on January 12, 2023 / by Dylan Thomas / in Blog Posts, DDI News

January 12, 2023 

Scott Goldstein
Chief of External Affairs & Government Relations 
email: goldstein@downtowndallas.com
cell: 214-535-8919

Ambassador Ron Kirk to Receive Downtown Dallas, Inc., Groundbreaker Award for Lifetime Achievement 

Former Mayor, Texas Secretary of State, U.S. Trade Representative to be Honored at Feb. Annual Meeting 

DOWNTOWN DALLAS — Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI), today announced the selection of Ambassador Ron Kirk as the first recipient of the nonprofit organization’s new Groundbreaker Award, recognizing a lifetime of achievement advancing Downtown Dallas.  

Kirk, the first Black mayor of Dallas and a former member of President Obama’s cabinet, will be presented the honor at DDI’s 65th Annual Meeting & Luncheon on Friday, February 24, 2023, at the Thompson Dallas hotel.  

“Much of the historic progress we see in Downtown Dallas today can be traced directly to Mayor Kirk’s vision and passion for the core of our city,” said DDI President & CEO Jennifer Scripps. “As mayor, Ron Kirk recognized the potential for Downtown to drive economic opportunity for all. He saw the need to evolve what was then a business district into a true neighborhood. This award is recognition of all his efforts while in office and what he continues to be involved with today.” 

Kirk was appointed Texas Secretary of State in 1994 by then-Gov. Ann W. Richards. He was first elected mayor of Dallas in 1995 and re-elected in 1999. Among many notable accomplishments, Kirk championed the ballot measure that led to the development of the $421 million American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars. That project helped transform the former brownfield site into an award-winning land re-use that is a vibrant mixed-use development now known as Victory Park.  

He also championed the $246 million Trinity River Corridor Project, approved by voters in 1998. It is one of the most significant public works projects in city history, covering 20 miles along the Trinity River, including to the west of Downtown.   

While in private life now, Kirk has continued to be engaged on key civic issues that impact Dallas. Last fall, he served as one of the leading advocates for Proposition A, another historic ballot measure to benefit Downtown and surrounding areas. Kirk was featured in television commercials asking for voters to approve a 2-percentage increase in the tax Dallas hotel and motel visitors pay to fund the expansion of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and much-needed upgrades to six Fair Park venues.  

“Ron Kirk is the ultimate unifier and city builder,” said DDI’s 2023 Board Chair Katy Murray, President and Chief Financial Officer of DallasNews Corp. “After leaving office as Dallas mayor, he proudly represented our city on the world stage and continues to push for causes that will benefit Downtown and our entire city. In this 65th year of DDI’s operations, we could not think of a more deserving honoree.” 

The Groundbreaker Award is the latest Dallas honor for Kirk, recipient of the 2018 H. Neil Mallon Award, presented annually by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.  

The Dallas City Council in 2016 voted to rename the Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge for Kirk. The bridge over the Trinity River is now known as the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge.  

“I’m honored to accept this prestigious award, and grateful to partners including DDI for staying the course on a path we set more than two decades ago,” Kirk said. “As I said during my time as mayor, what makes Downtown Dallas truly viable is when good things happen after six o’clock at night. It is fulfilling to see that our Downtown has grown and prospered as an arts and entertainment destination and a thriving neighborhood.” 

Kirk currently serves as Senior Of Counsel at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Downtown Dallas office in the iconic Trammell Crow Center. He Co-Chairs the International Trade Practice Group, ESG Practice Groups.  

DDI’s signature annual event where Kirk will receive the award is presented by Newpark Dallas. 

Pinnacle level sponsors are Balfour Beatty, Headington Companies, Hunt Consolidated, Inc., LDWW, and Matthews Southwest. Urban Legend sponsors are 400 Record, AECOM, D CEO, JBJ Management, OUTFRONT Media, Page, and Perkins+Will.  

The Groundbreaker Award replaces DDI’s Chairman’s Award, which was given to more than a dozen Dallas civic leaders over the years.  

For more information on the event and Ambassador Kirk’s honor, visit downtowndallas.events

Ambassador Ron Kirk

About the Groundbreaker Award: 

For more than a decade, Downtown Dallas, Inc. has been recognizing prominent leaders and influential city builders in our community with what was previously known as the DDI Chairman’s Award. The new DDI Groundbreaker Award, unveiled as part of DDI’s year-long 65th-anniversary celebration, recognizes a company or individual who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to and significantly impacted the progression of Downtown Dallas.  This award recognizes an individual or company’s effort to help stimulate and maintain a vibrant environment, advance the goals of DDI’s strategic 360 Plan, facilitate a diverse downtown environment through DE&I initiatives, and promote community involvement in Downtown Dallas. 

About Downtown Dallas, Inc.:

Downtown Dallas, Inc. is the primary advocate, champion, and steward for Downtown, effecting change by developing strategies, setting targets, and mobilizing resources that: 

  • Stimulate a vibrant and sustainable Downtown environment
  • Improve infrastructure
  • Enhance economic competitiveness
  • Create a culturally inclusive urban center
  • Position the area as a global destination
  • Foster innovation and technology in all aspects of the urban experience

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