EDCs, developers set for SCR Trade Expo

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Society of Commercial Realtors

Second Annual Commercial Trade Expo

Thursday, April 19

3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Cendera Center

3600 Benbrook Hwy.

Fort Worth 76116

Registration for the event is free, but early registration gets a free drink ticket.

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When you succeed the first time, it might be easy to just repeat the process again and again. But for the second annual Commercial Trade Expo organized by the Society of Commercial Realtors, the group has expanded the roster to include more developers and other business along with several economic development groups from the North Texas area.

“We thought we’d include more of a mix, the EDCs and developers as well as some brokerage offices and affiliates,” said Robert Gleason, CEO at the 200-member organization. “For all the attendees, the SCR Expo is an opportunity to learn about new developments in the region, identify sites for upcoming projects, and network with commercial realtors and other professionals in the industry.”

The idea for the initial Expo was to focus on commercial real estate on the western side of the Metroplex, Gleason said. “Though it’s a little different, in Dallas they have a type of expo that draws a big crowd and is a real benefit to the commercial realtors there,” he said. “We thought our side of the Metroplex should put something on that focused on the Western side.”

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Gleason said the value of the expo is that all these groups are situated in one area at the same time. “What might have taken you several days or weeks to accomplish with phone calls and meetings, you can accomplish in a couple of hours,” he said.

For the exhibitors, it allows them to tell their story to the commercial real estate community quickly and efficiently.

That’s certainly how Burleson Economic Development Manager Alex Philips sees it. “We’ve got a great story to tell,” he said.

The city of about 37,000 has had a banner economic development year with announcements of several large companies locating at major sites in the city, including McLane Foods, Golden State Foods and Chicken Express.

“Last year the event gave us the opportunity to showcase our area, so if some of the developers didn’t know what was available in Burleson, we were able to let them know,” he said.

This year, Philips said the city will still be communicating the opportunities available in Burleson, but also will talking about a program designed to help potential companies coming to the city find qualified employees.

Burleson Works, a program of the Burleson EDC and the Burleson Opportunity Fund is designed to fill the skills gap in Burleson’s labor market through partnerships with local and regional schools.

Educational partners in the program include Hill College, Tarrant County College, Texas State Technical College, the Burleson Independent School District and the University of Texas at Arlington.

A variety of businesses, including Dunaway, Precision Dynamics, Chicken Express, Basden Steel Corp., among others are also involved in the program.

“We’re offering scholarships for jobs that are needed so we’re trying to create a talent pipeline for the companies here in town,” said Philips.

While the Burleson EDC has a new program to tout to attendees, the Parker County Economic Development Council will be spreading the word that it now exists. Started last April, the organization, supported by private and business funds is designed to centralize economic development efforts in Parker County as the area grows.

Tim Von Kennel, executive director, said the commercial real estate and development groups attending the expo are exactly who he needs to target. “They’re people we need to introduce ourselves to,” he said. “I was hired in September, our first real day was real Jan. 1, so we need to tell them, ‘Here we are.’ ”

Von Kennel said that while several cities in Parker County have their own economic development groups, the county needed one that could represent the whole area.

Despite the fact the organization is just getting off the ground, Von Kennel is fired up by one success he’s seen so far.

“A company out of Denver, Best Sign Systems, has bought a building here off of I-20. They’re going to start with eight employees, but they’re planning to grow that to 30, so that’s a good sign,” he said.

As well as introduce the newly-minted organization to commercial real estate people, Von Kennel wants to learn from them as well. “I want to understand what’s going on out there,” he said. “We’re newbies, so we want to meet folks and get on their radar screen. We’re very encouraged so far.”

Formed in the early 1980s, the Society of Commercial Realtors (SCR) is the commercial Realtors organization that operates independently and under the auspices of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors.

Created specifically for the commercial real estate practitioner, SCR offers the strength and backing of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) while focusing exclusively on the commercial real estate industry, according to the organization’s website.

Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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