For Adrian Cannady, Temple Economic Development Corporation president and CEO, the relationship between the city and the businesses that reside within it has to be one of respect and understanding.
This mindset is one of the major reasons Canady believes he was selected as one of the top 50 economic developers in North America. Cannady received the honor during the ECONOMIX convention in Charleston, S.C., as one of only three Texas representatives at the December convention.
In addition to receiving this honor, Cannady was appointed to the Economic Incentive Oversight Board by Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday.
Cannady has been with the Temple EDC for just over a year, taking over the position in September of 2018 after coming from Victoria.
Cannady said the goal of the Temple EDC is to bring businesses to the city that are not currently in this area, while helping those companies in Temple with things they may need. To do this, Cannady travels to company headquarters and becomes an ambassador for the city, touting the benefits of having a store or facility here.
“There is a lot that we do, but it’s all about making sure the next students of any (school district) in this area has a place to work and earn a living to support their family,” Cannady said. “It is also about making sure that someone who is looking at moving to Texas has a place to place their family in Temple and become a part of our family.”
Cannady said he has seen large amounts of growth in the area on the side of businesses that see coming to Temple as an opportunity.
Cannady said the completed construction along Interstate 35 helped open up Temple as a hub for companies looking to do business up and down the interstate. What attracts these businesses is the cheaper costs of labor and land compared to the bigger cities.
“We are really benefiting from the finished construction along Interstate 35,” Cannady said. “Giving where we are located geographically in the state, logistically we are located within two hours of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and San Antonio. Right on Main Street, Texas.”
When these companies come into town, they not only bring new jobs and workers, but also thousands or millions in investments that also can provide more taxable revenue for the city.
According to the corporation, it has helped bring in about $196 million in capital investment to Temple in the past fiscal year, and facilitated the investment of more than $2.1 billion since 2009.
Cannady said these numbers don’t count for the additional businesses that come to the city because of this investment, but are not directly brought by the corporation.
With these investments, the total taxable valuation of Temple has been raised by more than 60 percent since 2011.
“When we bring a primary job into the community, and we have a company that is employing 100 or 200 people, those people need more services,” Cannady said. “They need to eat lunch at lunchtime, they need to buy a house, so you see a lot of spinoff activity.”
In addition to bringing larger industrial businesses into the area, such as Niagara Bottling and East Penn Manufacturing, Cannady said the corporation spends a lot of time targeting retail businesses. Cannady said that while the larger industrial businesses coming in pay the bills, the other businesses they help bring to Temple make the area more attractive for people to move in.
Cannady said the development corporation recently has moved into trying to convince residents outside the community to move to Temple with talent-attraction strategies so businesses can find workers.
“You have to convince these guys in the industry that you can spend $90 million here, and, by the way, you will be able to find those 100 employees,” Cannady said. “We’ve got primary job marketing, our retail piece, and now in the middle tying it all together we have our talent-attraction piece. The people tie (the two pieces) together by patronizing the services, and by working and supporting the industries.”
While Cannady said he tries to work based upon what the city government and the residents want, he also is interested in making the city the best at what it can be instead of being stuck staying where it is.
As the city grows, Cannady said he knows some are worried Temple will lose that feeling of a small town. Looking at other cities, which each have their own culture, Cannady said he thinks Temple can grow without losing that bond.
“The reality in economic development is you are either growing, or you are shrinking,” Cannady said. “We went through a long time where Temple was just outside of those metro areas and couldn’t take advantage of the momentum of Austin or Waco. Now we are on the radar, and from our standpoint it is our job to elevate our position.”