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Posted: January 15, 2008
The Greater Houston Partnership Intensifies Efforts to Draw Businesses to Area
(Nanowerk News) The Greater Houston Partnership announced Monday it plans to focus more of its efforts on economic development and said it has raised $30 million to generate leads on companies interested in moving to the Houston area.
The money that was donated by 140 companies and individuals will go toward hiring researchers, going to recruiting events, finding leads and closing them, said Dan Wolterman, who was installed as the partnership's board chairman Monday during the group's annual meeting. Wolterman is president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.
"Instead of waiting for companies to call, we'll identify companies and go get them," said Wolterman, who called 2008 a "transformative" year. For emphasis, the partnership played tunes like The Times They Are A-Changin' by Bob Dylan and Changes by David Bowie over the public address system during the luncheon.
The partnership is targeting five industries — aviation and aerospace; energy and petrochemical; medical and biotechnology; information technology; and nanotechnology.
Two years ago, the partnership launched Opportunity Houston and announced plans to create 600,000 jobs during the next decade and $60 billion in new capital investment.
Opportunity Houston is chaired by Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, who wants fundraising to reach the $40 million mark.
The effort is already paying off, said Jeff Moseley, partnership president and CEO. According to partnership records, the group assisted in the creation of 3,104 direct jobs last year as a result of companies expanding or relocating to the Houston area.
In addition, Wolterman said, the partnership will work to improve air quality, strengthen area schools and help resolve the health care crisis that has left one third of local residents without access to health insurance.
"It makes us uncompetitive in the global economy," he said.