Austin Area Research Organization

AARO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan network of preeminent Central Texas leaders. Members from Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties work together to shape the future of the region through research and relationships.

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AARO’s mid-century clock

2023 Catalyst Summit

Review a day of interactive workshops, thought provoking speakers and networking to explore how we can work collaboratively to move the needle forward for our region.

The AARO Way

Our Members, through focused committees, research the economic and social challenges facing Central Texas and influence action for the long-term good of the region.

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Central Texas is…

…filled with opportunities, possibilities and challenges. The region is on track to be home to nearly 3 million people by 2050. AARO’s research and influence is working to help the region prepare for that future.

  • Travis County
  • Williamson County
  • Hays County
  • Bastrop County
  • Burnet County
  • Caldwell County
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What is AARO?

Is AARO a think tank? You can call us that if you like, but we aren’t for hire. Is AARO an advocacy organization? Not really. It’s rare for us to engage in policy matters outside of our research committees. Is AARO a social club? No. However, we’re big on relationships for a purpose: the long-term future of Central Texas.

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    AARO Members

    More than 120 community and business leaders from across Central Texas are AARO members, each contributing time, money, and expertise to see and shape the future of our region.

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    AARO Convenes

    AARO’s not-for-profit, non-partisan, relationship-first model creates conversations everyday with experts, movers, and shakers that cannot be heard anywhere else.

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    AARO Researches

    AARO takes on long-term, systemic questions by inviting in best practice advocates, imagining new ways of addressing old issues, and finding agreement to make progress possible.

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    AARO Influences

    Every member brings their own unique network of contacts to the AARO experience. Under Chatham House rules, they share what they learn with others to positively influence the future of the region.

AARO Members are Central Texas Thought Leaders & Futurists

Our Members bring diverse perspectives to the research work of AARO. As futurists, we use unconventional thinking, internal critique, and consider often-overlooked alternatives to imagine, and formulate long-term, roadmaps, projections and predictions for progress.

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Visionary of the Year

  • 2022 recipient Susan Dawson (pictured below with 2023 AARO Chairman Sandy Dochen)
  • 2021 recipient Dr. Richard Rhodes, Chancellor of Austin Community College
  • Leader of leaders
  • Flourishes inside as well as outside the region
  • Possesses a long-term perspective
  • Seeks to collaborate with other people and entities to enhance opportunities for others
  • Deeply dedicated and highly intelligent risk-taker
  • Generosity, compassion and a spirit of giving back characterizes all dimensions of service