March 2021 Newsletter
Greetings from your NLF Chair, Howard Shotwell
What a difference a year makes!

It was one year ago at this time that the NLF Newsletter shared that our world was changing into a Zoom format for all meetings. That story revealed that we were facing a worldwide pandemic and that there was widespread uncertainty in our future.

In the past year, we have seen businesses saved by PPP (Payroll Protection Plan) forgivable loans, EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) and additional programs targeted at saving businesses and protecting jobs.

We have seen our first responders, hospitals and medical teams step up and become even greater heroes than they have been in the past. We owe each of them a debt of gratitude.

We are in our third month of taking vaccines and progress has definitely been made over this past year. I particularly want to thank last year’s NLF Chairman, Nick Sanders, who shared an encouraging note in his March 2020 column: Tough times never last, but tough people do!

Moving forward, I look forward to seeing you on Friday, April 30, at our 30th Annual Award Luncheon, which will be held at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center. We owe RaDonna Hessel, CEO of the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce, a huge “thank you” for arranging this outstanding venue.

We will enjoy a powerful twosome for our keynote, as legendary sportscaster and Emmy-Award winning producer Scott Murray will introduce “the original #88 of the Dallas Cowboys” – Drew Pearson, who will be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame this August. Scott will interview Drew live from the stage and reminisce some of his greatest memories from his career as a Dallas Cowboy, the influence of Tom Landry and what his Hall of Fame induction means to him.

Drew has spoken at a regional conference of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Council and shared his journey as a small businessman and how he has learned to position himself to grow and succeed in this space. As I have heard him say before, “Coach Landry emphasized that we would need to have a life and career beyond our football years.”

We will honor our friend John Fletcher as our 2020 Distinguished Leadership Award recipient. John is the owner of Fletcher Consulting Public Relations, and has served on the boards of the HEB, Colleyville and Southlake chambers of commerce.

Please enter this date on your calendar – Friday, April 30. We will be meeting in the spacious Grapevine Ballroom on the third floor so we will continue to observe social distancing.

Let's commit to being valuable resources during the balance of this pandemic. I appreciate what each of you does in Northeast Tarrant County and with NLF. Your commitment and passion for growing leaders in our region helps make us successful. If you have any ideas or suggestions or if I can be of help to you, please contact me at or (817-247-3240).

-Howard Shotwell
Dallas Cowboys Legend and Future NLF Hall of Famer Drew Pearson to Speak as We Recognize 2020 Chamber Leadership

Drew Pearson is the one of the most popular Dallas Cowboys players ever and he has earned a spot in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. We look forward to his insights on football, character, the NLF Hall of Fame and small business.

Legendary TV sportscaster and producer Scott Murray will interview Drew during our annual award luncheon on Friday, April 30. You will recall that Scott was the #1 sportscaster for over 20 years at KXAS/NBC 5.

Here are a few things you probably did not know about Drew Pearson:
  • Well-rounded athlete: 3-sport letterman in high school in Newark, New Jersey – football, basketball and baseball
  • Played wide receiver and quarterback in high school
  • Wore jersey #15 in high school -not his trademark #88
  • At South River High School, played wide receiver his sophomore year and team went undefeated due to Drew catching touchdown passes from --- Joe Theismann
  • Attended the University of Tulsa on a football and baseball scholarship
  • Received University of Tulsa’s “President’s Award” as the team’s best spirited and most unselfish member
  • Inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 1973 – ask him about how he received his “signing bonus” and you will be astounded
  • Caught the 50-yard “Hail Mary” pass from Roger Staubach to beat the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs
  • Played on Cowboys teams that played in three Super Bowls in the 4-year period of 1975-78
  • In 2009, named one of the 10 Greatest Dallas Cowboys to ever play
  • Sportscaster for such networks at CBS and HBO
  • CEO of Drew Pearson Companies, manufacturer of licensed headwear since 1985
  • Received the 2005 NLF Alumni Career Achievement Award for post-NFL career success

Drew will be autographing two Dallas Cowboys footballs that will be given away as door prizes at the luncheon.

