The Recap – A Blog by SK Kiero – Issue 2

Week Two

After having a great first week, I wanted to have an even better second week. I had overcome my shyness and was ready to make my mark at the Chamber. Even though my second week had way more events and meetings to attend, I couldn’t wait to tackle them all!

From Monday to Wednesday, I had at least one meeting a day. I really enjoyed attending the meetings because I found it interesting how community business leaders would present problems and concerns in the business community and discuss possible solutions.

Every day of the week was important, but the most impactful day was Thursday. The Plano Independent School District (P.I.S.D.) recently appointed a new superintendent, Sara Bonser. The Plano Chamber wanted to introduce her to the local business community so they held a meet and greet for her at the Chamber office on Thursday.

During the first half of the event I was working the nametag table with Ryan. After a while I went to listen to the superintendent’s speech. The speech was good. I could tell she was very passionate about children and wanted to fulfill the role to the best of her abilities. The audience gave her a warm reception and the event went swimmingly. While I was at the event, I remembered all the little things that made the event go well. From the flyers Katie had designed and distributed to the nametags Ryan printed and assigned me to make. It was overall a fascinating event and I really enjoyed meeting some of the people there. After “Meet the Superintendent”, the week was partially over – ending my second week on the job!

registration table
SK Kiero and Ryan Minter managing the Registration Table at the Meet the Superintendent event.

Week Three

My third week was a little different then my first two weeks. Since Fourth of July was on the upcoming week the Chamber scheduled a lot of events the week before. The week started off busy as Monday had my normal weekly staff meeting. I did a couple small tasks for the staff, like helping Jennifer file some papers and Christine with mailing invoices. I also helped transport some boxed donations with Ryan to the P.I.S.D building for the new 2018-2019 teachers welcome bags.

SK Kiero and Ryan Minter deliver boxed donations to Plano ISD for the New Teacher Bags.

Monday was also Jennifer’s birthday celebration so we held a special staff lunch for her. Judy asked me to pick up chocolate strawberries from Market Street for her birthday lunch. There was some confusion on my side. Long story short, I had to make two trips back and forth to pick up the strawberries. But the strawberries eventually arrived and the lunch went well!

Jennifer Ruhman celebrates her birthday with chocolate-covered strawberries!

Tuesday was also pretty busy because there were two meetings and a ribbon cutting for me to attend. The first meeting I attended was a Woman’s Division Board Meeting with Ryan.  Woman’s Division is a division of the Chamber that focuses on helping woman get better involved and connected in the Plano business community.  Right after that I attended a ribbon cutting ceremony with Christine at the newly-renovated Homewood Suites by Hilton North Dallas-Plano. The event was really nice. I received a full tour of the building and met some of the hotel directors. I even met the Hilton Duck!

Homewood Suites Ribbon Cutting
Plano Chamber Members and Ambassadors celebrate the Grand Opening of Homewood Suites by Hilton with a Ribbon Cutting!
Hilton Duck
SK Kiero poses with the famous Hilton Duck at a Ribbon Cutting.

The last three days of my third week was full of events. On Wednesday, we had “Maximize your Membership” and “Success in Business”.  Both events where interesting; however, I found “Success in Business” more fascinating as the topic was about the generational gap many businesses face.

On Thursday, we had the main event of the week with Plano First Quarterly Luncheon at the Marriott. Every four months, the Chamber plans Plano First luncheon and Thursday were the summer event. The event was very nice and elegant; in attendance where some of the big corporate leaders of North Texas, as well as many local small business owners. The event included networking as well as moderated discussion between three leading leaders of Plano retail development. During the event I reconnected with some people I had met at previous Chamber events as well as some new faces. For example, I met LaMonte Thomas, Market President of Cigna North Texas and Oklahoma. His organization has been so gracious to fund my internship this summer. It was nice that I could give him a proper thank you for his company’s contributions. Overall, I had a great time at the event and really enjoyed my time there.

As my week came close to the end, I had two more events for the week. There was the usual Business Interchange the Chamber holds every Friday plus ONE Plano. The only problem was that I had lost my voice and could barely talk so I had to skip Business Interchange. I did attend ONE Plano which was a very nice meeting. ONE Plano is a meeting for nonprofits to discuss ways to manage their nonprofits. The meeting wasn’t too long, but it would have been the last event I would attend before my work week was over.

My third week was very busy and somewhat crazy, but I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed going to the events and meeting the people there. Overall I would consider my third week a very successful week as I finished all my tasks and tagged along to most of the events.

