It’s one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the States – a centre for IT innovation, aerospace and defence manufacturing, beef barons and oil tycoons and home to the SXSW music and media showcase. And in March 2013, and it will be the destination for an Enterprise Ireland ministerial-led cross-sectoral trade mission.
Texas is the second largest economy in the United States and the 15th largest in the world. What’s more, it’s the largest exporter of goods in the US: Texas currently grosses more than $100 billion a year in trade with other nations. It’s also home to 51 Fortune 500 companies, making it third in line after New York (with 57) and California (53). Irish companies with operations in Texas include Intuition, Kentz, Sercom, Firecomms, Icon and Trintech. But we believe the state presents further, and as yet barely exploited, opportunities for Irish companies to sell goods and services, develop partnerships and explore research linkages. In March 2013, we will co-ordinate a ministerial-led, cross-sectoral trade mission to Texas, taking in Dallas, Houston and Austin. This should be of particular interest to companies with solutions in the areas of:
- Wireless telecoms, chip and ICT manufacturing
- Medical device and IT for life sciences
- Oil and gas
- Smartfarm products for the dairy and cattle industries
One of the first industries to thrive in Texas after the civil war was cattle. Due to its long history as a centre of the livestock industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy.
However, the state’s fortunes expanded in the early 20th century, when the oil started to flow. With strong investments in universities, Texas has developed a diversified economy and high-tech industry. Today, it is a leader in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace and biomedical sciences.
Texas is one of the major hubs in the US for computer components and systems, as well as software. The Austin area is often referred to as ‘Silicon Hills’ because of the concentration of semiconductor design companies. Dell’s headquarters are located in the city’s suburb, Round Rock. Dallas is the birthplace of the integrated circuit, and by some definitions, the birthplace of the microprocessor. The North Dallas area has a high concentration of IT companies such as Texas Instruments and EDS. In addition, Harris County-based Compaq was once one of the world’s largest computer companies, and since Compaq’s merger with Hewlett-Packard, HP currently employs more employees in the Houston area than anywhere else in the world.
Texas is a global leader in the energy industry, and Houston is the energy capital of the world. The known petroleum deposits of Texas are about 8 billion barrels – or approximately one third of known US supply. As wells are depleted in the eastern portions of the state, drilling has moved westward. Several of the major oil companies have headquarters in Texas, including Conoco Phillips, Marathon Oil (Houston), Exxon-Mobil (Irving), Tesoro, and Valero (San Antonio). In addition, many of the world’s largest oilfield services firms, including Halliburton, Schlumberger and Dresser, have made Texas home, and major pipeline operators, such as El Paso and Dynegy, along with diversified energy firms such as TXU and Reliant Energy, are also there.
Since 2003, Texas state officials have created various initiatives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to develop the economy of Texas. Texas has become a leader in alternative energy sources, producing more wind power than any other state, and it has also invested in small-scale solar power and experimental wave power generators.
A large number of defence contractors are located in Dallas and Houston, creating strong employment for the state. Two divisions of Lockheed Martin have their headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worthis where the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the largest Western fighter craft – and its successors the F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor – are manufactured. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is headquartered in Grand Prairie.
MUSIC AND MEDIA
Running from March 10 to 13, 2013, the Irish trade mission will coincide with the South by Southwest (SXSW) annual week of conferences and festivals. SXSW has become an increasingly important destination for Irish companies interested in the convergence of music, film, internet and emerging technologies, and we expect 30 to 40 client companies from these sectors alone to travel to Houston between March 8 and 17, 2013. So it’s come to Houston – and Dallas, and Austin.