The North Texas Commission (NTC) has hired Chris Wallace, president and chief operating officer of the Texas Association of Business, to be its next president and CEO. Wallace succeeds James D. Spaniolo, who late last year announced his intent to retire.
“Chris joining the North Texas Commission is a major step forward for our new North Texas Advocacy Coalition,” Chuck Allen, chairman of the North Texas Commission’s Board of Directors, said in a news release announcing the hire.
“Not only is he an established advocate for business through his work with TAB, but he comes with deep regional knowledge and strong relationships through his 10 years leading the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce,” Allen said.
That local knowledge was also one of the reasons the man Wallace is replacing was selected.
Spaniolo was president of the University of Texas at Arlington from 2004 to 2013 and was also widely known throughout North Texas.
NTC said in the news release that during the 86th Texas Legislature, Wallace worked tirelessly to ensure that Texas remained business-friendly. Additionally, in his role at TAB, he oversaw operations including membership, marketing, strategy as well as board and chamber relations, and led the organization’s successful efforts to defeat discriminatory and unnecessary legislation. He also has successfully built coalitions to advocate for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, transportation funding, and the importance of NAFTA.
The North Texas Commission was established July 29, 1971, by a group of visionary North Texas leaders to establish a regional marketing organization for the entire with the opening of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in 1974.
Today North Texas is a 12-county region of 7.4 million people – more than 5 million more than when NTC was formed. That’s more people than the populations of 29 states in a land area larger than New Jersey and Connecticut. And someone moves to the area about every four minutes.
Prior to joining TAB, Wallace was president and CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber, the third largest chamber in North Texas and the first national Five-Star Accredited Chamber in Texas. He is among only 535 executives in the nation who have earned their Certified Chamber Executive designation.
“I’m honored to have an opportunity to return home to work closely with the businesses, municipalities and higher education institutions that make up the membership of the North Texas Commission,” Wallace in the news release.
“Among the Commission’s key initiatives and programs, the North Texas Advocacy Coalition fulfills an especially timely, important mission of strengthening and amplifying the voices of regional stakeholders during critical policy discussions in Austin and in D.C. I’m eager to play a part in that effort and to support change and the continued growth and success of North Texas.”
Wallace joins the North Texas Commission June 18 as the organization’s 10th president and CEO.
In an article in Fort Worth Business CEO magazine in 2017, Spaniolo described the membership of the commission as unique. It lude cities, counties, municipalities, private corporations, higher educational institutions, chambers of commerce and economic development entities.
“Those are all important institutions and they’re all different. … [T]here really isn’t any other entity that has the kind of membership that we have that’s regional in the 12 counties,” he said.
In that same article, Kimberly Walton, vice president for communication, described area support for NTC.
“Our region is so unique in that all the cities hug each other. Everybody still wants to be a part. They still see value in being a regional player. They understand that. Same with the corporations,” Walton said.
Includes information from Business Press Archives
¬– Paul K. Harral