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the coastal bend of texas

A Great Escape Culture, eco-retreats draw tourists

Flying High

Military posts help power economy

Clean and Green Region invests big in energy production

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business

Workstyle Reservoir for Growth

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Eagle Ford development brings job, investment boom to region

Flying High

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Military posts help power economy

Nature Beckons

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Ecotourism grows in the Coastal Bend Region

Clean and Green

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Region invests big in energy production

A Great Escape

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Culture, eco-retreats draw tourists

Insight

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Overview

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Almanac

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Business Climate

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Transportation

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Health

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Education

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Economic Profile

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On the Cover Wind turbines at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Photo by todd bennett

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All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.

Please recycle this magazine

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business

®

The C o as ta l Be n d of Texas 201 2-1 3 Edition , volum e 6

®

editorial project manager Emily McMackin

The C o a s ta l Ben d o f Te x as

Content Director Bill McMeekin Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Content Coordinator Jessica Walker Staff Writer Kevin Litwin Contributing writers Bill Lewis, John Fuller, M.V. Greene, Melanie Kilgore-Hill, Kathryn Royster, Gary Wollenhaupt

ONLINE

l i fe s t y l e | w o r k s t y l e | d i gg i n g d eeper | v i d eo | l i n k t o u s | a d v er t i s e | c o n ta c t u s | s i t e m a p

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An online resource at businessclimate.com/corpus-christi

Senior Graphic Designers Stacey Allis, Laura Gallagher, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, Vikki Williams

digital Magazine >>

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tHE CoAstAl bEnd oF tExAs

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A Great Escape Culture, eco-retreats draw tourists

Chairman Greg Thurman

Flying High

Military posts help power economy

President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen Senior V.P./Sales Todd Potter Senior V.P./Operations Casey Hester Senior V.P./Client Development Jeff Heefner Senior V.P./Agribusiness Publishing kim holmberg V.P./business Development Clay Perry V.P./external communications Teree Caruthers V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester

Clean and Green

Lifestyle

Region invests big in energy production

Find out what it’s like to live here and what makes the community such a special place to be.

V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens V.P./travel publishing susan chappell V.P./Sales Rhonda Graham, Herb Harper, Jarek Swekosky Controller Chris Dudley Senior Accountant Lisa Owens

sponsorEd by tHE Corpus CHristi rEGionAl EConomiC dEvElopmEnt CorporAtion | 2013

Read the magazine on your computer, zoom in on articles and link to advertiser websites.

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site guide >>

Sales Support Coordinator Alex Marks Sales Support project manager sara quint

Find available commercial

system administrator Daniel cantrell Web Creative Director Allison Davis

and industrial properties with

Web Content Manager John Hood Web Designer II richard stevens

our searchable database.

Web Development Lead Yamel Hall Web Developer I Nels noseworthy Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto

success breeds success >>

Creative Services Director Christina Carden Creative Technology Analyst Becca ary Audience Development Director Deanna Nelson New Media Assistant Alyssa DiCicco Distribution Director Gary Smith Executive Secretary Kristy Duncan

Workstyle A spotlight on the region’s innovative companies

Meet the people who set the pace for business innovation.

Human Resources Manager Peggy Blake Receptionist Linda Bishop

Dig Deeper >> Plug into the community with links to local websites and

Business Images The Coastal Bend of Texas 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 info@jnlcom.com.

resources to give you a big picture of the region. Demographics >>

For more information, contact: Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation One Shoreline Plaza 800 N. Shoreline Blvd., Suite 1300 S. Corpus Christi, TX 78401 Phone: (361) 882-7448 • Fax: (361) 882-9930 www.ccredc.com

A wealth of demographic and statistical information puts the community at your fingertips.

Visit Business Images The Coastal Bend of Texas online at businessclimate.com/corpus-christi ©Copyright 2012 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

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Member Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation

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See the Video Our award-winning photographers give you a virtual tour of unique spaces, places and faces.

Links to a cross section of goods and services special to the community

go online

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You can get anywhere from our airport. But you have to get here first.

We are a full-service commercial airport with daily service provided by three major airlines: American Eagle, Southwest Airlines and United.

And we are more than an airport. We have an International Business Center that is shovel ready for development and located close to not only air transportation but within miles of the port, rail, and major highways and highway connections.

1000 International Dr. Corpus Christi, TX 78406 (361) 289-0171 Fax: (361) 826-4266 www.corpuschristiairport.com


Overview

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 a strong nucleus of higher education institutions that help meet the career needs of students and the workforce needs of the region. 3. Military Presence. The presence of major military installations keeps 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 thousands of civilian jobs.

4. Energy Production.

7. International Trade.

10. Workforce Development.

Ever-increasing trade between the Coastal Bend and Mexico is resulting in sustained growth in many industries including the trucking and distribution sectors.

The region is aggressively working to train a highly skilled workforce in order to meet the business challenges in a global economy. For more information, contact:

8. Tourism. Unspoiled beaches,

Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp. 800 N. Shoreline Blvd., Suite 1300 S. Corpus Christi, TX 78401 (361) 882-7448 www.ccredc.com

wildlife and waterways thriving with marine life are a few reasons why the Coastal Bend is becoming an increasingly popular place for vacationers year round.

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.

5. Population Growth. The

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 receive high-level care close to home.

6. Deep-Water Port. Port Corpus Christi is an economic engine for the Coastal Bend and is undergoing several major expansion projects. The port’s presence is generating additional investment.

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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.

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Almanac

Explore by Paddle Like to kayak? You can find plenty of tributaries to explore on the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail, which has four loops ranging in length from 1.25 miles to 6.8 miles. Average paddling time is 45 minutes to three hours, depending on the trail. Part of the Texas Paddling Trail and Redfish Bay, which straddles the Aransas Bay and the Corpus Christi Bay, Lighthouse Lakes is ideal for paddlers because of strong, prevailing southeasterly winds that help them navigate through a maze of head-high black mangroves lining the channel and lakes. Kayakers can spot the historic 1857 Lydia Ann Lighthouse on North Harbor Island, and fishing is available along the trail, with good catches of red drum and spotted sea trout.

Ingrained in Art Each April, Port Aransas welcomes the best sand sculptors in the world for its annual Texas Sandfest. The three-day event brings 25 to 30 sand artists to Mustang Island State Park, and more than 100,000 spectators jam the grounds to watch them create their enormous works of art. The event also includes live music from 12 bands, along with food and crafts vendors. Each sculptor is allotted 2 to 3 tons of sand to work with, which they fill with water to hold and pack. Winning sculptors receive cash prizes, and the first place winner earns an invite to the World Championship Sand Sculpting Contest held in various cities.

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Britain in Beeville A little bit of London has now come to South Texas. Beeville is home to an authentic British pub, The Dog & Bee Public House, which serves a variety of well-known British dishes, including fish and chips. Owner Brenda Hughes decided to blend the cultures of Britain and Texas under one roof after vacationing in the United Kingdom and learning about the pub experience. The Dog & Bee now welcomes customers daily and is available to reserve for special events and celebrations. Customers can sample typical British fare such as cottage beef pies and bangers and mash (British pork sausage with a cream mash under rich onion gravy) – or enjoy oldfashioned American favorites like hamburgers and sandwiches.

Beating the Heat Cooling off during warmer months is easy in the Coastal Bend Region, thanks to a wealth of water attractions. Corpus Christi recently opened Hurricane Alley Waterpark, which features a six-story slide, racing slides, a lazy river, a wave pool and a children’s area. The region is also home to the Portland Aquatic Center, a year-round facility with two pools – a recreation pool with a boat slide, dual slide, bubblers and palm tree splashers and a competition pool 25 meters long. Also open to the public are Aransas Pass Aquatic Center, which offers aqua aerobics and group swim lessons, and Rockport’s Community Aquatic Park, which has a 25-yard pool and a whale-shaped children’s pool with slides and sprays.

Patriotic Pride Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi recently ranked in the top 20 percent of universities nationwide for being a “Military Friendly School,” according to G.I. Jobs magazine. This is the university’s third time on the list, which honors schools that are successful at recruiting and retaining military and veteran students. To assist the more than 700 veterans and their dependents attending the university, A&M-Corpus Christi has adopted the Military Student Bill of Rights and is participating in the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, a national consortium dedicated to helping service members and their families obtain college degrees.

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Where Business Meets

Fun!

Located on Aransas Bay, the Paws & Taws Fulton Convention Center is adjacent to Fulton Park, Fulton Harbor, local restaurants and motels along Fulton Beach Road. The Fulton Convention Center is the perfect facility to host your next meeting, retreat or wedding.

(361) 729-2388 www.fultontexas.org The first weekend in March is Oysterfest time! Oysterfest features carnival rides, food, oyster eating contests, live music, unique vendor booths and most of all – FUN!

www.fultonoysterfest.org

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Attention, Shoppers The long-planned Outlets at Corpus Christi Bay shopping mall is one step closer to reality. The $60 million project has been approved by Nueces County commissioners to be built in Robstown, and hopes are to construct and open the facility by late 2013. The outlets, which will encompass a cluster of retail, restaurants and hotels, will be built near the fairgrounds at U.S. Highway 77 and State Highway 44. About 60 businesses have expressed interest in selling merchandise at the mall, and planners expect the 290,000-square-foot destination to attract a good share of the 700,000 area residents and 7.6 million tourists who annually visit the Coastal Bend Region.

Back at the Ranch Headquartered in Kingsville, King Ranch is renowned for being one of the world’s oldest and largest working ranches. Founded in 1853, the 825,000-acre expanse encompasses portions of six Texas counties and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961. The ranch is known for its innovations in cattle breeding and large-scale range management techniques and works with Texas A&M University on various agricultural research and development programs. Fun fact: The ranch, which also raises quarter horses, cutting horses and thoroughbreds, produced the 1946 U.S. Triple Crown winner Assault and the 1950 Kentucky Derby winner Middleground.

Seafood Studies Scientists at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas are part of an international research team studying ciguatera, the world’s most common source of seafood poisoning. A $4 million grant is funding a five-year study to better understand the microscopic algae that produces ciguatera toxins, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The algae, which can attach to seaweed, reefs or the legs of oil rigs, are eaten by smaller fish, which in turn are eaten by larger fish. The toxin poisons tens of thousands of people worldwide every year.

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Business Climate

The 12-county Coastal Bend Region is known for more than coastal living; it’s becoming an emerging center for energy and foreign investment.

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America’s Best Place Coastal Bend Region adds to its luster

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Story by Bill Lewis Photography by Todd Bennett

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he 12-county Coastal Bend Region has always been synonymous with coastal living, good schools, state-of-theart health care and a talented workforce. Now the region is adding a new entry to that list of pluses as it becomes America’s emerging center for energy and foreign investment. In Corpus Christi, Cheniere Energy will help meet the world’s appetite for clean energy with exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced in the nearby Eagle Ford Shale. Located approximately 70 miles to the northwest, the Eagle Ford Shale ranks among the largest shale deposits in the United States. Ships carrying Cheniere’s LNG will travel alongside other vessels

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carrying high quality seamless steel pipe produced at Tianjin Pipe Corporation’s local mini mill to destinations in the U.S., Canada, South America and West Africa. The mill, located in Gregory, is the largest Chinese investment in a U.S. manufacturing facility. Best of Times “Speaking about the local economy, we are living in good times, if not the best,” says Jim Lee, economist with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “Employment in the Coastal Bend area has been expanding at a rapid pace of more than 4 percent persistently since late 2011. Local employment growth has not only outpaced the nation as a whole, but also the state of Texas.”

Tianjin Pipe Corporation’s project alone is expected to create 2,000 jobs during construction and 300 jobs in its first year of operation. Employment eventually is expected to reach around 800 permanent jobs. Cheniere is expected to generate about 200 permanent jobs. Cheniere’s $10 billion investment in its LNG facility and Tianjin’s $1.3 billion mini mill are two examples of why Corpus Christi is expected to increase its export potential from $2.2 billion to $3.5 billion over the next decade, says Mike Culbertson, vice president of the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp. There are many other examples of recent investments, he says.


From left: Sailboats dock at the Corpus Christi Municipal Marina in the city’s downtown; Port Corpus Christi is the fifth-largest port by tonnage in the U.S.; Wind turbines spin at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center, which works with entrepreneurs on clean-energy projects.

A few of these include: • M&G Group’s PET facility represents a $1 billion investment and will create up to 250 permanent jobs. • Three Walmarts opened recently on the same day. • Schlitterbahn announced plans to build a resort on Upper Padre Island, which will amount to a $552 million investment. • Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD), the world’s largest helicopter repair facility, has grown to more than 7,000 employees. Recognizing Advantages The region also has a growing alternative energy presence that is fueling economic growth. The

first phase of the Harbor Wind Energy Farm on Nueces Bay will produce 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power more than 2,500 homes. The $20 million project, which took approximately six months to complete, features six turbines. According to Lee, the area has also attracted the development of several sizable electricgenerating plants that have spurred demand for construction jobs. He credits efforts by local economic development officials and Texas’ business-friendly regulatory environment for landing these deals. Local, state and international businesses recognize the Coastal Bend Region’s advantages, Culbertson says.

Corpus Christi ranked No. 2 among mid-sized cities on Forbes magazine’s “Best Cities for Jobs” list due to its fast-growing job market. Recent growth in leisure and hospitality, retail and transportation jobs brought unemployment to an all-time low for Aransas, Nueces and San Patricio counties. “We offer logistics optionality with highways, railroad access, the fifth-largest port by tonnage, availability of water, gas and oil, a great beach and golfing year round, two medical centers with a world-class children’s hospital, Eagle Ford Shale proximity, availability of sites near the port and a workforce with skill sets in heavy industry and aviation,” Culbertson says. b u s i n e s s c l i m a t e . c o m / c o r p u s - ch r i s t i

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Reservoir

for Growth

Eagle Ford development brings job, investment boom to region

Story by John Fuller

P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f c h e n i ere e n ergy, i n c .

