Top Texas economic development leader touts job opportunities in Fort Worth

dfwnewsa | February 3, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Top Texas economic development leader touts job opportunities in Fort Worth

Aaron S. Demerson, president and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corp., right, speaks with Robert Allen, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Economic Development Partnership at the Southeast Fort Worth Inc. Vernell Sturns Annual Awards Luncheon at Texas Wesleyan University on Feb. 2, 2024. (Fort Worth Report | Bob Francis)
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Texas and Fort Worth are seeing continued interest from businesses looking to either relocate or expand here, according to Aaron S. Demerson, president and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corp.

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“We have a real opportunity to do something in Texas,” he said, pointing to the optimism he sees around the state and in Fort Worth. 

Demerson spoke Feb. 2 at Southeast Fort Worth Inc. Vernell Sturns Annual Awards Luncheon at Texas Wesleyan University. 

“The questions I get from people refer to things they want to do, and we have a booming economy that’s helping us do that,” he said. 

The Texas Economic Development Corp. is an independently funded and operated nonprofit organization that is responsible for marketing and promoting Texas as a premier business location. Demerson’s organization works with Gov. Greg Abbott’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism as the primary components of the governor’s economic development programs. 

Demerson became president and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corp. in November, replacing Robert Allen, who came to Fort Worth as president and CEO of the Fort Worth Economic Development Partnership.  

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Texas has remained front and center among states for economic development. In March, Site Selection magazine presented Texas with the Governor’s Cup for the 11th consecutive year as the nation’s top-performing state for job-creating business relocations and expansions. 

But Demerson said plenty of other states are targeting Texas, looking to gain a share of those economic development dollars flowing here. 

“Other states will be doing plenty to catch up with what we’re doing here in Texas,” he said. 

Allen, who moderated the fireside chat at the event, said many people don’t understand how competitive economic development can be between states. 

“I think it is always surprising to people what other states do and how much money they put behind (economic development),” he said.  

Demerson said that as a result of all the competition, he is often traveling, frequently overseas. He recently returned from India and will be headed to Japan and surrounding countries soon. 

“If you’re not doing it, other states will,” he said. 

Texas used to not do that, but that has changed. 

“We’re out there competing, and it’s working,” he said. 

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Texas is No. 1 in terms of foreign direct investment with over 1,700 foreign companies who have hired 680,000 employees, Demerson said. 

Texas can be an easy sell to companies as a business-friendly state, he added. 

“Texas is a state that has a predictable regulatory climate,” Demerson said. “When you ask corporate CEOs, where’s the best place to do business it’s a pretty easy answer.” 

Honorees at the Southeast Fort Worth Inc. Vernell Sturns Annual Awards Luncheon 

Dr. Flora Alexandra Paulos Brewer Person of the Year Honor 

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  Netty Matthews, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

Vernell Sturns Community Service Honor 

Nakia Cole, FWISD

Carlos Walker, FWISD

Devoyd “Dee” Jennings Founder Emeritus Honor

Palladium USA Inc.

Donna VanNess, Housing Channel

Southeast Fort Worth Inc. President’s Freedom Honor 

HDR, an architecture, engineering and design firm

May Pearl McDonald Flint Regional Community Enhancement Honor 

Brian K. Builta, Texas Wesleyan University

Alan Liebrecht, Texas Wesleyan University

Lillie M. Biggins Advocate for Others Honor 

David Howard, Empower Me Inc.

Brenda Sanders Wise, Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society Inc.

Hon. Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks Volunteer of the Year Honor 

Don Boren, East Fort Worth Business Association

Wanda Conlin, East Fort Worth Business Association

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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