Identify Target Business Sectors & Marketing Program and Make Upgrades

Target industry has been identified as Aerospace Manufacturing. This initiative will be led by the Chamber, with Kevin Pearson in the driving role. Kevin has been actively targeting this industry since 2016.

Recommendations:
• Update Economic Development Website (www.landinwichitafalls.com) with improved copy and content
• Develop quality print collateral promoting community and target sectors
• Curate tradeshows and other direct sales opportunities to ensure acceptable ROI’s
• Inbound marketing event to showcase community to site consultants or other key decision makers
• Work with Wichita Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) to recruit conferences and meetings that align with targeted sectors

___________________________

UPDATES: 
10/15/18: 

Aerospace Manufacturing Target Market

One of the key target markets for Wichita Falls is aerospace manufacturing.  For the last four years, the Chamber has been working to bring these types of manufacturers to our area.  The Chamber’s www.landinwichitafalls.com website was created specifically for this purpose.

 

Economic Development Website –  www.landinwichitafalls.com

Henry Florsheim described the more salient pages of the website:

  1. Incentives – a listing of offerings in our E.D. tool kit to lure companies here.
  2. Community Profile – A key document of accurate stats, indicators and data on our area.
  3. Industrial Property Availability – A listing of land and buildings in our area suitable for business development.
Improve capabilities to track and respond to employer needs identified through business retention and expansion (BRE) activities

Recommendations:

• Most best-practice BRE programs utilize specialized software to track and manage existing business and coordinate partner responses to identified opportunities and challenges. Wichita Falls has an established BRE initiative but lacks these important tools.
• Obtain specialized software (such as Synchronist or ExecutivePulse) to track BRE activities and assign and manage follow-up tasks for partners
• As tracking capabilities improve, work with economic development partners to identify and address consistent themes, challenges, etc. that emerge from BRE activities

Already in place:
The Chamber has a designated BRE staff member, Travis Haggard.

___________________________

UPDATES: 
11/15/18:

During the third meeting, Chairman Nick Schreiber introduced Travis Haggard, V.P. – Business Retention and Expansion; and Adrene Wike, Research Analyst, who gave a brief overview a recent Workforce Survey: 
• Survey was sent to manufacturing companies only: 1) to get high-level data for their employees and how they attract new employees, 2) help the companies to look inside their own practices and methodologies, 3) keep communication fluid with major employers here in town.

• Consisted of 11 questions. Average age of employee is 35-44 years with no company having employees in the 18-24 age range.

• Only 20% of the respondents gave bonuses to potential recruits.

• Information will be shared with the talent partnership group and see how it relates to working with the universities and Workforce Solutions and similar groups.

• Over half of the surveys were completed.
Top 4 needs:
– General labor
– Machinists
– Welders
– Engineers
-Chamber can work on recruiting these positions.

• Programs need to be developed to get kids in the local workforce.

Regarding the Talent Partnership Pipeline, Henry gave an update on the process of hiring that Director.  Hiring is anticipated by the end of the year.  The primary duties of the partnership will be creating a structured internship program, promoting internships with local employers, partnering with Sheppard AFB and working with our schools for longer-term programs.

Formalize a streamlined permitting and "pre-construction" process for major relocations, expansions and renovations

Recommendations:

• Develop a framework to formalize “one-stop” pre-construction meetings to help ease the regulatory process for major development and redevelopment projects; the City of Wichita Falls has previously offered these meetings on occasion
• Pre-construction meetings would convene representatives from all relevant government entities and departments to discuss project specifics and regulatory requirements and develop plans to work through any issues
• Continue quarterly meetings between the development community and key elected and department leaders from the City of Wichita Falls; leverage these discussions to develop the framework

___________________________

UPDATES: 

9/17/18: Darren Leiker updated the group on the City’s role in streamlining the permitting process.  The Asst. City Manager has taken the lead on this.  They have had a focus on meeting with various industry sectors to get feedback and have addressed many of the main issues.  The City now provides pre-development meetings and checklists for businesses wanting to build and is redesigning the layout of the permits department to make it more accessible and accommodating.

Ensure that available sites and buildings are ready to accommodate end-users

Recommendations:
• Competitive economic development projects frequently require sites or buildings that can be readied within a short amount of time; accordingly, communities must ensure that their real estate “product” is as ready as possible to accommodate new development and/or users
• Inventory conditions at key sites and buildings to ensure that they are ready to accommodate likely development
• Examine planning/zoning and other regulatory conditions, site access, environmental conditions, building condition, etc.
• For sites owned by the community’s 4A entity, the Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation (WFEDC), invest in feasible upgrades as soon as possible to ensure that the site can accommodate a project working on a tight timeframe, thereby giving it the best chance of producing a positive return on investment for local taxpayers
• Seek the Texas Economic Development Council’s S.T.A.R certified site designation for one or more “shovel-ready” sites to help promote the most promising development opportunities in the community

___________________________

UPDATES: 

9/17/18:  Kevin Pearson is the point person in this goal. He gave examples of how Wichita Falls’ lack of quality vacant building inventory is causing us to lose new business opportunities.  Currently available buildings are either too old, outdated, have permitting issues, and are the wrong size for many of the businesses that have shopped our area.

Establish a diversity business council to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion

Recommendations:
• Work with the Chamber and other public and private partners to form a council and encourage local firms to participate
• Develop and administer an annual workplace inclusivity survey to identify and measure local diversity and inclusion efforts; report findings in an annual report
• Establish an annual diversity summit to raise the profile of the community’s commitment to creating opportunities and increasing prosperity for all residents
• Work with council members, Leadership Wichita Falls, and others to increase diversity on local boards of directors

___________________________

UPDATES: 

9/17/18: Since the Chamber will ultimately take the lead on this project, Henry Florsheim is starting to gather names of individuals who are interested or would be a good fit to participate on this council.

Align the community’s legislative agenda, public policies, and outreach programs with strategic economic development needs

Recommendations:
• Many aspects of community and economic development are closely intertwined with matters of public policy at the local, state, and federal levels; accordingly, best-practice communities work cooperatively to craft public policy advocacy agendas that promote economic growth and community vibrancy and help advance the Catalysts in this Strategy
• Work collaboratively with the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Sheppard Military Affairs Commission, and local, state, and federal partners to craft annual legislative agendas that support holistic economic development needs and allow the community to speak with one cohesive voice
• Given the relatively high concentrations of government employment in Wichita Falls, continue to maintain strong relationships with legislative delegations to ensure that the community is well-represented at the state and federal levels

___________________________

UPDATES: 
Will be posted here as progress is reported