AEDO Profile: Pasadena (Texas) Economic Development Corporation

15 Feb 2022

IEDC’s Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) program recognizes organizational excellence in the areas of internal and external operations, structures, and procedures. This series profiles newly accredited AEDOs, putting some of economic development’s highest-performing organizations in the spotlight.

AEDO member: Pasadena (Texas) Economic Development Corporation Accreditation date: August 2021 Distinction: Pasadena Economic Development Corporation is the 11th AEDO in Texas.

Mission statement: To drive the creation, retention, and investment of resources to diversify economic opportunities and improve quality of life for Pasadena citizens

Vision statement: To support a strong business climate that encourages investment and increases purchasing power in the community, while also shaping the city into a great place to live, work, and play

Organizational structure: Texas Type B corporation

Leadership and staff: The organization is governed by a board of seven directors who represent various parts of the Pasadena business community and are appointed by the Pasadena City Council. Since 2017 the organization has been led by Carlos Guzman, CEcD, EDFP.

Geography served: Pasadena is the second largest city in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area.

Population served: 153,861

Budget: The organization had an operating budget of $5,284,401 for FY 2021.

Strategic focus: The current strategic plan was developed with TIP Strategies. It was completed in 2018 and has an implementation timeline through 2023. Six areas are emphasized in the plan: marketing and image; business development; workforce; catalyst projects; tourism and retail; and support structures for economic development.

Highlighted accomplishments: Several recent accomplishments are expected to create more than $2.6 billion in capital investment and 2,200 primary jobs:

  • Baystar announced the creation of a polyethylene manufacturing facility that will create 1,750 jobs and $1 billion in capital investment.
  • Project Traveler is a new alkylate production facility with a capital investment of $620 million.
  • Oxiteno, a Brazilian ethoxylate manufacturer, announced in 2019 that they would triple production at their facility in Pasadena by 2022. The expansion has resulted in a $200 million investment and created 120 new jobs.
  • Project INEOS is an acrylonitrile styrene acrylate production plant with $350 million expected in capital investment and 100 new jobs created.

In addition, Pasadena EDC received a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award from IEDC in 2020 for the Pasadena Pulse e-newsletter.

Q&A with Pasadena EDC executive director Carlos Guzman, CEcD, EDFP

What does Pasadena Economic Development Corporation do particularly well?

Pasadena EDC is resourceful and agile in terms of adjusting programs and projects to reflect the community’s needs and priorities. Second, we are particularly good at creating and leveraging partnerships. Taken together, our small staff can take on and implement big, complex projects in relatively short time frames.

What unique programs or initiatives does Pasadena EDC carry out?

In addition to traditional economic development initiatives, we have recently begun piloting quality-of-life initiatives in the form of art-based projects that address community-driven goals and affect the built environment. For example, the redevelopment strategy for our blighted downtown includes not only typical streetscape and pedestrian upgrades that advance our Complete Streets priorities, but also a mural program based on the theme "Revive" and a lighting and placemaking project. We will take advantage of the creativity of high school art students and address the challenge of reconnecting the downtown to the rest of the city. Pasadena EDC can support the growth of small businesses in the creative economy, improve infrastructure and create walkable environments, and attract new investment to a much-loved, but otherwise neglected area.

What is a challenge facing Pasadena, and how does Pasadena EDC work to address it?

Pasadena is one of the inner-ring suburbs of the Houston metro and as such, we have parts of town that were built out around World War II and now must deal with aging infrastructure and development patterns from that era. We are making a concerted effort to engage the community in our plans and designs to ensure that we transform Historic Pasadena.

Why did Pasadena EDC decide to pursue AEDO accreditation?

The AEDO accreditation shows our community and stakeholders that we are following best practices. This is important, as Pasadena EDC is a relatively new organization. It validates the approach that we have taken which is different from what has been done before.

What feedback from the AEDO Review Team did you find particularly helpful?

To have patience—this is a marathon not a sprint.