Katy Area EDC launches 2020 strategic plan

Katy Area EDC launches 2020 strategic planThe Katy Area Economic Development Council recently unveiled its “Katy Area 2020” strategic plan, which calls for identifying and targeting new industries, marketing the area, building relationships with real estate officials and retaining and expanding local employers.

TadZo consulting firm, facilitated the development of the plan, which involved focus groups, an advisory committee and a survey for the public.

“We asked people what was important to them,” said Lance LaCour, president and CEO of the Katy Area EDC. “We asked what kind of companies we should be recruiting. People want more headquartered companies and energy services. With the oil and gas slump, we didn’t lose any of the major employers but some went down by head count 20 to 30 percent.”

Between 2010 and 2015, the KAEDC recruited more than $1.5 billion in capital investment and brought in 8,200 jobs.

“Some sectors do better than others,” LaCour said. Health care, retail and tourism historically perform well in Katy, he said.

The KAEDC also has partnered with higher education officials to bring in University of Houston and UH-Victoria campuses.

“That’s going to be really big for the area,” LaCour said. “We have an engineering focus, and we’ve been encouraging that for years. There are 8,000 students at both of those campuses.”

The KAEDC also is pushing a leadership agenda, with plans to “form partnerships for conceptualizing, designing and implementing a leadership institute,” according to the 2020 plan. The document outlines a plan for KAEDC officials to structure a public improvement district for the Grand Parkway along I-10 to Mason Road. The district would focus on “mobility planning, road maintenance, security and safety, enhancing curb appeal and strengthening impact of branding the area,” according to the document.

Not all the objectives listed in the 11-page plan, posted at www.katyedc.org, will be implemented this year, LaCour said, but the KAEDC hopes to use it as a road map going forward.

“We’ll continue blocking and tackling,” he said. “We’ll be recruiting new companies, and we’re trying to get more proactive in our marketing.”