BY KELLY GOOCH
Newly inducted Mayor Martin Heines encouraged attendees to work together to build Tyler’s future during his first State of the City address luncheon on Wednesday.
Hundreds of people, including Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce members and their guests, as well as elected officials in East Texas, attended the luncheon at Harvey Convention Center.
Heines recognized former mayors — thanking them for their service and commitment. He also recognized current and former City Council members and those who serve or have served on a city of Tyler board or commission.
“It is important that we take time to recognize just a few of the many, many people who have stepped up over the years in Tyler’s history to make a difference,” Heines said. “That is what building our future together is all about. It doesn’t happen by accident, and it is not just a handful of people, but the entire community working together to build a strong, robust, thriving community.”
He said the community has achieved various successes in the last year, and past leaders have laid the foundation, so now it’s time to look toward the future.
He said he is committed to continuing the city’s longstanding solid financial management, citing Tyler’s AAA bond rating, no general obligation debt and tax rate, which is lower than peer cities.
“Our pay-as-you-go philosophy makes sense,” Heines said, adding that this year, the city will invest in projects such as the West Cumberland Road extension and a new police substation in Faulkner Park.
“Our council, city … leaders and the rest of our city employees are dedicated to the efficient operation of your city government.”
In fact, he said, Tyler recently was awarded the Quality Texas Progress Level Award, which according to a previous news release, is “for demonstrating a sound, balanced approach to organizational management and performance improvement.”
He said he believes the city’s future is the entrepreneurial innovation economy.
For instance, he mentioned Tyler4Tech and said several Tyler technology companies are working together to attract new hi-tech companies to the community.
“They have decided that the synergy of more local tech companies will make their company stronger,” Heines said.
When it comes to maintaining the innovation economy and supporting current industries, he stressed the importance of educating children, noting that an education chapter has been added to the community’s Tyler 1st plan.
“The success of your current business is based on educating customers and employees,” Heines told audience members. “We cannot wait for the state or federal government to come up with answers. It’s our town. It’s our kids. It is imperative that we come together as a collective community and determine what works for us. What can we do with our human capital to impact our kids?”
He added, “We can build a future together.
It’s not only a good business strategy- it’s a great opportunity and our moral responsibility. So let us be inspired by Tyler’s former leaders, let us be inspired by the possibilities of an entrepreneurial innovation- driven economy and let’s be inspired to impact our public schools. But let’s not just be inspired, let us aspire to work collectively to build our future together.”
Also at the luncheon, the 27th graduating class of Leadership Tyler was presented.
Class 27 includes: Abbie Abel, Texas Bank & Trust Company; Hong Arthur, Henry & Peters P.C.; Todd Buchanan, Greater Texas Capital Corporation; Brittany Childs, The University of Texas at Tyler; Katy Cline, The University of Texas at Tyler; Tara Coonan, Regions Bank; Christina Davis, Sinclair Law Office; Jason Ellis, Law Offices of Jason A. Ellis; and Chris Hazelip, Edward Jones Investments.
The class also consists of: Alaina Head, Grace Community Church; Leigh Hunt Adams & Coker P.C.; Chris Jones, Southside Bank; Christi Khalaf, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce; Laura Krantz, Tyler Junior College; Ashley Kutach, Core Insights; Edgar Loredo, Progressive Waste Solutions of Texas; Mary Kay Lust, Community Advocate; Brandon Malone, Specialty Restoration of Texas; Scott Marzilli, The University of Texas at Tyler; TJ Mathis, Morgan Stanley; Broderick McGee, Summit Industrial Products; Krysti McWha, Bethesda Health Clinic; Mechele Mills, Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas; Daniel Montgomery, Gollob Morgan Peddy; Lloyd Nichols, The Diner; Yaziri Orrostieta, Mentoring Minds; Kim Roquemore, KiamoKo Enterprises/Capstone College Advising; Nolan Smith, Ramey & Flock, P.C.; Alma Spencer, Smith County CSCD; Kim Tunnell, Tyler ISD; and Vernon Webb, Texas Department of Transportation.
Colleen Colby, executive director of Leadership Tyler, said the program provides opportunities for people at different leadership stages of their life. She said Leadership Tyler participants receive help in becoming “well-informed working community servant leaders,” and the curriculum increases participants’ leadership skills and “then moves the leaders into the fabric of our society.
“It’s a win-win for the class, the community and of course our alum,” she said.
Those who would like to apply to be part of Class 28 may still apply. More information is available at www.leader