C.B. “Bix” Rathburn, the new president of Galveston County Economic Alliance, sees much economic potential for Galveston County.
Rathburn took leadership of both the alliance Sunday after Don Gartman retired.
“It is no secret that the Galveston County economy is in a strong position,” Rathburn said.
For Gartman, much of the economic development he noted resides mid-county.
“I think there will be much more interest in residential and commercial expansion,” Gartman said. “The new Buc-ee’s and new Tanger Outlets are real assets for the mainland.”
For Rathburn, much of today’s economy is the result of past goals.
“Development projects from residential to industrial to commercial to retail across the county have been in discussion for years and are today becoming a reality,” he said.
Rathburn noted the importance of various portions of the county’s economy.
“Our county has eight or nine ... unique and diversified economies,” he said. “The real strength of the countywide organization is: What do we need to do to make sure each of these individual economies are strong, and how do we want to bring them together as a whole?”
Part of the county’s economic strength lies within the University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas A&M University at Galveston, Rathburn said. Because of TAMUG’s “premier position in the world of marine sciences,” Rathburn supports the Pelican Island Bridge project.
“I am supportive of the development of a new-and-improved connection to Pelican Island to support the expansion of Texas A&M-Galveston and to support the industrial, commercial and maritime expansion of the island,” Rathburn said.
Galveston County has it all, Rathburn said, stating all attributes from “the beauty of the Bolivar Peninsula” to the “intellectual power of UTMB” and “world class petrochemical complex in Texas City.”
He described it as an ideal real estate location with “low-cost coastal living.”
From different ends of the county and different niched economies, Rathburn and Gartman agree that the county’s economic outlook remains positive.
“Galveston County is a pro-business county that supports the aerospace, life sciences, petrochemical and tourism industry clusters,” Rathburn said.
“It contains and provides the critical resources to expand into more avenues of commercial development.”