Monday AM December 15th, 2008

Business and education leaders collaborated on ways to drive Houston’s economy, in the face of the recession and possible job losses. Ed Mayberry reports.


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The Houston Strategic Forum conference at the Houston Marriott Westchase last week focused on harnessing the region’s strengths in energy, transportation, education, technology and health care.  The forum’s Ravi Kathuria says these conferences allow business executives to gain practical insights on growing globally — in a way that benefits Houston’s economy.

“Absolutely.  You know, Houston is a $400 billion economy.  We are one per cent of the global $40 trillion economy.  And one per cent is a very impressive number.  And so Houston, if it is to continue to grow, it has to make these global forays.” 

Ed: “And who’s your audience?”

“Folks from large corporations, from mid-sized companies.  We(‘ve) got upper management and middle management folks coming here to participate.  Because what we want to do is help everyone think strategically and think out of the box.  We are an organization that cuts across industry lines for that very reason.”

Kathuria says the talks they hear from CEOs are two-way discussions.

“Our CEOs, when they come and talk, we ask them to delve into their personal philosophies, their business philosophies, how they look at business, how they face challenges, and what produces in that event is a very insightful talk.  And we give back.  We had one CEO — because we do these question/answer sessions and we have these table discussions — we had one CEO who said ‘I love these ideas!  I’m going to take it back to my organization and implement it.’  And that was very nice for us to hear.”

Ed:  “So, a two-way street.”

“It’s a two-way street, absolutely.” 

The most recent Houston Strategic Forum featured remarks from Marathon Oil’s Clarence Cazalot, Jr., M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Dr. John Mendelsohn, University of Houston President Renu Khator and National Oilwell Varco’s Merrill Miller, Jr. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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