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Monday, June 23, 1997


Rick Smith

Economic development
person needed in Pecos

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Could Pecos become known as a producer of cantaloupes and
high-tech products? Why not?

The whole image of Texas has changed in the past few years. Pecos
doesn't have to be left behind.

Once known only for oil, cattle and cowboys, Texas has gained a
reputation as a home for high-tech companies.

The state has many business advantages that have lured high-tech
companies which have in turn benefitted the Texas economy. Advantages
such as low taxes, inexpensive real estate, high quality of life, a
strong work force and good educational facilities have contributed to
the growth of high-tech industries in the state.

High-tech products are one of the strongest growing segments of the
nation's economy, according to a recent report by the Federal Reserve
Bank of Dallas. In 1994 high-tech products amounted to more than six
percent of the nation's total output (measured in gross domestic
product), up from not quite five percent in 1990. By comparison, total
motor vehicle output in 1994 was only a little more than one percent.

Texas now ranks second behind California in computer- and
telecommunications-related high-tech employment, with about 290,000
workers. Employment in the high-tech field is growing nearly twice as
fast in Texas as in the rest of the nation.

Four high-tech industries account for most of the growth in this sector
in Texas: computers, telecommunications equipment and services, computer
chips (or semiconductors) and computer related-services. The high-tech
sector continues to grow in Texas with many companies moving into, or
planning to move into, the state. High-tech companies such as Dell
Computer, Texas Instruments and Compaq Computer already call Texas home.
The nation's largest manufacturer of computer chips, Intel, plans to
build a $1.3 billion plant in Fort Worth. Many other large and small
high-tech businesses have chosen to locate in Texas.

There is nothing to prevent Pecos from benefiting from this trend,
unless the city just doesn't try.

Thankfully, Pecos city leaders are aware that economic conditions in the
city need to improve and they are working on economic development. The
chamber and city council have been talking about hiring an economic
development director to head up the efforts in this direction.

That is a great idea.

The right man in that position would more than pay for his salary by
bringing new industry to the city. As a matter of fact, if he/she does
the job correctly the salary paid to an economic development director
would be a drop in the bucket of benefits the city would receive.

I moved here from Mansfield (just south of the Dallas/Fort Worth
Metroplex) where about two years ago the city hired an economic
development director. Several good industries relocated to Mansfield as
a direct result of his efforts.

Of course many volunteers with the chamber and other organizations will
have to continue to help with economic development. The job is too big
for just one man. But one man who devotes a full-time effort to economic
development is needed to spearhead the effort.

No money could be better spent than the salary of an economic
development person for Pecos.

Editor's Note: Rick Smith is an Enterprise writer and city editor whose column appears each Monday.

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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