By the time Economic Development Day concluded, LSA Class 46 had spent hours immersed in provocative conversation about how our community has historically conducted economic development and what our community can do to ensure that it’s practiced equitably in the future.

Christine Drennon, director and associate professor of Urban Studies at Trinity University, laid the foundation for the day with her lecture, “Epistemologically Speaking…, Economic Development?”

Known for her powerful presentations on the devastating impacts of redlining in San Antonio, Drennon compiled an entirely new lecture for LSA Economic Development Day that challenged the historical practices of economic development and pushed the class to think more broadly and progressively about how we define and measure economic development. In doing so, we can recast how economic development is pursued, what is incentivized and how communities can ensure that access to opportunity is equitable and beneficial.

On the heels of the Drennon lecture, the class heard another provocative conversation titled “Equity in Economic Development,” a panel discussion between District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo, Michelle Tremillo, co-executive director and co-founder of the Texas Organizing Project and Robert Melvin, entrepreneur and CEO of SAGE.

Moderated by San Antonio Express-News editorial writer and columnist Cary Clack, the panel had tough conversations about the impacts of economic development, its winners and losers.

The morning’s discussions delivered on the Economic Development team’s theme and promise of delivering “provocative conversations for the greater good.”

The last panel at the San Antonio Water System, which hosted the morning activities, included City Manager Erik Walsh, LiftFund Executive Vice President Janie Barrera and former Councilwoman Debra Guerrero, senior vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Government Affairs for the NRP Group, an LSA 46 class day sponsor. Marina Gavito, the executive director of SA Digital Connects, moderated a lively discussion about the intersection of the public and private sectors in economic development.

Departing SAWS, the class headed to the historic Hangar 9 at Brooks for lunch and a fireside chat with Nelson Wolff and Henry Cisneros, moderated by Leo Gomez. With more than a century of combined public service, the speakers shared memories of their work in economic development in San Antonio.

After lunch and paletas, the class took a driving tour of Brooks before heading to the final venue of the day — Port San Antonio.

At the port, LSA 46 listened to a final panel, moderated by Express-News metro columnist Gilbert Garcia, that included Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, CEO of greater: SATX, Ben Peavy, managing director of Accenture and CIO of Accenture Federal, and Denim Group co-founder Dan Cornell. Their discussion centered on the future of economic development and how it’s changing. The panel also discussed the realities of San Antonio’s pursuit of major projects and companies, such as Amazon.

The class learned about the evolution of Port SA from Marcel Johnson, senior vice president for Talent & Technology Scouting & Identification, toured (and played in) Tech Port Gaming and experienced the incredible Tesla coils in the facility’s new arena.

Economic Development Day wrapped up with a raffle and social hour at Cherrity Bar.

The LSA 46 Economic Development team began meeting immediately upon formation and steadfastly planned the day with nuanced intent. The day could not have been possible without the support and commitment of the team members, its steering committee members, their collective employers, generous sponsors and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Team Economic Development is grateful for the tremendous support and appreciates the attentiveness of Class 46 throughout the rigorous day.

Photos of the day can be seen at

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