I can always rely on the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) to provide an optimistic outlook and message about the Houston region, and the many factors that continue to grow our various industry sectors and attract new businesses and residents to the area.
It is also nice to be able to remind people that while they are seeing many news reports related to declining oil prices and layoff announcements, that there are still many positive reports that speak well of the city and the diversity and strength of our local economy.
For example, just last month Houston took the No. 6 spot on Forbes' list of "America's Next Boom Towns." The list ranked the cities that are most likely to prosper over the next 10 years. Also included in the top 10 were Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. Houston, as well as the other three metro areas, enjoyed job growth that was well above the national average between 2010 and 2014.
Unfortunately, the good news that is being reported about Houston or that underscores our growth within other industry sectors is often overshadowed by energy headlines.
Bob Pertierra, senior vice president and chief economic development officer at the GHP, said that even though the energy sector continues to struggle, it is important for people to understand that the price of oil only paints a partial picture of the overall Houston economic landscape and everything that we have going for us here.
He said that as it stands today, about 65 percent of the companies that have an active interest in Houston are non-energy related companies, and that 51 percent of those are tied to the manufacturing industry.
"Houston is a very significant manufacturing center both nationally and globally, which ties in of course to our exports, and the fact that the Port of Houston is the number one export port in the country," Pertierra said.
Then there is the health care industry, which is continuing to grow and create jobs year-after-year, and bringing more people to Houston. In fact, Pertierra said that as of December 2015, there were more Houstonians employed in the health care sector than there were employed in the energy sector.
And the continued growth that is happening within the health care industry, coupled with the Houston area population surge throughout the suburbs has brought the expansion of hospital campuses well beyond the Texas Medical Center.
Pertierra added that when it comes to marketing the city, the GHP markets the entire Houston region, because they want companies to find what they need, which includes the best real estate solutions, and the best mix of talent and logistics. Whether companies need port access, or the ability to move their employees or reach their customers, finding the best location is critical.
"We're ultimately looking for the best location for those companies, and so we are very connected to the real estate community, because we need to have the available product to market, and we need to have available solutions for companies to be able to choose the Houston region and be able to locate here, bring their employees, and create jobs," said Pertierra.
Much like the ExxonMobil campus helped to spur more growth in the north areas of Houston and The Woodlands, Pertierra said that the Grand Parkway is going to foster new real estate developments along its route.
"That's a really important development that supports real estate and supports companies finding what they need here to be successful," Pertierra said. "In reality, Houston and Texas have done a pretty phenomenal job of adding movement capacity and enhancing mobility options so that people can be able to commute to work."
Pertierra said that Houston is all about growth and opportunity. That is the underlying premise behind the GHP's "Houston: The City With No Limits" campaign. He said that people move to Houston because they have heard that there's an incredible amount of growth happening here, and that it is a dynamic place to live, and because there are jobs here.
"Houston has led the nation in population growth, not because we have the most apartments or the most homes or the best highways, but ultimately people come to Houston because of opportunity. Houston is a city with no limits, where you can make your dreams possible and live the American dream, and that is really why we continue to attract people and help existing companies grow," Pertierra said.
The Greater Houston Partnership works in conjunction with the City of Houston, the Mayor's Office, elected officials and Houston's 36 regional economic development groups. Together they strive to make Houston one of the best cities to live, work, and build a business.
Michelle Sandlin is a writer, journalist and relocation industry expert. Her work is frequently featured in Worldwide ERC's Mobility magazine, and in various business and industry related publications and corporate blogs. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit "On the Move" at blog.chron.com/onthemove.This article was originally shared by the Houston Chronicle.