Advocacy has been and will continue to define the substantive work the North SA Chamber engages in on behalf of San Antonio and Bexar County businesses—those who are Members and those who are not. We are a pro-business organization!
During 2018, we led several Advocacy efforts on behalf of area businesses: Labor Peace Agreement (Jan); Paid Sick Leave – Amicus Brief (May); Republican National Convention – Letter (Jul); Austin Paid Sick Leave – Amicus Brief (Aug); San Antonio Charter Amendments (May), and Tourism Public Improvement District Fee (Jun). Additionally, we engaged in significant preparation for the 2019 Legislative Session in Austin.
The North SA Chamber focused, also, on Collaboration. Together, with IBC Bank, we co-sponsored two SA Conversations programs: SA Conversations – Baseball (Mar) and SA Conversations – US Senators (Apr). We participated in transformational, collaborative meetings with the San Antonio Chamber and Hispanic Chamber that included the Mayor, City Manager, and County Judge. During these quarterly meetings, issues affecting the business community were thoroughly and frankly discussed, providing clear and unambiguous guidance to elected/appointed city leaders from a pro-business point of view. Additionally, we joined other Chambers for the SA to DC fly-in to meet with elected officials at the national level on issues important to the business community.
We began New Initiatives, including a significant collaboration with the County to champion the Bexar County Military Transition Center (Aug); and, in conjunction with LeadSA, a 501(c)(3) of the North SA Chamber, we launched the newest offering in our Leadership Development programs: Innovative Leadership (Jan).
Notably, we celebrated with Duane Wilson, as he retired from his quarter-century of distinguished leadership as President/CEO of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce (Jun). We then welcomed new President/CEO, Cristina Aldrete (Aug) who, along with staff and the Executive Committee are rethinking new aspects of North SA Chamber operations and programming. As she began her tenure, Cristina was selected to the 2019 Texas Association of Business Board of Directors and will also serve on the San Antonio Mobility Coalition Executive Committee, as well as the Board for Visit San Antonio.
Our Programming reflects the diverse Member base comprising the North SA Chamber. Annual programs like State of the County (May) and Mayor’s Vision (Aug) continued providing Members direct contact with City and County leaders, promoting transparency and accountability from elected officials. Our 2018 Golf Tournament (Mar) was among the most successful for the North Chamber.
We will never lose touch with our Members. After a decade of holding steady on North SA Chamber membership rates, we introduced a Member Rate Increase (Jan) that allows us the flexibility to think in bigger terms about how we support Member-businesses. Our annual Gala (Feb) recognized UT Health San Antonio, and its President, Dr. William Henrich, M.D., with the San Antonian Award for significant contributions to San Antonio. We conducted, for the first time, a Power Networking Focus Group (Jun) that is being used to re-imagine our networking programs in 2019; and, we convened a Small Business Task Force that has added clarity to our marketing and brand focus.
Performance will always be a key metric at the North SA Chamber. In 2018, our Membership Renewals surpassed expectations, exceeding our year-end forecast by more than 40 percent.
Our Board of Directors and Executive Council approved a measure to Expand Board Membership to include ex officio representation from civic organizations (Nov). Recognizing the need for a San Antonio workforce prepared to meet 21st-century challenges and opportunities, we redefined our Business Development Council, renaming it the Business and Workforce Development Council. The expanded Council works to identify and develop advanced initiatives, including educational resources and training seminars, designed to prepare San Antonio for the workforce needs of tomorrow.
All in all, 2018 was a transformational year for the North San Antonio Chamber, and we look forward to even greater success for the Chamber and its Members as we begin a new era of pro-business leadership in our Great City!