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o find the center of the South Texas oil and natural gas boom, look no further than the Coastal Bend. Development of the Eagle Ford Shale is possibly the biggest economic coup in the history of Texas, and the 12-county region is a major player. The region encompasses a portion of the 20,000-square-mile oil and natural gas discovery area, and the Gulf Coast is the terminating location for the shipment of many of those resources. As a result, Corpus Christi and its surrounding communities are drawing a host of energy- and transportationrelated construction projects. Development of Eagle Ford Shale deposits of oil and natural gas is estimated to have more than a $25 billion impact on the South Texas economy. Eagle Ford has

already resulted in 13,000 new jobs and is expected to create more than 69,000 new jobs by 2020. Higher prices for oil have helped enhance development as oil, condensate and ethane, propane and butane command high prices. Greater demand for these products both in the U.S. and abroad, along with improved technology for extracting the deposits, have made Eagle Ford and the Coastal Bend a prime development area. Oil, Gas Projects Spring Up One of the largest investments near Corpus Christi is a $10 billion liquefied natural gas terminal developed by Cheniere Energy Inc. The San Patricio County terminal, which is estimated for completion in 2018, b u s i n e s s c l i m a t e . c o m / c o r p u s - ch r i s t i

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Eagle Ford Shale: By the numbers

2,297

Number of drilling permits issued as of June 2012

270

Number of oil and gas drilling rigs in operation as of June 2012

28M

Eagle Ford Shale

Barrels of oil produced in 2011

coastal bend

271.8M

Amount of gas produced in 2011 measured in thousand cubic feet

13,000

New job impact to date

69,000

Projected job impact by 2020

would take pipelined gas from Eagle Ford, then liquefy it and load it into tankers for export. This would be the first plant of its kind in South Texas, says Andrew Ware, director of corporate affairs for Cheniere. “We believe the economic impact and benefits for the Corpus Christi community are substantial,” Ware says. Similar facilities elsewhere have had an estimated impact of 30,000 to 50,000 permanent jobs. Another major project scheduled for completion in 2012 is a $40 million oil dock at the site of the closed Naval Station Ingleside in Corpus Christi. Flint Hills Resources, owner of the dock, and its partner company, Koch Pipeline, have developed a growing oil transport network in the region. The dock will be capable of loading 20,000 barrels of crude oil per hour.

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Construction is nearly completed on Southcross Energy’s new Bonnie View fractionator in Refugio County, which will help meet the growing demands of Eagle Ford Shale production by separating natural gas liquids into hydrocarbon components. Bruce Glasgow, senior vice president of operations for Southcross, says the fractionator will have an initial capacity of 11,500 barrels per day, but could be expanded to 22,500 barrels per day. The $30 million project also includes pipelines to connect the facility with Southcross’ new Woodsboro gas processing plant and its existing Gregory plant in San Patricio County. The region does not have enough pipeline and fractionating capacity, Glasgow explains, and the Southcross projects will bring such facilities “closer to the source of the deposits,” he says.

$1 Billion Pipe Mill Planned Eagle Ford Shale’s activity has also spurred development from energy-related suppliers. TPCO America and its Chinese parent company broke ground in 2011 for a $1 billion pipe mill in Gregory. The plant’s first phase will be completed in 2013 and, when fully operational in 2014, it will employ about 800 workers. The company will take recycled scrap steel and mix it with iron to produce 500,000 metric tons of seamless steel pipe each year. TPCO said the pipe will be used at Eagle Ford pipelines and shipped elsewhere in the U.S. and overseas. “”There has been wonderful support for the plant from community and governmental entities,” said Leah Olivarri, spokesperson for TPCO. “This attitude is the major reason the company decided to locate this plant here in the first place.”


Sustaining the Boom Communities plan for prolonged expansion in oil, gas Eagle Ford oil and gas development is bringing new businesses, jobs and wealth to the Coastal Bend Region. Some projections estimate that Eagle Ford production and development could result in 69,000 new fulltime and indirect jobs by 2020. While the Eagle Ford Shale Development is reminiscent of the oil boom of decades ago, there is widespread commitment to ensure that this economic boom is managed well so it can be sustained for decades to come. An Eagle Ford Shale Consortium has been formed to address ways to sustain the boom in communities where oil and gas drilling are active and in other areas where it is impacted. “Nearly every county and community in the region is experiencing some sort of economic impact from Eagle Ford,” says Jim Lee, economist for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Live Oak and Bee counties, which are located in the oil and gas production area, are experiencing employment gains well above 20 percent on an annual basis. A great deal of economic expansion in recent years has occurred in the travel, transportation and health-related industries, according to Lee. The ripple impact of Eagle Ford has also reached all the way to the Gulf Coast. Cinnamon Shore, a new beach community in Port Aransas, is expanding rapidly, according to Jeff Lamkin, developer of Cinnamon Shore and chief executive officer of Atlantabased Sea Oats Group. Modeled much like the Florida beach community of Seaside, Cinnamon Shore has already sold more than $80 million in vacation properties. The community has drawn a cluster of people with newfound wealth accumulated from the Eagle Ford Development area, Lamkin says.

A number of companies are also taking steps to ensure there is no adverse environmental impact from their projects. One example is Cheniere Energy, which plans to build a $10 billion liquefied natural gas terminal in Corpus Christi. Cheniere has committed $3 million to prevent erosion of Shamrock Island near the proposed plant. – John Fuller

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S ta ff P h o t o

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Flying High Army Depot, Naval Air Stations help power Coastal Bend economy

Story by M.V. Greene

W

hat kind of economic power and opportunity does having thriving military installations in your backyard bring? Just ask residents of the Coastal Bend Region. The Corpus Christi Army Depot and the Naval Air Stations at Corpus Christi and Kingsville are major military assets in the region that attract supporting businesses in private industry – and generate jobs and economic activity. Region’s Largest Employer The depot is the region’s largest employer and the largest Army aviation employer in Texas with

more than 5,700 military employees and contractors. It contributes more than $2 billion annually in economic development for the region, or about 12 percent of the economy. Activated in March 1961, the depot is housed at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, whose other federal tenants include the U.S. Coast Guard; the U.S. Marine Aviation Training Support Group; and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service. For Coastal Bend communities like Beeville in Bee County, the military creates a “spillover” effect for the local economy, Montez

says, as workers who move in purchase housing, buy cars, arrange banking services and spend at retail stores and restaurants. “You don’t find aircraft mechanics standing on the street corner in Beeville, Texas,” Montez says. “They are imported in, and, once they are imported in, they become citizens of the community.” Depot spokeswoman Brigitte Rox attests to the installation’s importance to the region. “A number of CCAD employees spend most of their adult lives working at, and eventually, retiring from CCAD,” Rox says. Jon Gagne, a spokesman for

Workers at the Corpus Christi Army Depot complete a ground check on a UH-60 Black Hawk before a test flight.

