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business ®

What’s Online  See the best of the area in a photo montage

Southwest Dallas County, texas

Being Hospitable

Methodist Charlton cares for entire region

Production Line Prowess

All Four One

Partnership trumpets positives of four cities Sponsored by the Best Southwest Partnership | 2011

DeSoto ISD academic excellence by design

For almost 100 years, DeSoto ISD has prepared students for college and the world. We offer each student the opportunity to explore and discover themselves while belonging to a community to build on the values of character, intellectual preparedness and personal leadership. We strive to open doors for each student to realize their potential. We expect each student to learn to soar! We invite you to find out for yourself what’s best for your family and your child’s future. Arrange a tour, talk with the faculty, students and alumni, and experience all that DeSoto ISD can offer you!

Focusing on student AcAdemic Achievement •

9,000 students and 1,000 employees on 12 campuses DeSoto Freshman Campus one of 12 Top Transitional Texas High Schools Most campuses TEA ranked High Performing – Recognized and Exemplary Award-winning, district-wide mentoring program and free before- and after-school program Two campuses named Higher Performing Schools by the NCEA Just for the Kids Campaign

Small town and tax payer support of academics and athletics Track Teams – Girls State Champs in 2007, 2nd in 2008 and 2010; Boys 2nd in 2010 Basketball – Boys State Champs in 2009; Girls 2nd in 2008 Annual playoff contenders in football, basketball, track $116M bond package in 2005 for growth and upgrades

Outstanding achievements and district initiatives Class of 2010 earned over $3.2M in scholarships 2010 Black Enterprise Teenpreneur of the Year Above state graduation and attendance rates DeSoto High School College and Career Academies District-wide Positive Behavior Initiative

DeSoto ISD 200 E. Belt Line Rd. • DeSoto, TX 75115 972-223-6666 •




Historic Town Square Visitors Center & State Auxiliary Museum

DFW Wing of the Commemorative Air Force

Country View Golf Course

Cold War Air Museum MKT Depot & Rose Garden Recreation Center with Indoor Pool and Walking Track

Lancaster Municipal Airport – LNC

Bear Creek Nature Park

Library with Large Genealogy Section

Celebrating 55 Years of Service to Our Member Businesses Our mission is to promote business and community prosperity through economic, civic and educational programs.

300 East Wheatland Rd. Duncanville, Texas 75116 (972) 780-4990

Nance Farm

DeSoto is located just 15 minutes south of downtown Dallas. Spend the day in the hustle and bustle of the big D; spend the night in the quiet and peaceful little D. For visitor information, please contact: 2010 N. Hampton Rd., Suite 200 DeSoto, TX 75115 • (972) 224-3565


Workstyle Breathing Space


Find a slower pace of life minutes from the Metroplex.

Production Line Prowess


Central location, incentives attract manufacturers to Southwest Dallas County.





Business Almanac


Business Climate: All Four One






Economic Profile




Health: Being Hospitable




Livability: Solace in the City



On the Cover Methodist Charlton Medical Center


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

Please recycle this magazine

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l i f e s t y l e | w o r k s t y l e | d i g g i n g d e e p e r | v i d eo | l i n k t o u s | ad v e r t i s e | c o n tac t u s | s i t e ma p

business ®

S out hwes t Dallas C ounty, Texas 201 1 Edition , volum e 1 Content Director/Business Publications Bill McMeekin

S o u t hw e s t Dallas C ou n t y



Proofreading Manager Raven Petty

An online resource at

Content Coordinators Jessica Walker Staff Writer Kevin Litwin Copy Editors Lisa Battles, Jill Wyatt Contributing writers Rebecca denton

digital Magazine >> BuSineSS ®

What’s Online See the best of the area in a photo montage

Media Technology Director Christina Carden Senior Graphic Designers Laura Gallagher, Jessica Manner, Janine Maryland, Kris Sexton, Candice Sweet, Vikki Williams Media Technology Analysts Chandra Bradshaw, Alison Hunter, Marcus Snyder Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto

SOutHWeSt DALLAS COunty, texAS

Senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord Staff Photographers Todd Bennett, Antony Boshier Web Content Managers John Hood, Kim Madlom Web Design Director Franco Scaramuzza Web Designer Leigh Guarin

Being Hospitable

Web Developer I Yamel Hall

Methodist Charlton cares for entire region

Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf

Production Line Prowess


All Four One

Partnership trumpets positives of four cities

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

SPOnSOreD By tHe BeSt SOutHWeSt PArtnerSHiP | 2011

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

Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan I.T. Director Yancey Bond Regional Sales Manager CHRIS Sweeney Sales Support/Community, Business, Custom Rachael Goldsberry Senior Accountant Lisa Owens Accounts Payable Coordinator Maria McFarland Accounts Receivable Coordinator Diana Guzman Office Manager/Accounts Receivable Coordinator Shelly Miller Integrated Media Manager David Moskovitz Sales Support Manager Cindy Hall

News and Notes >>

Chairman Greg Thurman

Our editors give you the

President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman

Inside Scoop on the latest

Senior V.P./Sales Todd Potter, Carla Thurman

development and trends across the region.

Executive Vice President Ray Langen Senior V.P./Operations Casey Hester Senior V.P./Client Development Jeff Heefner V.P./Content Development Teree Caruthers V.P./Custom Publishing Kim Newsom

Workstyle A spotlight on innovative companies that call the region home

success breeds success >> Meet the people who set the pace for business innovation.

V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens V.P. Sales Charles Fitzgibbon, Herb Harper, Jarek Swekosky Controller Chris Dudley Content Director/Travel Publications Susan Chappell Marketing Creative Director Keith Harris

Dig Deeper >>

Distribution Director Gary Smith Recruiting/Training Director Suzy Simpson

Plug into the region with links

Executive Secretary Kristy Duncan

to local Web sites and

Receptionist Linda Bishop

Human Resources Manager Peggy Blake

resources to give you a big picture of the region. Data Central >> A wealth of demographic and statistical information puts the entire region at your fingertips. guide to services >>

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 region.

go online 8

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Business Images Southwest Dallas County is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Best Southwest Partnership. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by e-mail at

For more information, contact: Best Southwest Partnership 4041 W. Wheatland, Suite 156-340 • Dallas, TX 75237 Phone: (972) 780-4990 or 780-4999 • Fax: (972) 298-9370

Visit Business Images Southwest Dallas County online at ©Copyright 2010 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

Association of Magazine Media Custom Content Council

Member Best Southwest Partnership


An Inviting Place To Live, Work, Retire, Recreate Best Southwest Dallas region attracts diverse population, industry Located in Southwest Dallas County, the Best Southwest region is a vibrant and growing area that includes Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster. Lower housing costs, quality school districts, superior recreation opportunities, new libraries, and a variety of shopping and historic town centers have made it a destination of choice for a diverse population of professionals, young families and retirees alike. The average annual household income tops $75,000, and the region offers easy access to major cultural and recreational options, including those in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The region’s cost advantages, skilled labor pool and proximity to

major markets – including ready highway access and location near the region’s major airports – have helped it lure a cross-section of businesses and industries. Many of its communities also offer businesses Triple Freeport Exemption from all local taxing authorities, which applies to inventory shipped out of Texas within 175 days. The health needs of the region are served by the presence of major health players such as Methodist Health System, which has recently expanded its Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Southwest Dallas to 301 rooms. Best Southwest communities offer a range of higher education options that help the region keep a well-stocked

pool of skilled workers. The University of North Texas’ Dallas campus converted to a freestanding institution in fall 2010 when it accepted its first freshman class. The region is also home to Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Cedar Valley College, Mountain View College and a University of Phoenix campus in Cedar Hill. Each Best Southwest community boasts an expansive parks system. The region is also home to such gems as the 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake and Cedar Hill State Park, the most-visited state park in Texas. With its high quality of life and numerous business advantages, it’s easy to see why Southwest Dallas County is an inviting place to invest, live, play and retire.




Southwest Dallas County






20 35E

Cedar Hill



De Soto Lancaster

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Almanac Fit for Kids' Fitness Duncanville is home to Bob Knight Fieldhouse, a state-of-the art sports and recreation center that includes facilities for a variety of sports, from basketball, baseball, T-ball, volleyball and indoor soccer to cheerleading and martial arts. The center, which bears the name of the famed college basketball coach, opened in April 2010 and includes a student center where young athletes can receive free tutoring, computer access and a quiet study location. The center includes a fitness room, party rooms, parent lounge and Coach Knight's Cafe, featuring Papa John's Pizza.

plane truths Lancaster Regional Airport is home to two unique aviation museums. The Cold War Air Museum (www. occupies 45,000 square feet in a hangar at the airport, housing U.S. and Soviet aircraft, artifacts, artwork and library resources related to the Cold War. The Dallas/Fort Worth Wing of the Commemorative Air Force includes several vintage aircraft, including a Douglas R4D Skytrain, an L-5 Sentinel and a BT-15 Valiant. For more information on the museum, go to index.htm.


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Curtain Up in DeSoto The African-American Repertory Theater is the resident company in DeSoto's Corner Theatre. The company staged five productions for its 2009-10 season, including August Wilson's Seven Guitars and a musical version of Gifts of the Magi. The theater's artistic director and co-founder is Irma P. Hall, whose career includes more than 60 film and television appearances and roles in regional theater productions.

A Farm With Deep Roots Built in 1896, the W. A. Strain House in Lancaster stands atop a hill on the Strain Farm, believed to be the oldest working farm in Dallas County. The farm is one of a small number in the state continuously owned and operated for more than 100 years by a single family. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. In 2007, the Strain family donated 121 acres of the property for a conservation easement to preserve the natural habitat on the farm from encroaching development. Go to www.lonestarmail. net/StrainFarm.htm for more.

Pedal Pushers A signature event in Cedar Hill is the annual Head for the Hills Bike Rally, in which some 1,400 riders, many from well beyond the Southwest Dallas region, traverse a 60-mile course. The event, sponsored by the Cedar Hill Rotary Club, benefits several local charities. For more on the race, go to

Filled With Good Sports Duncanville takes its high school sports seriously. The community's high school has won 18 team and four individual state championships since 1975, a distinction that earned its high school athletics a top 25 ranking by Sports Illustrated in 2005. The Sandra Meadows Memorial Arena, used for basketball and volleyball, seats 2,000 spectators and was named by USA TODAY as one of the nation’s top 10 places to watch high school basketball. Duncanville Panther Baseball Stadium was named by Baseball America as the nation’s fifth-best high school baseball facility.

The Peak of Amusement Country Day on the Hill has been a Cedar Hill tradition since 1937. The annual event, held the second Saturday each October, draws between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors to Cedar Hill's historic downtown for music, food, crafts, games and events including a parade and a race. The Old Settlers' Reunion is held Friday night before Country Day, and includes dinner and the crowning of King and Queen of the Hill. Go to for more. i m a g e sswdallasco . co m


Joe Pool Lake at Cedar Hill State Park offers fishing piers, 2 boat ramps, picnic and camping areas and rents a variety of boats and jet skis.


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Business Climate

All Four One Partnership trumpets positives of four cities Story by Kevin Litwin Photography by Brian McCord


arle Jones says the Best Southwest Partnership was formed 20 years ago to promote Southwest Dallas County, but until now the partnership has been a well-kept secret. “The aligned chambers and cities of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster formed the partnership to trumpet the excellence of our region, and now we want to trumpet our region more loudly,” says Jones, director of economic development for the City of Duncanville. “We are making a major effort to get out the word to recruit new business.” Jones says the positives of this 160,000-resident region are many, including the award-winning Methodist Charlton Medical Center that serves all four cities. Each community includes a strong school system, a relatively low cost of living, attractive amenities for retirees and recreational opportunities that help attract a diverse mix of professionals to Southwest Dallas County. “We are close enough to all the advantages that Big D has to offer, yet far enough away to be free of headaches that go with big-city life,” Jones says. “As for the Partnership, we lobby together to get the attention of Dallas County and the state of Texas to benefit our region. For example, if one of us is successful in getting a university, we would all benefit to some extent. And although our four cities are partners, we can still keep our individuality.” Jones says each of the four cities has attractive amenities for both small

and large companies potentially seeking to settle in Southwest Dallas County. He points out that DeSoto and Lancaster have an abundance of available land for large corporate or industrial development, while Cedar Hill has an abundance of brand-name retail stores and good nightlife. “Duncanville is a bedroom residential community and is located the closest to Dallas, but our city is pretty much built-out with homes,” he says. “We are now looking to use sales tax revenues to provide incentives for retailers that might be looking to settle in our city.” Jones says recent success stories in Duncanville include the construction of a Hilton Garden Inn, Bob Knight Fieldhouse, The Shops at Waterview

Park retail/apartment community, a Costco warehouse and a Pappadeaux restaurant. Also trumpeting its accomplishments is Cedar Hill, which boasts scenery such as Joe Pool Lake and Cedar Hill State Park. “Our city also has a growing office and light-industrial base, and since 1999 has developed more than3 million square feet of retail space,” says Allison J.H. Thompson, Cedar Hill director of economic development. “But rather than grow alone as individual cities, the Best Southwest Partnership makes great sense. It’s smart to go to Austin and speak with one voice, or address our federal officials in the same way. Each of the four cities is on board to really see this partnership thrive.”

Average Household Income (2008) Cedar Hill DeSoto Duncanville







$ $ $ 80000



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Breathing Space Find a slower pace of life minutes from the Metroplex Story by Rebecca Denton

Krohn, a senior pastor at Faith Bible Church in DeSoto. “Many times you find one of those groups living in isolation from the rest, but that’s not true here,” he says. “We’re better together as Americans and richer for being exposed to other cultures and backgrounds.” Krohn moved to DeSoto from Minneapolis with his family in 1994. His wife, Lana, teaches at DeSoto High School, and their two sons attended public school and graduated from DeSoto High. The couple still lives in the same house near the town center, just over a block from the city’s treelined walking trail. A Home for Every Budget Liz Weaver, 39, has lived most of her life in Duncanville and moved back nearly three years ago to be near her family. “It’s fantastic down here – quiet and calm,” says Weaver, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty. “Duncanville and Lancaster have the old main streets and old-time charm, but you can be in Dallas or Fort Worth

Quality retail and ample outdoor recreation are part of Southwest Dallas County living.


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photos by Brian McCord


nown for rolling hills, quiet neighborhoods and plenty of open green space, the cities of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster offer a gentler pace of life just 30 minutes or less from the bustle of Dallas and Fort Worth. These Southwest Dallas County communities boast their own distinctive appeal, with top-notch recreation facilities, new libraries, quality education, historic town centers, golf courses, scenic parks and trail systems – and a lot less traffic. A growing and affluent professional base has been drawn to Southwest Dallas County by the ability to buy more house for less money, highquality schools and a hometown feel. Average annual household income tops $75,000. Gems such as Cedar Hill State Park and Joe Pool Lake are draws for fishing, boating, hiking, biking, swimming and bird-watching. Southwest Dallas County is a melting pot of African-American, Hispanic and Caucasian populations – creating diversity that is one of the region’s many strengths, says Curt

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Photo C ourtesy of Mc C oy ’s Photogr aphy

A One-Stop shop

Brian McCord

Cedar Hill’s 115,00-squarefoot government center is the only known municipal facility in Texas that joins city and school administration offices, along with police headquarters, under one roof. Built at a cost of $27.5 million, the center is designed to be a “one-stop shop” housing all city administration and departmental offices, administrative offices of the Cedar Hill Independent School District, and the Cedar Hill Police Department.


S o u t hw e s t D allas C o u n t y

They Mean Business

antony boshier

For 55 years, chamber has bolstered community

From left: Uptown Village at Cedar Hill is a popular gathering spot for shopping, dining and leisure. The region offers plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors, such as hiking at Cedar Hill State Park, which includes Joe Pool Lake.

within 30 minutes.” Duncanville is a Texas Certified Retirement Community, offering affordable, small-town living just minutes from top-notch health care and big-city attractions. Housing here often features oversized lots and distinctive homes in neighborhoods with pools and playgrounds. While houses can range from $80,000 to $1 million or more, Weaver says the average home price is around $118,000 to $122,000. Convenience and Charm Amber Fussell, 29, grew up in DeSoto and moved back after college to be near friends and family. “We have access to all the perks of a big city, but we have breathing room and thinking space,” she says. “We aren’t overgrown, and we don’t have a

lot of chain stores, by design. We have a lot of unique businesses.” Amber Hatley, a marketing director for Chick-fil-A, grew up in Duncanville, works in Cedar Hill and lives in DeSoto. She and her 16-year-old daughter, Jordan, spend a lot of time at Uptown Village at Cedar Hill, a 725,000-square-foot, open-air retail center featuring upscale specialty stores and restaurants. The popular center attracts people of all ages and includes a dinosaur-themed children’s play area, interactive spray fountain, concert stage and giant checker board. “You don’t have to go out of Southwest Dallas County to do anything,” Hatley says. “We have excellent restaurants, health care and great shopping. Everything you need is right here.”

Southwest dallas county population breakdown by city 44,651 Cedar Hill

48,700 DeSoto

38,793 Duncanville

35,800 Lancaster

Now in its 55th year of operation, the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce is a key driver in promoting new investment and the high quality of life in Southwest Dallas County. Under the direction of President Steve Martin, the chamber offers a range of economic, community and educational programs that encourage business growth, expansion and relocation. Duncanville is located between Interstate 20 and U.S. Highway 67, minutes from Dallas and Fort Worth. The city offers rail service for business and easy access to I-35, the NAFTA gateway that connects Canada, the United States and Mexico. The chamber also actively promotes Duncanville as a place to live and a retirement destination based on its numerous quality-oflife attributes that include short commute times, high-quality schools, access to leading health services, and abundant shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Duncanville is known as the City of Champions for the 18 team and four individual state championships its school district has won since 1975. Duncanville is one of four cities that encompasses the Best Southwest Partnership, which promotes the region’s business attributes, educational assets and superior quality of life. The Duncanville chamber also is a member of the Best Southwest Chambers of Commerce, which represents the area in regional and state legislative issues. The chamber offers a number of services to member businesses, including publicity and promotion, access to demographic and economic development information, seminars and speaker series. i m a g e sswdallasco . co m


Production Line Prowess Central location, incentives attract manufacturers to the region Story by Rebecca Denton • Photography by Brian McCord


S o u t hw e s t D allas C o u n t y

Southwest Dallas County offers four major highways: Interstates 20, 35 and 45 and U.S. Highway 67. They allow manufacturers to distribute goods quickly by truck to major population centers.

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exas ranks first in the nation as an exporter of manufactured goods, and the Southwest Dallas County region is home to an impressive cross-section of leading manufacturers. Convenient access to markets, significant cost advantages and a skilled labor pool top the list of reasons companies are investing in Best Southwest communities. Aquatic (formerly Lasco Bathware) is the nation’s largest manufacturer of bathing fixtures; its Lancaster plant is one of the company’s six national manufacturing and distribution facilities. The plant produces gelcoat fixtures, including showers, tub-showers, shower bases, bathtubs and accessible bathware – all of which move quickly and easily from Southwest Dallas County to markets around the United States and around the world. “We like Lancaster for several key reasons,” says Rick Reysen, vice president of operations at Aquatic. “The location is excellent. It’s in the geographic center of the United States, with easy access to major north-south and east-west interstates, which is key for shipping and efficient delivery of our products to customers. This area also has a


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good pool of production workers, thanks to the affordable cost of living compared with other parts of the country.” Several major manufacturers specializing in products for the home, from plumbing supplies to cabinets and doors, are located in Best Southwest communities, including BrassCraft, Bentwood Cos., Masco Corp., Quality Cabinets and Western Cabinets Inc. Other goods produced in the region include fabricated sheet-metal products, corrugated storage and filing boxes, commercial bakery products, frozen foods and plastic illuminated signs. From Here to Anywhere Convenient access to four highways – Interstates 20, 35 and 45, and U.S. Highway 67 – allows manufacturers to distribute goods quickly by truck to major population centers. Nearby airports include Dallas Love Field Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Lancaster Regional Airport and Dallas Executive Airport. Rail transport is available through Union Pacific Railroad’s Southern Dallas Intermodal Facility; BNSF

Railroad serves industrial properties. A new, 200-acre BNSF intermodal facility is planned within the new Dallas Logistics Hub, a 6,000-acre logistics park that will serve as an “inland port” with access to highways, dual rail and intermodal facilities. While this sophisticated transportation network allows manufacturers to distribute goods, it also helps them receive supplies efficiently. “For supply-chain logistics, we’re in an ideal location,” says Allison Thompson, Cedar Hill’s director of economic development. And in many cases, supplies are readily available in the Southwest Dallas County region. Financial incentives and a pro-business climate give manufacturers another key reason to choose Best Southwest communities. “The local economy has a positive business climate – very pro-business,” says Randal Levingston, director of marketing for the DeSoto Economic Development Corp. “We want to see businesses grow and develop here, and we’re always looking for companies seeking to expand their existing base of operations or relocate to our community.”

Economic incentives for qualifying businesses can include tax abatements, financial assistance to install utilities or upgrade infrastructure, cash grants, fee waivers, fast-track permitting, land-cost assistance and sales tax rebates. Workforce Ready Local colleges and universities offer workforce training and a range of degree programs, which contributes to a well-trained workforce, says Ed Brady, director of economic development for the City of Lancaster. “If a skill level is not available in the area, workforce training through higher education can bring those skills to the employment base,” he says. Local options include the University of North Texas at Dallas, Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Mountain View College in Dallas, and Cedar Valley College in Lancaster. From left: BrassCraft, a leading manufacturer of water supplies and gas plumbing products for new construction, repair and remodel markets, is the top industrial employer in Lancaster. i m a g e sswdallasco . co m



Industrial Staying Power

What’s Online  Learn more about Southwest Dallas County online at


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P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f V i c t o r P. M o l i n a / S o l a r T u r b i n e s I n c o r p o r at e d

