Skip to main content

Fortune 500 CEOs Discuss Why They Chose Houston for Their HQs

Published Mar 25, 2022 by Brina Morales

Jim Fish, Pres. and CEO, WM (left) and Jay Brown, Pres. and CEO, Crown Castle International (right)

Jim Fish, Pres. and CEO, WM (left) and Jay Brown, Pres. and CEO, Crown Castle International (right)

The ease of doing business, diversity and quality of life are just a few of the characteristics that draw companies and talent to Houston, according to two Fortune 500 CEOs. 

Jay Brown, President and CEO of Crown Castle International Corp., and Jim Fish, President and CEO of WM, discussed efforts to attract talent and leading global businesses to Houston during the first installment of the Partnership’s new webinar series, Why Houston. The series explores why greater Houston is one of the most attractive locations to relocate or expand a business. 

Recent corporate headquarters relocation announcements from ExxonMobil, NRG Energy, Archaea Energy and Bucha Bio are testaments to Houston’s robust economic development. 

“It’s not a coincidence that folks are moving from high-tax states,” Fish said.

Crown Castle could have chosen any other city as their headquarters with 100 offices nationwide, but “Houston’s characteristics rose to the top against all of the other choices that we had,” said Brown, who also chairs the Partnership’s Economic Development and Trade Steering Committee. He said Houston checked their list with its pro-business environment, work-life balance, beautiful weather year-round, location, cost of living, diversity and talent.  

WM, founded in Chicago in 1971 and formerly known as Waste Management, moved to Houston in 1998. In 2016, Fish said the company looked at 20 cities as leadership explored whether Houston was the right city for their headquarters. A team examined and ranked each city based on 15 criteria, including tax structure, diversity, education, weather, traffic, culture and air service. 

“Maybe surprisingly, maybe not. Houston came up as number one,” Fish said. 

Fish believes Houston offers an impressive quality of life that other cities can’t compete with. He said continued investment in that area will help attract millennials and members of the Gen Z generation, the future of the workforce.

“It is critically important that the city where we choose to headquarter is attractive to those generations, and you have to have more than just a job for them to move here,” Fish said.

Another opportunity lies in telling the story of Houston, said Brown and Fish.

“[Houston] has been an incredible place to grow professionally over the last nearly 30 years,” Brown said. “I want that for others when I think about the next generation of business leaders. I think there’s a very unique experience that can be had in Houston.”

Learn more about why businesses choose Houston

Related News

Economic Development

Texas and Houston Maintain Their Leadership in Fortune 500 Headquarters

Texas has once again solidified its position as the leading state with the most Fortune 500 headquarters, while Houston continues to spearhead the largest concentration of these corporate powerhouses in the state.  With an impressive tally of 55 prominent companies choosing Texas as their home base, it is evident that the state's business–friendly environment and thriving workforce have been instrumental in attracting and nurturing influential entities.   In addition, the greater Houston metro area stands as the second–largest hub of Fortune 500 headquarters in the nation, boasting a remarkable total of 25 corporate giants. Following closely behind Houston, the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metro area secures the third position with 24 Fortune 500 headquarters.  "Texas is the headquarters of headquarters," said Governor Greg Abbott. “With our strong and growing workforce and welcoming business climate, Texas is where businesses find the freedom to flourish and people find opportunities to prosper." The annual Fortune 500 list serves as a crucial benchmark for corporate success and economic influence, ranking the largest U.S. corporations based on their fiscal year revenue. Achieving the top spot on this prestigious list reaffirms Texas' and Houston's pivotal roles as key players in both the national and global economies.   Here is a list of Fortune 500 firms based in the Houston area, along with their respective rankings:  3 – ExxonMobil – Not on Fortune 500's 2023 list, but HQ relocation to Spring, TX is expected to be completed in 2023.*  17 – Phillips 66  49 – ConocoPhillips   56 – Sysco  72 – Enterprise Products Partners   74 – Plains GP Holdings  110 – Occidental Petroleum   122 – Cheniere Energy   130 – NRG Energy   143 – Hewlett Packard Enterprise  156 – EOG Resources   185 – Baker Hughes   188 – Targa Resources   197 – Halliburton  204 – Waste Management   214 – Kinder Morgan  244 – Quanta Services   252 – Group 1 Automotive  263 – Westlake   275 – Southwestern Energy  341 – APA  413 – CenterPoint Energy  431 – Coterra Energy  433 – Huntsman 464 – Marathon Oil 492 – Par Pacific Holdings See the full 2023 Fortune 500 list.
Read More
Economic Development

Study: Houston Ship Channel Contributed More Than $900 Billion to U.S. Economy

The Houston Ship Channel, an economic driver and a critical link to transporting goods and commerce with more than 200 countries around the world, generated $906 billion of economic value to the U.S. in 2022, reflecting a 13 percent increase since 2018, according to Port Houston’s latest economic impact study. The Houston Ship Channel complex encompasses more than 200 public and private facilities while Port Houston owns and operates the eight public facilities along the 52-mile Houston Ship Channel. According to the study conducted by Martin Associates, the Houston Ship Channel generated $439.2 billion in total economic value for the state, representing 18.6 percent of the state’s GDP and a $100 billion increase in economic value since 2018. An additional $10.6 billion in state and local tax revenue was generated by activity at its marine terminals.  In terms of employment, the Houston Ship Channel supported 3.4 million jobs in the U.S., including 1.5 million jobs in Texas – a 14 percent increase since 2018. Port Houston’s two public terminals resulted in nearly 190,000 new Texas jobs.  The positive results of the study, which is conducted every four years, will help support continued investment in Port Houston’s future, including plans for facilities and infrastructure. This comes in the wake of the completion of the first section of the Houston Ship Channel expansion project, known as Project 11. This first section, referred to as Segment 1A, encompasses eleven and a half miles extending from Bolivar Roads to Redfish and will help increase safety, reduce congestion, and improve vessel transit times by an hour. Project 11 is expected to be completed in 2025 and will move Port Houston closer to its goal of handling unrestricted two-way traffic of larger vessels.  Port Houston ranks No. 5 in the nation in terms of TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) handled in 2022. With this jump from No. 7, Houston now owns a 7 percent market share of the total U.S. container business.  According to the Partnership’s Global Houston report, Houston’s role as a major U.S. container port has continued to grow over the years as cargo activity shifts from the ports on the West Coast due to congestion.  Learn more about Houston’s transportation and logistics infrastructure. 
Read More

Related Events


Houston DiverseCity Summit

The Greater Houston Partnership invites you to join us as a sponsor for the Houston DiverseCity Summit on Wednesday, October 4. The Summit is more than an event. It is an inspiring one-day convening to…

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners