In a panel at The Woodlands 2023 Economic Outlook Conference, the CEOs of three companies that have moved their headquarters to The Woodlands in the last year discussed the rationale behind their decisions as well as some of their goals as they grow and develop in the area.

CEOs Jaime Castle of Obagi Cosmeceuticals, Robert S. Barnswell of Centric Infrastructure Group and Deborah Wild of Cellipont Bioservices each spoke to the decision-making process in moving to The Woodlands. They said a number of economic and lifestyle factors contributed to the move.

“The Woodlands became a clear theme for us. We did quite a few trips to get a feel of the community, and it was quite positive, and it was our A-plus from the beginning,” Castle said.

Obagi Cosmeceuticals is comprised of 87% female employees, and Castle stated the majority of her employees had strong concerns about not being able to afford homes and start a family in California, where the company was previously based. Both Obagi and Cellipont's headquarters were previously located in California.

Professional services company Deloitte surveyed the employees at Obagi to get feedback on what they would view as the most favorable working environment, Castle said. Based on that survey, Deloitte presented a list of relocation options to Obagi, and The Woodlands offered many of the amenities the survey had indicated were key to employees, she said.

For Centric Infrastructure Group, the move to The Woodlands was based on a prior history as a Montgomery County-based business.

“It was unique to see the growth, which is due in large part to The Howard Hughes Corp.,” Barnswell said. “It’s one thing for a community to evolve; it’s another to grow and maintain the values at its core.”

For Barnswell, The Woodlands offered opportunities to be in proximity to its assets in the fiber-optic industry as well as provide opportunities for expansion of its assets while being able to provide housing for employees close to headquarters.

Cellipont Bioservices is one of the largest relocations in a wave of life science industries coming to the area, acquiring a 76,000-square-foot facility in The Woodlands to be converted to lab and office space. The Woodlands was particularly attractive to Wild due to its proximity to numerous medical facilities and two major airports, she said.

“We knew we wanted to be centralized, and we knew we needed to be near airports, and we have two airports within a stone’s throw, and we can get a cell therapeutic treatment to the east or west coast within 2-4 hours,” Wild said.

Wild stated the company will work with Lone Star College System and Texas A&M University in their programs to hire entry-level employees interested in the life sciences sector.