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Actively Involved

The Partnership hosted the inaugural HoustonNEXT: An ERG Summit in the fall of 2018, gathering hundreds of HR professionals and ERG leaders to discuss issues in talent attraction and diversity in the workplace. Out of that event, the Partnership launched the Talent Resources Group in 2019 to help connect HR and talent professionals in the region.

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Aerospace & Aviation

NASA Astronauts Return to Houston Following Historic SpaceX Mission

8/4/20
Just a couple of days after successfully splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley spoke about their experience at Johnson Space Center in Houston on August 4. Behnken and Hurley were aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule returning from the International Space Station to complete a test flight that marks a new era in human spaceflight. It's also a milestone for SpaceX, the first private company to send people to the space station.  "[I'm] glad to be back and it's great to see how excited everyone was for our mission and following along and we hope it brings a bit of brightness to 2020," said Hurley during the August 4 press conference.  Behnken and Hurley’s return was the first splashdown for American astronauts in 45 years. The last time was at the end of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project when Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald “Deke” Slayton landed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii on July 24, 1975. “It’s a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together to do something once thought impossible. Partners are key to how we go farther than ever before and take the next steps on daring missions to the Moon and Mars," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.  This is SpaceX’s final test flight. According to NASA, it provides data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, splashdown, and recovery operations. "The Partnership joins NASA and Johnson Space Center in celebrating the return of Houston astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley," said Susan Davenport, Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Houston Partnership. "Their commercial test flight with NASA’s SpaceX Crew Demo-2 is a remarkable achievement in commercial spaceflight and another historic milestone for Space City. We are proud of the significant role JSC and Houston played in preparing and executing this mission, which included spaceflight training and Mission Control support." Houston had a significant role in preparing and executing this mission, which included the spaceflight training and Mission Control support and direction at Johnson Space Center. Behnken and Hurley also join a long list of Houstonians who've traveled to space. In fact, for the past 20 years, there has always been a Houstonian in space.  SpaceX maintains a Houston office near Johnson Space Center and a section of the JSC floor is dedicated to the company with a Dragon capsule mockup, which Behnken and Hurley used for training purposes.  The mission also marks another significant milestone for Houston as a global leader in aerospace and commercial spaceflight.  More than 500 aerospace and aviation-related firms and institutions are within the greater Houston region. Houston also has 10 of the 50 largest aerospace manufacturing companies in the country.  The metro's total trade in aircraft, spacecraft and parts totaled $2.9 billion in 2019, making it Houston's 11 largest internationally traded commodity. Houston is home to 350 companies involved in aircraft or space vehicle manufacturing, research and technology or other air transportation support activities.  Houston is also home to Houston Spaceport, an FAA-licensed, urban commercial spaceport at Ellington Airport offering 53,000 square feet of office and lab space, including technology incubator space and large-scale hardware production facilities. The aim is to foster and accelerate key aerospace engineering activities, including space vehicle assembly, astronaut training and development, and space tourism. The spaceport also serves as a future launch and landing site for suborbital, reusable launch vehicles.  "With the global space industry projected to grow to a trillion-dollar economy by 2040, we believe Houston will continue to play a leading role in the emerging commercial realm of space flight," said Susan Davenport. "The Partnership is working to bring more companies to this region to build a world-leading commercial space ecosystem in Houston, as well as capitalize on the synergy they will find with NASA and existing aerospace organizations." Watch NASA's video of SpaceX's Crew Dragon return to Earth and splashdown. Learn more about aerospace and aviation in the greater Houston region. 
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Economic Development

President's Address: COVID-19 Update, Racial Equity and More with Bob Harvey and Marc Boom

