April News Update from David Jerome, President & CEO of the El Paso Chamber
Spring is unfolding and the prospect of a more active downtown, the flurry of businesses reopening, and positive signs regarding the pandemic are cause for optimism. I trust your April is going well and you feel rejuvenated from spring breaks and the changes in the weather! The EPC is busy as well and I am really pleased at the strong tempo of activity have as we move forward on several important projects.
This month I want to expound on the theme of innovation, which is not only a guiding principle of the Chamber, but an important component of rebuilding and re-imaging the business community in El Paso. The Chamber is excited about a number of developments and while I want to make sure we roll out each project, individually, and at the right time in the coming months, I believe you all will be as thrilled as I am with our work.
Aerospace is building in importance for El Paso once again, which harkens back to a period, post-World War II, when the space race, was to a great extent, started in the region. The race to the heavens, which captivated the world, played an important part of the economy and fueled our position as a global power. I believe that through efforts with our partners at The University of Texas at El Paso, the City, our Congresswoman and our local manufacturers, we are at the verge of realizing the tremendous growth opportunities that advanced manufacturing in El Paso represents; innovation that will propel discovery, add growth to the economy, and enhance our national security.
To that end, we have spent several weeks over the two months visiting manufacturers across the community. In fact, last week I made one of those visits with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. In every visit I am impressed by the skill of these local businesses not only to comply with the highest standards of the companies they subcontract with, but also for the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit on display. These businesses are at the cutting edge of production and innovation and I am pleased that so many are ready to partner with EPC. Their commitment to technological innovation matches our interest in expanding their base of economic opportunities as well as the shared commitment to growth. Our technology and manufacturing base in the El Paso area will play a greater role in various sectors of the global economy and the Chamber is leading businesses on that path.
Similarly, the Chamber is working with the City to enhance El Paso’s internet connectivity. The pandemic taught us some significant (and often painful) lessons about internet access and the ability to have connectivity as a necessary part of daily life in a quarantine. As the technology becomes better to build and maintain networks, we consider this effort central to our efforts to continue to make El Paso a sustained globally competitive city. We are also fully aware that we must provide access and training for all community members to truly consider ourselves globally competitive. The Chamber and its partners are leading the way in developing the network necessary to make this objective reality, with potential sponsors from among our membership.
Our Shared Value Initiative is also yielding early innovation results. As we seek to develop and expand the business understanding of our community’s concerns in the areas of environment, society and governance, there are several innovation-wins for our businesses and our community. We will review these in greater detail on the near future.
As you know, I am a fan of innovation and the idea of disrupting the status quo, not just for the sake of rupture, but to open new horizons and to plot an ever-higher trajectory. I look forward to sharing more with you as we set and meet new benchmarks and conquer new frontiers.