October 1, 2021

Hard work by regional partners helps spur Central Texas growth

I recently had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at one of our Regional Business Summits in Round Rock, Texas.  After the event, I could not help but feel energized and excited about all the positive things happening in Round Rock, the Central Texas region and across Texas.

As I wrote in a previous blog post: Texas’ economic development organizations (EDOs) are key players in Texas’s economic development success, and the Round Rock Chamber is no exception.

In 2020 alone, Round Rock created 1,115 new direct jobs and $46 million in capital investment, including the opening of a Kalahari resort, which boasts America’s largest indoor waterpark.  But it is so much more than a big swimming pool.  According to Momentum, a 5-year, public-private partnership between the Round Rock Chamber, City of Round Rock and private-sector investors from the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area has over the past 10 years,  seen 75 total project wins, 6,644 new direct jobs, 10,371 new direct and indirect jobs, $1.8 billion direct capital investment and $2.6 billion total investment in Round Rock.  Numbers like that don’t happen overnight; they are the result of years of hard work, good planning, even better execution and a vision for your community’s future.

In June, I visited Waco, Texas, to meet with the mayor, city manager and the long-time head of economic development.  I recall a similar feeling of excitement and enthusiasm as I headed south on I-35 back to Austin following my visit.  Building on the spotlight from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Fixer Upper television show, the leaders of Waco are charting a bold course for the future of their community.  As part of my visit, I toured the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative or BRIC.  The creativity and conversations inside the BRIC may be complex, but its core mission is simple: Using a repurposed General Tire plant, Baylor University said, “the BRIC’s unique design facilitates interaction between Baylor faculty’s cutting-edge research in emerging technologies, industry partners working with researchers to solve real-world problems, and small businesses needing help to bring their ideas to the marketplace.”

In addition to solving real-world problems, you can also thank Waco for making the world a bit sweeter.  Since 1976, Mars Wrigley has been producing some of my favorite confectionaries right there in Waco.  The plant produces more than 65% of all the Snickers® in North America; 80% of all the Skittles®; and 100% of the Starburst® candies.

And on Sept. 22, the Knauf Group, a family-owned business from Iphofen, Germany, announced the expansion of Knauf Insulation North America in McGregor, Texas, just outside Waco.

But, it is not just Round Rock and Waco.  Texas is jam-packed with communities and regions ready for your business.  From Amarillo to the Rio Grande Valley, from Beaumont to the Borderplex region in El Paso, Texas is as diverse as it is big, and we have a little something for everyone!  To learn more, visit the Texas Regions page on our website.