Lonnie Nicholson, board chairman of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce for FY 2019 and a leading Chamber advocate, brings deep commitment to helping shift the Chamber’s strategic plan, Fortify, into high gear with essential funding and full implementation.
“The Fortify strategic plan will address major challenges related to North Texas’ rapid growth, intense competition and new dynamics in the global business environment,” said Nicholson, president and CEO since 2006 of the 200,000-member, $2.2 billion EECU Credit Union.
“I’m fortunate and excited to be asked to serve as the Board Chair as we implement Fortify and its four pillars: 1) Business Attractions—Retention and Expansion; 2) Talent Development—Attraction and Retention; 3) Small Business and Entrepreneur Support; and 4) Advocacy.”
Nicholson’s involvement with the Chamber includes extensive service on the Economic Development committee, which he chaired 2014-2017. He became vice chair of the Board last year.
Nicholson spoke further about Fortify and his plans and priorities as Chamber chairman in a brief Q&A:
What are your thoughts about the Chamber’s new strategic plan, Fortify?
I like that each pillar has a very specific purpose designed to make a broader and more meaningful impact on our community, one that goes beyond just the business community.
Our first action was to secure the talent and resources necessary to successfully implement the plan.
With that in mind, the Chamber hired four highly skilled leaders in 2018 to oversee each pillar. These four leaders have already begun to assemble their teams to ensure adequate resources are in place to accomplish our initiatives.
I’m very pleased with the progress the Chamber team has made thus far, and I look forward to reporting on the success of the plan throughout the year.
What are your top priorities as Chairman to execute the Chamber’s strategic plan?
As you might imagine, a transformation of this magnitude requires considerable resources to execute.
While a priority as Chairman will be to champion the vision of Fortify and build on the momentum gained during our inaugural year, it is important to ensure the Chamber has adequate funding to successfully implement the Fortify four-year plan.
My top priority is to see Fortify become reality, which means securing the necessary investment in resources required for its success.
What have you seen in terms of new energy and awareness of Fort Worth’s potential?
The Chamber has forged great partnerships among the Fort Worth Chamber membership, the city government and Visit Fort Worth.
The launch of the Fort Worth awareness campaign at South by SouthWest (SXSW) last year in Austin was unique and exciting for us. It is a good example of the type of partnerships that we are building to drive new energy and awareness of Fort Worth.
As the 15th most populous city in the country, Fort Worth has a lot to offer, including a great quality of life and strong business community. It’s important we continue to showcase ourselves and invite a new wave of talent and visitors into our city.
What do you enjoy most in your leadership role with the Chamber?
I enjoy many aspects of my role as Chamber Chair. I enjoy spreading the word on all that makes the Fort Worth area so attractive to businesses and families alike.
As Chamber Chair, I get to build awareness of the Fortify strategic plan, and share the vision we have for Fort Worth’s future, everywhere I go.
What’s been most enjoyable is seeing the results of the collective work of many people who are as equally passionate about Forth Worth as I am.
Why should businesses join the Chamber and/or support Fortify?
Membership in the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce offers numerous benefits and keeps business owners on top of important, ever-changing issues and trends within their community and local marketplace.
It is especially a great time to join the Chamber as we work collectively across the communities we serve to implement and begin to see the results of our Fortify strategic plan.
What do you like best about Fort Worth?
Everybody says this, but it’s because it’s true: We have a vibrant growing large city with all amenities, benefits and comforts of community – people make you feel like you belong.
The roots and the heritage of Fort Worth are fun to dig into.
I grew up in small Kansas town with similar values, and that aspect of Fort Worth culture is something I personally enjoy.
New Board Officers
Executives from three Fort Worth companies will lead the Chamber board during FY2019
Occupation: President/CEO, EECU Credit Union.
Former positions: COO, president of credit union service organization president responsible for Consumer Banking, Consumer Lending, Commercial Lending and Investment and Insurance Services; CFO, chief technology officer, vice president of lending, marketing director.
Memberships: Credit Union Coalition of Texas Board, Cornerstone Credit Union Legislative Advisory Board, Texas Business Lenders Group Board, and North Texas Financial Services Board. Active in a number of professional and non-profit organizations.
Education: Attended Fort Hays State University; MBA, Nova Southeastern University.
Occupation: President/CEO, Fort Worth Region, First Financial Bank.
Former positions: Regional Executive Vice President/Corporate Banking Manager of Origin Bank (formerly Community Trust Bank); Executive Vice President and Corporate Bank Manager for BBVA Compass Bank in Fort Worth.
Memberships: Board member of Fort Worth Symphony, Sixty & Better, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., Fort Worth Advisory Council of the Salvation Army, and Housing Channel. Member of Founder’s Council of the Greater Fort Worth Real Estate Council
Education: MBA in Finance and BBA in Marketing (Magna Cum Laude), both from the University of North Texas.
Occupation: Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, Hillwood.
Former positions: Key roles with Deloitte & Touche, LLP, in real estate, energy, and middle-market manufacturing practices.
Memberships: Serves on boards of the Fort Worth Metropolitan YMCA and the Tarrant County College Education Foundation. Involved with numerous charitable and community-based organizations.
Education: BBA in Accounting, MBA in Accounting, both from the University of North Texas.