Ray Perryman, founder and president of the Waco-based Perryman Group and a Tribune-Herald guest columnist, will receive the Chairman’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Economic Development from the International Economic Development Council, the organization has announced.

The award is being given “in recognition of Dr. Perryman’s decades-long commitment to economic development and providing the information corporations and communities need to optimize location decisions.”

“He is author of ‘The Market for Prosperity,’ a widely used primer on economic development that is used throughout the United States, and ‘Texas, Our Texas,’ the comprehensive plan that was the catalyst for the Texas economic development program, which is one of the world’s most successful,” said a release from the IEDC, which will present Perryman his award during its annual conference in Indianapolis in October.

In a statement, Perryman, formerly an economist at Baylor University, said, “As with most things in my career, I became involved in economic development by answering the phone, but it quickly became a passion. Economic development helps families and communities achieve their destinies. It is a place where economics becomes very real and meaningful. I was fortunate enough to come at it from a different perspective and bring some mathematics and optimization techniques to the process that make it more systematic and information driven.”

He said the real heroes of economic development, however, “are the dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to make things happen and the citizens who vigorously support their communities.”

Perryman, in response to a Tribune-Herald inquiry, listed three projects in the economic development field that were the most meaningful to him.

He included his involvement in legislation dating back to Texas’ economic development sales tax in the late 1980s, specifically his work on the “Texas, Our Texas” study in the early 2000s, when the state was in an economic downturn. “All of the major recommendations were implemented in a difficult political environment, and Texas quickly moved from an also-ran to the premiere economic development center in the country and has consistently maintained that standing since that time,” Perryman wrote.

He also mentioned his involvement in three enterprises that were foundational to Austin’s modern economy: The Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation, the semiconductor manufacturer Sematech and the Dell Medical School. MCC and Sematech “led to Austin and Texas becoming a major global technology center, and the medical school added important momentum as various technological areas, including biomedical, began to converge in the era of nanotechnology and genomics,” said Perryman in his email response to the Tribune-Herald.

Thirdly, Perryman mentioned his involvement in developing Fort Worth Alliance Airport. “I remember vividly the day Ross Perot Jr. landed his helicopter in a pasture and described his vision for the world’s first major industrial airport. In the space of just a few years, it became a reality and has continued to expand and prosper since that time. In many ways, it has fundamentally changed global logistics.”

Others making the list, he said, include studies involving the economic impact of Waco’s McLane Stadium and the Alamodome in San Antonio, planning for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, the ExxonMobil campus in Spring and related developments, and assistance to more than 50 universities and research centers and the Texas communities of Frisco, McKinney and The Woodlands, who were facing tremendous growth.

“I am extremely grateful for the award, but more blessed to have been able to work on so many exciting endeavors with so many extraordinary individuals,” Perryman concluded.

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