Chamber’s Economic Development Strategic Plan ahead of pace

The Fort Worth Chamber is 40% of the way into its four-year strategic plan, and Chris Strayer, senior vice president of business attraction, expansion and retention, said, “We’re doing great, more than halfway to our goal. We’re on pace to blow the numbers away.”

To date, 2019’s biggest relocation win is Stanley Black and Decker, which will locate to a 1.2-million square-foot warehouse and have a separate manufacturing facility for its Craftsman line of tools.

Strayer said the Chamber — and his team of Shea Hopkins and Netty Matthews — is working with 70 active prospects, of which 50 are new in 2019. The companies represent nearly 15,000 jobs and $1.125 billion in investments.

Strayer lauded certain percentage gains: 10% distribution/90% manufacturing is “a great number.” He said the continued growth in existing business activity versus attraction from 10% to 16% in the second quarter is “because of our local efforts to get out there and meet face-to-face.”

Finally, 79% of the activity is headquarters, 21% back office, and Strayer described that as “fantastic. We are getting a lot more headquarter looks.”

One other number illustrates the positive momentum. During 2018, the Chamber was involved in 2,305 jobs being created. Already in 2019, the number is 1,585.

Strayer said Fort Worth doesn’t get a lot of feedback when a company decides to go elsewhere, but he listed three possible reasons: need for specific skill sets, personal preferences by decision makers (near family, oceans, etc.) or a better piece of property available.

Business-tourism connection

Strayer called Visit Fort Worth a “great partner. We have to come together for quality of life,” a key component across the four pillars of the Chamber’s strategic plan.

Mitch Whitten, executive vice president of marketing and strategy for Visit Fort Worth, said tourism had a $2.6 billion economic impact from 9.4 million visitors last year. Approximately 24,000 jobs exist to happily serve those visitors. And, many of those visitors are decision makers, and their first look and first impression are impactful.

He said Visit Fort Worth is more focused on pursuing conventions in areas the Chamber attraction team is focused, such as aerospace/aviation and medical innovation. He also mentioned the need for 1,400 more hotel rooms downtown and completion of the Convention Center makeover. “We’ve had to turn down $200 million in bookings because of facilities.”

D/FW International Airport has 60 international routes and Fort Worth has become a favorite destination of Australians, who, Whitten said, “spend three to eight times more than other tourists.”

Strayer said the Chamber is in complete alignment with Visit Fort Worth on transportation issues. “Companies do look at how employees get around,” he said. “If they’re looking at a headquarters downtown, they’ll ask, ‘Where is the transportation?’”

Whitten said TEXRail “elevates our whole brand” and said Visit Fort Worth gives grants to Trinity Metro’s Molly and Dash circulators in and out of downtown.

“One of the differentiators here is people … friendly, with a can-do attitude,” Whitten said. “The Chamber is a great partner and we are working to make sure our messages are complementary.”

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Plan ahead to make spring break travel easier

Spring Break week is here again, and that means Fort Worth’s cultural attractions will be popular destinations for parents and kids looking to enjoy their time away from school.

Plan your visit

Spring Break is the most popular time of the year for parents and children to visit the Fort Worth Zoo. Many families are expected to visit on March 13, half-price day at the zoo.

Visitors can access the zoo using their normal route, but more vehicles than usual will be using this route to reach the zoo. Try approaching the zoo from the south by taking Berry Street to University Drive, which is often an easier route.

Take the Safari Express

Trinity Metro’s Safari Express bus will run direct service to and from the Fort Worth Zoo’s main entrance at Colonial Parkway March 10-17. The service originates at Bus Bay A, adjacent to the Trinity Railway Express platform, at the Intermodal Transportation Center, 1001 Jones St.

A round-trip day pass for the Safari Express is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children 5-19 and seniors 65 and older (with transit agency ID card), and free for children 4 and under.

The Safari Express will run every 30 minutes from 9:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. through March 17. The first shuttle leaves the ITC at 9:15 a.m. and the last weekday shuttle leaves the zoo at 6:15 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, the last bus will leave the zoo at 6:45 p.m.

