Southlake development leader shares views

Shannon Hamons relocated from Ohio to Southlake to serve as its new director of economic development in June. He cited both the bustling business activity in Southlake and community leadership that has pushed for excellence in development as strong incentives to take up the mantle of leading the community's efforts to keep growth moving forward.

Hamons, a former journalist, has more than 14 years of experience in public economic development as well as eight years of private development work in the real estate industry. He said he has his eyes on SH 114 in Southlake as a prime target for development work that he thinks can help keep the community on the leading edge of the Metroplex.

What do you think Southlake has done well in developing the city economy up to this point?

To create a strong economy, a community has to have a strong identity. I have found that the [Southlake City Council] and administration of Southlake have excelled in creating an environment that is of the highest quality in aesthetics and service. They demand the best from themselves and our staff—and everyone is committed to delivering total quality.

Companies, retailers and service professionals know that when they make an investment in the community, that investment will be protected by the continued pursuit of the highest standards. Those standards give investors the comfort they need to bring their businesses here. Additionally, the planning for infrastructure and implementation of plans has been well-conceived and executed. Preparing the community for growth and staying ahead of the growth has been extraordinary, in my opinion.

What areas or strategies do you think could be improved upon as Southlake aims to stay competitive in the Dallas-Fort Worth/Mid-Cities area?

I have been impressed with the desire of our leadership and staff to always look for ways to improve even the best processes, programs and facilities, including the ones that continually win awards. The city employees always look to make everything better, even if only in small increments. I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find a community better than Southlake that continually reviews and evaluates everything [it does] to ensure the best service delivery. Having been here only a short time, it is difficult to say what actually needs to be improved, but I am confident if something does, we'll find out quickly and soon afterward determine how to improve upon it as a team.

You have mentioned a particular interest in the SH 114 corridor on the northern side of the community. What do you see as the most viable opportunities for development in that area?

We are revisiting some research that was completed within the last few years to assess if and how the DFW business market has shifted. If it has or is shifting, we need to understand where it may continue to go, not only relative to our greater region, but nationally and internationally.

I suspect that the SH 114 corridor will be an area of office and mixed-use development as designated, but discerning over the coming months the best market segments [for the area] for lasting sustainability will be key. If we discover there are several business clusters that fit well with the needs of our community and area, we will focus our attraction and marketing efforts accordingly.

What do you see as Southlake's best approach for retaining the business that it currently has in the community?

We will be refining our retention and expansion program that includes a business survey, structured visits to companies and retailers of all sizes, and programs to assist fledgling entrepreneurs. We want to make sure we fully understand the issues they are dealing with and which businesses may be considering expanding or contracting. If we know their issues, we may better work with them to find solutions—whether that means finding appropriately sized spaces or assisting with improved linkages with other businesses in the community or other local and state resources.