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New Board members welcomed, vigorous marketing detailed

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors welcomed two new members, bid farewell to two departing ones, received a report on marketing and business development activities, and approved continuing with the Board’s regular meeting schedule (with exceptions) – all during their regular meeting on October 15 at City Hall chambers.

Outgoing Board members Cam Chavez, Drusilla Rogers (Terry Hagerty Photos)

New Board Members Welcomed – Jeff Haladyna and Pat Crawford were welcomed aboard as recently appointed members by Mayor Connie Schroeder. She also gave kudos to departing members Cam Chavez and Drusilla Rogers. Schroeder said Chavez had “brought so much to this board” and had been “a fantastic board member.” Likewise, she said Rogers “has been an excellent board member” and had been “excellent in asking the right questions at the right time.” Assistant Director Angela Ryan was presented an award in appreciation for her 10 years of service at the BEDC. The board then moved to elect new officers, with unanimous voice votes for Kathryn Nash for chair, Kevin Plunkett for vice chair, and Sam Kier for secretary/treasurer.

Marketing Activities – Jean Riemenschneider, the BEDC’s project management and business recruitment specialist, took part in an Opportunity Austin marketing/recruiting trip by the Austin Chamber of Commerce to San Francisco on September 9-12. BEDC Project Consultant Shane Sorenson represented Bastrop at the Industrial Asset Management Council on September 15-19 in Philadelphia. He attended multiple sessions for Site Selector and Asset Manager professional development. Other events attended by staff included the International Economic Development Council annual conference in Atlanta on Sept. 30-Oct. 3, the NAI Global Conference Sept. 24-26 at the Austin Hilton, with 400-plus brokers, and the Texas Downtown Association Regional Roundtable. “We’ve got to spread the good news of Bastrop,” Kamerlander said of the multiple efforts to gain Bastrop further name recognition in the competitive business world.

BEDC Executive Director Mike KamerlanderBusiness Recruitment Matrix – Kamerlander also gave details from a PowerPoint slide of the “Business Recruitment Activity Matrix,” a marketing gauge which shows out-of-region visits, internal and external business leads, and visits and follow-up requests from business prospects. He said in September there had been 27 follow-up requests from prospects. Kamerlander also touched on BEDC website (www.bastropedc.org) analytics, including website visits from 31 states and 10 countries during September. The top pages visited (highest first) were: Blog, Board Meetings, Business & Industrial Park, Staff, and Community History. There were also 3,810 Facebook “Likes” and 1,118 Twitter followers for the same month. “It will grow,” he said of the matrix. “We are going to establish and track leads” with this matrix, adding it “tells us if our marketing is working.” He said some area leads have come from the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Governor’s Office. “We’re going to start concentrating more on marketing and PR as we go forward,” Kamerlander said, adding that “(prospect) repeats are the really important ones – if they’re not coming back, you’re not going to win it.”

380 Agreements Update – Kamerlander also updated the Board on the BEDC’s 380 Agreements with Bastrop businesses. The two active agreements are with Buc-ee’s and the Burleson Crossing shopping center. He said that to date, almost $510,000 of the $700,000 of incentives had been paid out by the BEDC to Buc-ee’s. “Buc-ee’s is really outperforming what we expected them to do, I don’t think anybody is shocked” about the store’s brisk business, Kamerlander said. Kamerlander added that one of the results of Buc-ee’s doing well is that, “We’re going to start capturing all of that sales tax sooner than later,” i.e., referring to the BEDC recapturing some of its original business incentives to Buc-ee’s.

The Agnes Street Project is progressing.Agnes Street Project – In an action item the Board approved reimbursing the City of Bastrop $14,000 which the City previously paid Bowman Consulting for preparing a schematic design for the middle “remaining portion” of the Agnes Street extension project. The schematic design gives “a functional street layout” between the existing east end of Agnes Street and the soon-to-occur construction of Agnes near SH 304, according to the BEDC meeting packet. The City requires a geometric alignment and preliminary drainage design of the roadway.   

Meeting Dates Retained – The Board approved keeping the third Monday of each month at 5 p.m. for its regular meetings. The exception would be if the third Monday was a holiday, in which case the meeting would be moved to the fourth Monday of the month.