Hutto EDC recruits 12-year industry veteran

Joey Grisham, the Hutto Economic Development Corp.'s new president and CEO, has more than 12 years of experience in development consulting. Grisham took over at the HEDC on May 28 after the position was vacated by former Executive Director Scott Martinez in January. The HEDC said Grisham was chosen for the job based on his experience and background.

"Grisham brings a wealth of information and resources to maintain and continue the city's growth," said Mario Perez, HEDC board of directors chairman. "Grisham's personality is a great fit for the community."

What is your first priority with taking on the job?

The first month is usually meeting people working with the city and county, getting to know the planning department, all the stakeholders in the economic development process. At the same time, I'll be doing my own assessment of the market, looking at what are the big retail voids, working on the rail park with Union Pacific. That's what economic development is; it's a lot of moving parts.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge on the job?

I think the biggest challenge in the community is making sure people understand where Hutto is and what we offer. And that's really one of the biggest perks of the job, to get out and market what we have to offer with the [East Williamson County] Higher Education Center, [SH] 130, fast growth [and] access to [a] workforce.

What are Hutto's biggest draws for economic development?

I think [the city has] been ahead of the game. Certainly the [EWCHEC] is one of the biggest tools I have to market, because you can tie the higher education into industry. Williamson County is one of the fastest-growing counties, and Hutto is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. I think with the growth, the land availability, the higher education center and the workforce, I think those four are the biggest assets we have right now. And then, of course, you throw leadership in there, that's always critical anywhere.

Where do you see Hutto's growth potential?

Hutto will continue to grow on the residential side, but we need commercial growth. We need [the tax burden] to be more equi-balanced with commercial. Really, that's important on two fronts. One, it keeps jobs here, and two, it prevents retail leakage. We've got to focus on commercial activity, getting more businesses in here that create jobs and property taxes, sales taxes and helps balance the tax burden.

When you look back a year from now, what do you hope to have accomplished?

The obvious thing is [filling] some of the void, [including] from a retail standpoint, working to get a grocery store and some other retail here so that people aren't having to drive outside of the market. From an industrial standpoint ... be able to have a marketable plan so we can go out and market to prospective companies. In the first year, you always meet as many brokers, Realtors [and] stakeholders [as you can] and make sure they know what you have to offer and who you are and where you're at.

Personnel file

  • Grew up in northern Mississippi
  • Married with two children, wife is a nurse practitioner
  • Has worked in economic development for more than 12 years
  • Earned a bachelor's degree in political science and business at the University of Mississippi, a master's degree in political science from the University of Memphis and a master's degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi
  • Past experience includes retail and consulting as well as work with Tupelo, Miss., and Granbury and Keller, Texas