San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 15th, 2013
Guest Column: Taking San Marcos from good to great

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COMMENTARY by MASON MURPHY

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Job creation is the key to our future in San Marcos. We have all heard the statistic that the average income in San Marcos is $26,000. Now, the question becomes how do we affectively bring quality employment opportunities to the residents of this city? I believe we need to focus on the model and the mindset to solve this problem.

Murphy

Murphy

First, the model, meaning what companies should we be seeking?

I believe we need to be actively recruiting twenty companies to either create a branch or relocate to San Marcos. The first ten companies must be traditionally based companies that have an established standard of success. There is already a blueprint on what to look for when trying to find these types of companies. In Jim Collins’s book “Good to Great,” he outlines through extensive research the companies that have sustained themselves over the last one hundred years and the leadership skills required to be a success in business.

I believe these are the types of companies we should be recruiting. The next ten companies should be based on emerging technologies. These are companies that will be great from 2020 to 2040, but they are just starting up due to the ideas and innovation of entrepreneurs. For example, STAR Park is an outstanding first step in this process.

Second, the mindset, meaning what will our approach be to court these companies?

Since we lost Amazon.com, the question has been raised as to what did we do wrong? I believe that is the wrong question. We need to ask: what are our competitors doing right?

To answer this question, we must realize that we are not just competing with San Antonio and Austin, but we are competing with China and India in the global economy. Our competitors are sending delegations of representatives from their cities to make a joint presentation to attract companies. Attracting a business to relocate is like making a pitch to host the Olympics in your city. Each time we try to attract a new business we have to view it as our Olympic moment

Our delegation must consist of a city council member, a member of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, San Marcos Area Board of Realtors, manufacturing business leaders, small business leaders, and a representative from Texas State University, Central Texas Medical Center, and the Heritage Association. If you examine this representation of our city as a collective body, San Marcos is a very easy sell.

You might be wondering why economic development is so important to me. I am the son of a small business owner and have seen how the creation of a business can truly help a community. My mother recognized the need for affordable daycare in her community. She watched as a community of factory workers had nowhere to take their kids before they went to work. She created a daycare business.

I watched my mother get up at 4 a.m. and work until 7 p.m., five days a week taking care of others’ children. She saw a need and found a private sector solution to help her community. I watched my mother work for almost twenty years helping others. She eventually had to close her business after falling ill with cancer and passing away shortly after her diagnosis. After seeing that living example up close, wouldn’t you be supportive of economic development, too?

As I have said throughout this campaign, “Together We’re Better”, and if we proceed to economically develop this city with a united front, we will be highly successful. We will leave a legacy. We will make a difference.

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Texas State University career services advisor MASON MURPHY is a candidate for San Marcos City Council Place 2 against incumbent Jude Prather, the Hays County Veteran Services Officer, and candidate Thom Prentice, a retired education assistant professor at Southwest Texas State University. All candidate have been invited to write a guest columns on subjects of their choice.

Read more in this series

» Guest Column: San Marcos at a crossroads by LISA PREWIT
» Guest Column: Taking San Marcos from good to great by MASON MURPHY
» Guest Column: How about a little dissent on city council? by THOM PRENTICE
» Guest Column: A lifetime of service, more to come by BILL TAYLOR

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16 thoughts on “Guest Column: Taking San Marcos from good to great

  1. I’d also like to see you address what is being done now compared with what you suggest. Costs are important, as Lila notes, but let’s compare what is being done with what you propose.

  2. Um, we lost out on Amazon to Schertz, not Mumbai. And where did the number 20 come from? And these 10 blue chip companies are coming here because? A city council member, a banker, and a real estate agent convince them to on expensive taxpayer funded trips? Look, it’s not like I’ve seen a candidate with good ideas in as long as I can remember, but I’d rather have no ideas than this. This is nonsensical. On the other hand, your other choice is an incumbent who doesn’t even think that continuing to have Carter Morris on the P & Z board might be a bad idea…so good luck with all that San Marcos voters.

  3. San Marcos needs to create a strong employment base with good paying jobs. You can debate the best way to do that but you must actively recruit those businesses and you will have to put your money where your mouth is to make it happen. Otherwise San Marcos will be stuck with low paying retail jobs, increasing poverty and the crime that inevitably follows. More jobs and more capital investment in the community leads to a higher tax base and more money for the important things like schools, streets and police.

  4. The government doesn’t create the employment base; government creates the environment that allows the growth of the employment base. Real people risking their own money create the employment base. The best pitch we can make to the people that make it happen is to streamline regulation, build first class infrastructure, improve our schools, and lower the tax burdens. If we don’t do any of those real things, then snazzy presentations of the same old stuff will fall short. Business leaders are choosing to go elsewhere for real reasons, not because we haven’t sent the right people to talk to them.

  5. Skeptical, I agree for the most part, although it would seem far more cost effective, to identify where and what infrastructure improvements, which tax breaks, etc., a particular employer would want, rather than try to overhaul the entire city and wait for something to happen.

  6. Ted, we probably aren’t that far apart, but you are looking at existing employers with robust businesses potentially relocating to San Marcos. I prefer to improve our schools, ease our regulatory and tax burden, and improve our infrastructure for the businesses and people who are already here. We didn’t attract Thermon or McCoys with incentives. They were here, and they thrived because the environment allowed them to do so. I believe that some of future San Marcos best potential employers are probably students right now at Texas State or SMHS. We don’t need to attract them here, we just need to create a fertile environment for whatever idea they have to grow into a business that changes the town. It may take a while, but in the meantime, the taxpayers will benefit from the investments.

  7. I’d like to do all that, but I’d like to have a little left to offer the right business.

    I’d also like to learn more about what we could do to make the climate even better for existing businesses. One recently moved away, and I wonder if anyone in economic development even knew it was happening.

  8. Affectively? Let’s start by spelling it right. Then we can move on to effectively helping the city. Key to that is attracting new business, business that doesn’t rely on Texas State or the growth of Texas State. Not that anything’s wrong with the university, but we need more than fast food restaurants to achieve proper growth. So we lost Amazon. We lost an Alamo Draft House too, among other things. Our Chamber of Commerce could find out how greater Dallas attracted JC Penney and American Airlines as well as other businesses, adapt the methods to fit our location and go from there. I see us on a freeway between San Antonio and Austin, two of the fastest growing cities in the country, with Dallas in a straight line further north, going on to St.Louis or Kansas City. I see thousands of trucks on these freeways. Logistics companies use modern technology, need skilled management, millions of gallons of diesel fuel, millions of dollars in maintenance and spare parts, warehouses for goods and accommodation for drivers earning real money. There’s a target market.

  9. There’s a vast difference between a logistics hub and a truck stop. Victorville in California has grown from a sleepy village in the desert to a big city, thanks to being a transportation hub.
    San Marcos is between two large airports and on a major rail line. Land is plentiful here. There is an opportunity for major and meaningful growth, if the City of San Marcos wants it.

  10. I’m pretty sure she knows that – but Lila has elevated “willful obtuseness” to an art. I’m pretty sure she would argue with a fence post if she thought she could get it to talk back…..

  11. This was actually a very thougtful post – with some great ideas. And very good questions. Until somenoe (who ?’do they have a real presence? Or persona?) went personal. It’s not about me. It’s about our cities. And our future.

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