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Sunday, June 18, 2000
Last modified at 5:58 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2000
© 2000 - The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Market Lubbock in charge of financial growth


By CHRIS VAN WAGENEN
A-J Business Editor

Lubbock's economic development efforts fall on several shoulders, but are clearly led by the city-appointed board of Market Lubbock Inc.

The non-profit economic development corporation, which is now entering its fifth year, is headed by a seven-member board of directors led by C. David Sharp, the organization's chief executive officer.

Market Lubbock Inc., a non-profit economic development corporation, was created to recruit new business and industry as well as address retention and expansion efforts of existing ones.

Earlier this year, the board hired Fred Nilson as the organization's full-time director of business retention and Kenny McKay as director of business retention.

In addition to its main mission, Market Lubbock was given charge nearly two years ago to oversee the operations of the Lubbock Convention & Visitors Bureau and its $1.5 million annual budget.

Market Lubbock's finance arm is supported by a 3-cent ad valorem tax which generates about $3 million a year.

Tax support is used to fund both the organization's administration as well as provide incentive funds for new job creation.

Market Lubbock's board of directors is led by attorney Mike Field, who serves as chairman.

Other members of the board include Alan B. White, chairman and CEO of Plains Financial Corp.; Jan Ann Stinnett, president of Stinnett Enterprises Inc.; Texas Tech Chancellor John T. Montford; Calvin H. Williams, market area manager, General Motors Corp.; Delbert McDougal, chairman and CEO of McDougal Companies; and attorney Ruben Reyes.

Since its inception, Market Lubbock has been credited with creating thousands of jobs some through expansion others through the recruitment of new business and industry.

The organization's latest coup occurred in December when Southwestern Bell Wireless announced plans to relocate a wireless customer care center to the X-FAB plant off North University Avenue.

Bell officials said the plan to hire 800 workers at the plant, which is scheduled to be fully operational in July.

Other projects of note have included:

n Covergys Corp. an inbound teleservice company that promised just short of 1,000 jobs, but has since delivered more than 1,200, most of those full-time positions.

n West Teleservices Direct an oubound telemarketing firm providing employment for 250 full-time and 250 part-time employees.

n X-FAB Texas, a chip wafer foundry that took control of the former Texas Instruments plant off North University where as many as 290 jobs will be created over the next three years.

Earlier this year, retention efforts resulted in the announcement of 229 more jobs that will be created by Westex Manufacturing, TechTel Communications and Iwantacar.com.

Still other efforts have resulted in the creation of jobs at American Pump Group, United Marketing Services, Plains Cooperative Oil Mill, Frito Lay, Rehab Plus, INCODE, The MED Group, Operator Service Co., IGF Insurance and more.

Two years ago, the city, with assistance from Lubbock Power & Light opened the much-touted Lubbock Business Center, an $830,000 project at 1301 Broadway.

The 62,000-square-foot center brought together the offices of Market Lubbock Inc.; the LCVB and its arm, the Lubbock Sports Authority; the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce; and the South Plains Regional Workforce Development Board under one roof.

The purpose of the center is to provide a central clearinghouse of information for new and existing businesses from basic demographics and incentive programs to work force training and information related to tourism and convention facilities.

Working closely with Market Lubbock is the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber, like Market Lubbock, has gone through its own changes over the past few years and is now in the process of redesigning itself to address the needs of its membership well into the next millennium.

The chamber remains committed on a number of fronts, including in Austin where it's active on the legislative side working on such issues as transportation in particular the Port-to-Plains project whose goal is to connect I-27 from points north straight into Mexico.

It is also the central force behind the city's annual Business Expo, which each year brings together thousands of businesses and customers from Lubbock and the surrounding area under one roof at the Memorial Civic Center.

In addition to Market Lubbock and the chamber, the Lubbock Business Center serves as home to the 35-member South Plains Regional Workforce Development Board, which oversees programs for first-time job seekers, the unemployed and the underemployed.

The nonprofit corporation is responsible for the administration of 28 job-related programs that were returned to local control through the Texas Workforce Commission.


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