As American Airlines employees gathered for a town hall meeting Monday with their new CEO, Doug Parker, the room was buzzing about a more familiar face.
“Everybody came here to see Bob,” one employee said as he found a seat for the meeting.
Bob, of course, is former American CEO Bob Crandall, who flew in from Florida to attend the company’s celebration of its merger with US Airways. Crandall served as American’s top executive from 1985 to 1998 and spent a lot of time posing for pictures with employees, shaking hands and showing his support for the merger.
“Nothing says restoring American Airlines to the greatest airline in the world like Bob Crandall,” Parker said as he introduced the man who was his boss in the 1980s when Parker worked in American’s finance department.
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Parker also told that audience they were underdressed for Crandall, who during his tenure fostered a buttoned-down corporate culture at the airline, where shirt and tie were required.
Taking questions, Crandall added his unfiltered opinions, often drawing laughter and cheers from the crowd. Parker said he was going to have to bring Crandall around to all his employee meetings. — Andrea Ahles
Sundance Square receives award
Sundance Square on Wednesday received the Vandergriff Award from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, presented annually to an individual or organization for positively impacting Tarrant County.
“Sundance Square has emerged from a vision in the ’80s to global acclaim,” said Bill Thornton, the chamber’s CEO and president. “It’s the heartbeat of downtown and a nationally known revitalization success story.”
Sundance Square, the 35-block entertainment, shopping, office and residential development district, recently opened a one-acre plaza in the heart of downtown.
The chamber said Sundance Square puts downtown Fort Worth on maps worldwide. It is widely honored as a model of urban development and an American success story in downtown revitalization, the organization said.
“We have always seen Sundance Square as a catalyst in the revitalization of downtown Fort Worth,” said Johnny Campbell, Sundance Square president and CEO. “It has always been a fundamental part of the mission to create a vibrant center in the central business district from which new development could emanate throughout the downtown and ultimately throughout the central city.”
The Vandergriff Award was established in 2011 in memory of the late Tarrant County Judge Tom Vandergriff. General Motors received the award in 2011, and Van Cliburn in 2012.
Luke auto history
Following our story Tuesday regarding redevelopment of the former Luke Honda property on Division Street in Arlington, we received a telephone call from J. Luke, the son of the dealership’s late founder, Gilbert Luke.
He wanted to clarify some history for us. Luke told us his father started the family business on July 1, 1936, when he acquired a gas station and auto repair shop at the northwest corner of Mesquite and Abram streets in Arlington.
It was later that year that Luke obtained the franchises to sell Chrysler and Plymouth. In 1939, he added Pontiac. Over the years, he moved the dealership to 400 E. Division St., opening a new car showroom there in 1952. He added Honda in 1971, becoming one of only a few dealers locally to carry the brand. In 1985, the dealership dropped the other lines and exclusively sold Hondas.
“My dad expanded and moved as he was able to without going into debt,” said J. Luke, 77, who went to work full-time for his father in 1971. His brother, Frank, started full-time with the business in 1965, J. Luke said.
The family sold the business in 1998. Gilbert Luke passed away in 1997, at the age of 89.