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Business & Industry
Economic Vitality in Rural Texas - A Discussion of Regional Economic Development
by Jim Guidry
Friday, August 02, 2013

The Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University hosted a region-wide meeting of community stakeholders in Central-East Texas to discuss regional economic development on Thursday.

Economic development consultant Stacey Osborne, a former economic developer for the City of La Porte, and Cheryl Hudec, associate director for the Center for Rural Studies, welcomed the participants and introduced the elected officials in the audience. Listen (20:00)

Osborne moderated a panel discussion featuring Bob Mitchell, president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, Chad Burke, president of the Economic Alliance, Houston Port Region and David Terrell, a former advisor to the Indiana lieutenant governor who is now director of economic development of Ball State University in Indiana. Listen (1:24:12)

“Don’t compete against each other,” Mitchell said, citing the success of BAHEP’s efforts in Bay Area Houston.  “If a company or an organization or a retail business ends up in Kemah, it’s going to benefit Seabrook.  If a company ends up in Seabrook, they’re going to eat in Kemah and vice versa.”

Mitchell also talked about the regional impact Bay Area Houston’s aerospace and medical industry.

“Our area is dominated by the petrochemical industry and the maritime industry, with the Houston Ship Channel,” Burke added.  “We are experiencing phenomenal growth in the chemical industry because of what is going on in the shale play.”  

Terrell talked about the importance of “community” in economic development.

“We developed a portfolio of agencies that deal with capacity building for our communities,” he said, citing his part in development of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs in Indiana. 

In the afternoon session, Terrell spoke to the group on “Economic Development: Regionalism, Expectations and Paradigm Shifts”. Listen (1:11:22)

The Center for Rural Studies is located on the campus of Sam Houston State University. The mission of the Center is “to assist in the building, strengthening, and maintaining of rural Texas communities”.  For additional information about Thursday’s meeting, the Center for Rural Studies, or rural Texas communities, email ruralcenter@shsu.edu or call (936) 294-4380.




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