Barry Albrecht

AEDC On A Mission To Grow Amarillo's Educational System

Having grown up in a military family, I’ve been lucky to see so much of the world. My father retired from the Army after serving three tours in Vietnam as a helicopter gunship pilot, so when I joined the Army as an aviator, I was familiar and welcomed all the experiences the military had to offer.

As part of a military intelligence aviation unit tasked with surveillance missions, I quickly learned that I was only one small gear in a much bigger machine. Being a part of that unit, I finally started to genuinely understand so many words that I’ve heard and said a thousand of times before; words like loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. I also started to understand why these core values were the foundation of operational success within the military and also in business.

Intelligence aviation units have a unique, 360 degree view of the activities of military operations. Aviation units are also closely tied to central command units and are often an information provider, acting as critical component of the forward strategy, development of policy and the advancement of our mission down range.

Our unit and the many units we served could not operate successfully without one another. We inherently trusted that everyone would work closely together to achieve the larger mission that stood before us all.

As soldiers, as teams, as units, so many of our successful efforts made direct positive impacts to other fellow soldiers in other roles that we never met. It has been my experience that this framework, this perspective that we are all working together to move closer to our ultimate objective, holds true in both the private sector and especially community economic development.

The past 20 years of my career have emphasized to me that missions are only successful when all units, all organizations and individuals involved work closely and aggressively toward the collective goal. As I return to my home state of Texas, I know the same holds true for Amarillo and all that we hope to do to make this community a place of pride and success.

The first 120 days of my service at the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation will be focused on solidifying the organizational framework and vision. By formalizing and establishing core administrative policies, procedures and organizational goals, we can better serve our community and our neighbors.

Additionally, I firmly believe that education is economic development. My staff and I will be dedicating ourselves to escalating our communications to the public and media outlets on our mission, our activities and our resources in the most transparent manner possible.

The AEDC will be designing and engaging in new partnerships with our regional education systems in pursuit of a vision, a vision of the greater Amarillo educational system becoming a leader in education statewide so as to promote the ongoing growth of our community’s workforce.

Additionally, it is critical we communicate what we are doing and consistently remind the community that your ideas and assistance is always welcome.

Finally, the Amarillo EDC will zero in our focus on the companies and industry sectors that are the best matched for what Amarillo offers today and into the future. Building upon the relationships I have developed over the past 20 years in economic development, we will be aggressive in our attempts to promote Amarillo to those companies, both domestic and international, looking to grow and expand.

With the development of new tools, the AEDC will be adjusting our reach into the global marketplace while maintaining focus in the development of quality jobs for our residents and for our children.

One of my dad’s greatest philosophies that I try to live by is to surround yourself with the best possible people — people that are passionate, encouraging and maintain the spirit of cooperation and integrity. Perhaps it was his military service that taught him those lessons.

Growing up under his wing and serving alongside the best and brightest of America reinforced those values to me as well. I know the same will hold true in my next mission here in Amarillo.

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