Rich Commentary

A blog where Richardson leaders present valued topics
April 12, 2016

Support our children and teachers: vote to equip excellence in our schools

The $437.1 million bond proposal is absolutely necessary to keep RISD among the best in the area and provide tools and facilities to meet the demands of producing an exceptional 21st century workforce. If the bond proposal passes, the district’s tax levy would remain the third lowest in Dallas and Collin counties.


Looking Ahead in 2016

By Ken Hutchenrider, Chairman of the Board for the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, and President of Methodist Richardson Medical Center

What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for local businesses in 2016?

Ken Hutchenrider 5x7Richardson continues to benefit from continued growth and unceasing announcements of businesses moving into the area. With our Richardson Economic Development Partnership’s (REDP) work with the City of Richardson, more than 6000 jobs were retained or added to the Richardson work force in 2015 alone. More daytime workers are coming to our city, and smaller service-oriented businesses will benefit from higher demand. From my day job at the hospital, part of the reason we’ve expanded and relocated our services is the larger number of people to help. The hospital recently opened a new inpatient wing with 25 additional beds. We are already operating more than three years ahead of our expected growth plan, so I’m happy that Methodist Richardson is growing right along with our communities to better serve them.

I know from what I’ve heard from the community during the recent election that there are some concerns about transportation, specifically the heavy congestion on Central Expressway. Richardson is committed to working with the Texas Department of Transportation, as we are the second largest employment center in the Dallas area.  Richardson is strategically located with access to four major highways, as well as bus and light rail service. The passage of the recent bond election shows we’re investing in the City’s infrastructure for the future safety and enjoyment of citizens and businesses alike.

What are your expectations for the economy, both locally and nationally?

Again, our local economy is strong. DFW was recently named one of the TOP TEN ECONOMIES IN THE COUNTRY. There isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be, considering the intentional planning being done by all of our community’s leaders. We’re attracting an educated and affluent workforce that is used to spending money on a variety of items. That discretionary income is going to spread to all of our businesses.

What are the most important things local businesses will need to do to succeed in the New Year?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say ‘Join the Chamber!’ to continue investing in a successful program of growth for the future. Beyond all the work we do attracting new businesses throughout the US and internationally, we connect local businesses with each other to share contacts, knowledge and resources. We have a variety of methods for small businesses to promote their products and services as well. I’d also highly recommend investing in the young talent flooding Richardson with students looking for experience in building their careers. The University of Texas at Dallas, Richland College and even our local high schools all have programs to match qualified students with business needs at little or no cost. Training for current employees can also be hugely valuable. Richland College has a corporate training program, through the Skills Development Fund Grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, and can assist with on-site job training.

What are some of the highlights of Richardson Chamber of Commerce’s planned events and programs?

The Chamber will continue to highlight programs targeted for the needs of our members. We have networking programs, our Women in Leadership and Richardson Young Professionals events, updates about the latest in city development at our Growth & Mobility Luncheon, and recognition events from at our Annual Meeting and EDGE awards. A truly impactful program remains our Leadership Richardson effort, which produces visionaries who will impact Richardson well into the future. We also have committees who are solving local issues such as education, workforce development and public policy, just to name a few.

What potential do you foresee for local job growth this year? 

Our REDP continues to aggressively market Richardson outside the area, and we have several high-value properties that are ready to be leased. With the continued influx of trendy restaurants and businesses that attract a continuing supply of millennials educated by UT Dallas, we should really hold on tight, because this ride isn’t over!

How do evolving demographics influence business offerings in your community?

The REDP will be executing on a campaign to attract young professionals to Richardson to meet the employment demands of our new and existing companies and encourage them to live in the high-end multi-family complexes that are beginning to surround these new corporate campuses. While we start to see our population take a younger swing, be on the lookout for a growing night life and options for entertainment.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Richardson is a vibrant city with great businesses, great schools, great diversity, great leaders; the list goes on. But there is always room for new ideas and new leaders to meet the ever changing landscape. I encourage anyone interested to step up and get involved. 

Challenge Yourself to Change by Susan Yost - (9/17/2015)

“You want us to do what?” That was the question running through my mind at a recent Leadership Richardson retreat where a challenge course put my fate into other people’s hands – literally. Time and again, moments in life have made me scratch my head and take a step back so that I could determine how to change paths, find a solution and move forward. But, after surviving this course, new doorways have opened in my mind, spirit, work, friendships and family life. A whole new energy has been born in me to keep challenging myself for change – change that will help me better serve others and engage more deeply in living, loving and leading.

So, what exactly happened at this retreat? More than I could’ve imagined. Being a part of this leadership program is a commitment not for the faint of heart, a true privilege and honor for which I’m deeply grateful. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many great leaders and had a preconceived notion that a degree of ego might be present at this retreat where I was among peers with whom I’d typically don a suit or business attire, wear my game face and appear confident. But all that flew out the window when 35 strangers were divided into teams and assigned to lift and carry each other through tight spaces, scale walls using each other as human ladders, and climb poles and wires high above the ground, all while carefully guiding and encouraging each other to push through our fears. And when I say lift and carry, I mean grabbing and holding body parts covered in sweat to ensure safety and success occurred at all costs. As if we were on a military mission, no man or woman was left behind.

