Webinar Recap: Millennials as Adults


The 2015 season of the Topic: North Texas presented by Verizon webinar series is underway with the second presentation for the year from our very own Britton Cunningham. Britton serves as the Marketing Events Manager for the North Texas Commission and proudly wears the title of Millennial-in-Residence.

Millennials have been a buzz-worthy topic for the past few years, and with end of 2014 came the end of childhood for Millennials. As of now, Gen Y has officially become adults, and with adulthood comes the sobering truth of reality for these young adults.

In her presentation, Britton shares incredible insight into what motivates Millennials, factors that influence where they live and work and how to engage them into the political process.

The New NTx Trends

The word “trend” has long been a buzzword used to describe fashion, music and even food. It’s now become a social media term, designating when a topic has gained so much attention that it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. So, when the North Texas Commission launched our website redesign with a blog, we couldn’t help to jump on the, well, trend.

With our new blog, we’ve taken the opportunity to refresh our newsletter. Starting this month, our NTx Trends newsletter will arrive in your inbox with the latest news from our members and from around the region. Our goal is for our blog and this newsletter to be a source of news and facts that you can use in your business interactions both in North Texas and abroad.

If you have any suggestions for blog posts or information you think we should share, please don’t be shy. This is your North Texas Commission. Please email me at kimberly@ntc-dfw.org.

Recruitment Underway for Leadership North Texas Class 7

new_lntDo you have an interest in learning more about regional issues? Would you like to make connections across North Texas with business, community and education leaders? Do topics such as regionalism, the North Texas economy, infrastructure and sustainability interest you?

If you found yourself saying ‘yes’ to your computer, then consider applying for Leadership North Texas Class 7.

Leadership North Texas is a graduate-level, regional leadership program designed to recruit, develop and support leaders who have a commitment to civic engagement and to the North Texas region. Participants hear from regional and national experts on various issues facing North Texas with discussion on how to address the challenges unique to our region. The program is presented by Oncor.

Since the program’s inception, nearly 200 leaders from across North Texas have participated, including a State Representative, numerous mayors and city council members, city managers and economic development professionals, business leaders, higher education executives and non-profit leaders.

The application period runs through June 12, 2015. To download an application packet, click here. If you have any questions, please reach out to Kimberly Walton at kimberly@ntc-dfw.org.

Webinar Recap: Healthcare the Texas Way


Last Wednesday, the North Texas Commission kicked off the 2015 season of the Topic: North Texas presented by Verizon webinar series with John Hawkins from the Texas Hospital Association. The Affordable Care Act and healthcare are anticipated to be key topics in 84th Session of the Texas Legislature. The Texas Hospital Association, provider networks, communities and business groups are urging the Texas Legislature to facilitate a discussion with the federal government about providing the state flexibility to create a Texas-specific solution to expanding health insurance coverage in the state.

Why is this important to North Texans?

Nearly 20 percent of uninsured Texans have no access to affordable coverage through their employers and are not income-eligible for public coverage.  The result is more than 1.1 million uninsured, low-wage working Texans relying on hospital emergency departments for acute care. This care costs Texas hospitals more than $5.5 billion each year. Some of this unreimbursed cost is shifted onto the privately insured who pay higher insurance premiums and to local property owners who pay higher taxes. Texas employers pay a price too because an unhealthy workforce has reduced productivity and increased turnover. A strong state economy requires a Texas Way that will increase access to coverage and reduce inefficient health care spending.

The Texas Way would be a private insurance program for low income earners who do not have access to public or private insurance. Such an approach could include:

  • Subsidized coverage in the private market based on an individual’s ability to pay.
  • Health savings accounts, deductibles and co-payments to incentivize the appropriate use of medical care and wellness.
  • Incentives to seek employment if unemployed.
  • Financial penalties for inappropriate use of hospital ERs for non-emergent care.
  • Personal accountability for health and wellness.
  • A coverage option through small-employer subsidies to encourage Texas small businesses to offer health insurance as an employee benefit.
  • A transparent process to evaluate the potential reduction in local property tax burden.

The Texas Way is not Medicaid, and it is not a government handout. It helps low income earners learn more about their choices and connects 1.1 million people with private insurance. It works through using health savings accounts and required co-payments at the time of service. The Texas Way has penalties for using the emergency room for non-emergencies and incentives to work and meet health care benchmarks. The entire state would benefit with a healthier workforce, less uncompensated care and financial relief for the privately insured and property tax payers.

To watch the recording, CLICK HERE

Legislative Agenda for the 84th Legislative Session



Today kicks-off the 84th session of the Texas Legislature. They will once again tackle recurring broad issues of transportation, education, health and human services, taxes, and local control.

Unusual agenda?

No, but this session has new players at the helm: a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner and many freshman members of the Texas House and Senate.

The big elephant in the room of course is the drop in oil prices and the effect it has on forecasting revenue to support the state budget; particularly the impact on the gas-tax allocations and the state’s rainy day fund. Increased caseloads in health and human services require an additional $3.5B, the states’ retirement fund needs an additional $1.8B to be properly funded, and campaign promises to lower taxes must be fulfilled – all issues that the North Texas Commission will be advocating for on behalf of our members. Fasten your seatbelts everyone…

To download a copy of the North Texas Commission’s 2015 Legislative Agenda, please CLICK HERE.

Oregon and Ohio State – Destined to be Together Again

North Texas has been over-run with Bucs and Ducks as Ohio State and Oregon fans make their way to the first ever College Football Playoff championship game. Both teams were ranked underdogs in their semifinal games, but crushed any doubts after winning on January 1st. Oregon dominated Florida State in the Rose Bowl 59 to 20, and Ohio State held Alabama with a 42-35 win in the Sugar Bowl.

Despite being underdogs, it almost feels like it was destiny that put them together for the inaugural year of the College Football Playoff. In March 1939, Oregon and Ohio State battled in out on the court in the first-ever NCAA basketball championship. Oregon took the title as the first College Basketball National Champions. Seventy-six years later, they are back again vying for the title of National Champion, but this time, it’s football. Will Oregon keep the winning tradition alive? Or will Ohio State finally get revenge for that game so long ago?

Ohio State is playing for their 8th national title and first championship under the new playoff system. Oregon has never won a National Championship in football, but with Heisman-winner and quarterback, Marcus Mariota, the Ducks are hoping to clench their first.



Drone Provides Beautiful View of Dallas

North Texas woke up to a dense blanket of fog this morning, and photographers throughout the metroplex grabbed their cameras to capture the moment. However, photographer Mike Prendergast saw today’s fog as an opportunity to send his drone up into the air for a rare, breathtaking view.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs or drones for short, have exponentially increased in popularity over the past 18 months. Besides landing on the list of top Christmas gadgets for 2014, UAVs have become part of the future for retailers like Amazon and Dominos who plan to leverage the technology for quick deliveries. The Federal Aviation Administration has been detailing out the rules and regulations for drone usage for the past year to make sure these UAVs do not interfere with the planes. The FAA currently prohibits for-profit drone usage without a license, and the growing popularity for UAVs will result in business trends and applications that include small business and freelancer usage. Will 2015 finally be the year of the drone?


Thank You, Veterans!

So much of what our country and state are built on is because of the women and men who make sacrifices on our behalf. Thank you to all of you who have served our country. And, the deepest gratitude to those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Thank you to all of you who have served, or continue to serve. At the North Texas Commission, we believe that every day is Veteran’s Day.

Welcome Home a Hero: The Mission Continues

The mission continues at Founders Plaza

The mission continues at Founders Plaza

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport recently opened the new Welcome Home A Hero (WHAH) Commemoration Center at Founder’s Plaza located at 1700 North Airfield Drive. For more than eight years, the WHAH program greeted 1 million soldiers at DFW Airport, arriving and departing from their military deployments. Thousands of volunteers lined up every single day, twice a day to greet incoming troops.
“The Welcome Home a Hero volunteers made it their collective mission to extend a warm welcome to our military troops coming home through DFW Airport,” according to Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport. The spirit of the community volunteers that made our troops feel appreciated is honored in the exhibits at the center. An interactive “shower of affection” water cannon is one of several exhibits on the property. The construction was made possible with the donations of materials and labor from Manhattan Construction, Balfour Beatty Construction, Jacobs Engineering and U.S. Shade/NEXREF Technologies.
Taking part in the dedication ceremony were Brigadier General David MacEwen, the Adjunct General of the United States Army; CFO for the United Service Organization (USO), Phil Parisi; along with several Medal of Honor recipients and veterans from all wars.
“It’s critical for us all to remember that the mission continues, that our troops continue to need our support,” said Jim Crites, executive vice president for operations at DFW Airport. “With these displays, we hope to inspire more and continuing support for the U.S.O. and for many other organizations that support our men and women in uniform.”
The mission will only be complete when all our soldiers serving stateside and abroad are all home safe.

