James Vaughan Announces Retirement
According to the press release issued by the chamber, May 1 will mark Jim's eight years serving as president and CEO of the Greater Waco Chamber and 42 years as a chamber professional and consultant to local chambers.
“The approaching reality of these milestones has led my wife, Patty, and me to reflect on my career and our future and we have decided that it is time to retire from active Chamber work,” Vaughan said.
So what's next for Jim? During his retirement he plans to work as a consultant part time in the areas of his greatest interest—strategic planning, sustainable development and fund-raising.
In his eight years with the chamber, he has made a tremendous impact and will leave behind quite a number of accomplishments. Constructing Waco’s “first green chamber building in America” has been one of the most visible accomplishments of his time at the Chamber, but he indentified many other successes by the chamber, its volunteer leadership, staff and public and private sector partners, including:
• Attracting 20 new companies and 40 expansions by existing firms; 5,314 new jobs, 3,190 jobs retained and $740 million capital invested in projects assisted by the chamber’s economic development staff;
• Developing and implementing a master plan for the Waco Industrial Foundation business parks including $6.8 million invested in new infrastructure and $6 million to acquire additional property to accommodate development.
• Making urban development a chamber and community priority; projecting a billion dollar decade downtown; defining Greater Downtown and making the case for a 40-year plan and 100,000 people living and working downtown; and advocating for smart growth and sustainable development.
• Advocating for official standing in the permitting process for coal-fired electric generating plants in Greater Waco that contributed to TXU’s decision not to build the plants.
• Establishing the Community Development division to engage members and staff in education, workforce and a range of quality of life initiatives.
• Matching 40 business mentors with 115 Waco Independent School District students during five years, and all of the seniors in this program have graduated and gone to college.
• Reviving the One Book One Waco community-wide reading program and supporting a variety of efforts to reduce poverty and hunger here.
• Growing the sports luncheon series to average 1,100 in attendance at each event; starting the TriWaco triathlon which attracted more than 900 runners in 2011; and increasing participation in the Starburst Junior Golf Classic to 1000 boys and girls annually on nine courses.
• Starting a quarterly magazine, weekly electronic newsletter, monthly television program and eight websites to promote chamber programs and to help change perceptions about Greater Waco.
• Increasing the Chamber’s annual budget from $1.5 million in 2004 to $3.3 million in 2012; enlarging the organization’s professional staff from 13 to 21; and raising $5.9 million for annual operations in seven all-volunteer Total Resource Campaigns.
The Chamber has formed a search committee to begin a nationwide search for a new president and CEO of the chamber.