NTX Magazine Volume 5 - Page 14

feature story hands-on training of various gas measurement, regulation and control devices in a controlled environment,” said John McDill, vice president of Pipeline Safety. Another important part of the DFW community is a city unlike any other: Gas City. Also located at the Vaughan Center, this outdoor setting simulates a real neighborhood – complete with mini-apartments, houses, city streets and natural gas and other utility infrastructure. Gas City is the only facility in the U.S. with the equipment and labs to facilitate natural gas training. Meet Me in North Texas For businesses looking for their next meeting or training space, a place for employees to hang their hats is often a question that comes into play. The renaissance that the downtown Dallas area is experiencing is creating additional opportunities for space that welcomes visitors. As the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau reports, Dallas’s hotel development market is expected to continue its rapid growth with 16 new projects, eight of which are located downtown. Ground-up construction and conversion projects totaling $1.72 billion will add nearly 2,500 rooms to the city’s existing 75,000-room inventory in the next three years. “Dallas welcomed 24 million visitors in 2014,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’re thrilled with the growth we’re seeing in the hotel market. Development is an essential part of attracting conventions, events, and domestic and international visitors to Dallas.” Gas City, Charles K. Vaughan Center Gas City’s mini-community has buried pipe (polyethylene, bare and coated steel and sewer pipe), along with residential, commercial and industrial meter stations, and allows for fire training and confined-space entry training through manholes. Emergency response teams from across the state come to North Texas to utilize Gas City as a mock-up destination for their disaster training. A national gas consortium from South America and even representatives from Tokyo Gas and Okaski Gas in Japan have visited to train and explore the possibility of replicating the training aspect of the facility overseas. “With today’s emphasis on avoiding damage to other infrastructure while digging, employees can practice excavating with operating equipment and not disturb other utilities,” McDill said. “The goal is to take the theory received in the classroom and immediately have students practice that job skill in as close to real-life scenarios as possible. Our employees have asked for this type of training. We listened and implemented it.” Whether workers live in the region, or are just in for state-of-the-art training, they all find North Texas to be – well, a gas. 12 www.ntc-dfw.org FALL/WINTER 2015 From boutique hotels to luxury brands, Dallas’s booming hotel market complements the city’s rapid development and offers options for stay that make North Texas feel like home. Dallas From boutique hotels to luxury brands... ...Dallas’s booming hotel market complements the city’s rapid development and offers options for stay that make North Texas feel like home. tourism generated a $6.6 billion economic impact in 2014, and recent hotel developments are set to enhance the city’s already-diverse range of accommodations. Fort Worth Stockyards Fort Worth, well-known for being one of the friendliest cities in the U.S., also hosts major national conventions because of its hospitality and hotel availability. Annually, more than 6.5 million visitors trek to “Cowtown,” generating $1.55 billion annually while staying in some of the city’s 13,477 hotel rooms, almost 3,000 of which are in historic downtown Fort Worth in Sundance Square. The pedestrian-friendly, 35-block entertainment, shopping and dining district is where both locals and visitors go for food, fun and festivals that often occur there. Many companies choose to host their meetings and trainings in Fort Worth for the various walkable, friendly amenities the city offers its visitors in this exciting urban oasis. Visitors also find North Texas a tasty and entertaining place to travel. Known as a culinary mecca, North Texas provides guests with nearly 12,000 restaurant options, 4,000 of them in Dallas alone. The largest urban arts district in the country, museums, shops, restaurants, night life and more make the DFW area the top visitor destination in Texas. Major events like the Super Bowl, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the NCAA Women’s Final Four (in 201