The North SA Chamber focused on leadership development and public policy advocacy. In addition to graduating 85 Leadership Lab participants, the North SA Chamber introduced College Student Memberships – offering students a two-year, discounted membership. We launched a brand-new software system Chamber Masters that allows our membership to manage, market and enhance their business online through the Member Information Center. A group of North SA Chamber board members, volunteers and staff went to Austin for the very first Legislative Day advocating for tuition revenue bonds for local universities and increased highway funding. The legislature approved tuition revenue bonds for UTSA, The UT Health Science Center, and Texas A&M San Antonio. The legislature also passed Proposition 7 – a constitutional amendment allocating billions of dollars for highways in Texas. The North SA Chamber Board endorsed a Charter Amendment to pay our City Council and Mayor a living wage that was later approved by voters.
The North SA Chamber celebrated 40 years of service to San Antonio. We promoted workforce development through the addition of an online training catalog, the launch of College Student Memberships and graduated the largest Leadership Lab class of 80 participants. The Board of Directors: opposed the proposed Storm Water Fee rate and methodology restructuring and it was removed from the 2015 City Budget; endorsed Proposition 1 to authorize annual disbursements from the state’s oil and gas production tax collections to the State Highway Fund; and endorsed the Vista Ridge water pipeline. We launched the North SA Chamber Member Benefit Solutions program by MetLife offering members with 2 to 999 employees, access to competitive group rates for life, dental, disability and vision coverage.
The North SA Chamber emphasized a campaign to promote commerce among our members: Buy Local-Buy North Chamber, while improving online resources for members with the addition of a web-based Job Bank. The board of directors endorsed: 1) a local supplier ordinance that allows the City of San Antonio to give preference to businesses located in the city; and 2) Texas Constitutional Amendment No. 3 to eliminate the tax levy on aircraft and other manufacturing inventory, and No. 6 implementing the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund.
The North SA Chamber refreshed our name and brand and refocused our message on “Keeping Bexar County Strong.” We launched a new website featuring expanded visibility opportunities for members, introduced improved membership benefits, and entered social media with a NorthSAChamber presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr – while the website, social media and marketing programs are named award-winning by the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives. The North SA Chamber endorsed Pre-K 4 SA and participated in the White House Business Summit.
The North Chamber supported GenTX and Café College to advance college readiness, and advocated for additional infrastructure dollars. The City of San Antonio committed $30 million toward the development of the Highway 281/Loop 1604 interchange, while the 281 Super Street was completed.
The North Chamber’s non-profit entity, Lead SA, launched a sustainability initiative that included the first endowment of a scholarship at UTSA’s Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute by a chamber of commerce, and an educational series that focuses on working with business to preserve our future.
The North Chamber continued its partnership with Humana of Central & South Texas to offer the North Chamber Members’ Health Plus employee benefits program, which includes discounted coverage options.
The North Chamber, in Partnership with Humana of Central & South Texas, offered a health insurance program exclusively for North Chamber members who have two to 99 employees. The North Chamber Members’ Health Plus plan includes a full spectrum of health benefit products including discounted premium arrangements for medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, wellness, employee assistance programs (EAP) and life insurance coverage. Insurance brokers throughout the service area are able to market this product.
The North Chamber endorsed the toll road concept, contingent on having the same or better “free” roads as they currently exist. While there are still obstacles to overcome in the toll debate, the Metropolitan Planning Organization voted and provided approval to proceed on the toll road construction.
The North Chamber and the National Sustainment Technology Center (NSTC) joined forces to lead an effort to attract and deploy federal dollars to retrofit aviation technology systems in San Antonio. Among its other benefits to our community, this initiative advances economic development opportunities for small, minority, veteran and women-owned businesses.
The North Chamber worked with City Council to successfully add to the City budget $11 million for infrastructure repairs.
The North Chamber endeavors to educate homeowner associations, community groups and city and county leaders on the need to increase funding for road maintenance and signage; and as a result of its advocacy efforts, City Council votes to increase the City Works budget by $25 million.
The North Chamber, in partnership with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), negotiates a land swap with the City of San Antonio to nearly double the footprint of UTSA’s downtown campus which launches its School of Architecture to the top-two spot in the state.
