News Archives - Waco Chamber

In the 1990s, a group came together and formed the Area Industry Managers (AIM) committee, an amalgamation of greater Waco industry businesses who recognized the rapid development of advanced manufacturing and wanted to work together to keep Waco ahead of the curve. The Economic Development team at the Greater Waco Chamber is committed to making Greater Waco the community of choice for business, and AIM helps support and contribute to that mission by providing a forum for Greater Waco’s major industrial employers to share best practices, discuss relevant legislative policies, and serve as a voice for advanced manufacturers and distributors in the region.


Made up of 60 members, AIM’s key objective is to foster open communication between major employers in McLennan County. Quarterly meetings are hosted at different member facilities to provide a peer-group setting that allows for discussion of common issues and trends in the manufacturing sector. Some of the recent meetings have covered topics like Innovation in Business, Employee Recognition Programs, Renewable Incentives, and Work/Life Balance and Importance of Understanding Millennials.



Allergan plc, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a bold, global pharmaceutical company. Allergan is focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing branded pharmaceutical, device, biologic, surgical and regenerative medicine products for patients around the world. Allergan employs more than 17,000 people around the globe, including at their plant here in Waco. Learn more at


Domtar Personal Care

Domtar makes products that people around the world rely on every day. They transform sustainable wood fibers into a wide variety of everyday products, from copy paper to adult and baby diapers. Domtar is the largest manufacturer of uncoated freesheet in North America and one of the largest producers of absorbent hygiene products in the world. Learn more at


Manitou Group

For over 50 years, Manitou Group has been manufacturing material handling equipment. They employ 170 people in Waco who are involved in the production and modification of forklifts. Recently, a $283,000 grant was awarded by the Texas Workforce Commission’s Skills Development Fund to the Manitou Group and Texas State Technical College. This will not only help improve workers skills, but also help create jobs. Find out more at


Packless Industries

Packless Industries is a leading manufacturer of heat transfer and other metal hose products committed to providing the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration industries with the highest quality fluid heat transfer parts in 1933. Based in Waco, Packless products are used across the world, with customers ranging from the giants of American industry to the small, one-man business. Learn more at



From small beginnings, TYMCO® now has an international network of dealers with representatives on every major continent. TYMCO employs more than 150 people in a state-of-the-art facility in Waco. They first introduced and perfected the Regenerative Air Sweeper that is the standard by which all air sweepers are measured today. TYMCO maximizes output while minimizing overhead, which translates to economically priced equipment. TYMCO, a family owned and day-to-day managed company, dominates a market traditionally controlled by corporate conglomerates. Learn more at



Versalift is a leading manufacturer of bucket trucks, digger derricks, cable placers and high reach aerial lifts for power generation, transmission and distribution, telecommunication, sign, light, and traffic and tree care industries. Orders begin as raw material and a build list, and transform into one of the safest, most reliable and highest quality bucket trucks in the world, delivered with the promise that they are safe, reliable and will stand the test of time. Based in Waco, Versalift’s family of distributors spans North America, Latin America and Europe. Learn more at


AIM Member Businesses: 

Arconic Fastening Systems
Associated Hygienic Products
Axion Structural Innovations
Behlen Country
Capstone Mechanical
Caterpillar Inc.
Central Texas Iron Works
Clarke Products, Inc.
Coca-Cola North America
Commercial Metals Company
Croft Automation
Darr Equipment
Dean Foods
Domtar Personal Care
Elixir Industries
Englander dZignPak, LLC
Evans Enterprises
Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.
First Title Company of Waco
Hobbs Bonded Fiber
HOTEC (Heart of Texas Electric Co-op)
Imperial Woodworks, Inc.
Industrial Rigging Service of Central Texas, Inc.
Jobes Company
Kingsdown, Inc.
L-3 Technologies
Lehigh Cement Co.
Manitou Americas
MarathonNorco Aerospace
Mars Wrigley Confectionery
Merrick Engineering, Inc.
Oldcastle Materials, Inc.
Packaging Corporation of America
Packless Industries
Patrick Industries, Inc.
Polyglass USA, Inc.
Romark Logistics of Texas
Sanderson Farms, Inc.
SC2 Services, Inc.
Sherwin-Williams Co.
Shipp Belting Company
Spenco Footwear
Swan Products, LLC
Time Manufacturing Co.
Tractor Supply Co.
TransTech Fabrication, LLC
Turner Manufacturing
VanTran Industries, Inc.
Versalift Southwest
Vossloh Fastening Systems
Waco Composites, Ltd.
Waco ISD



2Q18_CoverArt webCheck out this edition of the Greater Waco Business magazine online,

featuring articles all about advanced manufacturing in Waco, new

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Categories: News

Article by Whitney Richter, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Baylor University, published in the second quarter edition of the Greater Waco Business magazine


When the Great Depression of the 1930s dethroned King Cotton as the powerhouse of the Waco economy, the city’s developing manufacturing industry helped carry it through the lean years that followed.


Today, Greater Waco is home to a robust manufacturing sector that spans the aerospace, heavy equipment, structural fastener, glass and composite materials, packaging, housing, transportation, consumer goods, food and beverage industries and numerous others.


In Greater Waco, more and more companies are turning toward advanced manufacturing — a business concept that capitalizes on non-traditional, newly developed technologies. While the smartest companies have always kept up with new developments, advanced manufacturing requires a higher level of attention to today’s complex and rapidly changing technological landscape. It can be a difficult, expensive process, but Greater Waco-area companies have something of an advantage: many of the most innovative technologies and processes to support advanced manufacturing are being developed right in their own backyard.


