain as many as 800 new jobs in San Antonio, helping two major manufacturers expand their businesses.

The chamber created a task force of various business organizations and chambers of commerce that reviewed the City’s proposed Master Plan and made recommendations to the Planning Commission. All of the task force’s recommendations were adopted by the Planning Commission.

The Chamber led a campaign to honor the United States Air Force for their 50th anniversary.

The Chamber worked with Mayor Peak to form a task force that eventually recommended that San Antonio pursue the 2000 Republican National Convention and staffed the effort.

Issued a first-ever Business Migration Report, which analyzed all of the companies which moved to and relocated from San Antonio in the last three years.

Founded and organized the San Antonio Bioscience Association, leading to the formation of BioMedSA to foster the rapid growth of bioscience companies in San Antonio.

Played an instrumental role in the passage of a $224 million bond issue and tax cap increase in the Northside Independent School District, and a $366 million bond issue in the North East Independent School District.

Officially affiliated with the National Mentoring Partnership and established “The Power of One” mentoring program for San Antonio.

Established the InfoCenter, a 24-hour automated telephone referral system, and developed a computer-based Rapid Referral system to refer Chamber investors to companies and individuals requesting goods and services.

Developed and implemented a health insurance program for Chamber investors.

Staffed the Mayor’s Brooks Opportunities Task Force to help Brooks Air Force Base reduce base operating costs and introduce more efficient base infrastructure management procedures, making it less vulnerable to another round of base closures.

Formally launched the South Area Council and the Central Area Council, successfully completing implementation of The Chamber’s Area Council grassroots program.

Hosted the first-ever meeting in San Antonio of the Texas Transportation Commission.

In response to investor requests, implemented a “Weekly Action Update” fax and e-mail to Chamber members and other interested parties and ceased publication of the four-color, monthly The Chamber Today. The “Update” is sent every Friday.

Endorsed, supported, and actively worked for voter approval of Bexar County’s proposal to build a multi-purpose community venue at the Joe and Harry Freeman site.

Published the 4th Annual Medical Impact Survey, confirming that medica/biomedical is San Antonio’s number one industry, with an annual impact of $7.5 billion.

Helped secure $1.25 million in City funding to evaluate and improve needed infrastructure at KellyUSA.

Mounted a comprehensive business community effort and helped secure City Council passage of the San Antonio Water System 50-year water plan.

In advance of the November general election, staged a Chamber-wide voter registration effort, resulting in more than 250 new registrants.

Developed a “Success in Life” statement for high school students, parents, teachers and the business community.

Exceeded goals and gained national recognition for The Chamber’s Forward San Antonio III-funded mentoring initiative: San Antonio: Making Mentoring a Partnership.”

Developed and implemented a plan for grassroots involvement by The Chamber’s five Area Business Councils.

Re-established the Transportation Super Group for specific work related to the construction of SH-130.

Supported and worked for City Council approval of a tax phase-in for the Sheraton Convention Headquarters Hotel project.

The Chamber’s Membership Department exceeded its new member budget by more than $50,000.

Helped move the Region L water plan through the Texas Water Development Board and the State Legislature, which created enabling legislation to help ensure a long-term supply of guaranteed water for our region.

Successfully lobbied for the UT Health Science Center’s Joint Life Sciences Institute, and to retain full funding support for the Children’s Cancer Research Center.

Provided staff support for the Texas Scholars Program.

Published the 2001 Biomedical Impact Study, which concluded that this segment of the economy is San Antonio’s number one industry, with an $8.1 billion annual economic impact.

Partnered with the San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative (SATAI) and the White Hat Network to produce the inaugural South Texas Funding Forum, dealing with venture capital funding.

Assisted San Antonio’s hospitality industry by successfully advocating for a later school start date and opposing an additional room night surcharge on the hotel industry.

Formed the San Antonio Military Missions (SAMM) Task Force, under the leadership of Immediate Past Chairman Charlie Amato, to help prepare San Antonio for the next round of base closures and realignments.

