The Economic Development Pulse October 2015 - Page 2

Letter from the Director

Scott Jones

Economic Development Director

Intro

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The purpose of this electronic flipbook is to educate the community about how education,

workforce, quality of life, safety, cost of living, business development and business

retention all affect Odessa’s economic development. We will feature partner organizations

such as the Greater Odessa, Black and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the Odessa

Development Corporation, UTPB’s Small Business Development Center and other partner

organizations that work together for the betterment of our city.

Economic development is somewhat misunderstood inside and outside our community,

but what it boils down to is creating quality jobs. By quality jobs, we mean those that pay

above average wages for the location, because higher wages result in more disposable

income resulting in more sales and ad valorem (property) tax revenues. Those increased

revenues make funds available to enhance our quality of life by providing better schools,

more healthcare options, better parks and recreation opportunities. By increasing capital

investment in the form of real estate, equipment and machinery, the ad valorem and personal property tax valuations and revenues increase.

But economic development isn’t accomplished by just one group; it is a joint effort of stakeholders who provide input and work toward common goals. Our City and the above listed organizations all work as a team to determine economic development goals and objectives, opportunities, threats, incentives and solutions. Our area’s interested business owners, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, employees, elected officials and economic development professionals all invest significant time and effort into creating an environment where new business can flourish and their workers and families can proudly call home.

It is the responsibility of your Economic Development Department to coordinate and lead those efforts, providing direction and supporting these joint efforts. We work as liaisons between entities when recruiting new businesses to Odessa, providing assistance to existing businesses interested in expansion or retention, working with local educators to provide programs to develop or enhance a skilled workforce, developing shovel-ready sites for businesses to locate and counseling stakeholders on important economic and social issues. We act as spokespersons spreading the message about Odessa’s attributes, locally, nationally and internationally and promote Odessa as “the right place” to be in Texas.

These efforts require specific skills. Your ED Department employs professionals highly trained in various areas of expertise to provide Odessa the best opportunity to meet its economic development objectives. Those objectives are determined by the City of Odessa and the Odessa Development Corporation, a non-profit entity authorized and funded by the State of Texas to provide economic development activities and opportunities for businesses and residents. The City of Odessa and the Odessa Development Corporation contracts with the Greater Chamber economic development department to provide those economic development services, and has been highly successful in recruiting and retaining businesses, creating jobs and capital investment in Odessa for decades.

As we look to the future, economic development goals are changing. Energy resources in the Permian are our most important commodity, which is often subject to large fluctuations in supply and demand. In order to build a long-term, resilient economic foundation Odessa must diversify. In recent history, technologies like plastics production, metal manufacturing/fabrication, and health sciences have led previous diversification, whether by design or circumstance. Your ED Department is pursuing all of these opportunities to create quality jobs and capital investment that will create a return on investment and make Odessa a better place to work and live. Rest assured that this process is long-term, costly, and complex. But, the more our message about Odessa’s wealth of strengths, opportunities, and its residents’ can-do attitude is promoted nationally and internationally, the more interest in locating or relocating businesses will be derived; which is our collective responsibility.

So relay the message, spread it wide and with enthusiasm, "Odessa is open for business!"

Scott