Pushing through your fears in front of others has a way of taking you to your pure self, stripping down all veils of vanity, ego and pride. In the great author and speaker Brene Brown’s book "Daring Greatly", she talks about wholehearted living and the power and courage of vulnerability – all of which transforms us when we allow ourselves to trust ourselves and others to make the seemingly impossible possible. When we are challenged, leaning on others for a collective purpose wins every time, even when we so-called fail. When I reflect on the challenge course, Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic,” which was the inspiration for Brown’s book title, comes to mind. I feel the words leaping off the pages and into my psyche. We were “the men and women in the arena,” and will continue to be as our journey together progresses. Here’s the excerpt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….”

After surviving the challenge course, I sat resting, hydrating and observing the after effects of our feats. With tired bodies, relieved from the hours-long grip of life-saving harnesses, I looked around at these people who only hours earlier were sizing each other up, wondering who they’d be paired with, uncertain of the certain discomfort ahead. Each face, each smile, every recollection from the day’s experience now belonged uniquely to us, a band of brothers and sisters, comrades for life, ready to uncover new possibilities to make ourselves and community stronger.

What has been poured into me, I want to share with you. For all of you out there longing to feel “unstuck” in areas of your life, stop thinking, wishing and hoping. That is literally insane – repeating the same actions and expecting different results. Start with small steps. Do something a little different each day that makes you uncomfortable. Prove to yourself you are more than your circumstances. Open yourself to vulnerability. Ask others to hold you accountable to change, one action at a time. Your courage will increase, your life will positively progress, new friendships and opportunities will reveal themselves when you “step into the arena.” Each of us is worthy. Practicing what I preach has been my greatest teaching about Loving On Me.

What are you going to do to challenge yourself for a difference-making change? Whatever it is, get ready to be uncomfortable. All of “us” will be out there ready to join you in taking your life to the next level!

-Susan Yost(9/17/2015)

Looking Ahead: Richardson area works to attract foreign investments, offices

-Charlie Chen
Jan 2, 2015

Charlie Chen is chairman of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He is also chairman and chief executive officer of DFW Technology, a Richardson-based IT services provider.

What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for local businesses in 2015?

A: Richardson will continue to benefit as the CityLine development along State Highway 190 [President George Bush Turnpike] comes to fruition during 2015. These additional companies and workers will increase the amount of business activity, along with the number of people working, visiting or moving to the area.

Since I work across international lines, every day I see the increased interest in Richardson as people and businesses become more and more aware of the talent, innovation and network of future-focused people our area has to offer.

Additionally housing an academic powerhouse like the University of Texas at Dallas in our backyard brings many benefits to our community. I’m impressed as I mentor and interact with their international students.

Change is rarely one-sided, however. As development happens in the 190 corridor, more renovations should be implemented to address our aging buildings and retail areas.

The City Council has taken proactive steps to identify and address these needs, and our economic development team continues to be ambassadors and facilitators to implement positive change in these areas.

What are your expectations for the economy, both locally and nationally?

A: Richardson will begin to experience the full impact of the CityLine development this year, with the actual presence of neighbors State Farm, Raytheon, Whole Foods and our other retailers.

From a national perspective, the U.S. dollar will be stronger with Japan’s massive quantitative easing and stagnation in the European markets.

However, this lack of demand internationally will lead to fewer exports and will not help our national deficits.


When looking at a direct international effect on local Richardson, I foresee a very positive future. Richardson’s international program, under the direction of the mayor’s office, the Richardson Economic Development Partnership and [Chamber Vice President] Mike Skelton, is starting to generate tangible returns on investment with foreign companies making visits and investments in Richardson and developing their first U.S. offices in our city. These new companies will also generate new business demands and activities which will in turn benefit our current businesses.

This international growth is aided by the connections we’ve made with our UTD international students, who serve as local bridges for future international business development.

These developments cause a higher demand for housing in Richardson because of these business relocations. Home values will continue to rise, and the impact on our city’s tax resources will benefit our citizens in services provided by the city.


What are some of the highlights of Richardson Chamber of Commerce’s planned events and programs?

A: The Chamber has established its legislative agenda for the coming session, and we’ll be working with our representatives to pass legislation that will benefit businesses in Richardson and Texas as a whole.

I also have a high interest in our international outreach. Our International Technology Business Development effort will team with the city and our representative Metroplex Technology Business Council to have a delegation visit Japan, Korea and China this year to continue to develop long-term relationships.


What advances in technology, transportation and communication have affected business this year? What role will those advances play next year?

A: Richardson has emerged as a cloud-computing powerhouse as big data and online demands have intensified worldwide. Our legacy with a power and network infrastructure will continue to bring in clean technology opportunities and money.



Richardson Chamber President Bill Sproull introduces the new Arts and Technology (ATEC) Building on the UTD campus.