We will recognize the 2020 chairmen of our seven area chambers of commerce to thank them for their outstanding service during last year’s start of the pandemic. These chairmen are:
Colleyville Chamber
Mimi Tran

Grapevine Chamber
LeAnn Brown

HEB Chamber
Steve Ward

Keller Chamber
Donna Kirkwood
Metroport Chamber
Tracy Martinez

Northeast Tarrant Chamber
Layla Caraway

Southlake Chamber
Ryan Peabody
Sponsorship Opportunities
VIP tables
2 tables of five (10 total guests) with premier seating: $1,000

Reserved tables
Two tables of four (8 total guests): $500
One table of four (4 total guests): $300

Individual ticket with general seating: $55

To register, please click the button below or contact the HEB Chamber at
(817) 283-1521 or email
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact John Fletcher at (817) 205-2334.
Distinguished Leadership Award to Honor
John Fletcher

We will honor John Fletcher, owner of Fletcher Consulting Public Relations, with our Distinguished Leadership Award at the 30th Annual Award Luncheon.

John opened Fletcher Consulting as a public relations and advertising agency in Hurst in 2004, where he became involved in his nearby chambers of HEB, Colleyville, Northeast Tarrant and Southlake. He has also involved his clients in their own communities and chambers.

He provides public relations and marketing services for some well-known brands: AgTexas Farm Credit, Ciera Bank, Dalworth Clean & Restoration, Expedition Royalty, Grandview Bank, Highland Landscaping, Renfro Foods, and James L. West Center for Dementia Care. He has also represented Allen Samuels Chevrolet (Waco), the Harlem Globetrotters and H-E-B Grocery.

John graduated from Texas Christian University, which he attended on a full tennis scholarship.

Following a career in broadcasting that began at KMCO radio in Conroe and moved to KCLE in Cleburne and KJNE-FM in Waco, John entered the public relations/advertising agency business in Waco when he opened Fletcher Communications. He also served as an adjunct professor at Baylor University, teaching Broadcast Management and Media Programming.

In addition to serving on chamber boards, he has also served on the boards of SafeHaven and GRACE and he remains on the advisory board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at TCU. He also created and managed the Leadership Colleyville program over a four-year period after it had gone dormant for three years.

John has received the Abe Lincoln Award as the #1 radio broadcaster in America for community service and the Better Business Bureau’s National Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. 
NLF Foundation Scholarship Applications Due March 31

Students and parents have until tomorrow (March 31) to submit scholarship applications for graduating seniors in Northeast Tarrant County public high schools.
Once again this year, the Northeast Leadership Forum Foundation will award $44,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors thanks to the matching grant from the Nancy and Alan Hamm Foundation. Students are eligible if they will attend a two-year college, four-year university or a trade school.
The NLF Foundation members are in the process of meeting with area superintendents and reaching out to high school counselors so we can award our annual scholarships.
We will announce and introduce our recipients at our May 11 breakfast meeting. Click below to download the application and apply today!
NLF Announces New Tech Scholarships

One of the new initiatives of our 2021 Chairman Howard Shotwell has been the creation of vocational education scholarships. Howard has joined with two NLF members to raise $7,500 for vocational scholarships for graduating high school students to study vocational training at Tarrant County College.

Howard has stated that 2021 has been – and will continue to be – a promising time for plumbers and other members of trades. This workforce development program will encourage studies and help introduce students to promising careers.

Unlike our traditional scholarship program that requires submission by March 31, the NLF Foundation will work with Tarrant County College and other trade schools to fund scholarships starting this summer and through the school year.

