By Melissa Maguire, Manager of International Engagement, Dallas Regional Chamber
The recent announcement of Panasonic Automotive System’s new 15,000-square-foot office in The Colony reaffirms the notion that Japanese companies are taking note of what is happening in Texas, and more specifically, here in the Dallas Region. Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America provides support systems for Toyota Motor North America, which recently opened its new North American headquarters in Plano.
Panasonic’s move is part of a larger picture: In 2016 alone, more than $4.1 billion in total annual trade occurred between Dallas-Fort Worth and Japan, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Japan is the region’s third-largest trading partner, the department reports.
Toyota’s consolidation of its North American operations to Plano has spiked the number of Japanese companies moving to the region and as well as the number enquiring about Dallas-Fort Worth. Japanese interest in the Dallas Region is not limited just to companies following Toyota to Texas. Over the past few years, companies including Makita, NTT Data, Oki Data, Central Japan Railway Company, and Kubota Tractor Corp. have established new headquarters, distribution centers, and support offices in the region to support their U.S. and North American operations.
The uptick in Japan-related activity is reflected in the DRC international department’s daily workload. At the time of this blog’s writing, there were three Japan-related events scheduled for the week – all after-hours networking receptions featuring guests from Japan visiting the Dallas Region with specific goals related to establishing a new presence or relationship here. The abundance of Japanese visitors has led us to joke affectionately, “Every week is Japan Week.”
Japanese companies, their executives, their expat employees, and their families are walking into a supportive community when they decide to establish a presence in the Dallas Region, which has more than 265 Japanese parent companies operating more than 350 subsidiary entities in North Texas.
Several support groups are helping Japanese companies and their employees acclimatize to the region. The Dallas Japanese Association provides business leaders and individuals with networking opportunities both in social and in professional settings. The local Japanese-language school offers Saturday school for more than 550 dual-language students. Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese supermarket that opened in early 2017, continues to bring the flavors of Japan to Plano; Mitsuwa serves as the anchor of the surrounding Japanese Food Hall, a shopping center which includes specialty stores full of Japanese baked goods, imported teas, ramen, books, toys, etc.
Earlier this year, the DRC’s international engagement team embarked on a mission to Japan with a small group of economic developers and DRC members to promote the Dallas Region to Japanese manufacturers, bankers, real estate developers, and other influential individuals, such as Gov. Hideaki Ohmura of Aichi Prefecture. Aichi Prefecture has been referred to as “the Texas of Japan,” acting as a strong economic engine for Japan, particularly in automotive and other industrial sectors. (Gov. Ohmura repaid the visit in May, when he sat down for a closed roundtable discussion with DRC members and Tomorrow Fund investors.)
Plans to return to Japan for the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference in Tokyo are already in the works. The November 2018 trip will allow the DRC to represent the Dallas Region to a large, concentrated population of Japanese business executives and elected officials. Preceding the Thursday-Friday conference will be three days of business meetings in which the DRC will pay special attention to existing relationships, as well as make introductions to develop new partnerships abroad.
Between now and our November touchdown in Tokyo, a series of Japan-related events have been planned in the Dallas Region.
Aug. 6 saw the visit of six Japanese companies to the region for two days of site tours and informational sessions. The companies represented the restaurant industry, including ramen and other traditional Japanese cuisines.
The next major event is the J-GoodTech matchmaking visit scheduled for Sept. 24-25. A small group of Japanese companies – predominantly small and medium-sized companies looking to expand to the U.S. – will visit the Dallas Region with support from the Japanese government. Their common goal is to meet and match with potential buyers, distributors, suppliers, and partners. J-GoodTech, a sort of dating website for companies looking to connect with other companies abroad, is the tool that will allow the connections to happen online before and after the delegation’s visit to Dallas. U.S.-based companies looking to find specific goods or services in Asia can also use the J-GoodTech website to create a profile and initiate a search, receiving translation assistance as potential partners discover the company’s listing.
