Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, speaks to TEDC luncheon attendees on the economic outlook of the greater Houston area.
By Lexi Conner
Community leaders, business owners, city of Tomball and Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce officials gathered at Lone Star College-Tomball recently for their sixth annual economic outlook forecast luncheon and to celebrate the Tomball Economic Development Corporation 20 year anniversary.
The Tomball Economic Development Corporation was formed in November 1994, after the citizens of Tomball voted to pass a one half cent sales tax dedicated to economic development. The TEDC works to promote, assist and enhance economic and related development activities on behalf of the city of Tomball. It is governed by a seven-member board of directors who are appointed by the Tomball city Council.
Since 1994, the TEDC has relocated nearly four dozen new companies and assisted over
100 area businesses with expansion and improvement projects. These efforts have resulted in the creation of over 2,000 new jobs, the retention of over 1,200 existing jobs, and over $200 million in private capital investment.
The TEDC has invested over 13 million in infrastructure projects, including Medical Complex Drive and utility extensions along Holderrieth Road, Hufsmith-Kohrville Road and Brown Road.
The TEDC was awarded the Texas Economic Development Council’s community economic development award in 2013 for its work on the Baker Hughes Western Hemisphere education center project. This award recognized the efforts between the TEDC, Baker Hughes, the city of Tomball and the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce. Each entity worked feverishly to facilitate the $55 million Western Hemisphere education center project, which provides state of the art training for thousands of employees in the oil and gas industry. The facility, which is the only one of its kind in the United States, celebrated its grand opening in May of this year.
The business improvement grant program of the TEDC promotes the development and expansion of new and existing businesses within the city of Tomball. Businesses who qualify for this grant can be partially reimbursed from the TEDC for signage, landscaping, fa-cade and property improvements. For fiscal year 2013–2014 every dollar the TEDC invested in the business improvement grant program was matched 11 to 1.
Patrick Jankowski, CCR, Vice President-Research, of the Greater Houston Partnership, was the guest speaker at the luncheon and gave an economic outlook presentation to attendees.
According to Jankow-ski, the greater Houston area is experiencing a 5.3% growth rate, which is second in the U.S., with San Francisco coming in first. The U.S. average is 2.9%.
In the last twelve months, over 89,000 homes were sold, 370,000 vehicles were sold, air traffic through Houston airports totaled over 52.4 million passengers and one of every five jobs created are in the energy or energy related sector.
Jankowski said the future looks bright for the greater Houston area, however, there are a few threats that could slow the growth: collapsing oil prices; a moratorium on fracking; escalating housing costs or a U.S. recession.