• Mayor Michael Rawling’s Bio

press6-300x200Elected Mayor in June 2011, Mike Rawlings is working to improve the quality of life of Dallas residents and families. During his term, Mayor Rawlings launched a major economic growth plan, an arts initiative, helped recruit new leadership at Dallas ISD, elevated Dallas nationally and internationally with leadership on the U.S. Conference of Mayors and New Cities Summit, and he shepherded Dallas through the Ebola crisis. 

Within 6 months of being elected, Mayor Rawlings launched GrowSouth, a comprehensive economic development strategy designed to boosting the economic impact of Southern Dallas by 30% over the next five years. With a strategic focus on fortifying neighborhoods, boosting schools, creating investment opportunities and fast-tracking five key growth areas, GrowthSouth already been a catalyst for new economic investment, job creation and public-private partnerships in Southern Dallas, and The Dallas Morning News praised Mayor Rawlings saying that “after only six months, Rawlings has accomplished more for southern Dallas than many of his predecessors managed in their entire terms.”

Committed to maximizing the economic and cultural potential of Dallas urban arts district, Mayor Rawlings also launched the Mayor’s Business Art’s Initiative, a business-focused initiative designed to draw new corporate participation in our arts district, which now holds the distinction of being the largest urban arts district in the nation.

Mayor Rawlings also recognizes the impact our public schools have on our neighborhoods and our economy, and he has taken an active role in improving Dallas ISD. As part of GrowSouth, Mayor Rawlings adopted five Southern Dallas schools and to date has raised more than $100,000 in private donations to fund learning resources for these schools. And, Mayor Rawlings took on the unprecedented roles assisting the recruitment of our new Dallas ISD Superintendent and taking leadership on evaluating the concept of creating a new Dallas ISD charter – even though these decisions traditionally fall outside of the scope of responsibility for the Mayor.

In September of 2014, Dallas emerged again on a world stage as the U.S.’s first case of Ebola was diagnosed. Working around the clock with the Center For Disease Control, the Texas Department of Health, Dallas County Health and The White House, Mayor Rawlings was critical to creating a health strategy that limited the spread of the illness, and a communications strategy that encouraged calm caution. With care and compassion, the outbreak was quickly contained, and Mayor Rawlings set forth a blueprint for how future cities may deal with a similar crisis.

Walk n neighborhood _KGW5626Mike Rawlings came to Dallas in 1976, with two hundred dollars in his pocket, and through hard work and determination, he proved that Dallas truly is The City of Opportunity. He worked his way up from an entry-level position to become the CEO of Tracy-Locke, which at the time was the largest advertising agency in the South.

After a successful 20-year career in advertising, Mike took the helm of the world’s largest pizza company, Pizza Hut. Under Mike’s leadership, the company had a major upturn in business resulting in the highest weekly store sales in Pizza Hut history.

Most recently, Mayor Rawlings served as Vice Chairman of CIC Partners, where provided business counsel and capital, helping to grow small and mid-sized businesses in Dallas, and across the U.S.

In addition to his vast business experience, over the past three decades Mayor Rawlings also has served as a volunteer leader with a proven record of tackling some of our city’s toughest challenges.

As the Homeless Czar for five years, Mike oversaw the construction and opening of The Bridge, which is the cornerstone of our city’s long-term plan to help the homeless and clean up our downtown. As Chair of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2006-07, Mike worked to bring in events that generated $400 million in direct economic impact to Dallas. And, while serving as President of the Dallas Park & Recreation Board, Mike fostered public-private partnerships that helped maintain our park services during tougher economic times.

For his thoughtful leadership in working to end homelessness, Mike was awarded the 2007 Innovation Award from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Dallas Historical Society’s Award for Excellence in Humanities, and the Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian of the Year for 2010.

A lifelong athlete, Mike lettered in football at Boston College, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and communications, Magna Cum Laude. Today, he serves on the Board of Trustees of Jesuit College Preparatory. He has been an active lecturer at many universities as well as an adjunct professor at SMU. Mike and his wife Micki have raised two children here in Dallas, Michelle (34) and Gunnar (26).