NTC President and CEO Mabrie Jackson with a little hero

NTC President and CEO Mabrie Jackson with a little hero

Brigadier General David MacEwen

Brigadier General David MacEwen

DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue

DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue

DFW Airport Executive Vice President Jim Crites

DFW Airport Executive Vice President Jim Crites

NTx Apps Challenge Winners

The inaugural NTx Apps Challenge awarded $80,000 to five teams of web entrepreneurs who created sustainability apps to address four key municipal growth challenges; water conservation, waste and recycling, smart energy, and transportation. The winners were announced Friday, Oct. 17 during an award ceremony at The Treehouse in Addison.The winners of the NTx Apps Challenge are


Smart Energy: “Energy Pal” – A mobile app for Android that displays real-time electricity usage to homeowners and allows users to track the electric usage of individual appliances. Developed by Ian Macalinao (Student at University of Texas at Dallas), Brandon Truong (Student at Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science), Dylan Macalinao (Student at School for the Talented and Gifted), and Adil Virani (Student at Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science).

Water Conservation: “Sprink.ly” – A web-app and smart sprinkler system that incorporates weather data, neighborhood water usage, and even municipal water restrictions to prevent overwatering of residential lawns. Developed by Michael Erdahl and Urmil Shah, both engineers at Texas Instruments.

Transportation: “Juxt” – A mobile app for iOS that allows drivers of alternative fuel vehicles to find fueling stations, parking spaces, and other points of interest along their route, and share this information with other app users. Developed by: Gerard Matthew, Priyanka Sharma, and Harish Upadhyayula.

Waste and Recycling: “Compost Denton” – A municipal composting service that uses a web-app to manage customers, weight tracking of materials composted, route optimization for drivers, and environmental monitoring of compost piles. Created by Andrew Miller and Thomas Wild, Co-Founders of Compost Denton.

The Internet of Things: “GridLock” – A smart traffic light network that adjusts traffic light schedules to optimizes traffic flow, through real-time monitoring and analysis of traffic conditions. Developed by Zedd Mekhaiel and James Staud.

Each winning submission received the following prize package

  • Cash: $10K Cash upfront
  • Follow-on funding: An additional $10k in follow-on funding for continued development and work on the app available to the winners in the Water Conservation, Transportation, and Waste & Recycling category.
  • Mentorship: Each winning team is paired with mentors from local technology companies Bottle Rocket, Gemalto, or Velocis to help further develop their app and bring it to market.
  • Office space: Teams are provided with desks at local co-working spaces: The Dallas Entrepreneurship Center (The DEC), IDEAWorks FW, Addiosn Treehouse, Fort Work, and nōd
  • Post-Challenge Showcase: Winning teams get to pitch their creation in a special showcase during the November edition of Dallas New Tech/
Launched in late July, the NTx Apps Challenge is a 10-week app development competition designed to generate innovative software-based solutions and companies to make North Texas more livable and sustainable. Through a series of “hackathons” and “data jams,” participants worked on their apps collaboratively with representatives from local governments and technology companies, as well as workshops on app development, coding and business skills from local experts.
On October 6th at the Grove, eighteen teams presented their completed projects to the Challenge Judges, who included Garrett Boone (Co-founder of The Container Store), Trey Bowles (Co-founder of the Dallas Entrepreneurship Center), Jorge Varela (Assistant Director at TECH Fort Worth), Carole Davis (Water Conservation Division Manager for Dallas Water Utilities), Laurent Assaf (Director of Business Development, Gemalto), and others.
“More than just a competition, NTx Apps is a unique public-private partnership that brings together the best minds in technology, entrepreneurship, and municipal government to solve some critical issues our region is facing,” said Robert Kent, NTx Apps Challenge Co-Founder and Director of Public Policy for the North Texas Commission. “We hope to see more collaborative efforts like this in the future to create innovative solutions for North Texas’s toughest challenges.
“The Cleanweb Initiative has worked in over 20 countries with thousands of entrepreneurs to spur on the successful application of web and mobile technologies to solve resource challenges,” says Blake Burris, CEO and Chief Hacktivist for The Cleanweb Initiative and NTx Apps Challenge co-founder. “We are thrilled to be applying those principles here in DFW to help local entrepreneurs tackle the big challenges our region faces, while helping create the next North Texas startup success story.
NTx Apps is the first app challenge of this scale in Texas, and is modeled after several successful programs in New York City and San Diego. Major prizes for the Challenge are sponsored by Dallas Water Utilities, Dallas Sanitation Services Department, The City of Denton, Gemalto, Garrett Boone and the North Texas Commission. Additional sponsors the Dallas Entrepreneurship Center (“The DEC”), University of North Texas’s Discovery Park, Dialexa, Socrata, Bottle Rocket Apps, AT&T Foundry, and community partners Launch DFW, Dallas New Tech, Techmill Denton, The Grove, IDEA Works FW, the City of Addison, UNT Innovation Greenhouse, Code Collective, Earth People Media, DFW Excellerator and Collide Village.