Week Four

Week four was by far the most relaxed week of my internship. For one, we had finished all the major events the previous week. Plus, Fourth of July was on a Wednesday dividing the week in two. We had the usual staff meeting on Monday and an Events Team Meeting (or “Dream Team Meeting”) on Tuesday. Wednesday was Fourth of July and we got the day off. For Fourth of July, Katie and I created a nice picture to remind the members we would be closed that day via Facebook.

4th of July
The image wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July on Facebook.

In preparation for low attendees at the weekly BI due to the holiday, the Chamber came up with the idea to incorporate a patriotic theme for the week’s BI Meeting.  Ryan and I filmed a very patriotic video to help attract more Chamber members to the meeting.

SK Kiero and Ryan Minter pose after their patriotic Business Interchange video.


Overall I had a great first half of my internship. I’m happy with everything I have learned and experienced so far. However I know there is still so much I can learn, master, and experience. As I start to approach the end of my internship, I know I’m running out of time. However, I plan on taking advantage of every second.

Collin County DC Fly-In

The Plano Chamber of Commerce recently partnered with the Allen Fairview Chamber, Frisco Chamber, and McKinney Chamber to lead a delegation of business and community leaders to Washington, D.C. for two days of briefings, meetings, and programs.

The DC Fly-In delegation on a cold and snowy morning before heading to Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday, March 20, the participants sat in on briefings from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce discussing topics ranging from Association Health Plans to infrastructure to NAFTA. Kelly Pollitt, Chief Advocacy Officer with the National School Board Association, discussed challenges and opportunities facing public schools today.

Issue briefings at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Following the issue briefings, participants rode a shuttle to The Monocle Restaurant for a reception and dinner with Congressman Sam Johnson.

Plano Chamber Board Members Jeff Beckley, Lissa Smith, Amanda Rockow, and Matt Foster with Congressman Sam Johnson.

On Wednesday, March 21, attendees traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with Senator John Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz. Both senators sat with the participants and discussed topics of importance to the Collin County region and business community. Special thanks to Senate Sponsor FedEx Office for supporting this inaugural D.C. Fly-In.

DC Fly-In delegation with Senator John Cornyn.
DC Fly-In delegation with Senator Ted Cruz.


The Impact of Voting

Early Voting is underway. Our business community is a significant voting bloc and we must make our collective voices heard on issues that impact our region.

When are the Primary Elections in 2018?

Early Voting is from February 20 through March 2. Election Day is Tuesday, March 6. Collin County registered voters can cast their ballots anywhere within the county, not just their precinct. In order to vote in the primaries, you do not have to be registered with a specific party (as is the case in other states).

Does My Vote Matter?

Yes! In 2016, the most recent presidential campaign year, only 31% of registered Collin County voters cast their vote in the primary election. During the last non-presidential primary in 2014, only 7.65% of registered Collin County voters voted in the primary election. Out of the 19 million eligible Texans to vote, only 1.9 million votes were cast (444,000 of which were in North Texas). It is critical that the business community increase their engagement to help ensure that our elected officials are committed to protecting and strengthening our pro-growth business climate that has led to economic vibrancy and a strong job market.

What Can I Do?

Encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to learn more about each candidate and vote not just in November, but during the primaries. Visit Collin County Votes for more details about candidates running in Collin County races and other resources. Visit to look up voter information and view sample ballots.

Are My Current Elected Officials Supporting the Business Community?

View our 2017 Legislative Scorecard for an overview of the select issues tracked by the Plano Chamber last session and votes cast by the Plano delegation.


As the 2018 election season continues, the Plano Chamber will continue to update and enhance voter engagement tools, so our member companies and their employees can take full advantage of the resources available to them. In the meantime, please subscribe to our Advocacy & Public Policy mailing list and Take 10: Legislative Landscape newsletters to stay informed.

Thank you for your leadership and commitment to the betterment of our region.


Jamee Jolly, CAE
Plano Chamber of Commerce

Meet the Candidates Before the Primaries

As the March 2018 Primary Elections draw nearer, it is vital to meet the candidates for each office before your visit the ballot box. Attend each of the upcoming Candidate Forums in 2018 to learn more about the candidates, their qualifications, and their plans for our region.

Texas Legislature Candidate Forum | January 11

State Candidate Forum

Senate District 8 encompasses much of Collin County, including most of Plano. There are four candidates for this seat, with each party’s candidate to be decided in the primary.

