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Regional Assessment for Economic Strategy Released

A new report has identified the competitive opportunities and challenges the Brazos Valley will face as it seeks to become a more prosperous region.
 
The regional assessment is the second phase of a five-phase process commissioned by the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation in partnership with Market Street Services, a national economic development consulting firm. The process is backed by the Cities of Bryan and College Station, Brazos County, Texas A&M University and the BVEDC’s private investment group, Invest Brazos Valley.
 
Among the findings in the report, which can be found at brazosvalleystrategy.com:
  • There are increasing opportunities for success with the growth of both the diverse overall population and Texas A&M University.
  • There is growth being seen in professional, scientific and technical services.
  • There is significant potential, with additional investment, for innovation and entrepreneurship in the form of “spinoff” and “spin-in” business activity.
  • Downtown Bryan’s revitalization and the creation of the RELLIS campus are noted as major positive changes for the region.
  • Retaining college graduates, bringing young professionals into the region’s workforce and building a stronger talent pipeline are needed.
  • Underemployment, wages and housing costs pose challenges to the economy.
  • Cooperation and collaboration between jurisdictions, institutions and organizations will be a key to success moving forward.
Based in part on this report, Market Street is conducting a target sector analysis to examine which opportunities are best pursued by and suited for the Brazos Valley in order to create and retain jobs, increase innovation and improve the economy. The analysis will conclude later this month. An economic development strategy is due to be completed in early 2019, with a proposed implementation plan to follow.
 
The Market Street assessment highlights strengths, opportunities, challenges and threats facing the Brazos Valley. It also measures the region against peer and/or aspirational metropolitan areas – each of which is home to a major university – using a scorecard system. The effect of the nearby Houston and Austin metro areas is also noted.
 
A steering committee made up of a diverse group of local leaders representing various aspects of the community has been helping guide the process. In creating its regional assessment, Market Street involved more than 1,700 local residents. Its staff conducted 12 one-on-one interviews with key community stakeholders, held seven focus groups representing a variety of local constituencies, and put out an online survey to which more than 1,500 Brazos Valley residents responded.
 
“This report helps us understand our starting point,” said Andrew Morriss, dean of Texas A&M’s School of Innovation and a steering committee chair. “We know our community has great potential, and together, we are dedicating our efforts toward creating a strategy that will help get us to a new level of greatness. We thank Market Street for its help charting our path to future success.”
 
In addition to Morriss, Spencer Clements of William Cole Companies and Casey Oldham of Oldham Goodwin Group are serving as steering committee chairs.
 
Market Street Services, founded in 1997 and based in Atlanta, has worked with more than 160 communities in 34 states, including nine communities in Texas, to develop achievable roadmaps to responsible economic growth and prosperity.
 

A Message from the Steering Committee Chairpersons

Earlier this year, our region’s public and private leaders and the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation joined forces to create a unified strategy and take our growing community to a new level of diverse economic prosperity at this pivotal moment in our history.
 
The word is out: the Brazos Valley is a great place to live and work. We are seeing population growth like few places in the country. To match that growth, our community needs to provide enhanced employment and enrichment options with responsible preparation.
 
Our outside expert consultants at Market Street Services have released their assessment of our area, which we invite you to read at brazosvalleystrategy.com. These initial findings will help provide the foundational framework on which to create our region’s comprehensive economic development strategic plan.
 
This process has been transparent and all-inclusive to all stakeholders because of the help we received in August and September. More than 1,500 residents took an online survey to opine on community strengths, weaknesses and potential opportunities. Plus, more than 200 people were involved in multiple focus groups and interviews with key stakeholders. That input helped add context to the independent assessment.
 
In the coming weeks, we will receive from Market Street a target sector analysis of what kinds of businesses and industries are best positioned to thrive in our community. Then, a detailed, actionable and accountable plan to execute on these findings will be charted.
 
Creating diverse and sustainable jobs and opportunities for those who seek to work and live here is the purpose of the EDC. We have seen the Brazos Valley’s government, business and community leaders embrace this comprehensive strategy to help forge a better path to aid in a unified economic strategy for today and future generations.
 
Spencer Clements, Andrew Morriss and Casey Oldham
Brazos Valley Economic Development Strategy Steering Committee Chairpersons