by Jordan DeWald
Some people refer to him as Mr. Burleson, and they’d be right. Alex Philips would probably say it differently though. Whenever you talk to him about his role with the City of Burleson, he is clear that he is one part of an amazing team. It is this relationship driven mentality that has made Alex one of Burleson’s greatest advocates.
Alex Philips is a hometown boy to Burleson, which is reflected in his love for the city. His family moved to Burleson when he was six years old and he made the choice to never leave. He is a graduate of Burleson High School and he and his wife raise their daughter in the town he grew up in. The same reasons he had for staying are what motivates him to keep Burleson going in its positive direction. He wants his daughter to be proud to raise her family in this community and be prepared with tools, resources and relationships, just as he was.
Alex holds the title of Economic Development Manager for the City of Burleson. He has worked with the city for thirteen years. He first started in the water/wastewater department as an inventory clerk. He moved over to City Hall and later joined the Economic Development team in 2015. Experience in various aspects of the innerworkings of the city gives him a unique perspective of the larger team effort it takes for any business to be successful in Burleson. While he gets to be in the forefront, Alex is quick to point out that there are workers in numerous departments that all have a key role in bringing and keeping businesses in Burleson. He credits relationships as being the most important part of his job. Between the city council, the business community, city departments and his team, Alex recognizes he is one part of a large team.
Alex describes his role as Economic Development Manager as his dream job. He genuinely loves going into work each day. His motivation is to make Burleson better than he found it. He is constantly brainstorming, evaluating and coming up with new ideas. He is a regular in the local businesses, checking on them and building connections with the owners and employees. Alex has an amazing team within Economic Development with Drew Pennywell and Joni Van Noy. Their desire is to be servants to the businesses and community members of Burleson. They have daily meetings so they can collaborate and brainstorm as a team. Whether it is recruiting new companies to make Burleson their home or making sure a thirty-year-old business has what they need, Alex works to make sure the Economic Development team has a collaborative working relationship with the Burleson business community.
This was never more apparent than when Burleson, as with the rest of the United States, faced the challenges brought on by Covid-19. As social distancing and stay at home orders threatened businesses and the economic stability of our community, Alex and his team went into action. Immediately the city began buying daily lunches for city employees at local restaurants, putting $80,000 back into the restaurants. The Economic Development team was a part of a small business task force whose first project was BTX Gift Cards. Through this program, local businesses could sign up to be a part of a one stop website where anyone could purchase gift cards to Burleson businesses. They partnered with essential businesses to promote the gift card purchases and by doing so, raised thousands for local charities. The program raised over $35,000 for the local businesses by June. Then the city offered a program that has widely been praised for keeping some businesses afloat. Operation Together gave nonessential Burleson businesses the opportunity to apply to be a part of a promotional partnership with the City of Burleson’s Economic Development Corporation. This partnership gave one hundred businesses $5,000 each if they met criteria. This partnership extended the economic benefit to additional local businesses, thanks to that criteria. The city introduced Buy BTX as businesses started to open. This program allowed residents to turn in receipts for money spent at any Burleson business in exchange for an entry in a weekly drawing for gift cards to area businesses. Because of the work done by Alex, the Economic Development Team and the City of Burleson, area businesses are coming out of the time of social distancing stronger than ever. Alex credits the people of Burleson for their strong support of the business community, by saying “Through all of this, our team wants to thank the community as a whole for continuing to support the small businesses.”
When asked what he would say to prospective businesses, Alex answered: “We know a lot of other communities would want you. If you’re looking to be in a place where you’ll be supported by a loyal customer base, you will not find an authenticity in any community like you will find here.” Alex Philips, leads the community in that loyalty and Burleson is a better place because he is here.