As part of its recent presentation on its 2017-2018 fiscal year budget and program of work for the Sherman City Council, the Sherman Economic Development Corp. recently reviewed its accomplishments for the current fiscal year in relation to goals set last year.
While the organization didn’t accomplish all of its goals, SEDCO President John Plotnik said working toward the organization’s goals is just as important as accomplishing them.
“We’ve kind of changed our philosophy,” Plotnik said, explaining SEDCO is no longer going after a specific type of success. “Instead, we’re saying this is what we’re going to do to reach success. So this next plan of work, we’re going to work on the quality of our effort in marketing Sherman and then look back and say, ‘This is what we planned to do and this is what our result was.’”
So while the program of work for the upcoming fiscal year doesn’t include specific monetary targets for SEDCO to hit, the review of the current year’s program did. During that review, Vice President of Business Retention & Expansion Stacey Jones explained SEDCO completed six retention and expansion projects over the last year and began six more. The completed projects included agreements with Kaiser Aluminum, GlobiTech Inc., 903 Brewers, Christmas Designers, Nature’s Source and Washington Iron Works.
“That was a total of $44.1 million in capital investment, 97 new primary jobs and $2.1 million in incentives,” Jones said of the completed projects. “Our board approved six new retention and expansion projects with a total capital investment of $11.3 million, 70 primary jobs, $785,000 in incentives. This included Cellarman’s American Pub, Emerson, Eaton, CertainTeed, Synergy Windows & Doors and GlobiTech.”
The corporation’s goal from last year was to complete three projects with a total capital investment of $25 million and the creation of 60 new jobs. Jones explained the most important part of the economic development agency’s business retention and expansion program is having an ongoing dialogue with local companies.
“This allows us to focus our efforts on providing assistance in areas they need it the most,” she said. “And to promote that communication, we conducted 80 industry visits, hosted four plant manager forums, four safety leader forums and five human resource group meetings.”
Another goal SEDCO met was to “continue workforce development program.” To that end, SEDCO highlighted its work with the Texoma Regional Consortium, which is a partnership with Workforce Solutions Texoma, the Denison Developmental Alliance, Denison Independent School District, Sherman Independent School District, Grayson College and several regional industries. The group’s goal is to develop a pipeline of middle-skills workers for advanced manufacturing and health care jobs.
While SEDCO’s goal of attracting four new primary employers that would bring 150 new jobs and a capital investment of $50 million wasn’t attained, Director of Research & Marketing Ashton Ghaemi outlined part of the plan to attract employers in the new fiscal year.
“Our most exciting and new advertising effort is that we have recently launched a radio advertising plan with CBS Dallas KRLD AM-1080,” Ghaemi said. “These radio spots will run Monday through Friday at 5:25 a.m. and 6:25 p.m. over a 26 week period and each spot leads into the ‘CEO Spotlight’ with David Johnson. These spots have been produced to directly target top-level company representatives and real estate professionals in the DFW Metroplex.”
The corporation also fell short of its goal to attract two business allies that would invest $10 million and bring 40 jobs, SEDCO was very busy with visits from site selectors, commercial brokers and real estate professionals.
“We had over 300 site visits in the last fiscal year,” Plotnik said. “Three years ago, we were lucky to have one site visit in three to four months. That tells us we need to continue to be proactive with our private and public leadership because it’s happening and we just need to control it.”
SEDCO did accomplish its goal of attracting commercial real estate investments as Thea Development LLC signed an option contract this year to develop Cassini Gateway I, a data center campus in Progress Park. SEDCO staff said the project could bring a capital investment of more than $1 billion and generate 350 construction jobs during its five year building period and 150 primary jobs.