McKinney Economic Development Corp. CEO, president nears one-year, celebrates rebrand

MEDC President and CEO Peter Tokar speaks at a manufacturer opening in McKinney.

MEDC President and CEO Peter Tokar speaks at a manufacturer opening in McKinney.

Nearly one year ago Peter Tokar moved from Alpharetta, Georgia, to McKinney. Tokar joined the McKinney Economic Development Corp. to serve as president and CEO on July 30, 2018.

During Tokar’s first year with the MEDC, he has rebranded and restructured the organization and helped build a pipeline of businesses looking to call McKinney home.

“The projects that we announce in a given year may have started two to three years ago,” Tokar said. “... I’ve got a lot of leads, and we definitely have a good, solid project pipeline [of businesses and projects]. … A lot of the first year is rebuilding, and it takes a year to do a full rebrand.”

Under the rebrand, Tokar hopes to connect with McKinney residents and show them how the MEDC impacts the city’s tax base. The rebrand launched July 9.

“In some respects we’re not putting a new face on [the MEDC]; we’re putting a face on it,” Tokar said. “It’s been kind of this silent organization, or people see it as a silent organization. It’s really putting an image to what we do out there in the public.”

The MEDC is primarily funded with the levy of a half-cent sales tax.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about McKinney?

“The thing that surprised me about McKinney is that it’s a huge city, but going from a small city [like Alpharetta] to a city that’s three times the size, the impression you think you’re going to get is [that] this is going to be a massive undertaking. But for being as large a city as McKinney is, it feels small. … With 190,000 people living here, I run into the same bunch of people all the time around town. [McKinney is] this huge place that still has that small-town feel, but it’s a huge, growing, budding city.”

What projects are you most excited to bring to McKinney?

“Cirrus [Aircraft] at the McKinney National Airport was a big project. And [Dynacraft moving its division headquarters was announced June 21]. … It will be a headquarters for an advanced manufacturing operation. … We work with businesses, and then we work with projects as well. There’s a difference between business and projects. Our mission is not only to go out and recruit new companies here; we work with existing companies for expansion opportunities or relocating companies within the region. When we work specifically with a business, it’s usually on a relocation or expansion. A new business coming into McKinney is usually a project, and it’s got a fancy code name. … At any given time it’s safe to say between a combination of those two we’re working on about 20-25 different projects. And because they span years and years, the pipeline just grows, and every now and then one will drop off the back, and we’ll add one on the front and that pipeline just keeps going with us until they either make a decision one way or the other.”