It was an honor for me to have been invited to attend the Inc. 5000 Conference in Palm Springs, CA, to represent Amarillo College and Amarillo.
It's exciting and humbling to join a team of community and business leaders from the Panhandle that is so focused on the vision of growing Amarillo and bringing companies and jobs to the Panhandle region.
Our team had the opportunity to meet many CEOs and business owners from the fastest growing 5000 companies in America.
We talked with them about how the great work ethic of the hardworking folks in the Panhandle; the low costs of doing business in Amarillo, including taxes; the affordable real estate; and the access to transportation; could enhance their business and add to their growth and profitability.
We also told them about the spirit of the people in the Panhandle, and how we work together and support each other to get things done.
Many who previously only knew Amarillo from the song “Amarillo by Morning,” or from billboards offering a free 72 oz. Steak, asked great questions about Amarillo and the region.
We fielded questions about average wages, educated workforce, unemployment rates, distance from major cities, access to interstates, and direct flights from the airport.
As many of these companies have employees that would be a part of the package, they also asked about the quality of life, including entertainment, culture, sports, and our schools. Most of the people I talked to were pleasantly surprised that a city our size had so much to offer their companies and employees.
On the flight back home, I sat next to a business owner from South Carolina. When he heard that I was from Amarillo, his first question was, “What was the catalyst that brought all of these groups together? Everywhere I went at the conference, I met people from Amarillo, and they were all from different companies.
"They were all talking about how great the Panhandle is, and how I needed to be a part of it. Amarillo companies were in the sessions and asking great questions of the speakers in Q&A. It was impressive, and when I get home, I’m going to start paying attention to what is going on in Amarillo.”
That was exciting to hear because I do believe that, right now, there is a spark to make big things happen in Amarillo and the Panhandle.