How to Project Your Purpose

Guest blog post by Speaker and Author, Bobby Albert. This post was originally published on July 12, 2016 on http://www.bobbyalbert.com. 

logo-1I have written quite a bit about our purpose (Why you exist?) and our vision (Where do you want to be?). As leaders, once we understand why our purpose and our vision are so important, the next logical step is to spread the word.

My pulse quickens and I can feel the excitement build within me when I think about a leader effectively communicating their purpose and vision to their team! And even though it can be challenging, the rewards are worth it! Let me share how we did it at my moving and storage company.

Operation QIC

On February 12, 1992, we introduced our first half-a-day, company-wide meeting called Operation QIC (pronounced “quick” for Quality is Contagious).

Because that first meeting was so successful, we continued to have an annual post-peak-season, half-day, company-wide QIC-Day (named after the first meeting).

The Purpose

The purpose of a QIC-Day was to emphasize a yearly theme. And in October 2001, I introduced WOW! to our people so we all would clearly understand…

WWhy we exist? (our purpose)

O – (has no meaning)

WWhere do we want to be? (our vision)

Years prior to our WOW! QIC-Day, our people had already heard me speak about our purpose (Customers For Life) and our vision (Revolutionizing the Way People Move).

The WOW! QIC-Day was that moment we codified our thinking as we more deeply discovered why we exist (our purpose) and where do we want to be (our vision).

For this blog post, I will focus on how I conveyed our purpose to our entire company.

Every leader can effectively communicate and project their purpose by taking three simple steps

Step 1:  Understand the Method
I have found that interactive group activities are the best way to help folks dive deeper into any topic. So, we intentionally planned such activities for this important day. As our employees arrived for our WOW! QICDay, we asked them to sit at pre-assigned table groups of no more than eight people per table to…

  • Encourage interaction and discussion
  • Enjoy the games we were about to compete in

Fun Games

Each game played was designed for our people to…

  • Have fun
  • Learn to work as a team
  • Discover practical applications

Game # 1 – To kick off the meeting, we used an “ice breaker” game for our people to get up from their chair and move across the room to ask questions given to them to learn something personal about someone they would not have known before.

Game # 2 – I’m sure you’ve heard of Monopoly.  It’s the world’s favorite family board game. Well, we played a similar game.

To give emphasis to our QIC-Day and since we were in the moving and storage business, we called our custom made board game Moveopoly! (I still have the original custom game board template we made.)

Step 2. Clarify the Message

At our WOW! QIC-Day, we divided our agenda into two parts:

  • Our Purpose
  • Our Vision

For now, let’s look at how I rolled out and communicated our purpose.

Our Purpose

In my company at the end of the day, we want to accomplish only two things:

  • Delight Customers, and
  • Increase Operating Profits

I later called these our super–objectives, because they became the two high-level, over-arching objectives for our business. And they were so simple that everyone could easily understand and remember them.

We knew we had delighted the customer when we gave them an experience that exceeded their expectations.

And we actually had measurable performance goals related to how well we delighted the customer.

Insight: When you delight your customers, increased operating profits will follow.

As a by-product of delighting the customers, we achieved our purpose, Customers For Life. That WOW! QIC-Day, I also shared with our people our three priorities for why we exist:

  • Grow business in existing markets
  • Expand business into compatible niche markets
  • Develop and sustain long-term customer relationships

Afterwards, we had open discussions about what these three priorities looked like specifically for our business.

Step 3. Amplify the Awareness

During the meeting, we used two questions to stimulate thinking and discussion about our purpose (Why we exist):

  • Can you identify the things that delight (not just satisfy) our customers and achieve our purposeCustomers For Life? (positive thoughts)
  • Can you identify the things that turn customers off? (negative thoughts)

I used the following process to engage our people to participate in the facilitation exercise about our purpose:

  • I introduced the first of the purpose-related questions from above and asked our people to discuss at their table possible answers to that question.
  • Next, each table used their flip chart to record their ideas and answers in response to the first question.
  • Then, one-by-one, each table was asked to share their best idea for that question with the entire group.

Then we repeated the process for the second question. Finally, we all played the Moveopoly board game about our purpose. Each table created their own game cards based on the answers shared as part of the previous exercise. Cards were made using 10 positive thoughts and 10 negative thoughts that our people gave during the facilitation exercise.

