Pantex shares ideas and employees with Leadership Amarillo and Canyon
Leadership Amarillo and Canyon’s Executive Director Lisa Blake discusses the room set-up at the West Texas A&M University Enterprise Center, which has been assisting local entrepreneurs with guidance and business development since 2001. Note: This photo was taken in April 2021 and does not show any CNS employees.
At the end of every summer, a group of about 50 Panhandle area professionals come together to create a new class for Leadership Amarillo and Canyon (LAC). Formed in 1981, LAC's sole mission is to strengthen Amarillo and the surrounding communities by providing leadership development through educational programs and on-site business and industry tours, and by bringing individuals together from all walks of professional life.
“Regardless of the type of business or industry, connection to other business leaders is vital and very important to continued success,” said Lisa Blake, LAC executive director. “LAC helps open the door for leaders to serve on various boards and committees by providing connection. Our desire is for leaders to fulfill their passion by serving and helping our community.”
Once a month over the length of the 9-month program, LAC introduces participants to a wide variety of professional speakers and programs focusing on the areas of leadership development, networking, community awareness, and social consciousness.
Over the years, Pantex has been a part of the organization and has sponsored employees to participate in eachLAC class being offered. Buses filled with people from a wide variety of professions across the Panhandle area would be brought to Pantex for a full day of on-site activities. The group participated in a windshield tour in addition to lunch at the 12-103 cafeteria, along with a photo-op in front of the “Fat Boy” weapon replica. But the highlight for the tour group was always the stop at the west end of the firing site. They were informed they would be watching a controlled test shot…and inevitably, the group joined together with their collective “gasps” as the concussion of the shock wave passed by them, just a heartbeat after witnessing the explosion. The majority of responses back to LAC leadership always mentioned that Pantex event as one of their favorite activities during their time with LAC.
Pantex has sponsored a representative in almost every class since LAC began, noting that the on-site tours were both insightful and eye-opening. Participating Pantexans said they each made new friends and business contacts they probably would have never met otherwise, and each thoroughly enjoyed their time spent with LAC.
“LAC furthered my belief that we have more in common with our neighbor than we are told. Most people function based on middle-of-the-road principles rather than extremes, so there is always opportunity to learn something from each other. As leaders, we should seek out the things that we have in common with those whom we are leading. No one wants to follow a leader who does not share similar values,” said Deron Lucero, Pantex graphic designer and graduate of LAC.
“Attending Leadership Amarillo gave me an opportunity to learn about our area and meet some wonderful people,” said Darla Fish, Pantex Community and Education Outreach coordinator and another graduate of LAC.
“I had always heard great things about LAC and was excited when my name came up to join them for a year,” said Steve Myers of Pantex Communications, who is in the current LAC class. “It’s a widely diverse group of professionals from all around the area, each with their own insights on the economy, local business and industry, and their leaders…and how we can all make a connection that spurs communication and growth. We had to develop virtual tours during COVID but didn‘t miss a beat, and we always had great guests and speakers each month.”
“Many positive changes have occurred in our community as a result of our presentations, discussions, and tours of businesses and sites like Pantex. Participating in our organization also provides consistent networking among leaders of various industries, which opens doors for long-term connections,” said Blake.
LAC wants to inspire individuals who desire to make a difference by engaging them in current political and social issues, and exposing them to many of the challenges facing their communities. Through partnerships with many organizations, participants are involved in understanding the workings of local, state, and federal governments, the variety of businesses in the area, issues facing individuals in poverty, and the wonderful cultural diversity that is evident in the area. The program is designed to challenge the way people think about their communities, business, and themselves.
“Participating in Leadership Amarillo and Canyon is critically important for many reasons,” according to Blake. “Understanding our community, the challenges, successes, and obstacles, is important for all leaders and all businesses, including Pantex. Not only does our organization expose leaders to the reality of various issues, we provide the opportunity to collaborate and create solutions as well.”
As a non-profit organization, LAC is solely funded by the support of local businesses, allowing employees to participate in the annual program.
“LAC fosters community and we serve as a bridge between leaders and organizations. We often times help individuals find areas in which to serve and help meet needs. It is a win for individuals and for companies,” added Blake.
The current Leadership Amarillo and Canyon class met at the WT Enterprise Center to listen to business leaders and begin a busy day of conferences and business tours. Note: This photo was taken in April 2021 and does not show any CNS employees.
Owners of Creek House Honey Farm, Paige and George Nester, speak with Leadership Amarillo and Canyon about starting a new businesses and their recipe for success during their presentation at the WT Enterprise Center. Note: This photo was taken in April 2021 and does not show any CNS employees.