Japanese companies currently slated to visit the Dallas Region as part of the J-GoodTech delegation deal in metal products and fabrication; industrial machinery; electrical equipment; medical equipment; and chemicals. Their products have potential applications in the industries of medical and life sciences; automotive manufacturing; food and beverage packaging; and more. Companies in the Dallas Region interested in meeting with the visiting companies should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the J-GoodTech is the scheduled Symposium on Asia-Pacific Economic Integration, organized by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), and co-organized by the DRC and the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth. The symposium will be held on Friday, Oct. 12 and will feature a panel discussion on Chinese trade policy, U.S.-Japan relations, and other topics in economics, foreign affairs, and international business. More details about the symposium will be provided as they become available.
In short, the DRC’s international engagement team has been working hard in its ongoing efforts to support Japanese expansion, entrance and enquiries into the Dallas Region. DRC members and Tomorrow Fund investors interested in supporting company or delegation visits to the region should contact me at the above-listed email address to be kept informed about all Japan- and international-related activities.
Emerging business and community leaders selected to participate in Leadership Dallas,
the Dallas Region’s premier leadership development program.
DALLAS (August 6, 2018) – The Dallas Regional Chamber today announced the 44th class of Leadership Dallas, the premier leadership development program in the Dallas Region.
Founded in 1975, Leadership Dallas prepares a diverse group of leaders to serve as agents and sustainers of positive change for the quality of life in the Dallas Region. The program serves as a opportunity for individuals who are both acknowledged and aspiring leaders to continue their professional development and further cultivate a demonstrated commitment to the serving the community.
“The Leadership Dallas Class of 2019 was selected based on each individual’s commitment to community and high potential for leadership within their organizations and in the Dallas Region,” said Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “It is an honor to welcome this new class, and we at the DRC look forward to continued collaboration as we help make Dallas the best place in America to live, work, and do business.”
During the 10-month educational program, participants develop leadership capabilities as they build strong relationships with fellow classmates and current community leaders. Through lectures, discussion groups, on-site visits, simulations, class projects, and other leadership development activities, participants gain a deeper understanding of the critical issues facing the Dallas Region and are challenged to apply their talents towards addressing these issues in the future.
“Leadership Dallas participants are immersed in the history and current affairs of the Dallas Region to identify the challenges we face as a community,” said Cindy Masters, Director of Leadership Programs for the Dallas Regional Chamber. “It is our hope that each Leadership Dallas graduate will use the knowledge and enhanced leadership skills gained through the program to bring positive change to the Dallas Region.”
Leadership Dallas has more than 2,200 graduates who continue to provide positive change in the region. Many alumni have achieved the top executive role at their current organizations, founded their own businesses, or gone on to a career in public service. Leadership Dallas alumni include former police chiefs, former U.S. Ambassadors, and elected officials at the city, state, and national levels.
The members of the Leadership Dallas Class of 2019 are:
|Michelle Reed||Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP||Partner|
|Sara Kite||AT&T||Director of Executive Communications|
|Billy Turner||Axxess||Director of Human Resources|
|Samir Bhavsar||Baker Botts, LLP||Intellectual Property Partner|
|Jaime Walkowiak||Baylor Scott & White Research Institute||COO Baylor Scott & White Research Institute,
SVP Baylor Scott & White Health
|Ben Riemer||Bell Nunnally||Partner|
|Troy Ashby||Benchmark Search||President and Founder|
|Greg MacPherson||Big Thought||Senior Director of Research,
Evaluation & Design
|Bharath Thankavel||Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas||Medical Director of Value Based Care|
|Jimmy Tran||CBRE||Vice President of Strategy and
|Jadd Masso||Clark Hill Strasburger||Partner|
|Will Haynes II||Colliers International||Associate|
|Andy Scripps||Communities Foundation of Texas /
|Deputy Director, Strategy|
|Leah Williams||Dala Communications||President & CEO|
|Patrick Dougherty||Dougherty Wealth Management, LLC||President|
|Jayda Batchelder||Education Opens Doors||Founding Executive Director|
|Andrea Carter||Ernst & Young||Partner|
|Elizabeth Sobel Blum||Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas||Senior Advisor of Community Development|
|Jason Freeman||Freeman Law, PLLC||Founding Member|
|Jonathan Hall||Frost Bank||Vice President|
|Maria Gomez||GFF Architects||Principal|
|Matt Shem||Hill & Wilkinson, General Contractors||Vice President|
|Brooks Quinlan||Hope Cottage, Inc.||Chief Executive Officer|
|Chauncey Lane||Husch Blackwell LLP||Partner|
|Molly Lang||J.P. Morgan||Vice President|
|Joanna Singleton||Jackson Spalding||Partner|
|Kyle Masters||JE Dunn Construction||Vice President|
|Brooke Bailey||Junior League of Dallas, Inc.||President-Elect|
|Michael Horne||KIPP Texas Public Schools –
|Greg McAllister||Littler||Employment Defense Attorney|
|Elliotte’ Dunlap||Microsoft||Senior Partner Solution Sales Executive|
|Jessica Spaniol||Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP||Senior Associate|
|Justin Parscale||Perkins+Will||Associate Principal|
|Amber Scanlan||PNC||Senior Vice President & Director of Client &
|Tisha Vaidya||Presidium||Director, Acquisitions & Development|
|Crystal Wright||PwC||Managing Director|
|LaurieGrace Bouldin||Rethink Results LLC||CEO & Founder|
|Renita Joyce Garrett||Sendero||Senior Manager|
|Angela Zambrano||Sidley Austin LLP||Partner|
|Monica del Rio||Southwest Airlines||Senior Regional Leader, Airport Affairs|
|Heather Bonfield||Talent Suite||Vice President, Client Engagement|
|Rea Foster||Teach For America –
|Chief Operating Officer|
|Paul Howell||Texas Capital Bank||Executive Vice President,
Head of Corporate and Commercial Banking
|Ashleigh Kinney||Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children||Director of Patient Experience|
|Gabrielle Madison||Thomson Reuters||Director, Community Relations|
|Ana Meade||Toyota Motor North America||Senior Manager, Social Innovation|
|Damion Pourciau||Turner Construction Company||Project Executive|
|Leandre Johns||Uber Technologies||External Affairs Manager|
|Ashley Brundage||United Way of Metropolitan Dallas||Senior Vice President of Community Impact|
|Cynthia Perez Vadillo||University of North Texas at Dallas||Assistant Director of External Relations
|Colbey Walker||UT Southwestern Medical Center||Administrator of Emergency Medicine|
|Shan Zaidi||VF Partners||Principal|
|Stephanie Wilcox||WFAA||Director of Community Marketing|
|Lillian Jersa||Willis Towers Watson||Director, Retirement|
For more Leadership Dallas information visit: www.dallaschamber.org/leadership.
About the Dallas Regional Chamber
The Dallas Regional Chamber is the voice of business and the champion of economic development and growth in the Dallas Region. We work with our 1,200 member companies and regional partners to strengthen our business community by advocating for pro-growth public policies, improving our educational system, attracting talented workers from around the world, and enhancing the quality of life for all. Our goal is to make Dallas the best place in America to live, work, and do business.
By Melissa Maguire, Manager of International Engagement, Dallas Regional Chamber
It’s been more than a month since the conclusion of #DFWEurope2018, the international mission to London and Paris.
Perhaps the lateness of this blog entry is a testament to the work we poured into our trip, which involved dozens of meetings in Paris and London between government and business leaders. By all standards, our mission to Europe was a success.
MONDAY – JUNE 18: Strengthening, Building Trade Ties in London
We kicked off the week with back-to-back briefings for the delegation, which included Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, and representatives from the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Fort Worth Chamber, VisitDallas, and Visit Fort Worth. These backgrounder sessions were designed to help the delegation understand the economics and politics of the United Kingdom, as well as British consumer and tourism trends. We held a similar overview in Paris, to impart the same information about France.
Following the briefings, the delegation held an informal meeting with David Mytton, a co-founder and CEO of Server Density, a London-based tech company recently acquired by Dallas-based StackPath. It’s always fascinating to learn about the various international acquisitions made by DFW and international companies, especially given that the majority of new foreign direct investment into the U.S. occurs via acquisitions. We try to meet with Dallas-Fort Worth-acquired companies such as Server Density as often as possible while traveling, to learn ways to support business transitions locally.
