Economic Development Leader, Lisa Denton, Sees Unlimited Potential in Palestine
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Lisa Denton, Director of Economic Development for the City of Palestine, has come to Palestine after sixteen years of regional economic development experience. Having worked in Athens and Kilgore, she understands the unique assets and challenges facing Palestine and knows how to maximize the community’s opportunities for growth.
“Palestine’s infrastructure and market access are our biggest assets. We have an incredible opportunity to attract manufacturing and distribution companies who want to be close to the Dallas, Houston and Austin MSAs, but don’t want to deal with the heavy traffic, costs and bureaucracy often associated with larger cities. Within 2.5 hours, companies can reach millions of people, customers and suppliers while benefiting from our low cost of living and doing business. It’s the best of all worlds in Palestine,” said Denton.
She is particularly interested in speaking with companies who have suffered from COVID-related closures as a result of being in a high density area. Palestine offers the access without the density and for some, that’s likely to be a winning combination in the months ahead. “Palestine’s low density and available commercial space makes it easy for businesses to relocate here in order to protect themselves from the risks that high density areas bring when it comes to public health. Still, the surrounding workforce is 230,000 strong so low density doesn’t mean a lack of workers,” said Denton.
Businesses who move to the area can also benefit from workforce development opportunities offered by local colleges and training centers. “There is a strong collaboration between the city, county, EDC, high schools, and colleges to ensure that our workforce can meet the needs of the local business community. This includes creating training programs as necessary. This spirit of collaboration is one of our greatest strengths because it means we are nimble and can respond to business needs as they arise, whether it be related to workforce, expansion projects or providing incentives to make a project financially viable,” she said.
This ability to help businesses feeds into her greatest passion as an economic developer - business retention and expansion programs. “Recruitment is exciting and important, but if you don’t take care of the companies you bring in you’re not gaining anything. The retention piece and helping local companies to expand is critical for their longevity in the community. I’m looking forward to building a program that will offer local businesses the assistance necessary to support their growth and development,” said Denton. This is especially true in light of COVID-19. “With everything happening today, we need to know what businesses are struggling with so that we can offer support and solutions,” said Denton. “We can collaborate on solutions and want businesses to know that they are appreciated and we want to help.”
The EDC and city offer this same level of support to new businesses as well. Anyone who is in search of a location with good transportation access (five major highways intersect in Palestine) and a lower cost of living than the national average will find a welcoming home in Palestine. “Palestine offers more amenities than many small towns, but has retained its hometown feel and charm. New companies and people are welcome here and can quickly become part of the fabric of the community,” said Denton. She invites site selectors, business executives and individuals to learn more about Palestine and the advantages of living and working in the community.
“I appreciate the opportunity to support Palestine’s growth as the Executive Director of Economic Development. The leadership in Palestine is going through the strategic planning process and will be looking for community feedback. This is an exciting time to be in economic development and I am looking forward to building upon our strengths to implement this new plan while helping to take Palestine into the future,” she said.
To contact Lisa Denton or Palestine Economic Development, click here.