The Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its biennial Economic Summit on Tuesday morning at Howard Payne University’s Mabee University Center.   

The three-hour forum featured Congressman Mike Conaway, Brownwood Municipal Development District director Guy Andrews, realtor Ann Jones and Texas state demographer Dr. Lloyd Potter who spoke about the national economy, local economy, real estate market and state demographic trends, respectively. Despite the morning storms, the summit was well-attended and featured valuable insights on Brown County’s economic position.   

Brownwood Chamber director Ray Tipton said he learned a lot at the summit. “Kind of what I took away from the event today is that, overall … Brown County right now is in a pretty good place,” Tipton said. “When you look at the statewide stats, that rural Texas is declining, a lot of what they showed is the counties around us are declining in population, and have some economic issues. Brown County is still kind of the hub of them. A lot of people are relocating here. So that’s a strength from some of the things that have been put in place in the past, like our manufacturing jobs and medical jobs.”   

Potter directed attendees to for the latest information on the state’s population trends.   

Tipton challenged attendees to spur the next wave of innovation that will keep Brownwood growing and relevant in the 21st century. “As Baby Boomers are aging out a little bit, we may have a little bit of populations issues,” he said at the end of the program. “That’s going to take some work on our part. When I think back to the history of Brown County, we had a lot of leadership in the past that made a lot of good decisions, that brought us the hospital and 3M and Kohler and all our industrial and manufacturing jobs.   

“I challenge you guys to roll up your sleeves when there’s a chance to give back and do the work,” he said.   

Andrews said he found Potter’s presentation particularly interesting, and enjoyed Conaway’s talk as well. “You always learn a lot from Mike Conaway,” Andrews said. “He’s an excellent Congressman, and I wish everybody had one like him.   

“Every once in awhile, you need to kind of stop and take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re going. You get caught up so much in the day-to-day activities, and it’s good to look back and look forward.”   

The Chamber will host its next Economic Summit in 2020.