Opinion: There is power in partnership

The Permian is blessed with courageous, inventive people and natural resources beyond our wildest imagination. It is one of the reasons wildcatters had the audacity to believe they could create an oasis in the middle of the desert so many lifetimes ago. And against many odds, that’s exactly what they did. Each generation that follows is asked to recommit to Midland’s future and face its challenges – some new, some enduring – head-on.

As we heard from renowned economist Ray Perryman in February, “This is not your grandmother’s oil boom.” Today, Midland is the fastest growing area in the nation. And that explosive growth is putting immense pressure on five interconnected areas of critical need – education, housing, health + wellness, infrastructure and quality of place.

Priority Midland represents this generation’s commitment to work together to meet those challenges head-on and ensure Midland is ready for its future. To better meet the needs of our rapidly growing community, this unified effort brings together the many stakeholders in Midland’s future, working alongside all seven local taxing authorities – the city of Midland, Midland County, Midland ISD, Greenwood ISD, Midland College, Midland County Hospital District and Midland County Utility District.

In addition, Priority Midland includes more than 200 Midlanders sharing their ingenuity and countless hours of effort through Working Groups and a Stakeholder Advisory Group. This collaborative forum engages people from across the community, like teachers, medical personnel, engineers, entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, architects, developers, oil field workers, executives, service industry professionals, parents and public servants, all pursuing the same end – making Midland a priority.

On behalf of the Priority Midland Steering Committee, we are grateful for everyone’s shared commitment and inspired by the creativity and passion these Midlanders continue to bring to the table. And we are excited by the progress already underway since the February 2019 launch.

The initial fruit of the collective effort will be announced in the coming weeks, including the release of our strategic objectives and initial projects identified and being implemented by the working groups, which are organized around the five focus areas. Additionally, we will soon be able to share a commissioned economic impact study from Perryman. The study will define the implications of anticipated growth, including the needs for workforce, education, job training, housing, health resources, infrastructure and other priorities.

But perhaps the most meaningful impact on Midland’s future will be the creation of the type of collaboration that begets lasting change.

We are not just here to support today’s efforts. Priority Midland aims to light a sustainable path forward so we can face the inevitable challenges expected from future years of continued growth.

We are encouraged by an unprecedented level of openness and alignment demonstrated across the network of leaders and citizens that make up Priority Midland, and the willingness to put the greater good of the community above individual or institutional interests. It is the kind of teamwork that inspires neighbors to lock arms with neighbors and collectively lead planning and projects forward, tapping into the region’s long history of bold thinking and big steps.

There is power in partnership. And as stakeholders in Midland’s future, it is our job – and it is our pledge – to continue to work in unity for the good of Midland’s future.

Priority Midland Steering Committee:

  • Bobby Burns, chair – President and CEO, Midland Chamber of Commerce
  • Matt Johnson, vice chair – President and COO, Summit Petroleum LLC
  • Larissa A. Minjarez, vice chair – President, Recurso Hispano (Hispanic Resources)
  • Grant A. Billingsley, interim secretary – Executive Director, Scharbauer Foundation
  • Susan Spratlen, Treasurer – vice president, Permian Affairs, Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Tracee Bentley – CEO, Permian Strategic Partnership
  • Rick Davis – president, board of trustees, Midland ISD
  • Ariel Elliott – superintendent, Greenwood ISD
  • Rosalind Redfern Grover – chair, board of governors, Midland Memorial Foundation
  • Brent Hilliard – chairman, board of directors, Midland Development Corp.
  • Terry Johnson – county judge, Midland County
  • Jerry Morales – mayor, city of Midland
  • Jessica Rule – president, SHK – The Advertising Firm
  • Steve Thomas – president, Midland College
  • Autumn Vest – executive director, Midland Shared Spaces (MSS)
  • Shelton Viney – chairman, Midland County Utility District

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