ON THE SCENE: Fox Business Network's Melissa Francis Previews "Open for Business" in Houston, Texas
By Melissa Francis, Host of FBN's 'MONEY'
There is so much bad news on the economy out there, I wanted to take 'MONEY' on the road to a place where they were doing it RIGHT. It didn’t take long before the team at MONEY honed in on Houston, a city that’s bucking the economic trend. Our big question: how? What can Houston teach the rest of us?
Let’s start with what the stats show. Did you know that Houston is one of only two major metropolitan areas in the country that has recovered ALL the jobs lost in the recession? Or that its local economy boomed by 8.6% in 2011? That’s enough to make mayors around the country green with envy. Home prices rose sixteen out of the past seventeen years.
More people are moving in than leaving. And only New York City boasts more publicly traded companies with over a billion in sales. No wonder Houstonians wear that winning smile.
What’s their secret sauce? We’ll ask Rich Kinder, one of twelve billionaires in the city and the undisputed king of pipelines. And we’ve got Mike Yeager, the chief executive of BHP Billiton Petroleum. Everyone knows Houston fuels the country’s appetite for energy, but one thing I respect about these folks, they learned their lesson with the oil industry when it went bust in the 80s. This time Houstonians know you have to diversify that wealth so you can stay on top when energy inevitably dips. In the 80’s, 87% of the jobs in the city came from the oil industry, now that’s down to 50%. So we’ll be sure to catch up to leaders making waves beyond energy, like Landry’s Restaurant President and CEO, Tilman Fertitta. Of course we’ll talk to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst who knows one of the biggest secrets of Houston’s success is creating an environment that welcomes and fosters business. And I’ll have some fun with Tad Brown the CEO of the Houston Rockets (we’re still sad about Jeremy Lin) and George Postolos the CEO of the Astros.
Finally, you can’t city hop without trying out the best local fare and I hope some of the natives will Tweet their favorite spots to me. Here’s what I’ve heard so far: Underbelly, Tony Mandola’s, La Mexicana, and Torchy’s Tacos! I can’t wait for a little TexMex! Tell me what you like, Houstonians!
Oh! Here are a few photos of where we’re headed - the George R. Brown Convention Center and the quad at Rice University. I’m packing right now - see you soon!
Don't forget to tune in to a special edition of 'MONEY': Open for Business -- airing Thursday and Friday at 5p ET, only on Fox Business Network!