The Chamber’s Economic Development Strategic Plan identifies five target industries with the highest probability of sustained success for building a stronger regional economy. Greater Waco’s economic stability is enhanced by the diversity of its economic base with no single industry dominating the market.
To capitalize on this diversity, the Chamber’s Strategic Plan identifies these target industries, leveraging the region’s strengths to build wealth through private investment and job growth through the attraction of new businesses and the expansion of existing companies.
Advanced manufacturing remains a strong, growing industry sector for Greater Waco and the Central Texas region. At 14 percent of the local economy, the Waco MSA exceeds both Texas and the United States in manufacturing as a percentage of the industry base. The manufacturing business composition of the community is as diverse as the local economy with industries in transportation equipment, components, pharmaceuticals and advanced food products.
Texas is the third largest producer of aerospace and aircraft products in the US. A distinct part of Greater Waco’s advanced manufacturing target includes Aerospace and Defense, which focuses on a range of transportation, systems integration, engineering, research and aerospace products and parts manufacturing businesses. Greater Waco offers a unique business environment for aviation with three airports, three colleges offering training options and more than 30 companies engaged in various aviation and support activities organized through the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance.
With one- to two-day delivery turnaround times currently the norm, profitability for businesses throughout all sectors is heavily dependent on an effective and efficient supply chain network. Greater Waco is home to more than 420 distribution centers with more than 6,000 employees and nearly seven million square feet. In addition to Interstate 35 (NAFTA Highway) and Foreign Trade Zone No. 246, air cargo capacity is available at three local airports, and rail freight is offered by Union Pacific and BNSF.
This sector is comprised of both medical services and equipment. Medical services comprise hospital care services, ambulatory health services such as practitioner offices and nursing and residential care services. Medical equipment supports medical services and health care consumers. Greater Waco’s medical sector is experiencing robust growth with more than $580 million in expansions since 2005 and health and education employment accounting for 19 percent of the economy, which is 1.5 times the national average.
Professional and Financial Services are made up of subsectors in accounting, finance and insurance, legal, business support, scientific and technical consulting services, engineering, architecture and creative design. Many opportunities exist to support entrepreneurial businesses in consulting, advertising and marketing, to name a few. Greater Waco is home to a cluster of insurance and professional service headquarters that are within proximity to Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, which provides an opportunity for firms to service the regional and state markets from a cost competitive location.
A snapshot of industries throughout the Greater Waco areas: