Wichita Falls has many fantastic amenities available for economic development, but when it comes to available buildings for potential new businesses, the inventory needed for site consultants and businesses looking to move or expand their operations wasn’t there.
This created an opportunity to work with a local architect firm to create more options for Wichita Falls. Dick Bundy and his team at BYSP Architects worked tirelessly to provide virtual renderings along with timelines for completion.
“Our design team developed standardized buildings to meet the strictest demands of the industrial, manufacturing and distribution world. By having the design ready and virtually presented, the Chamber of Commerce now has a tool that can show prospects a vision of their future home and the timeline to complete. In a digital world, this effort provides a powerful tool for Economic Development and immediately shows prospects the progressiveness of our community, “ said Dick Bundy FAIA with CEO/Sr Principal BYSParchitects.
The Virtual Spec buildings are designed for the Industrial Business Park, located on HWY 287 at 2800 Fisher Road. Each rendering visualizes the possibilities for a company to stand up a business at 30,000 square feet with the option to expand later to 60,000 square feet or start at 60,000 square feet with options to expand to 120,000 square feet.
The Chamber’s V.P. of Business Attraction David Leezer has begun showcasing this tool to site consultants and the response has been fantastic. Consultants appreciate the visual and the complete information regarding construction costs and timelines. One said, “the spec building pricing documents/renderings are truly unique and something I have not seen in 6 years of doing this and countless interactions with economic development commissions like yours – they have already been useful in explaining the project to the client.”
Having this tool continues to show Wichita Falls means business and allows us to compete with some larger markets.
“Part of successful economic development is being able to differentiate yourself from your competition. This virtual spec building program definitely differentiates us,” said David Leezer, V.P. of Business Attraction at the Chamber.
You can see the virtual spec building at landinwichitafalls.com.
Claire Kowalick, Wichita Falls Times Record News
An incentive agreement to assist DuPlooy Trucking in their expansion and relocation to the Wichita Falls area is exactly what the area needs right now, said Mayor Stephen Santellana.
DuPlooy, which currently has locations in Byers, downtown in the Oil and Gas Building and a dispatch center in Oklahoma, wants to combine their offices into one main center at Highway 277 and Business 277.
DuPlooy is a mainly agricultural hauling company that operates mainly in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. It was established in 2011 and began commercial agricultural hauling in 2016.
Co-owner Matthew Wood said Tuesday during a Wichita Falls City Council meeting that business has been booming for them, especially with the close of several large trucking companies in west Texas and Oklahoma. The company wants to add 100 new jobs, including 90 trucking positions at an average salary of $35 per hour.
The company’s other owner is A.J. DuPlooy.
The Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation (4A) unanimously approved an up to $1.334 million incentive agreement for cash-for-jobs and relocation incentives with DuPlooy.
Dr. James Owen, Midwestern State University
Economic performance in the Wichita Falls area during November continue to support the robust activity that has been evident throughout most of 2019.
Overall, our local economy reflects reasonably well the reports that have been provided about the national economy. We are now past the 10-year mark for the beginning of our recovery from the Great Recession. Prospects for continued economic growth are favorable.
Particularly encouraging is the number of new home construction permits issued during November. Permits for new homes are more than 80 percent higher in the month-to-month comparison with last year.
The year-over-year comparison is nearly 17 percent higher and in line for an annual number that is in line with past years that have exhibited favorable overall economic performance.
Our market for existing home sales is holding its own. The number of closings during November is lower by 14 percent while the average price is higher by nearly four percent. The year-over-year numbers are more nearly in line with performance exhibited in past favorable years. Compared to the year-to-date number of closings in 2018, current performance is 1.2 percent lower but the average price thus far this year is 1.1 percent higher.
Lauren Linville | Texomashomepage.com
WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A trucking company based in Byers is expanding to Wichita Falls, and with a vote from the 4A Board, there could be an incentive for employees willing to relocate.
The Wichita Falls 4A Board voted to approve DuPlooy Trucking’s incentive proposal.
The company wants to add an extra 100 employees, DuPlooy Trucking has 32 employees right now.
“We are a regional hopper bottom company, we are expanding into different divisions,” DuPlooy Trucking operations manager and co-owner Matthew Wood said. “We’re gonna have flatbeds, tankers as well as a couple of specialized flatbeds and specialized commodity trailers.”
With the new location and expansion, they want to provide extra motivation for truck drivers from California, New York and other parts of the country to make Wichita County their new home.
“With a lot of the layoffs that’ve been going on with the oil industry we’re kinda hoping to retain some of those, maybe not retain but hoping to bring more of those jobs in,” Wood said.
The 4A Board has hit the gas on this proposal.
The incentive would help with the expenses it takes to pack up and move.
“It’s a cash for jobs incentives, so they produce the jobs upfront, employed for a year and we give them some cash,” Wichita Falls 4A Board president Leo Lane said. “Our goal is to bring people from outside the area for those folks and help increase the population of Wichita Falls.”
Chamber welcomes new V.P. of Business Attraction
The Wichita Falls Chamber has a new Vice President of Business Attraction. David Leezer, CEcD, FM joins the team from St. Charles, MO. He brings over 35 years of economic development experience to the dynamic efforts of the Chamber.
Leezer’s extensive experience includes adding over 5,000 jobs and $400 million of investment for St. Charles as well as development and implementation of a new strategic plan. He joins us with the goal of attracting new businesses to Wichita Falls in our target industries (aerospace/aviation, business support services, and manufacturing).
