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Bowie Chamber of Commerce Banquet Program 2017

Page 6

Letter from Incoming president

By BARBARA GREEN

editor@bowienewsonline.com

Jim Gilbow is a longtime Bowie

businessman, but he only became

involved in the Bowie Chamber of

Commerce in late 2015 after a friend

“recruited” him. Little did he know a

short time later he would step in as

president helping guide the chamber

during a reorganization period and

some difficult economic times in the

community.

“I got recruited by Bobby Delvec-

chio who was on the board and I liked

it. I was not prepared to be president,

but I am enjoying it; it is a challenge,”

laughs Gilbow who will continue serv-

ing through 2017 as president.

Gilbow was raised in West Texas

so it’s no surprise his career came in

the oil field. He worked many years

traveling from rig to rig working for an

Oklahoma City drilling mud company.

While he was stationed in Farmington,

NM, he decided it was time to settle in

one spot. His company assigned him

to Wichita Falls in 1982. He and wife

Jan, lived inWichita Falls for 10 years

before moving to Bowie.

“I worked a lot of wells in this area

for Mitchell Energy, headquartered

in Bridgeport. I was back and forth

to Bridgeport a lot, so Bowie seemed

a good middle location,” recalls Gil-

bow.

In 1998 he began a drilling mud

company, expanding into tank trucks

in 2002. Today, he continues to oper-

ate GilbowOilfield Services. Daughter

Tracy, along with her parent partners,

also recently reopened Belle Rose Bou-

tique in downtown Bowie.

Gilbow says getting to know his

community through the chamber has

been eye-opening, but he feels they

have made some great strides during

2016. The closing of the hospital in

November 2015 and the slow-down

in the energy industry hit Bowie hard

in jobs, business, sales tax and the

overall economic health. The cham-

ber is keenly aware more business is

needed, he said, which is why they are

working closely with city and economic

development organizations.

“There were people who didn’t

think the chamber of commerce was

helping them, which was a surprise

to me. I believe we are turning that

around,” said the president.

Membership has increased by 10

percent and the board has been able

to strengthen partnerships with city

government, economic development

entities and other cities in the county.

The chamber office was moved to a

downtown location moving in with

with Main Street Bowie and Bowie

Economic Development Corporation.

That location at the corner of Smythe

and Walnut is now a “one-stop-shop”

for tourism, business or relocation.

Coupled with a new executive direc-

tor and new office location, Gilbow said

the board has increased profitability of

events to sustain administrative and

advertising expenditures.

For 2017 the chamber president

has some ambitious goals beginning

with maintaining and increasing

membership by 10 percent. He would

like to restructure the chamber board

to involve more of the membership in

events and key decision making.

Topping the list for the new year is

formal dedication of the Bowie Knife

sculpture as the Guinness World

Record for the World’s Largest Bowie

Knife. The chamber also plans to cel-

ebrate the 150th anniversary of the

Chisholm Trail with a big April event

involving the entire community.

“All funds raised by the chamber

are used for the growth and sustain-

ability of the community through

cooperative advertisements, com-

munity involvement, attractions and

educational opportunities.

“My overall objective is to leave the

chamber in better condition than be-

fore – which is the motto I would like

each chairman to follow in the future. I

also want to get our members involved

to be part of our events and activities,

that is one of the biggest goals. We

have a lot of good people here, they

just need to get out and get involved,”

said Gilbow.

Jim Gilbow