BRIC - Baylor Research and Innovation Collaboration - Building - Exterior, Interior – 12/18/2013 **Photos Courtesy of Charles Davis Smith Photography**

BRIC – Baylor Research and Innovation Collaboration – Building – Exterior, Interior – 12/18/2013
**Photos Courtesy of Charles Davis Smith Photography**

BRIC: An Innovation for Innovation 

Since its January 2013 opening, the BRIC — Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative — has provided a uniquely conceived environment for the genesis, cultivation and development of new ideas, technologies and techniques, all underpinned by the BRIC’s five foundational pillars: fundamental and applied research, industry collaboration, business acceleration and incubation, workforce development and STEM educational outreach.


Fundamental and Applied Research
BRIC researchers are experts in an array of scientific, technological and mathematical fields of inquiry. And the environment in which they work — with full-featured laboratories, microgravity drop tower, clean rooms, testing facilities, and high-performance computing resources — is specifically designed to encourage the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary exchange of ideas. One of the natural outcomes of this combination is the discovery of new knowledge, innovative products and improved processes that help support advanced manufacturing. Indeed, the first patent to emerge from BRIC-industry collaborative research was a completely new, fieldable, non-destructive process for determining the integrity of structural aircraft components made of composite materials for aerospace giant L3 Technologies.


Industry Collaboration
L3 Technologies was the first company to tap into the BRIC’s unique repository of resources for innovation. In just five years, the list of BRIC industry partners has grown to seven with over 150 other corporations and organizations, both local and national, exploring the possibility of teaming with the BRIC.


Baylor Magazine - John Fitch – Birkeland Current – BRIC – Aviation - 02/22/2017

Baylor Magazine – John Fitch – Birkeland Current – BRIC – Aviation – 02/22/2017

In addition to L3 Technologies, current BRIC research industry partners include technology innovator Birkeland Current, Structural Health Data Systems, Education Service Center Region 12, educational architecture firm Huckabee, Inc., aerospace technology firm Delta G Design, and the most recent addition, ViZiv Technologies, a leader in electrical distribution and management.


As they grow in number and diversity, BRIC research industry partners are proving to be synergistic resources themselves, each bringing with them specialized expertise that can provide support to Baylor research or other BRIC industry partners’ research and product innovation. Other companies looking to create a new invention or revolutionize a product or process can do so through sponsored research with Baylor and the BRIC.


Business Incubation, Acceleration and Commercialization
Offering the resources and expertise of faculty and students from Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, LAUNCH, the BRIC’s in-house accelerator and incubator for technology-based businesses provides crucial guidance to start-up and existing business owners in moving their companies and products into the marketplace. While LAUNCH’s primary function is commercialization of technologies developed by Baylor researchers, the same resources, infrastructure and services are routinely available to and used by BRIC research industry partners and local entrepreneurs.


The BRIC faculty and staff have assisted various companies to develop ideas from inception to formation to commercialization, including equine therapy simulation company, Chariot Innovations, Higher Education Innovation (HEI), Peak Nano Systems, College Choice Today and Birkeland Current’s most recent spin-off company, Sovrin IoT.


(Workforce) bric industrial systems J5D_4406 WEBWorkforce Development
According to a report by economic development consulting firm Camoin Associates published in the December 2014 issue of Expansion Solutions magazine,
“One of the most important drivers for advanced manufacturing businesses is the availability of a skilled workforce. In some industries, workers can be trained to perform duties on the job. Generally, advanced manufacturing is not one of those industries. The integration of technology and advanced machinery diminishes the need for “unskilled” workers and increases the reliance on workers with the sophisticated skills required to operate the equipment. Advanced manufacturing training courses and programs in community colleges, technical schools, and even K-12 education systems are essential to supporting growth in the advanced manufacturing sector.”


With 45,000-square-feet of dedicated instructional space in the BRIC, Texas State Technical College, the BRIC’s workforce training partner, provides rapid-response, transformative workforce development closely tailored to the needs of Greater Waco and Texas industries.


For more than 50 years, TSTC has anticipated the workforce needs of Texas industries with effective training programs for evolving and emerging technologies such as laser electro-optics, robotics, and biomedical and aerospace technologies. The collaboration between TSTC and Baylor in workforce development is clearly having an impact as shown by the number of TSTC graduates who, working with Baylor faculty and graduate student researchers, are initially trained in conducting research for BRIC industry partners and then go on to become full-time employees of those firms.


STEM Educational Outreach
Long-term viability and sustainability of any technology-based economy is reliant on cultivating the next generation of students to fill the ranks of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and other professionals essential to the development of new products and processes. The BRIC educational research and outreach programs are designed to encourage students from kindergarten through high school to choose and persist in a career path in a STEM discipline — science, technology, engineering or mathematics.


Baylor faculty, staff and graduate students are working with Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12 and school architect and educational environment designer Huckabee, Inc. to evaluate the impact of new classroom furnishings and arrangements on student engagement in the classroom. The success of this collaborative effort is reflected in the professional development that supports teachers as they transition their classrooms into student-centered active learning environments. Education specialists from ESC Region 12, the BRIC-based Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER), and Baylor School of Education engage in research and directly support STEM teachers through the creation of an instructional and professional development program that will introduce local students to the phenomenon of microgravity (1.5 seconds) using the BRIC’s new state-of-the-art 49-foot, research-grade drop tower. Within the BRIC, students will also get a close-up view of the American space program by touring the BRIC’s $6 million collection of NASA artifacts from the Apollo and Space Shuttle eras.


Additionally, each year undergraduate students spend the summer in the BRIC conducting research with Baylor faculty while supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA and other funding agencies. This program places the students alongside Baylor graduate students, where they conduct research, compile data, and reveal their findings in presentations at science conferences.


(BRIC Clean Room-Research) IMG_8388 WEB

A Resource of Growing Importance to the Greater Waco Community
Beyond its primary function as a 330,000-square-foot research and development facility, with its convenient location, abundant parking, collection of Karl Umlauf industrial-themed art, and attractive, well-equipped meeting rooms, the BRIC has become increasingly valuable as a meeting venue for scientific, professional and civic events of all kinds. In the fiscal year spanning 2016-17, the BRIC hosted over 750 events and tours and over 15,000 visitors. According to estimates by the Association of University Research Parks the impact of the BRIC to the local economy was over $34 million in 2017 alone, which equates to a 14 percent increase over 2016 and an 82 percent increase since 2014.


Through its international speaker series BRIC Foundations: Perspectives from Leaders in Innovation, the BRIC provides a public forum for the presentation of timely ideas of importance to the Greater Waco business and manufacturing community by foremost experts in fields ranging from physics, chemistry and workforce development to artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship and education.


In his November 2014 BRIC Foundations presentation, Mr. Paul Evans, P.E., Director of San Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute’s Manufacturing Systems Department, spoke of the continuing and growing importance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy and specifically addressed advanced manufacturing:

“If you’ve been in any U.S. manufacturing facilities recently you’ll find a lot of advanced manufacturing activities going on. Gone are the days when we think about bringing back some of the kinds of highly repetitive manual manufacturing tasks that have been off-shored… Manufacturing has a higher multiplier effect for every dollar invested than any other sector. I don’t think many people realize that. If you want to start generating economic benefits for your region, you want to put in a manufacturing plant.”


As new advanced manufacturing companies form locally and corporations already well-versed in the practice come to the area, and as the advanced manufacturing movement continues to expand in established Greater Waco industries, the BRIC’s capacity to foster and facilitate the success of these businesses will keep pace, helping to ensure a flourishing and vibrant community.



2Q18_CoverArt webCheck out this edition of the Greater Waco Business magazine online,

featuring articles all about advanced manufacturing in Waco, new

Chamber members, member news and more!











Categories: News

Article contributed by the City of Waco, published in the second quarter edition of the Greater Waco Business Magazine.


Waco is on its way to becoming a major metropolitan city. The significant growth in recent years has transformed this city into a center of excellence and economic development with dynamic potential. Growth in Waco is good. Waco is a great place to be!


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Boosted by its convenient location along the I-35 corridor between Austin and Dallas, this city with humble beginnings now has the qualities to attract new businesses, prime talent, tourists and future residents. Waco’s attractive business incentives and land availability, the abundance of job opportunities and its excellent quality of life with low cost of living has fueled this transformation. But to continue the momentum, investment in necessary infrastructure improvements are essential.
To meet these growth-related challenges, the city implemented Building Waco, a 10-year Capital Improvement Project aimed to renew and rebuild necessary infrastructure to foster and sustain development. The program includes $131 million in water projects, $139 million in wastewater projects, and $50 million in street improvements.


The city of Waco currently serves the water needs of more than 131,000 residents and seeks to serve an additional 40,000 over the next 25 years. Waco has initiated numerous project updates to replace storage tanks, install new water lines (replacing some that are more than 100 years old), constructing new water pump stations and replacing Owen Lane Tower with a larger capacity water tower, among other initiatives.


While the majority of the Building Waco budget has targeted water projects, necessary capital improvement projects go beyond just water. Other investments in traditional infrastructure—such as roads, bridges and buildings—are also vital to foster Waco’s economic development and keep the city attractive. Preserving and modernizing the city’s aesthetics are just as important as keeping it functional.


Buiding Waco - Owen Lane Water Tower WEB

Cities like Waco experience natural ebbs and flows in growth patterns. While there’s evidence the future looks bright, the city can still benefit from fostering economic development and growth now. Waco already offers much for current and future residents, businesses and tourists to enjoy.


For example, Lake Waco was originally designed to deliver a safe water supply to the city’s residents. It now also serves as entertainment, and residents and visitors regularly enjoy boating, fishing and swimming on the lake. Long-term city planning provided a man-made lake to Wacoans with a reliable and ample water supply, treatment capacity (more than twice the amount of Waco’s highest demand day) and modern-day delivery infrastructure to safely transport the water to the customer.



Additionally, like other areas in Texas, Waco has a generous supply of low-cost land available for development. Having land available is appealing to companies seeking to relocate and construct headquarters. Recognizing this need as essential for growth, the city, private individuals and non-profits, such as the Waco Industrial Foundation created eleven business parks. Not only will these business parks attract new companies, they will help further the city’s goal to diversify the job force and offer a wide array of jobs. Further, the city of Waco proactively installed utility infrastructure in these industrial parks, which is a great advantage when recruiting a company to a particular
site. With the infrastructure in place, the site is construction-ready.


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Another way to ensure the city’s future economic development is through its excellent educational opportunities. Waco is home to one of Texas’ largest and oldest universities, Baylor University, with more than 16,000 students. The university’s graduate programs—including its law school and business school—are nationally acclaimed. Baylor’s athletics department attracts visitors from across the state to sporting events each weekend, which contributes to tourism revenue. Also, Waco is home to McLennan Community College, with an enrollment of nearly 9,000 students, and Texas State Technical College, which has about 4,000 students enrolled. While attracting new talent is vital for the community to thrive, retaining talented graduates is just as important.


With these assets, Waco’s economic outlook is bright. The city is projected to grow at a healthy pace. In fact, based on an economic development report by economist Ray Perryman, the metropolitan area (including McLennan and Falls counties) is projected to expand by some 59,100 residents by 2040, for a total population of 323,000. The economy is likely to double in size as measured by output (real gross product) and could accelerate more through effective planning and strategic investments.
Our leaders look forward to diversifying job opportunities and industries, as well as attracting and retaining excellent talent so that current and future residents will continue to experience a great quality of life. All of this will be made possible with a proactive approach toward modernizing and beautifying the city through Building Waco. With many projects underway and more yet to accomplish, Waco is ready to thrive.


For more information on Building Waco, please visit or follow the City of Waco on Facebook and Twitter.



2Q18_CoverArt web






Check out this edition of the Greater Waco Business magazine,

featuring articles all about advanced manufacturing in Waco,

new Chamber members, member news and more!







Categories: News

Article by Debbie Keel, Regional Director, AT&T Inc., published in the second quarter edition of the Greater Waco Business Magazine.


AT&T is aiming to be the first U.S. carrier to launch standards-based, mobile 5G services to customers this year. It recently announced Waco as one of the first cities where it will launch 5G by the end of this year. But Waco residents won’t have to wait until 5G gets here to start experiencing faster wireless speeds.


5G Header WEB

AT&T launched the 5G Evolution network in parts of Waco just a few weeks ago. Our 5G Evolution network has a peak theoretical speed of at least 400 Mbps (megabits per second) and it lays the foundation for 5G by enabling faster speeds now, and preparing for upgrades to 5G when it’s here. The investment in the future of connectivity in Waco is bringing real benefits to real customers today.


What will mobile 5G mean for Waco?
AT&T anticipates 5G will eventually deliver data much faster than the current LTE network. Customers may also see much lower latency with 5G. Latency impacts things like the time between pressing play and seeing a video start to stream or hitting a web link and seeing a webpage begin to load. For context, MIT researchers discovered the human brain “latency” is 13 milliseconds.


5G could ultimately help change the way Waco residents work, play and enjoy entertainment at home or on the go. It will accelerate the delivery of entertainment at home and on the go, and many more consumer and business experiences. It will enable new experiences like virtual reality, telemedicine, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more.


One of the coolest entertainment opportunities with tomorrow’s 5G could be augmented reality and virtual reality, often called AR/VR. Users need the kind of ultra-low latency rates 5G is expected to eventually provide to really enjoy these technologies. 5G could also enhance future self-driving cars using live maps for near real-time navigation. Ultra-low latency – anticipated to be delivered by 5G – will be an essential part of making live maps effective.


A hospital could respond faster to changes in patients’ vital signs with edge computing inside and outside the hospital. Doctors could employ telemedicine and robotics-assisted surgery because of 5G’s latency benefits. Or, think of a manufacturer that operates fast-moving machinery. 5G can allow them to identify and fix mechanical failures in record time. The capabilities of 5G could save time and money by helping to identify machine defects sooner.


AT&T thinks the 5G opportunities will be endless – whether you’re a mobile consumer, small- and medium-sized business owner, or large enterprise in Waco.
AT&T expects 5G will also help manage the surge in mobile data usage on their network. Since the end of 2011, data traffic crossing the network on an average business day has increased from 30 petabytes to now more than 206 petabytes. It was 114 petabytes a day as recently as 2015. In fact, data traffic on the mobile network has grown more than 360,000 percent since 2007.


AT&T 5G Trials in Waco
Waco has also been a city where AT&T has been conducting its 5G trials, most notably at Magnolia Market at the Silos. Here are some key findings AT&T learned about 5G fixed wireless during its Waco trial:
• Observed wireless speeds of approximately 1.2 Gbps in a 400 MHz channel.
• Observed RAN latency rates at 9-12 milliseconds.
• Supported hundreds of simultaneous users on a network that was using a 5G data connection.


5G is getting closer to reality and we’re excited to see how people and businesses in Waco will use this ground-breaking technology starting later this year.


2Q18_CoverArt web






Check out this edition of the Greater Waco Business magazine online,

featuring articles all about advanced manufacturing in Waco, new

Chamber members, member news and more!





Categories: News

Featured in the second quarter edition of the Greater Waco Business Magazine.


Do you have great news about your member business? We want to share it! Send your member news to Autumn Outlaw



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La Fiesta Celebrates 55 Year Anniversary

After returning home from war in 1963, Samuel Castillo Sr. opened La Fiesta Restaurant & Cantina with only $700. Fifty-five years later, the third and fourth generation owners, Sam Castillo Jr. and his daughter Lynsey, continue the La Fiesta tradition of serving real authentic Tex-Mex food. Without the customers and the longtime support of Waco, La Fiesta believes they would not be a part of such a rich history.


2018 marks the 55th anniversary of La Fiesta Restaurant & Cantina in Waco and they are inviting all of Waco to celebrate with them. Dine in for lunch between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and get 55-cent iced tea with your meal, topped off with free dessert, because every anniversary lunch should end in something sweet!

Also celebrate La Fiesta’s 55th anniversary by participating in the La Fiesta photo contest. Send your favorite La Fiesta memories (new or old) to for the chance to win great prizes. Tag your photos with the hashtag #LaFaLove on social media.



