The idea for a Texas statewide organization of professionals interested in economic development was first discussed at the Annual Southern Industrial Development Conference held in Little Rock, Arkansas in October 1960.
Approximately fifteen S.I.D.C. members from Texas attended the Little Rock Conference, including James Bradley, Ross Hammond, Rex Jennings, Bill Ludwig, Bill Shelton, Tom Finney, Roy Switzer, Randall Klein, Jim Eppright, Tom Perkins, Clarence Garrard, James Picone, Harry Clark, Raymond Hedges and others.
At the state caucus during this conference, the Texans agreed that the idea of a Texas Council had merit and should be pursued. James Bradley was asked to serve as a temporary chairman to call together a group of interested persons at a later date to begin organizational procedures.
James Bradley appointed a steering committee composed of Harry Clark, Jim Eppright, C.S. Harrington and Rex Jennings, which met in Dallas on November 10, 1960 and submitted general recommendations regarding membership eligibility, organizational plans and purposes. Subsequently, forty to fifty persons active in industrial development were contacted for their opinions as to the need and functions of a Texas Industrial Development Council. By January 1961, strong support for the organization had been received.
A steering committee meeting was held on January 26, 1961, in Abilene to review response to the previous contacts. This meeting was attended by Walter Dickerson, Ross Hammond, Milford Riggs, Bill Shelton, and T.E. McMillan in addition to the regular members of the steering committee. Since the responses reflected a number of diverging viewpoints and opinions, it was agreed that an open meeting of all interested persons should be held at a central location to achieve a better understanding and unification of thought-- a preliminary organizational meeting.
Mr. Bradley called the preliminary organizational meeting for March 28, 1961. It was held in the offices of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and attended by approximately fifty-five persons representing practically all regions of the state. Those in attendance included professional industrial development personnel representing railroads, banks, utility companies, chambers of commerce and a number of other civic organizations interested in industrial development.
After thorough discussion of the need and purposes of a development council, it became the consensus of the group that continued steps should be taken toward the creation of a formal organization. Mr. Tom Perkins was elected as organizational chairman, who in turn appointed the following to serve as members of an Executive Committee: Bill Price, Roy Hedges, L.E. Gilliland and Harry Clark. Tom Finney was appointed chairman of a committee to draft a constitution and by-laws. James Bradley was appointed chairman of a membership committee. A draft of the constitution was written and a membership drive conducted.
The first general membership meeting of the Texas Industrial Development Council (TIDC) was held September 29, 1961, at College Station in conjunction with the Eleventh Annual Texas Industrial Development Conference. At that time, the constitution was formally adopted and officers and directors elected. They were: James D. Eppright, TIDC’s First President (Texas Power & Light Co.- Dallas); Ray Hedges, Vice President (Odessa Chamber of Commerce); James R. Bradley, Secretary/Treasurer (Texas A & M University); and Directors W. C. Price (Central Power & Light- Corpus Christi); L. E. Gilliland (Texarkana Chamber of Commerce); Thomas W. Finney (First National Bank-Dallas); Jim O. Picone (Greater San Antonio Development Commission); Roy Switzer (Southern Pacific Lines- Houston); Walter Koch (Longview Chamber of Commerce); Ken Hoover (Galveston Chamber of Commerce); C. W. Garrard (Fort Worth National Bank); H.E. Merrifield (Belton Chamber of Commerce); Harry W. Clark (Texas & Pacific Railway Co.- Dallas); Rex Jennings (Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce); Tom Robb (Houston Lightning Power Co.); Tom Perkins (Austin Chamber of Commerce); and Ray Sill (El Paso Industrial Development Corp.). Charter membership included all who applied and were accepted up to and including the date of the first membership meeting.
The newly elected Board of Directors held their first meeting on October 19, 1961 in Dallas. Membership applications were processed and other routine matters resolved. Ray Hedges was appointed Budget Committee Chairman. At this directors’ meeting the decision was made to incorporate TIDC under the laws of the State of Texas. Rex Jennings accepted chairmanship of a committee to incorporate the TIDC. Serving with him were Harry Clark and C.W. Garrard.
The constitution of the organization provides for an Executive Committee composed of the officers, immediate past president, and three directors. C.W. Garrard, W.C Price, and L.E. Gilliland were the first directors to serve on the Executive Committee. Early Committees included: Membership Relations, Membership Information, Conference Publicity, and a Texas Manufactures Association Liaison Committee.
The various committees functioned throughout the remainder of their term to early Fall 1962. By the second general membership meeting in College Station in connection with the Twelfth Annual Industrial Development Conference (co-sponsored by TIDC) on September 28, 1962, membership had increased to one hundred and twelve.
During the first year the principle accomplishments of the new organization were establishing a solid membership base with representation from all areas of the state and setting up the machinery to serve the membership and the general interest of the state in industrial development.
In recognition of a career devoted to the industrial development of Texas, Walter Dickerson, retiring executive director of the then embryonic Texas Industrial Commission was awarded the first honorary life membership in TIDC on January 5, 1962.
By the time of the annual membership meeting in College Station on September 17, 1964, membership in the organization had grown to 132 and the need for a permanent central administrative office for the TIDC was apparent. This office was designated to the Industrial Economics Research Office at Texas A&M University. The TIDC office remained at College Station until April 1, 1991 when it was moved to Austin to enable the TIDC more effectively lobby the Texas Legislature for pro-business issues related to economic development.
After the move to Austin, the TIDC hired its full-time administrator. Nancy Windham served in the capacity until November 30, 1992. (She was hired as Executive Director of the Southern Industrial Development Council). Joe D. Newman was then hired and served as the TEDC Executive Director until October 1998. On September 26, 1994, the name of the organization was changed to the Texas Economic Development Council to better represent the diversity of the membership. Carlton Schwab became President/CEO of the TEDC in February 1999.
The TEDC celebrated its 50th Anniversary through 2011 and honored the organizations Past Chairs at the Annual Confernce in Fort Worth in October 2011.