Happy State Bank CEO accompanying Governor Abbott on economic development trip to Japan

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he will be leading an economic development mission to Japan and South Korea.

Several statewide organizations are joining the governor on his trip to Japan, including the CEO of Happy State Bank.

J. Pat Hickman, the bank’s chairman and CEO, was selected by Abbott months ago, first to be on the board of the Texas Economic Development Corporation, and now to go on this trip.

“Any time you help Texas, that helps the tax base in Amarillo as well. I mean it all serves one group. But they specifically have said, they want me to specifically to look for those opportunities that could help us here, not just in Amarillo, but the rural part of Texas as well,” Hickman said.

The week’s agenda is filled with meetings with business leaders and dignitaries overseas. Hickman says he’s looking forward to learning from others.

He says one of the most important parts of this trip..will be starting dialogues and forming relationships, “Once someone establishes a relationship with someone else, opens that dialogue, as opportunities come along, they’re gonna say, hey, I met that guy from Texas or hey, I know that banker down there and he might, could help me with that. And you might never know what opportunities come by like that.”

Hickman is optimistic this year’s trip will have a positive impact on our state’s economy, like the board’s trip last year.

“Last year, this group went to India…India is now buying more oil from texas producers because of that visit,” Hickman explained.

The governor said Japan is an important relationship to maintain. Japan exported $12.1 billion worth of goods from Texas in 2018, making it the fifth-largest export destination for our state.

In turn, Texas exported $16.7 billion in goods last year to Japan.

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