Selected participants will get to know the economic ecosystem of Central Texas during a week of visits through the cities of San Antonio, New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, San Marcos, College Station, and Austin.


Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a city of approximately 11,000 residents with a vibrant economy based on agriculture, tourism, education, specialty food and beverage production, precision component fabrication and medicine.  Founded in 1846 by 120 German pioneers on the frontier of Texas, the city today offers a high quality lifestyle in an area of scenic beauty, while also providing easy access to two of the fastest growing metropolitan areas of Texas and their international airports

Agriculture and Wine Tourism

Historically, cattle, sheep and goat production have been mainstays of the ranches of the Texas Hill Country and that continues today.  Since the 1940s, the Fredericksburg area has been known for peach production – with about 40% of the Texas peach crop harvested in Gillespie County today. Fredericksburg is also home to the largest wildflower farm in the world. Over the last 20 years, Fredericksburg region has emerged as a wine tourism destination with nearly 40 wineries and tasting rooms.  Wine Enthusiast named the Texas Hill Country as one of the top 10 wine regions in the world to visit in 2014. Dr. Ed Hellman with Texas Tech University, whose research focus is viticulture (primarily investigating grapevine adaption to climate and vineyard management practices) will introduce the group to the rapidly expanding Texas wine industry. He will also discuss a new undergraduate degree specialization in Sustainable Local Food and Wine Production Systems that will be offered in the fall in Lubbock and Fredericksburg – the first of its kind at a university in the United States.



Medicine in a Rural Environment

Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg has been named one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the United States for five years in a row and winner of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in 2014, which is managed by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Institute of Standards and Technology.  The Restore Program for total knee, shoulder and hip replacement consistently ranks as #1 in Texas and is among the best in the nation.  Jayne Pope, CEO of Hill Country Memorial Hospital, will provide insight into the metrics of success for her organization in a rural setting.

Precision Machine Components


Fredericksburg is home to numerous computerized fabrication companies who create intermediate and finished products for clients around the United States.  These companies create precision machine components (metal and plastic) for the oil and gas, aerospace, medical, military and communications industries.  Dave Campbell, president of Heartland Enterprises, will discuss the capabilities of the fabrication industry in Fredericksburg.