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Texas Today: Economic Development Strategies and Business Success Stories

Apr/May 09
(page 3 of 3)
The largest headquarters project welcomed into Las Colinas recently was that of Blackberry maker and wireless technology company Research In Motion (RIM), which is expected to employ 1,000 people over the next few years. However, the community also has attracted about 10,000 small to mid-size businesses such as Omega Environmental Technologies, a manufacturer of automobile air conditioning parts.

Raytheon Company boasts a 13-year history in Texas as Raytheon Company and more than 50 years with its Texas Instruments legacy. With two Raytheon business headquarters in Texas - Intelligence and Information Systems in Garland and Network Centric Systems in McKinney - the company has an additional presence through its Space and Airborne Systems and Financial Shared Services. In all, the firm employs 9,100 people across seven locations in Dallas, Garland, McKinney, Plano, and Richardson, with an annual regional payroll of more than $700 million, a base of more than 2,700 suppliers, and $600 million in annual purchases. "Texas offers a diverse, vast pool of top engineering and technical talent necessary to build and sustain our innovative culture," says Fred Finley, site executive at Raytheon's McKinney facility. "Living and working in North Texas are made easy with an attractive quality of life, access to excellent education, an appealing cost structure and a patriotic spirit second to none in support of what we do for the brave men and women serving our country."

Happenings in Houston
The Houston region is comprised of 10 counties - Montgomery, Harris, San Jacinto, Chambers, Fort Bend, Liberty, Austin, Waller, Galveston, and Brazoria - and is home to more than 5 million people. The area boasts the Port of Houston, the largest port in the United States, with a central location on the Gulf Coast. The Houston region's five major economic sectors are aviation and aerospace, energy and petrochemical, medical and biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology.
In March, the governor announced a $50 million grant from the state's Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) for the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM), a flexible therapeutics manufacturing and academic training facility at Texas A&M University in College Station. The NCTM will become an international destination for research and application of new technologies for the development of medications to combat diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and influenza. It also will serve as a model for future strategic national facilities to protect the nation from bioterrorism threats and attacks. The NCTM is planned as part of a "biomedical cluster" that also will include two renowned research institutions - the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine, jointly operated by the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Texas A&M, and the Texas Institute for Pre-Clinical Studies, operated by Texas A&M.

In a statement to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association, the governor noted that the NCTM's manufacturing arrangements will allow it to contract with academic, governmental and commercial entities, providing a strong economic boost to the Texas economy by allowing the production of therapeutic drugs in-state that otherwise would have been lost to California, New Jersey, and other locations. The facility will offer both large and small pharmaceutical companies the flexibility to manufacture clinical grade commercial drugs in Texas. By collaborating with academic researchers and commercial companies, the center will create a new model for producing critical drugs by developing an innovative "flexible-by-design" manufacturing system, which will allow rapid production of drugs in precisely targeted quantities. By comparison, conventional manufacturing plants only specialize in the mega-production of one type of drug.

Also in March, the governor's office announced it would provide $250,000 from the ETF to Austin-based AnaLogix Development Corporation for the commercialization of its 3-D movement-based game controller for the personal computer and gaming markets. AnaLogix is working with the University of Texas and the Austin Technology Incubator to commercialize this product. The ETF award will allow AnaLogix to launch and sustain production and marketing of the controllers.

A Silver Lining

While business has waned somewhat in 2009, the state of Texas refuses to simmer over it. "Texas has always depended on a combination of being fiscally responsible, continually working on a business climate that is favorable for investment and the diversification of our economy," says Demerson. "These things plus the leadership of Governor Perry and our legislative body, have contributed to Texas being recognized by many as having the best business climate in the United States to run a business."