Boy, did our people have lots of fun playing Moveopoly and competing against the other table teams for special prizes.

But most of all while they were having “a ball of fun” and using the positive cards and negative cards containing their own thoughts, it completely reinforced how they were going to achieve Customers For Life – our purpose.

In my next blog post, I will talk about the second half of our WOW! QIC-day agenda – and describe how we introduced and reinforced our vision – Where do we want to be?

Do you know why you exist as a person and as an organization? How could you use a similar game-based discovery approach with your people to deeply communicate your message to them?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:bobbyalbert

Bobby Albert is a writer and speaker who builds on themes of leadership in his new book, P
rincipled Profits, Outward Success is an Inside Job that is launching March 2017. Bobby writes and speaks regularly about values-driven leadership and workplace culture. To learn more, visit BobbyAlbert.com.

 

 

Why You Should GO TEXAN: A Look at the TXDOA Texas Brand Program

Guest Blog Post by Michelle Bobo from the Texas Department of Agriculture

What is it?

GoTexanGO TEXAN is a widely recognized brand. It represents a diverse collection of people, products and services that are genuinely Texan. GO TEXAN includes: Goods (products from soaps, spices, jewelry, apparel, houseware, and hunting gear), foods (from cheese and meat to cake and candy), restaurants (food trucks to fine dining), beverages (water, tea and cola to beer, wine and spirits), communities (from rural towns to Certified Retirement Communities and Chambers of Commerce) and farmers and ranchers (from producers of fruits, vegetables, flowers, nurseries, livestock and seafood, along with trade associations and farmers markets). GO TEXAN represents Texas agri-business on state, national and international levels by building recognition for the GO TEXAN mark and helping consumers find Texas products.

There’s no denying Lone Star pride! GO TEXAN, with its signature mark in the shape of Texas, celebrates, promotes and supports the business savvy and plainspoken grit Texas agriculture is known for throughout the world. Whether it’s grown, sewn or served up on a plate, more than 26 million Texans shop, travel and dine out in support of Texas business and agriculture, looking for the GO TEXAN mark to light the way.

Why GO TEXAN?

Reap the benefits of joining a movement as big and bold as the State of Texas. Consumers make buying decisions based on the prestige of GO TEXAN, a desire to support the Texas economy and the value received from buying local! Research shows Texas consumers want to buy Texas products and support their state. In other words, GO TEXAN helps your bottom line.

Benefits of GO TEXAN Membership

  • Use of the GO TEXAN mark: The GO TEXAN mark is at the heart of the GO TEXAN campaign so put the Branding Power of GO TEXAN to Work for You! When your company decides to join GO TEXAN, you will receive use of the GO TEXAN mark, one of your most powerful marketing tools. the GO TEXAN mark – a glowing brand in the shape of Texas – provides a branding boost that helps shoppers identify your products at a glance. All of TDA’s GO TEXAN promotional materials, print advertisements and media campaigns promote the program’s awareness and remind buyers that when they want to experience what Texas has to offer they should look for the GO TEXAN mark. Using the GO TEXAN mark on your own company’s labels, brochures, website and other marketing materials puts the power of the state’s strongest agricultural marketing campaign to work for you. The GO TEXAN mark can be used on product packaging and promotional materials, including brochures, websites, flyers, point-of-purchase items, catalogs, advertisements, etc., for any product that qualifies for membership under the GO TEXAN eligibility rules.
  • Publications: Members receive the GO TEXAN Round-Up Info-letter monthly, a publication exclusively created for current GO TEXAN program participants and partners.
  • Exclusive GO TEXAN Promotional Opportunities like the State Fair of Texas: Sell your Texas products in the GO TEXAN General Store. You don’t have to be there for 24 days. The store contractor sets up and stocks the merchandise for you! Sampling dates are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • Special Deals: Special rates on publications and shipping for GO TEXAN members.

