The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce is back open after their team temporarily split up to work from home. However, as their president says, the work never stopped.

“Our team’s been on the job the whole time but it’s really nice to have everyone back again and start to see San Angelo businesses open and recover,” Walter Koenig, President and CEO of the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce said.

Walter Koenig took the helm at the Chamber of Commerce in the midst of a chaotic period in worldwide history. He says the first thing they had to do was respond quickly and change the way the chamber helped not only their members but the entire city’s economy.

“Right now, during this crisis certainly we don’t check memberships at the door, our services are available to all, our webinar series is available. We only view two kinds of businesses in San Angelo, those who are members and those who are future members so we’re looking forward to welcoming more businesses into our family,” Koenig said.

After an immediate response, like connecting businesses with local lenders and other services, the next step was to focus on rebuilding.

“Then you have to look at the strategic aspect of things and that is ‘what is the new economy going to look like in 2021 and 2022 and then beyond?’” Michael Looney, Vice President of Economic Development for the Chamber of Commerce said.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, many businesses are moving to the Concho Valley, meaning more jobs are on the way.

“Alliance Transport which is a company out of Alberta, Canada which we’ve worked with for two years, they work very closely with a company based in Houston, Texas which is called LSPI corporation, identify and close on 19 acres to build a brand new truck terminal. Other projects we’ve been working on is a project on 2288, that’s in the county, and this is a project called the Rambler Solar Power Plant. Another project we’ve been working on in conjunction with COSADC, is a rail port project and this is a project that was purchased last year, 183.5 acres on Schwertner road,” Looney said.

In the raw video below, Looney speaks about each project and goes into further detail about the respective company’s plans.

Dozens if not hundreds of open positions are expected within the next few years. However, for immediate relief, Koenig says it’s up to all of us.

“First of all, please to everyone, continue to adhere to the strict protocols. We’ve got to make sure we continue to make progress with respect to the incident rate of keeping COVID-19 down. Having said that it’s time to get out and support our local businesses. Tip your servers generously. They need the money and support and have struggled. And just be the kind of community that we’ve always been; one that supports each other and one that really gets out there and is for our neighbors,” Koenig said.

Rendering courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce

When it comes to housing, Looney says the City of San Angelo’s survey a few years ago confirmed what the San Angelo Association of Realtors and the Chamber suspected. In the raw video below, Looney elaborates on the housing issues San Angelo faces and the new development being built.