7/29/20
Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey hosted a President’s Address on July 29 to update Partnership members on the organization’s recent efforts. He also invited Houston Methodist CEO Dr. Marc Boom to present the latest data and information on COVID-19.  Harvey discussed the Partnership’s COVID-19 response, recent economic development wins, priorities for the upcoming Texas legislative session and the organization’s efforts around racial inequity and social justice.  Economic Development  On the economic development front, Harvey reminded the audience that the Partnership’s strategy calls for the organization to help build a strong, diverse 21st century economy in Houston.   “With the downturn in energy and the impacts of the virus, that is more important than ever,” he said.  In recent weeks:  Amazon announced the construction of a first-of-its-kind $250 million fulfillment facility in Fort Bend County that will create 1,000 new jobs.   Google Cloud announced it will open its first office in in the area in Central Houston. That sales facility will support up to 75 new jobs.    Greentown Labs, a Boston-based “climatech” or “cleantech” accelerator said it will open Greentown Houston next year to help grow new companies in this space.  The Partnership worked with all three organizations to help bring these projects to the region.  Public Policy  Shifting to policy, Harvey said the Partnership is already starting to plan for the 2021 Texas legislative session – which is sure to be a session like none other when it kicks off in January. “The coronavirus, along with the energy downturn, have significantly impacted the state budget and many tough decisions will need to be made next year,” he said.  The Partnership’s legislative priorities are being divided into three buckets: executive priorities, state issues and member issues. Executive priorities will be focused around two key issues—energy and access.  On the energy side, Harvey said the organization has identified actions that would make Texas and Houston more competitive, specifically as it relates to Carbon Capture, Use and Storage, or CCUS.  Access will include advocating for issues that increase access to the elements of our society that are vitally important, but often not equitably distributed. As an executive priority, this means the Partnership “will continue to lead on issues that have always been important to the business community – especially education, both K-12 public education and higher education,” Harvey said. The broad theme also leaves the Partnership space to take a leadership role in other racial equity and justice issues as they arise during the session.  The Partnership’s full legislative agenda is set to be approved by the board of directors in August.  Racial Equity  Harvey said the tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the ensuing national conversation about systemic racism has prompted the Partnership to take a hard look at how it can lead on addressing these issues here in Houston. Following a number of listening sessions with Black business leaders, conversations with Mayor Sylvester Turner and other important groundwork, the organization developed a series of guiding principles around this effort and a corresponding four-part framework.  The Partnership will frame its work around social justice in four areas:  Fixing its own house Looking at how the organization engage with its members Reexamining the Houston Next strategy Assisting the community in addressing this issue More about this strategy will be released as it develops.  Marc Boom on COVID-19  In addition to serving as President and CEO of Houston Methodist, one of the largest healthcare institutions in Houston, Dr. Marc Boom is also a Partnership board member and has been a major player in the ongoing effort to inform Houstonians about the pandemic. Boom presented the latest TMC data, which you can also see updated on the Partnership’s website daily. Boom said the good news is that new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have leveled off, but the region still has a lot of work to do. “We’re going to have to really work together to keep this in control,” he said.  The seven-day rolling average in new COVID-19 hospitalizations has peaked and is clearly coming down, Boom said, adding that a couple of months can make a big difference in terms of numbers. “What we thought was a big mountain we climbed in early April was really a foothill” before the surge in early July.  Boom noted the drop in cases days after the statewide mask order by Governor Greg Abbott went into effect “Masks are ultimately the best substitute for a full shutdown," said Boom.  Boom noted many things are going on at Houston Methodist in terms of treatment. “We were the first hospital in the country to utilize [convalescent plasma infusion]," he said. Boom also said he’s very optimistic about vaccine development. “I think it’s really realistic that this fall we’ll see many hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses in trial.”  Boom shared 5 key points in terms of where we need to go:  Science is really messy in real time. Science is also our only real hope to conquer COVID-19. “We need to listen to health experts, we need to listen to our scientists and tune out the ‘noise.’”   Hospitals must work together to care for COVID-19 patients and care for traditional patients while also protecting staff and physicians. “This means the PPE, it means the psychological support of our employees, but it also means fighting hard to keep them employed,” Boom said. “Houston Methodist has not laid off, furloughed, or cut the pay of any employees.    Political leaders must work together to control COVID-19 and protect the economy and educate our children. “These are not false choices on either end of the spectrum. We have to figure this out. It is our duty and responsibility as a society. And it can be done,” Boom said. “We’re not there in Houston. Not even remotely.”   Our social lives must take a backseat, which means no bars, no large gatherings, including sporting events, and limited social gatherings. “Our social lives are ultimately going to have to be the primary thing we put in the backseat,” he said.     Masks are the fundamental means to get the virus under control.  Visit the Partnership’s COVID-19 resource page and the Work Safe Houston page for information on how to keep employees safe. The Partnership has also developed a web page with information on school district reopening plans. Learn more about the Partnership's efforts regarding racial equity and justice here.  
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Economic Development

SAVE THE DATE: State of the Port

As the nation’s largest port in foreign tonnage, Port Houston is an economic engine supporting the Houston region, the state of Texas, and the nation.  Join us as …

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"Businesses who want to get their name out and sales professionals who want to increase their sphere of influence won't find a better organization to connect than GHP."


Lisa Bogany
Workforce Solutions

“Lonza is committed to building up our cell-and-gene-therapy capabilities in Pearland, which is a growing center for life sciences. The Houston area, supported by a number of world-class scientific institutions, is an important location for Lonza to continue to develop novel therapies offering the hope of improving the lives of patients all over the world.”


Mark Funk
Chief Operating Officer, Lonza

"Houston has a huge amount of raw ingredients needed to launch a startup -- top tier universities, affordable cost of living, tremendous wealth, large corporations -- so the creation of a startup hub in Houston has just been about aligning all these elements under one roof that provides entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed."


Lawson Gow
Founder & CEO, The Cannon
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  • Share ideas and best practices among fellow HR professionals, ERG leaders and recruiters
     
  • Access to continuing education sessions
     
  • Topics based on talent, workplace trends, HR tools and corporate culture
Sara Roberts
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