Texas Secretary of State Visits Waco,
By Mike Copeland Tribune-Herald business editor
Friday February 5, 2010
Texas Secretary of State Esperanza “Hope” Andrade said she's done so much traveling with Waco chamber staffers Sarah Roberts and Kris Collins “that I think I can recite what they're going to say.”
And they say good things about Texas , Waco and economic development potential.
Andrade visited Waco on Thursday specifically to thank the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce for its efforts in helping the state recruit industry. Roberts and Collins have become regulars on trips the state sponsors to other states, and even foreign countries, to talk up business opportunities statewide and locally.
Left Photo: Hope Andrade (center) talks with RAM Aircraft Modifications President Brian Adamik and Vice President Chuck Butler about airplane engines. Right Photo: General Council Robin Baird (left), Vice President Chuck Butler (center), and President Brian Adamik (right) with industry award presented to RAM Aircraft by Texas Sate Secretary Hope Andrade.
“I just want you to know how much we appreciate what you do,” said Andrade, who chatted with a group of chamber leaders before departing with Roberts and Collins on a tour of three local businesses: RAM Aircraft Modifications, Central Texas Iron Works, and Englander Container and Display.
Roberts said Andrade expressed particular interest in touring manufacturing plants.
“I wish I had time to visit more. They all are important, large and small, and they all create jobs. These companies are homegrown and have great stories,” Andrade said.
Chamber President Jim Vaughan said the chamber and city benefit from their relationship with Andrade and the Secretary of State's Office because they often provide leads on companies Waco may want to pursue. He said the state has access to prospects the chamber alone could not dream of courting.
Opportunities for Texas
Andrade said visiting communities that take part in the state's economic development “mission” trips has become a priority since Gov. Rick Perry appointed her secretary of state about 19 months ago. She can talk the language, she said, because she owned businesses in San Antonio for 30 years before joining the state.
Perry is running for re-election and has touted his job creation in his campaigning.
“It's easy for me to sell Texas , but having communities sell Texas is so important to the success of these trips,” Andrade said. “ Waco is one of the communities we're so proud of.”
Central Texas Iron Works Vice President Curtis Cleveland said CTIW “has been employing citizens in Waco and paying taxes to the city 100 years, and that's pretty remarkable.”
He said he was told Andrade wanted to visit CTIW because of its longevity.
The company, at 1000 Winchell Drive , employs 220 people and enjoys annual revenue of about $100 million. It has been selling steel to companies extracting oil in Alberta , Canada , “and during the last couple of years, we've been involved in power-plant projects in Arizona and Florida .”
‘Business is good'
Englander Container & Display Inc., at 701 Texas Central Parkway , opened for business in 1967. It employs 140 people between its headquarters in Waco and smaller locations in Carrollton and San Antonio .
The backbone of its business remains industrial and retail packaging. But it also creates point-of-purchase displays, industrial containers, signs and banners, including banners at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
“Business is good. The economy has been challenging, but we're seeing signs of a turnaround,” said President Hal Whitaker, who said the company was honored to receive a visit from Andrade.
Brian Adamik, co-owner of RAM Aircraft with Chuck Butler, said Andrade read a proclamation signed by Gov. Rick Perry, congratulating the company on its service to customers and the aviation industry since 1976.
“She was a very nice lady, very impressive,” said Adamik, whose company at Waco Regional Airport employs 90 people who overhaul and install piston engines on Cessna and Beech aircraft.
Story Credit: Mike Copeland Tribune-Herald Business Editor www.wacotrib.com
Video Credit: KCEN-TV Channel 6 www.CentralTexasNow.com