Staff Writer-Austin Business Journal
University of Texas at Austin alumnus Adriana Cruz has worked on many of the biggest economic development deals in the region. As vice president of global corporate recruitment for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, she helped to bring companies such as Apple, Facebook, eBay and Samsung to the area.
Prior to that, Cruz had worked as an economic development consultant and had also served as the director of marketing for Gov. Rick Perry’s Economic Development and Tourism Office, where she oversaw development of the “Texas Wide Open for Business” campaign.
Since June, she has been settling in as president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership. The organization is a public-private partnership focused on economic growth in Hays and Caldwell counties.
What do you think are the biggest development opportunities in Hays and Caldwell counties?
The U.S. Census Bureau recently ranked San Marcos as the fastest-growing large city in the country, and Forbes ranked Hays County as the third-fastest growing county in the country. The growth along the I-35 corridor and the addition of SH-130, coupled with our strategic geographic location between Austin and San Antonio — the seventh and 11th-largest cities in the U.S. — are tremendous opportunities for our two-county community.
We are home to Texas State University, with more than 35,000 students, which provides a highly educated and diverse workforce for our expanding companies and for those looking to relocate to Central Texas. (Last) November, Texas State opened its first facility in STAR Park, the 38-acre research center dedicated to university research and commercialization efforts. This facility serves as a technology accelerator for startup and early-stage businesses, providing tenants access to secure wet labs, clean space and office space. In less than a year, the facility is 90 percent occupied with an already necessary expansion.
What industries are the best fits for Hays and Caldwell counties?
In 2009, the Greater San Marcos Partnership conducted an economic development study that looked closely at our many assets, including Texas State University and its new programs in advanced materials and engineering; the San Marcos Regional Airport; our diverse and productive talent pool and our existing industry mix. The study showed the best-suited industry sectors for Hays and Caldwell counties to take advantage of those include advanced manufacturing and materials; aviation; clean technology; corporate and professional offices; and life sciences and supply-chain management.