“I appreciate the opportunity to join the Wichita Falls team and represent both this great region the great State of Texas. I’m looking forward to implementing the Market Street Strategies recommendations to enhance the growth of the greater Wichita Falls area.”David Leezer
“When we began the search for someone to lead our business attraction efforts, we knew that we needed not only an experienced economic developer, but also someone who would be a great fit for the organization. David is that individual. I’m excited to work with him and the rest of the team to bring new projects to Wichita Falls,” said Chamber CEO Henry Florsheim.
He will work closely with the Chamber staff on research, marketing, and lead generation while developing relationships with city leadership, community, and companies in Wichita Falls. His focused efforts will be to find businesses looking to expand or move their operations to Texas.
You can contact David by email or by calling 940.723.2741
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) – Manufacturers in Wichita Falls are hoping to partner with the Chamber of Commerce to attract workers to the area.
Finding workers for manufacturing jobs in the area has been difficult. It is a challenge Sharp Iron Group President Michael Stanford knows all about.
“One of the things that’s common among manufacturers is finding skilled labor. There’s a lot of great trade schools and training here locally but they don’t always churn out enough capacity,” he said.
In the five years he has been president, he has seen how stiff the competition to hire welders can be.
“It seems like when we’re hiring welders, everybody’s hiring welders,” he said.
So, they had to come up with a new approach to hiring.
The Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce stepped in to help. President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, Henry Florsheim said, “We know that it costs more money for a company to try to recruit a professional employee from out of town, to get them to move here…”
Through their partnership, Sharp Iron Group was able to offer more incentives to attract those workers, and the chamber helped offset those costs.
Sharp Iron ended up of hiring more welders, “We brought in three, so I think it was very successful,” Stanford said.
Now the Chamber plans to build upon that concept.
“Since we did that, we had several other companies come up and say, ‘Hey can we get assistance like that?’ We said, ‘We really need to create a structured program instead of just doing a one-off every time a company came to us’,” Florsheim stated.
If companies bring workers from outside of the area and have them on the payroll for a certain period of time, the Chamber will help offset those costs.
They have already gotten approval for the plan from the Wichita Falls 4A Board, but the final decision of whether or not the chamber will receive the $200,000 they need to get their pilot project off the ground will fall to City Council.
“This could help bring 33 to 50 new people to Wichita Falls and possibly their families as well,” Florsheim added.
Advance programs and policies that improve the local business climate and give Wichita Falls the best chance to grow jobs and investment in the coming years.
A primary focus for this strategic planning process was the community’s desire to become more prosperous. This will require increasing and improving opportunities for employment.
Most individuals and households rely upon the availability of quality jobs to increase their standards of living. On a larger scale, wealth accumulates in regions when local business establishments “export” goods and services to other markets in the United States and beyond. So while every aspect of this Strategy can help make Wichita Falls more economically competitive in the long run, a holistic approach to economic development must also consider opportunities to grow jobs and investment sooner rather than later.
For decades, many communities and their economic development organizations have exclusively associated “economic development” with “business recruitment.” While the recruitment is an important component of an economic development program, it comprises only one-third of a “three-legged stool.”
In fact, employment growth is primarily driven by the other two legs of the stool – expansions of existing businesses and entrepreneurship. Successful communities now pursue a balanced approach that incorporates business recruitment, business retention and expansion (BRE), and support for new enterprises.
This portion of the strategic plan focuses on programs and policies that Wichita Falls can pursue to grow jobs and investment in the next five years. Additional opportunities to enhance entrepreneurial activity are addressed separately with the Makerspace initiative.
CONNECTIONS TO COMMUNITY GOALS
Attract and retain residents and businesses: This Catalyst focuses specifically on attracting and retaining businesses and ensuring a competitive overall business climate.
Increase prosperity for all residents: Creating an attractive environment for jobs and investment is critical to raising standards of living for residents in Wichita Falls.
Enhance the quality of life and quality of place: Business attraction and retention has an indirect yet major influence on community vibrancy.
Promote inclusivity and equity: Many businesses now recognize diversity and inclusion as core values that impact the bottom line; this Catalyst includes a Tactical Recommendation that seeks to create a business culture of inclusion and expand opportunities for all residents.
Improve internal and external perceptions of Wichita Falls: While business location decisions are influenced by many factors, a reputation as a “good place to do business” is a valuable asset.
Nick Schreiber, SLA Architects
Lacey Morgan, Care Team
Glenn Barham, Sheppard Military Affairs Committee
Dick Bundy, Bundy, Young, Sims & Potter, Inc
Tony Fidelie, Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott
Henry Florsheim, Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce
Scott Poenitzsch, Horseshoe Bend Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Inc.
Stephen Santellana, City of Wichita Falls
Dr. Jeff Stambaugh, Midwestern State University – Dillard College
Darron Leiker, City of Wichita Falls
Monica Wilkinson, Vernon College
Katie Britt, Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce
Debbie Dobbins, Debbie Dobbins International
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 which has been actively targeting this industry since 2016.
• 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 the 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
Improve capabilities to track and respond to employer needs identified through business retention and expansion (BRE) activities
• 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.
Formalize a streamlined permitting and "pre-construction" process for major relocations, expansions and renovations
• 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
Ensure that available sites and buildings are ready to accommodate end-users
• 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
Establish a diversity business council to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion
• 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
Align the community’s legislative agenda, public policies, and outreach programs with strategic economic development needs
• 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