Elizabeth Lavin

Urbanism

The Expanding Empire in Fort Worth

The fastest-growing large city in teh country and its fastest-growing area—home to Scott Hernandez and more than 37,000 other workers—is getting bigger.

Scott Hernandez’s grandfather built railroad tracks for a living. His dad worked in customer support for BNSF Railway. And though Hernandez spent his Saturday mornings in Chicago, tagging along with his dad to check on the trains, he never saw a future following in his father’s or grandfather’s footsteps. He was going to be an investment banker.

But the summer between his sophomore and junior years of college, he was living with relatives in Fort Worth and looking for work. He came across an internship position with BNSF Railway in Fort Worth, applied, and got the job.

Eleven years later, Hernandez is still with BNSF, as senior manager of hub operations at its Alliance Intermodal Facility. After the company took him to Seattle and Chicago, he returned to Fort Worth in 2008. A lot had changed while he was away. “Everything expanded north to this area,” he says. “It used to end. All of a sudden, a massive road just came to where we’re at. Restaurants, movie theaters—none of that existed the first time.”

Hernandez was just a preteen in Chicago when Ross Perot Jr., the FAA, and Fort Worth began plans for AllianceTexas. AllianceTexas quickly grew from the germ of an idea—an airport northwest of DFW—to what it is today: more than 18,000 acres of mixed-use development, more than 37,000 employees, and more than 370 companies. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the fastest-growing large U.S. city was Fort Worth, and the area around AllianceTexas was pinpointed as the fastest-growing portion of the city. And there’s more to come. AllianceTexas is only 50 percent developed. The rows and rows of corn across the street from the BNSF facility won’t stand for long.

The company has been instrumental to AllianceTexas’ growth, and Hernandez is proud to be part of it. “It’s a very big facility,” he says, “but it’s pretty cool to see everyone get on the same page and work together and make big change and positive impact across the country.”

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