MDC highlights Midland as economic recovery accelerates
15 Apr 2021
Q. From an economic development perspective, how did COVID-19 impact the MDC?
A. The board members of the Midland Development Corp. (MDC) are wise stewards of the tax dollars they are trusted to invest in Midland. Thanks to excellent leadership and conservative financial planning, the MDC was well-positioned to weather the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. All the MDC’s commitments have been honored, and all our partners have continued to meet their contractual requirements for jobs and capital expenditures in Midland.
Investments made by the MDC in health care and education have proved their worth many times over through the COVID-19 crisis:
The MDC’s five-year reimbursable physician recruitment agreement with Midland Health helped ensure that our city had adequate health professionals available to provide care.
The Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) Child & Adolescent Psychiatry program, funded by the MDC, has been an invaluable resource for mental health care throughout the pandemic.
TTUHSC’s Physician Assistant program, expanding in Midland thanks to an MDC investment, has begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable populations in critical need.
Q. What do you expect to change in 2021?
A. In 2021 the MDC will continue to carry out its organizational mission – to strengthen and diversify Midland’s economy – while aggressively pursuing new opportunities for Midland. Planning for a rapid economic recovery, businesses that were cautious and restrained in 2020 have begun to accelerate their plans for relocation and expansion in 2021, and the MDC is on the forefront of capturing attention for Midland.
Q. Midlanders have seen projects at the spaceport and institutions of higher education. The MDC also has put seed money in construction projects across the city. What’s next on the horizon?
A. While oil prices and rig counts have begun to recover from the depths of the economic contraction in 2020, the fact remains that the Midland MSA lost 11,000 jobs from December 2019 to December 2020, and that the unemployment rate leapt from 2.0 percent to 8.0 percent in the same period. Midlanders are still facing joblessness and financial insecurity. The MDC’s superordinate goal in 2021 is to bring new primary jobs to Midland, creating opportunities for those who have lost their livelihoods. The Permian Basin has always represented financial opportunity, and we are confident that our region can continue to promise that.
Q. Is this a shift from the focus on business recruitment to a shift to business retention, expansion and quality of life projects?
A. The MDC’s focus will always be strengthening Midland’s economy. That includes leveraging funds to accelerate critical road and infrastructure projects, making investments in education and health care that are vital for Midland’s workforce, and helping businesses grow in Midland. Looking at the macroeconomic level, 2020 exposed weaknesses in our nation’s supply chains and labor markets, while the political climates of several states became even less friendly to business. As industries work to rectify those deficiencies in 2021’s economic expansion, they will be seeking locations like Midland that offer strong infrastructure, an eager workforce, and business-friendly policies. The MDC will utilize its resources to attract those businesses to Midland, ensuring that our city reaps the rewards of this transitional economic era.
MDC’s tenants at the Spaceport Business Park exemplify new opportunities for Midland. AST & Science is building a space-based cellular broadband network accessible by standard smartphones and is in the process of becoming a publicly-traded company through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), with a valuation of $1.8 billion. AST will manufacture its satellite components in Midland and needs to add more than 100 jobs to its employee base here by 2023. This attainable diversification deploys our existing workforce, as new industries thrive alongside Midland’s core energy sector.
The article can be found here.