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P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f K i a n a A l l e n a n d cc a d

Corpus Christi Army Depot: By the Numbers

5,700 Number of military workers and contractors employed by the Corpus Christi Army Depot

$2B Amount of income the depot contributes to the region’s economy

3,000 P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f er v e y m a r t i n e z a n d cc a d

Number of helicopter engine overhauls recently conducted by the Corpus Christi Army Depot

$2.5B Amount of aircraft and component orders accepted in fiscal year 2011 by the depot Source: Corpus Christi Army Depot

Top: The Corpus Christi Army Depot specializes in overhauling Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache helicopters. Bottom: An artisan at the depot works with fluid cell press machinery.

Todd Bennet t

Blue Angels in Action

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Held each April at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Wings Over South Texas showcases military airpower and aviation feats of the Navy’s Blue Angels pilots, who train in the region. The spring 2012 event attracted more than 70,000 spectators on the first day and included a pre-show practice, a pep rally, music and entertainment acts, and a “Meet The Blues” event, sponsored by Kleberg County and the City of Kingsville, which attracted more than 115,000 visitors.


Naval Air Station Kingsville, describes that installation’s relationship with the surrounding civic and business community as “positive.” Bases Continue to Grow As an added caveat for the region, the military is expanding its presence. The Corpus Christi Army Depot, recently celebrating its 3,000th helicopter engine overhaul, will hire 1,000 new employees over the next three years, according to media reports. As the world’s largest rotary-wing repair facility, the depot specializes in overhauling the vaunted Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache helicopters. From fiscal 2003 through 2011, the depot accepted more than $11.3 billion in aircraft and component orders, including $2.5 billion in FY11. That kind of financial activity and opportunity is drawing attention from private companies outside the region such as Fillmore, Calif.-based KVA Aerospace Inc. Attracting Private Companies David Smallwood, who serves as KVA’s sales manager, says the company is thrilled to be seeking business in the region and is pursuing contracting opportunities. KVA manufactures new airframe and spare parts for aircraft rehabbed at the depot, Smallwood says. He adds that the company has long-term plans to build a manufacturing facility in the area that will hire local workers and establish relationships throughout the Coastal Bend. “It has just grown and grown and grown,” Smallwood says of the depot. “They have all of the expertise located there to rehabilitate helicopters from all branches of the military.”

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Nature Beckons Ecotourism grows in the Coastal Bend Region Story by Kevin Litwin Photography by Todd Bennett

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lessed with a diverse landscape full of natural attractions and some of the country’s best birding and wildlife viewing, the 12-county Coastal Bend Region is growing as a top destination for ecotourists. One of the region’s most popular stops, the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, drew a record number of visitors over the past year and has expanded its attractions to include a new Stingray Lagoon, where visitors can touch and even feed stingrays. More than 540,000 visitors viewed animals, exhibits and shows at the aquarium in 2011, including 60,000 students who participated in various education programs. Along with its aquatic wonders, the aquarium offers a splash park where kids can cool off and exhibits like Dolphin Bay, where visitors can observe Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

“This aquarium is a top cultural attraction in South Texas and an important economic engine for this community,” says president and CEO Tom Schmid, noting its $43 million economic impact on Corpus Christi in 2011. Rockport is also home to an aquarium overlooking Aransas Bay, which showcases exhibits on gulf and bay marine life, as well as a downtown Bay Education Center, which allows visitors to explore the ecology of the region’s estuaries through interactive exhibits. Flights of Fancy Home to hundreds of bird species, Corpus Christi recently ranked as “America’s Birdiest City” for the 10th consecutive year, while nearby Port Aransas was named “Birdiest Small Coastal City” for the third year in a row by Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries.

Dolphins perform for visitors at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi.

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One of the region’s most popular attractions, Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi drew a record number of visitors in 2011.

stunning snapshots With miles of wetlands, inlets, beaches and dunes, the Coastal Bend Region offers a wealth of natural backdrops for nature and wildlife photographers. The region hosts an annual Coastal Bend Wildlife Photo Contest, along with a Conservation Pro Tour of Nature Photography. Some private ranchers even rent parts of their land to those interested in photographing wildlife – and several have built speciality photo blinds for nature photographers with lens and sunlight requirements in mind.

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Popular birding spots throughout the region include Padre Island National Seashore, Choke Canyon State Park and the Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge. Located near the convergence of the Mississippi and Central flyways, Port Aransas boasts more than 150 nature and birding sites – five of which are part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail including: Wetlands Park, Paradise Pond and the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. Boardwalk and observation towers built over wetlands allow bird-watchers to view hundreds of native and migrating birds in their natural habitats. The city’s newest birding site, the Port Aransas Nature Preserve, encompasses more than 1,200 acres

of sand and mud tidal flats full of birds and other wildlife that visitors can admire from observation areas or along miles of hiking and biking trails. Endangered whooping cranes draw visitors to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, where the birds migrate for the winter, and Port Aransas hosts an annual Whooping Crane Festival in their honor each February. Rockport pays homage to the tiny hummingbirds that flock to its borders with the HummerBird Celebration each September. Nature buffs can spot both resident and migrant species like painted buntings, yellow warblers and tropical parula at Blucher Park in the heart of downtown Corpus Christi. Hazel Bazemore Park, located in the northern part


Left: The South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center in Corpus Christi is home to more than 2,000 orchids and nearly 300 roses. Right: A sea turtle swims in Tortuga Cay, a lagoon-like habitat for rehabilitated sea turtles at the Texas State Aquarium.

of the city, is an internationally renowned spot for watching hawks. Tens of thousands of them fly through during peak migration season in the fall. Floral Majority Another of nature’s jewels in the Coastal Bend Region is the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center in Corpus Christi. “This is a 182-acre expanse of wetlands and native brush with trails, and we feature 11 individual floral exhibits and gardens,” says Michael Womack, executive director. “One aspect that makes us different than most botanical gardens is that we also have a nature center, with exhibits such as our Butterfly House, Exotic Parrots, as well as Reptiles in Residence. There are 45 tropical

parrots on display along with several species of reptiles that provide an interactive component to visitors. Kids love the exhibits.” The center, whose slogan is “flora, fauna and fun,” draws about 30,000 visitors annually and is known for its orchid and rose gardens. “Nature tourism is getting more popular all the time in Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend Region,” Womack says. More Natural Wonders An abundance of ecotourism sites recently landed the Coastal Bend Region a Travelers’ Choice award for best family vacation destinations from Trip Advisor. Another of the area’s popular attractions is Goose Island State Park in Fulton, which features

a 1,000-year-old oak tree that measures 35 feet in diameter. Goose Island also has 100 RV parks and campsites, along with fishing opportunities atop a 1,600-foot-long lighted pier that stretches along the mouth of St. Charles Bay. “Nature tourism sites in the Coastal Bend offer a great escape,” Womack says. “They allow people to completely relax for an hour or two.”

What’s Online  Learn more about ecotourism and outdoor attractions in the region at businessclimate.com/corpus-christi.

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Energy/Technology

Clean and Green Coastal Bend Region invests in clean energy production

Story by Kathryn Royster Photography by Todd Bennett

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ith its wealth of rich resources and a business climate that nurtures clean-energy growth, the Coastal Bend Region is poised to be a major player in the next generation of energy production. That growth starts at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (BIC), founded as part of the university’s program to contribute to economic development in the region. The BIC often works with clean-energy entrepreneurs. Projects include geothermal and tidal energy production and energy efficiency in buildings. “If there is a place in the world

better suited for clean energy production, I can’t think of it,” says BIC interim director Bill Cone. “We have abundant sunshine, wind and saltwater, and even inactive oil wells that are perfect for producing geothermal energy.” Going forward, the BIC plans to use a $1.4 million grant to build a lab and workshop where clients can produce prototypes and test technology. The grant will also fund a “green center” that will educate the public about the BIC’s clean-energy projects. First Wind Farm at a U.S. Port Wind energy is an emerging industry in the Coastal Bend. March 2012 marked the opening

of Revolution Energy’s six-turbine, nine-megawatt Harbor Wind Farm at Port Corpus Christi. The $20 million wind farm is the first one to be built at an industrial U.S. port. The wind farm produces enough clean energy to power 2,500 homes and is expected to generate about $7 million in economic benefit to the community. Depending on the availability of federal subsidies, Revolution Energy hopes to build a second-phase farm as large as the first. General Manager Tibor Hegedus says the Coastal Bend was an ideal location for both the company and its project.

The six-turbine Harbor Wind Farm at Port Corpus Christi is the first wind farm to be built at a U.S. industrial port.

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From left: Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center helps entrepreneurs develop clean-energy innovations; Wind and tidal energy production are just a few of the research projects going on at the center, which will soon include a lab and workshop for developing and testing prototypes and technology.

“The folks in Corpus Christi were just very eager to assist us in finding our footing and getting established,” he says. “It was a very cooperative environment.” But the benefit is not just Revolution Energy’s, according to John LaRue, executive director of Port Corpus Christi. The wind farm is located near a dredge area, so the port now receives revenue from previously unusable land. And the public gets a chance to see a wind farm in action. “Ultimately, that’s why we agreed to the project,” LaRue says. “We thought it would give the community some sense of alternative energy they wouldn’t get from watching the news or reading the newspaper.” Transport Hub for Wind Turbines Port Corpus Christi is also on the map as a transport hub

for wind turbine manufacturers. According to LaRue, traffic from these manufacturers increased 30 to 40 percent between 2011 and 2012, thanks to the port’s abundant space, competitive costs, secure storage areas and direct access to railroads. In fact, LaRue says, any energy company can benefit from these advantages, not to mention the region’s dedicated and diverse labor force and Coastal Bend’s relatively low cost of doing business. For Bill Cone of the Business Innovation Center, it’s all about the community’s spirit. “This community has been in the energy business for generations,” he says. “We understand the opportunities and the challenges, and we see energy businesses as good neighbors. It’s part of our culture.” b u s i n e s s c l i m a t e . c o m / c o r p u s - ch r i s t i

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Transportation

Going Global Rise in exports fuel distribution, transportation growth across region

Story by Gary Wollenhaupt Photography by Todd Bennett

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he Coastal Bend Region lies at the center of a multimodal transportation network that’s growing to meet demands of international shipping and local economic development. Major highways crisscross the region including I-37, U.S. Highways 181 and 77, and a leg of the I-69 extension under construction. Port Corpus Christi, the fifth-largest U.S. port by tonnage, is also home to one of the largest Foreign Trade Zones. Rail shippers can choose from three Class I rail carriers: Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern. Freight and passengers can reach domestic and international destinations through the Corpus Christi International Airport. Union Pacific is one of three Class I carriers in the Coastal Bend Region.

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The fifth-largest U.S. port by tonnage, Port Corpus Christi imports and exports large quantities of oil and agricultural products and is expanding to handle growing freight volumes from its rise in energy-related cargo.

Expanding for Growth The region’s transportation network has expanded to meet the demands from companies involved in developing the Eagle Ford Shale petroleum reserves. Port Corpus Christi is seeing record freight volumes moving materials for the Eagle Ford Shale developments, as well as other energy-related cargo such as wind turbines. “We’re at the business end of the funnel for the Eagle Ford Shale for products needed for drilling and exploration and for exporting of the finished products,” says Sandy Sanders, deputy port director for operations and business development. The port recently reopened a dormant dock to accommodate oil shipments by barge, and work is under way to extend the La Quinta Channel and its barge dock capacity so the facility can handle more shipping containers. An environmentally friendly dredging program will give the La Quinta gateway deep-water access. Also, the Panama Canal expansion will

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increase the port’s potential as a gateway for international freight. “The whole Gulf Coast will participate in that, but we’re preparing ourselves to be a major player,” Sanders says. The port recently received a federal TIGER grant to expand rail infrastructure, Sanders notes. “A port is just a node in the transportation equation, and you are only as good as your ability to handle the maritime traffic, but it’s the highway and rail transportation network that’s equally important to that port,” Sanders says. Increased demand for petrochemical exports from the region is also fueling trucking and distribution growth. Louisiana-based Dupre Logistics recently opened a terminal in Corpus Christi to move petroleum coke, crude and other materials for clients in the region. “We welcome the opportunity to serve the region’s growing crude, energy and dedicated needs,” says Jeff Colonna, vice president of operations.


Transportation Trifecta Port Corpus Christi joins forces with other cities to market land-air-sea assets To attract more business and industry to South Texas, local leaders in Corpus Christi, Laredo and San Antonio are tapping into their collective transportation assets with an initiative called START – the South Texas Alliance for Regional Trade. START markets the area’s energy, aerospace, manufacturing and military industries, showcasing positives such as Corpus Christi’s water connections along with land and air connections in Laredo and San Antonio. “Our strategies include joint presentations at trade shows as well as combining our advertising efforts,” says John LaRue, Port of Corpus Christi executive director. “The South Texas region that our three cities represent is larger than many U.S. states, so combining our efforts is a wise move.”

Land-Sea-Air Advantages

Corpus Christi International Airport offers free wireless internet in its terminal, along with other amenities and conveniences.

