very time you see a headline about a company moving its headquarters to Texas, you might be tempted to think that it’s the result of a business trend that is now acting on autopilot. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Behind this trend, there is one organization whose activities touch every aspect of these deals: the Texas Economic Development Corporation (TxEDC). For a deeper dive into how TxEDC works, we turned to TxEDC Interim President & CEO Michael Chrobak and TxEDC Vice President of External Affairs Christin Evans.
What are the primary functions of the Texas Economic Development Corporation?
CHROBAK: The Texas Economic Development Corporation (TxEDC) is responsible for marketing and promoting Texas as the premier state destination to businesses across the United States and globally. TxEDC utilizes established techniques such as public/media relations and advertising, to innovative tactics that include co-branded social media stories, digital marketing, video and more to market the state. TxEDC is responsible for expanding awareness about doing business in Texas and its many benefits during recruitment missions in targeted markets. Last year, TxEDC visited the UK, France, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg in Germany and also led a domestic mission to the Midwest U.S. market in Chicago.
TxEDC is also committed to elevating and promoting the growth of existing businesses throughout Texas. We highlight the six major regions of the state and showcase businesses within the 25 MSAs and rural, active economic communities in each region of the state.
How important is fund-raising to your organization?
EVANS: We are a non-profit and as such, fundraising is the lifeblood for the organization because without our investors’ support we could not do what we do — and that is promote the state and favorable business environment to the world. Additionally, TxEDC partners with key state, business, and economic development leaders to secure economic opportunities that create long-term impact for the state, which helps our investors achieve more for our state and for our communities.
The investment organizations make in TxEDC is mutually beneficial as they gain significant economic benefits and knowledge about current global business trends and have exclusive opportunities to connect with leaders in all the top industries including, but not limited to, Fortune 500 CEOs. Our investors also can get an inside look at state government practices taking place in Texas that often influence best practices across the nation.
What are some of the major goals of TxEDC in the coming year?
CHROBAK: In addition to promoting Texas as the best place for business, we will raise awareness about support from regional partnerships like COSTEP in the South Texas Rio Grande that includes seven counties along our state’s southern border with Mexico.
We will increase our business outreach and engagement with an increased number of business leaders that will result in greater business referrals to the Governor’s Office of Texas Economic Development & Tourism who will then coordinate and manage all incoming projects, their incentives and community relationships with local economic development professionals to help those businesses.
How does your organization work with Texas Economic Development & Tourism of the Governor’s Office?
EVANS: TxEDC is the private sector partner in the public/private partnership with the Governor’s Office of Texas Economic Development & Tourism. We have close coordination between our two offices — everything from project referrals, planned events, missions and co-branded marketing and messaging.
We also collaborate with our state partners on key domestic and international trade missions to raise awareness of the benefits of being in Texas.
We regularly communicate the latest business commitments involving location decisions from across the state and promoting the new assets and skills of our workforce, education development pipelines and the planned infrastructure investments supporting the growth and expansion of the state population.
Your slogan has been Go Big in Texas. What themes are captured in that message?
CHROBAK: Everything is bigger in Texas, be it innovations in energy, computing, electronics, aerospace aviation and defense, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and the life sciences. Employment is no exception with Texas adding more jobs in 2022 than any other state and growing jobs at the fastest rate in the nation.
Higher education in Texas has elevated it to the No. 1 state, tied with California, having the most Tier 1 research universities in the nation.
CPRIT (Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas) is the largest state fund to eradicate cancer, and it was recently approved for a second 10-year term by the Texas legislature.