KLRN graciously hosted our October Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, with Arthur Emerson, CEO of KLRN and 1999 Chamber Chair of the Board, welcoming members of the Board. KLRN programming Director Andrea Sosa presented short clips of a few exciting and thought-provoking upcoming programs. Click the following links to explore these programs: The Gene, Expedition with Steven Backshall, and Nature | Okavango.
During the meeting, Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores presented an overview of the AlamoPROMISE initiative that will serve as a last dollar scholarship covering the gap between financial aid and the cost of tuition at an Alamo Colleges institution for up to three years. Currently in San Antonio, only 45% of high school seniors attend college, which is insufficient to meet the growing industry demands for employees with a credential beyond a high school diploma. By removing the financial barrier and putting in place comprehensive wraparound services for student success, AlamoPROMISE is positioned to make a significant difference to students and employers alike. The Board unanimously approved a resolution in support of the initiative, and as a result, the Chamber commits to advocating, collaborating, and promoting business involvement in making AlamoPROMISE a success.
Suzanne Scott, General Manager for the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority), presented the W.A.T.E.R ballot proposal. The River Authority is exploring a permanent funding source to complete important river and creek projects and address threats to water quality. Chapter 49 of the Water Code allows the River Authority Board of Directors to seek voter approval through a district-wide election to authorize the collection of a property tax to support capital projects and expand successful environmental protection programs throughout the district. The River Authority is proposing to seek voter approval for a maximum tax rate of $0.025 per $100 valuation in November 2020.
Next, Public Policy Council chair and Manager of Community and Government Relations for Vulcan Materials Company Tyler Lowe presented a position statement and a recommendation to support nine of the ten Texas Constitutional amendments on the November 5, 2019, general election ballot. Tyler recommended the Chamber not take a position on Proposition 4 regarding a state income tax, and he highlighted the three propositions of particular importance to improving San Antonio and the surrounding region:
- Proposition 5 establishes a dedicated revenue stream for the preservation and maintenance of state parks and historic sites.
- Proposition 6 expands the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which has helped UT Health San Antonio remain one of the country’s leading health sciences universities.
- Proposition 8 allows for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.
The Board unanimously approved the Chamber’s Position Statement regarding Texas Constitutional Amendments.
During the President’s Report, Chamber president and CEO Richard Perez introduced the Chamber’s two new staff members: Andrew Gorman, Director of Special Events, and Rose Deveraux, Vice President of Finance. He also provided an update on the San Antonio Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), reminding the Board that the Chamber submitted a letter to the Mayor and City Council to provide feedback. He also discussed Paid Sick Leave and shared that many small and medium-sized businesses appreciate our stance. Richard believes the lawsuit against the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance will see further developments after November 7.
Richard called on Vice President of Image and Communications Julie Ring to give an update on the Chamber’s Annual Gala, which will take place on Thursday, December 5 starting at 6 p.m. at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. During the Gala, which will celebrate the Chamber’s 125th Anniversary, we will welcome incoming Chair Adam Hamilton and his leadership team and highlight some of the Chamber’s key accomplishments with an awards show. Possible categories include: most successful spinoff, most impactful military accomplishment, favorite committee accomplishment, biggest state legislative win, and greatest economic impact project. The Chamber’s Board of Directors will select winners of four categories and the Gala participants will select the winner of one category. Registration for the Gala is open and sponsorship opportunities are available.
Lori Stinson, Vice President of Military Affairs and Leadership Development, provided an update on the newly confirmed Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, who is the 25th Secretary of the Air Force and 4th woman to take this leadership position. She is an accomplished Aerospace Industry executive and pilot in her own right. With that news, we anticipate a decision soon on the F-16 FTU permanent basing. After the recent site-visit, we are working with our mission partners to ensure that quality of life is also considered as part of the routine scoring criteria for future basing decisions. We are also looking to enlist the support of our elected officials to carry the message forward that JBSA-San Antonio is the perfect match for not only the mission, but for the families as well. Lori also spoke about the Chamber’s 49th Annual Celebrate America’s Military events and directed the guests to the website for more details (www.celebrateamericasmilitary.com). Finally, she highlighted the deactivation of the 25th AF and 24th AF and the activation of the new Numbered Air Force, 16th AF and the new Commander, Lt. Gen. Haugh. He will lead the new NAF, focused on a collective mission of Information Warfare: Electronic Warfare (Information Operations), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, as well as Cybersecurity.
Finally, the Board unanimously approved Adam Hamilton, CEO of Southwest Research Institute as 2020 Chair, and the Nominating Task Force’s nominees for 3-year Board terms:
- Larry Hurtado (Digital Defense)
- Dean Radla (News 4 WOAI)
- Denise Hernandez (True Flavors)
- Krista Covey (Velocity TX)
- Erv Lessel (Deloitte)
- Ben Peavy (Accenture)
- Lupita Corbeil (Den-Tex Central, Inc.)