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Carroll Dragon Band Succeeds in Local Competitions Ahead of UIL Assessments

The Carroll Dragon Band has spent the month of October preparing for UIL competition by participating in the Tournament of Champions in Carrollton and the Renegade Review in Tulsa, OK. Surviving rainy performances and long travel days, the Dragon Band competed against other bands from around the state and country as they fine-tuned their competition performance piece “Rooftops.”

On Saturday, October 6, the Carroll Dragon Band competed against other bands from the DFW area at the Carrollton “Tournament of Champions” Invitational Contest. The original format of the included Prelims performances and Finals performances from the top-scoring bands. However, inclement weather at night prevented Finalists bands from performing. The contest hosts ultimately decided to use prelims scoring for final rankings, and with a Prelims score of 84.28, the Dragon Band finished in 4th place,. During this competition, the Carroll Colorguard was awarded “Best Colorguard.”

The following weekend, the Carroll Dragon Band traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the “Renegade Review Championship” sponsored by the Union HS Band. Once again the students were challenged by rain and delays, but they handled themselves with professionalism and poise, earning 6th place out of 17 bands, and finishing 4th in their class.

The trip to Tulsa was the Carroll Dragon Band’s first attempt at a regional level contest and competitive marching band trip, and they placed ahead of, or very close behind, State, Regional, and National Semi Finalists, Finalists, and Champions from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.

The Carroll Dragon Band will perform at the Region 31 Region Assessment on Monday, October 22, at 7:45 p.m. at the Birdville Fine Arts/Athletic Complex.

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New lanes on I-35W open months ahead of schedule

As progress continues on the North Tarrant Express 35W project, NTE Mobility Partners announced the early opening of a major section of the highway corridor extending from Northside Drive to the IH 820/I-35W interchange.

This 35W project, which began in May 2014, includes complete reconstruction of frontage roads, general highway lanes and the addition of two managed TEXpress lanes in each direction. The final section of the North Tarrant Express 35W project from Northside Drive south to I-30 is on schedule to open later this year.

The new highway corridor consists of new ramps improving accessibility with additional connections to and from the general highway lanes and the TEXpress lanes. Drivers can choose to use the rebuilt general highway, bypass and frontage roads at no charge, or use the TEXpress lanes for a faster, more direct commute through the corridor.

The design-build method played a large role in the early opening because the contractor was able to work in all areas of the corridor simultaneously. This has allowed for an accelerated schedule and for the new highway to be built years ahead of the traditional construction timeline.

The opening is part of the $1.4 billion North Tarrant Express 35W project, which includes a 6.5-mile section of roadway currently ranked 23rd on the state’s most congested roadways list. This section of I-35W from north of I-30 to north of the I-35W/US 287 interchange just south of North Tarrant Parkway in Fort Worth was ranked 6th in congestion at the start of construction. The reconstruction of general highway lanes and the addition of TEXpress Lanes have already provided relief during heavy traffic periods on 35W.

Learn more about TEXpress lanes online.

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Tarrant County College South Campus to Host Building Sciences Expo 2017: What Lies Ahead

FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 15, 2017) – Tarrant County College South Campus will host Building Sciences Expo 2017: What Lies Ahead, a conference focusing on the opportunities, strategies and benefits of green building design on Wednesday, Feb. 22, from noon to 9 p.m. in the Center of Excellence for Energy Technology, 5301 Campus Drive.


The conference targets researchers, practitioners, architects, engineers, as well as faculty and students involved in building sciences. A variety of topics related to green buildings will be included, ranging from building science to project management, energy code, drone technology, energy modeling and a case study for the LEED-Platinum Certified Center of Excellence for Energy Technology.


Admission to the expo is free; dinner tickets are $25 and may be purchased at Attendees will receive five continuing education units from the American Institute of Architects Fort Worth Chapter.


TCC Community & Industry Education Services are hosting the conference in partnership with the American Institute of Architects Fort Worth, Construction Specifications Institute and U.S Green Building Council Texas Chapter.


For more information or to register for the conference, please contact Derek Hubernak at 817-515-4167 or visit



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