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What’s Online  See video of how businesses in the High Ground are breeding big successes.

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A Big Updraft

Wind energy draws components makers

WOWW Factor

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28 Workstyle A Big Updraft


Wind power component makers flock to High Ground.

There’s Room for More


High Ground attracts companies that make specialized products.



Lots of Sizzle


Cattle production remains a prime industry in The High Ground.

Two for Tomorrow


Programs boost High Ground entrepreneurs

The WOWW Factor


Program brings arts, science and culture to High Ground schools Table of Contents Continued on Page 7


On the Cover The High Ground’s highway system is a draw for business Photo by jeff adkins

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at the center of the texas Panhandle find your future business location.

Pampa, future wind capital of the world

Texas Sized Business Opportunities: Wind, gas and coal power Diversified agriculture Dairies/feed lots Swine genetics Oil, gas and chemical production Support manufacturing Quality of life Rail and interstate access Clean air and water Great recreation Creative incentives

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Business Climate




Transportation: The Right Connections


Livability Why Don’t You Take a Hike?






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Littlefield … where BIG things happen. Education

• Quality education: Pre-K through 12th grade • TEA recognized primary, elementary and junior high schools • Low tax rate, zero bonded indebtedness

Business • Business management coaching through the Sirolli Institute • Taxable sales of over $11.5 million during the second quarter of 2009 • Resources and incentives to match your business needs

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Location • Two major highways intersect Littlefield, Hwy. 84 and Hwy. 385 • Centrally located on the BNSF main line for rail shipping • Access to major transportation corridors

Agriculture • Total 2009 estimated agricultural income, including all commodities: $339 million+

“We maintain our corporate offices in Littlefield, Texas because of the good life we enjoy in a small town with a unique spirit and pride in tradition.” ~ Roger Lowe, Sr., owner

• 2009 estimated crop income: $161 million+ • 2009 estimated milk income: $97 million+ • 2009 estimated fed beef income: $79 million+

Littlefield Economic Development Corporation • (806) 385-1573 • (806) 782-6936 •



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A Big Updraft

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Wind energy draws components makers

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Digital Edition

A Big Updraft Wind power component makers flock to High Ground

Story by Pamela Coyle





ind in The High Ground is more than just hot air. The region has become a high-profile hub for wind energy enterprises, with large companies that make components for the wind industry setting up shop. The list is long, impressive and international. In November 2009, Duke Energy announced that it would match a $22 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to design, build and install large-scale batteries to store wind energy at the Notrees Windpower Project near Odessa. Zarges Aluminum Systems, a German maker of wind turbine components, as well as Alstom, a French company that assembles nacelles, which house the components of turbines, have major projects coming to Amarillo. “We still make lots of stuff in this part of the world,” says Richard “Buzz” David, president and CEO of the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. “This is a region that understands manufacturing.” Right: Students at West Texas A&M University’s Alternative Energy Institute create a windmill for a local high school.




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Commercial Business Financing

Let our financing be the key to your success.

Long-term Fixed Rates Small Down Payment New Construction Existing Buildings Equipment Financing

Texas Panhandle Regional Development Corporation P.O. Box 9257 Amarillo, Texas 79105 (806) 331-6172 •

Caprock Business Finance Corporation P.O. Box 3730 Freedom Station Lubbock, Texas 79452 (806) 762-8721 •

SBA 504 – The money that makes America work


T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as


High Ground Offers Exceptional Opportunities Communities of all sizes are pursuing economic growth


rom the Panhandle region in the north through the South Plains and on down to the Permian Basin, The High Ground of Texas offers exceptional business opportunities and an outstanding quality of life. In all, the three sections span 66 counties and contain a population of more than 1.3 million people, including a workforce of more than 550,000. Promoting economic growth in this region, where elevations typically exceed 3,000 feet, is The High Ground of Texas, a 21-year-old nonprofit marketing organization. Its members include economic development corporations, cities, counties, chambers of commerce, cooperatives, educational institutions, industry associations, utilities and workforce organizations. Municipalities of all sizes are aggressive and actively involved in the pursuit of economic growth. Target industries include alternative energy, animal production, biotechnology, dairy, distribution, food processing, manufacturing, meat production, petroleum and value-added agricultural products.



















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For more information, contact: The High Ground of Texas 401 N. Third St., Suite 4 P.O. Box 716 Stratford, TX 79084 Phone: (806) 366-7510 Fax: (806) 366-7511 E-mail:

























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The High Ground of Texas

















San Angelo REAGAN




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Many Hands, Good Cheese Hilmar Cheese Co. is a fixture of The High Ground dairy industry. The company, which employs 180 people, received the Panhandle Workforce Development Board’s 2009 Employer of Excellence Award. Hilmar Cheese began production in Dalhart in September 2007, and is in the midst of an expansion that will create another 50 jobs. And thanks to Hilmar Cheese, Dumas landed Western Dairy Transport to handle the increasing milk transport market. Western Dairy plans to create more than 36 new jobs paying an average salary of $50,000. Watonga Cheese Factory produces 60 varieties of cheese products at its newly opened facility in Perryton. And Pacific Cheese Co., which started production at a facility in the Amarillo CenterPort Business Park in 2008, processes 40-pound blocks of cheese from Hilmar Cheese by shredding and repackaging it to wholesalers’ specifications. Its clients include Taco Bell.

Now That is Jerky It doesn't lay claim to the title Beef Jerky Capital of the World, but The High Ground has an ample supply of providers on its menu. Edes Custom Meats in Amarillo, for example, worked on a beef jerky process for three years to get the right flavor and texture before adding it to its full line of beef, poultry, lamb and fish products. It sells beef jerky in 8-ounce packages. BS Brand Beef Jerky in Midland started out as a kitchen business, but owner Billy Stewart has now expanded to include jalapeno, TexMex and Barbeque Beef in his company's offering of jerky flavors. Other jerky producers in the region include White’s Beef Jerky in Friona, Lone Star Beef Jerky in Lubbock and Keeter’s Meat Co. in Tulia.


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All-Around Athletes The High Ground has produced its share of top-flight athletes. Two-time Paralympic gold medalist Jeremy Campbell hails from Perryton in Ochiltree County. Campbell, who made his Paralympic Games debut in 2008, set a record in the grueling men’s pentathlon, which includes long jump, shot put, 100- and 400-meter races and discus. Campbell set a world record with 4,662 points and earned gold in the men’s discus. Odessa’s Toby “Crash” Stevenson is a world-class pole vaulter who won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, and a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games.

A High-Tech Cleanup Tool A newly developed decontamination wipe invented by Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar and developed at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University’s Reese Technology Center campus has proven itself in cleaning up chemical warfare agents and toxic chemicals. Now, it has found new application for use in oil spill cleanups, such as the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Fibertect Cotton-Soaking, a three-layer, flexible, inert, nonwoven, nonparticulate decontamination system, is manufactured by Hobbs Bonded Fibers for First Line Technology.

Rooftops Wanted The High Ground of Texas regional economic development coalition has launched a program targeted to housing developers from a fivestate area that are involved in single family, multifamily and rental property projects. The program is designed to link developers to housing opportunities in some of the communities in The High Ground’s 60-county service territory. The marketing initiative includes a multifaceted information campaign including print, online and direct contact promotional strategies. Cities involved in the 2009-2010 Housing in The High Ground Campaign include Aspermont, Big Spring, Crosbyton, Friona, Levelland, Midland, Monahans, Muleshoe, Perryton, Seminole and Stratford. Go to for more on the program.

The U.S. EPA approved the patented product as a sorbent in May 2010. Fibertect’s top and bottom layers provide absorbency, while the center layer holds volatile compounds like oil fumes and toxic vapors. Its developers note that unlike synthetic materials used in many oil containment booms, Fibertect is made from raw cotton and activated carbon, and is more environmentally friendly.

Putting a Head on Expansion The San Angelo Development Corp. has approved nearly $1 million in incentives for the creation of a regional beer distribution center. The incentive – $930,000 to Farmer’s Branch-based Glazer’s Distributors – will create 79 jobs and retain 45 jobs already in San Angelo. The jobs have an average salary of $34,000. Glazer’s, the 10th-largest beer wholesale company in the United States, renovated its 120,000-square-foot plant in San Angelo to convert it into a West Texas regional hub for beer and wine shipments.

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All Aboard for the North Pole The West Texas & Lubbock Railway hosts the West Texas Polar Express, a holiday train excursion that ties to the fabled book and movie, The Polar Express. The train departs twice daily from Lubbock Water Rampage park for a 75-minute ride in holiday-decorated cars. The excursion includes a reading of The Polar Express, music from the movie, hot chocolate and cookies and, along the way, a stop at the North Pole station for a visit from Santa and his elves. You can even wear your pajamas. Go to for more.

take the plunge

You Can Win for Losing

Famed bank robbing outlaws Bonnie and Clyde have more than a passing connection to The High Ground. The U.S. Highway 83 Truss Bridge was built in 1939 over the Salt Fork of the Red River in Collingsworth County, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Legend has it that shortly after the bridge it replaced washed out in 1933, the dangerous duo and their gang drove into the river at high speed. In what has been called The Red River Plunge of Bonnie & Clyde, Bonnie was badly burned and left unable to walk without assistance. The duo were killed a few months after the Red River Plunge, in Louisiana.

You can call Lance and Melissa Morgan losers, and that’s OK. The husband-and-wife residents of Aspermont were teammates on season nine of the NBC hit show Biggest Loser, where contestant teams vie to shed the most pounds, get in better physical shape and win cash prizes. Lance, a rancher, lost 128 pounds to get down to 237 pounds. He was eliminated from the show in week 10. Melissa, an attorney, shed 90 pounds to get down to 143 pounds, but was eliminated from the competition in week 12.

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Business Climate

Good Friends, Good Results High Ground of Texas’ marketing initiatives hit home runs

direct mail

tailgate party at the world ag expo


T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as

Story by Katie Kuehner-Hebert


he High Ground of Texas economic development coalition knows how to put on a party to attract more businesses to the region – just ask some of the people who have attended its shindigs. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, for example, was on hand in February 2009 to greet businesses attending The High Ground’s special VIP events at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. Staples said those events grow in popularity every year due to the coalition’s

reputation for Texas-style hospitality. “As regions attempt to brand themselves, it’s important that they send the message: ‘We want your business, we welcome your investments and we want to be a good host,’” Staples says. “The Tailgate Parties and High Ground’s hospitality suites are all part of that process, but bottom line – you have to have a good product, and High Ground has done a good job of sending that message.” Norman Mullin, president of Enviro-Ag Engineering in Amarillo,

has attended The High Ground’s Tailgate Party at the World Ag Expo every February since the coalition first launched the event in 2003. The consulting firm provides environmental permitting and design services primarily for dairies, and enjoys mingling every year at the Tailgate Party with dairy farmers nationwide who have expanded or are looking to expand to The High Ground region. “I run into more of our clients at this single event than I do anywhere

internet projects hospitality event at windpower expo

recruiting trips

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T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as

Brian McCord

“High Ground has done an excellent job of promoting this region, and the Tailgate Party is a very wellrespected event at the Expo.”

else,” says Mullin, whose firm financially sponsors the event. “The High Ground has done an excellent job of promoting this region, and the Tailgate Party is a very wellrespected event at the Expo.” Capital Farm Credit, another sponsor, also actively supports and participates in the event to attract would-be clients. Tanya Bishop, director of advertising at the firm’s Lubbock office, says the event has been popular from the get-go, because it features the Texas Crossroads, a lively “house band.” “It’s really important to have a great event the first year, and The High Ground did that – with a great band, food and drinks,” Bishop says. “That got people talking, and then they brought more friends the next time.” Capital Farm Credit also has partnered with The High Ground at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., which has enabled the firm to attract clients who needed financing to buy land in Texas, Bishop says. “We get a lot of bang for our buck at these events,” she says. Alan Rhodes, a partner in the law firm Underwood, Wilson, Berry, Stein and Johnson PC in Amarillo, says that The High Ground’s marketing initiatives also serve to reaffirm the effectiveness of each of the economic development organizations within the coalition. For example, The High Ground’s Texas Blowout Hospitality

Event at the Wind Power Show in Dallas has helped capture the attention of companies such as Alstom Power Inc. and Zarges Aluminum Systems GmbH. Alstom is set to build a turbine/ nacelle manufacturing facility in Amarillo, with the support of the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. Zarges, a division of Germanybased Zarges-Tubesca Holding GmbH, is constructing a facility in Amarillo to manufacture integrated aluminum internal systems for wind towers. The High Ground coalition represents the northern 66 counties in West Texas, and its marketing initiatives target businesses in manufacturing, valued-added agriculture, food processing, distribution, and oil and gas. The coalition also coordinates recruiting trips, direct mail and Internet projects. All of The High Ground’s members receive the prospect leads generated in these marketing activities. Lorie Vincent, The High Ground of Texas’ executive director, says before the coalition was formed in 1988, many of the smaller rural communities were not able to actively participate in industry events. “All of the communities in the region have pulled together to form this organization, so they can leverage their resources and market the entire region,” Vincent says.

The High Ground’s marketing initiatives are felt across the entire 66-county region. i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m



T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as

A Big Updraft Wind power component makers flock to High Ground

Story by Pamela Coyle


Right: Students at West Texas A&M University’s Alternative Energy Institute create a windmill for a local high school.

Brian McCord

Sta f f P h o t o

ind in The High Ground is more than just hot air. The region has become a high-profile hub for wind energy enterprises, with large companies that make components for the wind industry setting up shop. The list is long, impressive and international. In November 2009, Duke Energy announced that it would match a $22 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to design, build and install large-scale batteries to store wind energy at the Notrees Windpower Project near Odessa. Zarges Aluminum Systems, a German maker of wind turbine components, as well as Alstom, a French company that assembles nacelles, which house the components of turbines, have major projects coming to Amarillo. “We still make lots of stuff in this part of the world,” says Richard “Buzz” David, president and CEO of the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. “This is a region that understands manufacturing.”

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1 Texas’ rank among U.S. states in wind power generated

2 Texas’ rank among U.S. states in wind power capacity

Working together to construct components for wind energy ph o t o b y br i a n M c C o r d

9,500 Megawatts generated by wind power in Texas

350 Megawatt generation under construction

6,181 Number of wind turbines in operation

4 The high-quality class of wind in the Texas Panhandle Sources: Statistics as of Dec. 31, 2009, American Wind Energy Association. Additional information from Wind Powering America, and the Alternative Energy Institute.


T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as

The Amarillo Economic Development Corp. – – targeted wind equipment companies about five years ago, touting the region’s strong manufacturing base, qualified workforce and solid transportation infrastructure. “Wind turbines have 8,000 parts that have to be made somewhere,” David says. Landing a Big One Take Alstom’s nacelles, for example. The nacelle is a large, heavy box that sits on top of the tower and contains the components that run the turbine, including the gear box, rotor and hundreds if not thousands of components that control the blades, collect the energy and convert

it into usable power. Alstom broke ground on its new Amarillo plant in May 2010. At full capacity, the assembly facility will contain 275 full-time employees, including engineers and production workers. Landing a company such as Alstom creates its own multiplier effect – nacelle components can be heavy, and having suppliers close to the assembly site keeps shipping costs under control. Alstom expects many of its suppliers will open new plants in The High Ground, and the company is working with economic development officials to identify good candidates. “This is the type of project that comes along once or twice in a lifetime,” David says.

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Energy: A key ingredient in the growth of Monahans.

But what drives the community of Monahans is the energy of its


Come see our industrial sites! More than 40 available acres to choose from!

303 S. Allen Monahans, TX 79756 (432) 943-2983 Contact: Morse Haynes


T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as

Sta f f P h o t o

More International Flavor Alstom is not the only new wind business in the neighborhood. Martifer Energy Systems, a Portuguese company, is locating its North American wind-energy headquarters in San Angelo. EMA Electromecanica, based in Argentina, is building a facility in Sweetwater to manufacture equipment for the power distribution industry. In Dumas, Anemometry Specialists Inc., an Iowa-based company, has a new office. The company deals with wind assessments, site assessments, and wind data collection and analysis.

Lufkin Industries, which already has a strong local presence in the oil and power transmission arenas, is considering building a wind turbine transmission repair operation in Odessa. A robust resource, Texas has awesome wind. It leads the United States in wind power generation, currently producing 10,000 megawatts – a number that grows monthly as new wind farms come online. “Right now, a real push is trying to get at what is happening with the upper level winds,” says Kenneth Starcher, assistant director of training, education and outreach at the Alternative Energy Institute ( in Canyon. “We really understood well what is happening here on the ground, but the best data starts at 5,000 feet high.” The High Ground winds are threefold better than other parts of Texas, but much of the region is on a different transmission grid, Starcher says. That fact and rate issues complicate the economics of wind farm installation, but Starcher says individual communities that are installing their own systems are three times more likely to help lure bigger projects. And when they come, they’ll be able to shop close to home.

big business The San Angelo Development Corp, city of San Angelo, Tom Green County and state of Texas partnered to bring Martifer-Hirschfeld Energy Systems to San Angelo. The company, with assistance from an incentive package, is investing $40 million in a facility to make steel towers for wind-turbine generators, creating 225 jobs and producing 400 towers a year by 2013.

Getting Arms Around the Wind alternative energy Institute research generates breakthroughs The Alternative Energy Institute focuses on two sources of power – wind and information. It measures wind data from 47 Texas collection points and publishes the information free on its website,, giving wind farm developers, cities interested in their own installations and private-property owners a place to start. Harnessing wind and information is nothing new for the Alternative Energy Institute, which has been a leading international and national resource for nearly 40 years. The Alternative Energy Institute is based at West Texas A&M University in Canyon and was an outgrowth of wind energy research that started in 1970.

As interest in wind power picks up steam, AEI has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as one of four U.S. sites testing small wind turbines on the commercial market. The other sites are in New York, Utah and Kansas. Kenneth Starcher, assistant director of training, education and outreach, compares the two-year project to Energy Star appliance ratings and official miles-per-gallon stickers that accompany all new vehicles. “The idea is to collect the data to improve confidence in small wind turbines by getting them certified,” Starcher says. “This way, consumers will know what they are getting.” At the other end of the spectrum,

AEI and West Texas A&M are working with a Spanish company on “Big Tex” – what would be the largest wind turbine in the United States. Gamesa’s G10X will be on campus and students in aerospace, mechanical, civil, electrical and industrial engineering programs, as well as the computer science, atmospheric science and materials science departments, will be involved with the research. The height of the turbine is expected to be 420 feet (128 meters), making it as tall as the length of a football field and the tallest wind turbine in the nation. That is 50 percent higher than most current tall turbines, Starcher says. – Pamela Coyle i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m



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There’s Room for More High Ground attracts companies that make specialized products

Story by Pamela Coyle

Brian McCord


usiness leaders in High Ground communities are aggressively marketing the region’s manufacturing assets, which include a central location and solid transportation infrastructure. A new vinyl window manufacturer has set up shop in Seminole and plans to make an average of 50 windows a day through 2010, ramping up to 550 a day by 2014. At that point, Tex-Star Windows expects to have a workforce of 30. The company makes Energy Starrated vinyl windows for sale to builders and consumers. In Borger, bullets are the big news. Black Rock Powder Co. has entered the ammunition market and already is moving into larger facilities to boost production. The company makes

Dynamite Firestarters in Oklahoma and will consolidate that operation under the same roof in Borger within the next year. Owner Steve Lesly wants Black Rock Powder to be among the top five U.S. ammunition makers, and a shortage of handgun rounds should help the company grow. Black Rock Powder makes .380-, .40- and .45-caliber rounds. It has two machines that at top speed can produce 5,000 rounds an hour. In late June 2010, after working with the National Park Service, the company got on the approved list of federal vendors, allowing Black Rock to sell to all federal agencies. The company has also entered into a brass exchange program that will enable it to produce

Jake Wiese of Tex-Star Windows works at the company’s new facility in Seminole. i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m


P h o t o c o u rt e s y o f m o n k e yj e n n v i a f l i c k r

Left: Midland is a hub of High Ground commerce Right: Bullets are produced at Black Rock Powder Co. in Borger.

remanufactured rounds along with the new ammunition for sale to retailers. Dan Redd, president of the Borger Economic Development Corp., says Black Rock approached the agency’s board in September 2009. “We looked at their project and worked through it and funded them to get started, including a loan to buy machinery,” Redd says. “They are selling all they can make.” The Borger EDC also is preparing to buy a larger building that Black Rock will lease.

Borger has other success stories, as well. Morgan Metal Finishing, which does anodizing of aerospace parts and some aftermarket parts, is relocating from California and renovating an old laboratory building in Borger. Also, Sglass, LTD, is expanding from an existing facility in Bridgeport, Texas, to a plant on Industrial Boulevard. The company makes fiberglass hunting blinds and after-market auto parts and recently won contracts to manufacture ambulance tops. To the south, Midland is targeting


Percentage of High Ground employees in the manufacturing industry


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distribution, electronics and biomedical companies for a 40,000-square-foot flex building in the Entrada Business Park, says Mike Hatley, president of the Midland Development Corp. The site, at Midland International Airport, has a hangar building under renovation for potential commercial tenants as well as shovel-ready sites. The location, between Midland and Odessa, cuts down commute times for workers coming from either community and the upgraded airport adds to the appeal. “The population growth pattern shows that this is a very good market,” Hatley says. “It is a high priority area for us.” The Odessa Development Corp. committed $160,000 in funding toward renovations to a building at Odessa College that will offer an associate’s degree in instrumentation and automation. The program is supported by several companies in the region, including Chevron, Saulsbury Industries, Dixie Electric and Major Electric. “Everything that’s out there right now is about technology, and that’s changing every day,” says Raymond Chavez, Major Electric owner.

Monsanto Takes a Cotton to Lubbock RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Center Targets breeding and testing Monsanto Co.’s new $15 million research and development facility is putting a high-tech spin on Lubbock’s recent industrial growth. The agricultural biotechnology giant picked the Lubbock Business Park as its central spot for cotton breeding and testing programs in the High Plains region. Texas accounts for 50 percent of the cotton acreage planted in the United States. Significantly, the 20 permanent jobs that accompany the research center include five at the doctoral level and 10 that require bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Monsanto also will hire 120 seasonal workers each year to work with the test crops, says Marc Farmer, business recruitment director for the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, which owns the park. “For a community like Lubbock, with a lot of momand-pop shops, this is a big deal,” Farmer says. The

city is known for agriculture, light manufacturing and distribution, but Monsanto’s new research center is expanding Lubbock’s profile, he adds. Company scientists are working to increase yield potential of cotton crops and produce better quality fiber. Monsanto has other cotton programs in Hale Center and Haskell, and a new testing center in South Texas will give the company more environments to test genetic traits for water use and other measures. LEDA has invested more than $22 million in the Lubbock Business Park, a 586-acre tract of land located off Interstate 27. The Monsanto project comprises 12.2 acres and ground was broken on the project in November 2009. The building shell was completed in June 2010 and the building was slated to be finished by the end of the year. – Pamela Coyle i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m



T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as

Lots of Sizzle Cattle production remains a prime cut in The High Ground economy

Story by Kevin Litwin Photography by Brian McCord


ere’s a beef tip: The cattle industry is of prime importance to The High Ground economy. In fact, The High Ground is part of a three-state region where beef delivers an economic impact of about $20 billion a year. “Our association represents Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, and that three-state region has produced 30 percent of the nation’s fed beef for eight of the last 11 years,” says Ross Wilson, CEO of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. “And 90 percent of the cattle are produced in

The High Ground within a 200-mile radius of Amarillo.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas feed yards are home to between 3 million and 3.5 million cattle, and the majority of those are in the 150 yards located in The High Ground region. The average-size feed yard is 35,000 head, and it turns cattle every 150 days, so each one will market about 87,000 cattle annually. The state of Texas estimates that feed yards employ about one employee per thousand head of cattle, and seven i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m


service jobs are created for every feed yard job. “These are high-capital operations with relatively low labor, but there are still 25,000 jobs in The High Ground cattle-feeding industry,” Wilson says. Great Conditions for Beef Cattle The reasons are many for The High Ground being such a hot spot for beef cattle. There is an abundance of feedstuffs – both locally grown and supplied from unit car trains from the Midwest – as well as ample grazing land, a relatively mild climate and proximity to major meatpackers. In addition, the winds on the high plains help keep the cattle cool in the summer, and cattle producers are able to continue growing cattle in coldweather months, thanks to the area’s abundance of winter wheat. The low

Cargill Meat Solutions, one of North America’s largest beef processors, has several operations throughout The High Ground region and is a major employer.