The North Chamber supports the City’s Bond Election and in doing so, also shifts the paradigm in City Hall’s thinking from a per-district focus to a broader and more effective citywide focus.
The North Chamber establishes a 501(c) (3) non-profit support organization, Lead SA, whose first major fund-raising event – Salute to Excellence honoring the San Antonio Business Journal, is a sold-out success.
On April 3, doors open officially to “the house that North Chamber members built” – the North Chamber’s new headquarters.
The North Chamber collaborates with other like-minded groups and helps to propel the San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative (SATAI), and as a result, the North Chamber introduces its own Technology Council – opening the door for future Business Technology Summits and Technology Forums. North Chamber members meet their capital campaign financial goals and construction begins on the member-financed North Chamber office building.
The North Chamber launches the Business Technology Summit and it too is named Best New Program by TCCE, and it also earns the Outstanding Economic Development Program award.
The North Chamber launches an ambitious Capital Campaign to secure $1 million to build and finance its own office building – a first in a city that hosts 13 chambers of commerce.
The North Chamber launches its state-of-the-art leadership development program, Leadership Lab. At their annual conference, the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives (TCCE) names Leadership Lab Best New Program of the year and awards The Arrow newsletter with the honor of Best of Show.
The North Chamber votes to endorse the east-west Wurzbach Parkway.
The North Chamber establishes an Education Council to build a crucial bridge between education and the workforce. A partnership with the Northeast Independent School District is formed and the Education Council initiates a Business Resource Directory, Student Shadow Day and various on-campus mentoring programs.
The North Chamber participates in Kelly AFB Small Business Partnership Day and The Governor’s Conference on Small Business; and as a result of the Governor’s conference 50 new legislative initiatives benefiting small business are enacted.
The North Chamber establishes the Small Business Council and trade show as a means of supporting the fast-growing small business sector.
President Clinton initiates the first White House Conference on Small Business, and the North Chamber leads an aggressive citywide effort to form a coalition of small business delegates to meet in Washington and voice concerns surrounding federally mandated legislative issues.
The North Chamber Infrastructure Committee initiates the San Antonio Transportation Alliance (comprised of representatives from all chambers of commerce, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, City Council members, County Commissioners, and former elected officials) to petition the Texas Highway Commissioners for critical funding for the U.S. Highway 281 and Loop 410 Interchange project.
The North Chamber provides the initial funding and support for the city’s Quality of Life Bond and small business members are appointed by the City Council to serve in key committees affecting San Antonio’s economic development and the Kelly AFB privatization process.
The North Chamber Transportation Committee organizes its first major coalition and appears before the Texas Transportation Commission in Austin to rally support and future funding for the U.S. Highway 281 and Loop 410 Interchange project.
The North Chamber establishes the Aviation and Tourism Councils and the first Tourism Symposium, Learning from Orlando, is launched.
The North Chamber leadership paves the way for the east-west Wurzbach Parkway and initiates the Vision 2020 Project designed to chart a viable course for San Antonio’s economic development through the year 2020.
The North Chamber forms a Transportation Committee with a commitment to revamp the city’s infrastructure.
The North Chamber plays a critical role in the development of the Alamo Dome.
The North Chamber leads the opposition to amend the City’s Charter to impose spending caps.
The North Chamber establishes the first School/Business Partnership Program placing business people as mentors to encourage students to stay in school.
The North Chamber champions extensive studies on the issue of water and leads an endeavor to improve the city’s water system.
The North Chamber hosts a tour of 250 Bigger and Better Business Developments.
The North Chamber endorses a statewide initiative to declare War on Drugs.
North Chamber members led an effort to improve the city’s water system.
The North Chamber endorses the highway entrance and exit ramp system between Interstate Highway 10 and Loop 410 – their first step in changing the city’s infrastructure.
Lloyd Jary, Robert Buck and Jim Dement charter the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to address future expansion issues and associated infrastructure needs for what is now considered the northern corridor of San Antonio.