Since becoming president of the Southlake Chamber of Commerce July 1, 2010, Dana Davis has been on the move. Meeting Chamber members, attending community events, and working with local leaders have made him a quickly recognized face in Southlake. His accomplishments to-date include hiring new staff members, changing the Chamber’s fiscal year, and pulling off the most successful Oktoberfest in the event’s nine-year history. But he’s just getting started. Davis discusses the Chamber’s plans to provide more value to members, assist with Southlake’s economic development initiatives, and gives a sneak peek of what’s to come in 2011.
Q: What changes have taken place at the Southlake Chamber since you joined?
DD: We have worked hard at enhancing the image of the Chamber throughout the community by being visible and by making sure that our product is at a high level. We aren’t there yet, but we are heading in the right direction. We have also spent a great deal of time reviewing our offerings and modifying some of them to make them more effective, both for us and our members. We are here to “serve the needs of business” and will be listening to our membership to determine what services we can provide to enhance their profitability and bring more benefit to the City of Southlake.
Lastly, we have worked closely with the City of Southlake and have developed a joint agreement that enables us to participate in the City’s business retention and expansion program. We will be surveying many Southlake businesses over the course of the next few months. We are confident that the results will assist the City and the Chamber in providing programs and support necessary for our businesses to grow.
Q: Are there new Chamber programs or special events coming in 2011?
DD: The Chamber has elected to bring back its golf tournament following a two year hiatus. The “Inaugural Shootout” will be held on May 16 at Timarron Country Club. We have also made changes to the underlying structure of our monthly luncheons and will bring in some outstanding speakers in 2011. Chuck Greenberg, managing partner and CEO of the Texas Rangers was our speaker in January, February’s luncheon will bring the commanding general of the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill to Southlake, and the March event will be our “Federal Reserve” luncheon with our speaker discussing issues vital to our members’ economic growth and sustainability. We will hold the Leadership Southlake Graduation luncheon in May and the “State of Education” luncheon in October with Superintendent David Faltys. June and November will bring joint lunches with the Keller Chamber, always favorites for our membership as they bring outstanding networking opportunities.
Q: This year will be Oktoberfest’s 10th anniversary – what can we expect?
DD: Bigger and better! I arrived in Southlake 90 days before Oktoberfest 2010 and learned much during the planning and execution of last year’s celebration – an event that exceeded our previous best by almost 40 percent. We want to make our 10th Anniversary Oktoberfest a memorable event for the community. Planning is already underway with a large number of volunteers on board. Our 10th Anniversary Oktoberfest, which will be held September 30 – October 2, will add a 5K race on Saturday, expand the footprint to the north, bring a larger big screen jumbotron, transform the weiner dog races and bring quality entertainment. Marketing will also be expanded so that we can share the Southlake experience with many more visitors to our city.
Q: What are the Chamber’s goals/priorities for 2011?
DD: The Chamber’s mission is to “serve the needs of business.” Our goals are related to four core competencies – community relations, business relations, public relations and Chamber operations. In 2011, we want to build upon collaborative relationships with officials from city and regional governments, maintain cooperative relations with key business organizations such as the Southlake Business Council and the Southlake Executive Forum, as well as CISD and the non-profit community as we look for ways to improve our city. From a Chamber perspective, we want to grow our membership and make sure we are taking care of the needs of our members by maximizing opportunities for them to connect through Chamber facilitated events and increasing member awareness of how to benefit from being a member of the Chamber. We will also explore new programs/training opportunities that would benefit our membership.
We want to do a better job in 2011 of directing visitors to Southlake through the distribution of our visitor’s/new resident resource guide. We are presently exploring opportunities for a wider distribution network and hope to implement that process later this year. We want to help promote Southlake as the center of the metroplex and therefore position our businesses and city for greater success. From an internal perspective, we will spend time this year on strategic planning, developing leadership opportunities, and establishing a plan of leadership succession. We will work hard to ensure that all information we produce is accurate and enhances the image of Southlake and the Chamber.
Q: What have you learned about Southlake during your first six months?
DD: I am very pleased with the passion that residents of Southlake have for their community and their willingness to volunteer and serve in capacities that continue to make Southlake the great place it is to live and have a business. I see evidence of this every day and from many sectors.
For additional information, contact the Southlake Chamber of Commerce at 817-481-8200 or www.southlakechamber.com.