Strategic planning. We hear about companies or communities doing strategic planning often.

Usually, towards the end of a year, organizations begin to look at where they are, where they have been, and where they are going.

Strategic planning, after all, is the process by which an organization envisions its future and develops the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future. A gentleman named Greg Last with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service told me that.  You may have heard or read something like this as well.

A couple of weeks ago the Board of Directors for the HEDC met and talked about strategic planning. They, along with other stakeholders, bounced some ideas around regarding what we would like to achieve in the next three years or so. Little did we know at that time that our world would be turned upside down by this thing called COVID-19. This little virus that most of us hadn’t heard about until recently has changed things a lot.

As an organization, HEDC will do its part to help the business community rebound, but we need everyone to work together.

The place where we would like to be in the next three years hasn’t changed. We would like to be near full employment with increases in disposable income for our Harlingen residents.

We would like to see more activity in manufacturing and logistics, with more traffic flowing through the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios, and at Valley International Airport, and at the Port of Harlingen.

We would like to see more doctors and nurses find jobs in our newer healthcare facilities with the latest technologies. We would like to see our students gain more opportunities to better themselves at TSTC or at UTRGV or some other institution of higher learning.

We would like to see more options in terms of shopping and entertainment. We would like to see more housing options. We would like to see better roadways and more efficient transportation systems. We would like to see a vibrant and healthy community, and so much more.

How we get there because of COVID-19 is now the big question. One of the things we can all do is to remember to shop locally. We need our local businesses to thrive. I know not all will be able to withstand this crisis, but if we can all do our part, they have a better chance.

We can learn to be patient and creative. We can learn to be more appreciative of what we have and learn to be more resourceful. Things will get better, but we will go through some tough times before that happens. We will learn to prioritize. We don’t have a choice.

As an organization, HEDC will do its part to help the business community rebound, but we need everyone to work together.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column first appeared in Harlingen Economic Development Corporation’s e-newsletter.