Page 1

LEADERSHIP MOUNT PLEASANT forging new horizons


INCOMING CHAIRMAN chamber chooses 2015 chairman


Mount Pleasant



2014 Total Resource Campaign winners



Mount Pleasant Business Report | Issue 09

Mount Pleasant

6 5



Partners 4 2015 Banquet 5 Baxter Black 6


Incoming Chairman 8 Leadership Mount Pleasant 11 Meet our Legislators 14 Electrify Mount Pleasant 16 Habits of the Wealthiest People 18



Taking To the next level Renewing November-December Renewals 2014 Arnold Walker Arnold & Co PC At Home Healthcare Baker and Johnson PC CPA Barefoot Bay Marina Cannaday Financial Services/ LPL Cardiology Consultants of East Texas, PA Chapman Transfer & Storage Inc City of Mount Pleasant Diverse Designs Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant EDH Electric Inc Elliott Ford Lincoln Mercury First Baptist Church Flanagan & Flanagan Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Greater Hope Church of God in Christ Hamilton Jewelers, Inc Hampton Inn & Suites

Homeland Title Homer Metal Buildings Holt Homer KSA Engineers Laura’s Cheesecake LMP Concrete Lone Star Trailer Parts MP Insulation Co. Mardi Gras Seafood McDonald’s of Mount Pleasant Mill’s Flower Shop Mount Olive Baptist Church Mount Pleasant Burgers & Fries Mount Pleasant Country Club Mount Pleasant Economic Development Center Mount Pleasant Optimist Club Newman Electronics, LLC

New Partners Accolade Homecare F.A.C.E.- Fine Arts Council Extraordinaire Cardiovascular Associates of East Texas


Next Step Community Solutions Niblett Rental Properties North East Texas Credit Union George O’Neal, DDS Pace Opportunity Centers, Inc - Mount Pleasant Dayhabilitation Region VIII Education Service Center Sandlin Motors, Inc Stanley’s Landscape Management, LLC Texas A & M University - Texarkana at NTCC Thai Lana Titus County Fair Association TLC Realty Top Hat Industries, Inc Visiting Angels Herbert L. Watkins MD PA Workforce Solutions - Northeast Texas

Annual membership & awards banquet

Baxter Black Special Guest Speaker

$25 Per Guest Networking 6:00 PM | Dinner & Awards 6:30 PM Mount pleasant civic center RSVP | 903.572.8567 |


Cowboy to his core, he shares “I had to do stealth poetry when I introduced me as “a cowboy poetry action poems and lore with a sometimes cantan- started this. My audience is rural and agri- figure,” he said. “I do pratfall humor, so kerous crowd. cultural. They were cowboys and the last even if you’re deaf, I become humorous.” But, stealthy as a cat, with a tip of thing they wanted to hear was “a poem,” he His process to get to his stage his hat, he draws you in with a laugh, a says in a refined, big city accent. performance starts with his column, Baxter stumble and fall. He recalls one show he was about Black From Out There, where he shares You won’t know by the sound you to perform. “I was standing in the lobby and the raw truth of the lives of his core audienjoyed poetry out loud ‘til the end of the this lady comes walking in. She was a ence. He calls it “Baxterizing.” curtain call. “Cowboy Baxter poetry is about Black is a poet, wrecks. I found that storyteller and truth just like love songs, speaker of all there is an infinite things “cowy.” of ways “Cowboy poetry is about wreCks. i found number Black, a you can get bucked Priefert Manufacthat just like love songs, there is an in- off or run over or turing endorsee, plowed or kicked. finite number of ways you can get will be the special That’s what the guest speaker at bucked off or run over or plowed or stories are all the Mount Pleasant about. The cowboy kiCked.” -Titus County is always the butt Chamber & Visiof the joke. I’m the tor’s Council Annubutt of my own al Membership and joke,” he said. “It’s Awards Banquet. It the truth in humor will be one of that makes it funny. Black's last public performances as he pre- ranch woman and she had her husband by That’s why there are no science fiction pares to go off the road in April. the ear, dragging him in and he was glaring jokes.” A former large animal veterinari- at me,” Black said. “When it was over, I The weekly column runs in 150 an, Black began writing cowboy poetry and was signing a book for her and he was publications, including Livestock Weekly. stories about the cowboy life in 1980. Be- standing behind her. I asked him what he It’s then whittled down to a 2-and-a-half coming a poet happened by accident. “I thought and he said, ‘Shoot, I didn’t even minute radio TV program. thought I was a songwriter,” he says. know it was a poem ‘til you were halfway While the radio and television His stories, funny anecdotes and through it!’” segments mainly target a rural agricultural verses resonate with the agricultural com“You gotta get over the hump that audience through RFD TV and radio stamunity from cowboys, ranchers, and farm- poetry has to be boring or bad,” he said. tions in rural areas, he’s also attracted an ers to feed salesmen, ag teachers and His performance is not a “poetry urban following over the years through vets. He gets them and they get him, altreading” like many might imagine. National Public Radio, public television and hough, not everyone in his audience shows “I actually perform the poem. Don past appearances on “The Tonight Show up by choice. Edwards, a wonderful entertainer, once with Johnny Carson.”


