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H-E-B and others providing private-sector firepower as EDF looks to recruit and retain jobs

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

Read original article here.

San Antonio’s lead economic development organization is actively engaging senior private-sector leadership in an effort to attract and retain more companies.

The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation has recruited a new group of industry executives with strong resumes to its executive committee. EDF Chairman Wayne Peacock believes they will give the Alamo City far more firepower in future economic pursuits.

Peacock, who is also president of USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Group, said the addition of the four executives is part of a larger effort to create more private-sector engagement in San Antonio’s economic development plan.

“It’s critical because we need senior leadership invested in helping drive economic growth in a thoughtful way that is more reflective of the next-generation industries of tomorrow’s economy,” he said. “The more we have senior executives invested ... the more we will be able to tap into that wisdom and expertise.”

In 2010, as part of its restructuring, EDF added the city of San Antonio and Bexar County as funding partners. The organization changed the composition of its leadership to reflect the increased public-sector involvement.

“At one time, EDF was all private. Then the doors were opened to allow different government entities a seat at the table,” Raba said. “The private sector had less of an influence over time. Now, the private sector is extremely excited about resetting the direction.”

EDF hopes to tap into senior private-sector leaders’ expertise in developing more aggressive corporate recruitment strategies.

“Having senior leaders with a network and reach participating in helping open doors will be really powerful,” Peacock said. “It adds credibility.”

Raba said no one knows as well as local business leaders what’s required to keep companies committed to and successful in San Antonio.

Private-sector leaders will also play a critical role in workforce development initiatives needed to retain and grow existing San Antonio companies.

“H-E-B is a prime example,” Peacock said. “They have been one of the leaders in driving workforce development in San Antonio. Having senior leadership at H-E-B now connected in a really powerful way with EDF’s strategy and vision will help accelerate our progress in workforce development.”

Raba said EDF is going to benefit from having more assets at its disposal.

“You are going to see a lot of collaboration and a reinvigoration in EDF from the private-sector perspective,” he said. "Going forward, this is going to be a more complete and well-oiled vehicle.”