Growth initiative adopted during joint meeting of multiple community boards

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Released by the City of Tyler:

TYLER, TX - In an unprecedented joint meeting between the Tyler City Council and several community boards, the Tyler Industry Growth Initiative (IGI) was formally adopted as a shared vision for Tyler's strategic economic growth in the next 20 years.

Boards represented include the Tyler City Council, Smith County Commissioner's Court, Tyler Independent School District Board of Trustees, Tyler Junior College Board of Trustees, the Tyler Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.  Also represented at the meeting were members of the Leadership Roundtable, including the University of Texas – Tyler, UT Health Science Center, Texas College, East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, the Tyler Economic Development Council, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, and others.

"I don't know of another time in Tyler's history that so many of its elected boards held a joint meeting to adopt a single measure," commented Mayor Barbara Bass.  "This level of support demonstrates the need for the entire community to speak with one voice and work cooperatively for the sake of Tyler's economic future."

In early 2009, Mayor Barbara Bass and Senator Kevin Eltife brought together a group of community leaders to discuss shared issues facing the city and region.  One of the first items that was raised by this Leadership Roundtable was the need to market Tyler and to determine the industries that made the most sense for Tyler to pursue given our unique assets.

Consequently, the Leadership Roundtable began the development of the Industry Growth Initiative in mid 2009.  The report recommends 10 primary building blocks that Tyler should develop to foster an Innovation Economy and take the Tyler region into the next twenty years of economic prosperity and growth.

"Our objective with this initiative is to pinpoint the industries that make the most sense to focus resources on given Tyler's unique characteristics," said Mayor Bass.  "We can't focus solely upon traditional manufacturing for our economic vitality. We want to continue our efforts to diversify our economic base while preparing ourselves for the evolving global economy."

The 84 page report, which was commissioned and funded by members of the Leadership Roundtable, contains strategic tactics focused on achieving an Innovation Economy which brings higher paying jobs, economic growth, job creation and a higher standard of living.

"The 21st Century economy is defined by an innovative and entrepreneurial culture," said economist Paul Umbach of Tripp Umbach and Associates.  "This means that Tyler must position itself to attract an educated workforce with high-tech, entrepreneurial skills.  This does not mean that legacy industries that have made Tyler what it is should be ignored, but rather this plan provides strategies to build upon an already solid foundation."

The plan calls for the launch of a public private partnership that evolves from the Leadership Roundtable that will oversee the implementation of the strategies.

"The Leadership Roundtable is the perfect group to drive the implementation of this plan," said Senator Eltife.  "It is representative of the community with members from the healthcare sector, higher education, our public school system, business community, government and non-profits.  This is critical to our success as now is the moment when we need to speak with a unified voice and pursue a unified vision."

Other building blocks toward the Innovation Economy include strategies focused on Higher Education, Healthcare and Bio-Med, Tourism, Arts and Entertainment, 21st Century Energy, Retiree, Infrastructure, Graduate Education and 21st Century Transportation.

"Developing a broad plan for our economic future that provides strategies for a wide cross section of our community is important because we must all be working toward a common goal if we are going to remain competitive,"  added Mayor Bass.

The draft plan was completed in December and vetted with community stakeholders over the last four months.  The plan was amended based upon that feedback and the final plan was adopted today by boards representing the entire community.

The plan can be viewed at