A while back, I met with team members from a company that was considering the Dallas area for a potential corporate relocation and presented our region’s considerable assets. As I described our region’s network of direct flights to domestic and international destinations, I mentioned a “secret” I knew would be making the newspapers the very next day, thinking it would be helpful for the delegation to have the information prior to leaving town.
I revealed that Emirates would be announcing direct air service between Dubai and DFW, and I knew immediately by the group’s reaction just how important this new information was. The company’s interest in the Dallas area spiked because they saw a new direct flight to Dubai providing an easy connection point to India, an important market for the company. What I thought to be a simple tidbit of news was, to them, exciting information on a critical deal point that boosted Dallas’ chances.
These days, companies and those advising companies on location decisions have easy access to a great deal of data and information on just about any place they’d like to evaluate. The facts are rarely presented as visually or as smartly as found in the chamber’s economic development guide or other publications and presentations, but nevertheless are out there and accessible. What’s not as easy to get, but often more valuable to a company thinking of a move, is the foresight into what Dallas will be like in five years, 10 years, or longer, as a place to operate and for employees to live.
When executives visit Dallas, or when we take our show on the road, we are armed with a wide range of data and information critical to the evaluation process: labor force, wage rates, taxes and incentives, housing costs, real estate costs, and so forth. The region’s case is a strong one. We have such a great bundle of assets wrapped up in a cost-effective, business-friendly environment. The showstoppers seem to be the new things happening that enhance our region’s future attractiveness for companies and people, or both. These are things decision makers don’t necessarily already know—like new direct air service to Dubai.
Air service is almost always a top driver of location decisions that go our way, and it’s surprising just how many executives outside our region remain unaware that Love Field is opening up direct flights across the U.S. this year, or that we have direct service to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Doha, and Abu Dhabi from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. On a recent chamber mission to Australia, each audience was excited to learn about DFW Airport’s investment in technology that will allow Aussies rapid entry into the United States. This encouraged more of them to use DFW as their gateway instead of LAX.
There are many examples of how this region continues to surprise and be enhanced as a place for companies, talent, jobs, and investment.
A bird's eye view of the region
All the great developments in downtown Dallas are striking to someone who has not been in town in the past few years. We see the positive reactions routinely from corporate guests at our 26th floor viewing spot in Ross Tower. “Wow, I had no idea all this was going on here!” is common to hear.
Recently, our full regional presentation was given to a group standing at our big bay windows. We did not bother to go into the conference room, where our 2D presentation was compiled and ready to view. From the window, we shared more surprises, such as DART rail connecting to the terminals at D/FW Airport this summer and the prospect of high-speed rail from Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston. We talked about companies that have recently moved here and about Klyde Warren Park, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, and plans for additional office towers in downtown.
We could highlight housing, point the way to regional cities and the locations of area universities, and to a new barbecue joint. We were able to give the lay of the land, from Fort Worth’s distant but visible skyline and AT&T Stadium to Oak Cliff, Fair Park, Trinity Groves, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. It helped our guests see the present and envision the future.
Already a strong, growing, prosperous region, Dallas-Fort Worth must not rest on its laurels. We need to work hard and cooperatively to make it better in the ways that matter most, and in ways that companies are acutely examining as they make long-term decisions. Issues that are fundamental to future success include transportation, the water supply, K-12 education, a Tier 1 research university, and greater connectivity to global markets. We are building our case not only with the current facts and figures, but forward-looking surprises.
Blueprint for prosperity
The Dallas Regional Chamber’s economic development program, Blueprint for Prosperity, provides organizations in Dallas-Fort Worth with an accelerated investment opportunity that helps advance our region’s success. This additional investment made by more than 130 organizations in addition to annual chamber membership dues allows organizations to increase their support of our efforts to further economic prosperity throughout the region. This initiative funds efforts related to direct contact with corporations and location consultants examining the DFW Region.