TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A staple here in the city of Tyler, Tom Mullins, has announced his retirement after serving as the President and CEO of the Tyler Economic Development Council and the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce for the past 30 years.
Under his leadership the city has experienced steady growth over the years, Tyler now being called the fasted growing city in East Texas.
“Over 30 years, we have grown 80,000 in population,” says Mullin. “When I first came here the per capita income was around 17,000. We were kind of in the middle of the pack in Texas. Now it is 55,000 thousand per capita. Which is higher than the state and national average.”
He contributed the growth to the city’s focus on expanding its economy from energy and manufacturing to a much more diverse one.
“We are a regional medical hub. We are a higher education destination, over 33,000 full time students here,” says Mullins. “We are a regional retail center, there is a lot of new retail being developed. Regional financial center. Government center: federal, state, local.”
All of these factors have made a big impact on the economy of Tyler. Something Mullins is proud to have played a part in.
“The people in Tyler have really locked there arms together and said we want to be a more diverse economy we want to grow,” says Mullins “We want to be an attractive place for talent, young people, and families not only to move here but to come here and stay.”
Mullins first came to Tyler during the energy crisis. Now he is retiring during a pandemic. Though he says he is more confident than ever in the cities ability to succeed.
“We are much more diverse now. Much more resilient to ups and downs,” says Mullins.
While he will no longer hold a place on either boards he still hopes to play a role in continuing the growth of the community.