One our colleagues, Beth Bowman, our Chamber’s Chief Development Officer, just successfully completed her CCE process. Her CCE essay/interview was based on an excellent example of how our local chamber (where she is the lead on this project) used legislative advocacy strategies to help resolve a major issue for our community, region and state – ultimately, showing positive ROI for our investors. We would like to share this success story with you.
At the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, we aggressively advocate for pro-business legislation and public policy at all levels of government. Our Legislative Advocacy Team works closely with elected officials and key staff to ensure that the voice of business is heard loud and clear—from City Hall, to the Texas State Capitol, to Washington, DC.
Over the past several years, our Chamber team has advocated successfully on two projects for one of the world’s largest providers of aviation parts—and the largest taxpayer in Irving—Aviall. Aviall Services, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Aviall is headquartered in Irving, where they employ more than 1,000 employees and continue to grow annually by 20%.
In 2011, Aviall contacted our Chamber regarding an infrastructure issue that jeopardized their ability to retain their headquarters in Irving. Leadership at Aviall contacted the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and requested our assistance. Aviall presented our team with a timeframe and a specific request: Provide needed infrastructure relief within 12 months or risk causing a 600,000 square foot building to become vacant, with a job loss of 200-400 over the next three years.
Faced with this challenge, and the potential loss of one of Irving’s most important corporate citizens and largest taxpayer, our Chamber assembled and led a Regional Leadership Team focused on Aviall’s needs. Working with the Texas Department of Transportation, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the City of Irving, the City of Coppell, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Federal Aviation Administration, and elected officials at the local and state level, our Chamber team advocated for completion of Aviall’s infrastructure project.
Thanks for our efforts, Aviall’s infrastructure request was completed within the timeframe, thus ensuring that the City of Irving retained its largest taxpayer and 1,000 jobs were retained in Texas.
At the same time our Chamber team was working to advocate for local infrastructure relief for Aviall, Aviall faced yet another challenge at the state level.
Under Texas law, inventory must be shipped out of the state within 175 days to be eligible for a tax exemption. As a manufacturer of complex aerospace equipment, Aviall was unable to move their inventory within 175 days.
This arbitrary and unreasonable tax burden caused Aviall to relocate some of their inventory outside of Texas, with the possibility of relocating their headquarters to another state if legislative action was not taken.
Earlier this year, legislation was introduced in the Texas House of Representatives to provide much needed tax relief for Aviall and aerospace companies across the state. The Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber coordinated an advocacy effort that included testimony at House and Senate committees and numerous face-to-face contacts with state senators and state representatives and key staff.
As a result of our advocacy strategy, legislation providing tax relief for Aviall passed the State House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor. Because this law requires a change to the Texas Constitution, our advocacy team is now leading a statewide campaign to pass this constitutional amendment in November.
Jason Simon, Director of Legislative Advocacy and Media
Chris Wallace, IOM, CCE, President/CEO
Greater Irving-Las Colinas, Texas Chamber
As Director of Legislative Advocacy and Media, Jason Simon is responsible for overseeing the Chamber’s legislative advocacy and strategic relationships with local, state, and national elected officials. He is also responsible for oversight and coordination of the Chamber’s Transportation Management Association, and overseeing the media relations of the Chamber including social, print, and broadcast. Jason joined the Chamber in November 2012 after serving on the staff of Congressman Kenny Marchant, where he was responsible for constituent services, communications, and outreach from 2008-2012. Prior to that, Jason served on the staff of Former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Congressman Jeb Hensarling, and U.S. Senator Phil Gramm.
Chris E. Wallace, IOM, CCE is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, the fourth largest Chamber in North Texas and the first national Five-Star Accredited Chamber in Texas. He also manages the Irving Economic Development Partnership. Wallace serves on the prestigious U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 and as a Trustee of the Institute for Organization Management as well as a Regent of Northeast Institute at Villanova University. He is among only 520 chamber executives in the nation who have earned their CCE (Certified Chamber Executive) designation. Wallace also serves on the boards of the Texas Association of Business, Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Association, North Texas Commission and the national board of the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC).