The Last Word: Daniel Oney on Concentrating Efforts for DFW’s Economic Future

“If you spread the peanut butter too thin, then you don’t make an impact.”

Daniel Oney
Research Director
Texas Real Estate Research Center
.…on the necessity of focus to create impact in economic development, via the Dallas Business Journal.

Daniel Oney

Oney was a panelist at a 2024 Economic Outlook event organized by the Dallas Business Journal on January 25 at the Tower Club. During the event—which featured discussions on DFW’s robust job creation record and the ongoing challenges of talent retention and workforce development—Dallas Citizens Council CEO Kelvin Walker, Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Director Cullum Clark, and John Stephens, former CFO of AT&T and current Dallas Economic Development Corp. board president , discussed the importance of not just creating jobs but ensuring they lead to sustainable economic development.

Oney’s peanut butter analogy is an apt appeal for targeted, high-density initiatives that could serve as catalysts for broader developmental engagement and investment, Plamedie Ifasso reported in the Dallas Business Journal.

“You have to do something with enough intensity and density that people will notice it,” Oney said, according to the DBJ. While that applies to real estate development—“Oh, someone succeeded. I can go there,” he pointed out—it also applies more broadly to economic opportunities in DFW.

Panelist Kelvin Walker touched on the necessity of re-skilling the workforce to bridge the gap to better opportunities, particularly for “younger adults and adults who are under-skilled,” aiming to elevate parts of the economy that have lagged behind.

The panelists also noted that while North Texas has enjoyed significant economic growth, momentum requires nurturing through strategic investments and policies, Ifasso reported. The conversation highlighted the uneven benefits of the region’s growth, with southern Dallas, an area larger than Atlanta, still waiting for its share of investment and development.

According to the report, Clark and Stephens pointed to Pegasus Park, a life science and biotech campus, as a model for how focused investment can stimulate economic activity. The burgeoning innovation district, which has attracted significant attention by snagging one of three federal ARPA-H hubs last year, can benefit from the “intensity and density” Oney says is needed for making a real impact.

Read more in the DBJ story here.

For more of who said what about all things North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

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