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The Man from Monkeys Eyebrow

Jim McGee, Plano City Council #7
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 Indiana and Illinois meet western Kentucky at Ballard County. The Ohio River twist and turns like a great snake all along the northern Kentucky border. At one area, you see what people thought a monkeys head looked like. At the area where an eyebrow might be lies Monkeys Eyebrow, Kentucky.

  West of Paducah and Metropolis, (yes that’s Superman’s Metropolis sort of) the Ohio River valley features farms and ranches that trace their Irish roots to the migration of hardy families that spanned from 1840’s to the 1860’s. This was the time of the Potato Famines that left a million Irish starving to death.  Mixing with German immigrants, tiny communities sprang up. These were Protestant Irish. They were seeking their own religious freedom. With an Irish father and a German mother, Jim McGee and many like him were the melting point for the two cultures. “We were hard working country folks. We absolutely ate off of the land. We raised our own livestock and kept a family garden. We hunted and fished.  My Uncle Vern never wore a pair of shoes in his life.”
  Jim McGee can trace his roots back to the Civil War era. Their family farm still grows corn and carries on his great grandfather’s legacy. But the McGee School House Bell now resides in Plano, Texas. 
 “We got out of the dairy business, but not before I got all the experience I will ever want.” Young Jim McGee loaded up a ’65 VW Beetle and headed off to IU. I tried a couple of years of college, but I still wasn’t sure of the direction for my life.”
Full Service  
 “I had the opportunity to buy a gas stop after my 2nd year at university. The Clark Oil service station was nothing more than a gas, oil, and soda stop. The station was near Peoria but really off the beaten path. There was some industry nearby and the shift changes at the Pabst Brewery plant kept us busy.
 This was back when you pumped the gas, checked the oil and tires, and washed the windshield. Everytime!!! We were open all day and all night every day.  I usually worked double shifts and had eight employees that covered the rest.”
 “I took the opportunity to service vehicles very seriously.” Two years of owning the little gas stop gave Jim plenty of time to think and he was ready to discover America.

 For the next few years Jim was in the grain storage business. “We built corrugated round storage bins all over the Midwest. I did a good job and my responsibilities and area expanded. I enjoyed getting to know the agricultural communities across the heart land.”

Texas Bound
 “People ask me how I ended up in Texas. That’s an easy one! Sure, people talk about the opportunities, but for me, it was the people!”
 For friendly people, Texas hospitality has been a beacon for many all over America and even the world. It still is! Texas epitomizes the spirit of America’s range. Jim felt it like a magnet and in ’78 made Dallas his new home. It didn’t take long before the hope and promise of Plano lured him. The population was around 75,000.
With the growth of North Dallas and Collin County came new opportunities and Jim McGee started a successful coupon business. The packaging of coupons for new residents and new business became a growing enterprise. “This business really gave me great insight into the growing mixture of services, supplies, and shopping. It really allowed me to become even more engaged in community.”
 Once again, the gentle natured natural salesman built a company up and sold the business for a profit! “I was watching the trends and had built enough of a network that I was ready to take a new direction. I took great pleasure in helping people grow their businesses and really enjoyed the wide range of people I had become involved with. The promotional products industry was really blooming and it fit my personality as well giving me the opportunity to continue to be involved with creative hard working people.”

Past Plano Mayor Phil Dyer and Dr. Robbie Robinson

 Impression Marketing was a big success and by ’92 had become top rated promotions company. From shirts and pens to campaign support and company give away items, Jim’s network kept growing and his awareness and connection to the growing diversity continued to make him an important fixture in his community.
 A natural progression was serving on the Plano City Council. Jim won his seat and found a comfortable opportunity to be not only a visionary but also a consensus builder. He had spent years being a part of a huge range of business, family, and community.
 His natural easy going demeanor and broad range of connectivity got the attention of Senator John Cornyn who added him to his staff in 2003. Unfortunately, it required that he give up his seat as a Plano City Councilman. For the next two years, he held a staff position as a Regional Director.
 In 2005, he became part of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison staff.
 Why would two high profile U.S. Senators want Jim McGee on their staff? His huge range of a connections proved that he was a proven ‘ Relationship Builder’. His ability to listen, relate, and then find common grounds helped inspire and organize. His need to give back and build up fueled his enthusiasm.
 When Senator Hutchison decided not to run again, Jim’s life long journey made him the perfect choice for Plano based powerhouse Huawei as their Senior Director of Government Relations.
More to Give
Endorsed by Plano Police Assoc.
 “I have more to give and Plano is continually adjusting. It is a city that must become a vertical community. At 95% developed, the old and new have to find their common ground. I feel that my past is such a huge value in helping to guide Plano’s future.
My involvement in the City has been extensive and ranges over the last 22 years.
  I have served on Keep Plano Beautiful committee, Planning and Zoning Commission (2 years as Chair), Board of Adjustment and as a City Council Member for 2 years. I resigned my Council position to serve at the State level when the newly elected Senator John Cornyn tapped me to join his team as Regional Director.  Following my work for Senator Cornyn, I served in a similar role for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
  As a graduate of Leadership Plano, I served on the board of Leadership Plano Class XI, and was the Chairman of the Board for the Plano Chamber of Commerce in 2000. I am currently on the Board of the Plano Education ISD Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber Public Policy and Economic Policy Committees, and a Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC) Board Member.”

 Great deal for 3 Bucks
Beverly and Jim
  There are leaders and there are people of action. There are people who care and people who engage. There are consensus builders and open minded listeners. When you find that combination in someone, you are looking at the recipe for a community leader and great person to know and befriend.
 Let me give you some advice. Take the opportunity to meet Jim McGee. If you get a chance to have a nice beer and a chat, take it! He is Irish. You will thank me.
 If you go to his Facebook, you’ll find that he makes great use of the space by reporting on his activities with a candid and easy to follow voice.
  We met at Artins at the Shops of Legacy. Say hi to GM Bud Najjar and try one of Jim's favorites. It's a sweet and spicy oriental slant on fried calamari It was after 3 so the beer was only $3. It didn’t take me but ½ my Alaskan Ale to know that this is man who listens well and puts you at ease with his natural grace. It didn’t take us long to find common ground. 
  Don’t vote without knowing your candidates from a human level where the decisions that affect thousands are made. Many solid endorsements are building and many are posted on his web site.
  Plano is now a city of close to 280,000 made up of every race. If you eat Plano, you are eating the world. Corporate giants have moved here. More are on their way. But the reality is that most of us are just like the Man from Monkeys Eyebrow. Good people, hardworking, broad ranged, in love with the old, with an eye to the future.
- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

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