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On the Move
Region boosts infrastructure, strengthens global connections
SPONsORED BY THE CORPUs CHRIstI REGIONAL EcONOMIc DEVELOPMENt CORPORAtION | 2014
2014 EDItION VOLUME 7
EDItOR | EMILY McMACKIN CONtRIBUtING WRItERs | NAN BAUROTH, JOHN FULLeR, LAURA HILL, BILL LeWIS, JOHN McBRYDe, STePHANIe VOZZA CONtENt COORDINAtOR | JeSSICA WALKeR BOeHM StAFF WRItER | KeVIN LITWIN PROOFREADING MANAGER | RAVeN PeTTY LEAD DEsIGNER | MATT WeST SENIOR GRAPHIc DEsIGNERs | STACeY ALLIS, LAURA GALLAgHeR, KRIS SeXTON, JAKe SHOReS, VIKKI WILLIAMS GRAPHIc DEsIGNERs | JACKIe CIULLA, KACeY PASSMORe CREAtIVE TEcHNOLOGY ANALYst | BeCCA ARY LEAD PHOtOGRAPHER | FRANK ORDOÑeZ SENIOR PHOtOGRAPHERs | JeFF ADKINS, BRIAN McCORD StAFF PHOtOGRAPHERs | MICHAeL CONTI, WeNDY JO O’BARR, MICHAeL TeDeSCO cOLOR IMAGING tEcHNIcIAN | ALISON HUNTeR BUsINEss DEVELOPMENt REP | CLAY PeRRY SALEs SUPPORt PROJEct MANAGER | SARA QUINT SALEs SUPPORt COORDINAtOR | CHRISTINA MORgAN AD PRODUctION MANAGER | KATIe MIDDeNDORF AD TRAFFIc AssIstANts | KRYSTIN LeMMON, PATRICIA MOISAN WEB PROJEct MANAGER | DAVID DAY WEB DEVELOPER I | NeLS NOSeWORTHY WEB DEsIGNER II | RICHARD STeVeNS DIGItAL PROJEct MANAGER | JILL RIDeNOUR DIGItAL PRODUcts DEsIGNER | ERICA LAMPLeY
CHAIRMAN | GReg THURMAN PREsIDENt/PUBLIsHER | BOB SCHWARTZMAN EXEcUtIVE VIcE PREsIDENt | RAY LANgeN SENIOR V.P./SALEs | TODD POTTeR SENIOR V.P./CLIENt DEVELOPMENt | JeFF HeeFNeR SENIOR V.P./OPERAtIONs | CASeY HeSTeR V.P./SALEs | JAReK SWeKOSKY V.P./CONtENt OPERAtIONs | NATASHA LOReNS MEDIA TEcHNOLOGY DIREctOR | CHRISTINA CARDeN PHOtOGRAPHY DIREctOR | JeFFReY S. OTTO WEB sERVIcEs DIREctOR | ALLISON DAVIS CONtROLLER | CHRIS DUDLeY SENIOR AccOUNtANt | LISA OWeNS AccOUNts PAYABLE COORDINAtOR | MARIA McFARLAND AccOUNts REcEIVABLE COORDINAtOR | DIANA IAFRATe IT DIREctOR | DANIeL CANTReLL EXEcUtIVE SEcREtARY | KRISTY DUNCAN HUMAN REsOURcEs MANAGER | PeggY BLAKe
Coastal Bend Economic Development is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. FOR MORE INFORMAtION, cONtAct: Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation One Shoreline Plaza 800 N. Shoreline Blvd., Ste. 1300 S. Corpus Christi, Texas 78401 Phone: (361) 882-7448 • Fax (361) 882-9930 www.ccredc.com VIsIt COASTAL BEND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ONLINE At BUsINEsscLIMAtE.cOM/cORPUs-cHRIstI ©Copyright 2013 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member Member The Association of Magazine Media Custom Content Council
Member Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation
COASTAL BEND EcONOMIc DEVELOPMENt
2014 EDITION | VOLUMe 7
ON tHE cOVER The Port of Corpus Christi, located on Corpus Christi Bay, is the fifth largest port in the U.S. in total tonnage. Photo by Frank Ordoñez
6 DIScOVER 49 EcONOMIc PROFILE
PATHS TO GLORY
Area colleges and universities turn out a strong, skilled workforce
All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste. PLEAsE
FUN IN THE SUN
REcYcLE tHIs MAGAZINE
ENErGY AND TECHNOLOGY
Coastal Bend beaches, wildlife and outdoor attractions draw a growing number of tourists
Region offers adventure, affordability for residents
A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY
OIL AND GAS INDUSTrY
A POWERFUL PLAcE
Coastal Bend Region provides leading health-care options
ON THE MOVE
What’s on businessclimate.com/corpus-christi
Read more about the competitive advantages of the Coastal Bend of Texas.
On the Move
Explore workforce development and training programs offered by area educational institutions.
Infrastructure investments strengthen global connections
SPONSORED BY THE CORPUS CHRISTI REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION | 2014
Learn more about logistics and transportation infrastructure in the region.
Take the region with you with a digital edition optimized for tablet viewing.
Keep updated and informed on the latest real-time news, developments and information.
Drill down on the numbers behind the region’s powerhouse economy with a full set of statistics and data.
Learn more about the key industry sectors and top companies that make the region work.
Learn more about what’s shaping the region’s business climate.
Find out who the major players are in the region.
Photo Gallery & Videos
Our award-winning photographers show you the unique faces, spaces and places of the Coastal Bend of Texas.
Arts, culture, recreation, entertainment, education, health care and all the things that make the region an outstanding place to live.
Links to comprehensive data on available land and buildings.
Meet more innovative, fast-growth businesses finding success.
4 || COASTAL BEND
Top 10 Reasons to Live and Work in the Coastal Bend of Texas
1. Location. Corpus Christi is an important seaport and central gathering place for communities up and down the Coastal Bend Region. 2. Education. The Coastal Bend has strong higher education institutions that help meet the career needs of students and the workforce needs of the region. 3. Military Presence.
Major military installations keep the economy marching in the Coastal Bend. Naval Air Stations in Corpus Christi and Kingsville, and the Corpus Christi Army Depot bring millions of dollars into the region and support civilian jobs.
4. Energy Production.
The Coastal Bend is a major player in the energy industry, from exploration to production to innovation in new energy sources, such as wind energy. Parts of the region are in the Eagle Ford Shale, a huge deposit of oil and natural gas that extends 400 miles across South Texas.
6. Deepwater Port.
Port Corpus Christi is an economic engine for the Coastal Bend and is undergoing major expansion projects. The port’s presence is generating additional investment.
7. International Trade.
5. Population Growth.
The Coastal Bend economy is bringing more people to the region. The population increased by 20,000 from 2000 to 2008, creating continued growth in the education, recreation and health-care sectors.
Ever-increasing trade between the Coastal Bend and Mexico is resulting in sustained growth in many industries including the trucking and distribution sectors.
8. Tourism. Unspoiled beaches, wildlife and waterways thriving with marine life are a few reasons why the region is becoming an increasingly popular place for vacationers year round. 9. Health Care. The Coastal Bend is a center of health-care innovation, delivering cutting-edge treatments and top-level expertise throughout the region, and adding medical services that allow patients To City to receive high-level care close to home. 10. Workforce Development. The region
MC MUL L E N
B EE S A N PAT R I C I O
L I VE OAK JI M W ELL S
San Diego Alice
A RA NSA S
Fulton Rockport Gregory Aransas Pass San Patricio Portland
N U EC ES
KL EB ER G
C OUN T Y N A M E is aggressively working to train a 6 highly skilled workforce in order to meet the business challenges in a global economy.
B R O OKS
For more information, contact:
Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp. 800 N. Shoreline Blvd., Ste 1300 S. Corpus Christi, TX 78401 (361) 882-7448 www.ccredc.com
Discover the Coastal Bend
Oil has always been a signature part of the business landscape in the Coastal Bend of Texas. The region is home to several refineries that not only convert crude oil into fuels such as high-octane gasoline, but also produce commodity chemicals used to develop a range of products, including CDs and DVDs, carpets, hosiery, toys, tires, windows, and aircraft. Valero Energy Corp. operates refineries in Corpus Christi and Three Rivers that employ more than 1,000 people across the region. Its West Plant refinery, known as one of the most complex in the world, produces environmentally clean fuels and products such as reformulated gasoline and ultra-low-sulfur diesel. Other top refineries in the region include: Flint Hills Resources: Operates two Corpus Christi refineries that supply fuels to the San Antonio, Austin, Waco and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Recently opened an oil dock at the former Naval Station in Ingleside capable of shipping up to 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Employs about 1,000 people locally. CITGO Petroleum Corporation: Employs more than 1,000 people at its Corpus Christi refinery, which covers 890 acres and includes two plants and a storage and terminals facility. Processes 165,000 barrels of crude oil per day and has a total economic impact of more than $625 million in Corpus Christi.