Helped secure legislation creating Brooks City Base.

Conducted a civic leaders tour to San Diego for two days of discussions and tours related to the creation of San Diego’s successful high-tech and bio-tech sectors.

Following the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, convened an all-chambers summit to address business community concerns; one result was the creation of “Project Assist” to help ease financial hardships among San Antonio active duty, reserve and guard components.

Formed the Alliance of Chambers.

Served as a partner in creating the San Antonio Mobility Coalition (SAMCo), an organization that advocates for San Antonio region based transportation initiatives and strategy.

Produced an Information Technology Economic Impact Study and an Aerospace Industry Economic Impact Study.

Served as the key business organization supporting and successfully lobbying for the creation of the PGA Village Project.

Participated in the ceremony officially conveying Brooks Air Force Base to the City of San Antonio as the Brooks City Base.

Created and launched the Small Business Resource Center in what was formerly the Northside Service Office to assist San Antonio’s small business owners and managers by providing research, seminars, a classroom, and one-on-one mentoring.

As key members of “Team Toyota,” Chamber leaders helped negotiate the agreement that brought a Toyota Manufacturing North America facility to San Antonio. Toyota Texas is now where all Toyota pickups are manufactured.

Released the sixth annual Healthcare/Bioscience Economic Impact Study, which concluded healthcase/bioscience continues as San Antonio’s number one industry with an annual economic impact of $11.5 billion.

Chairman Kenny Wilson led a 45-member delegation to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to brief the men and women from U.S. Army South who will be transferred along with their families to San Antonio.

Prior to the May 3, 2003, election, conducted the first City Council Candidates Breakfast Series, giving Chamber members an opportunity to meet their City Council incumbents and candidates.

Conducted the Silver Anniversary “SA to DC” trip with a record 76 participants.

During the 2003 State Legislative Session, successfully worked to ensure the Toyota legislation was approved, as well as assisting two of San Antonio’s most prominent companies, USAA and SBC.

The Chamber was the only business organization providing testimony at all four public hearings of the Mayor’s Committee on Integrity and Trust.

The Chamber’s leadership, volunteers and staff played a major role as San Antonio citizens, with a 58% favorable vote, overwhelmingly approved the creation of an Advanced Transportation District and funding for VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority. Chamber Chairman Mike Novak and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff co-chaired the initiative, which will help minimize highway congestion.

Chairman Novak led a 107-member delegation to Washington, D.C., the largest in the 26-year history of The Chamber’s “SA to DC” trip. Key issues were homeland security, healthcare and bioscience, transportation, BRAC and the military, technology and international trade.

The Chamber launched its first-ever multi-media image and branding campaign – a two-year program of advertising, graphics and public relations featuring testimonials from Chamber members sharing the impact The Chamber has made on their businesses and the community. The purpose of the campaign was to help brand The Chamber as the leading business organization in San Antonio.

Chairman Mike Novak led a 28-member delegation to Huntsville, Alabama, for meetings with Toyota officials and a tour of their engine manufacturing plant as part of The Chamber’s “Toyota Service After the Sale” initiative.

The Chamber implemented a new Levels of Membership program and the Customer Service Department and Staff Liaison Program, which assigns a primary staff contact at every Chamber member business, were instrumental in The Chamber’s record 75% retention.

The San Antonio Business Journal recognized The Greater Chamber as the “Number One Chamber of Commerce in the San Antonio Metropolitan Area,” and The Chamber took home top honors at the annual National Alliance for Membership Development (NAMD) Conference in Orlando, Florida. NAMD presented The Chamber with its “Award of Excellence” in the category of Net Gain of New Member Dollars. The American Chamber of Commerce Executives recognized The Chamber’s 2003 Highlight Video, and the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives named The Chamber Today the number one Chamber newsletter in the State of Texas. In addition, The Chamber received an Addy Award for its relocation guide.

