Round Rock, Cedar Park and now Taylor: Longtime economic chief to guide yet another city for his next chapter

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Oct 20th, 2023

For more than a decade, Ben White has been involved in Williamson County economic development efforts, first in Round Rock and for the last five years in Cedar Park. He’ll make his way to a third city north of Austin, as the city of Taylor announced on Oct. 18 that White will take over as the head of the Taylor Economic Development Corp. in mid-November.

White — who was recently named by the Austin Business Journal as a Power Player as being among those who “wield utmost influence” in the Austin area — will replace Mark Thomas, who is set to retire after leading the Taylor EDC since 2016. The Taylor EDC was founded by voters in 1994 and is funded by one-half percent of the annual sales tax in the city. It leads economic development efforts for the city about 35 miles northeast of Austin.

He’ll move over to Taylor at a monumental time in the small city’s long history.

The suburb is aiming to reclaim its former title as the economic engine of Williamson County, with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s massive chipmaking facility that is expected to open at some point next year. The Taylor EDC played a key role in attracting Samsung, which included crafting the incentives that helped seal the deal.

Several companies are expected to follow Samsung to Taylor — a city with about 17,000 residents — which could create thousands of jobs in the years to come.

“I look forward to helping our community grow, build on the Samsung project, and continue to diversify the Taylor economy,” White said in a statement to the ABJ.

Taylor EDC Board Chair Betty Day expressed excitement about the appointment, saying White “has a record of proven success in Central Texas.”

“We look forward to building on the incredible growth that is happening in Taylor,” Day said. “Ben brings all the skills needed to ensure we continue positive development going forward.”

Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell, who was also key in the Samsung deal, also said he was pleased with the selection.

“With Samsung’s massive investment in our community, I don’t believe there is any place that has as much potential from an economic development standpoint as Taylor,” Rydell said in a statement. “And I’m convinced that there is no one better suited to help Taylor realize its full potential in that regard than Ben White. I could not be more excited about Ben joining our efforts here in Taylor.“

White has more than two decades of professional experience in the space, also holding similar positions in Rowlett and Greenville, Texas. During his time in Cedar Park, he helped foster the growth of a number of companies, while also attracting new corporate citizens, including rocket maker Firefly Aerospace Inc., electric truck maker Hellion Holdings Corp. and educational technology company Compedia USA Inc. He currently serves as the president of the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership.

Brenda Eivens, the city manager of Cedar Park, said in a statement that they thank White for all he has done for the city “and wish him the very best in this next chapter of his career.”

“During his five years in Cedar Park, Ben has successfully led a team attracting a number of major new business investments and has enhanced business retention and expansion efforts,” Eivens said.

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