Last week, I attended the Texas Economic Development Council’s Mid-Year Conference in San Antonio. While this and other TEDC events always provide a good opportunity to get together with fellow economic developers from across the state and learn about the latest issues, I was particularly impressed by the array of speakers and topics this year. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Marble Falls EDC received an Economic Excellence Recognition from TEDC for the second year in a row.
Wednesday afternoon was nonstop, from workforce to water to education to communications. Thursday morning opened with an economic outlook from the incomparable Dr. Ray Perryman. In case you didn’t already know, Texas is in moderately good shape to continue its very healthy economic growth, the caveat being that we still need to work on water, transportation, and education. These three issues formed the basis for discussion for the remainder of the conference sessions, which ranged from passionate debate to thoughtful and innovative models. If we could only overcome funding and bureaucratic issues, we’d be in good shape.
The conference wrapped up on Friday with a keynote address on total community development by Roy Williams, President and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. The crux of his argument was that, of the four community environments (economic, physical, social, and political), the economic environment is the most important because it provides resources to foster the development of the other environments. He suggested that product sales should take a back seat to product development and that communities should focus their attention on factors they can control: research and planning, sites and buildings, financing, marketing, and community attitude. When a community invests in itself, the worst-case scenario is that you end up with a better city; the best-case scenario occurs when businesses decide to expand or relocate in your community because of their affinity for your plan, vision, direction, and/or attitude.
Mr. Williams’ comments, as well as another session on the American Dream, made me curious about what Marble Falls residents think of their community. Two weeks ago, I asked what the EDC’s budget priorities should be. I received a few good comments, but I want to open it up to something not exclusively related to economic development.
What is your attitude about Marble Falls? Are you living the American Dream, or are there things that would make life in Marble Falls easier?
Please let me know what you think.