Doug Dwyer Appointed to Titus Center Advisory Board

Doug Dwyer - headshot-WEB

Doug Dwyer will join nearly four dozen franchising experts on the Advisory Board of the Titus Center for Franchising, a Presidential Center of Excellence at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Titus Center offers coursework leading to a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in franchising. The only academic center of its kind in Florida, the Titus Center facilitates internships, job shadowing and training at area franchises.


Doug Dwyer is President and Chief Stewarding Officer of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen and has led the company since 1997. His management expertise includes overseeing operations, franchise development and support, marketing development, national accounts and warehousing.

During their two-year terms, Advisory Board members will attend steering meetings, evaluate Titus Center programming, speak to undergraduate students, and advocate for the program. They will also have the opportunity to participate in Titus Center Mastermind events dedicated to collecting knowledge and solving business challenges.



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Bird-Kultgen Names Mark Stewart to Management Team

Bird-Kultgen Ford is proud to announce the hiring of Mark Stewart as a member of their management team. Stewart comes to Bird-Kultgen with 19 years of dealership experience in sales, finance and insurance, advertising and dealership management. Stewart is a fourth-generation Wacoan and a graduate of Midway High School. He attended Baylor University, graduating with a BBA in Finance degree in 1999.





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Waco ISD New Turf Baseball Field Dedication

On April 27, the Waco ISD Athletic Department held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in celebration of the new infield turf on Veterans Field #1. This makes Waco ISD one of just a few Central Texas schools to have a turf baseball field, specifically, a Matrix synthetic turf system.

Baseball players from both Waco High School and University High School, along with WISD administration, were in attendance as superintendent Dr. A. Marcus Nelson cut the ribbon on the new all-weather infield before the final regular season game.



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Hill & Wilkinson Announcement

Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors recently announced it has completed construction on a $4 million, 22,000-square-foot renovation of the Harker Heights Central Fire Station, located at 401 Indian Trail. The Central Fire Station, originally constructed in 1985, has a new front entrance on the south side of the building, additional office and storage space, a new training room that will also be used as the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and an expanded kitchen and dining area. A fitness center was also added for firefighters and all city employees.

“I have been directly involved in a number of construction projects valued at hundreds of thousands to multi-millions,” shares Paul D. Sims, City of Harker Heights Fire Chief. “I know it pays to have a team like Hill & Wilkinson that can provide ongoing direction and insight as the process moves along.”

With 50 years in the construction business and 10 years serving Austin, Texas and the surrounding areas, Hill & Wilkinson ( consistently ranks among the top 400 contractors in the U.S., according to Engineering News-Record. The firm, known for its culture, has been named a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal and Austin Business Journal in multiple years. Hill & Wilkinson is a diversified general contractor overseeing all facets of ground-up and renovation construction and is headquartered in Richardson, Texas with an additional office in Austin, Texas.




Categories: News

Article by Christine Holecek, Education Specialist, Education Service Center Region 12, published in the second quarter edition of the 2018 Greater Waco Business Magazine


MANUFACTURING IS MAKING THINGS. The manufacturing career cluster focuses on planning, managing and performing the processing of materials into intermediate or final products and related professional and technical support activities such as production planning and control, maintenance, and manufacturing/process engineering. Raw materials become products such as cars, computer chips, cell phones, contact lenses, cosmetics, candy, and more.


Region 12_GWAMA Welder-webEmployees who create those goods range from production-line workers in factories assembling parts to executives in skyscrapers overseeing global operations. Repetitive tasks that typically occur in manufacturing are now being performed by robots and the automation process, which requires highly trained employees that can adapt to a variety of situations. Manufacturers today, need people who can understand highly technical information and make complex decisions. Workers are responsible for creative problem solving that ensures companies meet the highest quality standards. If you like building things, can follow detailed instructions, or are good at organizing people and processes, then manufacturing could be the right career cluster for you.

Advanced manufacturing is the integration of technology-based systems and processes in the productions of products. It entails a rapid transfer of science and technology into manufacturing products and processes. These manufacturing process technologies may include computer technologies such as CAD, rapid prototyping, high precision technologies, advanced robotics, automation, control system and sustainable technologies. These organizations will usually have a research and development department on-site, providing a dynamic and constantly changing environment.


The Texas Industry Cluster Initiative is building the future economy across the state by focusing on strengthening competitive advantages in six key areas, including Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing. Texas is a global leader in this sector of the economy and is home to all industrial segments, including, computer and electronic products; electrical equipment, appliance, and components; motor vehicles, bodies, trailers, and parts; food and beverage products; textile, apparel and leather products; petroleum, chemical and coal products.


Texas and Waco are no strangers to large corporations, especially those specializing in advanced technology and manufacturing. Caterpillar, Allergan, Domtar Personal Care, Texas Instruments, National Instruments, Samsung, GM, Toyota, Peterbilt, Raytheon, NXP, AMD, Applied Materials, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Fujitsu, BAE Systems, and Ultra Electronics Advanced Tactical Systems are just some of the leading companies with headquarters or a significant presence in Texas.


Logistically, the central location of Texas is unmatched, with a complete infrastructure, easily allowing companies to import and export products. We have multiple interstate highways, international airports, seaports, railways and international border crossings. With our excellent workforce, fair legal system, low taxes, and high quality of life, it is no wonder so many domestic and international companies have chosen Texas as their home and the best place to do business.


The best way for business and industry to thrive in central Texas is to focus on the pipeline of future employees, specifically by investing in the education of our high school students. Advanced Manufacturing is prominently featured at The Greater Waco Advance Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA) in Waco Independent School District. GWAMA is a unique and innovative collaboration between the local business community and the Waco Independent School District.


