To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
When I first moved to San Antonio in 2002, I heard someone say that San Antonio is "the world's largest smallest city." I pondered that statement and wondered how it applied since San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States with a population of over 1.4 million. Unlike other cities in Texas that are tied mainly to energy, technology, or banking, San Antonio's business and community leaders have focused on growing the six major industries in our economy: aerospace, information technology, health care/bioscience, manufacturing, military, and hospitality/tourism.1The benefits of this diversification can be seen in the health of San Antonio's economy during the latest recession. While many other major cities are struggling with high unemployment numbers, San Antonio is not only doing well, it is growing.
When I asked Brad Barron, general counsel of NuStar Energy L.P. why San Antonio is so attractive, he emphasized that it is because of San Antonio's diversified business base. Mr. Barron mentioned that in the last few decades, San Antonio has focused on attracting and retaining businesses in the energy, heath care, and financial services sectors. However, San Antonio is also developing viable manufacturing and technology sectors with companies like Toyota and Rackspace leading the way. In addition, companies are attracted to San Antonio because of its strong transportation infrastructure, friendly and qualified workforce, and one of the lowest costs for doing business in the United States.2Add to that the fact that San Antonio is in a central geographic location, making shipping faster and cheaper to both coasts, and is close to Mexico, and it makes San Antonio an attractive place to do business.
Even though we live in a large city, the term "the world's largest smallest city" reflects the fact that San Antonio is a close community. Mike Gibbs, general counsel of Whataburger Restaurants LP, stated that Whataburger recently relocated to San Antonio not only because of the convenient airport and labor pool, but because San Antonio is a nice place for employees to raise a family. Everyone seems to know each other; we are all connected and run into colleagues frequently. In today's world of anonymity, residents of San Antonio break the mold. Professionals in other cities rely on networking sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. However, attorneys in San Antonio don't have to rely on that. San Antonians are friendly and well connected; if a person is looking for a job or a referral at a specific company, that person can ask nearly anyone and he/she will quickly be put in contact with the right person.
After working in San Antonio for several years, not only do I understand and agree with the statement that San Antonio is "the world's largest smallest city," but I often quote it. It is a statement that summarizes why San Antonio is a great place to do business.
PS: If you want to learn more about San Antonio, please join us at this year's Ethics Follies.Ethics Follies is an annual two-day, citywide ethics conference presented by the South Central Texas Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel for attorneys, accountants and their clients to raise awareness of current ethics issues. Presented as a musical comedy, the follies are based on such issues as white-collar crime and ethics headlines we see each year. Over 60 attorneys, judges, and other professionals entertain a crowd of nearly 1,000. It is the most entertaining networking event in San Antonio. For additional information about the September 29 and 30 shows, please visit http://ethicsfollies.com/Home_ Page.html.