Tomball city leaders flew to ExxonMobil's Fairfax, Va., headquarters for a relocation fair for the more than 2,000 employees from that office potentially moving to the company's new headquarters south of The Woodlands.
The four Tomball representatives who attended the fair included Tomball Mayor Gretchen Fagan; Kelly Violette, executive director of the Tomball Economic Development Corporation; Bruce Hillegeist, president of the Tomball Chamber of Commerce; and Brandy Beyer, the chamber's vice president of operations.
"They wanted to give their employees the Houston overview to help them in their decision to move to Houston," Beyer said.
More than 250 families they talked to at the relocation fair have requested more information on the Tomball area, Beyer said.
Exxon has indicated 1,600 employees from their Fairfax office will likely make the move to the new campus.
"I told them we are 12 miles to the new Exxon campus and that was really an eye-opener to people," Hillegeist said.
Exxon sponsored various Houston area city representatives and organizations to attend the April 20-21 fair, including museums, the Texas Medical Center, Houston sports teams, various educational facilities and eight different communities. There were 43 different vendors.
"We worked really hard for those two days," Beyer said. "There were times all four of us were talking to people and there was a line behind them."
Employees were impressed with the low cost of housing in the area, Fagan said.
"Overall, the group was extremely diverse and Houston is extremely diverse," Beyer said. "It will be pretty evenly dispersed as they pick their community."
The attendees were interested in learning more about schools in the area—public, private and the Lone Star College System—and liked that the Tomball ISD school district was smaller than others in the area, Fagan said.
Employees also liked that the City of Tomball is a solidified city with a defined community, Hillegeist said.
"Our qualify of life is huge-that is the number one selling point for us," Hillegeist said. "We have outstanding education and healthcare close to home. We have a sense of community."
The Tomball representatives emphasized the 14 large events held in the community each year.
"There were a lot of people looking for that community feel," Fagan said.
Tomball city leaders offered to show them around the city when they visit.
"I think they all appreciated the Texas hospitality," Brandy said.
Exxon plans to move a total of 12,000 employees from its various office sites to its new campus along I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road in Springwoods Village.
Employees will begin moving to the new campus in phases, beginning in early 2014, the company said. Full occupancy is expected by 2015. There are currently 20 buildings under construction at the Exxon campus.