Solar Turbines’ DeSoto facility is hub of overhaul operations worldwide

Story by Rebecca Denton


exas has long been associated with the oil and gas production space. It’s the city’s fourth-largest employer. industry, a connection – along with the affordable The company’s success and growth benefit the city on cost of establishing itself and conducting business – many levels, says Randal Levingston, director of marketing that led Solar Turbines to DeSoto in 1987. for the DeSoto Economic Development Corp. The company is a leading manufacturer of industrial “To have any company of that size and magnitude in our gas turbines, and its DeSoto community is an advantage,” facility overhauls gas turbine he says. “It speaks volumes to engines for customers all over prospective companies as we’re the world. With DeSoto’s easy marketing the community, and what is a gas turbine engine? access to Dallas/Fort Worth they want to be part of that International Airport and a synergy. It’s an obvious Basic Components deep-water seaport in Houston, advantage for us to be able to 1. Compressor The compressor takes in outside the location makes sense. say we have a company like air and then compacts and pressurizes the “Proximity to key locations Solar Turbines here in DeSoto.” air molecules through a series of rotating such as Dallas and the Dallas/ The company’s DeSoto and stationary compressor blades. Fort Worth airport are just a facility is one of 13 worldwide 2. Combustor In the combustor, fuel is added 30- to 45-minute drive,” says that focus on repair and to the pressurized air molecules and ignited. Jonathan Vendituoli, general overhaul. The process begins The heated molecules expand and move at manager of the overhaul facility. with disassembling the gas high velocity into the turbine section. “There’s less traffic and turbine down to its components, congestion on the southwest which are closely inspected. 3. Turbine The turbine converts the energy side of Dallas, and most of our Parts that require attention are from the high-velocity gas into useful employees live in the Southwest meticulously refurbished, and rotational power though expansion of the Dallas area.” required upgrades are added. heated compressed gas over a series of The DeSoto location offers The unit is then thoroughly turbine rotor blades. relief from property taxes tested, and the end result is 4. Output Shaft & Gearbox Rotational power from through a Freeport exemption – a like-new gas turbine. the turbine section is delivered to driven an advantage to any company Headquartered in San Diego, equipment through the output shaft via a with a high volume of exports Solar Turbines Inc. is a wholly speed reduction gearbox. out of state. And Texas doesn’t owned subsidiary of Caterpillar have a state income tax. Inc., a Fortune 500 company 5. Exhaust The engine’s exhaust The skilled labor pool is and world leader in section directs the spent another plus. manufacturing construction gas out of the 5 “The region provides a and mining equipment, diesel turbine section 3 talented and diverse workforce and natural gas engines and and into the 2 for our overhaul operations,” industrial gas turbines. atmosphere. Vendituoli says. “We are able to Solar Turbines’ customers attract production technicians use its products for a range 1 with skills commonly found in of services, including the the aviation industry as well as production, processing and pipeline 4 engineers from local universities.” transmission of natural gas and crude oil. Solar Turbines’ DeSoto Texas Solar’s products are also used to generate electricity Gas Turbine Overhaul Facility has and thermal energy to help manufacture chemicals, expanded twice since 1987, and pharmaceuticals and food products. serves as the hub of overhaul Founded in 1927, Solar Turbines has about 6,000 operations worldwide. DeSoto Overhaul employs about employees worldwide and is one of the country’s 50 350 people and operates in 120,000 square feet of largest exporters.

Solar Turbines’ products include gas turbine engines, gas compressors, gas turbine-powered compressor sets and generator sets.

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Hub of Activity Strategic location gives Southwest Dallas a distribution edge


S o u t hw e s t D allas C o u n t y

Clear for Takeoff

Story by Rebecca Denton


trategic location and accessibility are vital to successful distribution, and the Southwest Dallas County region offers some of the most convenient and sophisticated transportation networks in the country. “Our location gives any manufacturer a cost advantage from a transportation perspective,” says Ed Brady, director of economic development for the city of Lancaster. Easy access to Interstates 20, 35 (known as the NAFTA Corridor) and 45 as well as U.S. Highway 67 allows companies to distribute goods quickly by truck to major population centers. For air freight and business travel, the four Best Southwest communities, Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster, are just minutes from Dallas Love Field Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Lancaster Regional Airport and Dallas Executive Airport. Rail transport is available through Union Pacific Railroad’s Southern Dallas Intermodal Facility, and BNSF Railroad serves Cedar Hill Business Park and other industrial properties. A new, 200-acre BNSF intermodal facility is planned within the new Dallas Logistics Hub.

Trucks, Trains and Planes The Dallas Logistics Hub is one of the region’s premier transportation assets. Located 12 miles south of downtown Dallas, this “inland port” is a 6,000-acre, master-planned logistics park adjacent to four major highways, dual rail and intermodal facilities for shipping products by multiple transportation modes. The hub has room for 60 million square feet of distribution, manufacturing, office and retail development, and offers readily available industrial space for lease or build-to-suit sites. “Our mantra with regard to that project and our future is ‘trucks, trains and planes,’” Brady says. “It will be an

What’s Online 

important part of our economic future and commercial base.” Attracting Attention Logistics companies are noticing. Four of the nation’s leading logistics-center developers have projects under construction or have purchased property for future projects in Lancaster, Brady says, including Industrial Developments International (IDI), White Rock Commercial, Seefried Properties and ProLogis. “It’s all because of our strategic transportation location,” he says. Other factors help sweeten the deal, including incentives such as Triple Freeport Exemption from all local taxing authorities, which applies to inventory shipped out of the state within 175 days – a substantial savings for interstate shippers that turn inventory several times a year. Some major distributors already have locations in the Best Southwest region, including the 420,000-squarefoot JC Penney Store Support Center, a distribution facility in Cedar Hill. “Our traffic congestion is minimal, which makes for easier transportation,” says Allison Thompson, Cedar Hill’s director of economic development. “Add the availability of land, the relatively low cost of land and the available skilled workforce, and it makes us a great location for distribution.” There for the Taking The facilities and available land in regional industrial parks help simplify the process of locating to Southwest Dallas County. Among the many properties are the 150-acre Cedar Hill Business Park; DeSoto’s Eagle Industrial Park, home to leading companies such as a Walmart distribution center, McGraw Hill Publishing and ZEP Manufacturing; and the Duncanville Industrial Park.

