Today I want to introduce to you start off this, a gentleman who is the executive director of the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership. Dave Porter’s career and economic development is taking him to markets like Raleigh, Asheville, Wichita, Austin, Orlando and now back to God’s country, Williamson County. Am I right? That’s right. Dave spent over a decade. For some of you, that’s ten years as senior vice president of the Austin Chamber, where he helped lead opportunities Austin’s Regional Economic Development Initiative. Now, let me just tell you that the reason that you are seeing the enormous amount of jobs being created in Austin was because a group of people that Dave ended up being ended up leading began to start bringing jobs to the Austin region to focus on certain industries and to help existing companies be able to expand. He left and went to Florida and saw the light and he came back here and now he’s in Williamson County. So what you’re about to see and hear is what’s happening in economic development that is going to impact you in your business for the next several decades. So, Dave, come on up. Let’s give him a hand.

Good afternoon. I’m delighted to be here. I’m just going to turn around and stare out the window and talk because that’s a beautiful, beautiful scenery. This is a dynamic venue. And thank you, Regina. Elizabeth Thank you for having me. Santa Rita ranch is an incredible asset for Williamson County. I was telling Ed when I met with him six weeks ago, it won’t take long before a CEO that lives out here gets tired of driving to work, and he’ll probably end up building a building here or she. So it won’t be long before you’ll start seeing, I think, some employers moving to this area because of this great asset. As as Ed mentioned, I was with the Austin Chamber for over a decade from 2004 to the end of 2014. And laughed at that at the end of that time. Went to Florida for about eight years, just came back at the end of this last year to run the Williamson County. What’s phenomenal to me is the total flip and the economy in this central Texas. And it all started in 2020. You know, when I left Austin, the region as a whole, about 80% of all our projects were office related. Okay. And since 2020, that’s all flipped. Probably 85, 90% of all our projects are industrial manufacturing warehouse. It’s amazing to me to see that flip. And why did that flip? You know what caused that? And the summer of 2020, Tesla announced that they were building their Gigafactory in Austin.

That’s the first major automotive company that has located in central Texas. And that created a huge demand for suppliers, for the automotive industry. And then on top of that, you throw in Covid and Covid exposed supply chain issues throughout the world and the need to bring some of that back and then the rush. Began really when the federal government changed its foreign policy to bring manufacturing back. The semiconductor industry in a big way. And so all of that has created this huge demand in central Texas. The Chips Act and I’ll talk a little bit about that for semiconductor and what that’s doing here in Williamson County. One of the cool things about Williamson County now. A majority of the workers that live in Williamson County stay in Williamson County to work. Other than Travis County were the only county in the metro that now can say that. So Williamson County is becoming a center of employment. So you got Austin, Travis County, and now we got Williamson County. And there’s a big correlation. There’s a lot of similarities between. The innovative side to Austin and what’s happening in Williamson County. Here you have Apple that now has a huge presence in Williamson County. Obviously, Samsung, Dell, and we’re starting to see the growth of the technology sector creep across into Williamson County. A lot of the workforce already lives in Williamson County and they’ve lived here for a long time.

So it’s just a natural flow for the tech companies when they need to grow and expand to come this direction. We have the land, we have the a pro-business environment compared to Austin Travis County. So I think that we’re going to see some incredible things in the near future. I just returned from a trip to Korea about three weeks ago. We went the mayor of Taylor went the city manager of Taylor, the economic developer from Taylor County, Judge Bill Gravell went Commissioner Russ Boles, myself, and we took a representative from the Austin Chamber. We went to Korea to pay homage to Samsung. How many of you have been down 79 and seen the construction that’s happening? It’s phenomenal. That’s 6.5 million square feet under construction of semiconductor facility. What we experienced in Korea. Samsung has built eight semiconductor fabs in the city of Pyeongtaek, South Korea. Piontek used to look like Taylor. Just a small. It hadn’t changed. You know, that’s something that hasn’t changed. When I came back at the end of last year, Taylor, except for Samsung, really hadn’t changed. Everything else has changed but. Taylor But Piontek was very much like Taylor, and Samsung has invested in eight fabs in Piatek and it’s now a thriving city. They have 85,000 employees on that site in the eight fabs. And what we were told is that the. The facilities that they’re going to build in Taylor are going to be bigger. And square foot wise may or may not get to 85,000, but the current investment.

