On Feb. 11, 2016, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership hosted the 2016 kick-off meeting for the Houston Region Economic Development Alliance (HREDA) at Space Center Houston (SCH). HREDA is comprised of approximately 35 economic development organizations that meet quarterly to network, share information and discuss best practices.
The attendees learned about the TARGET initiative. TARGET is the acronym for Texas Alliance for Responsible Growth, Environment & Transportation. TARGET’s Richard H. Cron and Jeff Wiley, president / CEO of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council, explained that on June 29, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized their joint Clean Water Act "waters of the United States” definition and rule.
Information provided by Cron and Wiley stated, "If the Texas specific part of the rule is permitted to stand, the economic vitality of the region will be severely damaged. While other lawsuits seek to take down the entire new rule, our legal strategy is designed to remove the weakest, most capricious, and scientifically vulnerable portion of the rule — the Texas Coastal Prairie Wetlands provision.” Cron and Wiley spoke of the impacts of the rule and the importance of the lawsuit.
Kim Morris, director of the Bay Area Houston Advanced Technology Consortium, BayTech, then gave an update on the organization’s successful cyber security training and workshops. The training is an intense 320-hour cyber security and communications curriculum provided to unemployed military veterans, displaced aerospace workers, and other unemployed.
Following Morris, keynote speaker Arturo Machuca presented on the Houston Spaceport. Machuca is the general manager of Ellington Airport and the Houston Spaceport. On June 30, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that the City of Houston had been approved as home to the United States’ 10th licensed commercial spaceport, to be located at Ellington Airport. The Houston Spaceport will be a focal point for aerospace innovation — a regional center for a cluster of aerospace activities.
At the conclusion of the meeting, BAHEP’s Dan Seal, executive director of Special Initiatives and event moderator, announced that everyone was invited to take a special VIP tour of the newly-opened Independence Plaza, arranged by Richard E. Allen, Jr., president/CEO of SCH. Independence Plaza features the shuttle replica, Independence, mounted on top of the historic and original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft. It is the world’s only shuttle mounted on an SCA and the only one allowing the public to enter both.
Mike Shields, executive director, Baytown / West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation, introduces himself to other members of the Houston Region Economic Development Alliance (HREDA).