Texas House District 66 represents the northwest region of Plano with a small segment of North Dallas. There are two candidates for this seat, one from each main political party.

Texas House District 67 covers most of central and east Plano as well as portions of Allen, Richardson, and Dallas.

Texas House District 89 is currently held by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, who is retiring. This wide-ranging district represents potions of Plano and surrounding cities in Collin County.

Congressional District 3 Candidate Forum | January 31

Congressional Candidate Forum

The Third District of Texas encompasses the majority of Collin County including all of Plano, surrounding cities, and portions of unincorporated land in Collin County. With multiple candidates running for the Democrat, Republican, and Independent candidate spot, the Plano Chamber is co-hosting this Candidate Forum with the Richardson Chamber. Please CLICK HERE to register for this forum.

Collin County Commissioners Court Candidate Forum | February 6

County Candidate Forum

With rapid growth and development, the need for strong leadership within Collin County is imperative for its future success. Hear from the candidates for Collin County Judge and the Collin County Commissioners, Precinct 2 and Precinct 4, which represent Plano.


As an advocate for business in the Plano area, the Plano Chamber’s fundamental purpose is to create and sustain a competitive advantage for businesses in the City of Plano and the North Texas region. CLICK HERE to view the Plano Chamber’s advocacy initiatives.

For more information about upcoming programs, please visit the Events Calendar.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Hurricane Harvey Relief

Texans Helping Texans. That’s what our great state is all about. Businesses and individuals across the country are stepping up to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in the aftermath. Below is a non-comprehensive list of local member businesses collecting donations, volunteering, and providing services to those in need. (Please Note: this list is not comprehensive and will be updated regularly with new opportunities to help. Please check back regularly.)

1418 Coffeehouse – Collecting nonperishable food, clothes, and personal hygiene products through September 1.
American Red Cross – Text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 or sign up to volunteer at 
Carter BloodCare
– Blood and platelet donations
– Accepting sporting equipment, athletic shoes, backpacks, diapers, wipes, and dog food donations.
City of Plano
– The City asks all donations be delivered to Trusted World. CLICK HERE for an updated list of supplies needed.
College Hunks Hauling Junk
– Collecting diapers, formula, socks, toiletries, and feminine hygiene products on September 14 at the Downtown Plano Art & Wine Walk.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House
– Donating 20% of all sales from August 31-September 4.
Holiday Warehouse
– Collecting clothing, toiletries, cleaning supplies, bottled water, dog/cat food, diapers, formula, and more. A portion of all proceeds on September 4 will be donated to disaster relief efforts.
Hyatt Place Dallas/Plano
– Collecting toiletries and other donation items to distribute to relief operations.
iFratelli Pizza Plano West
– Sponsoring a lunch on September 3rd at Hyatt Place Dallas/Plano for anyone displaced by Hurricane Harvey.
Minnie’s Food Pantry
– Toiletries, new socks and underwear, diapers, bottled water, non-perishable foods
Norma’s Cafe Plano – Collecting clothes, pillows, blankets, toiletries, pet products, school supplies, and more.
North Texas Food Bank – Collecting food and monetary donations to send to evacuees, first responders, and the Houston area as requested by local and state officials.
Plano Magazine – Collecting diapers, formula, socks, toiletries, and feminine hygiene products on September 14 at the Downtown Plano Art & Wine Walk.
Sharon Corsentino Mediations – 10% of profits from September and October will be donated to hurricane relief efforts.
The Barre Code Plano – Donating $10 from every Labor Day Leap & Lunge Bootcamp on September 4th to Hurricane Harvey medical relief efforts. Sign up HERE.
Two Men And A Truck – Dog/cat supplies for animal shelters.
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas – A dedicated relief fund has been established to provide support to victims. 100% of funds collected will be distributed to nonprofits supporting relief efforts. CLICK HERE to donate.

Welcome New July 2017 Members!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 21 new business members in the month of July. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the link below.

Membership Thank You

1st Choice Foundation Repair Co.
Alpha Marketing Group
Atlas Point at Prestonwood
Baymont Inn & Suites Plano
Communities Foundation of Texas
Farmbyrd Rotisserie & Fry
Good Life Family Magazine
Ketamine Health & Wellness Center of Texas
LeTourneau University
Mark Heard Agency
Mattress Firm / Sleep Experts
Mic Global Services
Millennium Smiles
MP Orthodontics
Newman Cost Recovery Advisors
Plano ISD Education Foundation
Tastefully Yours Bakery & Catering
Terry Mitchell
The Boeing Company
The Colony ER

Are you interested in learning more about the Plano Chamber of Commerce and what your business can gain from joining the Plano Chamber? CLICK HERE for information about member benefits, services, and programs or contact Tracy Bartholomew, Director of Membership Development, at

Don’t forget to visit the Plano Chamber Business Directory the next time you are looking for products, services, or a fun night out with friends! Remember to support local businesses and Shop Plano First.

Welcome New June 2017 Members!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 26 new business members in the month of June. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the link below.

Membership Thank You

Body Machine Fitness
Brookdale Hospice
The Capital Grille Plano
Closet Revival
Costco Warehouse West Plano
Costco Wholesale #664 – East Plano
Dallas Associated Dermatologists
Dental Place of Plano
Farmers Insurance – Serrano Agency
Firebird Restaurant Group, LLC
iTecs IT Support
Norma’s Cafe
PurePoint Financial
Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel
Sandy Clark Travel
Señor Locos Tex Mex Icehouse
Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar
Southwest Community Foundation
The Bar Method Plano
Total Wine & More
Via Wellness Coach

Are you interested in learning more about the Plano Chamber of Commerce and what your business can gain from joining the Plano Chamber? CLICK HERE for information about member benefits, services, and programs or contact Tracy Bartholomew, Director of Membership Development, at

Don’t forget to visit the Plano Chamber Business Directory the next time you are looking for products, services, or a fun night out with friends! Remember to support local businesses and Shop Plano First.

Deadline Extended – 2017 Dream Big Small Business Awards


2017 Dream Big Awards

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is in search of outstanding small businesses to participate in the 2017 Dream Big Small Business of the Year Awards program. This year’s Dream Big Award winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize and national recognition as part of the 2017 Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.

Due to an overwhelming response from the U.S. Chamber’s corporate and chamber of commerce partners during the nomination process, they are extending the online application deadline to Monday June 5! This allows every small business the opportunity to celebrate their growth and success.

As part of the online application, each small business is required to:

  • Provide documentation of grossed revenues of less than $20 million in 2015 and 2016;
  • Provide documentation of in-kind and/or financial support to their community; and,
  • Provide responses to four (4) short essay prompts.

All online applications must be received by 11:59 P.M. EST on Monday, June 5, 2017.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is committed to recognizing a diversity of small business owners for their contributions to creating jobs to support economic growth.

To apply for the 2017 Dream Big Small Business of the Year Awards, please CLICK HERE.

Welcome New Members!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 33 new business members in the month of May. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the link below.

Membership Thank You

1 Solar Solution
Advance Auto Parts
Bloomfield Knoble Advertising
Celtin Bookkeeping Services LLC
Cendera Funding
CloudMellow Technologies and Consulting
Colleen Frost Realtors
Del Frisco’s Grille Legacy West
Farrah I. Ahmed PLLC
Flippin Pizza
Gemini Investments
Harmony Public Schools
Highpoint Apartments & Townhomes
Hutchins BBQ & Catering Co.
JPaul Roofing & Construction
Keating Marshall PLLC
Miklos Law, PLLC
North Italia Legacy West
OnQ Financial
Plano Housing Corporation
Productions Plus
Residence Inn Dallas Plano/Richardson
Rosenberg, Johnson & Sparks, PLLC
Sunfinity Solar
SwitchPlace, LLC
Texas Pain Physicians
Travel Host
True Food Kitchen

Are you interested in learning more about the Plano Chamber of Commerce and what your business can gain from joining the Plano Chamber? CLICK HERE for information about member benefits, services, and programs or contact Tracy Bartholomew, Director of Membership Development, at

Don’t forget to visit the Plano Chamber Business Directory the next time you are looking for products, services, or a fun night out with friends! Remember to support local businesses and Shop Plano First.

In Booming Plano Labor Market, Some Employers Struggle to Hire

Restaurants, hospitality employers have trouble retaining employees as new jobs flood into suburb.

Garland resident Antonio Oreste, 42, works two jobs at The Shops at Legacy, including this one as a cook at Taco Diner.  Photo by: Daniel Houston, Community Impact Newspaper
Garland resident Antonio Oreste, 42, works two jobs at The Shops at Legacy, including this one as a cook at Taco Diner.
Photo by: Daniel Houston, Community Impact Newspaper

By Daniel Houston

May 25, 2017 – A series of prominent developments in Plano is expected to bring tens of thousands of jobs to the city in the coming years—but it will be harder to fill some of those job openings than others.

From the executives and staff in brand-new, sparkling corporate offices, to the cooks and servers in restaurants at the Legacy West development, the demand for labor in Plano is diverse and growing. But local business leaders have said the Plano restaurants, retail stores and hospitality employers that have struggled for years to retain their workers could be in for a harder time in the coming months.

“In a community like Plano where you have a large number of restaurants, retail [and] hotels that are coming online at once, you have a lot of competition” for labor, said Jamee Jolly, president and CEO of the Plano Chamber of Commerce.

Part of the issue, Jolly said, is tied to the cost of living in Plano, where fewer service-industry and retail professionals can afford to live than in some other areas of North Texas. The average home in Plano is valued at well over $300,000, and apartment rents tend to be higher than most low-wage earners can afford, she said.

These same conditions, common throughout Collin County, mean the area draws a high concentration of educated residents that higher-paying employers would like to attract. More than half of Plano residents have a bachelor’s or graduate degree, compared with fewer than 1 in 4 residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at large.

The local labor market has been moving in this direction for years, even before the latest round of development in Plano, state demographer Lloyd Potter said.

“There’s been a shift of the occupation of people that are in the labor force toward higher-skilled, higher-paid jobs, and away from the lower-skilled, lower-paid jobs,” Potter said.

Looking outside for answers

The restaurant industry is known for its chronic struggle to maintain stable staffs, but the past three years have been the most difficult Javier Ventura can remember.

Ventura, general manager for the Taco Diner location at The Shops at Legacy, said he works regularly to fill vacancies on his high-turnover restaurant staff.

“I will say that 80 percent of the people that I hire are going to be young, really young people,” Ventura said. “Those are the ones that either they last for one month or they just work for maybe a couple weeks and they say, ‘You know what, it’s just not for me.’”

Over time, Ventura said, the older, more experienced employees tend to stick around longer than younger employees with less experience. However, most of these employees who constitute the backbone of his staff do not live in Plano, he said.

“It’s people that come from Dallas, Garland, maybe Carrollton, because I guess they find it a little bit more hard for them to find a job,” Ventura said.

The restaurant starts employees off at $11 to $12 an hour in an effort to attract more candidates, Ventura said. When out-of-town candidates express interest in working at Taco Diner, however, Ventura said they will often hesitate when they learn the exact location.

Other business owners and managers have reached out to the Chamber with similar stories of hiring difficulties, Jolly said.

“When you’re talking about an hourly job, to ask someone to drive across North Texas to get to that job is not really feasible,” Jolly said. “Plano is surrounded on three sides by a toll road. That can be cost-prohibitive when you’re talking about a lower-wage-earning job.”

Antonio Oreste, a 42-year-old cook at Ventura’s restaurant, drives to work from his home in Garland each day. After he finishes his shift at Taco Diner each day, Oreste walks to a second job at another restaurant.

For other potential employees who, unlike Oreste, depend on public transportation to get to work, a broad swath of Plano is not served directly by rail or buses. That said, Plano is more connected to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit network than suburbs to the north.

“We do have light rail into our eastern sector, and that’s been very good for the restaurant industries on the eastern portion that have been able to bring in talent from Dallas and other areas; that’s been great,” Jolly said. “We are increasing the [bus] routes … into Legacy and Legacy West.”

Increasing these bus routes is a step Ventura and other employers in The Shops at Legacy have sought for a while, Ventura said.

High cost of housing

Home prices are rising in Plano, but area apartments are not getting cheaper, either.

New apartment communities are popping up across the city, many as part of mixed-use developments coming online, including Legacy West on the city’s northwest corner and Heritage Creekside on its southern border.

But many of these apartments are aimed at the young professionals who may be living and working in the offices nearby. The lowest rent at one Heritage Creekside apartment community, for instance, is over $1,000 per month. Figures like that are more than what many who earn service-industry wages can afford, Jolly said.

“With the housing costs currently the way they are in Plano and most of our immediately surrounding communities, it’s cost-prohibitive for those folks to live and work here,” Jolly said.

Jolly said some measures companies have used include offering competitive wages and benefits, as well as flexible hours compared with competitors more central to Dallas.

Despite the continued hiring difficulties many employers in the retail and service industries are having, Jolly said she believes they will manage the new challenges as they have until now.

“Again, there’s a lot of competition, but I feel good that they’re aware of it,” Jolly said. “They’re doing their best to be proactive.”

Read the full article about Plano’s labor market by Community Impact Newspaper HERE.