Fort Bend County Judge KP George has made history on a number of fronts, from his election in November to the actions he’s taken in the months since.
The Indian-American official recently continued that trend and doesn’t look to be slowing down.
George has met with numerous countries, trade delegations, businesses and investors to attract, foster and grow businesses while helping to create new, well-paying jobs for Fort Bend County residents. It’s part of his Fort Bend Global Initiative, which he launched in March.
In that spirit, George convened the first high-level Fort Bend meeting of the Consular Corps of Houston – the nation’s third-largest, with more than 90 countries represented – at the Ismaili Jamatkhana & Center on June 7 in Sugar Land.
“We have made history and will continue to do so with this meeting,” George said. “It is crucial that Fort Bend build strong relationships with our Consular Corps and international economic development partners so that we can encourage job growth and attract private investment, for the benefit of our residents. I am grateful that we have a Consular Corps that is willing to collaborate and help improve the economic fabric of our community,”
Consulates for more than 40 countries attended last week’s meeting, and George cited the Corps being on the frontlines of information for incoming businesses as a major benefit of a partnership he hopes will wind up paying dividends as Fort Bend moves into the future.
“The Consulate’s job is also about commerce, so we’re talking to the right people,” George said. “They know who is coming, they have that firsthand connection, which makes this an important relationship.”
Consular Corps of Houston Dean Juan B. Sosa echoed the sentiment, calling Fort Bend County a “historic region” that sits in great position for future business success and represents a perfect partner for the Corps.
“I believe Houston and Fort Bend can go many places,” Sosa said. “These meetings are all about connecting with and getting to know about you and how we can do this together. (George) has shown he can do things, and we’d like to do them with you.”
The Fort Bend County Economic Development Council (EDC) will work with Consular Corps representatives regarding incoming businesses and entities, according to George, so Fort Bend County can take its “next step” to facilitate the business growth and demand that accompanies the burgeoning population, which is expected to exceed 1 million by 2022.
George said such growth will be one of the county’s top priorities in the coming years.
“We wanted to bring more revenue and new business here, and this will all happen with our inclusiveness and openness to bringing them in,” he said.
Fort Bend EDC President and CEO Jeff Wiley echoed George in saying a partnership with the Corps is a great way to streamline the process of business growth, adding the relationship could simultaneously strengthen the Corps’ reach through the Fort Bend Global Initiative.
The initiative works to increase imports, exports, exchanges and foreign investment for international organizations of all sizes.
“This beginning of a bonding exercise with you is part of the process of trying to figure out how we can mutually benefit from each other’s continued interaction and relationship,” Wiley said. “Our interest is driving foreign direct investment into our community and seeing business expansion happen.”
Wiley also cited magnets such as schools, quality of housing and master planned communities, and the vast availability of land around the county as incentives that could draw more businesses to the area in the coming years.
“We have a unique relationship with our cities and the county in promoting coordination and cooperation. We try to work hard to make it right for your businesses to come here,” Wiley said. “It is important that over the course of the coming months and years that we establish a personal relationship with each and every one of your offices. We will come to you in any way we can to find how we can make your business successful in our community.”
Last week’s meeting was just the tip of the iceberg, according to George, and he appeared eager to continue making waves in Fort Bend County.
“They came here today because they see the value in what we are trying to do in Fort Bend County,” George said. “This is a first effort, and we will continue the conversation.”