Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Rick Ellis, Vice President of the Katy Area Economic Development Council. Welcome to the Playbook, Rick.
Rick: Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.
Russ: You bet. So, tell us about the economy. Do you know much about the economy in Katy?
Rick: I pretty much know what’s going on out in Katy, and you may know, an economic development organization like ours, we work with local companies who need or want to expand their operations. We also work with out of state and international companies who are looking to place facilities in our greater region. As far as the economy goes, we feel the economic climate in Houston, it’s recovered a bit. The direness that was going on is pretty much over. We’re seeing growth in our industry even though the oil and gas obviously took a hit. Oil is back up, rig count’s back up, growth across the region is happening. We’re seeing a lot of diversification of the industry, which is great. Kind of getting away from that oil and gas a bit. We’re seeing companies who are taking advantage of the sublease properties that are available in the energy corridor office buildings.
We’re also seeing new companies sprouting up; engineering, consulting, things like that, that are a direct reflection of what happened in the oil and gas industry. People who were laid off were starting new businesses, so we’re seeing that as well. Just, diversification across the economy. Our biggest employers outside of oil and gas are things like Katy ISD, which is huge, Academy, Igloo, Methodist West, Katy Mills Mall; things like that. Those are the organizations that are really doing great.
Russ: Ok. So, you mentioned even the energy corridor, you know, which is West Houston, but it kind of bumps up into Katy. I guess you get some spillover from that too, right?
Rick: It really does bump over. The area that we service, the Katy area EDC services is the boundaries of Katy ISD schools, which is 181 square miles; bigger than the city of Pittsburg. So, it does go from far West Katy in and encompasses the energy corridor.
Russ: Well Rick I really appreciate you sharing the Katy perspective with us today.
Rick: Glad to.
Russ: You bet. And that wraps up my discussion with Rick Ellis, the Vice President of the Katy Area Economic Development Council. And this has been another Thought Leader Production, brought to you by PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.