Education, water, oil, and their impact on the economy here in East Texas were the focus of the 2015 Economic Development Summit held Nov. 4, 2015, at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center.
The Summit opened with a panel discussion featuring Senator Robert Nichols and Rep. Trent Ashby answered questions about the recent hot topic of ground water.
For both politicians, balance is key to protecting water rights and providing for struggling areas across Texas. “We have to make sure we are mindful of what’s going on around us,” Ashby said. “We can’t take the approach that some had that its our way or the highway. Its relationships in the legislature. We have what we need for the long term but at the same time be respectful of their needs of water. We want to work with them on this issue. That’s a big part of being successful in this issue.”
Texas Workforce Solutions Coordinator of Employer Initiatives Aaron Demerson also spoke partnerships are to the area’s economic development. He praised the relationships between Angelina College and the area’s schools and businesses, recognizing a link between education and i a healthy, growing economy.
“The relationships that have been gathered between the community colleges and the ISDs and the business community is going to be one that continues to place Texas in a place where when our students graduate they can go on to community college, or enroll in the dual credit program, and if they want to go on to a Bachelors’ they can.”
“The community has already hired us, “said Dr. Michael Simon, President of Angelina College. “The tremendous investment in your community college is really special. Its very clear these communities value higher education, and we want to return the investment made into them.”
Revitalizing Rural East Texas was the theme on paper, and as speakers and panelists addressed the crowd, it became evident partnerships and relationships were the key to this revitalization. It’s a term speaker Carlton Schwab, President and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Council called ‘regionalism.’
“Regionalism is very commonplace in our state,” he said. “Regionalism is an expression of common sense of identity and purpose combined with the creation and implementation of institutions that creates a particular identity, and shapes collective actions.”
Dr. Ray Perryman, the keynote speaker for Economic Development Summit, rounded out the meeting with predictions of a recovery in the oil business in the near future as world demand grows.”