He calls his urban followers “gentiles.” He’s also in the cattle business, so they’re his customers, too. “Gentiles are people who don’t know. When I was on NPR, I did 250 commentaries over a period of years. These people are all urban and they don’t have a clue where their food comes from,” he said. His act isn’t typical fare for a national audience, but with his unique window into the rural, agricultural world, he piqued the interest of Nebraska-born Johnny Carson. But, he didn’t get on the show after his first audition. “The first time Johnny Carson called and asked for a tape, I sent it to them and I asked, ‘Am I gonna be on?’ and [the producer] said, ‘No, you’re just a little too cowy,’” Black said. One of his most requested poems pokes fun at city dwellers up in arms over an observation that plants feel pain:

From The Vegetarian’s Nightmare: I had planted a garden last April And lovingly sang it a ballad But later in June beneath a moon Forgive me, I wanted a salad! I ate them. Forgive me, I’m sorry But hear me, though I’m a beginner Those plants feel pain, though it’s hard to explain to someone who eats them for dinner! “I’m tearing up tomatoes and murdering potatoes in that poem,” he said. “That’s the best example of what I call a rubbing of the cultural tectonic plates.” Black’s latest book is Cave Wall Graffiti From a Neanderthal Cowboy. His books, video and audio clips are available on his online store at See Baxter Black live at the Annual Membership Banquet. For information or to purchase tickets, contact the Chamber, 903.572.8567 or


Richard Witherspoon Introducing our 2015 Chair: Richard Witherspoon Business: Herschel’s Family Restaurant, Owner Lives in: Mount Pleasant Education: Texas Christian University; Bachelor’s Degree, Business Management Family: Married to Worthie; two adult daughters; Richie and Conoly Chamber Service: Board of Directors, Marketing & Tourism Committee

Richard Witherspoon has a long legacy in the food business. He grew up working in restaurants with his father, who owned Dairy Queens and other restaurants in the McKinney, TX area. After graduating from college 1978, he married his college sweetheart and moved a few hours east to start his own restaurant here in Mount Pleasant. He named it after his father, Herschel. Witherspoon and his father were partners in those early years until his Dad retired. Thirty-seven years later Witherspoon owns four Herschel’s Family Restaurant locations in Mount Pleasant, Pittsburg, Henderson and Palestine. He also maintains his DQ roots. He bought his father’s restaurant in McKinney about 20 years ago and he also owns Dairy Queens in Frisco, Allen, Plano and Greenville. Part of building that legacy as a business owner has been his longtime involvement with the Mount Pleasant Chamber & Visitor’s Council. “I first served in 1980. From then until today it’s like night and day,” he said. The Chamber has made great strides thanks to our CEOs and our staff and the committed people on the board and committees,” he said. “I feel very good about the Chamber. It’s respected in the business community. The Chamber has done a lot to help businesses both large and small.” Witherspoon is in his final year of a three-year term on the Chamber board of directors. He has also been active on