If you are still not convinced whether GO TEXAN is right for your Texas business, take a look at these highlights from our 2015 GO TEXAN member survey:

  • Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents said that their sales increased over the last year, and 44.8 percent of the respondents attributed at least a portion of the increase to their GO TEXAN membership.
  • Estimated gross sales for all GO TEXAN members totaled $950 million in the past year, up 67.58 percent from $642 million in 2014. The estimated economic impact totaled $1.7 billion.
  • Return on Investment: Every $1 spent by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) on the GO TEXAN program resulted in direct sales increases of $16.09, up from $11.24 in 2014 and $4.37 in 2010.
  • The top program feature cited by 82 percent of respondents was the use of the GO TEXAN mark. Second was their listing on the GO TEXAN website, followed by participation in trade shows and festivals, GO TEXAN social media mentions and participation in the State Fair Food and Fiber Pavilion.
  • Based on sales data reported by survey respondents, $11.2 million in direct sales increases were attributable to the GO TEXAN program. This is up from $7.2 million in 2014. These sales had an estimated economic impact of approximately $20 million.

Don’t delay, show your Texas pride today!  Businesses can join on the GO TEXAN website, http://gotexan.org/BecomeAMember.aspx.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:MichelleBobo

Michelle Bobo is a Field Representative with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).  She is based out of Bedias, Texas, which is about 45 minutes northeast of College Station.  Her main job responsibility is to promote all of TDA’s programs and services within her region of Texas, which includes 19 counties.  She graduated from Texas A&M in 1996 and graduated law school in 2000.  She practiced employment and family law in the Dallas area for approximately ten years, until she decided to pursue a different career path and moved to Bedias and began working with the Texas Department of Rural Affairs (TDRA) in July of 2010.  She worked with the Texas Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) exclusively managing infrastructure projects until the legislature in 2012 dissolved TDRA and moved the CDBG program under the umbrella of the TDA’s Trade and Business Development Division.  In December of that year, she began working in her current assignment as a marketing representative for the agency and loves her new role.  She enjoys traveling, cooking, puzzling and spending time with her three dogs.

Visit www.gotexan.org to learn more about the additional benefits of joining GO TEXAN!

 

Employing People Who Have Disabilities – A Culture of Respect and Trust

Guest Blog Post from Charlie Graham, CEO of Peak Performers

I must be getting old. I clearly remember the debates about bringing ethnic minority employees into the workforce, paying women equally to men, and even preserving the workplace wisdom provided only by older workers. Today, such debates seem as antiquated as whether women are capable of riveting airplane panels, as thousands of ‘Rosie the Riveters’ proved in World War II. Yet today a similar debate rages over whether people who have a disability can successfully hold a job. In fact, it’s the same old debate.

To properly engage in this debate, we must better understand some definitions. In the U.S., having a disability does not mean that a person uses a wheelchair, or has a developmental disability such as Down’s Syndrome, although these are popular notions. In 2009, the U.S. Congress greatly expanded the definition of a disability to give it a broad interpretation when they amended the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Today, millions more Americans fall under prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of disability by employers.

But that’s all negative gain – telling employers what they must not do. The trust and respect are gained with an understanding, usually by experience, that the old arguments against hiring minorities and women are just as inapplicable and biased as they were in 1940, 1960 and 1980. People with disabilities are a different population, but the biases, arguments and tactics are the same. And as was the case with women and minorities, most resistance is based on misinformation. For example, here are the facts behind the misinformed objections I hear most often related to hiring people with disabilities.

  1. People with disabilities are a safety and health risk. My company, Peak Performers, has been seeking out and hiring disabled people for more than 20 years and our workers’ compensation rates are no higher or lower than any other employer in temporary staffing. And, of course, under the Affordable Care Act, insurers are no longer permitted to exclude or rate-up people with pre-existing conditions.
  1. Bringing people with disabilities into my workforce will disrupt the morale and integrity of my workforce. Nope. They are already in your workforce and you just don’t know it. They’ve been hiding their condition(s) for fear that revealing that they have [fill-in-the–blank condition] will cost them and their families money, security, advancement, trust, respect and the myriad of other working conditions made available to non-disabled workers. This is no cause for alarm though. The fact that they are already there among your workforce suggests that their condition is not adversely affecting their performance, or your culture. Having a disabling condition is becoming more and more like having a nose – nearly everyone has one.
  1. People with mental or psychiatric conditions are dangerous in the workplace. Nope, unless, of course, you are prone to ignoring alarming behaviors. Some people are just plain mean. Don’t hire mean people. You can tell the difference when you talk with them. Some of the most successful, visible, popular and famous people have a diagnosis of some kind and have overcome the effects of their condition to manage whatever it is, such that it does not manage them.
  1. How can I trust them? Just do it. I can tell you from decades of experience in making that same decision that they will be no better and no worse than anyone else you hire. Everyone needs time off to fix a broken car, or to pay their last respects to Grandma. You can start to worry on the 3rd grandmother.

