From Together, We Are Building a Bigger, Better Texas

Outworking the Competition

Meet the new leader of the TxEDC: Aaron Demerson.

Austin at sunset
Photo: Getty Images

by Ron Starner
“In Texas, we bring together the worlds of workforce, economic development and education. Couple that with elected leadership who gets it, and we are well on our way to success.”
“In Texas, we bring together the worlds of workforce, economic development and education. Couple that with elected leadership who gets it, and we are well on our way to success.”
— Aaron Demerson, President & CEO, Texas Economic Development Corporation

hen Aaron Demerson was appointed as the new president and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corporation last October, the news was greeted with open arms from leaders across the state.

Vicki Hollub, former chair of the TxEDC Board of Directors, said, “Aaron Demerson is the right choice to lead the Texas Economic Development Corporation into its next chapter. Aaron is an accomplished leader who has served as an advocate for over 660,000 employers and 3.2 million small businesses in his role at the Texas Workforce Commission. He knows what it takes to keep the Texas economy thriving, and we are excited to see his new ideas and energy at TxEDC.”

Demerson comes to this role with a deep background in economic development. Prior to his stint at the Texas Workforce Commission, he served as senior advisor to then-Governor Rick Perry and served as executive director of the Office of Economic Development & Tourism in the Governor’s Office. In that role, he led a team that marketed the state as a premier destination for both business and travel. He also served as director of business development and director of administration for the Finance Division. In the following interview, we asked him how TxEDC supports economic development and gave him an opportunity to talk about some of Texas’ biggest successes: 

How does the Texas Economic Development Corporation support and grow economic development statewide?

Demerson:  Our job is to market Texas both domestically and internationally showcasing the best that Texas has to offer for employers looking to expand and/or retain their operations here in Texas.

We promote our state and economic development through several marketing efforts that include:

  • Domestic/International Business Development missions.
  • All mediums of advertising — telling the great economic development success story that is Texas.
  • Assisting with the connection of our local economic development organizations with businesses looking to expand and or remain in Texas.
  • The Texas Economic Development Corporation does this work in close strategic collaboration with our partners in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development & Tourism.

What do you think were some of the state’s biggest economic development wins of the past year?

The Texas Capitol building in Austin
Photo: Getty Images

Demerson:  Texas had a number of economic development project wins and also a number of marketing wins that highlight the ability for businesses to both survive and thrive in Texas.

Those marketing wins include the following:

  • Best State for Business by Chief Executive Magazine in April 2023
  • Best Business Climate in nation by Business Facilities in June 2023
  • Best Business Climate in nation by corporate executives in Sept 2023
  • Top Business Climate in nation by Site Selection Magazine in Nov 2023
  • State of the Year by Business Facilities in January 2024
  • Governor’s Cup Winner for 12th Year in a Row in March 2024

How important is FDI in Texas?

Demerson:  The Texas economy has grown to $2.4 trillion and is the eighth-largest economy in the world.  Texas has also been the top exporting state for 22 years in a row.

We remain proud of the fact that Texas is the top state for foreign direct investment and has been for over the last 20 years.  We remain a top global destination for both business and travel and our goal is to do even more.

What do you wish more people around the country understood better about Texas?

Demerson:  That Texas is a state blessed with hardworking people and dedicated employers all pulling in the same direction for success.  

We have a “can-do” attitude and spirit that often finds us to seeing challenges as opportunities.  The ability to collaborate, especially in the world of economic development in a state as big as Texas, speaks to the caliber of the leadership and the people.

El Paso at nightEl Paso at night
Photo: Getty Images

The border with Mexico gets a lot of attention, but from an economic perspective, how important is Texas’ relationship with Mexico?

Demerson:  Our relationship with Mexico is very important as Mexico is our No. 1 trading partner.  We have had formal relationships through a State of Texas Office in Mexico for over 30 years. 

In 2023, trade between Texas and Mexico totaled $272.2 billion, ranking Mexico as Texas’ No. 1 trading partner and Mexico was Texas’ No. 1 export destination in 2023 with $129.5 billion in exports. 

Is there anything else you want the reader to know about Texas?

Demerson:  I often refer to a portion of our “secret sauce” as our unique ability to bring together the worlds of workforce, economic development and education. Couple that with elected leadership who gets it, and we are well on our way to success — and in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott gets it! 

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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