About 30 miles southeast of Austin in the small town of Lockhart, key growth indicators are rising fast. These days there are more new jobs, bigger capital investments and, of course, plenty of great barbeque. As companies continue to relocate to the area, leaders in the city known as the official BBQ Capital of Texas expect 10,000 people will move to the community over the next five years, almost doubling the population.
One newly relocated business taking advantage of the growth is Visionary Fiber Technologies (VFT). The leading industrial processing and manufacturing technology company initially reached out to Opportunity Austin (OA) to find a home for their new global operations headquarters.
The OA team met with VFT leaders early in their search to discuss opportunities. VFT liked the idea of staying in the area due to the technology being created at Texas State University and knowing there was ample talent in the region.
A location in Lockhart was found that would fit the company’s needs with some improvements, so an introduction was made to Rob Tobias, a director at the Lockhart Economic Development Corporation. After a few months of working with various local entities to get the necessary improvements made, Visionary Fiber Technologies found their new home.
According to Charisse Bodisch, SVP, Economic Development, Opportunity Austin, the project is an example of the strong relationships that OA has built throughout the Austin metro area and how leaders of economic development in the region work in collaboration to grow all of our communities.
“When thinking of a location to house our headquarters, Lockhart was top of mind with its close proximity to high-caliber talent from various top-flight universities, accessibility to several international airports, and room for future expansion,” said John Kinzer, President and CEO of VFT. “The Austin Chamber of Commerce, Caldwell County, and especially the city of Lockhart, have been exceptional to collaborate and work with and we look forward to continuing to build this partnership and being active members of the community as our business grows.”
VFT is currently developing and renovating a 30,000 square foot building on East FM 20 which will house the company’s administrative offices, demonstration processing facility, R&D laboratory, as well as a manufacturing facility dedicated to the fabrication and commissioning of processing units for deployment at customers’ sites. They expect to invest $6.75 million in the new facility and open in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Greater Austin Chamber
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce focuses on how the Austin Region works. We serve as the voice of business for 2,800 organizations representing a combined workforce of about 330,000 employees throughout Central Texas. Our mission is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for members.