This Tech Scholarship Program has the potential to grow, so please reach out to Howard at (817) 247-3240 for more details.
Keep NLF Dynamic and Growing

At our March 11 virtual Board meeting, your Board approved the following new members:
  • Steve Buyers – Founder & co-owner of Buyers Barricades
  • Scott Hall – Venture Business Impact
  • Victoria Seng Nelson – Manager of Corporate & Community Engagement, Catholic Charities of Fort Worth

As you interact with business and community leaders who impress you, please invite them to our next membership breakfast meeting on Tuesday, May 11. These influencers are making a difference in our area, so let's invite them to participate in NLF. Membership is the lifeblood of our organization.
For any prospective NLF members you may know, click here to download the membership application. We want both established and emerging leaders to continue joining our organization to further the dynamic growth of Northeast Tarrant County. 
We ask you to welcome visitors and new members to our breakfast meetings because growing the power of networks is one of the main benefits of NLF.
Please reach out to Shannon Watt, our membership chairman, if you have a prospect: or 817-733-8485.
New Member Profile

Steve Buyers
Steve was an entrepreneur but didn’t know it. While managing a construction project at DFW Airport in 1984, Steve had a pivotal moment when the barricade vendor was providing such bad service that the project was about to become shut down by a safety official, so Steve quit his job as a construction manager and opened Buyers Barricades the next day.

Ever the entrepreneur, he has formed a safety company and has his own sign shop. Steve serves on the board of the Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce and supports Ronald McDonald House, Tarrant Area Food Bank and many others.

Steve is a graduate of the University of North Texas. He and his wife Shelba live at Lake Worth.
Support Your Local Chamber

Throughout this past year of COVID (which began March 4, 2020) and last month's snow and ice, our chambers of commerce have been the ultimate resources and the bedrock of business for our communities.
As you visit with local business leaders, please encourage them to join their local chamber(s) of commerce to grow the power of their connections and influence:

  • Colleyville Chamber of Commerce: Chelsea Rose – 817-488-7148
  • Grapevine Chamber of Commerce: RaDonna Hessel – 817-421-1522
  • HEB Chamber of Commerce: Mary Frazior – 817-283-1521
  • Keller Chamber of Commerce: JoAnn Malone – 817-431-2169
  • Metroport Chamber of Commerce: Sally Aldridge – 817-937-2000
  • Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce: Jack Bradshaw – 817-281-9376
  • Southlake Chamber of Commerce: Mark Guilbert – 817-481-8200   
Breakfast Meeting Speakers Attract Impressive Crowds

NLF members continue to praise the quality of programs that are driving increased attendance at our membership breakfasts. Please mark your calendar to attend our Tuesday, May 11, breakfast when our keynote speaker will be Ian MacLean, owner and CEO of Highland Landscaping in Southlake.
Ian, who is a member of NLF, was recently chosen to serve as Chairman of the Small Business Council of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Yes, a member of our own organization is now the “National Voice of Small Business,” so we have a stronger presence on the national stage than ever before.
He will address the impact of the PPP 2.0 small business loan program and the impact of the new Biden administration on small businesses.
Ian has served at a variety of committee and board levels of the Small Business Council for the past five years. He is a two-time past chairman of the Southlake Chamber of Commerce and has also chaired Southlake Oktoberfest – the #1 rated Oktoberfest in Texas and #4 in the nation – for the past seven years.
Please remember to RSVP and bring small business 
guests to hear his powerful message.
Mark Your Calendar
Deadline for the NLF Foundation Scholarships
Wednesday, March 31 @ 5p.m.
2021 Membership Meetings:
(Please arrive by 7:15 to mix and mingle!)
Tuesday, May 11, at 7:30 a.m. - Keynote Speaker: Ian MacLean
Tuesday, August 10, at 7:30 a.m. - Keynote Speaker: To Be Announced
Tuesday, October 12, at 7:30 a.m. - Keynote Speaker: To Be Announced

Annual Events:
Friday, April 30, 2021
Heart of North Texas
Friday, November 5, 2021
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact John Fletcher at 817-205-2334.