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The advisory board for GWAMA consists of a group of manufacturing businesses, the Waco Business League and the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. Business partners include: Arconic Fasteners and Rings, Association of General Contractors, Central Texas Iron Works, Capstone Mechanical, Education Service Center Region 12, CMC, Caterpillar, Heart of Texas Builders Association, Packaging Corporation of America, Lochridge Priest, Mazanec Construction, Sturdisteel, Manitou, SpaceX, Matheson Gas, Time Manufacturing, TYMCO, Trane, VANTRAN, TSquared, CPNY, Texas State Technical College and Waco Industrial Manufacturing Foundation.

What sets GWAMA apart from the vocational schools of the past is that the program is designed for all students, not just those who may not find success at a traditional school. GWAMA immerses the career and technical education courses of welding, precision metal manufacturing, electronics, and construction into science and mathematics courses. School districts that participate at GWAMA include: Robinson, Riesel, Moody, Midway, Methodist Children’s Home, McGregor, Lorena La Vega, Bruceville-Eddy, Marlin, Mexia and Troy.


Other McLennan County schools offer Advanced Manufacturing through their Agriculture Programs with an emphasis on Welding, STEM programs with an emphasis on Science, Technology Engineering and Math or an Early College High School partnership with Texas State Technical College and McLennan Community College. These schools include: Axtell, Bosqueville, China Spring, Connally, Crawford, Gholson, Hallsburg, Mart, Moody, and West.


Texas Education Agency offers several different courses in the area of manufacturing. The first course is Principles of Manufacturing. Districts can set their focus on five different career paths. The first is Diversified Manufacturing, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Metal Fabrication and Machining, Precision Metal Manufacturing or Welding. The final course for each pathway is Practicum in Manufacturing.


Many of the programs offered in high school can be articulated or dual credit courses. These advanced manufacturing high school courses can transfer to TSTC.
The programs that transition to TSTC include but are not limited to: Building Construction Technology, Precision Metal Technology, Robotics Technology, and Welding Technology. Each of these programs offer opportunities for certificates or associate degrees.


Welding Expo Girl webEducation Service Center (ESC) Region 12 recently sponsored the Construction/Welding Expo at GWAMA. Over 300 students from across the region attended this hands-on event, with 13 school districts participating in the event. The expo was entitled “Build your Future,” and it featured opportunities to see welding, precision metal, construction and electronics/robotics. This event has evolved from the annual ESC Region 12 Welding Expo, which focused solely on welding. ESC Region 12 joined forces with Waco ISD, Matheson Gas, Association of General Contractors, Heart of Texas Builders Association and Workforce Solutions in the Heart of Texas to make this event bigger and better.


Several national vendors were in attendance previewing the latest technology in welding and construction. This expo is dedicated to promoting welding and construction as a viable option for long-lasting and profitable careers. This event was a completely hands-on, demo-style expo. Students and teachers could see and use all of the latest technology in the industry.


Area schools and businesses are working to increase student exposure to career opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing. The result of initiatives, such as the “Build The Future” Construction/Welding Expo are moving the needle in a positive direction. Recently surveyed after the expo, students noted the techniques, opportunities for high wages and career options as industry benefits and a desire to pursue additional education. Sixty percent of students surveyed stated that they are highly likely or likely to pursue a particular college, career or consider military enlistment because of this event. Eighty percent of students indicated that they will attend this event next year. Ninety percent of students said that they would recommend this event to a friend. With the success of this new venue, ESC Region 12 is committed to continuing this expo in the future.



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Check out this edition of the Greater Waco Business magazine online,

featuring articles all about advanced manufacturing in Waco, new

Chamber members, member news and more!














Categories: News

Article written by Teresa Schiller, Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC




















Businesses are seizing opportunities in Waco at an exciting time. As the city increasingly attracts attention, demand is growing. Major employers and educational institutions provide stability in the area and increase demand for other businesses. To maximize these opportunities, it’s important for your business to leverage strategic legal options, and also to comply with minimum legal standards. Here are some tips for hiring and working with a lawyer for your business.


1. Find an experienced lawyer.
Look online for local lawyers who specialize in relevant practice areas, such as business, real estate, litigation, or employment law. Professionals who serve your business — such as accountants and insurance agents — may have recommendations. Business associations and their members may be able to provide referrals. Other groups you belong to may be able to supply helpful information as well. Finally, consider contacting the Lawyer Referral & Information Service, featured on the State Bar of Texas’ website.


2. Meet with the lawyer to discuss your needs.
Be ready to provide a clear summary of your legal needs and business goals. Does the lawyer listen to you and appear to understand your legal problem? Does he or she teach you about the law and its effect on your business? Does the lawyer outline a possible solution? Although the information he or she provides at such a meeting is preliminary, your discussion will help you to get a sense of the lawyer’s competence, communication skills, trustworthiness, and ability to relate to you and your colleagues.


3. Hire the lawyer with agreed-upon terms.
Your business will be forming an attorney-client relationship, which provides certain rights and responsibilities. To clarify the terms of the relationship, the lawyer may provide a written engagement letter for signature. The engagement letter may describe the scope of work, legal fees and expenses, and staffing. Legal fees may be charged at an hourly rate, or in some other form, such as a flat fee or contingency fee. If you have any questions, discuss them with the lawyer before hiring.


