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FACES & PLACES POW                                                                                  
Hail to Rail was celebrated Dec. 31 as Trinity Metro's TEXRail 
gave dignitaries with a Golden Ticket the inaugural ride from
Fort Worth to DFW International Airport. Guessing it was round trip, too.  Mayor Price Is Right was there, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley was  there, Trinity Metro coming and going leaders were there for the ribbon cutting. They expect to begin full service from the T&P Station to DFW Airport's Terminal B on Thursday, Jan. 10.  Photo by Glen Ellman. For more photos, click here #TimeToTrain

Click on the links below to enter for prizes

Not a flight risk: Hanukkah and Christmas and Kwanza have come and gone and hopefully you were fortunate to already have received one of these. But if not, prepare to take flight. Dwight Miller at iFLY in Hurst has a Spread Your Wings indoor skydiving package for two; maybe you can skyjack an additional VR flight from 13,000 feet. One of the high-flying, iFLY packages is part of the STEM program for Fort Worth, Keller and Arlington ISDs; the state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnel is used to inspire and educate students. The STEM educators guide students through an interactive presentation, demonstrations in the wind tunnel and grade-appropriate lab activities. Sounds way better than multiplication tables.

Scout's honor: Mr.B's obsession for bacon has him pondering the dawn of the
new sales campaign for Girl Scout cookies (Friday) ... and wondering, "Why can't the S'mores be wrapped in smoked bacon?" While you ponder that, Mr. B has obtained an order sheet at the Digital Cookie platform of the Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains website and pre-ordered four boxes of peanut butter Tagalongs and Do-Si-Dos. Each G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risktaker, Leader) may sell cookies door to door, at booths and through the digital platform. All of the money raised stays local. And so will these cookies, a case of S'Mores or a case of your favorites;  there are 12 boxes per case.

The eyes have it: Running a recruiting/staffing company and getting calls on the half hour from job seeker Mr. B about opportunities can be stressful. Jan Riggins, the GM at Express Employment Professionals, unwinds as a wife, mom and artist. From colored pencils to watercolors, Jan is self-taught and has progressed in a very short time to a much-sought-after event exhibitor and chalk artist. People, pets and animals are her specialties. "I am often told that the detail in my pieces and my ability to paint eyes is what attracts people to my work," she told an online magazine. "I definitely use techniques I honed with colored pencils to depict fur and hair with watercolors." Jan artfully donated a high-quality giclee print for two readers, either her donkey  or her goat.

Glee, without Lea Michele: It's a boys night out, at least on stage Jan. 18 when the touring Harvard Glee Club meets up with the Texas Boys Choir for one harmonizing night of song. The Texas Boys Choir will be premiering a new work by celebrated composer Dominick DiOrio, the lyrics of which the Boys helped write. The Harvard Glee Club is the oldest collegiate chorus (160 years) and
continues to serve as a "testament to the preservation of ... four cardinal virtues: glee, good humor, unity and joy." Harvard has performed on the road at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria, and more. The Texas Center for Arts + Academics gleefully will introduce it to Broadway Baptist Church. With great unity of tenor and bass, Courtney Mitchell sent a singing telegram announcing a four-pack of seats.


Congratulations  to the December 19th
Prize Winners:
  • Krystal Bybee, The Rios Group
  • Kathy Kassabian Reid, McDonald Sanders
  • Justin Smith, Hilton Garden Inn
  • Korey Wilkerson, Stanley Security (Sonitrol)

Are you a little jealous? SBL Architecture has offices in the left-field stands of the Texas Rangers' Globe Life Park. Mixed into the schedule with the baseball for the last time during 2019 and before the re-made XFL in 2020, is a Paul McCartney concert in June. "We'll have seats from our offices, but the sound from home plate isn't good," said Jim Little, Managing Principal. "We might have to buy tickets."

Separated at birth: Joel St. John, no relation to actress Jill, is a VP with real estate giant JLL. One of Mr. B's Chamber editors met him and is still fawning three weeks later. Ok, so Joel is quite a looker. The Fawner says he looks uncannily similar to Australian actor David Berry, best known for his TV characters James Bligh in, "A Place To Call Home" and Lord John Grey in "Outlander," The Fawner said Joel denied being "that good looking," but Fawner said, "Puh-leez, you're a dead ringer!"

Where we work: The Prospective Ms. B is a traveling salesperson. Mr. B is her Lyft to and fro Terminal C at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The good news from the C-suite is that DFW is the first airport to have FREE co-working space. In Terminal C, you can Varidesk up or down, sit or stand, while you work and charge your devices.

Could be a new competition: "We are the best-kept secret in Fort Worth." -- Cameron Cushman, Director, Innovation Ecosystems at UNT Health Science Center. And minutes later during the same Chamber breakfast, "We are the best-kept secret in Fort Worth." Christie M Eckler, Vice President for Advancement, Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT).

"6,000 babies born at Baylor All-Saints last year; just thinking, 16 years from now, they'll all be on the road."   
--Southwest Area Council Chair Meryl Carson 
at Catholic   Charities  Fort Worth 
Workforce (in) development: In light of the strategic economic development
studies the Chamber and City of Fort Worth released at the start of 2018, a
recent Chamber lunch featuring, among others, Josh Bays, Partner, Site Selection Group, and Tarrant County College Chancellor Eugene Giovannini, elicited some interesting observations:
  • Bays: "Labor is tight everywhere. The first problem companies need to solve if they relocate/expand is where to find the first 100 people to work. That's not just a challenge in DFW; it's everywhere in the U.S."
  • Bays: "Stackable credentials" or workforce experience has become more valuable than an associate's degree for industrial projects.
  • Giovannini: "I am confident in ISDs and colleges to deliver. But the reality is that in the middle skills jobs, people need less than college, but more than high school. Raising the number of degreed individuals is fine, but are they the right degrees to meet business demand?" 
  • Giovannini: Toyota and Delta have agreements with TCC where they are providing auto and airplane parts for students to learn their specifications. Oncor has a lineman training program through TCC. 
Travel tip: Because you're reading this, Mr. B did not get the boot (fired). His B2B Insider days maybe limited, though, evidenced by his non-invites to the Chamber holiday party or the Chamber TRAVEL program. You, however, will be anything but persona non grata if you sign up this week for the Chamber's April 18-28 trip to Croatia, the Pearl of the Adriatic. For about $3,800 you get round-trip airfare, first-class hotels, food, transfers, guides, etc...It's an all-out, upper-tier excursion. Temperatures in Croatia run 44-59 degrees during April and the sights and scenes are just as cool. 

Finest in the Forte: The 2019 Chamber Small Business of the Year finalists have been selected. The four category winners will be announced at the Forte Awards Jan. 24 at the 4-Eleven. The finalists are: Emerging Business -- 6th Avenue Homes, Locavore and Signature Cuffs; Manufacturing / Distribution -- M-Pak, Sellmark Corporation and Silver Creek Materials; Consumer / Retail - Alchemy Pops, Klapprodt Kustom Pools & Spas and Tribe Alive; and Professional Services -- Affairs Afloat Balloons, Elements of Architecture and SporTherapy. One of the four category winners will be awarded the "Best of Show" as the overall winner at the Feb. 19 Chamber State of the City luncheon, featuring Mayor Price Is Right. For more details and registration, click here.

10 months to go: Dickie's Arena is to open in November and, in conjunction, the renovation of 80-year-old Pioneer Tower at Will Rogers Memorial Center will be complete. Chamber member and Small Business of the Year finalist Elements of Architecture, owned by Debbie Fulwiler, is doing the $1.5 million Tower makeover.

Kudos: Brett Jeffreys' Handyman Matters franchises -- Fort Worth, Arlington and Mansfield areas -- is a category winner in "America's Best Companies for Customer Service" by Newsweek magazine. "I learned one very important lesson in retail: 'Treat your employees right and they will treat your customers right,'" Brett says. "We are a unique company in an industry that doesn't always have a good reputation. We work hard every day to make sure that we are the ones making that reputation better."

For more member news and announcements, go to the Chamber's website.
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