Marcus Hiles has been a prominent real estate developer and innovator for more than thirty years. A dynamic personality, the CEO and Chairman of Western Rim Property Services singlehandedly transformed the Texas rental market by creating upscale communities throughout suburban Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. As the real estate industry represents the largest contributor to the total GDP of the U.S., its continued success is paramount for the economic wellbeing of the country. Hiles believes that future economic progress at both the state and national levels require policies that will foster private sector expansion and public education excellence; improving job creation will spur financial growth and, in turn, fuel a demand for housing, while a commitment towards readying students with 21st-century skills ensures that the workforce of America’s next generation remains a competitive power on the world stage.
From a local perspective, Texas has shown no shortage of development. Homes are being constructed at their fastest pace in Dallas-Fort Worth in nearly a decade, and studies by the University of Texas show that employment has consistently trended positively in San Antonio, and research director of UTSA Institute for Economic Development, Thomas Tunstall, expects that “growth will continue to flow into the local economy for years.” Marcus Hiles maintains that the best way to further enlarge the housing market statewide will be through sustained enactment of strong laws that protect and increase the labor force. The recent past provides a solid testimony for this position: after the housing bubble crisis decimated real estate prices nationwide, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex was less affected than nearly every other major city, with a Fortune article asserting that the cause for the robust economy traces back to the “more than 100,000 new jobs added each year in North Texas.” The rationale lies in its reputation for being business-friendly region with major corporations like Toyota, State Farm and Liberty Mutual relocating to the fourth-most populous American urban center in recent years. Forbes suggests that zoning and land-use construction burdens may be lifted throughout the U.S., as the new presidential administration could usher in an era of eased regulations and lowered building costs. Relaxed protocols for small banks may allow them to conduct business differently and boost development as well, having the flexibility to approve more loans for new housing projects.
While safeguarding wage and job growth in the private sector is key, Marcus Hiles notes that political efforts also need to promote educational opportunities to empower students. The Programme for International Student Assessment placed U.S. school children in the middle of the international pack for math and science, with the Pew Research Center reporting scoring 36th and 28th out of 65 countries assessed. While politicians have been denouncing the results and demanding better training for decades, new policies must encourage more children to study math and science, ultimately, at the university level; The U.S. Department of Education believes that, “only 16 percent of high school students are interested in a [science, technology, engineering or math] career and have proven a proficiency in mathematics. Though the change in learning standards and curriculum must be instituted as early as grades K-6, teenagers finishing high school need better options for mastering trade skills that equip them for jobs in the construction and health care industries. Many expect that the next presidential administration makes good on promises to offer a bigger role for community colleges in the economy, with commercial real estate and house building industry career paths readily available to students working toward a future in development and infrastructure improvement.
Marcus Hiles is a respected property authority and philanthropist who proudly supports many environmental and education causes. Having personally donated more than 59 acres of parkland to the general public for wildlife conservation, Hiles has also contributed significant capital to the improvement and protection of Texas’s scenic beauty. As a firm believer that all students have the right to a quality education, he has given more than $2.5 million to public and private K-12 initiatives, after school programs, and university career services and job placement programs.
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