Looking at the 1990 Texas Almanac, it said the Kleberg County economy was based on “petroleum, cattle ranching, manufacturing, military, higher education and some mesquite timber products.”
Today’s Kleberg County economy has changed a great deal from 19 years ago, especially in the type of energy produced, moving from oil and gas production to wind and solar power and uranium mining. Two large wind farms just south of Kingsville have generated hundreds of jobs, filled motels and apartments, and consumed large amounts of caliche and concrete during construction.
Iberdrola, a Spanish firm, owns the northern most wind farm and has announced plans to build a Phase II of approximately 80 wind turbines. Babcock & Brown, an Australian company, has completed 99 wind turbines and plans to build 99 more on the southern most wind farm.
Naval Air Station Kingsville, the navy’s premier advanced jet training center, continues to be the largest employer in the county, with over 1,800 military and civilian jobs. The base will become home of an Army Reserve Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) unit this fall that will bring six helicopters and an estimated 110 additional military personnel to town. In addition, a new 65,000-square-foot Reserve Center under construction at the base will add 25 permanent jobs and bring hundreds of military reservists to the community for weekend duty.
Homeland Security has shown significant growth in Kleberg and Kenedy County with 250 current Border Patrol agents and plans to increase to 300 agents by the end of calendar year 2009.
The face of higher education has changed in Kingsville, beginning with the name change from Texas A&I University to Texas A&M University-Kingsville and the addition of the Rangel College of Pharmacy. Activity at the Dotterweich College of Engineering and the pharmacy school have brought millions of research dollars to the university and added world-renowned faculty to the prestigious institution.
Today’s economy in Kingsville and Kleberg County has not seen the downturn common across the country and around the world. It remains strong and diverse, with unemployment below state and national averages, and the prospects for the future are very positive.
Kingsville’s location to major highways is a plus for this community. The city sits just off U.S. Highway 77, which is a major corridor from Texas to Mexico. Highway 77, soon to become a part of the I-69 corridor, is a busy road. Both local and national truck carriers provide inbound and outbound service through connecting lines from San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Shipments to and from the Ports of Corpus Christi and Houston are convenient to Kingsville by truck. The city is also served with incoming and outgoing rail service by the Union Pacific Railroad. Kingsville is located 38 miles southwest of the Corpus Christi International Airport and is served by American, Continental and Southwest airlines. Daily flights for passengers and air freight are offered. Kingsville is also immediately accessible when you fly into the Kleberg County Airport. This airport has a 6,000-foot, all-weather lighted airfield capable of handling most private plane services. It also has complete fuel and repair service.