HOUSTON (January 31, 2019) – The Greater Houston Partnership presented a new strategic plan that will guide the organization’s overall efforts through the next decade at its annual meeting this week.
The strategy, dubbed Houston Next, is designed to advance Houston’s position as a great global city of the 21st Century. The plan focuses on three core areas: creating a strong and diverse economy, ensuring a great quality of life and supporting opportunity for all. The plan is designed to empower local business leaders to accelerate the region’s progress at the intersection of those three areas of impact and ensure Houston’s continued success.
“We have much to be proud of and by every measure we are already a great city,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “But we also know that the world around us is changing rapidly, and I dare say the pecking order of global cities for the remainder of the 21st Century is being worked out right now. There are no givens and we are not assured a place near the top. This plan is our guide to helping perpetuate this region’s positive trajectory.”
Under Houston Next, the Partnership will embark on a more targeted, proactive economic development effort to recruit high-impact business prospects and talent, both domestically and internationally. The organization will focus its economic development work around six key areas: energy 2.0, life sciences, global headquarters recruitment, Houston’s digital transition, freight logistics infrastructure and finally manufacturing, trade and logistics. Goals tied to this part of the strategy include advancing the region’s GDP ranking from #7 to #4, growing the number of Fortune 500 headquarters from 20 to 25 and advancing Houston’s digital talent ranking from #34 to #20—all by 2025.
Quality of Life
Houston has made tremendous strides in improving the overall quality of life in the region over the last decade, in large part through investments in public spaces and the arts. However, challenges and opportunities remain that require the Partnership to lead and accelerate progress, including flood mitigation and resilience, transportation infrastructure and increasing government efficiency and effectiveness. Through Houston Next, the Partnership will establish a center of excellence for long-term flood mitigation, collaborate with regional stakeholders in developing a 21st-century mobility plan and engage with the public around these issues through awareness campaigns, polling and other outreach. The Partnership plans to track progress toward the target of $54 billion in flood mitigation funding and expects to advance Houston’s ranking on the Economist’s Global Livability survey from #14 in the U.S. to #7 by 2025.
Opportunity for All
The opportunity for all Houstonians to succeed is dependent on strong education systems and career pathways. The Partnership will focus on advocating for a high-quality, properly funded public education system, while also working with partners across the region to ensure local colleges and universities are producing graduates aligned with the needs of Houston businesses. The Partnership will also work with an outside consultant to take the efforts around its highly-successful, industry-led workforce development initiative, UpSkill Houston, to the next level. Goals tied to this part of the plan include increasing median household income by $10,000 by 2025 and seeing at least 50% of the 25-34-year-old population having earned a certificate or degree by that year.
“Houston’s human capital is the greatest asset the region possesses, and a strong, diverse economy relies on creating opportunity for all residents to improve their lives,” said 2019 Partnership Board Chair and H-E-B President Scott McClelland. “A well-funded and effective public education system is critical to generating opportunity for our residents. Ensuring a path toward public education reform and securing flood mitigation funds are the Partnership’s two main legislative priorities in 2019.”
The Partnership is launching a $50 million fundraising campaign to help fund the initiatives of the Houston Next strategic plan. Lead investors as of January 31 include CenterPoint Energy; Phillips 66; Chevron; BP; H-E-B; Reliant, an NRG company; Texas Medical Center; Silver Eagle Distributors; and Gilbane Building.
Marc Watts, who served as the Partnership’s 2018 board chair, presented highlights and major accomplishments of the organization over the last year, during the annual meeting.
“One area I am particularly proud of is our work to bolster Houston’s flood resiliency,” Watts said. “We took a co-leadership role with city and county officials along with our congressional delegation to advocate for critical resiliency funding from Washington D.C. We also helped lead the campaign to pass Harris County’s $2.5 billion flood bond election. Now, the Partnership will work to ensure efficient and effective management of the projects and help lead efforts to request additional appropriations.”
Key 2018 figures from the Partnership include:
“The work of building and advancing a great global city does not have a beginning, middle or end – it is a process of continuous improvement led by a wide array of civic leaders and citizens, Harvey said. “It is up to each of us to ensure Houston continues to advance as a great city."
Read coverage of the annual meeting and strategic plan in the Houston Business Journal, Houston Chronicle and KUHF.
Greater Houston Partnership
The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the region, the Partnership champions growth across 11 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing more than 1,000 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place companies come together to make an impact. Learn more at Houston.org.
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