Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks To The University Of Texas Technology Commercialization Conference

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, May 24, 2004  •  Speech

Thank you Dr. (Neil) Iscoe.  Dr. Faulkner, I appreciate your leadership and thoughtful comments.  It is good to be with the academic and private sector leaders who must partner together to build a more prosperous Texas.

In Texas we are building centers of brainpower, we have a strong manufacturing presence, and our economy is on the mend and growing.  Where we need to focus more energy and more resources is in leveraging our intellectual capital to further build the new economy.  That is why I am glad to see venture capitalists in this room.  It’s good to know so many of you survived the last three years.

My vision for Texas is a state of unlimited opportunity and prosperity.  The old economic mainstays of cattle, cotton and crude remain important to our way of life.  But to truly prosper in the 21st Century, we must develop our information technology potential.  I have made job creation and economic growth a focal point of my administration, and technology is central to that effort.  That is why I am excited about a number of ventures that the University of Texas System is right in the middle of.

First, few people are aware that the University of Texas Investment Management Company has committed $676 million to venture capital funds since 1988.  Two investments in particular come to mind because they are helping to commercialize the biotechnology and life science innovations being developed at UT System institutions, a recent $30 million commitment to PTV Sciences in Houston, and a $30 million commitment to ARCH Venture Partners, which is known for starting the first nanotechnology company in 1989.  And over the last ten years, UTIMCO has also invested more than $76 million with Austin Ventures, another leader in technology development.


Second, I just attended an important announcement yesterday in Houston involving the U.T. Health Science Center and M.D. Anderson, as well as GE Medical.  With funds dedicated from the UT System and the Texas Enterprise Fund, we are bringing an advanced bioimaging facility to Houston, leveraging the medical brainpower of the Texas Medical Center with innovators in the field of biotechnology.  With this one investment, we will not only create 2,200 high-paying jobs, we will put Houston in competition with leaders like Boston and San Diego in the race to commercialize biotech advances.

Third, we made a landmark investment last year, dedicating $50 million from the Enterprise Fund to the University of Texas at Dallas to expand the math, science, computer science and engineering programs at that school in order to leverage a $3 billion semiconductor investment by Texas Instruments.  That investment landed TI on the cover of Site Selection Magazine, catching the eye of corporate relocation specialists and job creators across the country.

Fourth, I was proud to work with Pike Powers and our friends at Sematech to ensure a continuing relationship between that tremendous economic engine and the State of Texas.  With a $40 million Texas Enterprise Fund grant, we are helping to build the Texas Advanced Materials Research Center, a new advanced research and development effort that is critical for the acceleration of promising new semiconductor and emerging technologies.  Working with Texas universities, the Advanced Materials Research Center will help bring innovations in the lab all the way to the marketplace.

And fifth, it should not go unnoticed that Austin was chosen as the site city for the 2006 World Congress on Information Technology.  This global event, which just concluded in Athens, Greece, will bring information technology leaders from across the globe to Texas, a unique opportunity that is well-timed because I expect by then our economy will be churning on all cylinders by then. 

I can’t leave here tonight without expressing my fundamental optimism in our future.  In Texas we have created 88,000 new net jobs in the last seven months.  We’re not only attracting the big fish like TI, Vought Aircraft, Citgo, and Toyota, our net is picking up businesses of all scopes and sizes.  For instance, since the start of 2003, 8,700 jobs have been created at call centers across Texas.  They are not the highest paying jobs, but they provide incomes for families and health insurance.  We also made Bubba real happy by attracting Cabelas, the world’s foremost outfitter of hunting and fishing gear, and a leading tourist attraction in states like Michigan and Minnesota.  That represents more than 600 full-time jobs.

The Dallas Fed recently reported that high-tech manufacturing experienced its first gain in three years, largely because of semiconductor growth.  Our sales tax receipts for the month of March greatly exceeded our comptroller’s projections.  A survey of leading California employers showed Texas was the top destination for companies looking to move jobs elsewhere.  Call it fiscal discipline, call it good economic mojo, call it whatever you want, but the outlook is extremely bright.

This effort you are engaged in to develop intellectual capital and commercialize it for the benefit of consumers and workers is tremendously vital to out future.  What has set America apart from any other nation is our ability to innovate and create.  Ideas get tested, refined and perfected, and then they head to the marketplace to advance opportunity for our people.

We should not only create new technologies in Texas labs, we should keep those technologies in Texas to be produced and marketed by Texas companies, to create jobs for Texas workers, and to create opportunity for Texas’ citizens.  There is no better time to invest in Texas than now.  Venture capital invested in Texas ideas and innovations will be money well spent because the Texas workforce and Texas universities won’t let you down.  We have the skilled workforce, academic brainpower and friendly economic climate necessary to grow and prosper. 

I want to thank the leaders in the University of Texas System who have had such a strong vision for technology commercialization.  This is one Aggie who is committed to a strong partnership with the University of Texas System.  You are doing tremendous things, and we must leverage your brainpower to deliver on our greater promise as a people.

Thank you.

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