6 || COASTAL BEND
Valero Energy’s Corpus Christi refinery complex
THE BUSINESS CLIMATE IS HEATING UP cOASTAL bEND
BusinessClimate.com brings you Coastal Bend in a whole new way
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FAcTS & STATS
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BY THE NUMBErS
THINGS TO DO
cAst A LINE
From deep-sea fishing in the Gulf to fly fishing along kayak trails, the Coastal Bend is a hidden gem for anglers of all kinds. The region is known for its secluded shallow bays filled with speckled trout, redfish, black drum, flounder and sheepshead, among other catches. Top fishing spots include: Rockport: The town is home to Copano Bay whose hard sand bottoms and shoals offer great fly fishing for redfish and trout.
Eagle Ford loadings at Corpus Christi surpassed
Port Aransas: Called the “Fishing Capital of Texas,” the town is known for its competitive fishing, both offshore and in waterways surrounding Mustang Island. Baffin Bay: This bay in Riviera is famous for its large speckled sea trout that often weigh between five and eight pounds. Redfish Bay: Located between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, this bay offers sport fishing in both shallow water and deep channels, and it’s popular for its catches of redfish, flounder and sea trout. Choke Canyon Reservoir: With its steep rocky banks, shallow brushy flats and creek channels, the 26,000-acre reservoir is one of the best-kept secrets for largemouth bass fishing.
barrels a day recently, thanks to the completion of pipelines and storage terminals. By 2016, production of Eagle Ford crude and condensate is expected to rise to 1.6 million barrels per day, with 1.1 million barrels passing through Port Corpus Christi’s five private liquid terminals for transport to outside refineries.
Source: “New Crudes, New Markets,” March 2013, Platts
READY tO RIDE
Since the late 19th century, saddles and other gear produced by artisans at the King Ranch have been a favorite among cowboys everywhere. Branded by the name Running W, the custom-made saddles are known throughout the Southwest for being durable, lightweight and comfortable for both the rider and the horse. The ranch began selling saddles and other leather goods after the Civil War, with the idea of designing products to withstand the harsh heat and brush of the South Texas climate. Today, Running W saddles are still handcrafted in Kingsville and sold at the King Ranch Saddle Shop, along with hunting and outdoor gear, luggage, furniture, ranch wear, and more.
Father and son fish near a pier in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
Home to two university-sponsored research centers along the Gulf of Mexico, the Coastal Bend Region is becoming a hot spot for coastal and marine science research. Part of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies explores the impact of overdrilling and overfishing in the Gulf and examines oceanic tides across the coast from Texas to Florida. The institute recently teamed up with BP to develop new tools and technology for responding to future oil spills. In Port Aransas, the University of Texas at Austin operates a Marine Science Institute that studies ocean ecosystems and is part of an international research team studying ciguatera — the toxin that causes the world’s most common cases of seafood poisoning.
A World of Opportunity
ENeRgY, INFRASTRUCTURe AND WORKFORCe ASSeTS DRAW FOReIgN FIRMS TO THe COASTAL BeND RegION
+70% +40% +31% +33%
Rise in Sales Tax Revenues for Coastal Bend Cities, 2010 to 2012
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
10 || COASTAL BEND
County Increases in Per Capita Personal Income, 2009-2011
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
he world of business is arriving at the doorstep of the Coastal Bend Region of Texas. A growing number of manufacturers and energy companies from across the globe have or will soon begin construction on major facilities in the region. Reasons firms are attracted to the Coastal Bend include its abundant, reliable sources of energy, as well as its excellent port, rail and highway connections, coastal climate, and businessfriendly political environment. The area has greatly benefited from the nearby Eagle Ford Shale discovery, an enormous drilling area for oil and gas that stretches some 400 miles through South and Central Texas. With a major deepwater port, Corpus Christi is a natural location for oil and liquefied natural gas shipments. “The economy of the Coastal Bend Region is rocking right now,” says Roland Mower, president and chief executive officer of the Corpus
Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation. “We found that when we work together, we can accomplish a lot for the benefit of the entire region.” As oil and gas production continues to rise in the Eagle Ford Shale, the area is well-positioned to tap into the boom. “One of the major benefits of this region is that we are prepared to handle this expansion,” says John LaRue, executive director of Port Corpus Christi. The best illustration of this is the port, which is the fifth largest in the U.S. in terms of total tonnage handled. Port Corpus Christi is home to a 45-foot deep ship channel, which will eventually be extended to 52 feet to handle even larger vessels. Three Class I railroads and a direct interstate connection also enhance the region’s infrastructure. “The region also has excellent educational institutions gearing up to assist new and expanding businesses with their workforce education requirements,” LaRue says.
Foreign Direct Investments Near Corpus Christi
China’s Tianjin Pipe Co., which is constructing a $1 billion steel pipe mill in Gregory, is gearing up for its first phase of production in the next few months. By 2015, the 1.6-million-square-foot plant will produce more than 500,000 metric tons of seamless steel pipe annually for use as casing by the oil and gas industry. The plant, which is expected to employ more than 800 workers, represents the largest single Chinese investment in the United States. “The support we continue to receive from the Coastal Bend Region has been incredible, and we have been greatly impressed with the collaboration in the community,” says J.J. Johnston, director of administration for TPCO America, which will operate the plant. The firm is developing a partnership with Del Mar Community College in Corpus Christi to assist in training
workers employed at the plant. Austria’s largest steelmaker, voestalpine AG, is also planning to construct a $700 million iron ore processing facility as part of Port Corpus Christi’s LaQuinta Trade Gateway project. The company viewed 17 other sites in eight countries before deciding on the location. Operations are scheduled to begin at the plant in 2016, and voestalpine expects to produce two million metric tons of iron ore per year. “We are looking forward to bringing sustainable jobs to the region,” says Matthias Pastl, director of Global Location Research for voestalpine. More than 150 workers are
expected to be employed at the plant. “The company’s goal is to build one of the most modern and environmentally-friendly plants of its kind anywhere,” says Pastl, who adds that his company is getting inquiries from other European firms wanting to know more about the Coastal Bend Region.
Coastal Bend’s Energy, Logistics Draw Manufacturers
Another foreign firm, Italy’s M&G Group, is planning to build a $1 billion plastics plant complex on the north side of the Corpus Christi ship channel at Port Corpus Christi. The company will build
two plants on the site, producing PET, plastic pellets used to make bottles and food packaging. M&G estimates that 250 permanent jobs will be created as well as 700 indirect jobs. The port’s strategic location and proximity to six nearby refineries that make chemicals used as feedstock in resin manufacturing drew the company to the Coastal Bend site. Trafigura AG, a global oil, metals and mineral company based in Switzerland, recently completed a terminal along the inner harbor of the Corpus Christi ship channel to export crude oil to other Gulf Coast markets. In addition, it is constructing a pipeline to the site.
Growing Employment Sectors
Logging, mining and construction Manufacturing and production Leisure and hospitality Trade, utilities and transportation Financial activities
Source: Texas Workforce Commission
“The support we continue to receive from the Coastal Bend Region has been incredible, and we have been greatly impressed with the collaboration in the community.”
J.J. Johnston, director of administration for TPCO America
12 || COASTAL BEND
All of these recent announcements are proof of the region’s concerted effort to diversify the Coastal Bend’s economy, Mower says. More manufacturing, medical and professional firms have also been locating in the region, he added, along with increased retail. Story by John Fuller
Decreasing Unemployment Across Region
County Incre ase
APR JUL OCT JAN APR 2012 2012 2012 2013 2013
Source: Texas Workforce Commission
A World Opportunof ity
ENERGY, INFRA STRUCTURE AND WORK FORC FOREIGN FIRMS E ASSETS DRAW TO THE BEND REGIO COASTAL N
in Per Capit a Personal
+40% +31% +33%
Rise in Sales
10 || COASTAL BEND
es for Coasta
l Bend Cities,
2010 to 2012
he world of we can accomplish business is a lot for the benefit of the arriving at the next few entire region.” the months. By As oil and gas doorstep of 2015, the 1.6-million production the -square-foo continues to Coastal Bend t plant produce more rise Shale, the area in the Eagle Ford than 500,000 will Region of Texas. metric tons A growing is well-positi of seamless number of to tap into oned steel pipe the boom. annually for manufactu use as casing rers and energy “One of the oil and gas by the companies major benefits industry. from across this region of is that we are the globe have or will The plant, which is expected prepared to handle this soon begin employ more constructi expansion, on on major ” says than 800 workers, to John LaRue, facilities represents executive director in the region. the largest Port Corpus of single Chinese investment Christi. Reasons firms The are attracted best illustration in the United States. the Coastal to of this is the port, which Bend abundant, reliableinclude its “The support is the fifth in the U.S. largest we continue sources of in terms receive from energy, as well to the Coastal tonnage handled. of total Bend Region port, rail and as its excellent has been incredible, Christi is home Port Corpus highway we have been connection and s, coastal climate, greatly ship channel, to a 45-foot deep with the collaborati impressed business-fr which will iendly political and eventually on in the be extended community environme ,” to nt. says J.J. Johnston, to handle even 52 feet director of The area has administra Three Class larger vessels. tion for TPCO America, I railroads from the nearbygreatly benefited and a direct interstate which will Eagle Ford operate the discovery, an Shale connection plant. enhance the enormous drilling also region’s area for oil The firm is and infrastruct developing ure. a partnershi some 400 miles gas that stretches p with Del “The region through South Mar Communit and Central also has excellent y College in educationa Texas. With Corpus l institution Chriti to assist a major deepwater s gearing port, Corpus up to assist in training new and expanding workers employed Christi is a natural location businesses with their workforce liquefied natural for oil and Austria’s largest at the plant. education requiremen steelmaker Voestalpin “The economy gas shipments. , ts,” LaRue e AG, is also says. of the Coastal planning to construct Bend Region a $700 million is rocking right ore processing says Roland iron now,” Foreign Mower, president Direct Port of Corpus facility as part of chief executive and Near Corpus Investments Christi Trade GatewayChristi’s LaQuinta Corpus Christi officer of the project. Economic China’s Tianjin Developme The company Pipe Co., which nt Corporatio viewed 17 other is constructin sites in eight n. found that g a $1 billion when we work “We countries before steel deciding on together, pipe mill in Gregory, the location. is gearing for its first Operations phase of production up are scheduled at the plant in to begin in 2016, and
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OIL AND GAS INDUSTrY
EAgLe FORD SHALe PRIMeS INVeSTMeNT PIPeLINe FOR COASTAL BeND RegION AND ATTRACTS INTeRNATIONAL COMPANIeS
he liquified natural gas gold rush is on in the Coastal Bend of Texas. A who’s who of oil and gas industry players are seeking to capitalize on the rich natural gas reserves in the region’s Eagle Ford Shale play by pouring money into every point along the profit potential pipeline – upstream, midstream and downstream.
“Eagle Ford is a world-class shale play,” says Andrew Ware, spokesperson for Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc. “Production of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids, such as ethane and propane, are all rising at a rapid pace. Development is further helped by hydrocarbon infrastructure in place along the Texas Gulf Coast, including refineries, processing, petrochemicals and terminaling infrastructure.”
World-Class Export Terminals
Cheniere Energy’s proposed Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project, planned for the La Quinta Channel on the northeast side of Corpus Christi Bay, would consist of three LNG trains capable of liquefying up to 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of LNG for export, plus an associated 24-mile pipeline through San Patricio County. The company’s goal is to expand market outlets for growing supplies of
14 || COASTAL BEND
Most recent figures released on the Eagle Ford Shale Play show that it had a $61 billion total economic impact on the region in 2012, generating $46 billion in revenues and supporting 116,000 jobs. The shale play ranks as the largest oil and gas development in the world based on capital expenditures. Production is projected to increase at an unprecedented rate over the next decade, fueling up to 127,000 jobs and pumping up to $89 billion in economic impact into the region by 2022. In 2012, shale development also created:
$3.3 BILLION IN SALARIES AND BENEFITS FOR WORKERS
MORE THAN $22 BILLION IN GROSS REGIONAL PRODUCT
MORE THAN $374 MILLION IN STATE REVENUES
TRIPLE-DIGIT SALES TAX REVENUE INCREASES
Source: Center for Community and Business Research at The University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development
natural gas from unconventional formations in Texas, such as the Eagle Ford Shale, as well as historically prolific conventional formations in other areas throughout the state. To help move Eagle Ford products to its customers, NuStar Energy is investing $100 to $120 million to construct a new dock in Corpus Christi. Recently, the energy firm also acquired a 38-mile natural gas pipeline from Pettus to Refugio.
Champing at the Bit
Estimates from a 2012 study on potential reserves in the Eagle Ford Shale formation that promise a decade of longevity have inspired industry leaders to increase their drilling. Chesapeake Energy Resources, which has committed 35 percent of its 2013 $6 billion capital budget to the play, is seeking to almost double its production to 92,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of 2013.
On the refining side, Flint Hills Resources hopes to invest $250 million to retrofit its West Refinery in Corpus Christi to process more Eagle Ford crude oil and reduce air emissions. The proposed retrofit is still in the permitting process, says Flint Hills Resources spokesperson Katie Stavinoha. In 2012, the company had 1,200 employees in the Coastal Bend Region, and Koch Pipeline Company, which operates its
voestalpine AG’s new plant at Port Corpus Christi will create more than 150 new jobs.
pipelines, employed an additional 11,000, resulting in $563 million in total compensation and benefits.
Midstream and Mainstream
Eagle Ford Shale’s growth potential is also spurring investment by midstream companies and manufacturers. Oil field services firm Baker
EAGLe FORD SHALe
Hughes is constructing an Eagle Ford operations center along the Highway 44 corridor near the Corpus Christi International Airport, while oil and gas logistics provider Martin Midstream is working on a proposed expansion of its 250-acre Harbor Island site. EOG Resources opened a new facility in Refugio that processes and distributes fracturing sand used in drilling operations. Coastal Bend’s rich resources are also attracting the attention of foreign firms. Austria’s largest steelmaker, voestalpine AG, is investing $700 million to build a natural gas-fired iron ore plant at Port Corpus Christi. Italybased M&G Group is spending $1 billion to build two plastics manufacturing plants along
the bay. And TPCO America, a subsidiary of Chinese manufacturer Tianjin Pipe Co., is nearing completion of a $1 billion pipe mill in Gregory. From the perspective of companies like Cheniere Energy, the Coastal Bend Region is an ideal nexus to leverage profit derived from natural energy resources in the Eagle Ford Shale as well as around the state. “The integrated nature of the Texas market — owing to a well-developed intrastate pipeline system — means that these multiple natural gas sources would be accessible to our planned export facility in Corpus Christi,” Ware says. Story by Nan Bauroth
Discover more about the Coastal Bend Region’s oil and gas industry at businessclimate.com/corpus-christi.
16 || COASTAL BEND
EAGLE FOrD IMPACT
Primed for Growth
COASTAL BeND COMMUNITIeS CAPITALIZe ON eAgLe FORD SHALe BOOM
Growth is good. The influx of jobs provided by the oil and gas boom in the Eagle Ford Shale is proving a boon for surrounding communities located throughout the Coastal Bend Region. “We’re getting upper-level executives of oil companies looking for second homes, high-end fishing charters and company retreats,” says Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Probst. “Several new businesses are popping up to service the shale industry.” The town of Alice, long known as the hub of the oil and gas industry, is another community seeing a positive impact from the Eagle Ford. “Sales tax collections have skyrocketed to record levels,” says Warren Ketteman, executive director of the Alice-Jim Wells County Economic Development Corporation. “We are so busy booming that we cannot fill all the job openings.” To help meet the need for workers, the Alice branch of Coastal Bend Community College is training people in oil and gas production. The city is also using increased revenue to build a multipurpose complex with a training and development center, natatorium, leisure pool, outdoor amphitheater, and hotel, which is expected to cost as much as $27 million. Providing housing options for newcomers is a major focus for Ketteman. The city is also attracting more retail development, he says. The Eagle Ford Consortium, an information-sharing forum for stakeholders from across the region, is helping communities develop strategies for sustaining and maximizing the boom. The goal is to show them how they can best invest and manage the new revenue stream long-term, according to consortium chairman Leodoro Martinez, who also serves as the executive director of the Middle Rio Grande Development Council in Uvalde. In addition, the consortium hosts annual conferences, enabling regional leaders to share how the Eagle Ford Shale has changed their businesses while also explaining how it will impact them in the future. Probst says residents of Rockport and Fulton are enjoying the many benefits of the Eagle Ford in a variety of ways. “Realtors are selling new homes to landowners who are benefiting from oil checks and never thought they would be able to afford that,” she says. “They feel so fortunate.” – Nan Bauroth
ENErGY AND TECHNOLOGY
A POwErFUL PLACE
COASTAL BeND RegION FINDS ReNeWABLe eNeRgY IN THe AIR AND gROUND
18 || COASTAL BEND
Bert Quintanilla, a Hydro Enviro Clean team member, uses the ReLoad method to recycle water used in the fracturing process.
nergy is in the air and underfoot in the Coastal Bend Region, literally. From wind power to natural gas to geothermal energy from the earth’s crust, the area boasts a wealth of energy-producing resources, making it a strong contender in the renewable energy market. “Corpus Christi is a good wind resource,” says Matt Tulis of E.ON Climate & Renewables. “The area has good transmission, local support from land owners and officials, and the best time-of-day wind blows.” Coastal Bend winds tend to ramp up in the afternoon, according to Tulis. “This matches up nicely to the time of day when people are using the most electricity,” he says. “The wind resource is at its peak when people demand it most.”
E.ON Climate & Renewables operates the 380-megawatt Papalote Creek Wind Farm in San Patricio County. The Papalote project sells energy to the city of San Antonio as well as to the Lower Colorado River Authority, providing power to more than 114,000 households. “We see more opportunities to develop wind farms in the area,” Tulis says. “There is still a lot of available transmission, and the wind resource is good. Local support has also been favorable.”
Wind Farms in the Works
Four new wind farms, with a total of 423 turbines, have been proposed recently in Nueces County, which would represent an estimated capital investment of more than $1 billion. One of the proposed farms is Patriot Wind Farm,
20 || COASTAL BEND
Wind Turbines by Top Counties
bUILT UNDer cONsT
The Coastal Bend Region is a leader in the Texas wind power industry, providing clean energy and growing the local economy.
Harness the Wind
The Papalote Creek Wind Farm in San Patricio County provides power to more than 114,000 households
named in honor of area military members, near Petronila. The project, which is being developed by E.ON Climate & Renewables, would include about 80 turbines. Coastal areas around Corpus Christi, including South Padre Island, have also been identified as potential sites for off-shore wind farms. Wind farms contribute more than energy to the area, Tulis says; they also help grow the economy. “When we’re in construction phase, we hire about 200 people,” he says. “We also try to locally source as much construction materials as possible. We bring economic development and investment to the area by broadening the tax base and allowing the county to use our tax money for local improvements and school district uses.”
Four wind farms, with a total of 423 turbines, have been proposed in Nueces County
Tapping Into Natural Gas, Geothermal Energy
The Coastal Bend area is also rich in natural gas, which has the potential to
lessen America’s dependency on oil, according to experts. Less than 1 percent of the natural gas powered vehicles that exist worldwide are on U.S. roads, but a company with local ties is putting infrastructure in place to make this resource more prevalent. Cheniere Energy Inc. is working on a $10 billion liquefied natural gas export terminal on Corpus Christi Bay. Located on more than 340 acres 15 nautical miles from the coast, the project, which is currently awaiting federal approval, will be constructed in phases and fully operational by 2017. Other forms of renewable energy are also being developed in the area. Several businesses are creating alternative forms of energy at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center, a multi-use incubator at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi that helps small early-stage businesses develop and speed their time to market. “One of these companies, InnerGeo, is creating geothermal energy,” says
22 || COASTAL BEND
Channel Your Energy to Ingleside
Wide Open Spaces! Bring Your Energy Development Projects to Ingleside!
• Located on La Quinta Ship Channel
Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
• We Work Closely with Port of Corpus Christi • Multimodal Access – Sea, Land, Air, Rail • Acres of Open Land – Great Location • Major Destination for Eagleford Shale Products • Business Opportunities Along Corpus Christi Bay Deep Water Channel • Within 200 Miles – Brownsville, Houston, Austin, San Antonio • 15 Minutes to Metro Corpus Christi • Synergy Among Existing Industry • Poised for Growth and Business Friendly • Hometown Feel, Low Crime, Many Amenities for ALL Ages
Bill Cone, director of the center. “It uses energy that is already there, heat in the earth’s crust. It doesn’t require the sun to shine or the wind to blow. And it doesn’t require fossil fuels. In fact, it looks to be competitive with fossil fuel prices.” Another startup at the center is Hydro Enviro Clean, which has developed a green method called ReLoad for recycling millions of gallons of water used in the fracturing process in oil and gas drilling. Valuable to a drought-stricken region like the Southwest, ReLoad binds and captures metals and potentially toxic particles so water can be reused, lowering consumption costs and reducing the amount of chemicals used. Fracturing can cost companies $7.5 million per well, and ReLoad has the potential to eliminate a third of the cost, says incubator
manager David Fonseca. “We are happy to assist companies that are bringing about better forms of energy,” he says. Story by Stephanie Vozza Photography by Frank Ordoñez
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DeFeNSe INSTALLATIONS BOLSTeR BUSINeSS, qUALITY OF LIFe IN THe COASTAL BeND RegION
THe RegION INCLUDeS THe CORPUS CHRISTI ARMY DePOT AND THe NAVAL AIR STATIONS AT CORPUS CHRISTI AND KINgSVILLe
THe COASTAL BeND’S MAJOR DeFeNSe INSTALLATIONS HAVe A COMBINeD eCONOMIC IMPACT OF $5 BILLION
ACCORDINg TO THe DePARTMeNT OF DeFeNSe, MORe THAN 79,000 MILITARY ReTIReeS AND THeIR FAMILIeS LIVe IN THe AReA
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Staff Sgt. Scott Aldridge examines a UH-60 Black Hawk at the Corpus Christi Army Depot, which handles helicopter repair.
rom building a highly trained military and civilian workforce to spurring innovation and jobs, defense installations in the Coastal Bend of Texas strengthen the region’s economy as well as national security. The combined economic impact of major installations, including the Corpus Christi Army Depot and the Naval Air Stations at Corpus Christi and Kingsville,
is measured at $5 billion – a significant portion of the Department of Defense’s $147 billion statewide impact, according to Dick Messbarger, executive director of the Kingsville Economic Development Council. The region’s defense installations and the private sector businesses that support them, such as McTurbine, a helicopter repair and maintenance company in Corpus Christi, attract a skilled industrial workforce to the region. “The payroll that results from
those jobs is what drives the local economy, not a new restaurant or retail store, which recirculate dollars,” Messbarger says. “If we have a strong base of good paying jobs, then restaurants and retailers are supposed to come to town.” The economic impact of NAS Kingsville runs deep. The base has invested more than $162 million in new construction over the past two years, for example. Those construction dollars multiply several times in the local economy, Messbarger says, and add payroll
The Corpus Christi Army Depot at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi
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and other spending, and the economic impact soars. “Naval Air Station Kingsville is an $816 million-a-year economic engine of the region,” Messbarger says. That includes an annual military payroll of more than $43 million and a civilian payroll of more than $93 million. Local purchasing exceeds $16.5 million a year and contracts surpass $19.5 million.
Impact on Quality of Life
When they complete their service, many military personnel choose to settle in the region. More than 79,000 military retirees and their families live in South Texas, according to Department of Defense estimates. Their presence enhances the quality of life for everyone, Messbarger says. “Two of the last five mayors were Navy pilots who decided to retire and live in Kingsville,” he says. “Seven chamber presidents were pilots that the Navy brought to town. The base personnel and their dependents have improved the schools, churches, civic clubs and the economy.” The Corpus Christi Army Depot, located at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, is the Army’s premier installation for helicopter repair, overhaul and maintenance. It is also a hotbed of innovative practices designed to improve readiness and efficiency, both
of which are crucial as federal budget pressures mount and global commitments rise. CCAD reinvented itself as a prototype to show how the Army could better serve the warfighter, the taxpayer, industry partners and the federal worker as its industrial operations incorporated better business practices. “This has placed us in the best possible position to support our Joint Warfighters in the face of the effects of sequestration,” CCAD Commander Col. Christopher B. Carlile says. “We’ve already done the work of becoming costconscious and lowering our costs. We knew ‘the iceberg was melting’ and did what was needed. We work smarter now. And now we’re leading the way in 21st century industrial operations.”
Reducing Costs, Maximizing Results
CCAD instituted a new way of doing business as a Department of Defense maintenance facility by implementing efficiency and focusing on cost reductions at every level. Through the adoption of an effective Enterprise Resource Planning system, CCAD has made strides in reducing the cost of maintenance support while maximizing production. Similarly, the Electronic Shop Production System streamlines the logistics of moving parts and components throughout CCAD’s 2.3 million square feet of industrial space.
With its focus on quality and efficiency, it’s no surprise that CCAD was selected as the first Army depot to repair an unmanned aircraft system, the Shadow. “The UAS Shadow modification program is a partnership between the original manufacturer, AAI Textron Systems, the U.S. Army’s Project Management Office for unmanned aircraft systems and CCAD,” says Bill Braddy, the depot’s executive director. “CCAD’s role is to modify, repair, reassemble and test the Shadow’s airframe.” After decades of exclusive helicopter support, the UAS is the first fixed-wing aircraft to be supported by the depot in at least 40 years. With the UAS program under its wing, CCAD is taking a bold step into the future. Story by Bill Lewis Photography by Frank Ordoñez
DEFENSE INSTA BUSINESS, LLATIONS BOLSTER QUALITY THE COASTAL OF LIFE IN BEND
THE REGION INCLUDES THE CORPUS CHRISTI ARMY DEPOT AND THE NAVAL AIR STATIONS AT CORPUS CHRISTI AND KINGSVILL E
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THE COASTAL BEND’S MAJOR DEFENSE INSTALLAT IONS HAVE A COMBINED ECONOMIC IMPACT OF $5 BILLION
ACCORDIN G DEPARTMENT TO THE OF DEFENSE, MORE THAN 79,000 MILITARY RETIREES AND THEIR FAMILIES LIVE IN THE AREA
Staff Sgt. Scott Aldridge examines Black Hawk a UH-60 at Depot, which the Corpus Christi Army handles helicopter repair.
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“Two of the last five mayors were Navy pilots who decided to retire and live in Kingsville.”
Dick Messbarger, executive director of the Kingsville Economic Development Council
Port Corpus Christi supports more than 66,000 jobs in Texas and has an economic impact that exceeds $3.1 million.
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ON ThE MOVE
INFRASTRUCTURe INVeSTMeNTS IN THe COASTAL BeND RegION STReNgTHeN gLOBAL CONNeCTIONS
PORT CORPUS CHRISTI IS eNLARgINg ITS SHIP CHANNeL AND RAIL CAPACITY, AND ALSO ADDINg UPgRADeS AIRPORTS ACROSS THe COASTAL BeND RegIONARe IMPROVINg, eNHANCINg AND eXPANDINg THeIR FACILITIeS HIgHWAY CONNeCTIONS AND CORRIDORS OFFeR ReSIDeNTS AND COMPANIeS eASY ACCeSS TO MAJOR MARKeTS
ith a top port, growing airports, three Class 1 rail carriers and interstate highway access, the Coastal Bend Region is strategically situated to take advantage of domestic and international economic growth. The fifth largest U.S. port in terms of total tonnage, Port Corpus Christi has evolved from an import hub to an export hub. Its 45-foot channel provides quick access to the Gulf of Mexico, positioning the port as a key destination for large vessels transiting the expanded Panama Canal.
“Port Corpus Christi has aggressively diversified its economic base by attracting new industry and cargos, such as wind power, military, bulk and project cargos, as well as developing new initiatives, such as the future La Quinta multipurpose/container and cargo-handling facility,” Cardenas says. The 1,100-acre La Quinta facility will eventually offer a multipurpose dock and container facility that will include an extended ship channel, a 3,800-foot-long ship dock with nine ship-to-shore cranes, an intermodal rail yard and hundreds of additional acres for additional development. The $48 million Nueces River Rail Yard project includes a siding that will store a full 110-car unit train used for shipments of grain, sand, rock and other bulk cargo. In addition, the port has expanded the boundaries of its foreign trade zone to add Kleberg, Jim Wells, Bee and Aransas counties to allow companies there to store imported goods duty-free.
On Board for Growth
As part of an FAA-mandated safety upgrade, Corpus Christi International Airport is extending the declared length of its runways that service larger planes. The airport’s passenger enplanements with three major carriers are expected to rise as business booms in the Eagle Ford Shale fields. “We believe we will see in the next year that growth start to hit the airport in terms of numbers of people flying out,” says Kim Bridger, public relations and marketing coordinator for the airport. The airport and surrounding area has attracted several recent investments, including a FedEx Ground hub and a U.S. Coast Guard operations center. The nearby state Route 44 corridor has also drawn companies like Commercial Metals Company, which opened a scrap metal recycling facility. “The airport is an ideal location for certain kinds of businesses, particularly those who need to get on various highways very quickly,” Bridger says. Other communities are upgrading their airports as
Corpus Christi International Airport
The port is also enlarging the ship channel and rail capacity as well as investing in other facility upgrades in response to the changing economics of the region, according to Patricia Cardenas, director of communications for the port.
“The airport is an ideal location for certain kinds of businesses, particularly those who need to get on various highways very quickly.”
Kim Bridger, public relations and marketing coordinator for Corpus Christi International Airport
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well. In Alice, the city is investing $5 million for a new lighting system, runway paving and marking, and a precision landing instrument system. Kleberg County Airport will invest $4.7 million in runway paving and repair, and San Patricio County will spend $1.1 million for additional hangars. In Bee County, Chase Field Industrial Airport is scheduled to add a GPS landing system to its 8,000-foot runway, which will make it more attractive to corporate and cargo operators. It’s already a favorite landing spot for energy company aircraft. The navigation improvements,
along with highway projects, are preparing Bee County to support Eagle Ford Shale developments even more. “If we can continue to develop the airport, we will have a lot to offer companies looking to locate in this area,” says Joe Montez, executive director of the Bee Development Authority, which operates the airport.
Highway to Opportunity
In addition to highway connections via I-37, U.S. 181 and 77, and the newly improved TX 44, highway access in the Coastal Bend Region has the potential for even more growth. The state is
developing the I-69 corridor to connect with highway segments that begin at the Canadian border. The final route is still under consideration, but it will run through East Texas on existing roadways. The proposed routes will come near or through Refugio, Beeville and other Coastal Bend communities. “I-69 is a catalyst to help Refugio County plan for future opportunities from an economic development standpoint,” says Bob Blaschke, a member of the Refugio County Community Development Foundation Board. Story by Gary Wollenhaupt Photography by Frank Ordoñez
Port Corpus Christi: Gateway to the Gulf
Located 150 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, Port Corpus Christi is the fifth largest U.S. port in terms of total tonnage. Its ship channel is 45 feet deep and provides quick access to the Gulf of Mexico.
Increases in Ship and Barge Activity
125+ acres of open storage and fabrication sites Heavy lift capabilities Dockside rail from three major carriers
Top International Trade Partners
1. V E
2 . NIG
295,500 square feet of covered dockside storage 24,019-acre dedicated foreign trade zone
s s IA
Top Outbound Commodities at Port Corpus Christi
3. M E X I c O
pAThS TO gLOrY
AReA COLLegeS AND UNIVeRSITIeS ARe TURNINg OUT A STRONg, SKILLeD WORKFORCe
TeXAS A&M UNIVeRSITYCORPUS CHRISTI ReSeARCHeS UNMANNeD AeRIAL SYSTeMS, BOOSTS eNgINeeRINg PROgRAM
TeXAS A&M UNIVeRSITYKINgSVILLe BRINgS BACK NATURAL gAS eNgINeeRINg PROgRAM THANKS TO EAgLe FORD SHALe
DeL MAR COLLege AND COASTAL BeND COLLege gROW FACILITIeS AND OFFeR MORe OPPORTUNITIeS FOR STUDeNTS
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Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Dotterweich College of Engineering recently reintroduced its natural gas engineering program. Photo by Frank Ordoñez
hrough a diversity of majors, programs and research projects, colleges and universities in the Coastal Bend area are leading the way toward building and developing workforce talent that is expected to have an impact on the region’s economy for years to come.
of focus for unmanned aircraft systems development, certainly in the state and potentially around the country.” University faculty and research scientists conducted an unmanned aircraft mission over the Gulf of Mexico in March 2013, acquiring data to seek new applications for unmanned aerial technology. Along with UAS (unmanned aerial systems) research, Texas A&M UniversityCorpus Christi is working to prepare students for the workforce that will be needed to develop and operate UAS technology, Cifuentes says. “Building our engineering program is one of our top priorities,” he says. “While we’re going to add traditional engineering departments, such as electrical engineering, there will be an emphasis on unmanned aircraft systems. “It’s going to bring a lot of jobs.”
Rebound for Natural Gas
Jobs are also foremost on the minds of officials at Texas A&M UniversityKingsville, especially the preparation for those in the petroleum and natural gas industry. Spurred primarily by the discovery of the Eagle Ford Shale and its enormous oil and gas reserves, the University in Kingsville has seen the return of its natural gas engineering program. The school has been turning out some of the world’s top engineers in the oil and gas industry since the 1937 founding of the Dotterweich College of Engineering. However, a downturn in the petroleum industry in the midto-late 1990s caused an enrollment decline and forced the university to end its undergraduate program in natural gas engineering in 2000. It returned for the start of the 201213 academic year, and “we’re building a hefty program,” says John Chisholm, assistant dean of the Dotterweich College of Engineering. “The interest (in offering the major again) came from a great extent out of the Eagle Ford Shale that has come in the last 10 years. That’s where you’re seeing all the drilling, the road traffic and the building of small communities.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi students experiment with unmanned aerial systems.
Best of the Best
•Texas A&M UniversityKingsville was named among the top 100 colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly in its 2012 College Guide. The university was cited for its commitment to providing educational opportunities, promoting community service and facilitating high-quality research. •Texas A&M UniversityCorpus Christi’s Master of Science in nursing program was recognized by U.S. News & World Report for being one of the best online education programs in the nation.
At Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, for instance, faculty, scientists and students are conducting research with unmanned aerial systems that could play a key role in the Texas economy over the next 12 years or longer. In fact, UAS technology is expected to have an economic impact of more than $6 billion and create approximately 8,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to a 2013 report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. “By having Texas A&M UniversityCorpus Christi as the lead for the state in this program, we think that will tend to draw more of the economic development toward the Corpus Christi area,” says Dr. Luis Cifuentes, vice president of the Division of Research, Commercialization and Outreach. “If we’re successful, then this region will become one of the centers
36 || COASTAL BEND
“We produce good engineers all around, so we have people leaving our engineering programs and moving in to Eagle Ford and other places in the industry,” Chisholm says.
Bend College. Its enrollment of students taking petroleum training courses increased from fewer than 50 in 2008 to nearly 1,100 in 2012. Story by John McBryde
Other Fields of Opportunity
Texas A&M University-Kingsville is also helping prepare students for the workforce in another field. Its College of Business Administration is now offering an MBA to students and graduates from the Rangel College of Pharmacy, as well as others who seek to expand their career options. Del Mar College has literally added a new dimension to its aviation maintenance technology program with the acquisition of a hangar at Corpus Christi International Airport. The facility went into use in January 2013 with 14,400 square feet of hangar space for aircraft storage and 2,440 square feet of space for classrooms and offices. The hangar is already having an effect on students, says Joe Dudek, associate professor of aviation maintenance at Del Mar. “They’re literally in the environment they’re going to be working in, and you can see a different attitude with the students,” he says. “It gives a realistic outlook on the whole thing.” As it did for Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the Eagle Ford Shale has also had an impact on Coastal
For more than 25 years, the Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend has been fulfilling its goal of meeting the shared manpower needs of the region’s community, business and industry by providing education for the construction industry. “Our goal is to develop craft professionals who are experienced and capable under the highest professional standards,” the training center states in its mission. The center is located on a 30-acre campus on Leopard Street in Corpus Christi and includes a 34,000-square-foot training facility with a variety of labs, among other features. Through a grant from the Corpus Christi Business and Job Development Corporation, it is doubling the size of its facility to accommodate more students.
STUDeNTS FIND SUCCeSS IN MOODY HIgH SCHOOL’S STEM PROgRAM
The list is already impressive, and Tina Dellinger of Corpus Christi’s Moody High School believes it’s only going to become more so in time. Just a few years after Moody High School began its STEM program, known as the Innovation Academy for Engineering, Environmental and Marine Science, a growing group of graduates from the program are enrolling in a who’s who list of universities. “We have students at MIT in computer science and electrical engineering, as well as some at UT-Austin in computer science,” says Dellinger, dean for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction and student services at Moody High. “There are some at Texas A&M in College Station in various engineering programs, at Stephen F. Austin in environmental science, and many at A&M in Kingsville and Corpus Christi. “I wish the state had a way to capture the data of students after they graduate, because if they could, we would see that we’re doing much, much better than we thought we were,” she says. Implemented six years ago, Moody High’s STEM program – one of around 56 throughout Texas – enrolls 300 of Moody’s 1,700 students. “We have an incredibly strong robotics program that has really taken off,” Dellinger says. “We participate in both land robotics and underwater robotics. It gives an example of how we blend the environmental and marine science with the engineering.” While Moody High is the only school in the Corpus Christi Independent School District with a complete STEM program, the district has proposed to create its first elementary school magnet program to specialize in science, technology, engineering and math. If the proposal is approved, the program will be implemented at Garcia Elementary School. – John McBryde
FUN iN ThE SUN
Rockport Beach in Aransas County and other beaches in the Rockport-Fulton area draw 1 million visitors annually.
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COASTAL BeND BeACHeS, WILDLIFe AND OUTDOOR ATTRACTIONS DRAW A gROWINg NUMBeR OF TOURISTS
hether they come for the wildlife or a city weekend, 7.4 million people a year can’t be wrong: the Coastal Bend Region is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s favorite places to play. Tourism, the area’s thirdleading industry behind oil and the military, has a whopping $1.2 billion annual economic impact. And exciting new developments in Corpus Christi and surrounding communities should keep that number growing.
“In just one year we jumped from being the sixth biggest tourism destination in Texas to fifth, behind only Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio,” says Keith Arnold, executive director of the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau. What’s the attraction for visitors, 90 percent of whom come from Texas and adjacent states? “The No. 1 reason people travel is beaches, and we have 16 miles of beaches combined within the city of Corpus Christi,” Arnold says. “Our beaches are light tan sand, turquoise water – and they are not overbuilt.”
More than just a perfect spot to bask in the sun or splash in calm waters, those beaches, along with Corpus Christi Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and miles of estuaries, also nurture the area’s vibrant wildlife population, providing unmatchable opportunities for ecotourism, from bird-watching to nature photography. “Birding and nature are huge here. There are even bird-watching and dolphin-spotting boat tours on the Gulf of Mexico,” says Nancy Deviney, president of the Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council. “The region offers miles of waterfront for people to enjoy activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing.”
Coastal Bend Attractions: Nature and More
While 54 percent of the area’s tourists come for nature-related reasons, there’s plenty more to do. The renowned Texas State Aquarium drew 560,000 visitors in 2012. And USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier from World War II, is now a 100,000-square-foot museum visited by nearly 400,000 people annually. Other popular tourist destinations are the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, the Art Museum of South Texas and the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, the latter two of which are located in the city’s downtown SEA (Sports, Entertainment and Arts) District. The SEA District is also home to the Hooks, the minor league baseball team for the Houston Astros, at Whataburger Field; the
Located along the bay, Shoreline Boulevard in downtown Corpus Christi is a top spot for cyclists.
“The region offers miles of waterfront for people to enjoy activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing.”
Nancy Deviney, president of the Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council
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Harbor Playhouse; the Corpus Christi Ballet; the Corpus Christi IceRays hockey; the Hurricane Alley Waterpark; restaurants; and live music venues. On Padre Island nearby, excitement is running high for the new 65-acre, $41 million Schlitterbahn Water Park and Resort set to open in summer 2014. And a new outlet mall in Robstown, planned to open in 2014, will give shopping a boost. Revitalization in downtown Corpus Christi is expected to boost tourism even more. The Chaparral Street Project will revamp two blocks near the waterfront with new trees, new lighting, pavers in intersections, cafe seating and facade improvement. “The concept was to make these blocks absolutely gorgeous to get people to come downtown,” says Lori Wille, public relations specialist for the Corpus Christi Downtown Management District. “Eventually we want to expand and connect to the SEA District.”
Excitement about Corpus Christi’s downtown is building, Wille says. Her organization’s Corpus Christi First initiative has been drawing growing numbers to a monthly weekend of activities that include an Art Walk, a Music Walk, the Marina Market and a Bridge Walk. Soon, the Cosmopolitan, a new $14 million retail and residential complex by Realtex Development, will replace the old Lichtenstein department store, bringing 300 new residents – and businesses to serve them – downtown. “There’s a lot of momentum right now,” Wille says. Other area communities are becoming tourist meccas, too. Rockport-Fulton enjoys close to 1 million visitors annually who come for its beaches, outdoor recreation and attractions, such as the city’s aquarium and Bay Education Center. Tourists also travel to Port Aransas for shopping, festivals, and worldclass nature and water activities. Story by Laura Hill
Corpus Christi waterfront
Call of the Wild
ECOTOURISTS FLOCK TO THe COASTAL BeND RegION
You could say the Coastal Bend is for the birds. But, puns aside, the region is known worldwide for the richness and diversity of its wildlife, supported by a huge network of estuaries, inlets, waterways, the Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Winner of the San Diego Audubon Society’s “Birdiest City in America” contest for 10 years, Corpus Christi and its surrounding communities count 236 native and migrating species of birds, from warblers to waders to the 50,000 hawks you can spot during an annual hawk festival. The city takes nature tourism seriously and administers a certified wildlife program. Port Aransas and Rockport-Fulton are also focal points for those who wish to observe, photograph or draw nature’s creatures. “Pretty much everything you do here in Port Aransas besides shopping is related to nature,” says Ann Vaughan, president and CEO of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce. “We have people from all over the world who come here for the birds.” Port Aransas offers five observations spots along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, which include boardwalks and observations towers in wetlands, preserves, 18 miles of beaches, dunes and more. An annual Whooping Crane festival on Mustang Island draws hundreds of visitors from around the world, and any day is a good day for observing Bottlenose Dolphins in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, located in the Corpus Christi Bay. The area’s diverse coastline and waters also offer fishermen a wealth of opportunity, from speckled trout, redfish, flounder and black drum near the shore to shark, red snapper and a variety of tuna offshore. – Laura Hill
RegION OFFeRS ADVeNTURe, AFFORDABILITY FOR ReSIDeNTS
Downtown Corpus Christi is home to many of the region’s attractions, including the Texas State Aquarium and Whataburger Field.
42 || COASTAL BEND
he coastal lifestyle can be beautiful and adventurous – and nowhere is this more true than in the Coastal Bend of Texas. From eco-attractions to premier wind surfing spots along the Padre Island National Seashore, the region is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
Parks and nature centers, including the South Texas Botanical Gardens and the Texas State Aquarium, grace the landscape. Residents can enjoy fishing and hunting; professional sports such as hockey, baseball and arena football; and challenging golf courses like the River Hills Country Club in Corpus Christi and the Padre Isles Country Club. But that’s not all the area offers.
Along with top-notch schools and high-rated hospitals, the Coastal Bend has a diverse cultural scene. It’s home to dozens of museums, including the Texas Maritime Museum, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, and the Art Museum of South Texas, along with live performance groups like the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. The region also provides residents with a low cost of living and affordable housing choices. “I’ve been in the Coastal Bend all my life and have sold real estate since the early 2000s, and the housing market has always been stable here,” says Bryan Johnson, chairman of the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors. “Much of the area is economically insulated with strong industry, so there haven’t been high peaks and low valleys in the housing market like the rest of the country.”
Real Estate Boom
Today, home sales in Coastal Bend communities are escalating. Forbes magazine recently listed Corpus Christi among the top 10 outperforming cities during the economic recovery, and Johnson says the entire region is experiencing growth, especially in areas near the Eagle Ford Shale. “The Eagle Ford Shale is becoming its own economic engine in South Texas, with a lot of the oil workers buying homes in that northwest sector along Interstate 37,” Johnson says. “Several executives of that massive oil endeavor have been purchasing waterfront homes at Padre Island and Port Aransas.” In 2013, San Antonio real estate development firm Koontz
The Texas State Aquarium fascinates with its stingrays, dolphins, sharks and sea creatures.
The Art Museum of South Texas showcases more than 1,500 permanent works.
McCombs purchased Newport Dunes, an Arnold Palmer Signature golf course in Port Aransas, with plans to redevelop the property and rebrand it as Palmilla Beach Resort & Golf Club. “The whole region is doing well primarily because of the oil industry, which will ultimately cause more industries to move here and attract talented professionals in fields such as engineering, IT, medicine and manufacturing,” Johnson says. “And the wealth is spreading. For example, the Gregory-Portland area is experiencing growth thanks to a huge Chinese investment that will see TPCO America in Gregory manufacture steel pipes for oil.”
A Destination for Shopping, Fun
Other quality-of-life news includes plans to transform a shuttered former naval station in Ingleside into a large solar and wind renewable energy research and training center. A 74-acre outlet mall is being planned in Robstown to serve as a major shopping destination for the region. And in 2014, a new Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort will open on Padre Island. “I remember in 2009 when residential lots on Padre Island were selling for $9,000, and now in 2013 they’re going in the $30,000 range,” Johnson says. “Citizens of the Coastal Bend
Region have several excellent lifestyle choices these days, including residing in large cities, small towns, rural areas or beachfront communities.” Story by Kevin Litwin Photography by Brian McCord
he coastal lifestyle can be beautiful and adventurous – and nowhere is this more than in the Coastal Bend true Texas. From of eco-attrac tions premier wind surfing spots to the Padre Island along National Seashore, the region is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
REGION OFFER S ADVENTUR E, AFFOR FOR RESID DABILITY ENTS
Downtown Corpus Christi the region’s attractions, is home to many of State Aquarium such as the Texas and Whataburge r Field.
Parks and nature centers, including the South But that’s not Botanical Gardens Texas all the area Along with offers. and the Texas top-notch schools State Aquarium high-rated and , grace the hospitals, the landscape. Residents can Coastal Bend has a diverse cultural fishing and enjoy It’s home to hunting; profession scene. dozens of museums, sports such including the as hockey, baseball al Texas Maritime and arena football; Museum, the and Corpus Christi challengin g golf courses Museum of Science and like the River Hills History, Country Club and the Art Museum of Corpus Christi in South Texas, along with live Isles Country and the Padre performan Club. ce groups like the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra . The region also provides residents with and affordable a low cost of living housing choices. “I’ve been in all my life and the Coastal Bend have sold real estate since the early 2000s, the housing and market has always been stable here,” says Bryan Johnson, chairman Christi Associatio of the Corpus n of Realtors. “Much of the area is economica insulated with lly there haven’t strong industry, so been high peaks low valleys and in the housing like the rest market of the country.”
42 || COASTAL BEND
The Texas State dolphins, sharks Aquarium features stingrays, and other sea creatures.