International Connections In Robstown, economic development officials are working to establish an inland port to provide Chinese manufacturers with a storage and distribution hub for overseas goods shipped through Mexican and U.S. ports. FedEx is the newest tenant at Corpus Christi International Airport with a 46,000-square-foot ground-and freight-shipping center in the airport’s 80-acre International Business Center. The U.S. Coast Guard is also relocating its sector headquarters facility to the airport, says Kim Bridger, the airport’s public relations and marketing coordinator. Heavier cargo planes will soon be able to take off from the airport, which is in the midst of a three-year, $50 million runway extension and safety improvement project. “With all that’s going on in our economy right now, we’re ready and able to get these projects going,” Bridger says.

LaRue says all three cities have attractive factors for industries looking to locate. Corpus Christi is a major port hub that can handle products ranging from aluminum to zucchini, while Laredo is a key entryway to Mexico thanks to a strong road and rail system in place. San Antonio is a well-established intermodal warehousing city that also has a strong airport infrastructure. “In recent years, many U.S. jobs have been shipped to Asia, but that trend is beginning to reverse because energy costs and wages are rising in Asia, plus several Asian companies are now looking to locate in the U.S. to be near American markets,” LaRue says. “As a result, START traveled to Taiwan in August 2012 to speak with representatives from several of their industrial companies, then traveled to Thailand for the same reason.” START also conducted a joint presentation in Colombia in October 2012, in hopes of attracting South American companies to South Texas. “All three cities are truly committed to this land-sea-air joint marketing effort,” LaRue says. – Kevin Litwin

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Health

A Picture of Health Coastal Bend Region home to world-class hospitals offering specialty services Story by Melanie Kilgore-Hill Photography by Todd Bennett

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ationally recognized hospitals and specialized medical care make the Coastal Bend Region a true health-care destination. From advanced radiology to pediatric oncology, the area offers worldclass services close to home. Corpus Christi Medical Center Corpus Christi Medical Center is a 583-bed health-care system staffed by 1,200 medical professionals and more than 600 highly trained physicians. An affiliate of HCA Healthcare, CCMC’s system includes Bay Area, Doctors Regional, The Heart Hospital, Northwest Regional, Bayview Behavioral Hospital, Northshore Emergency Center, Northwest Behavioral Health Center and Radiation Oncology at the Corpus Christi Cancer Center. In 2011, Portland’s Northshore Emergency Center became the area’s first free-standing emergency department, while CCMC’s 68-bed Bayview Behavioral Hospital opened to provide a full range of services for children, adolescents and adults. In 2012, CCMC also opened a hospital-based inpatient rehabilitation program. “The inpatient rehabilitation program will help patients regain quality of life following injury, surgery or disease,” says Jay Woodall, chief executive officer

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CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, which operates three full-service hospitals, is a top employer in the Coastal Bend Region.

of CCMC. “Since the program is located within the hospital, patients will have 24-hour access to nursing and physician care, emergency rapid response care and other hospital services.” CCMC is also a regional leader in minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery and in surgical weight loss, performing gastric banding, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. CHRISTUS Spohn Health System For more than 100 years, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System has brought healing to families in the Coastal Bend. CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi includes Memorial, Shoreline and South campuses – three full-service hospitals serving the entire Corpus Christi community. Recent updates include renovation to the interventional radiology suite at the Memorial campus. State-of-the-art 3-D vascular imaging technology now allows blood vessels and veins to be viewed in real time.

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“From trauma to oncology, a wide range of patients can be helped by this life-saving piece of equipment,” says Paul Gaden, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Memorial’s vice president and chief executive officer. At the 69-bed CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Beeville, diagnostic upgrades include a new 16-slice CT scanner, while Kingsville’s CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleberg offers advanced nuclear medical technology and a newly expanded and renovated intensive care unit. Driscoll Children’s Hospital Top-notch care for kids is available at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, where 250 pediatric specialists represent more than 32 medical specialties and 13 surgical specialties. DCH also staffs the region’s only pediatric emergency room and specialty-trained neonatal and pediatric ground/air transport team, now equipped with a dedicated DCH HALO-Flight helicopter for pediatric emergencies.


Center of Hope Driscoll Children’s Hospital reaches milestones in kidney transplantation

Driscoll’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center welcomes the state’s youngest patients suffering from anemias, hematology disorders, cancers, renal disease and rare blood disorders. And because diagnoses such as lymphoma require highly specialized care, DCH is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, a network of 230 prestigious institutions that allows patients with specific diagnoses to receive the same treatment protocol and clinical trial access regardless of location. Specially trained physicians, dietitians, social workers, therapists, nurses, pharmacists and child life specialists ensure the treatment process at DCH is the best possible. “We use the African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ and the team approach used at Driscoll clearly supports these patients in a similar manner,” says Gerardo Gomez, R.N., director of specialty clinics at DCH.

Each year, Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center welcomes 3,200 visits from South Texas’ youngest patients – many of whom are critically ill children suffering from end-stage renal disease. In 2005, DCH added kidney transplantation to its long list of services, performing 55 transplantations to date. The program surpasses national benchmarks, boasting an impressive 100 percent first graph survival rate. “Our transplant program allows kids in South Texas to undergo transplantation locally rather than driving to Houston or other cities,” says Gerardo Gomez, R.N., director of specialty clinics at DCH. “Our program and results are also being presented and shared with other hospitals nationwide.” Gomez attributes the program’s success to the team approach adopted by DCH staff and physicians. “Having a successful program means you have all specialties in place, from nursing to case managers, dietitians, cardiology and endocrinology,” Gomez says. “We constantly stay on top of medications, blood pressure and biopsies. It takes a full hands-on approach from all team members.” DCH now hosts a transplant symposium every two years, welcoming the best transplant professionals from across the nation. And yearly kidney camps and transplant reunions help kids and families reconnect, share stories and garner support following the lifechanging operation. Gomez says the reunion has helped foster a family-like environment for both staff and transplant patients, half of whom live in the Rio Grande Valley. “We continue to do the good work and hope to become a premiere center for renal transplantation,” Gomez says. – Melanie Kilgore-Hill

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A&M-Corpus Christi Working with BP Texas A&M UniversityCorpus Christi is one of 12 research institutions working with BP to develop new tools and technology for responding to future oil spills. A&M-Corpus Christi has been awarded an $800,000 grant from BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative that will be used to investigate the fate of petroleum in the environment where the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig malfunction occurred in 2010. A&M-Corpus Christi researchers hope to develop new technologies to accurately predict the fate of hydrocarbons found in crude oil released into the environment.