4. Work with the lawyer to maximize efficiency.
Provide requested documents and other business information as needed. Discuss the legal plan, any alternatives, and the range of possible outcomes. Make sure you understand the next steps, and keep the lines of communication open.


In conclusion, these tips for hiring and working with a lawyer can help your business to leverage options and comply with minimum standards. Most importantly, having a lawyer on your team can enhance your peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what you do best – seizing the next business opportunity.
Teresa is a business and employment lawyer at Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC in Waco and Dallas. She is a former in-house lawyer and teacher. Teresa can be reached at





Categories: News

Advanced Manufacturing: What is it? What makes it “advanced?” What are the expectations of the modern manufacturer? Why is it important to Greater Waco?


Advanced manufacturing uses innovative technologies to boost workflow, tighten tolerances and produce highly technical components for a range of industries. The use of robotics, additive manufacturing (3D printing) and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) tools has allowed manufacturers to produce products that are higher quality, less expensive, and more versatile than ever before. Automated raw materials and finished goods handling, advanced inventory control systems, and more have further enhanced the advanced manufacturer’s ability to meet the demands of the modern marketplace.

Here is a simpler explanation of advanced manufacturing: take a hammer and nail. Company A hires Worker A at a lower wage to hammer nails in place. Worker A spends a few hours hammering the nail that morning, but he needs to take a short break. The nails go un-hammered for a full 20 minutes. Worker A comes back from break and hammers for a few more hours, but then he takes an hour for lunch, and the nails again go untouched, this time for a full hour.
Meanwhile, Company B hires Worker B, who has a specific, honed skill set and is paid at a higher wage, to run a machine they’ve built to hammer the nails. Worker B comes to work, sets the machine up and gets it running. Worker B is then free to take care of other responsibilities, because the machine will hammer the nails constantly, never stopping for breaks, food or water.


The move away from traditional manufacturing in certain markets has led to the need for an increasingly specialized workforce. Typically, the average “advanced manufacturing worker” will require, at a minimum, a certification in machine operation or related field. Often, these workers are expected to have an associate degree and/or years of experience in a cross-trained, mid-skilled occupation. Advanced manufacturing often requires that employees have the capacity to independently troubleshoot and resolve issues, as well as the expectation that employees be familiar with the entire manufacturing process. Given the demands of these employees, the average wages of these individuals are proportionally higher than those in more traditional manufacturing roles.



Not all industries need or benefit from these advancements – in fact, the use of the term “advanced” can often be misleading. For instance, a manufacturer that uses a small team of highly skilled technicians to produce individual, high-margin products may not be considered advanced manufacturing, even if that product is a rocket engine.
Greater Waco is proud to have a concentration of both traditional and advanced manufacturing. A manufacturing community must have a blend of low- and mid-skilled workforce, training partners and population growth to supply that workforce, strong logistical access for inbound-outbound materials and goods, and abundant utilities. An advanced manufacturing community requires these, plus a utilities grid that is not only abundant, but also extremely reliable.


Advanced manufacturing communities must focus on developing the future workforce from an earlier age. This often includes exposing students to the manufacturing industry in their freshman or sophomore years in high school, followed by vocational skills training and dual credit coursework. Waco ISD’s Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA) and Connally ISD’s Career Tech programs provide students opportunities to be certified in many of the manufacturing industry’s highest-demand jobs. These programs focus on STEM, problem-solving, robotics, machine coding, machine operation and a range of mechanical and electrical systems skills. Additional certifications such as OSHA10, forklift operation, workplace safety and first aid are also standard in these programs.


Higher education and continuing education are crucial aspects of the workforce environment. Ideally, a community should have a strong cross-section of all skilled positions (low, mid and high). Maintenance, specifically instrumentation technicians and other related jobs, are just as essential to an advanced manufacturer as a talented pool of machine operators. Strong collaboration is needed between advanced manufacturers and local institutions of higher learning, such as Texas State Technical College, McLennan Community College, Baylor University and the University Center at MCC. By partnering with employers, these institutions learn first-hand what the modern workplace expects of their graduates. Similarly, industry partners are given the opportunity to influence new curriculum and establish a relationship with the students in those programs.


Greater Waco has a diversified industry base, but manufacturing accounts for 14 percent of the local workforce. This equates to approximately one and a half of the State and National average, and many consider Greater Waco the “manufacturing and logistics hub of Central Texas.” Adaptation to the changing demands of consumers, as well as efforts to compete on a global scale, has necessitated change in the manufacturing industry. The Greater Waco community is well-positioned to respond to the manufacturing industry’s advancement into the future.



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In this issue of the Greater Waco Business magazine, we will leave the hammer and nails

behind as we explore what Waco businesses and educators are doing to keep up with

this rapidly expanding industry.





Categories: News

McLennan Community College’s Corporate Training department received a Skills Development Fund grant totaling $300,959 from the Texas Workforce Commission to train employees in a manufacturing consortium.

Training will be provided for 186 new and incumbent employees in the consortium Anderton Group II Ltd (dba INTEG) and NAES Corp. (Sandy Creek Energy Station). Trainees will include computer analyst, data processing operator, sales representative, power plant operator, maintenance technician and warehouse fulfillment workers. Upon completion of training, the workers will receive an average hourly wage of $26.86.


For more information, contact Steven Wenzel, coordinator of Corporate Training, at 254-299-8152.





















