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by Ed Curtis
April 26, 2024


The Woodlands, Texas – A stellar line-up of leadership from The Woodlands gathered for an engaging executive growth Summit, hosted by TMH Consulting with the support of YTexas and The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce.

The summit began with an insightful presentation by Thomas Michael-Hogg, an internationally acclaimed growth consultant who has worked with some of the largest brands and cities in the world. The message from Hogg: Be #1 in a niche market. When it comes to quality and community, The Woodlands is there.

Jim Carman, Houston Region President at Howard Hughes Holdings, characterized the township as a “true” master planned community, giving reference to generational decisions they’ve made to invest in schools, the arts, and an overall investment in community that often cannot be measured in ROI.

While The Woodlands is currently 92% leased in commercial space and virtually sold out on single family detached homes, the message Carman wants to send to the market is they ready and eager to build and develop more commercial buildings.

With the light regulatory touch in the township, they could build from the ground up in record time. They want to compete with the best for world-class headquarter office space

Gil Staley who leads economic development efforts for The Woodlands, stated that RFP’s for projects was at an all time high last year – and they are currently looking at multiple projects ranging from pharma to advanced mobility. Their specialty: An innovation district with a keen focus on life sciences. A key attribute to the area is that nearly 70% of their working age population has a bachelors degree.

The Woodlands Chamber Chairman, Brian Albert, Woodlands Township Board of Directors Dr. Ann Snyder and Township Director Brad Bailey gave an interesting summary of the area’s history and current events. The focus was on quality of life, the arts, and their outsourced model for public services. The most recent success was the Chevron Championship, an LPGA event that aired live on NBC, giving a national stage to the community.

Linda Nelson, a 27 year executive at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, told a personal story of how she landed in The Woodlands. When she first moved to Texas, she was apprehensive about staying. She moved from New Jersey and initially wasn’t sure she wanted to make Texas a long-term move. It wasn’t until she moved to The Woodlands that she knew she had found home. Today, she is one of the most influential leaders in the region, holding several board positions with non-profits in the region. Linda mentioned that the area hosts 6 major hospital brands,

Linda Head, Vice Chancellor at Lone Star College, stressed The Woodlands commitment to workforce development. She stated that employers want workers today, not in 5 years. Lone Star focuses on getting students to the next level, in college or in the field as soon as possible. The focus is on need, which includes engineering, IT professionals and nurses.

Former Secretary of State Ruth Hughs and Houston Exponential CEO, Natara Branch spoke to the impact the area is having on the region. Hughs, whose role was as an ambassador to the state, stressed the impact international business has in Texas. She talked about how the state managed through COVID, and that our response is what grabbed the attention to a lot of international businesses. The Woodlands is a hot bed for international commercial business, with over 100 countries represented in the area.

Natara Branch, having come from the NFL based in New York, raved about the welcoming business culture of Houston, and her admiration for the collaborative mindset in The Woodlands. Her mission at Houston Exponential is to focus on the awareness of the region. She’s tired of the Houston market being passed over by opportunities, where people simply don’t know what’s available in region. She has a mission to compete with other big cities, for innovation in energy, healthcare, fintech, space tech, sports tech and logistics. She mentioned on the sports front, that the area has many athletes who reside here, like Carl Lewis, Zina Garrison and that she will continue to leverage that.

The summit grabbed the attention of many companies looking to collaborate with The Woodlands, including New York-based law firm Carter, Deluca & Farrell, Dallas-based Texas Capital Bank, Dallas College, Carpion Private Wealth, Austin-based law firm Kelly Hart, and the Texas European Chamber of Commerce.