MATHIS – Doug Dowler has only been on the job as new executive director of the Economic Development Center here in Mathis for two weeks, but he’s already off and running with plans for the city’s future.
Dowler spent 17 years in Nacogdoches as the executive director for a community housing and economic development organization there.
“It’s a passion of mine,” Dowler said. “It’s what I enjoy doing.”
Dowler was the director of an assisted living community in North Texas just before deciding to go back to his love of economic development, and, luckily for him and the city, he saw an ad for the EDC director position in Mathis.
“It was simply a situation where I tried to do the assisted living venue for a while as an opportunity to grow a little bit within myself and learn some new things,” Dowler added.
“But really, I just wanted to get back to my passion of economic development.”
Once he applied for the position, Dowler began looking into the city and the surrounding areas to find out how he could best help Mathis reach it’s full potential.
“The more I researched Mathis, the more I realized that this is a growing community. There’s a lot of potential in the future here.”
“There’s great, great people here that really support and believe in their community.
“People are the biggest asset we have. That’s what I’m excited about.
“What else could you ask for?”
Dowler said that some areas of his focus will be job growth in the area and strengthening the city’s economy.
“Mathis is situated in an ideal position right now, located on perfect transportation with rail and highways.
“There’s a lot of assets here. Mathis has land, it has workforce; everything that you would need for businesses to relocate is here in Mathis.
“All we need to do is prepare ourselves and market ourselves and let people know that these opportunities are here.”
Dowler also sees the Port of Corpus Christi as another asset that could be used to grow the city economically.
Corpus Christi is currently trying to lift the embargo on exporting raw crude oil, and if it succeeds, jobs will follow as well as new businesses for the county since it’s located just a few miles up the road.
“We have one of the best deep water ports in the country sitting 37 miles away from us,” Dowler said.
“So we need to be prepared to provide the infrastructure for that growth which is going to be coming.”
Dowler said that some priorities that he and the city council will be working on at the start of the coming year will be revitalizing downtown and housing.
“Everything is going to have some sort of focus on it in the coming years.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re going to accomplish them in the short term because we’re not.
“We want to asses this community and find out where Mathis is today. And where does the community want Mathis to be in a year from now, five years from now and even 10 years from now?
“What I like to say, ‘What do we want to grow up to be?’”
Dowler seems to know that the road to getting Mathis to prosper once again is paved with hard work and dedication, but it also doesn’t seem to phase him.
Sitting at his desk in his office, phone ever ready by side, he’s calm, comfortable and collected.
“I just want the community to know how excited I am to be here,” Dowler said.
“And the biggest thing that drew my attention to Mathis were its people.
“As I said earlier, the biggest and strongest asset that this community has is that it has a great bunch of people that live here.
“So I’m here and ready to play.”