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Education

Turning Out Talent Region provides employers with educated workers, top training centers

Story by Kevin Litwin Photography by Todd Bennett

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olleges and universities in the Coastal Bend Region deserve extra credit for developing talent for the high-tech industries of today and tomorrow. Such is the case at Coastal Bend College where students are studying advancements in industrial and radiological technology, and at the Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend, where construction trade workers receive specialized training. It’s also true at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, which is fast becoming one of the top research institutions in the state. “Our students are looking into creating new GPS technologies and are making advancements with underwater rovers that can examine offshore oil rigs so humans won’t need to dive into the deep water and risk personal safety,” says Gloria Gallardo, A&M-Corpus Christi director of communications and public affairs. Students are also working with the on-campus Harte Research Institute to study oceanic tides and the impact of overdrilling and overfishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

“A&M-Corpus Christi actually measures the tides for the entire Gulf Coast – from Brownsville, Texas, all the way to Florida,” Gallardo says. “The university provides students with academic opportunities that will keep them competitive throughout their entire professional careers.” Teaching STEM Classes At Texas A&M University-Kingsville, research students who share academic interests now reside in Living Learning Communities on campus. “If students share an interest in engineering, they live in the same residence hall, take some of their classes together and do special activities that go along with their engineering studies,” says Cheryl Cain, A&MKingsville director of marketing and communications. “Studies show that this style of living helps students do better in their classes and stay in school longer.” A&M-Kingsville is also involved with Teach Project, where students with degrees who are dissatisfied with their current career paths are being recruited to train in STEM (science,

Overlooking the Corpus Christi Bay, the Harte Research Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conducts marine research.

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P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f ta m u cc

Clockwise from left: Students with shared academic interests reside in Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s Living Learning Communities; Students conduct research at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, one of the state’s top research institutions; Students head to class at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

STEM Programs for Hispanic Students Coastal Bend College and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are each receiving $4.35 million grants to implement STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs for Hispanic students. The grants were awarded as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM Program, and funds will be dispersed over a five-year period. The money will go toward supporting student services, which will include science tutoring, laptops for science classrooms and more 2+2 degree plans for universitybound science majors.

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technology, engineering and mathematics), then teach classes to young students in high poverty rural areas. “A&M-Kingsville is aggressively behind the STEM teaching effort,” Cain says. “We host an annual summertime Young Engineers Camp that targets middle-school and high-school students with an interest in engineering. We also host a GEMS Camp – Girls in Engineering, Manufacturing and Science – aimed at getting girls interested in perhaps someday enrolling in our Engineering College.” Early Opportunities in Research At Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, the faculty offers a variety of projects that get college students involved in research early on. “At most colleges, only graduate students really get the chance to get involved in the most exciting

research where actual scientific discoveries could be made,” says Dr. Rob Hatherill, Del Mar College associate professor of biology. “Del Mar is part of a National Genomics Research Initiative where our young students are studying a number of areas such as viruses that infect bacteria. They are getting the opportunity to understand what science is really all about at an early stage of their academic career.” Hatherill says students at Del Mar also get to intern with companies where research is a high priority. “Del Mar students have been involved with research projects at places like the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Cornell University in New York,” he says. “That’s pretty impressive for the community college that we are.”


Head of the Class Coastal Bend schools prepare students for careers Served by a network of 19 independent districts, schools in the Coastal Bend Region are focused on preparing students for careers and colleges. One leader in this effort is the Corpus Christi Independent School District, which is in the midst of a $300 million facilities renovation and construction project that is adding five new elementary schools, a middle school, a high school and a career technical academy. The project includes allocating $30 million for new technology throughout all existing Corpus Christi campuses. “Also impressive in our district is a full International Baccalaureate program in place that begins in first grade and spans through 12th grade,” says Scott Elliff, CCISD superintendent. “Not many school districts in the nation have IB programs for all 12 grades. We also have an Innovation Academy occurring at Cunningham Middle School and Moody High School where students are involved in research

activities that involve curriculums such as engineering, health science and marine science. About 600 students in grades 6-12 are participating in Innovation Academy.”

Diploma and Degree The district has also established a Collegiate High School on the campus of Del Mar College, where high-achieving students can earn their high-school diplomas by the end of their senior year, while also racking up enough college credits for a two-year associate’s degree. “Students attend high school on the Del Mar campus beginning in the ninth grade, and about 70 percent of them eventually earn both their highschool diploma and a full associate’s degree,” Elliff says. “Parents don’t pay anything for the college credits, and we actually had one of our former Collegiate High School students just graduate from the University of Texas with a biomedical engineering degree – at the age of 19.” – Kevin Litwin

visit our

advertisers B.E. Beecroft Co. Inc. www.beecroftconstruction.com Christus Spohn Health System www.christusspohn.org Corpus Christi International Airport www.corpuschristiairport.com Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation www.ccredc.com Driscoll Children’s Hospital www.driscollchildrens.org H-E-B www.heb.com Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau www.portaransas.org Port of Corpus Christi www.portofcorpuschristi.com

Del Mar College in Corpus Christi

Refugio County Community Development Foundation www.refugio.countytx.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 Town of Fulton www.fultontexas.org

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Livability

A Great Escape Cultural gems, nature retreats draw people to region

Story by Jessica Walker Photography by Todd Bennett

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un and relaxation are easy to come by in the Coastal Bend Region, where outdoor lovers can explore the area by foot, boat, canoe or kayak and culture, arts and festivals are plentiful. “The Texas way of life combined with the tropical atmosphere make it the finest place to live,” says Nancy Deviney, president of the Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council. Home to the world’s longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island, Padre Island National Seashore offers camping, fishing, biking, birding and sea turtle sightings. Visitors can also enjoy the Laguna Madre, one of approximately six hypersaline lagoons in the world and a habitat for redhead ducks, reddish egrets, brown pelicans, peregrine falcons and white-tailed hawks. Corpus Christi’s Mustang Island State Park is home to five miles of beaches and a paddling trail that winds through some of the state’s best shallowwater fishing areas. Located in Bayside, the Fennessey Ranch in Refugio County covers 4,000 acres of wetlands, meadows, lakes, riparian woods and is a frequent migration pathway, drawing more than 100 bird species. Bordered on three sides by the Mission River, the ranch also offers hunting for Russian boar and whitetail deer and photography safaris. Sports fans can enjoy a baseball game with the

Corpus Christi Hooks, an indoor football game with the Corpus Christi Hammerheads or a hockey game with the Corpus Christi IceRays. Golf enthusiasts can tee up at several area courses, including Corpus Christi Country Club, River Hills Country Club, Padre Isles Country Club, Lozano Golf Center and Oso Beach Municipal Golf Course. Schlitterbahn Waterpark plans to build a $552 million resort on Upper Padre Island. In Rockport, visitors can swim in a saltwater lagoon at Blue Wave Beach or explore nature trails nearby. Top Cultural Attractions Coastal Bend’s museums offer plenty of sensory overload for history buffs, art connoisseurs and curious minds. Rockport’s Texas Maritime Museum features exhibits, art and artifacts on the region’s rich cultural heritage, while the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History offers exhibits showcasing natural history, archaeology, South Texas history and a photography collection from popular Corpus Christi photographer Doc McGregor. “The museum is a place where the entire family can have an educational experience,” says Rick Stryker, director of the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. Located on the Corpus Christi Bay, the Art Museum of South Texas features galleries, art studios

From top: Corpus Christi Bayfront Park draws visitors with its interactive water fountain, outdoor cafe and more; The USS Lexington in Corpus Christi showcases 20 aircraft from the National Museum of Aviation; Tourists can observe artifacts and animal, aquatic and plant life from the region at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History; Visitors relax on the beaches of South Padre Island.