The Chamber worked closely with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison during the 2005 round of base closures and the result was great news for San Antonio with more than 3,000 new jobs and over $2 billion in new construction at Ft. Sam Houston alone. San Antonio will become the country’s center of military medical training.

The Chamber worked with the PGA Tour and helped secure City Council approval for the TPC Resort San Antonio, which includes two TPC championship golf courses and a 1,000-room J.W. Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.

The Chamber launched BioMed SA, a 501 (C) (3) tax exempt organization, to both tell the story of San Antonio’s existing biomedical assets and capabilities as well as to help bring new biomedical firms, distinguished faculty, medical meetings and research dollars to the area. This organization will be housed at The Chamber. BioMed SA came about as a direct result of the 2005 Economic Outlook Conference in January, where Henry Cisneros, Dr. Francisco Cigarroa and others discussed their vision of what we could do to substantially up the profile of our bio med industry in San Antonio.

Thanks to the leadership of 2005 Chairman John T. Montford and the outstanding work of The Chamber’s Austin lobbyist, Chris Shields, The Chamber implemented most of its State Legislative Agenda with the help of dozens of Chamber members who traveled to Austin during the session to testify on Chamber and business community issues. Workers compensation reform and support for funding for San Antonio’s higher education institutions were among the successes.

Chamber President & CEO Joe Krier chaired the Metro 8 chambers of commerce, representing Texas’ eight largest cities, and worked to ensure pro-business issues were addressed in Austin. The Chamber continued work with the Regional Mobility Authority and the San Antonio Mobility Coalition, which President Krier chairs, regarding our region’s transportation needs and concerns.

The Chamber’s efforts to provide Toyota with service after the sale continued as we hosted a “State of Toyota” luncheon for T.J. Tajima and his management team. Former Chamber Chairman Marty Wender testified at City Council, supporting approval of tax phase-in agreements for 17 Toyota top-tier suppliers.

On less than 24 hours notice, The Greater Chamber staff worked with Chairman John T. Montford, Mayor Phil Hardberger and County Judge Nelson Wolff and pulled together a breakfast meeting of 175 of The Chamber’s top 200 investors to discuss ticket information and the need for business community support with regard to the New Orleans Saints, which relocated its team and staff to San Antonio as a result of Hurricane Katrina. San Antonio hosted three Saints “home” games at the Alamodome. Under the leadership of Chairman Montford, The Chamber created an NFL/Collegiate Football Task Force.

Former Chairman Ed Kelley led a task force that restructured The Chamber’s long term finances and ended dependence on periodic Forward San Antonio campaigns. The new Levels of Membership program helped increase member retention, new member sales, and, perhaps most important, a fully staffed Customer Service Department.

The Chamber implemented year two of its first-ever image and branding campaign, with TV, radio and print, and outdoor advertising.

The Chamber built local support for the funding for the Linear Creekways and Parks Development plan as set forth by the Parks and Recreation Department, which would the first of the City’s linear parks along Salado Creek from Northeast Loop 410 to Austin Highway.

The Chamber advocated for support for the redevelopment of Main Plaza downtown, a development master plan for Plaza de las Islas, as well as landscape design and construction plans and documents for the redevelopment of the area as a pedestrian plaza.

The Chamber urged the city to establish a small costs/small projects assistance counter at the City’s Business Service Center, a “One Stop Shop” to provide faster and more efficient help to small business owners in the process of repairing, remodeling or expanding their businesses.

The CHamber advocated for the city to purchase the property known as Voelcker Ranch and develop a major municipal park for the benefit of our entire community. This is now Hardberger Park.

The Chamber supported the Greater Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council Rail District in its request to the State Legislature and the Governor of Texas for an annual appropriation of $200 million for the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund.

