South Texas Summit: A&M Chancellor John Sharp: Texas' next boom will be built on 'human resources'

South Texas Summit: A&M Chancellor John Sharp: Texas' next boom will be built on 'human resources'

San Antonio Business Journal: September 16, 2022, Ramzi Abou Ghalioum

The South Texas Summit concluded Thursday, an event exploring the current and future economic status and efforts happening between San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley with a keynote speech from Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp.

"I happen to believe that South Texas is what the future of Texas is about," Sharp said.

Referencing former U.S Senator from Texas Phil Gramm, he said economies are centered around three resources: natural, human and capital.

"Texas built three unbelievable empires on one of those things, and that's natural resources," Sharp said, noting the three pillars of the state's success were cattle, cotton — and in the 20th century — oil and gas.

"But the next empire is going to be built on human resources," he said.

Sharp acknowledging that Texas enjoyed some of the highest migration rates in the country. Between 2020 and 2021, San Antonio saw the biggest spike in new residents out of any American city in terms of raw numbers.

"But the real population growth in Texas is big Texans making little Texans," Sharp said. "If you go down into the Rio Grande Valley for instance, in Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in McAllen, there are 900 babies alone born at that hospital."

He asked the audience to imagine the elementary schools that would need to be built to accommodate all of these "little Texans."

This is crucial, Sharp said, because the main concern for companies relocating to new markets is the population of 18-24 year olds in that market.

The next concern, he noted, was how educated those little Texas are.

"Walk outside and take a look around. Everything out there is made by two folks: God, or engineers," Sharp quipped. "You're never going to have enough engineers."

Sharp elaborated on this point to the Business Journal after the conclusion of the speech.

"If you have a chip manufacturer like Samsung come into the market looking to hire 500 employees, it's a given that there are lots of young people in South Texas," he said. "And if they're educated, they can have them trained for that job."