LOCATION FOCUS: Texas: Big Heart, Country, Business
By Dominique Cantelme
From the September/October 2012 issue
The second most expansive state in the United States with the second largest population, Texas is home to more than 25 million people and features a diverse landscape of rivers, swamps, plains, mountains, woods and desert. Its warm weather, excellent schools and southern hospitality make for an unmatched quality of life with a rich cultural heritage.
Texas also has a well-earned reputation as the best state in the U.S. to do business. The state offers one of the lowest tax burdens in the country (e.g., no personal income tax), business-driven tort reform, a variety of incentives and an overall low cost of doing business.
A major incentive is the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF), which is designed to expedite the development and commercialization of new technologies and to attract and create jobs in technology fields.
“Texas continues to be a leader in jobs, innovation and technological development, thanks in part to investments through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund which have attracted top researchers and cutting edge companies to the state,” said Gov. Rick Perry.
The job creation capital of the nation, Texas shows no signs of stopping. By December 2011, Texas employers had replaced all of the jobs shed during the recession compared with the nation’s 44 percent recovery. This past July marked two straight years of continuous job growth for the state and over the past year it added jobs in nine of the 11 major sectors, including education and health services; leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; mining and logging; manufacturing; construction; and financial activities.
“Texas’ job growth over the past year points to a steady and sustained expansion of our state’s economy,” said Tom Pauken. Pauken is the chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission.
The Lone Star State was named 2011’s leading exporting state for the tenth year in a row (according to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce) with exports in 2011 totaling more than $249.8 billion, up 20.7 percent from $206.9 billion in 2010. It outperformed overall U.S. exports, which grew by 15.8 percent in 2011 with top exporting industries that included petroleum and coal products, chemicals, computer and electronic products, non-electrical machinery and transportation equipment. In addition, the energy industry in Texas supplies 20 percent of the nation’s oil production, more than 30 percent of its natural gas production, a quarter of its refining capacity and nearly 60 percent of the nation’s chemical manufacturing.
According to USA Today, Texas has moved past New York as the nation’s second largest economy and it is the 15th largest in the world based on GDP figures (nominal). Texas also is home to six of the top 50 companies on the Fortune 500 list, third only after New York and California. And the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Texas added more than 420,000 people from 2010 to 2011, a larger increase than any other state, providing nearly 19 percent of the nation’s population growth for the year.
A Big Focus On Industry Clusters
Texas is accustomed to being #1. Month after month, the Lone Star State tops business rankings for business climate, job growth and growing communities. In a national economy still recovering from a recession, Texas has forged ahead of the pack as a result of a superior business climate, ranking as the “Best State for Business” by Chief Executive Magazine for the eighth straight year in 2012.
A key ingredient to Texas’ success is a comprehensive job creation strategy focused on six key industry clusters: Advanced Technology and Manufacturing; Aerospace, Aviation, and Defense; Biotechnology and Life Sciences; Information and Computer Technology; Petroleum Refining and Chemical Products; and Energy. As a result of focusing state economic development efforts in these areas, Texas has experienced robust job growth. In the last ten years, Texas has generated nearly 1.4 million new jobs—more than three times the number of any other state. Texas’ climate of success and prosperity has led thousands of companies to move here, stay here and grow here. From corporate giants to rising stars, businesses and jobs are flocking to the Lone Star State.
Caterpillar Inc. has a workforce of 3,000 strong in Texas. With locations spread across the state, two of the company’s largest plants are a direct outcome of the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), the largest deal-closing fund of its kind in the nation. In August of 2012, Caterpillar celebrated the grand opening of its new hydraulic excavator manufacturing plant in Victoria, a TEF project which will generate $200 million in capital investment.
Texas has been a global leader in the semiconductor industry since the 1950s, with the invention of the integrated circuit by Texas Instruments. In recent years, the state has solidified its position as an industry leader by attracting advanced technology companies to the state through the TEF. In August 2012, TEF award recipient Samsung committed to an additional investment of up to $4 billion dollars to upgrade its Austin chip manufacturing plant, bringing the company’s total investment in the Lone Star State to more than $13 billion.