The Chamber developed the Pathways to a Great City Task Force and adopted a long-range plan that supported increasing investment in cultural arts facilities, more amateur sports facilities, more parks and green space in the city, an emphasis on recruiting and retaining young professionals, an emphasis on stronger educational opportunities and facilities in San Antonio, strong support for adequate funding for improvements on highways and roads.

The Chamber supported the City’s $550 million bond election for improving educational facilities in the community.

The Chamber supported the passage of alternate funding for transportation needs, including the support for building tolled roads along Highways 281 and 1604.

The Chamber supported CPS Energy’s plan to diversify its sustainable, long-term energy supply through the increased development of additional nuclear energy options in order to satisfy our area’s future electrical needs.

The Chamber supported UTSA’s efforts to move to Division 1A intercollegiate athletics and supported the fund raising campaign for improvement of current facilities and construction of a new athletic complex.

The Chamber supported the proposed Texas Constitutional Amendments 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 15. The Chamber passage of these amendments would benefit the citizens of San Antonio by: 1) increasing access to higher education; 2) funding needed state Agency projects; 3) assisting small businesses and veterans through tax exemptions 4) funding highway improvement projects; and 5) bringing Texas to the forefront nationally in the fight against cancer.

The Chamber supported the construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in San Antonio. Although the facility was awarded to another city, our efforts raised awareness of the outstanding reputation of San Antonio’s biosciences industry sector nationally.

The Chamber changed the name of our Area Business Councils/Small Business Council to the Area Business Councils

The Chamber supported the allocation of both public and private community resources to the proposed 225 acre Regional Sportsplex and Special Needs Park. This effort led to the development of Morgan’s Wonderland and the regional soccer complex located in North Central San Antonio.

The Chamber supported the renovation and expansion plans for the Witte Museum. The project led to an increase in the Witte’s daily visitor capacity and provided additional arts and cultural offerings to local residents and visitors to our city. It also was instrumental in building a needed parking garage at the museum.

The Chamber led a trade mission to Chennai, India, which led to the signing of a sister-city agreement with the Indian city.

The Chamber supported the County’s bond election that will provide funding for improvements to Municipal Auditorium into a world-class cultural arts auditorium, the expansion of amateur sports facilities around the city, funding for the extention of the River Walk to a 13-mile developed area, and for funding for improvemenets to the Freeman Coliseum and Rodeo Grounds, and the AT&T Center.

The Chamber put San Antonio back on the list of cities to be considered by the Air Force for the location of the new “Cyber Command” (now the 24th Air Force located at Lackland AFB)

The Chamber initiated and advocated for a plan for coordinated economic development efforts

The Chamber supported the creation of a downtown business and economic development plan that would put priorities of businesses and residents into a new vision for downtown San Antonio.

The Chamber actively opposed the Employee Free Choice Act and any legislation that would forgo the current requirement that elections for union representation be by secret ballot and not by a non-secret card check procedure.

The Chamber’s Information Technololgy Committee developed the structure for creating a San Antonio Cyber Action Plan (SACAP) to outline ways to expand cyber operations in San Antonio, and help promote collaboration among academic, business and government entities involved in cyber security and information assurance.

The Chamber supported a proposal from San Antonio Independent School District to create a more efficient structure for the future, which included the closure of some older, less functional schools and support for a significant amount of funding for more technology in classrooms.

The Chamber strongly supported, and lobbied for necessary funding for the establishment of Texas A&M University – San Antonio as an independent university.

The Chamber helped to create the first annual Beta Summit in San Antonio as a part of the annual InnoTech Conference, that showcases new technology companies and offers them a chance to win venture capital investment from local investors.

The Chamber hosted a “Conversation With the Mayors” event, featuring a panel of all past living mayors of San Antonio for a dialogue on the future of San Antonio.

The Chamber supported a local study and the creation of a “Best in Class” Comprehensive Children’s Hospital in San Antonio to ensure that specialized health care needs of injured or ill children in San Antonio and the South Texas Region are met.

