Duane Dankesreiter, Senior VP at the Dallas Regional Chamber, talks about technology and the Dallas effort to attract those businesses to the Dallas area in a new segment called “Spotlight on Innovation” brought to you by Salesforce.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hey, guys. Welcome back to the show. Texas Business Radio, texasbusinessradio.com is the website. Get your questions in. 844-814-8144 is our 24 hour call in line. That means call in now. Call in the middle of the night. I don’t care. We’re going to get the experts on here to get those questions answered. We also monitor hashtag #tbr on Twitter. TBR, Texas Business Radio. Get your questions in that way or get them in through the website.
Our friends over at Salesforce, salesforce.com, have partnered with us to bring you a regular segment, a monthly regular segment called Spotlight on Texas Innovation, and guess what? This is the very first one. So, we’re going around the state, we’re talking to guys that have disruptive companies, we’re talking to people who foster innovation in Texas, and we have a pretty exciting one for you right now. I’m your host, Matt Register. Jake Curry had to step out for just a moment, but he’s going to join us here shortly. Duane Dankesreiter, who is the Senior VP of Research and Innovation at the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, is joining us via Skye from Dallas. Duane, welcome to the show, sir.
Duane Dankesreiter: Thanks for having me.
Matt Register: So, talk to me a little bit about the Chamber of Commerce and the research and innovation stuff that you guys are fostering over there because it’s a pretty innovative and cutting edge program for around the country, right?
Duane Dankesreiter: Absolutely. So, we’re the Dallas Regional Chamber. We are a regional chamber where we help grow and bring companies to Dallas-Forth Worth. We’re very focused on economic development as a key part of what we do, and that includes innovation. There’s other pieces around that, that’s talent development, making our schools better, and there’s also talent attractions, so bringing great people to the region, to Dallas-Forth Worth.
Matt Register: So, you’re not only bringing in big companies, big Fortune 500 companies, the Amazon HQ2. So, you guys are intimately involved in that. But you’re also getting smart people to move in because trying to establish the Dallas area as an innovation hub, correct?
Duane Dankesreiter: Absolutely. We are an innovation hub and that’s one of the things that I think we work hard to explain both to people here and also around the country and around the world that we’ve got those critical components of a great innovation ecosystem, whether it’s big companies and small companies and universities and all those pieces in between.
Matt Register: One of the big pieces of that is you got to have the employees here, right? To be able to have a innovation heavy company thrive in an area, you got to have the talent pool to be able to pull from. How does one set up its city to be able to attract that kind of talent?
Duane Dankesreiter: The unique thing about Dallas-Forth Worth is that we are a very diverse economy. So, we actually mirror the US economy in diversity. So, what that means is there’s not one industry that dominates who we are. But what we are is that we have that critical mass of advanced services operations, those headquarter operations, and the things that support headquarters. So, you may have a tech worker that works at an app development firm in Addison, you may have AT&T that has, again, app developers or hardware engineers working there. So, we’re able to provide job opportunities across a wide spectrum of things. What that’s great for is if you think about that person that’s moving here, whether it’s them finding a job, but it’s also their spouse, to be able to find out who’s in the right fields.
Matt Register: Families and education, we got to have a place to educate their kids, right? There’s a lot more to it than I guess you would first think, right?
Duane Dankesreiter: Absolutely. You wouldn’t think, I think Dallas-Forth Worth doesn’t come up in people’s minds first when you talk about high tech economies. But we actually have 230,000 high tech workers here. That’s about sixth or seventh, depending on when you run the numbers in the United States. That includes the engineer over at Lockheed in Fort Worth, that includes the app developer at AT&T. But again, that’s a really large amount of people and we are fourth or fifth fastest growing in terms of adding those high tech positions in the country. So, again, it’s because of our size and our ability to attract people here is why those companies are located here.
Matt Register: One component of it is being inside of Texas, right? Texas as a state is business friendly, is attractive for companies, as evidenced by all the companies moving headquarters to Texas. Dallas specifically, why Dallas? Why would a company choose Dallas over another Texas city with the same state friendly positions, right?
Duane Dankesreiter: Sure. Yeah. I think that I’ll go back to the diversity point. A company that’s looking to locate here, whether it’s a startup or middle market company or even a Fortune, they’re looking for opportunities to sell their services or their goods to other companies and other people. If you look at the diversity that we have, that opportunity is much more available here. Then the other piece is just that central part of the country. DFW Airport is our crown jewel. We’ve got enormous number of flights that go both international and domestic from that location. Then we have Dallas Love Field that’s closer to Downtown within six to seven miles. So, if you’re going to be in the urban core, you can quickly get out to the rest of the country. It’s just a different atmosphere compared to some of the other Texas cities.
Matt Register: Yeah. No doubt about that. We’re talking to Duane Dankesreiter, who’s the SVP of Research and Innovation at the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Some of the innovative companies that are already in Dallas, what do you guys do to support their efforts to continue to grow and foster more innovation, right?
Duane Dankesreiter: Yeah. We’ve done a lot of things over time here and maybe I’ll give a quick history of what that’s done. A few years ago, we helped get the Dallas Entrepreneur Center up and running, which has been really the core assets for the entrepreneur in Dallas. After that, we helped establish something called- … Go ahead.
Matt Register: Real quick, is that an incubator? What is that?
Duane Dankesreiter: Sure. Really, it’s a combination of a coworking space, an accelerator, and just a hub of activity, a connector a lot of times between the startups and the funding community or the corporate community. It’s a great space for people to come and be around. They facilitate a lot of the events and the activities in Dallas-Forth Worth. It’s just one of many and that’s the other great thing is when they came in, there were others thinking the same thing. What’s great about Dallas and Dallas-Fort Worth is that’s okay. There could be a lot of those entities that are focused on their specialty or just building up a bigger ecosystem.
Matt Register: Yeah. Interesting stuff. Very interesting stuff. Now, you guys have also launched, and I took a very quick look at it during the break, a website with a whole lot of information on it, right, and a whole lot of … Talk to me a little bit about that and go ahead and kick that link out.
Duane Dankesreiter: Yeah, absolutely. So, about now two and a half, three years ago, we launched something called Dallas Innovates in a partnership with D Magazine, our local publication here. It is a news site, online news site dedicated to stories of innovation across Dallas-Forth Worth. When we started it, we started it because we recognized that a lot of people didn’t know what was here. But we also realized that innovation happens not just in the startup space.
It’s happening on the corporate side. It’s actually happening on the creative side and on the social side, the things that are making the community better, and in the education space, and in the invention space. People that are creating great things. So, we’ve built these new stories around those buckets of innovation and we publish two or three news stories every day. You can go to dallasinnovates.com to see those stories and you can go to dallasinnovates.com/signup to signup for the daily newsletter.
Matt Register: By the way, guys, we’re going to have that linked right there from texasbusinessradio.com if you’re driving and can’t take notes. That was dallasinnovates.com?
Duane Dankesreiter: Correct. Yep.
Matt Register: All right. Go ahead.
Duane Dankesreiter: Then the other piece that we just launched was a new resource guide. So, there is a lot of things here. What people want to know when they come into town or as they’re growing their business, what ways can they connect? So, we launched a resource guide, an innovation resource guide through Dallas Innovates and it’s guide.dallasinnovates.com. It is a home to a map of the coworking spaces and the incubators and the innovation centers and the accelerators, plus the funding opportunities, the companies that are doing things here, funding companies that are here. Then most importantly, it is a resource to go see and celebrate the successes. So, the companies that do get funded, we want to continually push that information out so that a company in California or Houston or New York that’s maybe looking to come into Dallas will recognize that there is funding opportunities.
Matt Register: I tell you what. I think this is quite remarkable. I think that the chamber putting time and effort and energy into this, everybody starts out as equal opportunity of attracting these guys and your mileage may vary, right? Some of these cities are being more successful than other and Dallas, it sounds like it’s making wonderful strides on that. Duane Dankesreiter, who is the Senior VP of Research and Innovation, Dallas Chamber of Commerce, go ahead and give us the website for the chamber as well.
Duane Dankesreiter: It’s www.dallaschamber.org.
Matt Register: All right. Hey, Duane. Thank you very much for joining us. Great stuff. Keep up the great work and keep us up to date as you guys get some big wins. We’re happy to talk about it.
Duane Dankesreiter: Absolutely. Thank you.
Matt Register: Yeah, no problem at all. Guys, unfortunately, we are completely out of time. We got a bunch of links for you there on texasbusinessradio.com and all the links to all the guests we’re talking about today, as well as the three or four links there from the Dallas Chamber. We got to go pay a couple of our own bills, keep ourself afloat. We’re going to be back right on the other side of the break with a whole lot more Texas Business Radio.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.