Dallas Regional Chamber Announces 2021 Chair of the Board Michelle Vopni, Chair-Elect Bob Pragada

The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) announced that Michelle Vopni has been elected to serve as its 2021 Chair of the Board.  Vopni, along with 2020 Chair John Olajide, will headline the organization’s virtual Annual Meeting event on March 4, 2021.

Michelle Vopni is the Dallas Office Managing Partner for Ernst & Young LLP. She is responsible for leading day-to-day practice operations in one of the firm’s largest markets, which is home to more than 2,600 employees. An EY partner for more than 16 years, she has nearly 30 years of experience serving large public and private companies.

“I am truly honored to have been elected by my Board colleagues to chair this important organization at such a critical time in our history. The global pandemic has been difficult for us all, but the Dallas Region has proven resilient and companies from around the country are showing even more interest in expanding their operations in our community than they were a year ago.”

“As a Dallas native, I have watched our community grow and develop into one of the most desirable places in America to live, work, and do business. This year, the DRC is launching a new three-year strategic plan, which will build on our economic development focus of maintaining the Dallas region’s position as one of the most business-friendly communities in the most business-friendly state in the nation.  We will also continue to focus on education and workforce training, which is so critical to providing our businesses with a high-quality talent pipeline. Public policy is a constant focus because the decisions that are made in Austin, Washington, DC, and in city halls around our region affect every business and every household.  I am especially excited about our newest priority — diversity, equity, and inclusion – because everyone in our community must be given the opportunity for a good education, a good job, and a good life.”

During her one-year term, Vopni will preside over the DRC’s efforts to help return the region’s economy to its historically strong pace as quickly as possible.  One initiative is a DRC-led public service campaign to create greater awareness and understanding of the benefits of protecting oneself, one’s family, and one’s community by getting coronavirus vaccination shots.

Vopni succeeds John Olajide, Founder and CEO of Axxess. Olajide, who remains a member of the DRC Board and Executive Committee, noted 2020 was an exceptionally difficult year, which started with the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and were exacerbated by the racial tensions sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

“The challenges of 2020 forced the Dallas Region to come together like never before and I am so proud of the DRC’s response to these unprecedented challenges,” said Olajide. “The success our region has experienced in attracting new companies to our region is just one measure of success. Rising test scores, investments in our students, and supporting small businesses during difficult times were also important achievements this past year,” Olajide said.

Bob Pragada, President and Chief Operating Officer of Jacobs, has been elected by the Board to serve as DRC Chair in 2022.

“The Dallas Region is thriving like never before, with five Fortune 500 headquarters relocations in the past five years,” Pragada said. “It’s an incredible honor to serve on the DRC board at this time, and I look forward to collaborating with Michelle, my board colleagues, and DRC CEO Dale Petroskey and his team as we continue to work to make the Dallas Region the best place in the United States to live, work, and do business.”

To view a complete list of 2021 DRC Board members, please click here.

For more information or to register for the DRC’s 2021 Annual Meeting, please click here.