The Chamber supported CPS Energy’s proposed rate increases in order to maintain the utility’s financial stability and strong credit rating.

The Chamber created an Energy Task Force to study CPS’ proposal to invest and purchase more energy through nuclear facilities.

The Chamber supported the City of San Antonio’s proposed new Small Business Economic Development Advocacy (SBEDA) Ordinance and their efforts to establish an enhanced program that promotes economic inclusion and empowers small/minority/women owned businesses to do work with the City.

The Chamber supported stricter smoking ordinances for the City of San Antonio to include: all restaurants, bars, halls and clubs, in order to promote the health and well-being of all San Antonians.

The Chamber supported the concept of San Antonio Water System using its rate structure increaes as a conservation tool and recognizes that the least expensive option for additional water supply is conservation. The Chamber opposed the rapid rate of increase of the new proposed rate structure in the upper blocks of both the residential and commercial irrigation structures.

The Chamber supported San Antonio Water System’s proposal for a rate increase for its wastewater, water supply and water delivery fees which  would be used to make necessary investments in wastewater infrastructure, water supply and water infrastructure for our community’s long-term water needs.


Chamber launches a mobile app, “My Chamber App” that is designed to promote members products and services in a new online format.

Chamber leads a delegation to China to attend the 2011 World’s Fair and represent San Antonio in a city display.

Chamber votes to support the dissolution of BexarMet, at which time San Antonio Water System will be able to merge customers and infrastructure into the locally owned system.

Chamber began the annual Ed Whitacre Scholarship program which honors a local college student involved in leadership initiatives.

Chamber Education and Workforce Committee starts “Career Pathways,” a community effort to inform students of local, high-paying jobs that are available to them upon graduation and how to obtain them.

Chamber launched Stars & Stripes over San Antonio, the largest and longest fireworks show in city history, to celebrate July 4th.

Chamber helped secure City Council passage of the Vista Ridge Pipeline project, ensuring a stable water supply for the future.

Chamber brought in 2015 new members and $200,000 during a three-day membership campaign, shattering statewide records.

Chamber publicly supported and advocated for the SAWS rare adjustment to fund the Vista Ridge Pipeline and other capital and operational needs.

Chamber actively participated in the 84th legislative session and successfully advocated for Alamo redevelopment, which resulted in $32 million in funding, and for $30 million in appropriations for DEAAG funding to sustain our military bases.

Chamber launched SA Works, an industry-led coalition, funded by H-E-B and assembled to develop a comprehensive human capital strategy to fill the city and county’s most pressing talent needs.

Chamber started the Military City USA Speaker Series hosting the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Mark Welsh, for the first luncheon providing business leaders access to senior military.

Chamber brought in 223 new members and more than $124,000 during our second three-day membership campaign.

Chamber  launched Biz4SA, where we met with CEO’s of San Antonio’s major employers and heard first-hand how the Chamber can help business grow and thrive.

Chamber adopted a position statement in support of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), an innovative financing program that enables owners of commercial, industrial, and residential (five units or more) properties to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency improvements, and renewable retrofits.

Chamber was recognized by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation as one of five chambers to participate in a Youth Employment Network due in part to our strategies focused on closing the skills gap through developing more work-based learning opportunities for young people.

Chamber recognized by the US Chamber of Commerce as a three-star Chamber of Valor, the highest level awarded for commitment to the Military and Veterans.

Chamber released bi-annual Economic Impact Study of the Healthcare and Bioscience industry, showing a net increase of more than 50,000 net new jobs over 10 years and an impact of approximately $37 billion in 2015.

Chamber launched the Build Sec Foundry, a cybersecurity incubator that is accelerating product-based security startups in San Antonio.

Chamber created the Good to Great to Global Task Force to develop and provide specific recommendations on community initiatives, investments, and alliances which will establish San Antonio as globally competitive in three industry sectors: Cybersecurity, Biomedical & Healthcare, and Cultural Preservation & Celebration.

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