Today, home Bend communitsales in Coastal Forbes magazineies are escalating. Corpus Christi recently listed among the outperform top 10 ing cities during economic recovery, the and Johnson says the entire experiencing region is growth, especially in areas near the Eagle Ford Shale. “The Eagle Ford Shale is becoming its own engine in South economic Texas, with of the oil workers a lot in that northwest buying homes sector along Interstate 37,” Johnson says. “Several executives of that massive oil endeavor have purchasing been waterfront homes at
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A Festive Place
COASTAL BeND DRAWS CROWDS WITH SIgNATURe eVeNTS, FeSTIVALS
From food-focused events to musiccentered celebrations, the Coastal Bend of Texas is known for its fun, family-friendly festivals that happen throughout the year. On Mustang Island in Port Aransas, Texas SandFest spans three days and features one of the largest sand-sculpting competitions in the United States, drawing more than 100,000 people. Another annual event in Port Aransas is the Whooping Crane Festival, which celebrates the endangered whooping cranes’ return to their winter home. The four-day festival includes birding seminars and excursions, whooping crane boat tours, and a trade show. The state’s largest shrimp festival, Shrimporee, is held in Aransas Pass. Attracting more than 50,000 people, the three-day event is hosted by the Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center and features a shrimp-peeling contest, pageant, parade, games and live entertainment. Also based on a seafood favorite, Fulton’s OysterFest, sponsored by the Fulton Volunteer Fire Department, includes an oyster-eating contest, live music, carnival rides, games, a parade and vendor booths. All proceeds from the four-day festival benefit the fire department. Taking place in the Storytelling Capital of Texas, George West Storyfest hosts stages for storytelling and music, along with a 5K race and a one-mile fun walk, classic car show, and a children’s area with games and a petting zoo. Nearby, the Three Rivers Salsa Fest is known for its salsa-making contests as well as its salsa tastings, live music, arts and crafts, and kid-friendly games. That’s not all. Other popular festivals in the region include the San Patricio’s World Championship Rattlesnake Races, Windfest in Portland and the Texas Jazz Festival in Corpus Christi. – Jessica Walker Boehm
FREE BOAT RAMP
INGLESIDE RENAISSANCE FAIRE DECEMBER 14-15, 2013
ROUND-UP DAYS FESTIVAL APRIL 4-5, 2014 CRUISE YOUR RIDE TO INGLESIDE CAR SHOW APRIL 26, 2014
ABUNDANT NATURAL SURROUNDINGS
AFFORDABLE LIVING CENTRALLY LOCATED 15 MINUTES FROM AREA ATTRACTIONS AIRPORT
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (888) 899-2906 www.inglesidetxchamber.org
COASTAL BeND RegION PROVIDeS LeADINg HeALTH-CARe OPTIONS
rom new emergency departments to robotic surgery devices, high-quality health care continues to be an asset for Coastal Bend residents. Several of the region’s major health-care providers are investing in facilities and technology to elevate the quality of care throughout the region. Operating in the area since 1905, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System has developed a major regional presence with facilities in Alice, Beeville, Corpus Christi and Kingsville. In Kingsville, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleburg is investing $3.9 million to expand and renovate its
busy emergency department. The renovation will help the hospital fulfill its commitment of helping South Texans receive critical care closer to home, CEO Pamela Robertson says. Employees at the CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Shoreline recently celebrated the reaccreditation of the hospital’s Stroke Center Program, and its cardiac rehabilitation programs, along with those at CHRISTUS Spohn’s Alice and Kleberg locations, earned national certification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). To achieve this, programs must prove excellence in almost a dozen categories, including continuing staff
“We are making a life-changing difference in the health and well-being of patients and the families we serve.”
46 || COASTAL BEND
Jay Woodall, Doctors Regional Hospital’s chief executive officer
One of Corpus Christi’s major health-care systems, CHRISTUS Spohn has earned several accolades for its high-quality health care. Rankings include: •No. 1 Consumer Choice Award to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Shoreline for its patient satisfaction, based on thousands of reviews and hundreds of other health-care market comparisons. •Bronze Award from the Texas Health Care Quality Improvement Awards to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi and CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice for notable gains in key components of patient care and treatment.
education, condition of equipment and patient care. “For the fourth time, Shoreline’s Cardiac Rehab program has successfully been recertified by the AACVPR,” says Barbara Flato, director of Cardiac Rehab Services. “In 2000, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Shoreline’s Cardiac Rehab program was the first in the Coastal Bend to receive certification from AACVPR.”
of South Texas,” says Donna Quinn, vice president of operations and quality.
Corpus Christi Medical Center is justifiably proud of its Bay Area Robotic Surgical Program, which incorporates two da Vinci Streamlined Integration HD Surgical Systems, including the latest generation Si HD version. Features of the new system include fluorescent imaging technology and the ability to perform surgery with only one incision instead of four. The da Vinci Si HD Surgical System enables surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures. The medical center recently opened a 15-bed Inpatient Rehabilitation Program at Doctors Regional Hospital. The facility is focused exclusively on helping people regain quality of life following an injury, surgery or disease that impairs their ability to care for themselves. Also, the hospital is cooperating with the City of Corpus Christi Fire/EMS Department and local cardiologists to use new technology in ambulances to treat certain types of heart attacks. Five local ambulances carry the equipment that can transmit vital information to the hospital while the patient is in transit. “Our partnership with the City of Corpus Christi Fire/EMS is vital,” says Jay Woodall, Doctors Regional Hospital’s chief executive officer. “Together, we are making a life-changing difference in the health and well-being of patients and the families we serve.” Story by Gary Wollenhaupt
Premier Care for Kids
In 2013, Driscoll Children’s Hospital celebrated 60 years of providing first-class health care for newborns to 21-year-olds. Opening in 1953 with 25 beds, the hospital has since grown to include a 189-bed pediatric tertiary care center with pediatric specialists representing 32 medical and 13 surgical specialties. Started by Clara Driscoll in 1945 to honor her family’s legacy by providing medical treatment for the children of South Texas, Driscoll was the first free-standing pediatric hospital in the region and the first hospital in South Texas to offer emergency services specifically for pediatrics. Today its emergency department serves about 35,000 children each year. A $12 million emergency department renovation and expansion under way now will add two trauma rooms, 20 private exam rooms and two triage areas with visibility to the waiting area, along with a new ambulance vestibule and weather protection canopy as well as an outward extension of the building that will allow for an expanded lobby. “Through the renovation we want a child-friendly and efficient setting that is welcoming, calming and caring, which continues to reflect our ongoing commitment to being the best hospital for the kids
2 CITY OF ARaNSaS PaSS 23 CITY OF INGLESIDE 13 CORpUS CHRISTI INTERNaTIONaL AIRpORT 24-25 CORpUS CHRISTI REGIONaL EcONOMIc DEVELOpMENT CORpORaTION C3 CORT 17 DRIScOLL CHILDREN’S HOSpITaL 45 INGLESIDE CHaMBER OF COMMERcE 48 PORT ARaNSaS CHaMBER OF COMMERcE – TOURISM BUREaU 24-25 PORT OF CORpUS CHRISTI C4 REFUGIO COUNTY CHaMBER OF COMMERcE 1 ROBSTOWN AREa DEVELOpMENT COMMISSION 48 SaN PaTRIcIO EcONOMIc DEVELOpMENT CORpORaTION 21 TEXaS A&M UNIVERSITY CORpUS CHRISTI C2 TEXaS A&M UNIVERSITY – KINGSVILLE
VISIT OUR ADVERTISERS
• 5th largest port • 300,000 Corpus Christi MSA population • Rail • Highways • Three hours from Houston and San Antonio • Low cost of living • High quality of life – beaches, fishing and more
City of Aransas Pass www.aransaspasstx.gov City of Ingleside www.inglesidetx.gov Corpus Christi International Airport www.corpuschristiairport.com Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation www.ccredc.com Cort www.cort.com Driscoll Children’s Hospital www.driscollchildrens.org Ingleside Chamber of Commerce www.inglesidetxchamber.org Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce – Tourism Bureau www.portaransas.org Port of Corpus Christi www.portofcorpuschristi.com Refugio County Chamber of Commerce www.refugiocountytx.org Robstown Area Development Commission www.robstownadc.com San Patricio Economic Development Corporation www.sanpatricioedc.com Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi www.tamucc.edu Texas A&M University – Kingsville www.tamuk.edu
P.O. Box 238 Gregory, TX 78359 361.777.2368 sanpatricioedc.com
Can you imagine … a world without children?
Call 1-800-996-4100 to help. www.stjude.org
48 || COASTAL BEND
Coastal Bend: 582,373 Aransas: 23,818 Bee: 32,527 Brooks: 7,161 Duval: 11,717 Jim Wells: 41,754 Kenedy: 431 Kleberg: 32,025 Live Oak: 11,664 McMullen: 726 Nueces: 347,691 Refugio: 7,259 San Patricio: 65,600
Major Population Centers
Per Capita Income: 5,000+ 2,000+ 1,000+
Major Employment Sectors
Change in Avg. Household Income Since 2000:
Corpus Christi Army Depot, Corpus Christi ISD, CHRISTUS Spohn Health Systems, H.E.B. City of Corpus Christi, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Bay Ltd.
Trade, Transportation & Utilities:
Cost of Living
Median Household Income:
Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi Medical Center
Educational & Health Services:
Mining, Natural Research & Construction
Median Home Sale Price:
$$ Estimated Rent for a 2BR Apartment:
THIS SECtION IS SPONSORED BY
Raise a Family
Refugio ISD • Austwell-Tivoli ISD • Woodsboro ISD
R E F U G I O
Dallas El Paso
Superior health care:
Refugio Co. Memorial Hospital • Three clinics Two rehabilitation nursing homes State-of-the-art wellness center
San Antonio Houston
Small Town Big
Affordable housing Recreation: Hunting • Fishing • Camping • Birding www.refugiocountytx.org
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