Another big business event occurring on Monday was a BREXIT-focused seminar, hosted by our friends at London & Partners, London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s combined chamber of commerce and convention and visitor’s bureau.
The BREXIT panel featured a managing director from Boston Consulting Group; L&P’s own managing director of business; Alastair Paterson, CEO and co-founder of a British cybersecurity Digital Shadows, and the previous leader of the Remain campaign, which encouraged people and leaders to vote against the BREXIT referendum so the U.K. could remain in the European Union. The variety of perspectives and industries represented made for a captivating and informative session, but the overarching takeaway from the panel was this: leaving the EU will have far-reaching impacts on:
The day wrapped up with a fantastic event hosted by VisitDallas and Visit Fort Worth – a tourism-focused party hosted to promote the Dallas-Fort Worth Region as a tourist destination to British travel agencies, air service providers, excursion organizers, hoteliers, hospitality consultants, etc.
Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., the beloved Fort Worth-based makers of TX Whiskey, stocked the bar with delicious custom cocktails featuring their signature blend, while celebrity chef Tim Love – known for such Fort Worth establishments as Lonesome Dove and the Love Shack – left everyone with the best party favors ever: small jars of create-your-own spice blends. (I was happy to let Tim create a perfect pork chop blend on my behalf!)
VisitDallas also wowed party guests with the award-winning Moving Cities, produced by London-based videographer Jevan Chowdhury, and goofy goggles that let people explore Dallas using virtual reality.
TUESDAY – JUNE 19: Scaling-Up with London Mayor Khan and Balfour Beatty
Tuesday in London was equally successful, starting with a well-attended networking roundtable to support and promote Mayor Khan’s Mayor’s International Business Programme, which helps London “scale-up” companies to expand internationally. With 18 scale-ups in attendance, our delegates had a unique opportunity to meet directly with the companies pushing London’s global entrepreneurship scene forward.
I’d like to offer a major shout-out to Balfour Beatty’s London HQ, which provided tremendous support for the event and really pulled off the roundtable flawlessly. Thanks for going above and beyond, Giles, Bryan, and Kata!
Oh, and if you need something to make you smile today…
Tuesday evening consisted of back-to-back meetings and dinners for delegates. Some members of the delegation met with Transport for London, the administrative group responsible for all of London’s transportation systems – from the Underground to the above-ground rail and road networks. As Dallas-Fort Worth’s regional population grows by approximately 140,000 people each year, updating, expanding, and innovating our transportation infrastructure becomes more important than ever. We look to our international counterparts to learn a thing or two about moving large groups of people.
THURSDAY – JUNE 20: Reaching Out in Paris; at Home with Louis Vuitton
We began our busiest day in Paris with another country and economy overview, as we did in London on Monday.
While some significant (and highly confidential) meetings and lunches took place in Paris on Thursday to promote the Dallas-Fort Worth region as a key market for French business expansion and to recruit new operations to the region, perhaps the highlight of the day was one that we, as a delegation, were all-too-keen to share about on social media: our private, guided tour of the original Louis Vuitton home and workshop, where Louis began making his signature travel trunks, and where they continue to be made today.
From step one, you can tell that every Louis Vuitton trunk, bag, box, and custom piece is handcrafted with quality in mind. We were privileged to see the entire crafting process from beginning to end, starting with raw fabrics and skins, and ending with final nails, studs, and stitches. We also got to see the “reject” pile of items that didn’t pass muster, including a gorgeous handbag with one small stitch amiss, and a trunk whose metal corner was slightly curved the wrong way. Many offers were made to take the misfit pieces home with us, but the Louis Vuitton representative giving our tour was clear: if it isn’t perfect, it isn’t Louis Vuitton.
At the end of our tour, we each received a small gift from the workshop – a tiny ¾” nail with LOUIS VUITTON engraved on the head. The tour made our delegation very proud to soon welcome a new Louis Vuitton workshop in Keene, just south of Fort Worth.
The evening wrapped up with another amazing cultural event, coordinated by the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth – a reception and free admission to the stunning Musée d’Orsay, which houses art by Van Gogh, Monet, Czanne, Renoir, Seurat, and others. Of all the art museums I’ve seen around the world, the Orsay remains my favorite.
