New Fort Worth Chamber CEO Aims for Growth, Innovation, and Development

CEO Brandom Gengelbach says he’s doing business differently in the fast-growing city “where the West begins.”

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest chambers in North Texas, is getting a new CEO—and he already has big plans to “shine a bright light on the city’s future.”

Brandom Gengelbach took the reigns earlier this summer with the goal to boost the ongoing development of Fort Worth’s economy. His appointment comes at a pivotal time for the city: the Chamber lauds Fort Worth as one of the five fastest-growing cities in the U.S., per the U.S. Census Bureau, and says it’s only continuing to thrive.

Gengelbach said his approach will hinge on energy, vision, and collaboration. He’s proud of Fort Worth’s reputation of being “where the West begins,” as well as its roots and charm.

He hopes people know what an aggressive and business-friendly environment the city has—it’s that “small-town feel with big-city perks.”

“Business leaders around the country tell me how they feel hamstrung in high tax states,” Gengelbach said in a statement. “While having a tax-friendly business environment helps, we’re seeing unprecedented growth in Fort Worth due to our cohesive, supportive government infrastructure, an overwhelmingly affable environment, a career-ready talent pool, ample transportation opportunities, and a favorable cost of living.”

Per the Chamber, Fort Worth has attracted new business despite the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Photo: Glen E. Ellman]

The city added more than 50,000 jobs in the last year, ranking among the top 15 cities for young professionals. That includes highly skilled positions in biotechnology, aviation, transportation, automation, and healthcare.

Much of that growth can be attributed to the companies that have decided to set up shop there, like Linear Labs, M2G Ventures, Bell Helicopter, and more. This week, leading footwear and apparel brand Ariat International announced it was bringing a 1-million-square-foot distribution center and a “diverse range of new jobs” to the city.

In June, Fort Worth and Linear Labs entered into a new public/private partnership. Per the agreement, an economic incentive package worth up to $68.9 million will create a smart electric motor manufacturing facility with advanced automation and a research-development facility in Fort Worth.

In mid-July, U.S. Representative Kay Granger, center, made a personal visit to Linear Labs’ facilities in Fort Worth to talk with CEO Brad Hunstable, far right, and CTO Fred Hunstable about what the smart motor maker is planning in the electrification industry.

“Fort Worth embraces innovation in all forms,” Linear Labs’ co-founder and CEO Brad Hunstable said in a statement. “In doing business here, new ideas are welcomed, and informed key collaborations allow businesses to flourish. Fort Worth has embraced our big dreams and plans, and we’re excited about being a part of the next tech innovation hub right here.”

The Fort Worth Chamber aims to be a catalyst for that innovation. Its core functions of business attraction and retention, talent development, small business and entrepreneur support, and government advocacy are meant to drive the region into an inviting community for all.

As Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said, the city is considered among the best places to raise a family and the best places for first-time homebuyers.

“Culture lovers delight in our local attractions—like the Kimbell Art Museum and Modern Art Museum,” she said. “Nature lovers enjoy days out at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden or exploring the striking Trinity Trails, all complemented by top restaurants and dynamic entertainment.”

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