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.



The 7th ACE will stop in New Braunfels, Texas - ranked in 2016 as the second fastest growing city in the United States with a population over 70,000 and expected to reach 85,000 by 2021. Founded by skilled German and Hispanic craftsman, New Braunfels became a trade and tourism center early that have led to a great quality of life. Its geographical location between Austin and San Antonio on I35 has helped to foster a diverse, business economy. Led by a strong entrepreneurial spirit, the New Braunfels visit will showcase four themes covered by the program: bio-med and healthcare, creative economy and workforce development.

Life Sciences and MedTech

Healthcare is the second largest industry in New Braunfels with two hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Participants will visit Resolute Health Hospital, owned by Tenet Health and home to the highest level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit between Austin and San Antonio. It also provides a full range of services and the only minimally-invasive robotic surgery in New Braunfels. The hospital is a prototype for its approach to wellness and family and approached the idea of treatment as medical tourism by implementing way to provide activities for family members during hospital stays. Additionally, the location was sited not only for regional needs, but also for its easily accessible location from Mexico and Central America.

Creative Economy

Participants will visit the local Central Texas Technology Center (CTTC), an Alamo Colleges campus that received two EDA grants to fund and then later expand the facility through the use of innovative funding through partnerships.  The CTTC expansion will increase the availability of Arts and Science courses, making it easier for students to earn an associate degree. The EDA grants also led to the expansion of biology and chemistry labs.


Participants will dine at Gruene Hall (Texas Oldest Dance Hall) and catered by The Gristmill (restaurant housed in a former cotton gin). Both are situated in historic Gruene, Texas. Founded in 1975, Pat Molak and Mary Jane Nalley bought and worked to preserve the authentic, turn-of-the-century look and feel of Gruene by purchasing and repairing several of the town's most notable structures and transforming them into thriving businesses.


Participants will hear from Terri Adams with Schlitterbahn Waterparks, a family owned waterpark that began with four slides in 1979. Since then,  Schlitterbahn Waterparks has expanded their innovative, patented and award-winning ideas to five different waterparks and has been continuously ranked as America's #1 Waterpark. Additionally, Schlitterbahn sells their products to the international market and collaborates ideas with other waterpark companies by  hosting foreign student workers to learn Schlitterbahn best practices and concepts.


Workforce Development


Providing workforce training at the CTTC not only makes continuing education training readily available, but also support courses in areas such as manufacturing operations applied science, logistics management applied science, and welding technology applied science.   The reutilization of workforce development space provides opportunity to support training needs of newly recruited businesses, as well as business prospects exploring the area for development or reshoring of jobs. Participants will learn about the success that Alamo Colleges has had with the CTTC has led to two other post-secondary providers to locate in New Braunfels. Howard Payne University offers classes here now with plans to build a 100-acre campus in the near future. Wayland Baptist University has opened a large presence in New Braunfels and is in the process of moving their nursing school here.