Robert Allen just started his new position as chief executive officer of the new Fort Worth Economic Development Partnership designed to drive business growth and recruitment for the city.
“We’ve hit the ground running,” Allen said in an interview with the Fort Worth Report. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re working on it as diligently as we possibly can.”
Allen, 44, knows he has a lot of work ahead of him.
“I want to make sure that I wrap my hands around and our team wraps our hands around what’s already happening here, the successes that have already occurred here, why have they occurred,” he said. “And we can use that knowledge to help us build our strategy as we move forward.”
Allen, a Dallas native and a multi-generational Texan, comes to Fort Worth with plenty of statewide economic development and political connections from his time in Austin.
As head of Texas Economic Development Corporation since 2017, and previously deputy chief of staff to Gov. Greg Abbott, Allen has led an organization that has led the state’s economic development efforts, winning Site Selection magazine’s Governor’s Cup for 11 consecutive years, which recognizes the nation’s top-performing states for business expansions and relocations, according to a news release from the Fort Worth Chamber.
“In my role with TxEDC, I met with companies from across the country and every corner of the globe and I’ve learned a lot about what they are looking for,” Allen said in the release.
The move to Fort Worth was a way for Allen to be involved in a community instead of at a statewide level.
“When I looked at what I wanted to accomplish moving forward in my career, I wanted to have the opportunity to have a little bit more local impact in the community in which I lived,” he said.
Allen looked for a place where “your word is your bond and a handshake means something, which is the Texas way.”
He was also looking for a community with promise and Fort Worth fit that bill.
“It’s a special place,” he said. “The people are very, very friendly and they offer any and all assistance. They follow through with that offer, which is rare in this day and age when everybody’s so busy.”
That’s important for economic development, as well as making it a great place to live, he said.
“There’s some tremendous people here,” he said. “There’s some tremendous foundational elements that have been built here. We’re absolutely going to utilize those as we move forward in this process.”
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clairfy Robert Allen’s title.