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Texas is Big on Economic Growth - and Has the Numbers to Prove It

Mark Crawford (Apr/May 10)
(page 3 of 4)
• Aerospace and Defense - Texas has a long history of aviation and aerospace design and manufacturing - more than 1,700 companies provide approximately 200,000 jobs throughout the state. Major companies with operations in Texas include BAE Systems, Boeing, Gulfstream, Raytheon, Bell Helicopter Textron, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Vought Aircraft Industries (which was purchased by the Triumph Group in March).

San Antonio's highly diversified manufacturing sector, including a cluster of aircraft- and defense-related companies, was a key factor in the city being ranked as one of the top-20 metro areas in the country that showed the strongest overall performance during the recession, according to the Brookings Institution's MetroMonitor.

In late 2009, the United States Air Force announced San Antonio would be the site for the first-ever unit designated for the sole purpose of cyberspace operations. Officially titled the "24th Air Force," the cyber-security division initiated activities in January 2010 (see "San Antonio Secures Air Force Cyberspace Center" in the December 2009/January 2010 issue).

• Biotech and Life Sciences - The biotechnology and life science/biomedical sectors in Texas continue to thrive. Texas ranks tenth in the nation for the greatest number of biotechnology companies - over 1,000 private-sector biotechnology firms, private-sector and government partnerships, medical manufacturing companies, and university research facilities are located throughout the state, with clusters in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio.

Promising biotech start-up companies have been awarded more than $133 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which supports some of the most innovative and cutting-edge biomedical/biotechnical research in the country.

The state's commitment to life sciences is a major reason Hanger Orthopedic Group recently announced it was moving its corporate headquarters from Bethesda, Maryland, to Austin, creating up to 250 new jobs.

"We are impressed with the professionalism and the support afforded to us by the state of Texas and the city of Austin in facilitating our decision-making process," says Tom Kirk, president and CEO of Hanger Orthopedic Group. "Their outstanding assistance packages were a key element of this support. We would also like to recognize the helpful role played by the Austin Chamber of Commerce."

• Information and Computer Technology - The information and computer technology sector includes computers, software, telecommunications, and information technology services.

Greater Austin is well known for its vibrant high-tech economy, with 3,300 technology companies employing more than100,000 workers. Austin continues to be one of the fastest-growing job markets in the United States. Nearly half the city's population is between 18 and 44 years old and has obtained postsecondary education.

The nonprofit Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) is one of the most successful high-tech incubators in the country. ATI has worked with more than 150 teams of entrepreneurs who have collectively raised over $725 million in investor capital. During the last six months, four former ATI start-ups were purchased by larger companies - giving "testimony to the quality of our companies," says Isaac Barchas, director of ATI. "This is especially gratifying to see during what has been an historic down market."

Facebook recently selected Austin for a new $3.1 million online sales and operations office. The first major U.S. expansion away from Facebook's headquarters in Palo Alto, California, the facility will create 200 new jobs.

The state of Texas is providing $1.4 million in support to Facebook from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) upon finalizing the local incentive agreement with the city of Austin. "The TEF continues to be a critical, deal-closing tool for Texas, helping to attract jobs and businesses and grow our state's diverse economy," says Governor Perry.

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