So, if you regard yourself as one of the enlightened employers who have readily accepted women, minorities, people of other cultures and older workers into a broad cross section of your workforce, for equal pay and for equal work, then you can gain further competitive advantage in your marketplace by consciously reaching out to people who have a “condition” in an equal manner to recruit, hire, train, employ and promote. But I caution…you too may make many new friends from among this population, just like all others to whom you have opened your employment ranks. That trust and respect goes both directions.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Graham-HeadshotCharlie Graham is the founder and CEO of Peak Performers, a nonprofit staffing agency headquartered in Austin, Texas. Over the last 20 years, Charlie has led Peak Performers to employ and transition thousands of people who have disabilities into family wage jobs in and around Central Texas, increasing opportunities for individual professional growth and economic prosperity.

 To learn more about Peak Performers, visit: www.peakperformers.org.

Guest Blog Post Coming Soon!

The Texas Business Blog is proud to welcome our very first Guest Blogger, Charlie Graham later this month. Charlie is the CEO of Peak Performers, and he will be discussing the employment of people who have disabilities–a relevant and important topic in Texas Business. His post will be up on May 18, so be sure to “tune in” for his post.

If you are a business expert in the state of Texas and you would like to be a guest blogger, please contact txbizblog@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you!

Texas Workforce Solutions (Houston-Galveston Area)

ws-logo-color-big5Texas Workforce Solutions comprises the Texas Workforce Commission, a statewide network of 28 Workforce Development Boards (Boards) for regional planning and service delivery, their contracted service providers and community partners, and the TWC unemployment benefits Tele-Centers. This network gives customers local access to workforce solutions and statewide services at numerous Workforce Solutions offices and six Tele-Centers.

This blog post is specifically about the Workforce Solutions office in the Texas Gulf Coast Area, but you can learn more about the statewide program on the Texas Workforce Commission website.

Workforce Solutions is an invaluable asset for employers in the Texas Gulf Coast area. The organization provides comprehensive human resource services for businesses and residents of the 13-counties that make up the Houston-Galveston Gulf Coast region.

Workforce Solutions helps both employers and residents. On the employer side, they help solve workforce business problems with personalized services that help employers find qualified applicants, build skills and expertise for new and current employees, and address general human resource needs. On the resident side, Workforce Solutions helps build careers with multiple community-based career offices in the area that offer placement, career counseling, and financial aid services.

Many businesses, educational institutions, civic organizations and community leaders partner with Workforce Solutions to find solutions to current and future labor needs of industries that are vital to the region’s economy. An example: when the Space Shuttle Program ended at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Workforce Solutions set up an office dedicated to helping the NASA employees who were working on that project to transition to other jobs in the region and beyond.

Workforce Solutions is part of the statewide Texas Workforce Solutions network, and they partner with the Texas Workforce Commission and other workforce boards in the largest job-matching database in the state, WorkInTexas.com.

Workforce Solutions is funded by state and federal tax-dollars. They do not charge for their services, which include basic services like recruiting, screening and referral to open positions, as well as customized services like testing for potential hires and current employees. Their experts also offer consulting services in the areas of hiring/firing, Equal Opportunity/ADA, turnover analysis, salary and benefits, unemployment insurance, job skills analysis, and staff development. Outplacement services are highly valued by area businesses, and business consultants at Workforce Solutions can also help employers find resources for training new and current employees.

Workforce Solutions also produces a treasure-trove of economic data about the Houston-Galveston area economy. This data is available online in the Employment Data section of their website. If you need more specific data, you can contact a Labor Market Analyst who can help you find what you need.

To keep up with the latest trends in employment in the area, you can subscribe to the Workforce Solutions blog, cleverly titled “BlogForce.”