CHS Inc. Global West Texas sunsets Providing innovative client solutions Friona, Texas

Company Name: ____________________________________ Distribution: _____________________________________ Favorite View: ____________________________________ Inspiration: ______________________________________ ________________________________________________ Regional Office: __________________________________

levels of rainfall in The High Ground are also good for cattle feeders. “Rain leads to mud, and cattle won’t eat as much or perform as well in muddy conditions,” says Walter Lasley, owner of Walter Lasley & Sons Inc. near Stratford. “Our business is all about growing animals in an efficient manner. Cattle don’t grow well when they have to deal with mud and heat. In the north Corn Belt, they have a slogan that by July 4, you either sell them or you smell them. We don’t have that problem here.” Advancements in The High Ground Cattle Industry The cattle industry in The High Ground is also all about making advancements, including scientific feeding practices that have increased meat yields per animal in recent years. Advancements in animal feed are

getting the cattle to market more quickly, fewer animals are producing more meat, and those fewer animals result in the discharge of less emissions into the environment. An example of a specific beef industry advancement is Cargill Meat Solutions, which has plants in Plainview and Friona. Both plants are on the cutting edge of meat processing, and the company has pioneered a steam pasteurization technology that has revolutionized the way the beef

industry battles E. coli. Wilson says several other advancements are making beef an even better source for humans to attain healthy minerals such as iron, phosphorus, selenium, zinc and B vitamins. “The beef industry is all about advancements, and we get better all the time,” he says. “All the advancements help contribute to the bottom line for everyone involved with cattle in The High Ground and throughout all of Texas.”

Milking It high ground residents win award for work in dairy Lorie Vincent, executive director of The High Ground of Texas, and Janet Claborn, director of Muleshoe Economic Development Corp., were honored as the Outstanding Dairy Industry Development Award winners at the World Ag Expo in February 2010. The award was given in recognition of their efforts toward building the dairy industry in The High Ground region.

Cargill Global Five minutes with traffic a Friona cheeseburger Friona, Texas

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Green Giants Everything is bigger in Texas, including agricultural statistics. Texas is the No. 2 overall state for agriculture, accounting for about 7 percent of the nation’s total agricultural income. The state is the No. 1 producer of cotton and hay, No. 2 in the production of sorghum and peanuts, and No. 5 in the national ranking for wheat. Agriculture employs one out of every seven working Texans, and 80 percent of Texas land is used for agricultural production. And much of that production takes place in The High Ground. “Cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat, peanuts, grain sorghum and guar beans are big drivers of The High Ground economy,” says Sean Smith, a manager with MetLife Agricultural Investments. “This region is semiarid and the makeup of the soil is sandy, plus there is availability of water from aquifers. The High Ground also has a 210-day average growing season for letting crops mature.” The commodities industry has attracted a number of national players. J.D. Heiskell & Co. is a grain and commodity trading business that also operates livestock feed manufacturing and trans-loading facilities, and exports grains and commodities to Mexico, the Pacific Rim and Far East. The company, which grew from a single location in Tulare, Calif., in 2000 is now the fourth-largest feed manufacturing company by volume and has holdings in seven states, including a feed-handling operation in Friona in Parmer County and a trading office in Amarillo. The company came to Friona with the lease of a storage and transload facility in 2006 and built a 20,000ton-capacity commodity barn there in 2007.

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Ag remains vital to the High Ground economy

The beef cattle industry is also massive in the High Ground, and the dairy cow industry continues to grow. In 2010, The High Ground is home to more than 110 dairies and 214,000 milking cows. “The recent growth in dairy has been stimulated by the relocation of West Coast dairymen who have found that The High Ground land prices are so much better,” Smith says.

The region is also home to a healthy swine industry. For example, Texas Farm LLC in Perryton is one of the nation’s largest hog operations, with 32,500 sows capable of producing about 700,000 market hogs each year. “Agriculture is big in Texas, and really big in The High Ground,” Smith says. “Ag has always been, and always will be, a huge industry here.” – Kevin Litwin i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m



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Two for Tomorrow Programs boost High Ground entrepreneurs

Story by Megan Pacella Photography by Brian McCord


nonprofit consortium of 12 resource organizations in Amarillo, Borger, Dumas, Pampa and Perryton, the Entrepreneur Alliance was founded to strengthen the economy in the Texas Panhandle by promoting entrepreneurial activity. The organizations’ core purpose is to make sure every small-business owner knows they have an army of support to back them up. Whether entrepreneurs need assistance launching a new enterprise or growing their business, the Entrepreneur Alliance can help. Growing Businesses Are Proof When Marci Rossiter of Amarillo started selling her confections at gun

Left: Marci Rossiter is known as The Fudge Lady in Amarillo since attending an Entrepreneur Alliance program. Right: The Settles Hotel in Big Spring

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Howard College in Big Spring is now offering training for green industry jobs.


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shows a few years ago, she was simply trying to keep up with her then-boyfriend as he traveled from show to show. That was in 2006. Today, Rossiter is known as The Fudge Lady, and her business has grown to include more than 200 varieties of fudge. Thanks to help from organizations like the Entrepreneur Alliance, Rossiter’s products have gained statewide popularity – and her growing business is proof. The Fudge Lady isn’t the only success story spurred by the alliance. Throughout the Texas Panhandle, dozens of small businesses have received assistance through the program to grow and spark job creation. The result? The small business spirit is getting stronger, which will only further strengthen the economy and help Texas Panhandle residents recover from the economic downturn. Big Spring Economic Development In Big Spring, another organization is working hard to strengthen small business: the Big Spring Economic Development Corp. A city friendly to small business by nature, the EDC was implemented to increase job opportunities in town by expanding local businesses and attracting new enterprises to the area. Take the Settles Hotel, for example. Opened in 1930, the Settles Hotel was once the premier accommodation for those traveling between El Paso and Fort Worth. Today, the hotel is undergoing a rebirth and its restoration will make it the focal point of downtown Big Spring. But without funding from the Big Spring EDC, the grand reopening might have been impossible. “Our company received a 4A grant to upgrade the infrastructure, which will create jobs,” says Troy Tompkins, a consultant for Settles Hotel Development Co. “The hotel will probably employ close to 100 people in the community. The infrastructure investment isn’t necessarily directly tied to job creation, but getting it in line will help when we start hiring people.”

Small Businesses are Welcome plainview is ideal place for entrepreneurs When it comes to starting a business, nobody can deny that Plainview is the place to be. Recently, the Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship designated Plainview the first Certified Entrepreneur-Ready Community in the state. Thanks to efforts by the Main Street program and the Plainview Visitors Program, the town has met the following criteria to be named an “entrepreneur-ready” community: • Forming a leadership team • Completing community assessments • Studying local entrepreneurs’ needs and challenges • Developing resources and assistance partnerships • Hosting and conducting educational programs • Assisting individual entrepreneurs For more information on the Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, visit  – Megan Pacella Baby Dear store in Plainview

Educational Partnerships Recently, the EDC teamed up with Howard College to launch a training program for individuals interested in green industry jobs. “The goal for the partnership is to help jumpstart some vocational and technical training courses for incumbent workers and existing employers,” says Terry Wegman, executive director of the Big Spring EDC. “We basically helped fund a grant to the college to kick-start this program. We’ve had a lot of wind energy development in our region, and we looked at our basic skills necessary to train workers for that industry, which were hydraulics, electrical work, welding and heavy equipment operation. We looked at the basic skills needed for those jobs, and found that those skills were transferable to existing industries in our region. It can help a variety of employers, so we helped plant some seed money to start a training program.” Both the Entrepreneur Alliance and the Big Spring EDC are seeing positive results from their hard work. “So far, we’ve had full capacity on the training program,” says Wegman. “It’s been very successful, and we expect to see it grow.”

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The WOWW Factor Program brings arts, science, culture to the schools

Story by Kevin Litwin


Brian McCord

lementary school students love to take field trips on buses, and some of the more popular field trip destinations in The High Ground region are the Amarillo Public Library and the Don Harrington Discovery Center in Amarillo. Those two venues have been visited by many students in kindergarten through fifth grade, thanks to a program initiated by WOWW or Window On a Wider World. WOWW is a nonprofit organization established in 2006 dedicated to enriching the education of Texas Panhandle students through arts, science and cultural experiences. The Don Harrington Discovery Center in Amarillo is a place for children of all ages to learn about science and technology.




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Window On a Wider World is headquartered in Amarillo at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts. “How WOWW works is, for example, we might help fund a field trip to Amarillo Botanical Gardens where young students can see an actual frog pond and water lilies and beehives,” says Ali Tiegs, WOWW executive director. “Students will remember that for a long time, and their teachers can help incorporate that learning experience into


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other classroom lessons.” Because of WOWW efforts, students could take bus trips to see the Amarillo Symphony and its Kinder Concerts series and the Palo Duro Metro Chorus of Sweet Adelines was able to perform at a number of High Ground schools in 2009. In fact, more than 35 nonprofit organizations now provide supplementary arts, science and cultural education programs to 70 High Ground schools invited to participate in WOWW. Helping

WOWW to finance this educational endeavor are corporate sponsors, grants, private donors and foundations. “The concept of WOWW is to benefit children in rural areas, and a similar program called Big Thought in Dallas was chosen as the model for our Window On a Wider World effort,” Tiegs says. “Big Thought is perfect for the big city of Dallas, but The High Ground is almost entirely rural, so we specifically shaped the program for us.”

Brian McCord

WOWW facilitates programs from 36 nonprofit organizations to thousands of children at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts in Amarillo or in a classroom setting.

Tiegs, who has an extensive background in education as a teacher, principal and college professor, says, arts, science and cultural activities can include trips to museums, visits by performing arts troupes, nature center excursions, park outings and trips to recreation complexes. “This is all an effort to assist teachers, who have a lot on their plates these days,” she says. “It has been shown that involvement in the arts decreases truancy, rekindles the love of learning and fosters racial

understanding. It also increases levels of math and reading skills, reduces anxiety and school stress levels in children, and contributes to overall academic success.” Tiegs adds that all extracurricular arts and science programs approved by WOWW are in compliance with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum. Window On a Wider World also hosts its own annual WOWW Science Collaborative at the Don Harrington Discovery Center, because fifth-grade students

tend to score poorly on earth and energy science testing. “Our collaborative allows fifthgraders to see interesting displays dealing with electricity, wind power, solar power, as well as the Earth,” Tiegs says. “Palo Duro Canyon State Park is in attendance to provide a hands-on seminar on erosion, while West Texas A&M University offers a workshop on energy alternatives. The collaborative is another way of helping young students grow, which is the goal for all of us.” i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m



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Why Don’t You Take a Hike? The High Ground offers plenty of adventurous options

Story by Kevin Litwin


Left: Palo Duro Canyon State Park Right: Monahans Sandhills consists of 3,840 acres of sand dunes with some reaching peaks of 70 feet or more.

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Antony Boshier

f you want to take a walk on the wild side, this is a great place to do it. Nature has indeed been kind to The High Ground of Texas. Its wide open spaces provide numerous hiking options that are ideal for beginners, as well as the most seasoned outdoor adventurers. Popular destinations for hikers include Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Buffalo Springs Lake, Comanche Trail Lake and Lake Rita Blanca State Park. Perhaps the most inspiring venue of all is the rugged Palo Duro Canyon State Park, located 20 miles southeast of Amarillo. It attracts 350,000 annual visitors, who camp, hike and mountain bike.

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“We are nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Texas,” says Randy Ferris, superintendent of the 26,275-acre state park. “Palo Duro is the second-largest canyon in the United States.” The canyon stretches 120 miles long and is adorned with dramatic geological features, including multicolored layers of rock and steep mesa walls similar to those in the Grand Canyon. The painter Georgia O’Keeffe, who

lived in nearby Amarillo and Canyon in the early 20th century, wrote of the Palo Duro, “It is a burning, seething cauldron, filled with dramatic light and color.” And motorists in the Armstrong and Randall counties portion of the park are especially lucky to be able to drive along the canyon’s floor. “They certainly can’t do that in the Grand

What’s Online  See more photos of The High Ground’s magnificent state parks at images

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Sta f f P h o t o

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Antony Boshier

Canyon,” Ferris says. Another excellent attraction for hiking in The High Ground is Caprock Canyon, which stretches six miles and features a challenging 720-foot elevation gain along the way. Caprock officials say the ideal time for hiking along the scenic canyon in Briscoe County is from fall through spring. The hiking paradise is situated in a rural area that isn’t near any large towns, and arguably the most spectacular section is just southeast of Amarillo, where the steepest cliffs and the narrowest transition from high to low are located. Monahans Sandhills, home to six miles of sand dunes, draw more than 65,000 campers and hikers annually to the 3,840-acre park in Ward and Winkler counties. The park is open seven days a week throughout the year, with peak times from March through May, when the weather is warm but not terribly hot, says Glen Korth, Monahans Sandhills State Park manager. “The middle portion of the trail can be especially hot with little shade, so hikers should take plenty of water,” he says. Korth says Monahans Sandhills attracts many visitors who stop by to spend the afternoon and evening, then head into nearby national parks the next day. “We are considered the gateway to Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Big Bend National Park,” he says. “People who visit us are true outdoor enthusiasts.”

some facts


Visitors per year to Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

3,500 feet

Palo Duro Canyon’s elevation above sea level


Years ago that Spanish explorers were the first to report the vast hills of sand at Monahans Sandhills State Park Sources:,,

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area near Fritch i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m



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Power Players Energy company investments create capacity, jobs in The High Ground

Story by Bill Lewis

Brian McCord


nergy companies are investing millions of dollars in projects that will create new jobs, guarantee that High Ground businesses and residents have uninterrupted power supplies and encourage the development of one of the region’s greatest resources: wind power. Golden Spread Electric Co-op is moving forward with plans for its power generation station near Abernathy. The project, worth about $200 million, will include 18 9.3-megawatt, gas-fired generators. When it comes on line in 2011, the station will produce enough power to meet the peak-load requirements of 55,000 homes, says Mark Schwirtz, Golden Spread Electric

Co-op’s general manager. The generators will feature quickstart technology making them capable of reaching full power in about 10 minutes. The primary purpose of the station is to ensure the availability of adequate supplies of electricity during peak demand times. But the generators can be brought on line quickly at times when Golden Spread can make a profit for its members, who own the co-op, by selling electricity on the grid, says Schwirtz. The station’s quick-start capability makes it the perfect backup for producers of wind power in the region, he adds. “It’s amazing, the amount of wind in the north Panhandle of Texas. But i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m


The Quail Run Energy Center near Odessa P h o t o c o u rt e s y o f J e f f r e y D. M y e r s

when the wind drops off, we have to replace it. This plant can quickly start its generators and provide electricity,” he says. Wind power is getting a boost from another major source. Texas-based energy giant Oncor is investing $1.3 billion in infrastructure that will help make Texas one of the top three wind economies in the world, says spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar. The company is building more than 850 miles of transmission lines statewide that will help bring wind-generated electricity from the wind farm to the consumer. It’s part of the company’s commitment to the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) program. CREZ, introduced several years ago by the Texas Legislature, encourages the attainment of renewable energy targets. “One of the things stifling wind power was the lack of transmission capacity. We see this as a ‘farm-to-market’ road,” Cuellar says of

the new transmission lines. “Having a green supply of energy makes Texas a much more attractive place for businesses to relocate.” Xcel Energy, an electric and natural gas company in Texas and seven other states, is also investing in sustainable energy. The company’s largest current investments are solar power projects in New Mexicom and it’s also a major producer of wind power. “When it comes to wind, it’s always been Texas and California.” says spokesman Steve Deaton. Texas is the top state for wind energy capacity and Xcel Energy is the nation’s No. 1 wind-energy provider. Meanwhile, Houston-based Apache Corp. has created a new regional office in Midland that will occupy nearly 50,000 square feet of space and employ up to 100 people. Apache, an oil and natural gas producer, previously had about 18 employees in Midland.

Big Deal A natural gas combinedcycle generation facility in Odessa was part of a major acquisition by Baltimore-based Constellation Energy from Houston-based Navasota Holdings. The $365 million transaction in spring 2010 included the Quail Run Energy Center, a 550-megawatt facility near Odessa. Constellation said the acquisitions were “an ideal fit” to support its expanding commercial businesses in Texas. The acquired plants employ a total of 45 workers.

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National Problem, Texas Solution Community offers roadmap to dispose of low-level nuclear material Andrews is offering the “Texas Solution” to the question of how to safely dispose of tons of low-level nuclear material from nuclear power plants, medical facilities, research laboratories and universities in 36 states. Permanently storing the materials at a facility near Andrews would solve the problem, says Wesley Burnett, Andrews Economic Development Corporation’s director of economic development. It also would bring jobs to the region and give a welcome boost to the local economy. “We are big supporters of the facility and the possibility of being the ‘Texas Solution’ to this nation’s nuclear/hazardous waste disposal,” he says. Burnett welcomes efforts by Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists to place the materials at an isolated facility about 30 miles west of Andrews. “They have invested well over $20 million in the licensing process, not to mention the facilities. Basically, this business is trying to diversify our economy by turning what some would say is a negative into a positive. By that I mean dry, arid land without any usable groundwater into a very positive asset for our county,” says Burnett. The facility may also be licensed to hold mercury and other hazardous materials that require proper storage, he says. Opponents have expressed concerns that materials might escape from the facility and contaminate groundwater, but Burnett says the geology of the site and stringent safety precautions make that unlikely. Many residents have expressed support for Waste Control Specialists’ proposal as a way to stimulate the economy. “The positives include new jobs

and 5 percent of gross revenue generated going to the county of Andrews to be used for community benefit,” says Burnett. Once all licenses are in place, Waste Control Specialists plans on adding approximately 100 new jobs to their workforce. – Bill Lewis


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Gateway to the World Levelland rail park brings markets closer to The High Ground

Story by Bill Lewis

Brian McCord


arkets throughout North America and around the globe are closer than ever for businesses in The High Ground of Texas region, thanks to the Levelland Industrial Rail Park. “We are the gateway to the Pacific, Asia, Europe and to markets throughout North America,” says Dave Quinn, Levelland Economic Development Corp. executive director. The industrial rail park is just half an hour from an interchange in Lubbock that connects rail traffic with tracks operated by the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe (

and Union Pacific ( railroads and the world beyond. Expansion at other High Ground distribution assets are bringing markets closer to the region, as well, In Dumas, Rosen’s Inc. selected the Dumas Business Park for a 20,000-square-foot distribution center to supply crop-protection products in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, creating a $13 million economic impact over the next 10 years. The company was granted tax abatement and job creation incentives as well as acreage in the park, owned by the Dumas Economic Development Corp.

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“We have one of the greatest locations for distribution centers and trucking operations. We are within eight hours of 14 different major cities, within one to two hours of three major interstates and we have direct access to markets in Mexico and Canada,” says Mike Running, Dumas EDC executive director. The Lubbock Rail Port acquired an additional 200 acres to make room for additional tenants. It also obtained a $1.5 million federal grant to extend additional rail service. The rail port provides convenient access to Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport and to the BNSF rail system. The Levelland rail park, developed at a cost of about $8.6 million, is expected to generate $100 million in capital investment and the creation of at least 1,000 jobs as businesses locate there over the next 10 years. Tenants include Tex-Rail Commodities, which gathers and conditions cottonseed, then loads the product on unit trains for distribution as cattle feed across the nation. Another tenant, Independent Electric Inc., will operate from a $600,000

office, warehouse and training facility. The Levelland Industrial Rail Park enables High Ground businesses to enjoy the cost advantages of shipping goods by rail without the expense of building their own sidings and other rail infrastructure. It offers a unique feature intended to boost efficiency. Its 21,000 feet of track do not cross any roads, which eliminates conflicts between trucks and trains. In a typical industrial park with rail service, trucks often are delayed by trains crossing a road or rail cars waiting to be loaded or unloaded have to be uncoupled from the rest of a train to make way for truck traffic, adding to the cost of shipping. “This project has done more than provide industrial growth opportunities in Levelland,” Quinn says. “In an economy and climate where everywhere you look people are telling you how bad things are and causing other people to cut back, the Levelland Industrial Rail Park made a bold statement. We believe in this country and our future. Levelland is investing today so that we can reap a brighter tomorrow.”

Levelland Industrial Rail Park 21,000 Feet of track at the rail park

$8.6M Cost to develop the park

$100M Projected capital investment at the park in 10-year period

1,000 Projected job creation at the park in 10-year period

A new industrial rail park in Levelland is projected to create more than 1,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

back in flight delta airlines returns to amarillo

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Delta Airlines has resumed flights to and from Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport after a five-year hiatus. The airline has established three daily, nonstop Delta flights from Amarillo to Memphis, one of its hub airports. The airline has scheduled daily flights to its Memphis hub as a way to increase traffic from Amarillo to parts of the Midwest.

Delta joins American Eagle, Continental Express and Southwest Airlines at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport. In addition to Memphis, the airport provides nonstop flights to Dallas, Houston, Denver and Las Vegas. Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport is located approximately seven miles east of downtown Amarillo.

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Roads, Rail and Air Transportation agencies’ work Keeps the high ground Connected The High Ground is in the heart of the United States, but its well-developed and growing transportation infrastructure puts it within hours of international markets. Cotton grown here can reach a West Coast port within 24 hours for shipment to China. Oil field equipment manufactured locally can be put to use by Canadian


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energy producers within a day of leaving the factory. James Beauchamp, president of the Midland Odessa Transportation Alliance (MOTRAN), says improvements to highways, railroads and airports cut the cost of shipping goods and encourage economic development throughout The High Ground region. MOTRAN worked with Texas

Pacifico railroad, for example, to obtain funding for track improvements to facilitate shipment of wind turbines from the Martifer plant in San Angelo. Midland International Airport’s $3.3 million terminal improvement project is another example. The airport provides nonstop service to Albuquerque, Dallas, Denver, Houston and Las Vegas and direct service to Oakland, Philadelphia, San Antonio, St. Louis and Tulsa, making it easy for High Ground residents to travel for business or pleasure. “Infrastructure improvements provide better access and mobility, and that creates new economic opportunities,” says Beauchamp. The Texas Department of Transportation announced in early 2010 a contract letting to proceed with construction of the Texas Highway 349 Relief Route overpass at Texas Highway 158, a $25 million project that diverts trucks away from Loop 250 in Midland. The project will provide relief from increasing traffic counts in the city and give businesses better access to industrial areas, I-20, Highway 80 and Texas Highway 191 between both communities. “Our transportation network is vital to our economic growth. We have to have that infrastructure to be competitive,” says Michael Reeves, president of the Portsto-Plains Alliance. Based in Lubbock, Ports-toPlains Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of government and private sector leaders along a nine-state, 2,300-plus-mile economic development corridor from Texas to Canada. It has generated about $1 billion in federal funding for road improvements in the region.  – Bill Lewis

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Investing in the Future High Ground school districts commit to new facilities, programs Story by Bill Lewis


igh Ground communities are investing millions of dollars in new school facilities to prepare their children for the jobs of the future and attract the businesses that will create those good jobs. “Our schools are our biggest asset.

They really help in recruiting new businesses,” says Morse Haynes, director of the Monahans Economic Development Corp. When representatives of a potential new business visit Monahans, Haynes says he always makes a point of

touring the city’s schools. Thanks to a $30 million construction program that was handily approved by voters, he can show them the city’s new high school and four other schools that have been remodeled and expanded. “To me, good schools are the icing i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m



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T o d d B e n n e tt Brian McCord

Above: High Ground school districts put a premium on quality facilities and programs. Left: Neal B. Dillman Elementary School in Muleshoe, where a $25 million bond vote supported school renovations and expansions.

on the cake when a business is considering locating in Monahans,� says Haynes. A $47 million bond issue approval in 2006 has spurred new facilities and expansion in the Pampa Independent School District. A new gym was added to the high school in 2008, a new science wing was added in 2009, and renovation and new construction of a library, cafeteria, commons area and

administrative offices were completed in 2010. Construction on a new junior high school was completed in 2010 in time for the fall semester. Levelland Independent School District includes six campuses – an early childhood center, two elementary schools, one intermediate school, a middle school and high school for its nearly 3,000 students. The school district is a Texas i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m


Adds Up to Success

classrooms look. Chalkboards, for example, have been a familiar part of America’s classrooms for generations. But you won’t find one in Monahans’ new classrooms. They have been replaced with “smart board” technology, says Haynes. The smart boards enable teachers to present lessons clearly and efficiently on a computer screen. “They’ll type on a keyboard instead of using old-fashioned chalk. Welcome to the future,” Haynes says. About 84 percent of Monahans’ voters supported making the investment in the schools, says Haynes. Voters in Muleshoe also solidly approved that city’s bond issue, says Claburn. “People wanted to help the economy, and we wanted to do what was best for our young people, give them the best possible education and attract good jobs to give them new economic choices and opportunities,” says Claburn.