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Ad Index

C3 B.E. Beecroft Co. Inc.

24 Port of Corpus Christi

38 Christus Spohn Health System

C4 Refugio County Community Development Foundation

1 Robstown Area Development Commission

2 San Patricio Economic Development Corporation

4 Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

C2 Texas A&M University Kingsville

10 Town of Fulton

6 Corpus Christi International Airport 24 Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation

19 Driscoll Children’s Hospital

23 H-E-B

10 Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau


P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f t h e C o rp u s C h r i s t i F e s t i va l o f t h e Ar t s

Adventure Awaits The Coastal Bend Region offers a trove of adventure for outdoor buffs and water enthusiasts. Whether you’re into hunting, fishing or water sports, you’ll find great escapes at these spots.

For anglers: Home to acres of shallow bays, the region is an ideal place to cast a line. Best fishing spots include: • Bluff’s Landing • Packery Channel Boat Ramp • Marker 37 • Clem’s • Billings • Padre Island National Seashore

for Hunters: Hunters can find waterfowl, doves, deer and more in the region. Most popular hunting gounds include: • Laguna Madre • Baffin Bay • Premont • Falfurrias • San Jose Island • Matagorda Island • The Ecino in Sinton • The Fennessey Ranch in Bayside

for water sports fans: The region offers ideal spots for kiteboarding and windsurfing, including: • North Beach/Corpus Christi Beach • Padre Island National Seashore at Bird Island Basin • JFK Causeway • Grassy Point/Bluff’s Landing • Oleander Point at Cole Park • Corpus Christi Marina • Texas A&M Beach • Ropes Park • Poenisch Park • Port Aransas • Packery Channel

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Top: An artist displays her work at the annual Corpus Christi Festival of the Arts. Bottom: Sailboats compete in weekly races at the Corpus Christi Municipal Marina.

and an interactive playroom. The historic World War II aircraft carrier, USS Lexington – also known as “the Blue Ghost” – is nearby and includes a museum open for tours. Offering an alternative to local history, the Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures & Education Center houses more than 8,000 Asian artifacts, including Japanese Hakata dolls and paintings, Chinese porcelain and Korean textiles. In addition to the area’s museums, the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra attracts residents and visitors alike with performances by some of the Coastal Bend’s best musicians. Year-Round Festivals The region’s close-knit community spirit is evident in the many festivals it hosts throughout the year. The annual Corpus

Christi Festival of the Arts, held during the last weekend of March, offers performances in contemporary and folk dance, independent films, ballet, theater, musical entertainment, art exhibits and more. Approximately 50 acts grace three stages for the weekend Texas Jazz Festival in Corpus Christi’s Heritage Park in October, and Rockport hosts its own film festival in November. Seafood lovers will enjoy Shrimporee in Aransas Pass, the largest shrimp festival in the state, as well as Oysterfest in Fulton, which includes an oyster-eating contest. Don’t miss the region’s other distinctive festivals including Windfest in Portland, Rattlesnake Races in San Patricio County, and the Three Rivers Salsa Festival and the George West Storyfest in Live Oak County.


economic profile Business Climate The 12-county Coastal Bend Region features a diversified economy that includes advanced manufacturing, a robust oil and gas sector, military presence and major assets including Port Corpus Christi. The region has gained numerous accolades for its low housing costs, job creation, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, as well as a top draw for retirees.

Population (2010) Region, 571,987 Aransas, 23,158 Bee, 31,861 Brooks, 7,223 Duval, 11,782 Jim Wells, 40,838 Kenedy, 416 Kleberg, 32,061 Live Oak, 11,531 McMullen, 707 Nueces, 340,223 Refugio, 7,383 San Patricio, 64,804

Major Population Centers (2010) Corpus Christi, 305,215 Kingsville, 26,213 Alice, 19,104 Portland, 15,099

Median Household Income (2010) Aransas, $42,179 Bee, $40,278 Brooks, $19,959

Duval, $30,493 Jim Wells, $37,020 Kenedy, $48,333 Kleberg, $36,571 Live Oak, $43,719 McMullen, $41,453 Nueces, $43,280 Refugio, $42,949 San Patricio, $45,189

Major Employers Corpus Christi Army Depot, 5,800

Key Industry Sectors (% of Jobs) Government, 22.2% Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 17.5% Educational & Health Services, 16.8% Mining, Natural Resources & Construction, 12.6% Leisure & Hospitality, 10.8% Professional & Business Services, 7.7% Manufacturing, 4.7% Financial Activities, 4% Other Services, 3.7%

Labor Force Statistics Region, 288,033 Aransas, 12,074

Corpus Christi ISD, 5,178

Bee, 11,120

CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, 5,144

Brooks, 3,221 Duval, 5,457

HEB, 5,000

Jim Wells, 21,644

City of Corpus Christi, 3,171

Kenedy, 229

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, 2,822

Kleberg, 17,210

Kiewit Offshore Services, 2,200

Live Oak, 5,392

Bay Ltd., 2,100

McMullen, 426

Driscoll Children’s Hospital, 1,800

Nueces, 176,671

Del Mar College, 1,542

Refugio, 4,276

Corpus Christi Medical Center, 1,300

San Patricio, 30,313

What’s Online  For more in-depth demographic, statistical and community information on the region, go to businessclimate.com/corpus-christi and click on Facts & Stats. This section is sponsored by

B.e. Beecroft co. inc. maintains a team of experienced, energetic construction professionals dedicated to providing exceptional service to our clients. Pre-construction services • Conceptual estimating • Constructability review • Scheduling • Subcontract market analysis

construction services • Traditional general contractor services • Continuous value analysis • Regular schedule updates • Ability to self perform numerous trades

contract Delivery MethoDs • Traditional lump sum contracting • Guaranteed maximum price • Construction management at risk • Design build

• Willingness to joint venture for larger projects

B.E. Beecroft Co. Inc. • General Contractor • Corpus Christi, TX • (361) 882-6791• www.beecroftconstruction.com

b u s i n e s s c l i m a t e . c o m / c o r p u s - ch r i s t i

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Oil and Gas Industry

R E F U G I O

Excellent schools: Refugio ISD • Austwell-Tivoli ISD • Woodsboro ISD Dallas

Superior health care:

Refugio Co. Memorial Hospital • Three clinics Two rehabilitation nursing homes State-of-the-art wellness center

Small Town Big

El Paso

Affordable housing Recreation: Hunting • Fishing • Camping • Birding www.refugiocountytx.org

Austin San Antonio

Refugio

Houston

Business Images of The Coastal Bend of Texas 20112-13  

Home to nearly 600,000 people, the 12 counties of Coastal Texas include top industries in agriculture, petrochemical manufacturing, large-sc...

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