Learn more about Southwest Dallas County’s transportation infrastructure at

Best Southwest region offers abundant options for travel by air The Best Southwest region is flying high with an abundance of airport options. About a 30-minute drive from Southwest Dallas County is Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the eighth-busiest airport in the world based on passenger volume. The 18 airlines serving DFW handled nearly 58 million passengers in 2009 and flew to 175 domestic and foreign destinations. Love Field, located in the heart of Dallas, is served by Continental Express, American Airlines/ American Eagle and Southwest Airlines, which uses the airport as its Dallas hub. The airport handled 7.9 million passengers in 2009. In Lancaster, the city-owned Lancaster Regional Airport is located just 20 minutes from downtown Dallas. The airport includes a 6,500-foot runway and offers a number of services for corporate and general aviation, including fuel, hangar space and amenities such as a pilots’ lounge, meeting space and a full-service restaurant. The airport, home to several aviation-related businesses, also houses two aircraft-related museums. The Cold War Air Museum occupies 45,000 square feet in a hangar, housing U.S. and Soviet aircraft, artifacts, artwork and library resources related to the Cold War. The Dallas/Fort Worth Wing of the Commemorative Air Force includes several vintage aircraft. Just northeast of Duncanville, 10 minutes from downtown Dallas, Dallas Executive Airport provides services for corporate aviation and private aircraft. The airport, with a 6,451-foot main runway, offers a number of services including fueling, hangar space and flight instruction. i m a g e sswdallasco . co m



Being Hospitable Health-care powerhouse Methodist Charlton serves the region




$116 million



Number of beds

Cost of a new patient tower that opened in 2009 on the hospital’s campus

Annual emergency room visits

S o u t hw e s t D allas C o u n t y

Story by Kevin Litwin • Photography by Brian McCord


Methodist Charlton Medical Center, part of Methodist Health System, recently expanded to 301 patient beds. Methodist Health also operates several clinics in Southwest Dallas.

h, baby. Nearly 2,000 babies are born every year at Methodist Charlton Medical Center. With the hospital also overseeing 70,000 emergency room visits each year, it has become a very busy healthcare facility. So hospital officials decided to expand the medical center to better serve residents of the growing Southwest Dallas County region, which includes Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster. An eight-story tower with 72 patient beds in private rooms was added to the campus in 2009, bringing the hospital’s total bed count to 301. “We serve the Southwest Dallas County region, which has seen growth in recent years, so we needed to expand the medical center to meet the needs of our communities,” says Jonathan S. Davis, president of Methodist Charlton, which is part of the Methodist Health System. “The $116 million tower was constructed and four of the eight floors are already occupied. The other four floors will be equipped in the future as needed.” Besides the 72 new patient beds, the tower also has seven operating rooms. In September 2010, the hospital introduced a heart surgery program headquartered in the tower. “We have also broadened our orthopedic surgery program thanks to all the space we added in the expansion,” says Davis. Prior to the tower construction, a 91,200-square-foot medical office building opened on the hospital campus in spring 2008, on the heels

of a 476-space parking garage for outpatients and visitors. In addition, a $14 million renovation occurred in the emergency department, and a $30 million comprehensive cancer center and radiation therapy treatment center was added. Another major upgrade has been a renovation of the cardiac catheterization lab, which included the addition of a leading-edge, all-digital imaging system. “All our upgrades mean that residents of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster don’t need to leave Southwest Dallas County to receive top health care,” Davis says. That top health care has resulted in the highest rating – five stars – for clinical excellence in maternity care, based on a 2010 study issued by HealthGrades, a nationally known independent health care rating organization. Methodist Charlton has also received awards for its Level II special care nursery as well as its cancer program, and the hospital’s Methodist Joint Academy has been recognized for helping hip and knee joint replacement patients return to normal activity faster after surgery. “Methodist Charlton also operates two clinics in Cedar Hill and is one of the largest employers in Southwest Dallas County, with 1,300 employees that include 240 physicians on staff,” Davis says. “A total of 475 active volunteers also work at the medical center. We’ve come a long way since first opening in 1975.” i m a g e sswdallasco . co m



S o u t hw e s t D allas C o u n t y


Ready To Work Colleges supply businesses with skilled, educated workers

Story by Rebecca Denton


usinesses in the Southwest Dallas County region enjoy a steady supply of well-trained and educated workers, thanks to a solid foundation of local colleges and universities. Job-seekers will have even more educational options now that the University of North Texas at Dallas (formerly UNT Dallas Campus) has transitioned from a branch campus of the University of North Texas to a freestanding, degree-granting institution. The university, which offers certificate, bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs, welcomed its first freshman class in fall 2010. Enrollment at the school has increased an average of 14 percent per year for the past 10 years, says Gregory Tomlin, director of marketing, news and information for the university. In 2009, enrollment reached the equivalent of 1,000 full-time students, allowing the governor to authorize physical expansion of the campus. A three-story, 103,000-square-foot facility will join the current 75,000-square-foot building, Tomlin says, and the University of North Texas at Dallas is the first public university located in Dallas. “For businesses, we’ll be focused on developing citizens who are workforce ready,” Tomlin says. “Over the next few years, we’ll be researching emerging fields, finding out where those workers will land and developing degree programs that fit those markets.” Just 20 minutes from downtown

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“Over the next few years, we’ll be researching emerging fields, finding out where those workers will land and developing degree programs that fit those markets.” Dallas is the 350-acre Northwood University, located in the wooded hills near scenic Joe Pool Lake in Cedar Hill. About 900 undergraduate and graduate students attend the business management college, which offers four-year bachelor of business administration degrees and master of business administration degrees. A full-time (12-month) master of business administration program will begin in fall 2011, says Sylvia Correa, Northwood’s director of enrollment. Accounting, marketing and management degrees at Northwood offer concentrations in a variety of programs, including automotive

marketing, international business, hotel and restaurant management, fashion marketing, economics, entrepreneurship and entertainment. Other higher education options include Mountain View College in Dallas and Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, both part of the Dallas County Community College District. These local colleges and universities provide invaluable resources for businesses, says Randal Levingston, director of marketing for DeSoto Economic Development Corp. “Cedar Valley College has been amazing in providing grant funds and grant sources for businesses that are

ready to retrain existing staff or starting new training programs,” he says. “We can draw from a widereaching labor pool to bring in high-quality workers.” Cedar Valley Center at Cedar Hill, also part of the Dallas County Community College District, is another resource for job training, offering free counseling, research assistance, job-skill assessment, distance learning, teleconferencing and business counseling through the Small Business Development Center. Traditional classes in technology, business, art, language, real estate and law enforcement also are available.

