2 min read June 2022 — In a conversation with Invest:, Dallas Regional Chamber President and CEO Dale Petroskey discussed the Dallas Region and its continued growth. “We are in the center of the bull’s-eye in this country for economic growth,” Petroskey said.
What have been your key lessons learned from the past year, and how are they shaping the priorities of the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC)?
For us, 2019 was probably the greatest economic development year that any metro area in the country ever had. We added more net new jobs than Chicago, Nashville and Austin combined. When the pandemic hit in 2020, we benefited from our economic diversity and learned just how resilient the Dallas Region is. We came back faster than any other market in terms of getting jobs back to pre-pandemic levels. Dallas-Fort Worth added 284,000 jobs between March 2019 and March 2021. To put that in perspective, Atlanta is No. 2 on the list with 107,000 jobs added over that time, and nearly every other major market is still in negative territory.
We at the DRC strive every day to make sure our young people are educated, so they can have good jobs and a good life. We work closely with our elected officials to make sure our business climate remains strong and welcoming. And we work hard to close the opportunity gap in educational and job opportunities, so the Dallas Region can reach its full potential by giving everyone here the chance to build a better life.
What makes Dallas-Fort Worth an attractive location for businesses?
Texas is seen as a very business-friendly state. For 10 straight years, Texas has won the Governor’s Cup, a nationwide competition for the state with the most annual economic development. As companies are looking to relocate, Texas will always be on the short list because of the size and resources that enable growth. Industries are attracted to the Dallas Region because of our excellent higher education and research capabilities, along with the tech talent pool. Most people don’t realize the Dallas Region is one of the hottest tech markets in the U.S. In the past 5 years, we are No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the U.S. in the number of new tech jobs added, behind only Seattle — and ahead of San Francisco. The innovation economy is booming here.
What are the most pressing needs for Dallas-Fort Worth’s infrastructure and how do you see the federal infrastructure funds being allocated?
As Texas grows, so does its infrastructure needs, and we have three of the largest infrastructure companies in the world headquartered in the Dallas Region — Jacobs, AECOM, and Fluor. Texas’ total population ranks second in the country with a little over 29 million people, and it’s also home to 30 major airports, 11 major ports, 196 major reservoirs and a national-leading 683,533 total lane miles and 12,000 miles of freight railroad. Texas is projected to receive $35.44 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), second only to California. While most of the state’s money will go toward highways, roads and bridges, other funds will be allocated for public transportation ($3.3 billion), water infrastructure ($2.9 billion), and broadband coverage ($100 million). To receive the internet funding, which is supported by grants, Texas will be required to submit a 5-year broadband plan to the National Telecommunication and Information Administration. This historic investment in our infrastructure will create millions of jobs, spur economic growth, and improve the quality of life for all people.
What other priorities does the DRC have right now?
Closing the opportunity gap between more prosperous Northern Dallas County and Southern Dallas County. Southern Dallas County’s greatest need for long-term economic growth is good jobs, and the DRC launched an online resource — the Southern Dallas County Economic Development Guide — to help drive business expansions and relocations there.
The DRC’s new tool highlights communities, real estate, employers and available talent spanning 12 cities and 486 square miles. The DRC remains committed to bring jobs closer to where people live in Southern Dallas County and sharing this website with companies will be invaluable to anyone looking to expand there.
What is your outlook for the DRC in the near term?
We are in the center of the bull’s-eye in this country for economic growth. The increase in corporate relocations has been remarkable, especially on the industrial side. Whether companies are in the early or late stages of examining a move, our pipeline is strong, and getting stronger. Companies used the time during the pandemic to reexamine their physical locations. What is the optimal location for their distribution centers? Do they need to consolidate if they’re an office space user? Very often, the Dallas Region pops up as a solution because of our diverse real estate options, from corporate campuses to biotech research centers along with a strong talent pool. The attitude of business leaders is that tomorrow will be better than today, and that optimism is one of the reasons we’ve been so successful, and why our future’s so bright.
For more information, visit: