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Back to Growth: U.S. Business Leaders Have Rosy Outlook for Economy


Back to Growth: U.S. Business Leaders Have Rosy Outlook for Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our work and life.

Business executives have had to quickly reconfigure operations, and millions have had to unexpectedly work from home or cease work entirely. Videoconferencing has become the killer app, and Zoombombing became a new privacy concern.

Despite the widespread health and business challenges brought on by the coronavirus, two-thirds of U.S. business leaders are optimistic the domestic economy will recover within a year, according to a survey TMF Group recently released.

It’s an encouraging sign that business executives in the U.S. are expressing this type of optimism, particularly based on the unprecedented challenges experienced throughout the economy over the last few months. This group was obviously very confident before the onset of the pandemic, and they now seem eager to not only restart their businesses but help reignite the economy as well.

We conducted the survey in the middle of April to gain insight into how companies plan to navigate these uncertain times. More than 40 percent of the 300 decision-makers who took part in the poll work in companies with more than 5,000 employees. Most of the respondents (85%) said their companies do business outside the United States.

Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) expect a V-shaped economic recovery, meaning a dramatic bounce to pre-virus activity by the end of 2020 following the sharp collapse. Only a small minority (12%) anticipate the economic impact of the pandemic to the last two years or more.

Looking beyond the U.S., business executives were a little less optimistic but still positive: 56% of respondents said the global economy would recover within a year.

It may be easy for critics to judge the survey takers as stereotypical American optimists, but I believe their confidence is grounded on some key facts. The economic shock has been largely demand-driven, as travel restrictions and government stay-at-home orders shut down wide swaths of the U.S. and global economies. Many of the world’s governments acted quickly to offset the economic damage. In the U.S., the federal government and central bank organized a massive stimulus package and pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets. More than 60% of respondents said the financial support to workers and businesses in the U.S. has had a very positive or somewhat positive effect on their companies.

Now, as states allow more businesses to reopen, consumers are eagerly venturing out despite the ongoing health risks. As consumer and business demand rebound, companies will begin hiring again.

Indeed, business decision-makers are confident their businesses will rebound quickly. More than half say their companies will return to normal operations within six months.

In times of crisis, there’s a premium on bold leadership and decisive action. Resilient leaders continue to mount appropriate responses to the global pandemic while charting paths to recovery.

The survey underscored that the pandemic has forced business to rapidly evolve. Many are moving ahead to reassess, reimagine or reinvent their businesses. Thirty-six percent say they plan to accelerate plans for international expansion, and 32% plan to seize domestic growth opportunities.

It’s a positive sign that the strategic imperative to go global remains strong because COVID-19 has dealt a serious blow to the international system. The World Trade Organization predicted in April that world merchandise trade would plummet between 13% and 32% this year.

But the factors that have driven globalization for several centuries have not disappeared. People have been driven to seek profit internationally since the earliest days of the Silk Road, and this instinct will continue. Furthermore, the spirit of international cooperation has been strong in the response to the pandemic. Companies, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations are working across borders to solve problems at scale, such as developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

A big motive for international expansion is the diversification of supply chains, cited by 35% of respondents. The coronavirus has interrupted the flow of goods across borders, from raw materials to finished products. The disruption has vividly illustrated that today’s highly interlinked, international supply chains have more potential points of failure and less margin for error for absorbing delays and disruptions.

Reducing dependence on one country or region is a priority. Diversifying your supplier base may increase costs in the short-term but will make your network more flexible and agile and potentially reduce the economic shock of future disruptions.

The outbreak of COVID-19 forced business to reassess every strategic objective and business plan. The health crisis has exposed vulnerabilities and created unforeseen challenges.

As businesses around the world consider how they can return from the economic crisis unleashed by COVID-19, the survey results provide some food for thought. Expanding internationally or domestically in uncertain times, for instance, may seem counterintuitive but could also fuel faster growth. Severe adversity provides real perspective. It is possible to find strength and confidence in the face of real hardship.


TMG Group is an international professional services firm that provides administrative support services across multiple jurisdictions.



More than 11 million Americans worked in the manufacturing sector in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. These are good jobs, too: T­he average payroll by employee in manufacturing is $57,266. But while manufacturing was the heart of the American economy a century ago, today it’s far more select. Here’s a look at the top 20 cities in the U.S. for advanced manufacturing.

Columbus, Indiana

Columbus is one of the nation’s true powerhouses, with 38 percent of employment dedicated to advanced manufacturing and industry. (That’s compared to 9 percent nationwide). According to the Greater Columbus Indiana Economic Development Corp., Columbus manufacturing is specialized in six industries: machinery and engines, transportation, paper products, fabricated metals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. It’s no wonder the city is home to the North American R&D centers for Cummins, Faurecia, Toyota Material Handling, Dorel, Enkai, and PMG Indiana. The city is currently working to expand that manufacturing base to include aerospace, cybersecurity, defense, and engineering/R&D services.

Bowling Green, Kentucky

That every Chevrolet Corvette made since 1981 came from Bowling Green ought to tell you something about the city’s manufacturing base. In 2017, about 17 percent of the city’s workforce was in manufacturing (up from 14.4 percent just five years previously), according to USA Today, and they’re responsible for $1.1 billion in exports. The manufacturing base in the city is incredibly diverse, with firms located there making automotive airbag inflators (ARC Automotive), new and used pallets (B&D Pallet), laser marking machines (Beamer Laser Marketing Systems), faucets (Delta Faucets) and paint (Sherwin-Williams).