the Chamber’s Marketing and Tourism Committees. He begins his term as Chair Jan. 1, taking over from 2014 Chair Shannon Norfleet. As he looks ahead to the coming year at the helm, he says there is a lot of momentum going into 2015. “It’s exciting to be a part of it right now,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing what we have in place, building on that and carrying on the tradition of excellence we’ve established with the Chamber.” Witherspoon outlined his goals for the coming year, including meeting the benchmark goals of the Chamber’s 3-Year Strategic Plan, continuing the Chamber’s marketing and tourism success and executing a new focus for the Leadership Mount Pleasant program. “We have a great strategic plan in place. We’re right in the middle of that and I think there are a lot of good programs in place that we’re looking at expanding,” he said. For example, the Chamber recently

hosted a State of the Economy Luncheon. “We hired a speaker from the Federal Reserve in Dallas. We saw how well-received it was here in Mount Pleasant and Titus County, so we’re thinking about inviting the entire region to take advantage of what we’re offering,” he said. Other new events, like Everything Texas Uncorked, also have great potential for growth, he said. He’s especially excited about the new direction the Chamber is

taking its Leadership Mount Pleasant pro- economic prosperity by engaging business role and how that involvement becomes a gram. The new focus will put more empha- and the community.” building block for business growth. sis on addressing issues that Mount Pleas“I think as a board, we have to He points to the many seminars and workant and Titus County will be facing in the keep our focus on that. It says it all. That’s shops that benefit businesses, but a key coming years. benefit, he said, is the “That is really going to advertising opportunities help in identifying and developfor small businesses that ing leaders who will learn about “a good strong Chamber goes a don’t have their own marissues facing the community not keting departments. “I’ve long way toward building only right now and in the next seen that with Herschel’s year, but also five and 10 years with all the different proprosperity among the down the road,” he said. “I’m motions. It makes your excited about how we’ve enadvertising dollars go business Community.” hanced the program to better much farther because prepare [the class] to be the people in the community leaders of the future.” begin to recognize that Witherspoon said sucyou are making an incess in leading the Chamber always comes our purpose and everything we do relates vestment in your community and they want back to the mission statement: “To build to that,” he said. “We enjoy prosperity in to do business with businesses that give Mount Pleasant and Titus back,” he said. County, but we can’t be The Chamber is an organization complacent. We have to that touches so many areas of the commualways look for ways to nity. “It’s like the fabric running through it. It improve and enhance and can pull people and businesses and differgive better value to our ent entities together,” he said. “A good businesses.” strong Chamber goes a long way toward Witherspoon unbuilding prosperity among the business derstands the importance of community.” a local business joining the Chamber, taking an active



Leadership Mount Pleasant Forging New Horizons mayor, it won’t be the first time they’ve heard about these issues.” The Chamber tapped Kelly Coke to take on the role as Chair of the class. “We are very blessed to live in this community. We really want to spark in these Leadership Mount Pleasant participants a vision for future challenges and how we are going to tackle those issues when they hit Mount Pleasant and Titus County,” Coke said. “We want [them] to be empowered, equipped for change and ready to lead in the future.” The participants will also benefit The Leadership Mount Pleasant from the expertise of leadership consultant Class of 2015 is adding a new dimension Dr. Lila Walker, who will work with the to its already successful legacy. The class class at each meeting. “Dr. Walker is exis structured with an enhanced focus on cellent in empowering people to reach their future issues that its participants will face full potential by understanding their leaderas they take on leadership roles in the ship styles and recognizing that their percommunity. sonal values have a strong influence and “We have broadened the curricu- will determine the type of leader they will lum structure. It will be divided into industry be,” Coke said. days – education, healthcare, city, county, Coke brings her own areas of economic development. We are bringing in expertise to the table in her role as Chair. experts in those fields to speak to them She is the instructor of Leadership Studies about issues that are coming down the and coordinator for the Bachelor of Genpike,” said Chamber CEO Faustine Curry. eral Studies program at Texas A&M Texar“Later on, when they want to be on the kana. She also assists with community school board or they want to serve as outreach efforts for TAMUT’s program at

Northeast Texas Community College. The 2003 Texas A&M College Station graduate has a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Leadership and Development. She earned her Master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education at TAMUT and plans to begin her doctoral program soon. She served as an intern for Laura Bush during her senior year at Texas A&M. She also worked for U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, in his constituent services office in Dallas and then his deputy regional director for the East Texas region for five years. Coke has a passion for the local community with deep family roots in Mount Pleasant and Titus County. Her mother, Teresa Coke, is a retired teacher, so education is doubly close to her heart. “The reason I got into higher education is to help students reach their full leadership capacity,” she said. Curry said the impact of a leadership program is far reaching for a community. “It is really necessary because communities are built on leaders. There are always plenty of workers and volunteers who are willing to do anything for their community, but there are very few who are willing to step up and take the responsibility to lead,” she said. “Leadership Mount


Mount Pleasant Days in Austin - March 2013

Pleasant provides a source to find leaders Mount Pleasant Days in Austin is lenge of guiding the class and says she’s and an opportunity for leaders to emerge.” another big part of the leadership program. thankful for the program’s founders, past The program will bring in the With the class being held every other year chairs and chamber directors for the founleaders of nonprofit dation they built. “They left organizations as well this wonderful legacy to help to share the issues mold and shape leaders in they face and the imMount Pleasant and Titus “it is really neCessary beCause portance of their work County. It is very evident in knitting the commu- Communities are built on leaders.” that they were concerned nity together. “I believe about the future and continthe best leader is a uous well-being of our comservant leader,” Coke munity,” she said. said, quoting her favorite Bible verse, Mat- during the Texas Legislative Session, each With her background in leaderthew 20:26: “Anyone who wants to be im- class takes that opportunity to travel to ship, education and legislative issues, portant among you must be your servant.” Austin to tour the Capitol, meet their repre- Coke brings a unique blend to the class in An Everything Texas Tour is sentatives and get a better understanding which she was a student just two years planned to give the participants an overof the legislative process. The trip is orga- ago. “I feel like the concepts that I use in view of what the area offers, its culture and nized by the Chamber’s Governmental teaching my community leadership class the industries that are its backbone. The Affairs Committee. The 2015 class will will help me in this,” she said. “This is participants will also be assigned class have the added benefit of Coke’s previous where theory and application really hit the projects in the three main focus areas that experience working with Mrs. Bush and road.” they will present before they graduate in Sen. Cornyn. June. Coke is eager to take on the chal-



State Representative Bryan Hughes, District 5 (R-Mineola) Representative Bryan Hughes was elected to represent HD-5 in 2002 and is the vice chairman of the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee. He also serves on the Human Services committee and as vice chairman of the Rural Caucus. Hughes has served on the board of trustees of the Steward's Foundation, a Dallas-based nonprofit organization that makes loans to churches for building projects and provides health care assistance for Christian workers. He currently serves on the Health Care Committee. Hughes is also active in his church, Golden Bible Chapel, where he serves as an elder. He is a board member of the Mineola Foundation, a member of the National Rifle Association and the Rotary Club of Mineola. A fifth generation Texan, Hughes was raised in Wood County and graduated from Mineola High School in 1987. He attended Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler. He received his law degree in 1995 from Baylor University School of Law, and was subsequently chosen by United States District Judge William M. Steger of Tyler to serve as his briefing attorney. After serving two years with Steger, Hughes entered private practice in Marshall. He currently practices law in Mineola, his hometown, where he continues to represent working families and small businesses.

Bryan Hughes has served in Texas House of Representatives from District 5, which includes Camp, Harrison, Upshur, and Wood counties, since 2003. Age: 45 Occupation: Attorney Education: B.B.A., University of Texas at Tyler; J.D., Baylor University Committees: Appropriations Criminal Jurisprudence Subcommittee on Articles VI, VII & VIII

CONTACT INFO Capitol Address: Room CAP 4S.5 P.O. Box 2910 Austin, TX 78768 (512) 463-0271 District Address: Mineola District Office 701 N. Pacific Ave. PO Box 450 Mineola, Texas 75773 (903) 569-8880 Email: Website:


State Senator Kevin P. Eltife District 1 (R-Tyler) Senator Kevin P. Eltife, the owner of Eltife Properties, was sworn in to represent SD-1 in 2004. He previously served three terms on the city council for the City of Tyler and later as the city’s mayor. Eltife is the current chairman of the Senate Committee on Administration; Eltife also serves on the Business & Commerce, Economic Development, Finance, and Natural Resources committees. Additional posts have included seats on the Electric Utility Restructuring Legislative Oversight, Economic Development, Nominations, Government Organization, Health and Human Services, and International Relations and Trade committees. He was appointed by Gov. George Bush in 1997 to serve on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and has been recognized for his legislative efforts by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce one of the group’s “Five Outstanding Young Texans” in 1998. Eltife received the "Freedom to Teach" award from the Association of Texas Professional Educators and was named a "Champion for Free Enterprise" in 2005 by the Texas Association of Business. In 2007, the Texas Municipal League named him "Legislator of the Year” and Texas Monthly recognized him for being "tough, pragmatic, independent . . . (and) a problem solver." A Tyler native, Senator Eltife is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He is the owner of Eltife Properties and resides in Tyler with his wife, Kelly, and sons, Walker and Jack.

Kevin Eltife has served in the Texas Senate since 2004 from District 1, which covers Bowie, Camp, Cass, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Titus, Upshur and Wood counties and a portion of Smith County. Age: 55 Occupation: Businessman Education: B.B.A., University of Texas at Austin Committees: Administration (Chair) Business & Commerce Finance Natural Resources Economic Development Senate Select Committee on Redistricting

CONTACT INFO Capitol Office Room: 3E.16 Address: P.O. Box 12068 Austin, TX 78711 Phone: 512-463-0101 District Office Address: 3304 South Broadway, Suite 103 Tyler, TX 75701 Phone: 903-596-9122 District Office Room: Longview District Office Address: Gregg County Courthouse 101 E. Methvin, Suite 301 Longview, TX 75601 Phone: 903-753-8137 District Office Room: Texarkana District Office Address: 5411 Plaza Drive Suite D Texarkana, TX 75503 Phone: 903-223-7931 Email: Website: Source:


Electrify Mount Pleasant That’s the theme for the third year of the Chamber Total Resource Campaign to gain sponsorships, members and volunteers. The campaign kicks off at the end of January and runs through the first week of March. “With this being a year in which the Texas Legislature is in session, the focus for our Governmental Affairs Committee is energy, education and transporta-


tion, and with two power plants here, we feel like it’s appropriate to show support of our energy companies.” said Chamber CEO Faustine Curry. The Chair for the 2015 TRC is Rob Hedges. The team captains are McCall Dyke of McGuire-Dyke Investments, Jey Yancy of Offenhauser Insurance, Kristy Crooks with Guaranty Bank & Trust and Troy Sellers of Luminant. “We are really excited. We have a

great campaign planned with a great team of captains,” Curry said. “The new TRC Chair will set the goal of the campaign and bring in more volunteers and possibly another team.” The campaign, which kicked off its inaugural drive in 2013, has generated 120 new members for the chamber in its first two years and a significant increase in sponsorships. “The campaign has been wonder-