Cedar Valley College is a key provider of workforce training in the region.


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Well Schooled Best Southwest region invests in classrooms, programs School districts serving the four Southwest Dallas County communities have made major investments in educational quality to provide the region’s employers with a job-ready workforce. The Cedar Hill Independent School District serves 8,300 students at six elementary, three intermediate and two middle schools, a ninth-grade center and two high schools. Since 2006, ratings from the Texas Education Agency have increased steadily. The district has three Exemplary schools, seven Recognized and four Acceptable schools. School officials say the district has been able to increase academic excellence by budgeting as many dollars as possible directly into the classroom and student tutorials. “We put our emphasis on developing a strong curriculum and hiring quality teachers,” says Dr. Homer Carter, chief academic officer. CHISD offers a range of technology options for its classrooms, including interactive white boards, web cams, I-Touch with educational applications, video conferencing equipment and mobile laptop labs. The Duncanville Independent School District serves 12,900 students at its 18 campuses. With one of the highest graduation credit requirements (28.5) in the state, Duncanville ISD offers students Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, Tech-Prep, and gifted and talented programs. With an emphasis on preparing students for their future through engaging experiences in a projectbased learning environment, the district continues to excel academically. Eighty-percent of the schools have earned the state’s highest ratings of Recognized or Exemplary for the past two years. Numerous technological advancements have

transformed the way people live, and at Duncanville ISD they are transforming how students learn. A bond issue helped finance new facilities for the DeSoto Independent School District, including $26.7 million for a middle school that opened in fall 2007 and $8 million for high school upgrades. The Lancaster Independent School District offers an

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for 11th- and 12th-graders. The rigorous IB program is designed to help students develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to participate actively in a rapidly changing world. The district in June 2009 received authorization for baccalaureate programs designed for students in lower grades.

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Solace in the City Just miles from the Metroplex, Southwest Dallas County nature parks and preserves offer a refreshing respite

Story by Emily McMackin


Brian McCord

ust miles from downtown Dallas and Fort Worth, and a world away from the steel-and-concrete highrises, snarling traffic and hectic city streets is one of the best-kept secrets of Dallas County. With rugged, wooded terrain reminiscent of the Texas Hill Country, Cedar Hill State Park encompasses 1,826 acres of land untouched by the developments surrounding it, a welcome escape for Texans who long to get back to nature and one of Southwest Dallas County’s most appealing features. “You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but you’re minutes from downtown,” says Mercy McBrayer, the park’s special events and volunteer coordinator. “It’s great for families who are looking for things to do without going too far or spending too much.” From the southeastern border of 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake, visitors can catch reflections of the Dallas skyline, as well as the new Cowboys Stadium, glimmering in the water at night. With 355 campsites, Cedar Hill State Park is the most visited park in the state – not just because of its scenery but also its diversity, says park manager Mike Spradling. “Most everything in North Texas is flat, but we have hills, canyons, juniper and oak trees, tall-grass prairies,

Joe Pool Marina at Cedar Hill State Park is a popular fishing spot. The marina also rents jet skis, pontoon, paddle and ski boats. i m a g e sswdallasco . co m


Park It With an abundance of parks, playgrounds and playing fields, communities in the Best Southwest region offer a trove of outdoor amenities for hikers, families and sports lovers alike. Here’s a glance at what you’ll find: Cedar Hill Twenty-two parks and four greenbelts, with playgrounds, pavilions, basketball and tennis courts, playing and practice fields, walking trails, picnic facilities, fishing ponds, an amphitheater and a pool. Four special-use parks, including three nature preserves with hiking trails and a 36-hole disc golf course. Duncanville Sixteen parks totaling 237 acres, with playground facilities, tennis courts, walking trails and playing fields. The 21-acre Armstrong Park has a lighted, landscaped walking track, a large volunteer-built playground, historic buildings and artifacts and rose, butterfly and perennial gardens. The 52-acre Lakeside Park is stocked with catfish in the spring and summer and freshwater trout in the winter. Lancaster Nine parks, a softball complex, a creek preserve encompassing 47 acres of undeveloped land with natural trails for walking and hiking, and Bear Creek Nature Park, a 189acre rolling woodland with three hiking trails and two miles of equestrian trails, a pavilion and an outdoor classroom for environmental and educational programs. A nearby creek, fed by a natural spring and two ponds, offers opportunities for catch-and-release fishing. DeSoto Twenty-one parks, with playgrounds, picnic facilities and playing fields. Several parks connect to the 3.6-mile Roy Orr Trail. Grimes Park’s 75 acres include a softball and baseball complex, soccer field and Metroplex BMX, a covered bicycle motocross facility with a lighted 60,000-square-foot track. The 75-acre Windmill Hill Nature Preserve offers a mix of gentle slopes and steep hills for hiking.


S o u t hw e s t D allas C o u n t y

What’s Online  Find out about more of the region’s recreation opportunities online at

s taff p h o t o Brian McCord

wildlife and all types of bird species that migrate through here,” he says. From fishing, swimming, canoeing and kayaking to mountain biking, hiking, picnicking and bird-watching, “there are so many activities for so many different types of people,” he adds. The park offers paved trails for leisurely walks and challenging hikes for backpackers, along with a 14-mile mountain bike trail with loops for beginning, intermediate and advanced bikers. A partner with the Texas Outdoor Families program and the office of Urban Outreach, it also hosts fishing, canoeing, geocaching and camping workshops. Visitors can harvest pumpkins from the park during the fall Harvest Heritage Festival and experience what life was like before the region became urbanized with year-round tours of the historic Penn Farm. The Audubon Society is developing a sanctuary and education center at the 270-acre Dogwood Canyon, where dogwoods blossom along the limestone walls and endangered songbirds nest. In addition to the state park, Cedar Hill, named a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation for its forestry focus, boasts an abundance of greenbelts, nature preserves and parks, including Valley Ridge Park, which hosts state and regional baseball, softball and soccer tournaments. Duncanville holds its share of surprises for residents seeking a retreat. “Most people don’t realize how many trees, creeks and beautiful areas we have around here,” says Duncanville Parks Director Shane Gravens. Also a Tree City USA community, the city recycles tree limbs and wood chips, and educates students about conservation and recycling. As a result of Keep Duncaville Beautiful’s Governor’s Award, additional trees provided through the Texas Department of Transportation and funding by the Duncanvillle Community and Economic Developmnent Corp., Duncanville recently planted 755 trees along its I-20 entrance. At the city’s Redbird Park, “we planted 100 pecan trees all along the trail and let people dedicate them to deceased loved ones,” Gravens says. From landscaped trails with butterfly, rose and perennial gardens to a volunteer-built playground and lakes stocked with catfish and freshwater trout, families can find plenty of options for outdoor fun, including the city’s annual Stars and Strips Festival and Haunted Hallows of Lakeside events. The cities also band together to celebrate their diversity, taking turns each year hosting the Juneteenth Festival, the oldest known event celebrating the end of slavery.

Clockwise from top left: Cedar Hill State Park; the waterways in the region are great for kayaking; Metroplex BMX in DeSoto is one of the nation’s fastest-growing BMX racing organizations. It offers year-round racing in all ABA categories and hosts races. i m a g e sswdallasco . co m


Retiree Retreat Duncanville’s small-town charm and big-city proximity attract retirees looking for a home Dan Jespersen, 60, moved to Duncanville in 1965 and has no plans to leave any time soon. He isn’t alone. “I know lots of people who have lived here for 60 or 70 years,” he says. Along with the loyalty of locals, Duncanville, designated by the Texas Department of Agriculture as a Certified Retirement Community in 2007, is attracting retirees who want to settle in a safe, friendly small town with big-city convenience. “It’s a quiet community, but we have good police and fire protection and good roads, businesses, churches and schools,” says Jespersen, who owns the Ben Franklin Apothecary general store and pharmacy with his wife, Janice. “It’s a great place to live, and you can get to Dallas-Fort Worth in no time.”


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Just a short drive from downtown Dallas, the community offers the best of both worlds for residents who want to visit the symphony, catch an international flight or attend a professional sporting event, but still live in a hospitable community with low crime, affordable housing and nice neighbors. Recently ranked No. 1 for affordable home prices among America’s small towns by CNNMoney. com, Duncanville offers its own distinct culture, with championship high school sports teams, specialty shops and quality community theater. Residents also have access to cutting-edge medical care, from the nationally renowned Methodist Charlton Medical Center to the cluster of assisted-living centers, cancer treatment centers and private physicians and optometrists. The D.L. Hopkins Senior Center,

which averages 100 visitors every day, offers a range of recreational activities, including enrichment classes, plays, pageants, museum and restaurant outings and even a “Senior Idol” competition. From special shopping carts and a “senior savings guide” packed with discounts to partnerships between the elderly and law enforcement, “we do small things to cater to our seniors,” says Tonya Lewis, Duncanville public information officer. Champions Cove, a residential community for retirees, has drawn residents from as far away as England. “You’re not just another face in the crowd here,” Lewis says. “There is a strong sense of family.” To learn more about why Duncanville appeals to retirees, visit – Emily McMackin

economic profile Business snapshot

major employers EmployerNo. of Employees Quality Cabinets and Doors Duncanville Independent School District Methodist Charlton Medical Center Cedar Hill Independent School District



The Best Southwest Region is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The region’s proximity to major markets, lower cost of doing business and other factors have helped lure a cross-section of businesses and industries.

Population (2009)


Best Southwest Region: 171,651 Cedar Hill, 44,651


DeSoto, 48,700

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Duncanville, 38,793 Dallas Love Field

Lancaster, 35,800



DeSoto Independent School District


JCPenney Support Center


BrassCraft Western


City of Cedar Hill




City of DeSoto


City of Duncanville


Oak Creek Homes


Dallas County, 2.45 million

Lancaster Regional Airport


Cedar Hill, 23,142 DeSoto, 31,548 dallas_executive_airport.html

Duncanville, 19,081


Lancaster, 17,167

Located just minutes from downtown Dallas and Fort Worth.Served by several major highways, including I-20, I-35, I-45 and U.S. Highway 67

Dallas Executive Airport

Dallas County, 1.15 million

Average Household Income (2008) Cedar Hill, $82,404 Duncanville, $81,388


Lancaster, $62,085 Dallas County, $67,821

For more in-depth demographic, statistical and community information on Southwest Dallas County, go to

visit our


Duncanville EDC Duncanville ISD Lancaster ISD Methodist Health Systems Northwood University Pappas Restaurants

Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Union Pacific

DeSoto, $82,311

What’s Online 

Cedar Hill EDC Cedar Hill ISD Cedar Valley College City of Lancaster DeSoto Chamber of Commerce DeSoto EDC DeSoto ISD

Railroads,,,,, dev.shtm,



LANCASTER • Business Expansion and Relocation • Facility Solutions and Development Assistance Ed Brady – City of Lancaster P.O. Box 940 Lancaster, TX 75146 (972) 218-1314 tel • (972) 218-3684 fax

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Ad Index

2 Cedar Hill EDC

30 Cedar Hill ISD

9 Cedar Valley College

6 Duncanville EDC

40 Duncanville ISD

C4 Lancaster ISD

39 City of Lancaster

4 De Soto Chamber of Commerce

10 Northwood University

38 Pappas Restaurants

33 De Soto EDC

C2 De Soto ISD

1 Methodist Health Systems

Business Images Southwest Dallas County, TX 2011  

The Best Southwest Region is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The region’s proximity to major markets, lower cost of doing business...