Lake Charles, Louisiana

There are currently $57 billion worth of manufacturing and petro-chemical projects planned for the Lake Charles metro area, according to a September 2019 article. This translates into 3,000 new jobs for 2020, and another 3,800 new jobs in 2021. Considered an economic power for some time now, the region boasts that about 9 percent of its workforce is in manufacturing, and they produced a little more than $7 billion worth of exports in 2018, according to AdvisorSmith. In per capita terms, that pencils out to more than $33,000, which AdvisorSmith ranked seventh highest in the nation.

San Jose, California

San Jose supports more than 65,000 manufacturing jobs—more than twice the number found in the rest of the Bay Area combined, according to a 2016 report from SFMade. It’s home to one of the nation’s Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, which specializes in Flexible Hybrid Electronics, and is part of a network of manufacturing innovation centers set up by the Obama Administration in 2013. The manufacturing output of San Jose was a remarkable $76 billion in 2018, ranking it sixth on AdvisorSmith’s Top 50 list of cities with strong manufacturing economies.

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Once known predominantly for agriculture and textiles, this North Carolina city (population: 54,000) is known as a regional manufacturing center that produced more than $6 billion worth of exports in 2018. The engine manufacturer Cummins has a plant there, as does Corning, which makes glass. The city is also home to metal fabricators, industrial packaging makers, and hardware producers. Manufacturing has grown by nearly 12 percent in recent years, according to AdvisorSmith, which also reported that Rocky Mount’s manufacturing totaled more than $42,000 on a per capita basis, making it one of the most dynamic industrial cities in the nation.

Greeley, Colorado

Vestas Blades makes wind turbines. Burris Co. manufactures rifle scopes. Norfolk Iron & Metal produces carbon steel. IES Combustors makes waste gas combustion equipment. Worthington Industries manufactures a wide range of products, including cab enclosures for tractors, industrial components, propane cylinders, and water systems. What all these companies have in common is their location in Greeley, where nearly 13 percent of the labor force is in manufacturing. In 2017, they were responsible for nearly $800 million in exports. To keep the growth steady, Greeley firms are focusing on finding new talent through better apprenticeship programs, benefits packages, and workforce culture, according to a recent article in the Greeley Tribune.

Jackson, Mississippi

It shouldn’t be surprising that 60 percent of the manufacturing sector in Jackson supplies products and services to the automotive market, according to the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Companies such as Michigan Automotive Compressor, Lomar Machine & Tool Co. and Tenneco form the heart of Jackson industry. But medical device manufacturing is a growing part of the local economy. A big part of why Jackson is able to sustain such industries is the Academy for Manufacturing Careers (AMC), a Department of Labor-certified training program and trade school established in 2005 by the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association. The AMC offers full training for CNC machinists, tool and die makers, machine builders, industrial electricians, and a host of other specialties.

Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville has been known as a center for advanced manufacturing since at least 2003 when the Harvard Business Review wrote approvingly of the city’s “visionary leaders,” “hospitable business climate,” “customized training” and “collaboration within the business community.” Those factors are still driving economic development there today, with nearly 60,000 workers (14 percent of the labor force) in Greenville producing $5 billion worth of manufacturing exports, according to USA Today. They work for companies such as Michelin North American (radial tires), GE Power (gas turbines), Bosch Rexroth (fluid pumps), and Confluence Outdoor (boats and boating accessories).

Kokomo, Indiana

This central Indiana city, long a center of automobile manufacturing, is best known today as one of the nation’s top suppliers of automotive transmissions. Not bad for a city that was devastated in the 2008 financial crisis (General Motors, Chrysler, and Delphi all had plants there), but the city has recovered since along with the auto industry itself. Today, nearly 30 percent of the labor market in Kokomo works in manufacturing—up from 25 percent in 2012. According to AdvisorSmith, the city’s manufacturing sector produced $3.7 billion in 2018—which penciled out to nearly $45,000 on a per capita basis.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

This little city located on Lake Michigan at the head of the Sheboygan River is now a preeminent industrial center, specializing in car parts, furniture, and metal products. In fact, the metals fabrication company Kohler is the area’s largest employer, with more than 5,000 workers, according to the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation. That industry is so big there that the county has six times the national average worth of metal manufacturing and makes 11 times the national average of fabricated metal products. Sheboygan workers produced $3.1 billion worth of manufacturing exports in 2018, according to AdvisorSmith.

Bellingham, Washington

Bellingham’s manufacturing output grew more than 10 percent between 2014 and 2018, according to AdvisorSmith. And it’s still growing—a Bellingham Herald article reported in January that Tidal Vision, an established Bellingham operation that converts marine byproducts into eco-friendly items like water treatment, would be expanding, and other manufacturers would soon be growing in the greater Whatcom County area. A huge array of manufactured goods comes from the Bellingham area, including saw blades, high-performance brakes, ultrasonic gel, anchor chain, remanufactured engines, precast concrete, natural pet foods, construction-grade lumber and fiberglass boats, according to the Port of Bellingham.

Lima, Ohio

The manufacturing sector in Lima employs nearly 46,000 people and pays an average salary of more than $67,000 a year, according to TownSquare Publications. Though hurt badly in the 2007 recession, Lima recovered, and today is home to Proctor & Gamble, Ford, and General Dynamics. Lima also hosts the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, the nation’s only factory that still produces tanks for the U.S. military. If anything, the city’s main challenge for the future is attracting a steady stream of new workers. Lima’s manufacturing output per capita was just under $40,000 in 2018, according to AdvisorSmith.

Beaumont, Texas

A century ago, Beaumont translated the riches of the Spindletop oil deposits to become the second-largest refinery in the nation. Today, Beaumont is quickly growing again, but in manufacturing. Employment in machinery manufacturing and electrical equipment manufacturing grew 53 and 45 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2017, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas special report. The city’s largest employers include ENGlobal Corp., ExxonMobil, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Motiva Enterprises and Valero Refining Group. Beaumont’s manufacturing output per capita in 2018 was $36,000, according to AdvisorSmith.

Savannah, Georgia

Manufacturing comprised nearly a quarter of the Savannah area’s economic output in 2017, according to the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. In real terms, that translates to slightly more than 22,000 people working at 346 plants. Growth in manufacturing employment held steady in 2017, 2018, and into 2019. One major employer, Gulfstream Aerospace, employs 11,000 workers for production, maintenance, engineering, research, and development. Another Savannah firm, JCB, has about 600 workers who build light capability, rough terrain forklifts for the Department of Defense. All told, Savannah is responsible for about $2.3 billion in manufacturing exports.

Yuma, Arizona

In 2018, AQST Space Systems Group, which provides strategic planning to space and defense industry in satellites, space systems, artificial intelligence, and robotic, was looking to move its secured manufacturing operation out of Puerto Rico. The company ended up choosing Yuma because of its friendly business environment, infrastructure, turnkey facilities, and support, according to the city of Yuma. This makes sense, given that the city’s manufacturing employment growth rate was second in the nation from 2014 to 2018, according to AdvisorSmith, and 10th in the U.S. in terms of manufacturing output growth.

Palm Bay, Florida

Defense and semiconductors are big business in Palm Bay—so big that the manufacturing industry is growing faster there than in any other Florida city, according to Space Coast Daily. The 2018 AdvisorSmith study reported that manufacturing output per capita in Palm Bay was $7,494, which was about $450 higher than the national average. The Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce says more than 500 manufacturers call Palm Bay and surrounding Brevard County home, including Patriot Fire Defense, Technolink, Inmarsat, and Advanced Magnet Lab. The chamber also boasts that its Made in Brevard program, which highlights the work of local manufacturers, helps encourage further investment.

Bremerton, Washington

Bremerton has been a manufacturing center for more than a century. The workshops, plants, and yards in the city and surrounding Kitsap County build an astonishing variety of products, including office furniture, prosthetic devices, fly fishing rods, LED lighting, unmanned underwater vehicles, patrol boats, schooners, and aircraft carriers, according to the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. The compound growth rate of manufacturing employment at Bremerton was nearly five percent, according to AdvisorSmith. The Puget Sound Regional Council has also designated Bremerton to be one of eight Manufacturing/Industrial Centers in the region.

Clarksville, Tennessee

Manufacturing labor grew in Clarksville by an incredible 10 percent during 2018, according to a recent study by Kempler Industries. This shouldn’t be surprising, given that in the five years prior to the study, manufacturing employment grew 17 percent, according to USA Today. Data from the Clarksville/Montgomery County Economic Data Center shows the manufacture of automotive parts and industrial machinery have seen especially high rates of growth in recent years—58 percent and 34 percent, respectively. Major employers include Akebono (hubs and rotors), Bridgestone (steel cord), Hendrickson (tractor-trailer air-ride) and Trane (heating and air-conditioning equipment).

Reno, Nevada

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada says manufacturing is the fastest growing industry in the greater Reno area. In fact, AdvisorSmith recently ranked Reno seventh on its list of America’s 50 strongest manufacturing economies. Reno offers business-friendly regulations, 80 million square feet of affordable industrial space, some of the lowest electricity costs in the Western U.S., and a hard-working, educated labor force. Some of Reno’s biggest manufacturers are Trex (wood-alternative decking), Tyco (security systems), IGT (slot machines), and James Hardie (building materials).

Ogden, Utah

Manufacturing employment grew in Ogden nearly 18 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to USA Today. That means these days the city’s labor force produces $3.2 billion worth of manufacturing exports. Aerospace is a key part of the industry there, especially since the city is just two miles from Hill Air Force Base. ATK, which builds weapons systems for the U.S. military, has an operation in Ogden, as does Parker Hannifin, which makes aircraft hydraulic and control systems. Other manufacturers include Chromalox (heating elements), JBT Aerotech (commercial aircraft boarding bridges), Levelor (window blinds), and Kimberly-Clark (diapers).


Are Growing Pains Afflicting Your Business? How To Successfully Scale Your Company.

Ambitious entrepreneurs often are determined to grow their businesses by expanding into new areas, adding new products, and increasing the size of their workforce.

But growth comes with potential hazards, which is why one of the leading causes of business failure is overexpansion – growing too much too fast.

“There are so many complexities involved with growing a company” says Shawn Burcham (, author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, and founder and CEO of PFSbrands, the parent company of Champs ChickenCooper’s Express and BluTaco.

“If you’ve been a parent and raised kids, you can relate it to the various ages of kids. Much like your kids need different things at different ages, your business has different needs at different stages of growth.”

To stay on track with those needs, Burcham says business leaders need to:

Constantly evaluate employees. When a company is growing and improving, employees need to do the same, Burcham says. He’s an advocate of lifelong learning and expects employees to commit to continual personal improvement through reading, seminars or other educational efforts. In addition, while Burcham likes to promote from within, he will look elsewhere when necessary. “Scaling requires your team to evolve, but it also requires new blood,” he says. “As a company is growing, sometimes you have to go out and recruit the talent to help you get to that next level.”

Protect the brand. As the business grows, it’s crucial to adhere to standards and have quality controls in place. Otherwise, the business won’t build brand loyalty. “If you go into McDonald’s and you get a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder, you want that Big Mac or Quarter Pounder to taste the same in every location,” Burcham says. “That’s ultimately what every national brand is working toward.” In his own business, he has seen competitors of PFSbrands locate in supermarkets and convenience stores with loose standards.  “In some cases, we lose business to these competitors who are lenient and have lower standards,” Burcham says.

Embrace the future. Scaling is all about embracing the future, and that includes understanding millennials who will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, Burcham says. “Younger generations want to know why they’re doing something, and that makes a lot of sense when you think about how they grew up with their electronic devices,” he says. “They have been able to get answers anytime they want them.” Burcham’s company uses an open-book management approach that fits well with the transparency younger workers desire, he says. “Personal growth, education, and continuous learning are also things they are looking for. If companies today want to scale, then they need to embrace millennials and work to create an environment where they are engaged.”

Take their time back.“To be an effective leader as your business grows, you need to consistently work on time management,” Burcham says. He has five steps for doing this. 1. Decide what’s important and focus on two or three top priorities each day. 2. Stop doing some tasks. Instead, delegate or automate them. 3. Start on the most important thing first. 4. Learn to say no. 5. Block out time for self-improvement and life needs.

“Scaling is a process, not a destination,” Burcham says. “If you really want your business to grow, you need to be constantly moving, constantly evaluating and constantly improving.”


Shawn Burcham (, author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, is the founder & CEO of PFSbrands, which he and his wife, Julie, started out of their home in 1998. The company has over 1,500 branded foodservice locations across 40 states and is best known for their Champs Chicken franchise brand which was started in 1999. Prior to starting PFSbrands, Burcham spent five years with a Fortune 100 company, Mid-America Dairymen (now Dairy Farmers of America). He also worked for three years as a Regional Sales Manager for a midwest Chester’s Fried chicken distributor.

China market

Success in China: Market Opportunities & How to Get Started

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur from the west seeking to expand to China? Or are you interested in opening a new business in China? If yes, this article is for you. We will explain the 5 most viable business openings in China today and the 5 most reliable tips on how to get started in this highly-competitive market. Please be our guest.

Which Viable Market Opportunities Can You Pursue in China?

As the affluent middle class continues to expand in China, solid economic transformations in the country are being realized day by day. The biggest beneficiaries of these transformations are multinational companies who have set up or are planning to open a shop in China. There are now bigger and better market opportunities to pursue, more advanced industries to invest in, and more tech-intensive manufacturing opportunities to consider. As a matter of fact, China now boasts of a 50% bigger manufacturing economy as compared to the USA.

If you are looking to tap into the continued increase in high value-added production, increased globalization of the service sector, as well as the increased outbound investment in China, these 5 market opportunities would be lucrative enough for you:


Rising wealth often comes with an increase in lifestyle diseases. An increase in manufacturing, on the other hand, brings forth many environmental concerns. These two factors have made the healthcare industry very lucrative in China. You will create a reliable cash cow if you could invest in a business that deals with herbal supplements or small health products- or a mainstream pharmaceutical company, so to speak. Also, the use of skincare products is on the rise in China. It’s best to set up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise for such operations.

Import and export trade

China is currently the largest exporter of tech goods and importer of processed foods globally. That means you can build a profitable importing and exporting business here in a heartbeat. 

Supplementary education

Many middle-class Chinese are keen on improving their English and expanding their knowledge of different aspects of business and politics. If you can offer them after-school private tutoring services, you will be making impressive annual returns on a consistent basis. Moreover, online tutorage is on the rise in China, which enables you to tutor more people in a more cost-effective way.

Food production

This goes without saying: Everyone needs food, everyone loves good food. And now that the middle-class in China is welcoming new entrants in huge numbers, there is a significant supply gap within this class for as long as the food is concerned. A rise in class obviously comes with a change in lifestyle, and food is at the center of every lifestyle. 

Mobile phones and accessories

The whole world has in the recent past turned to China for all its tech needs. The nation is the largest producer and importer of affordable mobile phones and accessories, meaning that a business in this industry would be extremely profitable.

What kind of structure to choose when expanding to China

IF you are considering expanding your business to China, establishing the right business structure is crucial. There are several types of business structures:

-Representative Office – allows foreign companies to open their offices in China and hire staff under their own legal entity. However, the offices are not allowed to perform any business, rather it is done by the parent company which is abroad. 

-Sales Office- this business structure enables foreign businesses to rent an office with a Chinese address for conducting business, without the necessity to establish a separate legal entity. All the activities and costs incurred in this office, are paid by the parent company.

-Foreign Invested Partnership- For this business entity, there is no need for minimum capital requirements. Depending on agreements, two or more investors can be joined and form this type of structure. 

-Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise- Through a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, two or more foreign partners can come together and establish the company which has the same liability as domestic companies. Moreover, it provides the owner with autonomous control and ownership. 

How to Get Started In China

As lucrative as China could be, many investors from the west talk about it with fear. Some of these foreign entrants tried and failed, or struggled to find their footing in this Asian economic giant. But what would render you unable to compete and survive here? For starters, the business environment here is too unforgiving and the competition too stiff for the faint-hearted. Also, cases of language barriers, cultural differences, and bureaucratic government regulations have led to the peril of many. 

In the middle of all these, how do you defy the odds and succeed in China? Here are 5 actionable tips on how to get started in China:

Don’t just translate your content for China; ensure that everything about your business is localized for China. 

It is important to understand and comply with all business regulations in China. The hiring process can be tricky to a new entrant, which necessitates the services of a Chinese recruitment agency. Such an agency will help you with all employment laws, privileges, and remuneration. 

Ensure that you understand and respect the cultural differences that exist between the west and the east. 

Never underestimate the power of customer opinion in China. Let the customer tell what their experience with your product is, respect their opinion, learn from your mistakes, and ensure that you find lasting solutions to all their concerns. 

As much as possible, try to work with a local partner in order to benefit from the many favors local entrepreneurs get from the government.

texas cities grow businesses with shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

Meet the Elite: Say Howdy to the Texas Elite Cities for Business

They say everything is bigger in Texas: the horizon, the hearts and even the salsa bowls! But it’s Texas’ business climate that has really caught the eye of industry leaders and site selectors around the globe.

It has been said that if Texas were a country, its economy would rank 10th in the world in GDP. The exceedingly business-friendly, right-to-work state also boasts top-10 rankings in job growth, business friendly regulations and smart, effective litigation reform. Maybe that’s why so many rankings find Texas No. 1 for Best Business Climate in America.

But while you can pretty much drop a pin anywhere on a map of the Lone Star State and find a city or town with everything your business needs to succeed, here in Texas there are an elite few that go above and beyond the rest when it comes to attracting, welcoming and retaining businesses. They’re called the Texas Elite, and these communities and business parks stand above the rest in terms of incentives, workforce, overhead, infrastructure, quality of life and cost of living. These communities should serve as a starting point when filtering through your choices of communities you want on your shortlist. Get ready to meet the elite!


Rumored to be named for Texas Revolutionary War hero James Bowie, the north Texas town of Bowie is just 25 miles from the Oklahoma border. It is home to the World’s Largest Bowie Knife–a more than 14-foot-long steel tribute to the knife made famous by James Bowie in the Sandbar Duel. A statue that rests in Bowie’s Pelham Park has become a popular destination for tourists and residents.

Aside from its giant cutlery, the small city of just 5,700 is well known for its manufacturing workforce, with such businesses as Bowie Industries, WL Plastics, Energy Services Co. and Brindle Products.

Home to Bowie Municipal Airport, the city is just 74 miles from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). The city is also served by two active rail lines: Union Pacific and BNSF. Bowie is easily accessed via highways 287 and 81 and is less than an hour’s drive to Interstate 35 that runs from Kansas to Mexico.

In 2000, the city of Bowie and the Bowie Economic Development Corp. (BEDC) worked with local businesses, government and educators to help develop a 16,000-square-foot, $2.196 million North Central Texas College branch, to help train residents in a variety of skilled trades. An 8,750-square-foot vocational expansion is under way and scheduled to open in 2018. The new center will help train Bowie residents in HVAC, machine welding and oil and gas production.

With its lower-than-average cost of living and housing, the city of Bowie offers your business a high-quality workforce for a minimal investment. And you won’t have to go it alone, either, because in addition to their support, the BEDC offers new and relocating businesses a wealth of incentive opportunities, from 380 agreements to freeport exemptions, rural business enterprise grants (RBEGs), fee waivers and fast-track permitting.


Seated about halfway between Austin and Houston, Brenham offers upscale amenities at a fraction of the cost of their big-city neighbors. From arts and dining to Brenham’s breathtaking bluebonnet viewing and numerous winery offerings along the Washington County Wine Trail, the scenic town has a little something for everyone.

In addition to its notoriety as the heart of the bluebonnet region of central Texas, Brenham is known for something else blue: Blue Bell Creameries, the iconic Texas ice cream brand that was founded in 1907. What started as a means to use excess cream now is a $680 million enterprise with a product line of more than 250 frozen treats.

Thanks to Blue Bell’s presence in Brenham, the city has a solid food manufacturing workforce. Other major employers in the city are global mattress brand Tempur Sealy International, precision machining company MIC Group (which supports industries from defense to energy and aerospace) and steel pole structure manufacturer Valmont Industries.

For businesses looking to relocate to Brenham, the city of just under 17,000 has openings at the Class-A business park Brenham Business Center as well as the 96-acre Southwest Business Park, which is conveniently located off U.S. Highway 290.

Brenham-area workers and students can receive a top quality education at several area schools, including the A.W. Hodde Jr. Technical Education Center and the Blinn College Workforce Education Program. Both educational facilities offer specialties in such areas as healthcare, HVAC, machining, CDA and many industry-required courses, including forklift certification, CMA refresher courses and OSHA training.

The Brenham Economic Development Foundation is eager to work with new and expanding businesses to coordinate site selection trips, assist with incentive applications and provide prospective businesses with demographic data as needed, all at no cost and no obligation.


With just under 10,000 residents, Brownfield may be small in population but what it lacks in people, it makes up for in infrastructure options. Just ask a company like Halliburton Energy Services, one of Brownfield’s most prominent businesses.

With Halliburton, you’d think they’d want to be closer to the Permian Basin,” says David Partlow, director of the Brownfield Industrial Development Corp. (BIDC). “But their site locators determined that we were a better place to relocate to because of the infrastructure.”

According to Partlow, the same thing happened when Sanders AG was searching for a site to house its agricultural chemicals.

Sanders came here for the rail access. They use Brownfield rail as their distribution center, so all of their chemicals come into Brownfield and then get distributed to their local branches from here.”

In addition to rail, Brownfield also has unprecedented highway access for a small town.

We actually have five U.S. highways and two of those are four-lane highways,” says Partlow. “Unlike most small towns nearby, our roads actually lead to markets. We are really situated for companies to take advantage of our infrastructure.”

According to Partlow, companies who do business in Brownfield also benefit from a cheaper, small-town location, while still having an easy reach to markets in eastern New Mexico and the Central South Plains.

We are in a location in a rural community that is less expensive, but basically a suburb of Lubbock,” says Partlow.

Brownfield is home to two industrial parks, and the BIDC can customize incentives to fit whatever options your business needs.

Every town has incentives, but what we do is ask what you want; what would be best for your business? Do you need incentives for job creation? We can do that!”


Located 15 miles northeast of San Antonio, Converse is home to just over 18,000 people. Though the small city may not be a household name, it was instrumental in the Apollo 11 spaceflight mission in 1969 and played a major role in the modern space medicine and space biology programs.

Today, Converse is known for its construction and materials markets. It is home to such major employers as Ingram Readymix, Meadow Burke and Featherlite Building Products, but the city also has a workforce that is skilled in everything from information technology to manufacturing, biomedical and healthcare.

Converse offers a wide variety of incentive options for new or expanding businesses, including real estate infrastructure investments, Freeport Tax Exemptions and capital investment reimbursement grants. The city also has foreign trade zone designations for businesses importing or exporting goods out of the country.

Boasting lower-than-average costs of living and especially housing, Converse has a small-town feel while being just a short drive to the big city (San Antonio).

Located under seven miles to both Interstates 10 and 35, Converse is also under 250 miles from all major Texas seaports and under 300 miles from four international airports, the closest being San Antonio International Airport, which is just 12 miles away.

Kate Silvas, executive director of the Converse Economic Development Corp., says that in addition to a highly skilled workforce and central location, what makes Converse unique is the city’s desire to see businesses succeed.

What businesses recognize about Converse is this:we have a can-do attitude,” she says. “We work aggressively to remove obstacles to make things happen here. One example is our building permit turn-around time is 30 days or less. We know that time is money and we do our best not to waste it.”


Are you looking for a business site in an “Affordable Small Town Where You Would Actually Want to Live?” Then look no farther than Dumas, which earned the No. 10 spot on’s 2015 rankings of the same.

Located in Northern Texas, the small town has also earned the distinction of being the No. 6 micropolitan economy in Texas, the 60th best economy in America and the winner of the Texas Workforce Excellence Award for the Best Workforce Development Project in the state. For businesses reliant on rail transportation, Dumas is home to the largest rail car park in North America. The city is even home to the world’s largest dairy and the world’s most-automated beef processing plant.

So what makes doing business in Dumas so unique? It comes down to the people. The small town’s residents are known for their strong work ethic and willingness to get the job done no matter what.

What Dumas lacks in quantity, we more than make up for in quality,” explains Mike Running, executive director of the Dumas Economic Development Corp. (DEDC). “Our workforce has amazing work ethic, our cost of living is low, our access to markets is great and business support, incentives and minimal business restrictions will increase profits.”

As strong as the Dumas workforce is, the DEDC is equally as dedicated to helping new and expanding businesses come to town.

Dumas is unique in that we will not only pay for a business to visit us and make sure our community is the right fit, but we will also help with a gradual, cost effective relocation and expansion program,” says Running.

We are a ‘can-do’ community. We are hands on and support our businesses from beginning to end. If we do not have the answer, we will create one—but we never say no.”


With a population of just 16,800, Gainesville has earned a name for itself—as well as a title courtesy of Rand McNally/USA Today: “Most Patriotic Small Town in America.” Each year the North Texas town that is just six miles from the Oklahoma border invites new and past Medal of Honor recipients to the town to speak to high school and middle school students, followed by a parade and banquet in their honor. The city even plants a tree for each honoree along its Medal of Honor Walking Trail.

Many honorees come back and visit the people in the community and check on their tree,” says Arleene Loyd, executive director of the Gainesville Economic Development Corp. “Some deep friendships have been developed over the years.”

As dedicated as Gainesville is to U.S. military veterans, the city is equally devoted to the many businesses that call the small town home. The city recently opened the Gateway Industrial Park, which is situated off Interstate 35 and has many shovel-ready sites available for new or expanding businesses. Gainesville has also developed plenty of new housing to accommodate employees, including a 240-unit apartment complex and a new, farm-themed “agrihood” housing community that is currently under way.

Due to its adjacency to an Interstate, Gainesville is a prime location for hotels, retail and dining. Just six miles from the Winstar Casino—and not far from the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers stadiums—Gainesville is becoming a destination of its own.

As for labor, 22 percent of Gainesville’s workforce is skilled in manufacturing. Gainesville is already home to world renown businesses such as Zodiac Seats, the largest commercial manufacturer of long-haul airline seats, and Molded Fiber Glass Companies, a manufacturer of blades for wind turbines and truck body parts.

You create wealth when you bring a manufacturer to your community,” says Loyd. “Here in Gainesville, there’s not a corner where dirt’s not turning.”


Just an hour’s drive from Austin and 90 minutes from Houston, Giddings is a small town with the diversity of a big city.

We have an interesting mix of entrepreneurs here from all over the world, who have been exposed to different industries and cultures,” explains Tonya Britton, executive director of the Giddings Economic Development Corp. “For a small town of 5,000, we have a lot of diversity within our labor force.”

But don’t let Giddings’ small size fool you. The town may not have many residents, but it still has access to a vast labor pool.

Our location is at the heart of Central Texas,” Britton notes. “We have 110,000 people within 30 miles of our city, as well as schools, colleges and universities nearby.”

Another benefit to living and working in Giddings is that it draws water from the Edward Aquifer instead of from a reservoir.

“We have no restrictions to water access,” Britton says, “so if your business depends on a constant supply of water, Giddings has that.”

For businesses that are hesitant to move to the southern part of Texas following the inclement weather of the past year, Giddings offers a strategic advantage there, too.

We are on high ground—some of the highest ground between Austin and Houston, so we have access to the port without being vulnerable from a weather standpoint,” Britton explains.

The city currently owns a 150-acre, shovel-ready site and is hoping to attract everything from call centers to warehouse and distribution centers, logistics companies and food processing and manufacturing plants.

Giddings has a highly technically skilled workforce, and we want business,” Britton says. “We’re very business friendly. Half the battle is being somewhere that actually wants diversity.”


If you ever find yourself driving along Highway 69 North into the small, east Texas city of Jacksonville, you’ll probably see a sign that reads “Home of the World’s Largest Salsa Bowl.” That’s because the city with a population of 14,544 holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest bowl of salsa, prepared back in 2010 during the city’s annual Tomato Fest.

Best known for its tomato crops, Jacksonville once held the title of “Tomato Capital of the World,” but today it is known for much more. Namely, according to Sherri McDonald of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corp., the small town is regarded for “the people.”

Our strong, skilled workforce is comprised of residents who embody a fervent work ethic while cherishing our rich heritage and honoring our traditions,” says McDonald. “You’ll find a sense of pride and ownership in our community unique to any other town I’ve ever encountered.”

That pride shines through in everyone from the caring and dedicated healthcare workers at Cardinal Health to the hardworking warehouse employees at the nearly 500,000-square-foot Stage Stores distribution center, and even among the skilled manufacturing workforce at Jacksonville’s many thriving injection molding plants.

Despite its small-town feel, the close-knit agricultural community is well connected to the rest of Texas. Seated at the intersection of Highways 69, 79 and State Highway 175, Jacksonville is about two hours from Dallas and DFW. For businesses that utilize rail transport, the city is also served by the Union Pacific Railroad.

But the city isn’t just a great place to work, according to McDonald: “Jacksonville is an excellent place to raise a family. Among many other amenities, we offer highly awarded schools, a private junior college, ATV parks, zip lining, a unique 30-mile scenic lookout park and the best kept secret in the state, Lake Jacksonville.”


Incorporated in 1831, the city of Liberty is the third-oldest city in Texas. Located halfway between Houston and Beaumont via Highways 90 and 10, Liberty’s central location shares all the connections of its larger neighbors. George Bush International Airport (IAB) is an hour’s drive away, and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and the Port of Houston are just 45 minutes away, but Liberty boasts much less traffic and cost-of-living expenses than most neighboring communities.

Liberty’s largest employer, Boomerang Tube, employs 500 people. Boomerang supplies tubing to the oil industry, and many of Liberty’s other businesses are oil and gas related as well. With a highly skilled oil-and-gas adjacent workforce, Liberty workers are prepared to work in many facets of the oil and gas industry.

The town is also hoping to attract big-box retail businesses such as home improvement, sporting goods and automotive supply stores.

In addition to skilled workers, Liberty has many other qualities desirable to new or expanding businesses. The city is included in a foreign trade zone (FTZ No. 171) and, according to City Manager Gary Broz, Liberty can easily establish an FTZ within the city upon request. Liberty also handles all its own utilities, and Broz notes that it is the only city east of Houston with a Freeport Tax Exemption.

Liberty also has many educational opportunities for workforce training. “We have an arm of Baytown’s Lee College right here in Liberty,” Broz notes. “They teach everything from welding to electrical and mechanical engineering. And if your business needs employees trained with a specific skill set, Lee College is happy to help.

If someone needs a program developed, Lee College will work with them. They can do the training right there.”

As it turns out, Liberty has a long history of being an excellent site for businesses. According to Broz, the famed war hero-turned-politician Sam Houston once had a law office in Liberty.


With a population just short of 7,500, Mexia (pronounced muh-HAY-uh) offers a prime location with a high quality of life and low cost of living. Situated between Interstates 45, 35 and U.S. Highway 84, Mexia is in the heart of the “Texas Triangle,” one of 11 “megaregions” in America, which in this instance includes Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. Mexia is just three hours from the Port of Houston and is so well-connected you can reach 93 percent of the U.S. population within 48 hours via a tractor trailer.

Our location really does lend itself well to the DFW Metroplex,” says Susan Cates, executive director of the Mexia Economic Development Corp. “As DFW continues to sprawl, Mexia becomes increasingly attractive. The draw is really the accessibility of getting to any of the major cities within three hours.”

As for businesses already thriving in Mexia, local branches for Carry-On Trailer Corp., Martin Marietta and agricultural-adjacent manufacturing companies such as Kioti Tractor, Swarco Manufacturing and Rogers Manufacturing call the tiny town home.

According to Cates, Mexia’s target industry is distribution

We do have the workforce capacity for manufacturing and distribution, because Mexia is part of a 40-mile labor-shed,” she explains. “We’re drawing employees from as far away as Waco, Fairfield and Buffalo. That allows us to fill a large variety of jobs.”


With a population of just over 18,000, the eastern Texas city of Palestine (pronounced Pala-STEEN) values the past as much as it does the present. With a beautiful historic downtown, the city is home to 1,800 historic markers—the second most in the state outside of Galveston. But don’t let Palestine’s nod to history fool you: The city is also surprisingly modern and even has its very own NASA balloon base, the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, which launches weather balloons for research purposes.

Palestine also has its hand in the aerospace manufacturing arena, with Aerospace Fasteners headquartered right in town. You may not know this business by name, but chances are that if you’ve flown on an airplane, it had an Aerospace Fastener product on it. That’s because at any given time, 98 percent of all planes in the air have at least one Aerospace Fastener on them.

The city has a strong logistics presence, with not one but two Walmart distribution centers in town, as well as a Ben E. Keith Beverage distribution center. The Results Co. recently opened a 585-workstation capacity call center in Palestine, and the city is home to a 1,376-employee processing plant for Sanderson Farms, an all-natural chicken brand sold throughout the Southeast.

Palestine also boasts an unbeatable location.

“Logistically, you can enjoy all the major markets—Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and Shreveport—all without dealing with traffic,” explains Palestine Economic Development Corp. Director Tom Manskey.

As for what really makes Palestine special, Manskey offers two word: the people.

“We have a very loyal and dedicated, hardworking workforce, which we’re working to increase all the time,” says Manskey. “We also have great quality of life and excellent educational opportunities.”


For businesses seeking a site not far from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex with all the conveniences of a metropolitan location but with all the charm of a small town, Rockwall is the place to be.

This small, lakeside city has a population of just under 44,000, but it continues to grow in both residential and business presence. In fact, Rockwall has been called “The Best U.S. City for Job Growth,” by CNN Money and the “Fastest Growing City in Texas” in the 2010 United States Census.

Conveniently located along Interstate 30, the city is just a 30-minute drive to Dallas and an hour’s drive to Fort Worth. Situated along the eastern shore of the breathtaking Lake Ray Hubbard, Rockwall is also home to the popular destination Rockwall Harbor, a thriving waterfront entertainment district.

The city currently has vacancies in its very own Rockwall Technology Park, which already hosts such businesses as L-3 Technologies, Bimbo Bakeries USA and Pratt Industries. Outside of the park, companies like SPR Packaging, Whitmore Manufacturing and Channell Commercial call Rockwall home.

The city offers incentives and grants to new and expanding businesses as well as unsurpassed quality of life at an affordable price for employees of those businesses.

One of the best things about Rockwall is that its far enough from the big cities but close enough to easily get to them when needed,” says Shara Fleming, executive assistant with the Rockwall Economic Development Corp. “Rockwall EDC is actively recruiting businesses, and businesses are growing and prospering here.”


The TexAmericas Center is a 12,000-acre, 3-million-square-foot industrial park in Texarkana that is among the largest in the United States. It is on the former grounds of the Red River Army Depot and the Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant.

Though the TexAmericas Center is no longer used as a military base, the niche there remains ammunition and energetics, according to Marketing Assistant Ashley Byrd.

We still have the bunkers, and there are businesses here that use them for ammunition and energetics, like Expal USA,” says Byrd. “So we’re a unique find for those kinds of businesses.”

The TexAmericas Center can streamline many of the processes that might slow expansion in another location.

We are a municipality that functions as a real estate development,” explains Byrd. “So we are able to do our own zoning and permit processing.”

Byrd says it’s that municipality-as-a-real-estate-development feature that enables TexAmericas to provide resident businesses with major savings on overhead, too.

“We have the fifth-lowest cost electricity in the United States, and the lowest tax rates available in Texas,” she informs. “We also don’t charge a city tax, because we aren’t affiliated with the city.”

Currently, the TexAmericas Center employs about 1,200 workers throughout its numerous businesses, as well as a staff of 10 employees to help operate the industrial park itself. But TexAmericas also has access to a 400,000-person workforce within a 60-mile radius.

As for what the TexAmericas Center “can do” for your business?

“We have a can-do attitude, and we’re willing to go extra mile for you,” says Byrd. “We will apply for grants for infrastructure for you, or do whatever we can to help. We go the extra mile to get businesses here.”


Just north of Austin sits a county with more than 545,000 residents. It spans all or parts of 16 cities and towns, including part of Austin itself. Williamson County is, according to Ben White, vice president of the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership, “One of the youngest, safest, most-educated and healthiest counties in the United States.”

Known for its highly educated workforce, Williamson County is home to numerous colleges and universities, including Southwestern University, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas State University at Round Rock and Austin Community College.

Williamson County’s presence as a center of education lends well to its enormous technology presence. The county is home to such tech giants as Emerson Process Management and Dell, as well as bioscience firms, including Texas Life Sciences. But Williamson County isn’t all technology, either.

Known historically for its cotton ginning industry, Williamson County city Taylor, Texas, is still a major cotton-producing city. Many cities within the county are well known for cattle ranching operations.

Other industries within Williamson County include education, manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, construction, real estate and health care.

For businesses reliant on infrastructure access, Williamson County is served by both Interstate 35 and tollways such as 183/183A. The county boasts regional and municipal airports, and it is less than an hour’s drive from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).

We are centrally located in the Central Time Zone, and we’re on the trade corridor,” notes White.

Other businesses well-suited to Williamson County’s workforce include back offices and corporate headquarters, but ultimately any business looking to relocate would be a great match for the county, to hear White tell it.

If a business wants to relocate into a stable political and business community that is fast growing and forward thinking,” he says, “Williamson County is that place.”

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