Aerospace innovation that began with NASA continues to evolve in Texas as commercialized space exploration becomes a dominant force in the industry. In July 2012, XCOR announced the creation of its new Commercial Space Research and Development Center headquarters at the Midland International Airport. XCOR develops and produces reusable launch vehicles, rocket engines, and rocket propulsion systems, and will create 100 jobs at the new facility focusing on development of the Lynx, the company’s next generation reusable launch vehicle.
Innovative and growing biotechnology companies are consistently choosing Texas as the prime location to expand their businesses. In recent years, Spanish pharmaceuticals firm Grifols selected Texas for a new plasma testing laboratory and fractionation plant. Hanger Orthopedic Group, an orthotic and prosthetic services firm, relocated its headquarters to Austin. In San Antonio, Medtronic located a major expansion of its diabetes division, while Becton, Dickinson & Co. established its global professional services headquarters.
The Texas A&M University System landed a major federal biosecurity contract in June. With an initial investment of $176.6 million from the U.S. Government, Texas A&M will develop one of only three Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing in the United States. The purpose of the Center is to bolster the country’s emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases, such as pandemic influenza, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
Apple and Facebook are two of the most globally recognized information and computer technology companies in the world, and both have expanded major operations in Texas as a result of the Texas Enterprise Fund. Facebook opened its Austin office in May 2010 and doubled the facility’s size in October 2011. The Austin office represents Facebook’s first major U.S. expansion and is its largest operations office in North America outside of its Menlo Park, California headquarters.
Apple is investing $304 million in a new campus in Austin that will create over 3,600 jobs. The campus will more than double the size of Apple’s workforce in Texas over the next decade, supporting the company’s growing operations in the Americas with expanded customer support, sales and accounting functions for the region.
The largest single capital investment commitment for a TEF project in Texas is a multi-year refinery expansion by Motiva that began in 2006. Saudi Refining, Inc. (a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco) and Shell Oil Company (an affiliate of the Netherlands’ Royal Dutch Shell plc) completed their joint-venture project in May 2012, making the Motiva Enterprises Texas Gulf Coast refinery the largest refinery in the nation.
The natural gas production industry is booming in Texas, due in large part to the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas. Drilling activity, extraction and production in the shale have expanded rapidly since the first well was drilled in 2008. Fortune 500 oilfield services company Baker Hughes is headquartered in Houston and plays a critical role in the Eagle Ford Shale. Its drilling units have worked on 97 percent of the wells in the shale and the company invested $30 million last year to open a new operations center outside of San Antonio. The facility was constructed specifically to support the deluge of activity in the Eagle Ford Shale.
Caterpillar, Samsung, Apple and Facebook are just a few of the global businesses that have laid down roots in Texas soil and reaped the benefits of an award-winning business climate. Cultivated by a culture of growth and prosperity, these companies and thousands more understand that Texas really is Wide Open for Business and committed to their success.
Waxahachie: Crossroads Of Texas
Waxahachie is located at the crossroads of Texas. Conveniently situated at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 287, this prime location is less than 35 minutes to Downtown Dallas to the north, less than 60 minutes to Waco and the Texas Hill Country to the south, 18 miles to I-45 and the Piney Woods to the East, and 45 minutes to Downtown Fort Worth to the west.
Over 80,000 vehicles travel through this intersection every day, making Waxahachie an ideal location for a variety of business and industry. Medical, manufacturing, technology, retail and many other businesses continue to choose Waxahachie as their home.
Since it was founded in 1850, Waxahachie has benefited from its prime location. In the late nineteenth century, Waxahachie grew rapidly largely due to the area’s prosperous cotton industry. This industry was enhanced due to the availability of rail transportation through the city, and the original highway intersection right in the heart of Waxahachie’s central business district. Soon, one of the country’s first textile mills was built and the rest is history. Success of the early cotton barons has left a legacy still enjoyed today in the form of hundreds of beautiful Victorian homes and grand historic buildings that frame the most photographed courthouse in the state of Texas.