fully successful for the Chamber,” Curry packets and see what they are interested but the members that have sponsored or said. “Before the campaign, we raised in and what can help their business,” Curry invested in some particular item, we obviabout $25,000 a year in sponsorships. As said. ously have more interaction with them beof this past year’s campaign, we were up to There has been positive response cause we’re meeting with them more and $133,000 in sponsorships. We also went from the total resource campaign concept, when their event is over, they receive a from 20 businesses to almost 170 busiwhich benefits both the Chamber and the fulfillment packet that includes all of what nesses investing in the Chamber.” businesses they serve by allowing each they received from that event, so hopefully, The concept of the TRC is three- entity to more efficiently plan ahead for the they feel better connected with the Chamfold. coming year. ber.” “The first part is to get all of the “It seems that there is a lot more During the campaign, the TRC sponsorships for the entire year. The sec- buzz about the Chamber and the member- teams compete to see which of them can ond part is a membership recruitment pro- ship is pleased with the direction we’re generate the most sponsorships and new gram and the third is a volunteer recruitgoing. The members like being able to members. Last year, the highest producing ment tool to get people involved with the know what they can invest in all at one time team was the Troy Sellers team. Kim Chamber and get them excited about and how they can promote their business Crabb of Diamond C Trailers claimed first what’s happening,” she said. “It’s a huge through the Chamber,” Curry said. “It helps place as top individual producer. event for the Chamber and provides lots of them with their marketing budgets and Norfleet was just beginning her support.” helps them plan their calendar for the year year as Chair of the Chamber during the The TRC consultant, Joyce Pow- because they know ahead of time what is 2014 campaign. As the TRC wrapped up, ell Johnson of YGM, founded the TRC in coming up and what to be prepared for.” she said she was thrilled at the number of Tulsa, OK, increasing people from the comthat Chamber’s sponmunity that came sorship revenue from together to make the under $100,000 to campaign a success, well over $2 million. which punctuated the “the trC Changes some of the “Based on campaign’s “Unity” that campaign she perceptions about what the Chamber theme last year. She has helped Chamsaid the diversity of is all about and builds stronger bers all over the Unitbusinesses that were ed States with their brought into the revenue base,” Curry teams and stronger businesses. It helps Chamber was also said. impressive. build that feel-good community The cam“Some of that you are proud to be a part of.” these businesses paign is made up of teams that fan out haven’t been enacross the city and gaged with the Chamarea, meeting with ber before and that’s the Chamber’s 425 what really gets you members to present sponsorship opportuCurry said the TRC is also a way excited,” Norfleet said. “I think the TRC nities that are available as well as meeting for the Chamber staff and volunteers to changes some of their perceptions about with non-member businesses to share the stay better connected with its members as what the Chamber is all about and builds benefits of joining the Chamber and draw it continues to grow. stronger teams and stronger businesses. It more of them into Chamber. “It gives the members a lot more helps build that feel-good community that This year, there are two portions face time and on the flip side it allows the you are proud to be a part of.” to the drive. Two weeks prior to the official Chamber to really seek what the heartbeat With the “Electrify Mount Pleasstart of the campaign, businesses that of the Chamber really is; to see if we are ant” theme this year, the teams are eager have made an investment in the Chamber doing what we need to be doing, if we can to surpass the 2014 goal and capitalize on previously will be approached with an op- do more for a member or we need to adjust the energy that that came out of the past portunity to secure those same sponsorthe direction we’re heading to better serve year’s efforts. ships again this year. them,” she said. Like past TRC Chair Steve Capps pointed “They will have first right of refusal That face time continues throughout the out, “We want to be atmosphere changers.” for the sponsorships that they have been a year as the businesses making an investpart of. When that period ends and the ment work closely with the Chamber to campaign kicks off at the end of January, host and support events and programs. the teams will go out and talk to Chamber “Throughout the year, we try to members to present them with fundraising contact all of our members continuously,




on Social Media

Mount Pleasant Business Report  

January/February 2015

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you