I began my chamber career in 1976, in Jasper, Texas. I moved from there to Garland, then Pasadena and to Port Arthur in 2011. In each of those towns I have met wonderful people who volunteer their time. Most, volunteer cheerfully. Some volunteer out of duty or job and every now and then, out of love. In Port Arthur, Texas that was Carlita Zummo. This little lady could light up a city block with her smile and energy. Every time I met her she would smile, hug me and ask about Nellie, my wife. She loved to sit on boards and committees. She just wanted to make a difference. She did. Carlita was part of the original Port Arthur ISD Foundation. She was a founder of the Port Arthur Education Foundation and sat on the board, attending almost every meeting and event until illness forced her to miss. I was sad, in the early part of May to learn of her death. A light went out in Port Arthur and I, the Foundation and the Chamber will miss this wonderful lady.
On May 4th the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Business Council hosted the first annual Golden Pass LNG Golf Tournament. Twenty-two golf teams enjoyed a day of golfing fun, including beverages and food supplied by Construction Managers of Southeast Texas, and cooked by Figueroa's Towing and Auto Parts and Architect’s Studio. The Golf Committee was manned by the Hispanic Business Council. They did a great job of getting sponsors and teams and working on the day of the tournament. Plans for 2019 are already underway with changes that are expected to attract more golf teams and cooking vendors. The winners of this first tournament were STI Group.
Plans for 2019 Golden Triangle Days in Austin are underway. The date will be February 11 – 12, 2019. Hotel rooms have been blocked, meeting facility reserved, and session rooms applied for. Please watch your e-mail for sponsor forms and registration forms. The staffs of the Beaumont, Orange and Port Arthur Chambers are working with a great committee to secure entertainment and speakers for the event.
A new program the chamber is studying will be known as the Young Emerging Leaders. Their Mission Statement reads: The Greater Port Arthur Young Emerging Leaders will work to develop Port Arthur and the Golden Triangle area’s future leaders by providing ambitious young emerging leaders with the opportunity to build relationships, further develop themselves as professionals and or entrepreneurs, serve the community, and engage with political, civic and business leaders. Admission to this group will be reserved for emerging leaders ages 21-40. The program will be designed to provide social and professional opportunity, connect, engage and develop our community’s current network of young leaders and entice others to relocate to our community. To provide and opportunity for young leaders to expand their social and professional network through unique events and workshops. It will be an opportunity to learn how to become a leader and to use social communications and events to expand your connections and opportunities. Once this program is fully designed there will be an effort to notify, enroll and involve all young emerging leaders that wish to participate.
Your Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce as always is moving forward.
Local LNG projects may be impacted by President Trump’s tariff battle with China. As companies look at the bid packages coming in to start some of the coastal LNG projects any cost increases for any reason could cause them to take a closer look at the bottom line. Steel is a major cost item in the building of these projects and if the tariff tiff causes a significant price increase it could be a reason for concern. The LNG business along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast will have a tremendous economical impact in Texas and the United States.
In a recent report, conducted by ICF Inc., using the most current U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data based on three cases in their 2018 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) released in Feb. 2018. The three cases include the Reference Case, the High Oil & Gas Case, and the High Oil Price Case. Key findings from the new ICF study include the direct, indirect, and induced value added from 2013 to 2050 for the three AEO cases:
"U.S. LNG exports are driving the transformation of the international gas trade to an increasingly well-connected global market," said LNG Allies President & CEO Fred H. Hutchison. He added, "This updated report shows LNG exports also provide important economic benefits to the United States, by stimulating job creation, increased economic activity, and tax revenues."
As I stated in last month’s article any change in tax laws, whether its State, Federal, County or City causes a ripple effect through any planned new facilities or expansion of existing facilities. Although most of the companies in the area are well funded we are talking billions of dollars. That is a significant investment for any group. Many area companies have added partners in an effort to secure the cash needed for these expansions or new projects.
I understand the need to insure we are being treated fairly by our trade partners and I’m hoping the President is simply rattling tariff sabers to get a better trade deal for us. I would hate to see some of our locally based LNG companies delay their projects because the cost of construction escalated beyond what they are willing to invest.
To educate state elected officials the Beaumont, Orange and Port Arthur Chambers hosted 40 elected legislative officials and members of their staff for a tour of the Neches. The purpose was to spotlight the economic importance of our ship channel to Texas and the United States. We are hoping the three-day event will cause our state officials to help get the necessary funding to deepen the ship channel. Funds for this event were provided by local industries and interested agencies involved with our shipping industry. The trip included a reception at the Port of Beaumont and the Orange Airport. Those participating were also treated to a boat ride from the Port of Beaumont to the Port of Sabine Pass, a trip to Sea Rim Park and various sessions covering the economy of our area.
To continue our relationships with our elected state officials plans for Golden Triangle Days in Austin are already underway. We have secured a block of rooms, several meeting sites and transportation while in Austin. The dates for the 2019 event are February 11and 12. These two days are a change from previous years. The event will be arriving on Monday, events on Tuesday and return home on Wednesday. We will have more on this event in the coming months.
If you want to be part of a business organization that is making a difference in our community, call Paige Snyder at 409-963-1107 extension 3.
Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Awarded 5-Star Accreditation
by U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Good news! The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that after a comprehensive self-review, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded us with 5-Star Accreditation. This prestigious honor puts us among the top 1% of chambers nationwide. In Texas there are fifteen 5-Star chambers and out of 7000 chambers of commerce in the United States there are 113 with the 5-Star Accreditation.
It is the responsibility of every chamber executive to, always, strive to make their chamber better. To do that you must have a measuring device and a map to your destination. The U.S. Chamber Accreditation provides exactly those items. This program makes you self-evaluate every aspect of the chamber. In the past year this effort has led to the creation of the Hispanic Business Council, the Contractors Business Development Group as well as a Membership Committee that is growing the chamber through new sales and retention. The process has taught our staff and volunteers how to research, plan and execute an aggressive and valuable chamber program.
This past year, the staff, board, and volunteers of Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce spent countless hours completing the Accreditation process. Our task: demonstrate competency in 9 core areas ranging from finance to facilities. The result of our hard-work is evidenced by this impressive rating. But in truth, we should all be extraordinarily proud of this milestone achievement. It was a true team effort.
The only national program recognizing chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement, Accreditation allows us to renew, improve, and promote sound business practices, policies, and procedures.
Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars, or 5-Stars. State chambers are recognized as either Accredited State Chamber or Accredited State Chamber with Distinction. The final determination is made by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members and chamber executives from across the country.
For details, please contact Bill McCoy, President/CEO at (409) 963-1107 or www.portarthurtexas.com and click on the -Star Accreditation logo.