FRIDAY, JUNE 21: Meeting with Kay Bailey Hutchison, Touring Station F
Friday saw the group split, as the mayors and select representatives from the airport and chambers headed to Brussels for a tour of the NATO headquarters and a meeting with Senator-turned-Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, now serving as Permanent Representative of the United States to NATO.
The remainder of the group stayed behind in Paris, with a few catching flights back to DFW and the rest touring Station F, the world’s largest startup campus by square footage. Our tour guide walked us through the three phases of the building, from the meeting space, to the coworking space, to the “Chill Zone” – a massive restaurant incubator open to the public and featuring a variety of delicious eateries all under one roof, similar to a farmer’s market.
The massive campus is still backed by its founder, French billionaire Xavier Niel, who provided the initial $300 million investment to get the campus up and running, and who envisioned the space as a fully self-sufficient, self-contained entrepreneurial community offering support for every step of the startup process. Our visit to the bright, colorful, modern center was inspiring; Station F is perhaps one of the best examples of what innovative thinking actually looks like in practice.
SATURDAY – JUNE 22: Wrapping it up
By the time our last delegate left Paris, we had already packed up and shipped out the last of our mission supplies back to DFW. The day saw relative calm after a furiously paced week of meetings, seminars, panels, roundtables, receptions, meals, and tours. Brain dead, and physically fatigued in a way I hadn’t been since our last DRC mission to Japan, I holed up in my room to begin two weeks of blissfully quiet vacation, sorely missing our delegates all the while.
Those who have never been involved in a trip such as this might not appreciate what goes into them, from a staff perspective: To Sarah Carabias-Rush, Senior Vice President of International Engagement, and me, “sleep” is something you do for maybe four hours a night or throughout the day, in 30-minute bursts on the bus going from event to event. “Breakfast” is a quick coffee, maybe a croissant, while “dinner” is a two- or three-hour affair where your game face is on for the diplomats, executives, and partners you’re hosting.
Home Again in Dallas-Fort Worth
Our time back in the office has brought with it extensive mission follow-up, including outreach to all of our hosting groups to say thanks, the creation of a survey distributed to our business delegates so we can collect feedback, and continuous dialogue with the connections we made abroad and locally, to continue the conversations surrounding growth, expansion, and success in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
Click here to read the first installment of the Dallas-Fort Worth Trade mission blog.
UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
DRC partners are hosting exciting opportunities related to international business.
EU General Data Protection Regulation Workshop
Tuesday, August 14 | 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Dallas office of Norton Rose Fulbright, 36th floor, 2200 Ross Ave., Suite 3600, Dallas 75201
Senior business executives and IT leaders are invited to an interactive workshop focused on understanding the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and what it means to their businesses. U.S. businesses that hold data on any individual or business in Europe is subject to penalties by the European Union, if they fail to comply with the new EU regulation, which took effect on May 25. Among topics covered will be planning and facilitating data subject access rights requests, implementing and monitoring GDPR compliance, and maintaining third-party data insight. The event includes lunch and is free of charge. Register for the event here.
StopFakes.Gov IP Protection and Enforcement Seminar
Tuesday, August 21 | 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Baker McKenzie LLP, 1900 N. Pearl St., Suite 1500, Dallas 75201
The U.S. Commercial Service, in collaboration with partners, will present the STOPfakes.gov IP Protection and Enforcement Seminar, to discuss how individuals and companies can protect their intellectual property in the U.S. and in export markets. Attendees will also have the chance to meet individually with event speakers following the program, and to receive guidance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Copyright Office staff on the online recordation/registration process. The event, which includes lunch, is free. Parking is $15. Click here to register; please RSVP by August 15.
By Melissa Maguire, Manager of International Engagement, Dallas Regional Chamber
LONDON, June 16 – It’s Saturday night here in London. The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Regional Chamber support staffs are holed up in a workroom, in a back hallway of the trendy Berkeley Hotel. We are just around the corner from both the Kensington and Buckingham palaces, which we haven’t had time to visit but have seen from our taxi windows.
