‘We dream big’: Williamson County leaders discuss Samsung’s journey to Taylor

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TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — When Mayor Brandt Rydell heard a large international company was eyeing his city as a potential site for their latest large construction project, he knew Taylor, Texas, would shine.

Without even knowing which company it was, he described the city as a community of problem-solvers — and hoped that would resonate more than any big promises or expectations.

“We are going to find a wat to work through any issues that come our way,” he said.

They eventually learned they were in the running with Austin, Phoenix, and a city in upstate New York to become home to Samsung’s newest $17 billion dollar chip manufacturing plant. Semiconductor facilities generally run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so one of the city’s first hurdles was to pitch how they would funnel enough water and electricity to power a facility this size.

Rydell commended their corporate partnerships for setting them apart: Epcor Utilities Inc. providing millions of gallons of water and Oncor Electric Delivery Co., responsible for electricity in the area.

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell credits Oncor, in large part, for Taylor being chosen. He and Rydell said their top executives sat down and explained to Samsung how they would provide reliable energy to the plant, especially after February’s winter storm shut down so many industrial facilities in Texas.

“Through Winter Storm Uri, the industrial users for Oncor were never shut off,” he noted.

Gravell said they would also partner with the state of Texas to build out more than $200 million in road improvements in the area to handle the influx of traffic in what he calls “the technology super highway of the world…that runs right through Williamson County.”

He said these infrastructure changes for Samsung’s plant would continue to grow the economic prosperity and growth brought by Dell’s Round Rock campus and Apple’s latest Williamson County expansion.

“The financial benefit to all businesses is going to be significant,” he said. “As the county judge, I’m not just thinking about one semiconductor facility I’m thinking about four or five. We dream big, and if you dream big you have to plan big.”

Mayor Rydell said he knows some Taylor residents worry about the impact this facility will have on the character of their city, but he sees this as an opportunity to share their community with a wider audience.

Rydell added: “We’re going to have the fuel to feed Taylor for years and decades to come.”

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