At its annual meeting Wednesday afternoon, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce heard Robert Hess talk about the process of bringing Amazon HQ2 to New York, and how Fort Worth stacked up in that process.
Hess is the vice chairman of Global Strategy for Newmark Knight Frank, the consulting firm that advised the state of New York in its successful bid for the second Amazon headquarters. Amazon has since pulled out of its original plans to build its second headquarters in Queens, New York.
At the chamber luncheon, Hess explained the importance of branding when it came to attracting major businesses like Amazon. When he was working with New York, he and his team put together a unifying profile to pitch to Amazon that made it attractive to the tech company.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area had been in the running for the second Amazon headquarters, but perhaps one of the biggest factors was available talent, and Hess addressed that with the chamber audience. He said that the levels of education were too siloed — there are walls between elementary, high school and secondary education, and there needs to be a better pipeline between schools and business.
However, Hess said Fort Worth still has a lot going for it, including exponential growth and the ability to adapt quickly.
“You’re not baked in here,” Hess said. “You’re nimble and agile, and that’s important.”
Also at the chamber luncheon, Dr. Michael Williams, president of the UNT Health Science Center, received the Susan Halsey Executive Leadership Award. Ben E. Keith, the food and beverage distributor headquartered in Fort Worth, received the Spirit of Enterprise Award.
Ben E. Keith CEO John Hallman said that over the company’s 110 years in Fort Worth, the city has always been a great place for the company and its employees.
“Fort Worth has been a great home to us,” Hallman said. “For generations of employees, it has been a great place to live and a great place to raise a family.”