Two airport staff members – Lena Bedwany and Karen Herberger – and I arrived in Paris on Wednesday, June 13, a day ahead of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport partners delegation. After being unable to sleep on the plane (instead watching “Pride & Prejudice” twice and finally beating “Angry Birds”), I was ready to hit the ground running with a 36-hour day, spending all day Wednesday in Dallas and all day Thursday in Paris, before falling asleep in London.
Our hotels in London and Paris are spectacular, and their staffs are obsessively accommodating. The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport staff takes hotel hospitality and service into consideration months in advance of the trip, when they’re negotiating room blocks and rates for the delegation. Our group includes Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas; Mayor Betsy Price of Fort Worth; the airport board chair, board members, and its CEO; and executives from across the Dallas-Fort Worth region representing companies and organizations such as American Airlines, Downtown Dallas Inc., Santander Bank, and the University of Texas – Dallas.
Their planning pays off: the staff was able to show us the mayors’ rooms, our meeting ballrooms, and our workrooms in advance of the delegation’s arrival. The hotels also pre-key everyone’s rooms in advance, which is a great help to us, as our delegates arrive exhausted and jetlagged throughout the weekend.
Paris to London
Our 10 hours in Paris were a blur of meetings with our on-the-ground transportation logistics team and the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme hotel staff to confirm details for the various meetings and events occurring Wednesday (June 20)-Friday (June 22) in Paris. We briefly saw the famous opera house (Palais Garnier) on our way to grab a takeaway lunch, before hunkering down again in the workroom. After 10 hours in Paris, we caught the evening train to London.
Upon arrival at The Berkeley around 9 p.m., we set up our London workroom. We spend exponentially more time here than we do anywhere else, so it’s important to claim your space and settle in fast. I made the mistake of choosing a seat with my back to the window, so the day passes behind me without me noticing.
For the past three days now, we have been editing the week’s “external” mission book, which tracks:
On the back end, the “internal” mission book includes information the delegates don’t see, including:
It’s a lot to track, and when one thing changes, there is a domino effect of everything else that has to change… The tiniest change involves changing summary itineraries, daily agendas, the transportation manifest, Dropbox versions of the above documents, and Outlook calendar invitations for support staffers, not to mention we usually have to relay changes to our British and French hosting companies, who often provide name tags, building security clearances, parking passes, and more.
We make the books knowing that they will be outdated just minutes later, but the process of creating the books is something that we are improving mission after mission. On top of that, version control between print and digital books adds another layer of complication as we work to transition gradually to digital books.
After several hours of itinerary revisions, I made it to my room around 2 a.m., took another hour to knock out some emails, and passed out.
Friday morning brought Mitzi Chollampel, a Senior Manager in International Marketing and Public Relations at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, to London to add some helping hands. It’s amazing what a team of five tired women can do in logistics management.
Sarah Carabias-Rush (who leads international outreach at the DRC) and I left the airport team behind for a 9:30 a.m. meeting at London & Partners across the river, to finalize some details for our three events hosted in collaboration with them.
I left Sarah at L&P for an afternoon lunch at The Stafford, where Hugh Boyle, CEO of TracyLocke in Dallas and delegate on this trip, will be hosting a business dinner with the two mayors, the two chambers (Dallas and Fort Worth), a handful of our delegates, and a group of British company executives. I met with the events director to see the dinner space – an 8,000-bottle Stafford Wine Cellar – and began the tube trek to the Balfour Beatty headquarters in Canary Wharf, across town for a similar walk-through meeting.
It’s been fantastic to work with the Dallas and London Balfour Beatty teams, and we’re so grateful that Eric Krueger, Executive Vice President – Texas Division, is joining us on the mission as a representative of the firm’s Dallas office. The Mayor’s International Business Programme Roundtable they are hosting in London will probably be my favorite event on the London side of the trip, given how easy and fun it’s been to work with Balfour staff on both sides of the pond.
Unexpected Texan encounter
Friday night (June 15) wrapped up with the support team going to dinner and watching the Portugal vs. Spain World Cup match on an outdoor screen. While eating, Karen recognized the accent of a gentleman sitting behind us – it was clearly Texan. We were happy to make friends with the group, who then invited us to a very traditional English pub in a back alley, where we closed out the night sharing work stories, pictures of children and grandchildren, and amusing commentary about celebrity sightings in our little London neighborhood.
Today was a little easier. Mitzi, Karen, and I took the tube to Canary Wharf to map the bus pick-up/drop-off route and parking options, to gauge the feasibility of delegates walking from the Balfour Beatty office to our next meeting in Canary Wharf, and to scope out lunch options for delegates. Walking and driving the routes between next week’s meeting locations allows us to map out transportation routes down to the minute; the transportation manifest is by far the tightest-managed document we have, with anywhere from five to seven vehicles running around the city at any given moment. Each car transports not only delegates, but also the appropriate gifts and marketing collateral for the upcoming meetings. It’s a huge operation!
As I finish this blog post, it’s a few minutes shy of midnight, and we’ve just started discussing Wednesday morning’s series of delegate transfers from London to Paris by plane and train. After spending three long, busy days together, the group demeanor has slipped into light humor, with teasing, sarcasm, and jokes abounding. We have started writing down inside jokes as hashtags and using emojis to tell elaborate stories in our WhatsApp chat. After surviving the Canada and China/Korea missions with this group, coming to London was like coming home to old friends.
The Dallas-Fort Worth trade delegation concludes its mission in Europe on Friday, June 22.
Troy Ashby, Founder and President, tells us about Benchmark Search, a human capital advising firm.
Tell us about your organization and its work in the Dallas Region.
Benchmark Search is a Dallas-based firm specializing in direct hire recruiting, executive search, and temporary staffing for accounting and finance professionals. I founded the firm on the bedrock belief that exceptional people, progressive culture, and an unrelenting devotion to serving clients and candidates is the formula for developing deep and transformational relationships.
How does your company help other businesses become more effective through digital solutions?
At Benchmark Search, we strive to be each client’s human capital trusted advisor. We have made significant investments in innovative technologies concentrating primarily on productivity and organization so our recruiters can honor their commitment to quality by enabling them to focus intently on helping companies and careers advance and thrive.
What differentiates your company from others in your industry?
Our team at Benchmark Search has a deep devotion to developing long-term, trusting relationships with clients and candidates. I spent more than a decade with one of the nation’s largest recruiting firms and have had the great opportunity of working for Ernst & Young, Arthur Andersen and Whitley Penn. I strongly believe that my experience as a Certified Public Accountant combined with having worked on both the staffing and public accounting sides provides a strong upper-hand when compared to the technical experience level and degree of understanding offered by other recruiting firms.
What do you enjoy most about doing business in Dallas?
Our team has a genuine passion for Dallas and the great people that live and work here. The Dallas Region is such a hotbed for growth, which means a job market that’s thriving and has the continued opportunity to do so. We also enjoy the vast number of opportunities to get involved at the local level. Benchmark Search currently supports two community partners – March of Dimes and Richardson Family YMCA. In fact, I was recently appointed Chairman for the Richardson Y’s 2019 annual fundraising campaign.
Why did you decide to become a DRC member?
I am passionate about what the Dallas Regional Chamber achieves for the region and the benefits it provides to members and the business community. In addition to serving on the DRC Experience Council, earlier this year, I was named Chair of the DRC’s Top Investor Stewards Program, which is an extension of the Member Services team. I enjoy being able to assist company executives and key contacts in maximizing the resources the DRC has to offer and am proud to serve alongside other dynamic business leaders in this role. What a supportive, talented and resilient business community we have here!
How has your business changed in the past five years?
I founded Benchmark Search in early 2018, so we’re just getting started! We are a dynamic, growth-minded, and innovative group who share a great sense of entrepreneurial spirit and a fierce dedication to top flight client service. In terms of the state of the overall staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry, it makes a huge contribution to the economy of the U.S., providing career opportunities for approximately 14 million employees annually. According to a Staffing Industry Analysts report, staffing is a $148 billion industry in the U.S. comprised of approximately 17,000 staffing and recruiting agencies. It’s no doubt that the billions in staffing revenue generated by these agencies gives emphasis to the health of the industry which will only continue to grow and thrive!
We welcome your questions and comments. To request more information about area businesses or to share an idea, contact us: