By: Taylor Buchanan / Community Impact Newspaper
Jason Ball, Round Rock Chamber president and CEO, delivered the 2019 State of the Chamber address Dec. 3.
“I’m very happy to report that the state of the chamber is strong,” Ball said. “We had nine project announcements in 2019 with 468 new jobs announced and more than $30 million that we are investing in our community.”
Ball, who began his speech by saying he has been with the chamber 83 days, was asked during a question-and-answer portion why he chose to take the job in Round Rock.
“This metro area is just sexy,” he said. “It’s a really unique place to be, because it has been so robust. There are so many assets here when it comes to economic activity and growth.”
He discussed the chamber’s vision and values as well as local trends to watch in 2020.
Among the trends he is watching, Ball listed the ebbs and flows of the national, international and local economy.
“I’m encouraged by what I see locally,” Ball said. “Hopefully, if there is a downturn, that will insulate impacts from that. But this is something we all as business leaders need to be paying attention to.”
He spoke about Round Rock’s need for redevelopment and reuse projects. Opportunities to develop a sprawling campus such as Dell Technologies or Kalahari Resorts & Conventions on large, undeveloped areas of land are coming to a close, he said.
“We have 10 sites that are over 25 acres left in the city of Round Rock,” he said. “This is not a run-to-the-exit moment. This doesn’t mean economic development has stopped. Rather, it means our approach is going to have to change to redevelopment, reuse of existing sites.”
Ball gave examples of possibly repurposing large retail centers for new development and reimagining smaller buildings as well—mentioning the recent repurposing of The Flats, a new bar in downtown Round Rock, that was once the site of a gas station.
He spoke about the importance of talent development, of partnering with local schools to bolster jobs pipelines, and the need for a continued emphasis on transportation, among other priorities to attract and retain businesses in the city.
“That’s the kind of Round Rock we want to create: a place where individuals can come and seek their success as well as businesses can come and be successful,” Ball said.