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 midway between Austin and San Antonio, the Greater San Marcos region boasts a talented and diverse population of 3.5 million within a 60-mile radius with the infrastructure, affordability and quality of life that make it an attractive location to live, work, and play. The city of San Marcos, with a population of 60,000, sits at the center of the innovation and economic growth of the Austin-San Antonio Corridor, the area Forbes recently hailed as “America’s Next Great Metropolis” which is growing (in terms of population, jobs and economy), at a pace faster than that of Austin, San Francisco, New York and Chicago. San Marcos is on the southern end of the Austin Metropolitan Area and is the county seat of Hays County, ranked as the fastest growing county in the U.S. by the Census Bureau, which also ranked San Marcos as America’s fastest growing city for three consecutive years (2013-2015). Participants will hear first-hand about initiatives to accommodate this fast pace of growth with community, business and academic leaders who are driving the regional economy in the heart of this “Innovation Corridor”.


Innovation: Research with Relevance

The strength of the San Marcos economy can be directly linked to the presence of Texas State University, a fast-growing Emerging Research University and the 4th largest university in the state with 39,000 students.  Due to its diverse student population, the U.S. Department of Education recognized Texas State University as a Hispanic Serving Institution, the largest in the State of Texas.  Texas State is committed to applied research and is a source for innovation, industry collaboration, entrepreneurship and cutting-edge research in advanced materials, water research, and biotechnology, including the country’s only PhD program in Material Science, Engineering and Commercialization.


Participants will hear from Texas State President Dr. Denise Trauth, Chief Research Officer Dr. Walter Horton and other academic leaders. The visit to Texas State will include a tour of the Science, Technology and Advanced Research Park (“STAR Park”), the University’s research park which hosts STAR One, the first building in the park which serves as a technology accelerator for start-up and early stage companies. Participants will meet with and tour STAR Park’s companies including MicroPower Global (a thermo power generation company), Quantum Materials (a manufacturer of tetrapod quantum dots), and Blueshift Materials (the manufacturer of the first commercially available polymide aerogel).


Regional Industry Collaboration

Participants will hear from some of our local companies in advanced manufacturing and logistics industries including CFAN (Joint Venture between GE and SNECMA and a leader in Composites used in the aerospace industry), Thermon (global leader in heat tracing cable industry), RSI, Inc. (manufacturer of ruggedized equipment used in global defense industries and oil and gas), and Mensor (a division of WIKA Group, global leader in pressure calibration). We’ll also hear about the region’s largest economic development success story, nationally ranked as the “Deal of the Year”: the recruitment of the Amazon Fulfillment Center to San Marcos – an 855,000 square foot facility which will hire 1,000 employees at full capacity.

Unique Cultural & Environmental Assets


San Marcos is known for recreational activities including world-class shopping (the San Marcos Outlet Mall complex is the largest outlet mall complex in the U.S. featuring both Premium and Tanger with 14 million visitors annually) and the crystal-clear spring-fed waters of Spring Lake and the San Marcos River. Participants will tour The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, a leading research center bringing multi-disciplinary expertise to real-world, water-related challenges. The Center is located on Spring Lake at the headwaters of the San Marcos River, an environmentally, culturally and archeologically significant site making San Marcos one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in North America. Originally the site of one of Texas’ oldest amusement parks (Aquarena Springs), participants will tour the crystalline waters of this unique environmental asset on the Meadow’s historic Glass Bottom Boats.