Fast forward over a hundred years, and Waxahachie is still experiencing a healthy and graceful rate of growth. In fact, the same places where cotton barons traveled to market and the historic Shawnee cattle trail passed through, is where modern-day companies are enjoying success in medical, service, manufacturing, retail and tourism industries.
Waxahachie is the county seat of Ellis County which also makes the community a regional center for commerce. Retailers in Waxahachie have enjoyed success for decades and continue to prosper today. Many new retail developments such as Waxahachie Crossing and Waxahachie Town Center, have been added to the community since 2000. In the last two years, increasing consumer traffic has created a steady rise in sales tax revenues for the city, which also translates into improved sales for the retailers.
Medical amenities include Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie, which was named a Top 100 Hospital by Thomson Reuters. Baylor will soon construct a 120 bed facility as part of a new 52 acre medical complex. This new facility is slated for completion in late 2014.
Several professional services companies also enjoy the amenities that Waxahachie has to offer. Some, such as Southwest Data Solutions, have chosen the historic downtown area and others are located in one of the many office centers located along the US Hwy 287 Bypass. Waxahachie’s regional draw and numerous manufacturers make building a customer base a breeze.
Waxahachie is home to over 50 industrial companies from a broad range of sectors. The largest companies include a Walgreens Distribution Center, DART Container Corporation, Owens-Corning Fiberglass, and Rock-Tenn. These companies have made Waxahachie home for the obvious reasons: excellent transportation corridors, quality workforce and training, cost-effective land development, a business-friendly environment, and a wonderful quality of life.
The community’s quality of life is second-to-none with a variety of residential options, an excellent education system, convenient shopping and dining, progressive medical care and easy access to all the metropolitan amenities that the DFW Metroplex has to offer.
Waxahachie attracts families. In fact, more than half of all households have one or more school age children. Waxahachie Independent School District has an enrollment of over 7,500 students on 13 campuses, and 1,000 employees preparing children for tomorrow’s challenges and successes.
Navarro College’s Waxahachie campus boasts the largest enrollment of all their locations. Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a growing four year college that also is an important part of the community.
Add in several private and charter schools, a S.T.E.M. High School, many active youth programs and two college campuses with a combined enrollment of over 3,000 and you will quickly see why making lots of room for education is very important to Waxahachie.
Conveniently located at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 287, Waxahachie is the perfect home for a wide variety of businesses. Technology, medical, retail and many other companies continue to choose to make Waxahachie home. The community has a proven track record for success, and most Waxahachie firms have continued to thrive, even during times of uncertainty. Experience that same success for your business by making Waxahachie your company’s home.
Midland, TX Continues To Grow By Leaps And Bounds
In the decade encompassing 2001 to 2011, Midland, TX, had the highest annual average growth rate in the nation at 9.1 percent, increasing from $5.3 billion to $12.7 billion during that span. The goal of the Midland Development Corporation (MDC), a Type A Sales Tax Corporation with over $7 million in annual revenues, is to convert this rapid growth into permanent progress. It is one of the fastest growing cities, not only in the state, but in the country as well. In fact, in May of 2012, it was projected that the population would grow by an astonishing 12 percent alone. Housing and hotel occupancy rates speak for themselves as they have been at 100 percent full occupancy for over the past year. Many new housing developments are in construction to satisfy this overwhelming progression but catching up with this type of growth is no small task.
What has the Midland Development Corporation and the city excited about is the recent announcement of XCOR Aerospace’s R & D Headquarters locating to the Midland International Airport. XCOR is focused on the research, development, project management and production of safe, reliable, reusable launch vehicles (RLVs), rocket engines and rocket propulsion systems. Midland is not the only one excited about the arrival of XCOR. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in attendance at the announcement and expressed his enthusiasm about what this move means for Midland and for Texas.
“This is a great day for Midland and a huge step forward for the State of Texas. Visionary companies, like XCOR, continue to choose Texas because they know that innovation is fueled by freedom,” Gov. Perry said. “Whether on the cutting edge of biotech, communications, commerce or privatized efforts to serve the needs of the next generation of space explorers, you can find Texas at the forefront of the movement.”
Bill Whittle of PJTV said, “Midland, TX, will have a foothold in one of this young century’s key technologies. It will help anchor the boom and bust oil economy of the region and it will turn Midland Airport into one of the few actual spaceports in all the world.”
The Midland International Airport has many sites available to meet the needs of this fast-paced and thriving technology. With XCOR as the pioneer, this opens the door and provides opportunities for the aerospace and aviation sector to prosper in Midland, TX.
Midland is located in the heart of West Texas, half way between Fort Worth and El Paso. Midland also serves as a key component to the La Entrada Al Pacifico Corridor. The Entrance to the Pacific Corridor is a state and federally designated trade corridor from Texas to Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico, and continuing to the Mexican Pacific port of Topolobampo in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. It would offer Texas with long-term access to a Pacific deep water port that is approximately 500 miles closer and much less expensive than the Port of Los Angeles.
Midland’s superb business climate has evolved over the past century as the community grew to be the regional headquarters for the West Texas oil and gas industry. The result is that companies in all industries can benefit from the business climate and natural advantages the Midland region offers. The MDC has the ability to structure incentive packages to qualified new and existing employers who create and retain diversified jobs. The location on I-20, rail served by Union Pacific and Foreign Trade Zone #165 makes Midland a prime location for distribution and manufacturing. And with the recent designation of Midland as a spaceport, Midland can begin to generate a wide variety of jobs in the aerospace and aviation sector. The importance of education in Midland is reflected in the percentage of population with a completed Bachelors’ Degree well above the national average. Engineers, geoscientists and financial professionals make up a large percentage of Midland’s workforce. If you would like to find out about more opportunities in Midland, they can be found at www.midlandtxedc.com.
Port Freeport: Gateway To Growth
Port Freeport came into being more than 100 years ago when the first jetty system was built in Freeport, Texas. Since that time, Port Freeport has become one of the fastest growing ports on the Gulf Coast and currently ranks 16th among U.S. ports in international cargo tonnage handled. With a current channel of 45-foot depth, soon to be widened and deepened, just three miles from open Gulf of Mexico waters, Port Freeport offers more than 7,500 acres for future development. Port Freeport serves its customers and stakeholders through development and marketing of competitive world-class navigational capabilities, technically advanced marine and multimodal terminal services and port-related industrial facilities while achieving profits and creating jobs as a leading economic catalyst for the Texas Gulf Coast.
Port Freeport offers the following benefits: rail, highway, vessel and/or barge transportation can be seamlessly utilized; direct access to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Brazos River Diversion Channel, State Highway 36, State Highway 288 and Union Pacific Railroad; only a few minutes commute from quality schools, housing and medical care and just 59 miles south of downtown Houston, Texas—the nation’s fourth largest city; surrounded by a highly qualified, technical labor pool; available existing water supply, wastewater collection, electrical distribution, gas and telephone; existence of adjacent properties that could support future growth and development; air freight service by all national carriers from multiple surrounding airports within a 60-mile radius; availability of local, high-quality trainable workforce and close proximity to universities and technical colleges; ability to manage inventory and/or manufacture duty deferred, inside its Foreign-Trade Zone; Texas is a right-to-work state, which leaves you the right to choose between union and non-union labor; and the state of Texas, Brazoria County and Port Freeport offer competitive incentives, tax credits and exemptions.
Recent developments at Port Freeport include the construction of the first phase of Port Freeport’s Velasco Terminal adding further cargo-handling capabilities at the Port, with the construction of a new 800-foot-long dock and 20 acres of backlands, promising an eventual offering of 2,400 feet of berthing and more than 90 acres of supporting land.
