Lance LaCour took over as Partnership Lake Houston’s president of economic development on Nov. 1.
LaCour took on the role after serving as the president and CEO of the Katy Area Economic Development Council for more than 16 years, where he helped attract thousands of jobs to the Katy area through robust expansion and business attraction projects.
With a master’s degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi, LaCour boasts more than 30 years of economic development experience.
LaCour took over the role as the partnership’s president of economic development after Mark Mitchell stepped down from the position after four years in June to pursue a career with accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller. Shortly after, President and CEO Jenna Armstrong also announced her departure to serve as a senior public affairs specialist for Waste Management.
LaCour lives in Katy with his wife, Michelle, although they are in the process of moving closer to the Lake Houston area. The couple has two children, Alexandra and Emory.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What are some of your biggest career accomplishments?
One of the biggest accomplishments was recruiting GEICO to Katy, which was a claims adjustment center. Warren Buffett actually came for the groundbreaking. He’s a big stockholder of GEICO. I think at the top end, that [project] created 1,400 jobs.
Another big accomplishment was recruiting the University of Houston and the University of Houston-Victoria to come to Katy. That’s a project I worked on for nine years, and it was very important for us to have a major higher institution of learning in Katy.
There were some other projects, too—the Schlumberger Technology Center, which at one time had 800 employees. It was a combination of headquarters, manufacturing, research and development operations on about 50 acres of property. Also, the Rooms To Go facility, which is on the west side of Katy. [That facility] was about 1.5 million square feet.
How will you make the Lake Houston area attractive to businesses?
We have a strategic plan for [Partnership Lake] Houston, and for the economic development piece of it, we’ll continue to implement those strategies that are in place. My understanding is next year, we’ll start the process of developing a new strategic plan because our current strategic plan sunsets in 2022. This coming year, we’re going to continue to implement the strategies we have in place focusing on specific target industries—headquarters, energy services, distribution that’s related to the airport, and also bio and pharma. Generation Park is very interested in all those target industries. At the moment, we’re focusing on responding to requests for proposals and requests for information from the governor’s office and from the Greater Houston Partnership.
How has former president and CEO Jenna Armstrong affected the Partnership?
She’s done an outstanding job. She’s known throughout the state and the nation as a top chamber of commerce leader. It’s interesting. She used to say, ‘Oh, we used to follow Lance and what he was doing in economic development,’ and I’ve sort of followed the partnership over the years, too. We were kind of spying on each other from afar. She’s done a fantastic job here, been here a long time. She took the partnership to a new level, and we’re really sad to see her go. She did an outstanding job, and she’s got a tremendous track record to look back on.
What will the process look Like for finding Armstrong’s replacement?
They should have an interim CEO appointed the next week or so, and they’re currently in conversations with a consulting search firm that will help locate and engage the very best candidates from across the state. That’s the process right now. The current chair of the partnership is leading that [recruitment] at this point.
Q&A: Get to know Lance LaCour, the new president of economic development for Partnership Lake Houston
Lance LaCour took over as Partnership Lake Houston’s president of economic development on Nov. 1. (Courtesy Lance LaCour)