For more information about Workforce Solutions, visit their excellent website, or give them a call at one of the following numbers:

For more information about CHILD CARE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE you can speak to a counselor at Workforce Solutions by calling 1-888-469- 5627 (select option 1), or visit the Career Office nearest you.

If you are a JOB SEEKER and are interested in obtaining employment services, call the toll free number: 1-888-469-JOBS (5627).

If you are an EMPLOYER and would like to post job opportunities with Workforce Solutions, call 713-688-6890.

If you are a VETERAN and are interested in obtaining employment services, call the toll free number: 1-888-469-JOBS (5627)

NOTE: Credit for the bulk of the content on this blog post goes to Workforce Solutions, http://www.wrksolutions.com. 

The Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF)

Last week Governor Rick Perry’s office announced a $3 million grant through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) to create the Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology in collaboration with the Texas Heart Institute (THI) and Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

In light of this announcement, we thought this would be an excellent time to discuss the TETF and explain how it works. NOTE: This post is largely a recap of the excellent information on the TETF website, which we urge to you read and bookmark the site if you are interested in applying for funds for an emerging technology project.

What is the TETF?

The TETF is a $200 million initiative created at the Governor’s request by the Texas Legislature in 2005. The initiative was reauthorized in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts reviews potential projects and recommends funding allocations to the governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House.

According to the press release from the Office of the Governor, the TETF has to date allocated more than $203 million in funds to 142 early stage companies, and over $216 million in grant matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities. Additionally, since the program began, more than $1.67 billion in additional investment from other non-state sources has followed on to the TETF investment, more than quadrupling the amount invested by the State through this program.

How does the program work?

ETF grants are awarded in the following three areas (click on an area heading to go to the application website):

Commercialization Awards help companies take ideas from concept to development to ready for the marketplace. Commercialization awards are granted when the State utilizes taxpayer funds to make an investment in a privately-owned entrepreneurial business that is seeking to bring a new or enhanced technology to the marketplace.

To be eligible for this award, a business must partner with one of the State’s institutions of higher education. Priority for funding is given to proposals that involve emerging scientific or technology fields that have a reasonable probability of enhancing the State’s national and global economic competitiveness.

Research Grant Matching Awards create public-private partnerships which leverage the unique strengths of universities, federal government grant programs, and industry. This program enables the State to secure additional research funds from outside the State in key technical and scientific areas that contribute to the growth of our emerging-technology economy.

Priority for funding is given to emerging-technology research and development that will have a significant impact on Texas’ future economy or may result in a major medical or scientific breakthrough. Preference is also given to research activities that involve collaboration among multiple Texas institutions of higher education and private entities.

Research Superiority Acquisition Awards are for Texas higher education institutions to recruit the best research talent in the world. The goal of the program is to bring the best and brightest researchers in the world to Texas, thus enabling our academic institutions to continue to build expertise in key research areas, attract and inspire students to pursue advanced degrees in STEM areas, and provide a resource to the community by fostering innovation and commercialization.

Priority is given to proposals that involve scientific or technical fields that have a reasonable probability of enhancing the State’s national and global economic competitiveness, as well as proposals that may result in a medical or scientific breakthrough. Added consideration is also given to proposals that are interdisciplinary, are eligible for federal and other outside funding for research superiority, and are likely to create a nationally or internationally recognized locus of research superiority.

To be eligible for a Research Superiority Acquisition Award, an applicant must

  1. be a Texas public institution of higher education,
  2. commit to acquiring new research superiority talent from outside the State, and
  3. be sponsored by the institution’s leadership

Who do I work with to apply for a grant? 

Regional Centers of Innovation and Commercialization (RCICs) were established by the Legislature to support the activities for a specified region. The RCICs work with the Office of the Governor and the TETF Advisory Committee to identify, evaluate, and submit promising proposals from their respective regions to the TETF Advisory Committee. The TETF Advisory Committee makes final recommendation on awards.

The RCICs also work closely with applicants to assist them with developing TETF proposals, post-proposal debriefings, and commercialization activities. In addition, RCICs are a good resource for increasing cooperation and spurring collaboration between industrial, financial, and academic entities.

A list of RCICs can be found on the TETF website here. You can also contact the ETF staff here.

If there is a topic you would like to see covered in the future on the Texas Business Blog, please leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to consider it.

Economic Vitality in Rural Texas

LonghornThis blog is primarily about the benefits of doing business in Texas, but from time to time I like to share information about what I do in the communities where I work. This is one of those times. 

Yesterday I was fortunate to co-host a meeting with the Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in Huntsville, TX, where we talked about the concept of regional economic development. Regionalism is not a new phenomenon in economic development, but in the past few years it’s become more popular as a way of pooling resources and promoting an entire area, rather than just a single community. This meeting was targeting stakeholders in the Central East Texas Region, loosely composed of the counties along the I-45 corridor north of Houston: Montgomery, Walker, Madison, San Jacinto, Houston, Trinity, Grimes, Polk, Liberty and Leon. It was a good meeting and a good discussion, and a great example of the need and the benefit of regional organizations.

This particular region is ripe for growth in the near future, thanks to new developments in The Woodlands just south of here, and also the Eagleford Shale Play in South Texas that is spurring economic development throughout the region. Since moving to Huntsville from La Porte, I have noticed that there is no support on a regional level in this area for the economic development work that is going on at the local level in individual communities. I have been impressed with the need for some sort of regional support, similar to what I enjoyed when I worked in the Houston Bay Area, and I thought this discussion might be a good place to start. The Center for Rural Studies does a great job of providing forums for exactly this kind of discussion. They were wonderful hosts and they attracted the stakeholders who would most benefit from this discussion.

The meeting attracted several representatives from State and Federal government offices, as well as elected officials, economic developers, and active community participants from various institutions and communities in the region. Representation included the City of Navasota in Grimes County, the City of Coldspring in San Jacinto County, the City of Huntsville in Walker County (the location of SHSU), the City of Conroe in Montgomery County, the City of Madisonville in Madison County, the City of Crockett in Houston County, and the City of Livingston in Polk County.

Our guest speaker for the event was David Terrell, who I mentioned in my highlights from  the TEDC meeting this past February. David, who until recently worked with the Office of  Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann in Indiana, was recently appointed to the position of Director, Economic Development Policy at Ball State University. Mr. Terrell served on a panel in the morning session along with Bob Mitchell, President of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and Chad Burke, President of  the Economic Alliance, Houston Port Region, two organizations that made my life a lot easier when I was Economic Developer for the City of La Porte.

The Panel Discussion was a great overview of how regionalism works, why it is necessary, how it helps the individual communities within a region, and why developers and site selectors welcome the regional approach. I moderated the discussion, and our panelists did a beautiful job of addressing the various issues that often arise when discussion a regional approach to economic vitality as a opposed to a solitary community approach. (NOTE: I used the word “vitality” in a nod to Roy Spence from GSD&M in Austin, a keynote speaker from that same TEDC conference). Some of the questions we covered were as follows:

How do these projects with a regional focus help stimulate economic growth on an individual level for the communities involved? Conversely, how does community development on an individual level affect economic development for a region?

There are some communities that are satisfied with where they are economically, and some people say that they don’t want any more growth. What is your advice for those communities?

You work with developers and site selectors quite often. What do they think about regional organizations (vs. individual communities)?

A question many community stakeholders ask when faced with the option of joining a regional organization is: Why do I even need these other communities? We have enough incentives by ourselves and we don’t want to be dragged down by these other smaller communities that don’t offer what we do. Can you address that?

All of the panelists were superb, and they drove home a solid message that regionalism  (a) is beneficial for all communities involved, (b) solves problems that don’t get solved otherwise, and (c) is an approach that has proven to be effective in other areas. The question and answer session immediately following the panel discussion was lively and thoughtful, and it seemed that the communities involved were interested in continuing the discussion about how to work together and possibly form a regional organization of some kind in this area.

The afternoon session was David Terrell’s overview of the community development programs in Indiana that he discussed at the TEDC meeting. I believe it was beneficial for this particular group of stakeholders to learn about how the economic development game is played in other states, and also to see the similarities between the rural communities there and the rural communities here in Texas.

All in all I thought it was a great discussion, and one that will hopefully lead to more discussions in the future. We’ll keep you posted.