Watching the world watch Texas.

April 29, 2022

In this issue of Branding Texas: Texas continues to stand front and center on the global stage with sometimes Texan Elon Musk’s purchase of social media giant Twitter and Gov. Greg Abbott’s enterprising spirit; the Port of Corpus Christi may be the world’s answer to the higher gas prices; Gasing up before that trip to Mars just may happen in Duval County; an Austinite is leading innovation with robot-built homes and fans explain why Coach Pop is number one in their hearts.

Thomas Graham


Home sweet home to big business: Gov. Abbott invites Twitter to move to Texas

Occasional Austinite Elon Musk made global news this week with his successful acquisition of Twitter and Texas Governor Greg Abbott wasted little time in

 promoting the state as the possible future headquarters of the world’s leading information platform.

Abbott took to his official Twitter account to encourage the business mogul to come on down. Musk has already made Texas home to several of his ventures including a Tesla Gigafactory in Austin.

@elonmusk Bring Twitter to Texas to join Tesla, SpaceX & the Boring company,” he tweeted.

Musk isn’t the only one to see value in moving to the Lone Star state. Among the list of tech giants to announce their relocations are Oracle and Hewlett Packard. HP decided to move its headquarters from San Jose, Cali. to the Houston area citing cost savings for both the company and its employees who would enjoy the lower cost of living expenses. The 440,000 square-foot campus in two five-story buildings in the Houston suburb of Spring is set to open later this year.


Port of Corpus Christi takes the global energy stage

Media coverage of the Port of Corpus Christi has spiked along with global gas prices. The war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russian oil have brought new attention to the Texas Gulf port. Port of Corpus Christi is one of the world’s largest and most active gateways for international energy exports and sales.

Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge appeared nationally on Fox Business with Tyler Olson. Strawbridge has been suddenly front and center in both national and local media throughout March, giving perspective on the forces behind the rise in U. S. energy prices at the pump.

“When you take large producers of energy off the table, like Russia and Venezuela, and certainly as we’ve seen with Iran for many years, it just puts more stress on the overall supply,” Strawbridge told Yahoo Finance. “So we certainly can expect to see higher fuel prices in the near term until the Ukrainian crisis is resolved.”

The Port of Corpus Christi, a longstanding Crosswind client, can export more liquified natural gas but to do so would require an expedited federal permitting system that would allow companies the leeway to increase production. There would also have to be a reliable way to get the gas to the coast where it can be liquified, Strawbridge explained.

In late March, Tim Ichniowski and Pam McFarland at Engineering News-Record, the nation’s leading construction-industry newsweekly, reported on President Biden’s FY23 budget plan. The article includes Biden’s request for $157 million to expand the Port of Corpus Christi’s ship channel. The new POC funding would allow for some of the world’s largest tankers to utilize the Gulf seaport and take on abundant oil and gas exports from Texas.


Texas could be where you gas up before that road trip to Mars

Duval County, located about 73 miles north of the Rio Grande River, is no stranger to oil production. The small South Texas county which includes the cities of Benavides, Freer and San Diego, first discovered oil resources in 1905 and experienced its first real boom in 1928. At one point the county ranked third in production for the state—until it didn’t.

A recent Popular Mechanics article by news editor Jennifer Leman explains how very soon Duval County could be fueling the future thanks to Green Hydrogen International (GHI). The U.S. startup recently announced a project to build a 60-gigawatt green hydrogen hub. Their hope is to produce enough clean rocket fuel to suit the fancy of nearby SpaceX’s Starbase.

In 2014 entrepreneur Elon Musk broke ground on a private testing facility and launch site in Boca Chica, just outside of Brownsville. SpaceX calls Starbase the gateway to Mars and expects to be the first to take private citizens on an intergalactic journey.

Green hydrogen is referred to as cleaner because it is processed using renewable energy such as solar or wind, and as a result, creates fewer carbon emissions than traditional production methods.

GHI’s hydrogen hub upon completion is expected to have the capacity to produce more than 2.5 million tons of green hydrogen per year where pipelines will run it north to the Port of Corpus Christi and south to Brownsville.

Let’s hope for GHI’s sake Musk, who is also the founder of Tesla, hasn’t figured out how to engineer a battery-powered rocket just yet.


Building on the future: Five reasons ICON’s 3D printed House Zero could be the new number one way to construct

Attendees of the 2022 SXSW got a special sneak peek at a new, 3D-printed energy-efficient prototype. ICON, which uses advanced construction technologies including 3D printing robotics, software and advanced materials to create unique living spaces, partnered with Texas-based LakeFlato Architects to design what ICON believes will be the home of the future.

The curving, modern walls of the East Austin home were printed using ICON’s ‘Vulcan’ construction system. The company lists many benefits to this new take on home construction including:

  1. Less build time than traditional homes. House Zero took less than two weeks to print.
  2. Highly durable structure. House Zero was printed out of a proprietary material called ‘lavecrete’ and reinforced with steel. They are rated to be stronger and longer-lasting than traditional concrete structures.
  3. Fewer materials are necessary to build.
  4. High energy efficiency. House Zero is designed for net-zero energy.
  5. Built to withstand natural disasters and withstand extreme weather.

In December ICON’s visionary CEO Jason Ballard was named to Newsweek’s global Greatest Disruptor List and highlighted as one of fifty innovators changing the world.

Newsweek isn’t the only one paying attention. CNN Business and The Wall Street Journal have also featured ICON’s work. The company will soon break ground on a new 100 home community in Austin. It will be the largest community of its kind in the world.


Gregg Popovich’s storied past and the future

Gregg Popovich has worn the San Antonio Spurs logo on his chest for 26 years. In that time he has earned five NBA titles and been named coach of the year three times. In March he added a new accolade to his list when he became the most winningest coach in the NBA’s regular-season history with 1,336 total victories. He also holds the record for the longest tenure of any professional NBA coach.

While Popovich seemed anxious to avoid the accolades on game day, his players and collogues didn’t waste the opportunity to share their favorite stories with ESPN.

“Pop doesn’t like praise. He doesn’t like any of that. It’s kind of a good thing,” said Dejounte Murray, Spurs point guard who has played for Popovich since 2016. “But you also want to remind him of his success because it’s rare. Because he’s a guy that just wants to focus on winning every day. He never brings up anything to praise himself.”

After the 104-102 win against the Utah Jazz—a game that was tied seven times—was over Popovich illustrated why players and fans alike are fiercely loyal to their Coach Pop. He told the crowd his award did not belong to him, but to all of them.

“Basketball is a team sport,” he said. “You preach to your players that they have to do it together and that’s certainly been the case in my life with all the wonderful players and coaches, the staff that I have been blessed with, the support of this wonderful city… All of us share in this record. It’s not mine. It’s ours, here in the city.”


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