Amarillo: At the Intersection of Tradition & Inspiration
When most people think of Amarillo, Texas, images of prairies, oil wells, cows, and tumbleweed come to mind.
How they ought to be thinking of Amarillo – now Texas’ 14th-largest city – is as a place where innovation, creativity, and business thrive.
Amarillo’s business leaders are breaking new ground every day by attracting – and retaining – industries as diverse as aerospace, defense, the arts, food technology, and medical research.
It’s all part of their ambitious plan to reposition the city as the Texas Panhandle’s premier technology-driven hub for emerging and established businesses ready to fast-track their growth, while also becoming an even more desirable place to live.
AND IT’S WORKING.
Take it from Bell Helicopter’s Vice President of Assembly Operations Shannon Massey, a 21-year veteran with the company, who oversees three of the company’s operation facilities, including Amarillo.
Bell Helicopter must be prepared in Amarillo and will be, thanks in great part to the city’s commitment to equipping its workforce with the technical and leadership competencies required for Bell’s sophisticated work, including the next generation tilt-rotor, the V-280, one of the biggest opportunities for Bell and Textron. Bell V-280 Valor is an aircraft that will provide unmatched speed, range, payload, agility, survivability, and endurance and at an a ordable cost
“There’s a spirit of collaboration and “can do” attitude here that sets Amarillo apart. The city asks businesses like ours what we need in our workforce, and then uses that knowledge to invest in its people, through training and education.”
Ginger Nelson, recently elected mayor of Amarillo, attributes much of its growth to the great educational institutions in the city and region.
“I’m convinced that no one can out-work or out-think the people of the Texas Panhandle,” she says.
“So as long as we focus on training them towards problem-solving and innovating, there is tremendous opportunity for (the local workforce) to become a significant reason for businesses to relocate here, as well as for existing businesses – and by extension, Amarillo – to grow.”
Despite its growth, Nelson believes Amarillo’s supportive, close-knit community will continue to be a draw for families wanting an a ordable and attractive quality of life.
“We’re a city of 200,000 that feels like a town of 20,000. That’s because of our vast open spaces, but also because as a people, we value small-town values and the small-town work ethic.” Massey, of Bell Helicopter, sees a bright future for Amarillo. “The city realizes the importance of helping niche businesses drive innovation and technology to support businesses like Bell Helicopter. And to keep and attract talent, you also have to invest in the community, to make it appealing to live there. That’s investing in the future.”
Barry Albrecht, president & CEO of the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, agrees. “I’ve lived all over the country and never seen such a sincere friendliness that is ingrained in the culture here — it’s truly special.”
Still thinking about those cows?