Meek is the latest addition to the growing list of New Braunfels leaders who have recently announced their retirement—a group whose ranks also include New Braunfels ISD Superintendent Randy Moczygemba, New Braunfels Police Chief Tom Wibert and Assistant Police Chief Joe Vargas.
32 years of service
After working for the chamber since 1988 and serving as CEO since 1995, Meek announced Jan. 15 his plans to retire effective Jan. 31. He will continue to serve as a part-time consultant until July 31 while the chamber searches for his replacement.
Meek moved to New Braunfels in 1988 from Rockport, Texas, where he worked in the real estate industry and served as chairman of the board for the Rockport Chamber of Commerce.
Tom Purdum, who was serving as the New Braunfels chamber CEO at the time, hired Meek to serve as director of the Greater New Braunfels Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“I had the opportunity—fortunately, for me—to come in at the ground floor and mentor and learn under him,” Meek said. “I tell people I learned more under him than I learned in college, ... learned more from him about the chamber business, the tourism business and the economic development business.”
During his time with the chamber of commerce, Meek oversaw the creation of the Central Texas Technology Center, a major expansion and remodeling of the New Braunfels Civic and Convention Center, the development of the Leadership New Braunfels program and efforts to bring more jobs to the community.
Meek originally planned to retire in 2020 and had been working with the chamber since 2019 to develop a three-year transition plan to prepare for his departure.
“April 1 of last year was when the job was going to be posted, and they would have had somebody in here by December,” Meek said. “Well, as you know, COVID hit, and that changed everything.”
Meek said the next president and CEO will inherit the chamber's 2019-21 strategic plan, which was developed as a foundation to build upon in preparation for Meek's retirement.
The strategic plan was created in conjunction with the city’s strategic plan in order to streamline local development projects, Meek said.
“Fortunately, there’s always more to do,” Meek said. “We planted those seeds, and they’re sprouting. There’s just not trees there yet to provide shade, but there’s going to be.”
More than a decade at NBISD
Almost a week before Meek's decision went public, Moczygemba announced his intent to retire Jan. 11 as NBISD superintendent after holding positions in education for more than 35 years, 13 of which were with NBISD. He will officially retire June 30.
“I decided to become an educator because I had two educators, two teachers who picked me up by my bootstraps when I was a student in high school and pushed me to do the best that I could do,” Moczygemba said. “When I went to college, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher like them to pay back or pay forward all the things they had done for me.”
Moczygemba has worked in five Texas school districts, including roles as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.
During his time with NBISD, he oversaw the implementation of the one-to-one technology program that provided iPads for all students, helped formulate bond packages totaling $226.4 million to build new school facilities and led the district through years of rapid enrollment growth.
“I've just really loved the community and the district. ... I know we're growing very quickly, and we're not just a small town anymore, but we've got a small-town feel,” Moczygemba said. “I think what's important for anybody coming in is [not to] come in and try and change everything. We’ve got a lot of good things going on.”
Retirements in the police department
The announcements from Moczygemba and Meek come on the heels of Wibert’s retirement in October and Vargas’ retirement, which will be effective as of Jan. 31.
The city named Keith Robert Lane as the interim chief of the New Braunfels Police Department during City Council's Oct. 12 meeting.
Lane is currently working with the city and an outside consultant to finalize the recruiting plan for the next chief of police, and the search for an assistant chief of police will begin after the new chief is sworn in, according to a city press release.