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Gone to Texas Podcast

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Welcome to “Gone to Texas,” the official podcast of the Texas Economic Development Connection powered by Day One Experts. On every episode, we share the stories of business owners and CEOs who have relocated or expanded their business into Texas. Our goal is to use these stories as a guide to helps others who are ready to hang a sign on the door that says, “Gone to Texas.”

Hosted By

“Super” Dave Quinn, CEcD

Super Dave Quinn Founder of Texas Economic Development Connection

Episodes 6 Episodes

head shot of Jessica Perno in front of brick building for Gone to Texas Podcast

NewEpisode 5 - Jessica Perno, CEO, Parent Day Out

Gone to Texas – Episode 5 Jessica Perno, CEO, Parent Day Out

Episode #6 | Guest Jessica Perno, Founder, Parent Day Out, Fairview, TX

Parent Day Out Founder Jessica Perno’s journey from New York to Texas – and ultimately launching her tech startup here – began like that of many entrepreneurs, just looking to solve a problem she herself was experiencing. That led to a lot of research, including weekend playground surveys she conducted with a trusty clipboard in New York City, where she asked moms a simple question: “What would you do with a few hours to yourself?”

Perno says the answers included a few that one might expect, like a date night with a spouse or a spin class. She said what was most revealing were the many blank stares and sometimes teary eyes from exhausted moms who perhaps didn’t even realize how exhausted they were until someone even asked that question.

She had another aha moment that steered her on her path during another research adventure in 2019, this time still a New Yorker and checking out the vibe at Dallas-area Whole Foods markets when deciding where she and her family would ultimately drop their pin on the map.

Not long after, she and her husband, child, and pup made the move and launched their startup, Parent Day Out.

“Parent Day Out is helping parents get a couple hours of their life back. We are able to do so because we recognize they can’t do that unless they have childcare. So our online marketplace connects families across the country with early education providers and childcare centers so they can choose a participating childcare center that works best for them. They book their reservation, [they] drop off their kids; and they enjoy their parent day out,” Perno says.

The platform is currently accessible via a mobile responsive website and covers the nation with content, so parents everywhere can use it to quickly gather information about communities and the licensed childcare centers, public and private schools within them. The database is searchable by zip code, and each school listing yields the data about their programs and more, plus the communities where they are located, down to the nearest Starbucks. Perno says finding well-organized information like this was impossible when she sought it in 2015was as a soon-to-be new mom. Instead of bemoaning the struggle and letting it rest, she nurtured the seed for a new company that now can help other parents.

“Choosing childcare is one of the earliest decisions that you’re even going to have to make when you become a parent, and it’s a very important decision,” Perno says. “I thought that there had to be a better way, and it was time technology helped in doing that.”

Perno’s Wall Street background combined with her cofounder husband’s tech background created a winning combination to launch Parent Day Out. The ability to work remotely aligned perfectly with their desire to seek a different environment in which to raise their child alongside “raising” a parent-and-child-focused business.

And Texas provided the best possible crossroads where a favorable mindset, climate, schools, and resources for entrepreneurship seamlessly intersect.

“Texas as a state made so much more sense to us. First of all, I think they have such a different mindset. They are very welcoming, especially for entrepreneurs and new ideas. They don’t have the walls up, I feel, like as much as New York does. Or the skepticism. Texas behind California is the largest state in which we have the most childcare businesses. So we wanted to be closest to our customers,” Perno says. “For me, getting plugged into entrepreneurs here that are open to sharing their experience has really been extremely helpful. And they introduced me to people that they found helpful along the way.”

Quick Links:
Episode Sponsor: https://TexasEDConnection.com/sponsor (Fairview, Texas EDC)

Parent Day Out: https://www.parentdayout.com

Day One Experts:


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October 30, 2021

Mike Rufail Gone to Texas Podcast Episode 4

Episode 4 Michael Rufail, Founder, Envy Gaming

Gone to Texas – Episode 4 Michael Rufail, Founder, Envy Gaming

Texas EDC: Gone to Texas Podcast Show Notes & Social Posts

Episode #4 Michael Rufail, Founder & Chief Gaming Officer, Envy Gaming

If you don’t know much about esports yet, you will soon. But first know that since 2017, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has been home to Envy Gaming, one of the world’s most valuable professional gaming organizations. The company made headlines last year for bringing on music megastar and fellow Texans native Post Malone as a co-owner. Founded by Texan Michael Rufail in 2007, Envy Gaming is a sports entertainment company that operates teams in multiple leagues and is best known for its highly successful Dallas Empire team in the Call of Duty league and Dallas Fuel in the Overwatch League.

In this episode, learn about how Rufail grew up as a son of Egyptian immigrants in Lufkin, moved away as a young adult, and then felt the call back home in 2017 when he ultimately relocated his company here from Charlotte, North Carolina. You’ll also learn more about how esports compares to other professional sports organizations, the company’s plans for 2021 and onward, and of course, how the stars aligned to attract Malone to the fold.

“He’s just an interesting DFW guy. An awesome guy. Just really, really, really nice and cares about this metroplex, which is really cool,” Rufail says of Malone. “He’s worked really hard to get where he is and I felt like he embodied a little bit of just not only DFW spirit but also the mentality that we like to take on in every aspect, which is just ‘Work really hard for what you get’.”

Rufail explores that Texas spirit further, breaking it down into the many factors that led him and his company home, including savings from a favorable tax structure, a safe environment for raising a family, an overall lower cost of living, and how all of that translates into happier residents who are able to reinvest that money and energy into one another.

“It’s just a great place to be able to thrive. It’s a place where you have opportunity to really thrive,” Rufail says. “ … People are just a little bit more capable here to do the things that matter in life, in my opinion. So I find it just a little bit more pleasant to live here. Obviously, the economic incentives are great, because you can grow a business and apply more of your earnings to the things that matter — your family.”

Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode the Melissa Industrial & Economic Development Corporation in Melissa, Texas.

D1Experts: https://D1Experts.com
Texas ED Connection: https://TexasEDConnection.com
Episode Sponsor: Https://TexasEDConnection.com/sponsor
Envy Gaming: https://envy.gg/
Super Dave Quinn, CEcD: https://DaveQuinn247.com

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January 23, 2022

Episode 3 Mackenzie Miller Mobility Outdoor Media

Episode 3 Mackenzie Miller Mobility Outdoor Media

Gone to Texas – Episode 3 Mackenzie Miller Mobility Outdoor Media

With stints in a Costa Rican Jungle, the Big Apple, the City of Angels, and now the Town of Fairview, Texas, Mackenzie (Mac) Miller, founder, and owner of Mobility Outdoor Media, has led quite an adventurous life. With the ability to live anywhere listen to this episode as Mac shares why she decided to return to Texas to run her burgeoning enterprise.

Day One Experts: https://d1expert.com
Texas ED Connection: https://TexasEDConnection.com
Texas ED Connection Twitter: https://Twitter.com/EconomicTexas
Mobility Outdoor Media: https://www.mobilityoutdoormedia.com
Episode Sponsor: Fairview Economic Development Corp. https://TexasEDC.com/sponsors

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January 23, 2022

Gone to Texas Podcast Bonus Episode John Karamanos

Bonus Episode John Karamanos

Gone to Texas – Bonus Episode John Karamanos HVAC Manufacturing

In our extended conversation, John shares how COVID has allowed his company to pivot into a new business line and how Texas has given him the resources needed to make the shift.

Day One Experts: https://d1expert.com
Texas ED Connection: https://TexasEDConnection.com
Texas ED Connection Twitter: https://Twitter.com/EconomicTexas
HVAC Manufacturing: http://www.hvacmfg.com/
Episode Sponsor: Palestine Economic Development Corp. https://TexasEDC.com/sponsors

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January 23, 2022

John and his wife accept award in their office

Episode 2 - John Karamanos

Gone to Texas – Episode 2: John Karamanos (HVAC Manufacturing)

In this episode, manufacturing tech exec John Karamanos enthusiastically shares how a move five years ago from Silicon Valley to East Texas rapidly accelerated his company’s innovation and growth. Before the move, HVAC Manufacturing employed around 15 employees. Now the company employs over 100 people and has expanded three times in its new Texas home. Karamanos and his wife and co-founder, Stella, have seen their company grow as quickly and efficiently as their easy freeway commutes. Not being stuck in traffic any longer is a handy analogy for what’s happened for the family and company, too. “We are innovating more in East Texas than we were in Silicon Valley,” Karamanos says, pointing to how the tremendous savings from the overall cost of doing business allowed them to reinvest in the company’s R&D capabilities, bring most of those functions in house and now bring new technologies and products to customers much faster. The savings have also allowed them to invest more in their people, which he loves because they’ve found such talented, hard-working people to grow the team.“There’s no way in hell we could have done this in California,” he says. “What’s amazing is we did this with no outside investment. We did it all just basically taking the profits and reinvesting it back into it. Plus, the other thing that’s really good is we came here and we’ve paid full benefits for everybody … a Cadillac plan for medical, dental, everything. It allowed us to come here and be competitive and get really good people.”Karamanos shares these and many other advantages to living and doing business in Texas with Super Dave Quinn, CEcD of Day One Experts’ Texas Economic Development Connection. Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode Lisa Denton and the team at Palestine Economic Development Corporation in Palestine, Texas.D1Experts: https://D1Experts.comTexas ED Connection: https://TexasEDConnection.comEpisode Sponsor: Https://Palestinetexas.netHVAC Manufacturing: http://www.hvacmfg.com/

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January 23, 2022

Episode 1 - Super Dave Quinn, CEcD

Gone To Texas – Episode 1 Super Dave Quinn, CEcD

Welcome to “Gone to Texas,” the official podcast of the Texas Economic Development Connection (https://TexasEDConnection.com). In this episode, you’ll meet the host Super Dave Quinn, managing partner for Day One Experts (https://D1experts.com) and founder of the Texas Economic Development Connection. He introduces the show and shares about what to expect in upcoming shows featuring stories of business owners and CEOs who have relocated or expanded their business into Texas. Super Dave is a 5th generation Texan and certified economic developer who has been helping companies move to Texas for almost two decades.


Day One Experts: https://D1Experts.com
Texas ED Connection: https://TexasEDConnection.com
Super Dave: https://DaveQuinn247.com

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