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Partnership Sharpens Focus on Economic Development at 2022 Annual Meeting

Published Jan 28, 2022 by A.J. Mistretta

Thad Hill

Partnership Chair Thad Hill

HOUSTON (January 28, 2022) – The Greater Houston Partnership revealed new tactics it will deploy to increase economic development success in the region and shared some of the organization’s key accomplishments in 2021 at its annual meeting today. The Partnership also presented an award to one of its founders—a longtime local businessman and respected statesman.  

The Partnership’s 2022 Board Chair Thad Hill outlined an agenda focused on economic development. Amid a rapidly changing business environment, competition for corporate expansions and relocations is stronger than ever. And while Houston has had significant wins in recent years—including gaining four new Fortune 500 companies since 2017—it’s also lost significant projects to peer cities around the country. 

“With so many companies searching right now for new headquarters locations and areas to expand operations, it is critical that we re-double our efforts to attract companies and talent to Houston,” said Hill, who serves as President and CEO of electricity generator Calpine Corporation. “The good news is we are doing a lot of things right, but we simply must do better. We must amp up the tactics that are working, change the tactics that aren’t, and launch new approaches to accelerate growth.” 
Hill outlined four key tactics the Partnership will implement this year: 

  • Execute a business-led economic development program that further mobilizes the expertise, energy and guidance of Houston’s regional business leadership. 
  • Accelerate the work of the Partnership’s sector-specific plans to grow strong industry clusters.
  • Accentuate and improve collaboration and engagement with regional allies across the 12-county Houston region. 
  • Elevate the global perceptions and understanding of today’s Houston.

Read Thad Hill’s full remarks including a deeper explanation of each tactic. 

Houston took significant strides in 2021 toward advancing and leveraging its tech renaissance, a priority for outgoing Partnership chair Amy Chronis. The last year saw the opening of The Ion, a major innovation hub in Midtown, as well as climatech incubator Greentown Labs and the new East End Maker Hub, among others. It was also a record year for venture capital funding of Houston start-ups with more than $2 billion raised, a 610% increase from five years ago. 

“Entrepreneurs from around the world are coming to Houston to launch and build their businesses, drawn by our collaborative innovation mindset, our business-friendly environment, and great quality of life,” said Chronis, Vice Chair and Houston Managing Partner at Deloitte. “Houston is fast becoming a hub for Energy 2.0 companies and start-ups, along with life science companies looking to change the world.” 

The Partnership provided an update on its Houston Next strategic plan designed to advance Houston’s position as a great global city. The plan focuses on three core areas: building a strong, diverse 21st century economy; offering a great quality of life; and ensuring opportunity for all. In 2020, the Partnership added that a lens of racial equity should permeate its work to strengthen Houston as a diverse, inclusive and equitable city. 

Key 2021 highlights include: 

  • Spearheaded 26 successful economic development projects, leading to $922 million in capital investment and creating 2,900 jobs for the region.
  • Launched the Houston Energy Transition Initiative designed to leverage Houston’s knowledge and resources to lead the global transition to a low-carbon future. 
  • Significantly advanced the One Houston Together initiative by completing the region’s first Equity & Inclusion Assessment to help businesses and organizations enhance their equity and inclusion strategy. 
  • Hosted more than 14,000 business and community leaders across 68 major events, webinars, Council meetings and other gatherings. 
  • Welcomed 49 international delegation visits from 21 countries around the world to strengthen the region’s international ties. 

See more highlights in the 2021 Annual Report

Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey recapped several major 2021 milestones, including the launch of the Partnership’s Houston Energy Transition Initiative and significant advancement in the organization’s racial equity work through One Houston Together. More broadly, he pointed to events like the groundbreaking of the TMC3 collaborative research campus and the addition of new Fortune 500 companies as evidence of Houston’s forward trajectory. 

“These are really good days for Houston with considerable momentum and opportunity ahead of us,” Harvey said. “I am pleased to say that today, the Partnership board, our members and our staff are united in working together to move Houston forward. We have never been more focused than we are now.” Read Bob Harvey’s full remarks.

During the meeting, Partnership Board Member Jodie Jiles, Director of Business Development at Transwestern, presented the Partnership’s 2022 Robert C. McNair Civic Leadership Award to businessman, statesman and philanthropist Charles Duncan Jr. The McNair Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by the Partnership and honors a highly successful business leader who has also made outstanding civic and philanthropic contributions. See release on the McNair award.

Partnership members elected new and returning board members as well during the meeting. David McClanahan, retired President and CEO of CenterPoint Energy, was elected an emeritus director.  

Dr. Marc Boom, President and CEO of Houston Methodist, was elected Vice Chair and Chair-elect by the Partnership’s membership at the meeting. Dr. Boom will chair the Partnership board in 2023. See list of new and returning board members. 

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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 12 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing more than 900 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.

CONTACT:

Brina Morales                                                
Senior Manager, Media Relations    
bmorales@houston.org         
(c) 832-287-5089            

A.J. Mistretta
Vice President, Communications
amistretta@houston.org
(c) 504-450-3516                     

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