Meanwhile, the Port continues to work in conjunction with federal and state authorities to advance the project to deepen the Port’s channel to 55 feet from its present 45 feet, plus substantially widen the channel as well. It is hopeful that the feasibility study will indicate, as have preliminary analyses, that benefits of the channel project should exceed its $300 million cost.
With so many developments pointing toward growing diversified activity at Port Freeport, its people look forward to the Port expanding upon its already impressive status as an economic cornerstone of the community and region—a dynamic force directly and indirectly responsible for over 55,000 jobs with an overall annual economic impact in Texas of $10.2 billion.
Unlike many ports, which are running out of available land, Port Freeport boasts more than 7,500 acres of currently undeveloped tracts, all proximate to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The Port is a mere three miles—45 minutes by ship—from the open sea.
The Foreign-Trade Zone Program adds to Port Freeport’s appeal. Since established in 1988, Port Freeport’s Foreign-Trade Zone No. 149 has helped American companies involved in global commerce to save money on the products they import into the U.S. through deferral, reduction and/or elimination of Customs duties assessed on foreign merchandise. In 2012, Port Freeport submitted an application to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to reorganize FTZ149 under the Alternative Site Framework offering FTZ benefits to companies located in Brazoria and Fort Bend County.
More than $9 billion in investments by Brazoria County industries are among key developments that bode to propel increasing activity at Port Freeport for decades to come while supporting thousands of local jobs and helping ensure sufficient supplies of low-cost natural gas for Texas and beyond.
Freeport LNG Development LP is investing some $4 billion in expanding the liquefied natural gas facility opened as a receiving and regasification terminal by the Houston-based firm at Port Freeport in 2008. The firm has signed new 20-year contracts with two large Japanese power companies to export liquefied natural gas from the facility and is reportedly in negotiations with a U.S. affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell PLC regarding Shell’s potential participation in the project.
Meanwhile, The Dow Chemical Company is investing more than $4 billion in four new projects—a joint-venture chlor-alkali plant, a propylene production facility, an ethylene cracker and a Dow AgroSciences plant—that together should bring more than 325 permanent jobs and more than 4,500 construction jobs to the area.
A Phillips 66 Company joint venture with Chevron Corporation for a $1.1 billion terminal expansion and a $100 million investment by another longtime Freeport business, BASF Corporation, are among other undertakings that should keep a steady flow of project cargo coming through Port Freeport during construction stages and facilitate growing export cargo flows after becoming operational.
The Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas play in South Texas is a driver behind the burgeoning energy sector activity.
These developments are by no means the only progress to report.
Port Freeport commissioners and executives met for a full-day workshop in June to identify strategic planning objectives, which include completion by June 2013 of the first 800 feet of a 2,400 feet total berth space in the Port’s 90-acre Velasco Terminal, with a third-party investor being sought to finish build-out and handle terminal operations. Also high on the priority list is development of adjacent infrastructure—including rail and highway links—to ensure the terminal realizes its full potential.
The locally funded widening of Port Freeport’s channel is moving forward toward early 2013 completion, while the more ambitious endeavor to deepen the channel to 55 feet is advancing as well, with a key U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report targeted for release by the end of 2012, opening the door to federal funding.
Safety and security also continue to be priorities at Port Freeport. The Port’s new emergency operations center, on schedule for a May 2013 opening, is a significant grant project that will benefit not only the port but the community as well, particularly in times of emergency. And multiple committees, including representatives of tenants and labor, are spearheading a collaborative process to invoke an enhanced safety culture at Port Freeport.
With a rich history spanning more than a century, a diverse cargo and revenue base, more than 7,500 acres available for additional development and an unbeatable business-friendly attitude, Port Freeport is ideally positioned to make the most of these and other dynamic developments, to the benefit of all who work and live in Brazoria County.
Those seeking additional information about Port Freeport are encouraged to check out their website at www.portfreeport.com or contact Mike Wilson at 1-800-362-5743, ext. 4325, or via email at email@example.com.
Greenville Is An Ideal Location For Manufacturing
Manufacturers seeking a prime location for their next plant need look no further than Greenville, Texas. Located on Interstate 30 approximately 30 minutes from the eastern edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Greenville provides everything needed for successful business.
Greenville offers businesses a strong transportation network. In addition to direct access to Interstate 30, a well travelled and primary NAFTA trade corridor, Greenville also offers convenient connections to Interstate 20 via Texas Highway 34 and to Interstates 35 and 45 via Dallas. U.S. Highway 69/380 provides a connection to the Northern growth regions of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The proximity to these major freight lanes allows companies to quickly access customers throughout the state of Texas and the Southwest region.
For companies requiring rail, Greenville can be accessed by virtually every major railroad line. Direct service is provided by Kansas City Southern, with connecting service provided by RailAmerica/DGNO and short-line carrier Blacklands Railroad. Greenville Majors Field Municipal Airport provides a convenient service for business utilizing corporate jet travel. With a runway of 8,000 feet, Majors Field can handle virtually any aircraft in the world. Both DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field are within an hours drive.
Ultimately, this enviable transportation network provides manufacturers multiple options in receiving critical production materials from preferred suppliers in the most cost-efficient manner. Greenville manufacturers then have the advantage of the same transportation options when delivering finished products to their customer base, locally and globally.
Greenville’s ideal interstate and highway network also provides an available workforce that stretches far beyond the immediate Greenville and Hunt County area. Existing industry employee commute patterns indicate a labor draw area of up to a 40-mile radius. This area encompasses a multi-talented workforce of over 700,000 workers in all or part of 10 counties, including heavily populated counties within the DFW Metroplex. Continued education and training opportunities are available through the Greenville campus of Paris Junior College and nearby Texas A&M University-Commerce. Greenville companies who have recently expanded their production operations have touted the exceptional workforce as one of the key reasons for their past success and confidence in future success.
Companies that are thriving in Greenville include Weatherford International, who broke ground in January 2012 on a Phase II 123,000 square feet plant expansion. Before the paint was dry, ground was broken on Phase III, which will mirror the Phase II expansion. Weatherford officials cited the quality and efficiency of the current Greenville facility and quality of the workforce as a primary reason for the expansion. Cytec Engineered Materials has also undergone an expansion of their facility, as they are bringing new production lines to Greenville. Total Equipment Services recently purchased an available Class A 123,000 square feet manufacturing facility for their operations supporting the Oil & Gas Industry. Other industries currently operating in Greenville include Rock Tenn, L-3 Communications Mission Integration, Innovation First International, CNH Global, Jarden Home Products, A B Mauri, Masonite, McKesson Corp., OmniSYS and Texas Book Co. Greenville’s existing businesses represent a diverse industrial base ranging from educational robotics shipped worldwide to global military aircraft modification.
Greenville offers prime industrial sites, with multiple sites owned and controlled by the Greenville EDC. Other key sites are held by single individuals who are good corporate partners with the City and EDC. The majority of industrial sites would be readily available at low or no cost to the user. The Greenville Industrial District is served by three Greenville Electric Utility Service (GEUS) substations, ensuring manufacturing capacity and reliability. The City of Greenville has an enviable supply of water, with a surplus capacity of 15 million gallons per day. Atmos Energy is the gas provider and a strong supporter of industrial growth in the community.
The Greenville Economic Development Team is focused on increasing the industrial and manufacturing base through aggressive customized incentive packages, competitive electric rate contracts, and low-cost land. City of Greenville officials and staff are business minded and dedicated to supporting both new and existing business. The community embraces growth and works hard to make Greenville the location of choice.
With Greenville’s easy accessibility, close proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, abundant workforce, plentiful and affordable land, and pro-growth attitude, businesses and industries are offered a true Texas location with value.