Look Closer: The Gulf Coast Market is Still HotJune 29, 2015 | By Wayne O'Neill
Here’s my observations on the reality of what’s happening here on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Boom and Bust – But Not Busted
The market here was on fire for two or three years relative to what’s been going on in the energy business. Things couldn’t get built fast enough. IT firms were all busy, housing prices were through the roof – it seemed bulletproof.
But one segment changed – in this case, the oil industry – and the whole region started to stagnate.
I’ve watched this in other parts of the country. One large market segment in a region slows down a little bit, and as the water goes down people focus so much on that one segment that they miss that another segment is actually overwhelmed and going gangbusters.
What’s Going Gangbusters on the Gulf Coast
Right now on the Gulf Coast, the manufacturing business is resurrecting itself in a whole new way. It’s now focused around more intricate manufacturing, such as electric cars, carbon fiber and bendable aluminum.
The business of drone manufacturing is changing our region, too. It’s not like the auto manufacturing of the 60s and 70s in Detroit. It’s different. The supply chain is different. That last piece is easy for people to ignore, but it’s so significant.
Another phenomenon to note – and this is happening all over the country – is how higher education is trying to staple itself into all these changing microbusiness trends.
If you take all of that in aggregate, there is actually a lot of activity going on in strategic intent, strategic IT, and design and construction. It just doesn’t look the same as it did a few years ago.
The Bottom Line
When the market in a region is good, people get into harvest mentality. They make hay while the sun shines and client intelligence skills diminish. The businesses that I see survive the ups and downs of regional markets are the ones that stay in invest mentality and shaping mentality. They pull back the layers and they never forget the fundamentals of client intelligence or how important it is to pay attention to micro trends.
There is still a lot of opportunity in the Gulf Coast. Businesses that pay attention to subtle trends and that spend the time on client intelligence are going to reap huge rewards.