The Plano Chamber of Commerce, The Plano Independent School District, and the City of Plano joined Plano Mayor John Muns to deliver its annual meeting and State of the City address for 2022.

The annual meeting discussed updates for the upcoming year, and the passing of the gavel from the 2021 Board Chair Steve McSwain to 2022 Board Chair Emily Zoog.

Here are the updates you need to know.

Plano Chamber’s new leadership brings new goals for small business growth, voter turnout

Steve McSwain delivered his final message as Board Chair by discussing the goals that the Plano Chamber has accomplished in 2021 — starting the Plano Works Leadership Foundation, helping voter turnout, hosting job fairs and welcoming over 600 new teachers to Plano.

“One of my roles as Board Chair was to act as a mentor to our chair-elect and to prepare them for the year ahead,” McSwain said. “I am very excited to officially pass the gavel on and I know our 2022 chair is going to leave a lasting impact on the organization.”

The gavel was then passed on to Emily Zoog who is a Business Development Officer and Vice President for Veritex Community Bank. She is now officially the 2022 Plano Chamber Chair of the Board.

Zoog discussed future goals of the chamber such as the development of a small business program, focusing on “sharing resources and building stronger growth opportunities,” and welcoming back in-person events.

Zoog also addressed other goals such as voter education and turnout for both the March and November elections. The chamber will focus on educating the community on policy issues as well as the candidates that are running for office.

She discussed how to execute voter awareness by via three tools: “ballot-ready,” “quorum grassroots” and “quorum legislative tracking.”

  • Ballot-ready is on the Plano Chamber’s website, and it allows for you to check voting locations, registration status, create voting plans and inform yourself on policy issues and candidates.
  • Quorum grassroots is a platform in which the members of the chamber will get involved through engaging and educating supporters and communicating with policy makers via text, calls and emails.
  • Quorum legislative tracking will be used by the chamber to get updates on legislative bills and policies and to inform the community of how it can relate and impact local Plano businesses.

Cheryl “Action” Jackson’s new slogan, vision leading the women’s division

The Plano chamber will be celebrating its 50th anniversary of the women’s division later this year. With a spirit of accomplishment, Zoog introduced Dr. Cheryl “Action” Jackson, the Women’s Division Board President of the Plano Chamber and also the founder of Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano.

Dr. Jackson’s words were short but significant. She revealed that the slogan for this year women’s division will be “working better together.”

“The women’s division now works to empower women in business to harness their full potential,” Jackson said. “As the first African American women’s division president, I am proud to share our theme for 2022, working better together. We have a truly amazing year of opportunities planned and could not be more excited to see all that we can accomplish by working better together.”

Plano Education: growing numbers despite challenge

In the next segment, education was the following subject and it was introduced again by Kelle Marsalis.

“Education has and always will be a priority for our community,” Marsalis said. “Our public school system is our greatest asset and is key to our future workforce and the success of our local businesses, large and small.”

In spite of the tumult the district faced Plano Independent School District (Plano ISD) noted the following accomplishments:

  • 49,000+ students
  • 6,400+ employees
  • 73 schools
  • 6 academy programs, serving students pre-k to adult, special education to age 22
  • 21 U.S. Presidential Scholar Semifinalists
  • 79 National Merit Semifinalists
  • Scripps National Spelling Bee Finalist
  • Best communities for music education in America

These number come at the forefront, despite the district’s challenge in managing COVID-19 amid understaffing concerns

Mayor talks construction, COVID-19, winter storm

Plano Mayor John Muns wrapped up the annual meeting with his State of the City address.

Muns first discussed the construction surrounding the Plano area. “In this budget year, we have dedicated $286 million to infrastructure-related projects, along with another $14.9 million in ARPA funds.”

To discuss the coming construction and infrastructural matters further, the virtual meeting then shifted over to the Director of Public Works, Dan Prendergast and Director of Engineering, Caleb Thornhill. Together, they discussed the benefits and costs of repairing an overlay street vs. replacing it.

(We have dedicated a separate article reporting more in-depth on the significant construction coming to Plano. Click to read.)

Mayor Muns later commended the relationship between the medical community and the Plano Fire-Rescue team and how it related to the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“Plano has earned a national reputation for excellent lifesaving capabilities thanks to the partnership between our medical community and our Plano Fire-Rescue team,” Muns said. “This partnership was even more critical throughout the COVID pandemic.”

Muns also reflected on the historic winter storm of February 2021 and how they city staff, volunteers, Plano Fire-Rescue team and Plano Police Department came together to work closely with non-profits, provide emergency water shut offs, water distribution sites, and keeping the streets and intersections safe. “We would not have been successful in meeting the vast needs caused by this once in a lifetime storm without the work of our dedicated staff and our community partners.”

Mayor Muns ended his State of the City announcement with an assurance of excellence for the city moving into 2022.

“We are collectively committed to excellence. I can assure you our expectations have never been higher as we move forward as a community of excellence,” Muns said. “It’s an honor to serve as your mayor and to be able to report to you today that the state of our city remains excellent.”

WATCH the whole State of the City meeting here.

To find out more information on how you can get involved or become a member, visit https://www.planochamber.org/ or call (972)-424-7547

Tina-Tien Nguyen

Tina-Tien Nguyen is a freelancer for Local Profile, and other publications like Advocate Magazine and Dallas Morning News. You can find her enjoying her favorite spots at Legacy West and Legacy Hall. She...