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From left: Heart of Texas Workforce Development Board Executive Director Anthony Billings; Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce Director of Existing Industries and Workforce Development Jennifer Branch; NAES Corp. Training Coordinator Dustin Tart; McLennan Community College President Johnette McKown; INTEG President David Anderton; McLennan Community College Dean of Workforce & Public Service Frank Graves; Texas Workforce Commissioner Andres Alcantar; McLennan Community College Coordinator of Corporate Training Steve Wenzel; State Representative Charles “Doc” Anderson; McLennan Community College Vice President of Instruction Dr. Fred Hills; and Heart of Texas Workforce Development Board Chairman Norman Connor



Categories: News

Article by Daniel Perry, TSTC Communication Specialist, published in the first quarter edition of the 2018 Greater Waco Business Magazine


L-3's facilities at TSTC airport - Google Image

Even as far back as the 1980s, the airport at Texas State Technical College has been a target for economic development for Waco and McLennan County.


“Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is congested and becoming more so, as is the entire Metroplex,” wrote Bob Sadler, associate editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald, on July 14, 1984. “Waco’s central location and uncrowded skies put it in a superb position to attract air-oriented business and industry.”


The TSTC airport has a main runway that is 8,600 feet long and 150 feet wide and a secondary runway that is 6,292 feet long and 75 feet wide. The airport is capable of supporting Air Force One, which landed former President George W. Bush and his family frequently on their way to their ranch in Crawford, along with military and freight airplanes.


The airport has a dusk-to-dawn lighting system, and night operations can be performed with at least 24 hours notice, according to information from the Texas Department of Transportation.


“TSTC is a great partner with our community and a factor for economic growth,” said McLennan County Judge Scott M. Felton. Felton is a member of the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp., which is made up of the county judge, the Waco city manager and a representative of the Waco Industrial Foundation. Its purpose is to allocate funds to companies coming into and expanding within the county. “We work closely with TSTC and other educational institutions to create and develop the workforce we need in businesses,” Felton said.


connally aerospace center

“Our graduates literally fly all over the state in commercial aviation jobs, but also all over the world as well,” said V. Carson Pearce, statewide Transportation Division director for TSTC. “It is well known that our flight graduates often choose to fly with a major airline based outside of Texas, but they keep their families and their paychecks here in Waco. Airlines, corporate flight departments, military and police, pipeline and U.S. Border Patrol flight operations have benefited immensely with TSTC graduates in their employ.”


Aerospace is designated as one of the key industries that city and county leaders have focused on for economic development. Felton said he could envision future county development with companies similar to L3 Platform Integration, which is located on the south end of the TSTC airport. L3 specializes in aircraft modernization and modification, manufacturing, aircraft paint services and rapid prototyping.


The Waco Industrial Foundation (WIF), an arm of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, markets the TSTC Airport/Waco International Aviation Park as one of three large industrial areas in the county. The aviation park tops out at 1,064 acres, with 200 acres designated for a potential U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone status, according to the Chamber.


A drive down Airline Drive on the eastern edge of campus includes views of the Trane Apron Facility, touching the north side of the airport, as well as L3 and Night Flight Concepts Inc. “By having large companies such as L3 on the airfield, the airport’s economic engine continues to employ hundreds of aerospace-related professions,” Pearce said. “The great-paying jobs produced with these relationships bring in needed tax revenue to the city and county.”


Aero Students -cmyk

Night Flight Concepts Inc. was started in Florida in 2006 and relocated in 2011 to Fort Worth before moving to Waco in 2016. The company has satellite locations in Provo, Utah and Prescott, Arizona. The company provides consulting, training, inspecting and maintaining night vision goggle systems for agencies specializing in airborne law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical services and the military.
The company is a Federal Aviation Administration Certified 14 CFR Part 145 inspection station that has seven full-time employees with more than 39,100 collectively logged flight hours. The company has 300 worldwide customers, according to company information. The company manages more than 3,000 night vision goggle systems annually.


The TSTC airport’s history dates back to the early 1940s, when the Waco Army Air Field opened. The airport was repurposed to become the James Connally Air Force Base, which was closed in 1965 by the U.S. Air Force. This was done the same year the James Connally Technical Institute (now TSTC) opened in north Waco.


The airport opened to general aviation traffic on Sept. 1, 1969, according to the technical college’s Tech Times. The opening coincided with the start of the Career Pilot Training Technology program. Jimmy Taylor was the first instructor and Marc-Aire Inc. was the contractor for flight training. The FAA-certified air control tower opened on Nov. 3, 1969, according to the Tech Times. The tower was under the direction of Col. Robert A. Dowdy, the airport manager and director of buildings and grounds. Vernon Goodwin and Sidney Berry were the first two tower operators.


James Conn Aero Ctr INSIDE-cmyk

“Plans for Connally Airport include studies for establishing many and varied phases of the aviation industry, including that of a regional air-freight depot,” according to the June 19, 1970 edition of the Tech Times. “These and other studies provide excellent potential for the future of Connally Airport and control tower.” General Dynamics, Braniff International Airways and Aviation Technical Support, a subsidiary of American Airlines, utilized hangar space and the runways in the 1960s and 1980s, according to archives at the Waco Tribune-Herald.


TSTC’s Career Services and Talent Management have worked in the past with L3 and Trane to make connections with graduates. L3 has looked to TSTC’s Aviation Maintenance program, and Trane has hired from the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning program in the past.




Visit for more information about Texas State Technical College.


Click here to hear from Carson Pearce with TSTC. He explains why it’s an exciting time to be in the aerospace industry and how you can become part of the aerospace workforce.–


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Check out this edition of the Greater Waco Business magazine online,

featuring articles all about the aerospace industry here in Waco, new

Chamber members, member news and more!




Categories: News

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