Antony Boshier

DeShazo Elementary School in Muleshoe has been recognized by the National Center for Educational Achievement. In 2009, the school was named “Just for the Kids” Higher Performing School in Texas for Mathematics. The school’s Math That Works curriculum teaches math vocabulary with full-body motions and reinforces math skills with chants, songs and hands-on activities.

Education Agency recognized school district, placing it in the top half of the school districts in Texas. Voters in Muleshoe approved $25 million in bonds for renovation and expansion projects at the city’s elementary, middle, junior and high schools. Janet Claborn, director of economic development for Muleshoe, said voters made a commitment to preserving the city’s quality of life and to recruiting new residents and employers, who will build a solid economic foundation for the future, says Claborn. “If you don’t have good schools, you aren’t going to have people who want to move here. It’s a cycle. If you have a better-quality school system, you’ll have a better economy, better everything,” she says. New technology is being used to foster learning and is even changing the way

Students on the campus at Levelland High School, one of six facilities in the Levelland school district.


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REDI, Willing and Able Program provides prep course for economic development Volunteers, board members and city staff members are among The High Ground’s most important assets when it comes to business recruitment and job growth. They bring their talent, vision and enthusiasm, and the REDI Program makes sure they have the training they’ll need to succeed. The REDI Program (Rural Economic Development Initiative) is designed to provide participants with a basic understanding of the economic development process so they can confidently work with new and expanding businesses, says Doug Nelson, economic development director for the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission.

“A lot of individuals might not have ever been involved in recruiting a business. REDI provides them with a window into the whole economic development process,” says Nelson. Developed in 1993, REDI has been sponsored for 16 years by the South Plains Association of Governments, the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission, Xcel Energy and The High Ground of Texas. The 25-hour course is open to anyone interested in the economic development process. The program is taught by experienced economic development practitioners, industry experts, consultants, site selectors, agency representatives and others.

One of the best parts of the program is that participants get to take home a toolkit filled with valuable reference materials that can help guide them through the business recruitment process, says Tim Pierce, who represents the South Plains Association of Governments. “We are rural America. Local businesspeople are eager to volunteer, but they want training,” Pierce says. “REDI helps make them comfortable with their new role and helps them be effective at working with any business, large or small. The result is communities that are better prepared to succeed.” – Bill Lewis

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Licensed beds at Scenic Mountain Medical Center in Big Spring

Year Ward Memorial Hospital opened its doors

Outpatient visits per year at Shamrock General Hospital

T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as


Rural, Not Remote Smaller High Ground communities offer high-quality care

Story by Kevin Litwin


Left: Scenic Mountain Medical Center in Big Spring Right: Covenant Hospital’s clinic in Levelland

Brian McCord

he High Ground’s topography is filled with plenty of wide-open spaces, but thanks to a healthy roster of clinics, small hospitals, health providers and pharmacies, communities outside the region’s major population centers aren’t isolated from quality care. Stratford Hospital District, for example, was formed to assist residents who previously had to drive long distances for treatment. “We’ve been able to establish an excellent clinic, nursing home and pharmacy,” says LeRayne Donelson, chairwoman of the Stratford Hospital District. “They help the people of Stratford, as well as the several rural communities that surround us.” Stratford Family Medical Clinic provides convenient health care for residents of Sherman County and beyond, while Coldwater Manor in Stratford is a 42-bed Medicaid-certified

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Ready for Wind Turbine Development

Justin Jaworski, Executive Director Floydada Economic Development Corporation P.O. Box 15 • 105 S. 5th • Floydada, TX 79235 Toll-free: (866) 983-3318

Darrell Rasco, President Lockney Economic Development Corporation P.O. BOX 220 • 218 E. Locust Lockney, TX 79241 • (806) 652-2355

 Largest rooms in Lubbock  Fully equipped residential-style kitchen with coffee maker  Free high-speed Internet  Free extended continental breakfast 

Beautiful arbor overlooking pool and hot tub surrounded with lush landscape

Amarillo Economic Development Corporation

Levelland Economic Development Corporation

Arbor Inn & Suites

Littlefield Economic Development Corporation

Ashmore Inn & Suites Atmos Energy Big Spring Economic Development Borger Economic Development Corporation

Capital Farm Credit

exceeding your SUITE expectations 5310 Englewood Lubbock, TX (806) 722-2726 Toll-free: (866) 644-2319

T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as


Canyon Development Corporation

 Family owned and operated


visit our

Caprock Business Finance Corporation City of Wolfforth Texas Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

Lockney Economic Development Corporation Lubbock Economic Development Alliance Midland Development Corporation Monahans Economic Development Corporation Odessa Development Corporation Pampa Economic Development Corporation Plainview Texas Reese Technology Center

Entrepreneur Alliance

Texan Panhandle Regional Development Corporation

Floydada Economic Development Corporation

The City of Muleshoe

Friona Texas

The High Ground of Texas

Golden Spread Electric Cooperative

Workforce Solutions of the Permian Basin

Lamesa Economic Development Corporation

Workforce Solutions of the South Plains

Brian McCord

Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock is the flagship of a health system that includes facilities in Levelland and Plainview.

nursing home facility. And Elk Pharmacy in Stratford is staffed with a registered pharmacist and two certified pharmacy technicians. In addition, in 2009 Stratford became the first community in The High Ground to be chosen for Texas Tech University’s telemedicine program, which uses video and interactive technology to allow specialists to consult with other doctors remotely about patients from rural communities. In Monahans, Ward Memorial Hospital is a 25-bed facility that offer around-the-clock ER service. The hospital in Ward County is certified as a Level IV trauma center and provides health-care services to four counties. In Howard County, Scenic Mountain Medical Center in Big Spring is a 150-bed facility that admits some 3,500 patients each year. A Level IV trauma facility, Scenic Mountain offers a range of tratments and health services and has a medical staff that includes 23 active physicians. Big Spring is also home to a 200-bed psychiatric facility, Big Spring State Hospital, that serves 58 counties, and the 25-bed West Texas Veterans Administration Health Care System. In southern Wheeler County, Shamrock General Hospital oversees 1,500 emergency visits a year, as well as 18,000 outpatient visits.

The staff includes five registered nurses and 11 licensed practical nurses. Besides southern Wheeler County, the hospital also serves patients from parts of Collingsworth and Gray counties. And complementing the hospital in town is a Shamrock Family Care Clinic. Shamrock Hospital includes 25 patient beds, as well as a separate wing with 12 assisted-living rooms for the elderly, says David Rushing, board president of the Shamrock Hospital District. “There’s no nursing center in town, so the hospital helps to serve in that function,” he says. The hospital works closely with BSA Urgent Care Center in Amarillo, which performs surgeries and provides other treatments from diagnoses made at Shamrock. If a patient comes to Shamrock with a possible broken arm, for example, the hospital has advanced imaging capabilities on site to take X-rays and then forward them to BSA, where the patient receives immediate treatment on arrival. “We also have two full-time physicians and one physician’s assistant,” Rushing says. “Some rural communities might have problems attracting physicians, but we in Shamrock have been lucky. Shamrock is an attractive community with a good quality of life, and our physicians enjoy working here.”

taking flight The $550,000 Gray County Heliport Facility, built in 2010 near Pampa Regional Medical Center, is the new permanent home for the LifeStar ambulance helicopter that serves several High Ground counties. Funding for the 8,000-square-foot project included $500,000 from the Texas Department of Transportation’s aviation division. A LifeStar helicopter had been based in temporary space in Pampa since 2009. The new facility will be owned by Gray County and open to others helicopters that want to land there.

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Prime Location now and in the Future.

lamesa economic development corporation 170 acres of industrial park, infrastructure in place, adjacent to future International Trade Corridor. all available economic incentives will be considered for prospective employers who qualify. 806-872-2207

economic profile Business snapshot

Population 2010: 1,310,003 2000: 1,278,920 1990: 1,218,322 % Change Since 1990: 7.5%

The High Ground of Texas is a 66-county region in the Texas Panhandle that is home to more than 1.3 million people and includes the cities of Amarillio, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa and San Angelo. The region, with a workforce of nearly 600,000, has built key industry clusters in manufacturing, renewable energy, animal production, biotechnology, dairy, distribution, petroleum, food processing and value-added agricultural products.

Total Households

Major Employers

Angelo State University, 1,635

2010: 480,275 2005: 469,528

Texas Tech University, 9,740

Warren Equipment Cos., 1,553

Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, 5,686

Xcel Energy, 1,412

Major Metro Population Centers

Goodfellow Air Force Base, 4,980

Western National Life/VALIC, 1,300

Lubbock, 280,505 Amarillo, 249,068 Midland, 135,314 Odessa, 137,335 San Angelo, 110,934

Basic Energy, 4,145

Affiliated Foods, 1,151

Amarillo ISD, 3,906

Dawson Geophyiscal, 1,071

Tyson Foods, 3,583

Conoco Phillips, 1,030

Lubbock ISD 3,566

Convergys, 1,000

Ector County ISD, 3,526

Walmart Distribution CenterPlainview, 1,000

Major Industry Sectors

Convenant Health Systems, 4,870

JBS, 3,436 B&W Pantex, 3,299

(by percentage of total employment)

University Medical Center, 2,828

Retail trade, 12.4% Educational services, 11.0%

Baptist-St. Anthony’s Health Systems, 2,671

Health care and social assistance, 11.9%

United Supermarkets (Headquarters) 2,570

Manufacturing, 8.4%

Shannon Health System, 2,565

Construction, 6.6% Accommodation and food services, 6.3% Other services (except public administration), 6.1% Transportation, utilities and warehousing, 5.2% Agriculture forestry fishing and hunting, 5.0% Public administration, 5.0% Mining, 4.1% Wholesale trade, 4.1% Finance and insurance, 3.7%

AT&T Communications, 2,370

Bell Helicopter Textron, 1,200

Transportation Commercial Airports Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport airport/flightinfo.html

Midland ISD, 2,287

Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport

Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, 2,257

Midland International Airport

City of Lubbock, 2,289

San Angelo ISD, 2,063 Cargill Meat Solutions/Plainview, 2,050 City of Amarillo, 1,781 Northwest Texas Healthcare System, 1,707

Professional scientific and technical services, 3.0%

Medical Center Hospital (Odessa), 1,700

All other, 7.2%

Midland Memorial Hospital, 1,645

What’s Online  For more in-depth demographic, statistical and community information on The High Ground of Texas, go to and click on Demographics.

Amarillo College, 1,306

Highways The region’s road system includes the Ports to Plains Corridor, the La Entrada al Pacifico Trade Route, Interstate 40, I-27, and I-20, and numerous major U.S. and Texas highways.

Railroad Major railroads, including Union Pacific and Burlington Northern/ Santa Fe, offer carload shipments. Several short lines in the region support additional access to markets.

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High Ground Membership FOUNDATION MEMBERS


Amarillo Economic Development Corp.

Andrews Economic Development Corp.,

Golden Spread Electric Coop

Aspermont Economic Development Corp.,

Lubbock Economic Development Alliance,

Big Spring Economic Development Corp.,

Odessa Development Corp. XCEL Energy,

PLATINUM MEMBER Midland Development Corp.

Gold MEMBER San Angelo C of C/City of San Angelo Development Corp.


Borger Economic Development Corp., Brownfield Industrial Development Corp. Canadian-Hemphill County Economic Development Canyon Economic Development Corp., Childress Economic Development Corp., City of Colorado City

Atmos Energy Corp.

City of Crosbyton



Booker Economic Development Corp.,

City of Hale Center

Panhandle Regional Planning Commission,

City of Lorenzo

South Plains Association of Governments

City of Plainview/Plainview Hale County Industrial Foundation

T h e H i gh G rou n d of T e x as

City of Plains

City of Wheeler Claude Chamber of Commerce Dalhart Economic Development Corp., Dumas Economic Development Corp., Floydada Economic Development Corp., Friona Economic Development Corp., Hereford Economic Development Corp., Idalou Economic Development Corp., Lamesa Economic Development Corp., Levelland Economic Development Corp., Littlefield Economic Development Corp., Lockney Economic Development Corp. Mitchell County Board of Economic Development www.mitchellcountyeconomic Monahans Economic Development Corp.,

Muleshoe Economic Development Corp.,

Cottle County

Entreprenuer Alliance

Pampa Economic Development Corp,

Dallam County Industrial Development Corp.,

Northwest Texas SBDC

Perryton Community Development Corp. Reese Technology Center Seminole Economic Development Corp., Shamrock EDC Sherman County Development Committee Slaton Economic Development Corp., Spearman Economic Development Corp., Sundown Economic Development Corp. Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development Tulia Economic Development Corp. Wolfforth Economic Development Corp.,

COUNTY MEMBERS Bailey County, Cochran County,

Hockley County,

Oncor Electric Delivery

Ochiltree County

Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission

Oldham County,

Ports to Plains Alliance

Parmer County Industrial Development Corp. Sherman County Swisher County Wheeler County

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERS Amarillo College, American Electric Power Bailey County Electric Cooperative Capital CDC, Class 4 Winds & Renewables Inc.

Rita Blanca Electric Cooperative Inc., South Plains College Swisher Electric Cooperative Inc. Texas Cattle Feeders Association Texas Tech University West Texas A&M University Workforce Solutions Panhandle Workforce Solutions of the South Plains, WTAMU Enterprise Network XIT Communications/ XIT Wireless/XITv i m ag e sh i ghgrou n d . co m


Workforce Solutions Permian Basin is here to meet employer needs. • • • • • • •

Customized recruitment Employer/employee workshops Computerized job training Outplacement services Task analysis & job restructuring On-the-job training Existing worker training

Regardless of your business needs, Workforce Solutions Permian Basin is here for you. P.O. Box 61947 • 2911 LaForce Blvd. Midland, TX 79711-1947 (432) 563-5239 • (877) 563-2580 Fax: (432) 561-8785 •

Your business is our business.

• • • • • •

Skills development fund Local/statewide labor market info Occupational wage figures Tax incentives Customized training Many more services

Ad Index

4 Amarillo Economic Development Corporation

26 Entrepreneur Alliance 74 Floydada Economic Development Corporation

74 Arbor Inn & Suites

12 Ashmore Inn & Suites

34 Friona Texas

36 Golden Spread Electric Cooperative

76 Lamesa Economic Development Corporation

63 Levelland Economic Development Corporation

8 Littlefield Economic Development Corporation

74 lockney Economic Development Corporation

71 Lubbock Economic Development Alliance

2 Midland Development Corporation

54 Atmos Energy

16 Big Spring Economic Development

10 Borger Economic Development Corporation

48 Canyon Development Corporation

57 Capital Farm Credit

12 Caprock Business Finance Corporation

11 City of Wolfforth Texas

C3 Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

Ad Index (cont.)

26 Monahans Economic Development Corporation

2 Odessa Development Corporation

6 Pampa Economic Development Corporation

C2 Plainview Texas

56 Reese Technology Center

12 Texan Panhandle Regional Development Corporation

36 The City of Muleshoe

C4 The High Ground of Texas

80 Workforce Solutions of the Permian Basin

C3 Workforce Solutions of the South Plains

JOBS ARE PLENTIFUL ‌ in the South Plains of Texas


re e H t h g i R


As economies across the nation suffer from some of the highest unemployment rates in history, South Plains employers seek workers to fill their open jobs. Workforce Solutions South Plains is currently recruiting unemployed workers from outside of Texas to match them to good jobs available in the region. Job training and relocation expenses to eligible workers are PAID! (Some eligibility required.)

Your new job awaits you! Call us now to learn more. Toll-free: (866) 765-5038 Equal Opportunity Employer. Auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. TDD/TTY (800) 735-2989

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Business Images High Ground of Texas 2010-11  

The High Ground of Texas is a 60-county region in the Texas Panhandle that is home to more than 1.2 million people and includes the cities o...

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