What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for local businesses in 2016?
Richardson continues to benefit from continued growth and unceasing announcements of businesses moving into the area. With our Richardson Economic Development Partnership’s (REDP) work with the City of Richardson, more than 6000 jobs were retained or added to the Richardson work force in 2015 alone. More daytime workers are coming to our city, and smaller service-oriented businesses will benefit from higher demand. From my day job at the hospital, part of the reason we’ve expanded and relocated our services is the larger number of people to help. The hospital recently opened a new inpatient wing with 25 additional beds. We are already operating more than three years ahead of our expected growth plan, so I’m happy that Methodist Richardson is growing right along with our communities to better serve them.
I know from what I’ve heard from the community during the recent election that there are some concerns about transportation, specifically the heavy congestion on Central Expressway. Richardson is committed to working with the Texas Department of Transportation, as we are the second largest employment center in the Dallas area. Richardson is strategically located with access to four major highways, as well as bus and light rail service. The passage of the recent bond election shows we’re investing in the City’s infrastructure for the future safety and enjoyment of citizens and businesses alike.
What are your expectations for the economy, both locally and nationally?
Again, our local economy is strong. DFW was recently named one of the TOP TEN ECONOMIES IN THE COUNTRY. There isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be, considering the intentional planning being done by all of our community’s leaders. We’re attracting an educated and affluent workforce that is used to spending money on a variety of items. That discretionary income is going to spread to all of our businesses.
What are the most important things local businesses will need to do to succeed in the New Year?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say ‘Join the Chamber!’ to continue investing in a successful program of growth for the future. Beyond all the work we do attracting new businesses throughout the US and internationally, we connect local businesses with each other to share contacts, knowledge and resources. We have a variety of methods for small businesses to promote their products and services as well. I’d also highly recommend investing in the young talent flooding Richardson with students looking for experience in building their careers. The University of Texas at Dallas, Richland College and even our local high schools all have programs to match qualified students with business needs at little or no cost. Training for current employees can also be hugely valuable. Richland College has a corporate training program, through the Skills Development Fund Grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, and can assist with on-site job training.
What are some of the highlights of Richardson Chamber of Commerce’s planned events and programs?
The Chamber will continue to highlight programs targeted for the needs of our members. We have networking programs, our Women in Leadership and Richardson Young Professionals events, updates about the latest in city development at our Growth & Mobility Luncheon, and recognition events from at our Annual Meeting and EDGE awards. A truly impactful program remains our Leadership Richardson effort, which produces visionaries who will impact Richardson well into the future. We also have committees who are solving local issues such as education, workforce development and public policy, just to name a few.
What potential do you foresee for local job growth this year?
Our REDP continues to aggressively market Richardson outside the area, and we have several high-value properties that are ready to be leased. With the continued influx of trendy restaurants and businesses that attract a continuing supply of millennials educated by UT Dallas, we should really hold on tight, because this ride isn’t over!
How do evolving demographics influence business offerings in your community?
The REDP will be executing on a campaign to attract young professionals to Richardson to meet the employment demands of our new and existing companies and encourage them to live in the high-end multi-family complexes that are beginning to surround these new corporate campuses. While we start to see our population take a younger swing, be on the lookout for a growing night life and options for entertainment.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Richardson is a vibrant city with great businesses, great schools, great diversity, great leaders; the list goes on. But there is always room for new ideas and new leaders to meet the ever changing landscape. I encourage anyone interested to step up and get involved.