WF Business Park to undergo multi-million dollar infrastructure improvement project

WF Business Park to undergo multi-million dollar infrastructure improvement project

PJ Green | WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) 

The Wichita Falls City Council voted Tuesday to approve $10 million worth of infrastructure improvements at the Wichita Falls Business Park.

Wichita Clutch is just one of a few businesses already at the park. City officials hope that this multi-million dollar project can help attract more businesses to this area after failing to do so in the past.

“We hear people talk to us all the time about we need to do things to stimulate this economy well this is part of the infrastructure that makes that happen,” City Councilor At Large Bobby Whiteley said.

Recruiting businesses to a city like Wichita Falls can be tough at times. Although businesses have been coming in steadily in the past few years, some businesses have chosen other cities.

“They tour every facility, they get with russ, we go eat dinner with them and inevitably I hate hearing back the feedback that we just don’t have these shovel-ready sites for them and they choose an Abilene or somebody else,” Mayor Stephen Santellana said.

Because of this, city officials are getting funds ready to make changes to the 525-acre business park.

Read more.

WF City Council moves forward with new business park project

WF City Council moves forward with new business park project

By Tanner Deleon | WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ)

An amend budget up to $75,000 has been approved by the Wichita Falls City Council for site preparation costs for a new business park.

This is step one for this process and officials said this could be a multi-year project. The business park would be adjacent to the Wichita Falls Regional Airport. Now that they have the funds, they will begin an environmental study of the property.

They already have prospects interested in the project, so officials hope the environmental study goes well so they can decide if they want to buy the property and develop it.

“They want more opportunities for the citizens of Wichita Falls,” Henry Florsheim, President and CEO of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, said. “So if we have more people doing business here, if there is more activity at the airport, that could convince the commercial airlines to have more flights or to have more than one airline here and that would be fantastic.”

Read more.

WFEDC board approves $1.7 mil deal with Clayton Homes

WFEDC board approves $1.7 mil deal with Clayton Homes

Lynn Walker | Wichita Falls Times Record News

The Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation Board (WFEDC) on Thursday signed off on a deal to bring Clayton Homes to Wichita Falls.

The Tennessee-based company intends to set up a modular-home manufacturing facility at the former ATCO building on Burkburnett Road.

The maximum funding provided by the WFEDC will be $1,734,700.

Read more.

Wichita Falls Chamber hiring for new talent partnership director

Wichita Falls Chamber hiring for new talent partnership director

The Wichita Falls Chamber’s current talent partnership director, Taylor Davis, is switching roles and taking over the Chamber’s business retention and expansion position.

During Davis’ time in her previous role, she oversaw the creation of a revived young professionals’ program, a robust set of military programs and outreach, and the development of an internship platform.

In her new role, Davis will focus on the retention of existing businesses and providing support for expansion.

“Taylor is well-suited to manage our existing business program.  During her time as director of the Talent Partnership, she developed relationships with many of our largest employers as she helped them with workforce issues. She understands the business community and will be able to immediately be effective in this role,” said Wichita Falls Chamber CEO & President Henry Florsheim.

The Chamber is currently seeking a replacement for the talent partnership position.

An ideal candidate, the Chamber said, is a motivated professional who can continue and grow initiatives around workforce and economic development. The position serves as a program manager for five areas under the Chamber’s Talent Partnership umbrella: Military Matters, The Circuit, Relocation Support, HOT Jobs & Jobs Board, and Intern Wichita Falls.

Chamber releases virtual spec building to  encourage new business

Chamber releases virtual spec building to encourage new business

The Chamber partnered with BYSP Architects to create virtual spec buildings for economic development and business attraction. 

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.

$1.3m incentive agreement approved for DuPlooy Trucking

$1.3m incentive agreement approved for DuPlooy Trucking

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.

Read the full story at Times Record News.

Wichita Falls economy ending 2019 with robust indicators

Wichita Falls economy ending 2019 with robust indicators

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.

Read the full story at Times Record News.

DuPlooy Trucking hopes to hit the gas on incentive proposal

DuPlooy Trucking hopes to hit the gas on incentive proposal

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.”

Watch/read the full story from Texomashomepage.com

Learn more about the incentive program.

David Leezer joins Chamber as Vice President of Business Attraction

David Leezer joins Chamber as Vice President of Business Attraction

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

ACTION TEAM

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
Barry Donnell, Barry Donnell
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.

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 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

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.

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

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

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

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