Over the last two years, many of you have likely heard me speak about my goals for the Frisco Chamber of Commerce evolving from a “thermometer” to a “thermostat” within and around the Frisco business community. For those for whom this concept may be new, allow me to briefly explain. As most of you are aware, a thermometer gives us/measures the temperature in a particular location, right? Whereas a thermostat actually allows something to influence the temperature/environment in a location…making things happen, turning things up or down. For many years, the Frisco Chamber has done a great job of telling our members and the community what was happening, how it impacts our businesses, and how they can get involved. However, as the community evolves and grows…so SHOULD the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. As 2018 is quickly coming to a close (can you believe that?), I find myself naturally looking back at what we have accomplished this past year…and especially on my goal of becoming more of a “thermostat”…and I have to say, we have had a very good year in that regard. To illustrate this point, I would like to discuss three specific, but very different, examples. The first of these is our Smart Cities Leadership Exchange to Scottsdale, Arizona. Many of you now know that we put together our inaugural trip with over 40 community leaders to learn how other communities tackle problems, address challenges, and come together as a community-wide team. This allows us to see how Frisco compares and how we can move forward in the most productive and “smart” way possible. Not only do we plan to follow-up on lessons learned in Scottsdale and to continue these trips to new cities going forward, but we have now opened up a series of dialogues with other cities looking to come to Frisco to achieve similar goals. The Frisco Chamber of Commerce is making things happen across the country to benefit Frisco…and other communities and to share best practices! The second example is also one that has been discussed somewhat but perhaps not as broadly. The Frisco Chamber of Commerce is working closely with eight other chambers of commerce in North Texas, all with dedicated governmental affairs programs (dedicated staff and/or consultant), in coordination with the North Texas Commission, to proactively work on legislative issues that will be tackled in Austin, beginning in January 2019, during the upcoming session. We have been positively called out on this initiative by the Dallas Regional Chamber, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. Again, the Frisco Chamber is proactively making things happen on a regional basis to affect change in Austin for the betterment of all our businesses, the educational system, and all in Frisco and the surrounding areas. Lastly, and most recently, the Frisco Chamber of Commerce has joined with other chambers in Collin County to address a problem facing small businesses for many years now – affordable and accessible health insurance. Introducing…the Collin County Employers Health Plan Cooperative! Under revised federal regulations, chambers/associations can now offer health insurance to their member businesses (must be in Collin County, have 2-50 employees, and be a member in good standing of a participating chamber). Inclusive of seven Collin County chambers at this time (Allen Fairview, Celina, Farmersville, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, and Wylie…and growing), the Frisco Chamber is working regionally to tackle an issue affecting so many of our smaller and mid-size companies. As of November 2018, the plan is available through insurance brokers or agencies that are a member of a participating chamber of commerce. The plan is inclusive of prescription, maternity, preventative care, mental health, substance abuse, and hospital coverage. Additionally, participating businesses could potentially enjoy cost savings of up to 15%. For more information on this plan, either as a business owner or as an insurance broker, please visit https://www.friscochamber.com/collin-county-employers-health-plan-cooperative/ or call us and ask for Tami Alexander. The mission of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce is to protect and promote business through Advocacy, Resources, and Connections. Advocacy, specifically, is about making things happen…being a thermostat! As we look back at 2018 (and there is still a full month to go!), the Frisco Chamber IS making things happen locally, regionally, across the state, and across the country!