In that facility. If he drive down there, it’s close to 50 billion. When they announced a year and a half ago, it was going to be 17 billion. Well, because of the. That what Samsung typically does is when the markets are down in semiconductors, they invest heavily. So they’re investing more and more right now. And then we discovered and learned that over the next few years, they’re going to continue building semiconductor plants and they have plans to build a total of eight, very similar to Piatek, about $200 Million investment that they plan on making in that part of Williamson County. Now the county judge and the Commissioner Bowles, who represents that part. When they saw piatek in the eight fabs, the 85,000 people working there, they looked at each other and they said we’re going to need bigger roads, which is true. It was a really a mind blowing experience. I had been to Korea many times and the Korean economy is very much like what Japan used to be like when I first started in this economic development business a long time ago. Japan was the place to go to recruit Japanese companies. The technology, well, it’s now Korea, Korea, Seoul, Korea is probably one of the coolest cities today that I’ve been to, and I’ve been all over the world. But it is so cool to see the progress that the South Korean government has made.

There. What we also learn and this is the other staggering part, is that there’s another 150 suppliers that’s of Samsung that need to get here. Just to Texas, and they need to be in fairly close proximity within a couple hours drive. Some of them need to be closer than that. That’s a lot of companies. That’s a lot to deal with. And, you know, as I sit there and look around, Williamson County has a tremendous opportunity to capture quite a few of those projects as the suppliers come this direction. The challenge is going to be the availability of industrial sites. What we’re seeing across the county right now is, you know, Samsung is consuming everything in Taylor. We have some suppliers that are building already in Taylor. We have some suppliers already building in Round Rock and Georgetown, and that’s going to continue. But then if you come a few miles west of Taylor into Hutto. Had. I was soon to be home to the largest data center farm in one of the largest in the country. They’re going to have 4,000,000ft² of data center space. That’s sky boxes developing on 79. Five miles away from the Samsung plant. So you’ve got Samsung and everything. And Taylor come west on 79 into Hutto. You see the massive industrial sites. Sky Box will soon be breaking ground on their first data center. But a buildout that’s about a $7 Billion project at Buildout. So you got all that going on in judo.

Then you come further west into round Rock. Round rock is doing well. We got some projects currently looking at round rock, and then you continue west into Cedar Park. Cedar Park, I believe, is perfectly positioned. Whenever the office market returns to capture more of the office projects, a lot of professionals live in Cedar Park. There are median household income is around $110,000, which is the highest in Williamson County. Taylor 84,000, the lowest in the county for now. So there’s and then you come over to Leander and Leander and then Liberty Hill and even Florence. We have a major project looking at Florence and the couple billion dollars, whether we get it or not, is a different question. But the fact that we’re seeing this type of investment, these types of companies want and this the one looking at Florence isn’t manufacturing. It’s. It, but it would be a great fit for this part of Williamson County. We have challenges on this part. You come west of 35, you run into water issues. The lack of water. Cedar Park is landlocked, basically. And so they’re going to have to go up with some office product. And then Georgetown. Georgetown is literally on fire in terms of economic development. They have the most land, the most available shovel ready industrial sites. You have cell link that’s going to they do electric batteries. They’re going to have 2000 employees. That facility is about ready to open.

There’s a number of projects going out of Georgetown all the way to Gerald. Now, you know, Gerald last year just had their they opened their first Starbucks. But we have projects. We have projects that are in millions of square feet looking at down the 35 corridor towards Gerald. So, you know, the challenge, there’s a number of challenges that come with the economic success that we’ve experienced in central Texas, in Williamson County. You know, one of the quickest ways I believe that we can close the economic divide in this country and in this county and in the state is to have access to high speed Internet. More and more companies are doing virtual training. So if they’re training and somebody at home doesn’t have that connection or the speed, you know, they’re going to lose out on an opportunity. And we’re seeing broadband high speed. I’m not talking about 5 or 10. We’re talking about 25 G. And the latest technology is a glass fiber glass technology instead of the copper. But we need to start investing as a county and as as cities the to close that economic divide. And Santa Rita ranch has done a great job upgrading their Internet, thei


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