Lone Star State Success Driven By ‘Hardworking Texans’

Governor Greg Abbott credits the state’s residents — and economic development tools — for its top business ranking.

By Kari Williams
From the January/February 2024 Issue


Job growth in Texas is expected to surpass that of the United States as a whole, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, despite jobless claims increasing.

“All across our state, business is booming. From our large metros to rural Texas and everywhere in between, businesses large and small have led Texas to be ranked the number one state for business every year that I’ve been governor,” said Governor Greg Abbott in prepared remarks for his 2023 State of the State address. “That success has been driven by hardworking Texans. It has been aided by strategic economic development tools.”

Montgomery County, Texas
Deison Technology Park is a 248-acre development in Montgomery County, Texas. (Photo: Courtesy Conroe Economic Development Council)


One path Texas has taken to enhance its economic development is establishing partnerships with other countries.

In July, Gov. Abbott signed a statement of intent with Olivier Becht, French Minister for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and Foreign Nationals.

“Collaborating with our economic partners around the globe will ensure the Texas economy continues to flourish,” Gov. Abbott said. “By signing this statement of intent, it will encourage foreign business investment, promote economic development projects, and increase trade opportunities between Texas and France. Forging strong economic bonds with reliable partners is more important now than ever.”

The state also can boast a continued accolade in its best business climate, according to Development Counsellors International’s (DCI) triennial survey.

The most recent report from Texas A&M’s Texas Real Estate Research Center found the state economy “remains resilient,” though it has shown signs of slowing.

“Texas’ consumer confidence grew despite decreasing leisure spending,” the October 2023 report stated. “The Fed paused rate hikes for a second consecutive meeting as CPI remains unaltered from September.

“Data is showing economic activity is expanding at a slower rate making it unlikely that a slowdown is on the horizon. Trade continued to fall from last year’s peak.”

Gas and petroleum wholesale, oil drilling, and gas extraction/petroleum refining are Texas’ largest industries based on revenue, according to IBISWorld.

Maddox Industrial Group, a specialized industrial solutions company, plans to expand into the Gulf Coast area as part of its partnership with Metalforms, an industrial fabrications, services, and heat transfer solutions company.

Conroe, TX: A ‘Boomtown’

Located 40 miles north of Houston along Interstate 45, Conroe is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. It was recently identified as the No. 1 “boomtown” in Texas and No. 3 in the nation by financial technology company SmartAsset. Conroe has seen its population swell by 26% to nearly 100,000 over the past five years—a remarkable surge, even for Texas.

“Conroe is in the path of growth from Houston,” said Mayor Jody Czajkoski. “This community will be the northern anchor of what will be the Houston-Conroe Metroplex. Conroe is the only city left that has land to grow.”

Conroe is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. It was recently identified as the No. 1 “boomtown” in Texas and No. 3 in the nation by financial technology company SmartAsset.

With abundant and affordable housing and safe streets, Conroe is a family friendly city with a burgeoning music and restaurant scene. And with 157 miles of shoreline, majestic Lake Conroe juts into Sam Houston National Forest, a natural buffer to the north.

Talent is readily available with an expanding workforce of nearly 2 million potential employees within a 40-mile radius. Conroe’s dynamic and diversifying economy is attracting robust investments in advanced manufacturing, energy services, logistics, retail, and, increasingly, top-flight industries such as health care and biotechnology.

For manufacturers, Conroe boasts easy interstate access and proximity to bustling Port Houston. For executives, Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport offers its own customs facility, a rare asset that smooths out the wrinkles of international business travel.

Targeted investments in infrastructure that helped to produce an enviable public school system also yielded two premium industrial parks, one of which has an on-site community college. Totaling nearly 2,000 acres, Conroe Park North and the newer Deison Technology Park are crucial pillars of the city’s economic development strategy.

“We’ve got all the infrastructure in place,” Danielle Scheiner, Conroe Economic Development Council Executive Director, said. “We’ve got our industrial parks and the airport. We have a strong manufacturing base that partners well with the corporate base in The Woodlands, our neighbor to the south. You can have your corporate headquarters in The Woodlands; your manufacturing plant here in Conroe; and park your corporate aircraft at our airport.”

Ver-Mac, a leader in the traffic safety industry, discovered its ideal home in Conroe. The Quebec City, Canada-based company moved its U.S. operations from Houston to Conroe in December 2021, purchasing a 71,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Conroe Park North.

“When we went to see the shop in Conroe, we knew it was a fit right away,” said Adam Chelo, Director of Ver-Mac’s Conroe Operations. “We said, ‘This place is awesome.’ The choice was made before we even left the parking lot.”

Chelo praised the workforce in the Conroe area and the ability to operate in an ecosystem that promotes collaboration.

“The location is prime for us. We found that the workforce we’re getting in Conroe are qualified individuals,” Chelo said. “There’s also the benefit of access to suppliers. Instead of having to wait hours for somebody to drop off parts, a lot of the time we know a company who is right around the corner.”

Visit www.conroeedc.org for more information.

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