The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce established the partnership with a mission to develop economic opportunities through business development and attraction for Fort Worth and surrounding areas, according to a chamber press release.
Allen is currently president and CEO of Texas Economic Development Corp. based in Austin. The change comes in a move to refocus efforts following several months of research and analysis conducted by the chamber's executive board.
“Getting someone the caliber of Robert Allen to spearhead the economic development efforts for Fort Worth is a tremendous boost for our city,” chamber Chair Rosa Navejar said. “There is no one in Texas that has a better perspective, better relationships and proven results than Robert. It was imperative that we hire the best and the brightest in our state to lead this effort for Fort Worth. He understands what sets Texas, and more importantly, Fort Worth, apart and what it will take for us to be competitive in the pursuit of bringing exceptional jobs to Fort Worth and the surrounding counties.”
Allen, a multi-generation Texan, has been responsible for promoting economic development, business recruitment and job creation in Texas since 2017. Previously, he served as deputy chief of staff to Gov. Greg Abbott.
“In my role with TxEDC, I have met with companies from across the country and every corner of the globe and I’ve learned what they are looking for,” Allen said. “I can confidently tell you Fort Worth holds tremendous promise for companies looking to establish or relocate their business. Having spent the better part of the past decade focused on driving economic development at a statewide level, Fort Worth must be nimble and proactive when it comes to developing reasonable, responsible growth.”
Interim chamber President Mike Berry said many cities the size of Fort Worth have chosen to separate business recruitment activities from traditional chamber functions.
“This move is essential for our city to gain a competitive edge in economic development,” Berry said. “We’ve had our successes, but there is still tremendous opportunity for us to bring growing, vibrant businesses and a diverse range of high-paying jobs to the Fort Worth area. To truly focus our efforts, we need an experienced leader with unparalleled economic development experience at local, state and national levels.”
The new entity will be funded by the business community, consisting of both existing and new chamber investors, according to the release. It will be governed by a separate board of directors composed of business and community leaders that are actively engaged in Fort Worth’s economic development. To maximize efficiency and foster collaboration, the partnership will have a shared services agreement with the chamber for administrative, legal, human resources, accounting and marketing support. In addition, the partnership and the chamber will work closely together on data sharing and branding strategy.