The best and the brightest in Wichita Falls are meeting behind closed doors to help hammer out the future of economic development in the Falls. The Chamber of Commerce has formed an Economic Development Task Force.
Newschannel 6 worked to learn about the group. It took several requests to obtain a list of members. Chamber President and CEO Tim Chase said it was because he wanted to get the blessing of the members before making the actions and membership public knowledge.
The goal of the group is to keep the economic growth from becoming stagnant. In the past 24 months, the area has seen 18 development projects. "The last thing we want to do is say 'that's the way it has been done all along and this is the way we want to continue to do it'," said Chase.
Among the task force members is Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom. He said the panel will be discussing many things. "How do we recruit more business to Wichita Falls that helps bring jobs, good paying jobs, what do we need to do to build our community," he said.
Chase said the task force has no authority and is not making decisions on public policy or spending so there was no need to make the meetings public. "We feel like the group we are putting in the room is part of the Chamber of Commerce and we are not making any decisions, were not taking any action which of course would prompt the process to go before the 4A Board or the City Council," he said.
While the proceedings are not public, the outcome will be. "When we get something to wrap our arms around we will gladly share it with the media," said Chase.
Part of that playbook will be geared at making sure the ball is not dropped. "Things are looking better for us, but you can't stop. If you're not running ahead, you are falling behind," said Gossom.
Below is the list of participants Newschannel 6 obtained from the Chamber.
Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6
Mr. Art Amaral - General Manager, Nissan of Wichita Falls
Mr. Dick Bundy, AIA - Architect - Bundy, Young, Sims & Potter
Mr. Kevin Hugman - Wichita Falls Assistant City Manager and Staff Liaison to the 4A/4B Boards
Mr. Jim Johnson - President of the Chamber Board
Dr. George Kazanas - WFISD Superintendent
Mrs. Katherine McGregor - Realtor, McGregor Group
Ms. Mona Williams Statser - Executive Director of Workforce Solutions, North Texas
Ms. Kay Yeager - Former Mayor
Mayor Glenn Barham - Mayor of Wichita Falls and Council Liaison to the 4A/4B Boards
Mr. Ron Duncan - President & CEO Magicaire
Mr. James Frank - Owner, Sharp Iron
Mr. Kevin Pearson - Chamber VP of Economic Development
Dr. Jesse W. Rogers - President of MSU
Mr. Warren T. Ayres - Executive Vice President, CFO and Director, Eagle Oil & Gas Co.
Mr. Michael Bernhardt - President, YTO-USA
Mr. Dennis Cannedy - CPA FREEMON, SHAPARD & STORY
Mr. Tim Chase, CEcD, FM - President and CEO of the Chamber
Mr. D. Todd Davenport - Attorney, Gibson Davenport Anderson
Judge Woody Gossom - Wichita County Judge
Mr. Tim Ingle - Wichita Falls City Councilor, District 4
Dr. Dusty Johnston, Ed.D. - President of Vernon College
Mr. Munir Lalani - President & CEO Lalani Lodging
Mr. Darron Leiker - Wichita Falls City Manager
Mr. Harry Patterson - Owner, Patterson Auto Group
Mr. Paul Rodriguez -
Mr. Gary Shores - 4A Board President
Mr. R.J. "Randy" Wachsman - Homebuilder, R.J. Wachsman Homes