Chinese Dignitaries visit the “Show Me City”

Photo courtesy of Missouri City
Dignitaries from Shandong Province in China visited Missouri City in November. Pictured with the delegates are Missouri City Economic Development Coordinator Bob Graf, far left, Assistant City Manager Bill Atkinson, next to Graf, Mayor Allen Owen, seated third from the right, Councilmember Danny Nguyen, seated to the right of Mayor Owen, and City Manager Ed Broussard, seated to the right of Nguyen.

Economic development opportunities and City government operations were key issues of interest for Chinese dignitaries who recently visited the “Show Me City”.

The delegation from Shandong Province studied at the University of Houston for four months, focusing on American government, economics and education and business practices. They took some time to step out of the classroom and into the boardroom—Missouri City’s City Council Chambers—for a lesson in how local governments are managed and how community leaders partner with business leaders to further growth and development in the City.

The delegation’s visit was arranged by Councilmember Danny Nguyen, Chair of City Council’s International Relations Committee. Last year, Nguyen traveled to China with officials and entrepreneurs of Fort Bend County who were focused on promoting the region and its strategic importance and connection to economic development across the state, the country and abroad.

“Missouri City is like the heart of the Houston area and we are much more strategically located and have lots of land,” he said. “Don’t underestimate this small City, large companies have moved here, including Ben E. Keith, the second largest food distributor in the United States.” Nguyen noted that with Missouri City’s ongoing growth, the population is estimated to double in size over the next 10 years and said: “This visit helps reignite the enthusiasm and passion we have and gives us the opportunity to learn from each other.”

Mayor Allen Owen also visited with the delegation and shared Missouri City’s historical ties to Shandong Province. In remarks, he noted that he had traveled to China in 1994 to sign a sister city agreement with Shandong Province in honor of a businessman from the Chinese region who had traveled to Houston to have a kidney transplant and fell in love with Missouri City and its open space. “He bought 13,000 acres of land that is now Sienna Plantation,” Mayor Owen said, showing the visitors the original agreement that was signed.

Additionally, Mayor Owen explained the Council-Manager government structure here to the dignitaries by comparing it to a “large corporation with the Mayor as Chairman of the Board, Council members as Board Members and the City Manager as the CEO who runs day-to-day operations, with 70,000 residents as shareholders.”

City Manager Edward Broussard shared significant City highlights with the leaders, including that 46 percent of Missouri City residents have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, the average residential value is $159,170, and the average household income is $111,592; making the City an ideal location for new businesses. Broussard also shared that a large number of citizens are employed in education, engineering and medical professions, with hundreds working in the Texas Medical Center in Downtown Houston. “With Councilman Nguyen’s assistance, the City has become more international,” he explained. “You are the future leaders of China, and the relationship between Missouri City and China will only get stronger and stronger. “

During the City Hall visit, the dignitaries, some of whom are elected leaders in China, spoke one-on-one with staff for more details about the “Show Me City”. Afterward, the group toured the City’s two new showcase amenities—the state-of-the-art Recreation and Tennis Center at 2701 Cypress Point Dr. and the elegant City Centre at Quail Valley at 2880 La Quinta Dr.

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