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The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce its officers and directors for 2018. These area business leaders volunteer their time to insure the chamber meets it mission and goals. They set policy, goals and projects and insure the chamber is properly funded. These dedicated people could not accomplish this task without the support of their companies. These community leaders will begin their year term on January 1, 2018.
Jeff Hayes - Hayes Real Estate – Chairperson of the Board
Elizabeth Cravens – Mid-American Contractors – Chairperson Elect
Ron Fletcher – Entergy Texas – Vice Chairperson
Ron Arceneaux – Arceneaux Wilson & Coal LLC - Treasurer
Brent Rozell - Drago Supply Co. – Member at Large
Randy Sonnier – Total Petrochemical – Member at Large
Marian Ruiz – Chevron Chemical Co. LP – Immediate Past Chairperson
Rich Macke – Port Arthur News
Travis Woods – T&L Solutions LLC.
Pat Holmes – Pat Holmes Real Estate
Bruce Reyes – SETEX Construction
Tomara Anderson – Kelly Educational Staffing/Kelly Services
Eric Callarman – Gulf Copper and Manufacturing Corp.
Dr. Betty Reynard – Lamar State College Port Arthur
Stuart Salter – Julian Salter Insurance
Katie Celli – Medical Center of Southeast Texas
Becky Tschirhart – Chic-Fil-A
Tonya Moses – CRTSM Enterprises
Richard Gaona – Richard Industrial Group
Tonya Petix – Payton Engineering
Anthony Theriot – Port of Port Arthur
Art Thomas – Texas Gas Company
Farhana Swati – Fallows International LLC
Blaine Caillier – First Financial Bank
Carol Hebert – BASF TOTAL Petrochemical LLC
Robert Bilnoski – Golden Pass LNG
Anya McInnis – Sempra LNG & Midstream
You are invited to meet these directors at the 118th Annual Banquet on January 24 at the Carl Parker Center on the campus of Lamar State College – Port Arthur. You may register at www.portarthurtexas.com or call the chamber for reservations. Each of you are invited to contact any of these directors and volunteer to become involved in one of the many programs sponsored by the chamber. You may choose our Legislative Committee, Education Foundation, Hispanic Business Council, Education Committee, Transportation Committee, Ambassador Committee or Membership Committee. As a member you will receive invitations to events that will allow you access to our elected officials, industrial leaders or other members with which you might do business.
This year challenged us all with a major flood, but these leaders and members are working to help rebuild the Port Arthur community and business to see it move into 2018 stronger than ever. If you wish to join this talented team call Paige Snyder at 409- 963-1107. You may also call me, Bill McCoy at that same number and discuss what we can do for you and what you can do for the community. Enjoy the Holidays, be safe and come see us in 2018.
I’m often asked what does the chamber do for it’s members? The answer has changed since I began my career in 1976 in Jasper, Texas. In those days the answer was simple, “It’s a way for you to give back to the community.” In the 80’s the answer changed because the question changed. The question became, “What’s in it for me? In response to the change I developed a brochure that answered two questions, “What can I do for the community and What’s in it for me?” To the first the answer is simple. As a company you contribute to the community to make it a better place for your company and your employees. To the second, the answer is, Business Connections, Education, Legislation, Transportation and Leadership Development. Another example of change through the years is how memberships are sold. It was common years ago, and still Is in some chambers, for the person selling the membership to say, “You get out of the chamber what you put into the chamber.” It is true, the more you are seen and take the lead the more contacts you make and the more confidence others have in your ability to do a job. But, in today’s fast world some business say, “Well I don’t have time to attend those meetings so I guess I won’t get anything out of the chamber.” Every year we lose members because businesses tell us “I didn’t get anything out of the chamber.”
I understand their feelings but, these businesses are uninformed on the benefits they receive. We have not done a good job in educating them on the indirect benefits. Almost every business in Port Arthur is here because of an accomplishment of the chamber over the last 117 years. Their customers are also here because of the chambers current and past efforts. The chamber and its members are responsible for the first regulation of the ship channel. They are responsible for helping to attract Texaco and Gulf and all the industry that came afterward. I understand that people will say the ship channel, railroad and oil brought them here, but the builders and investors in these development and land owners were chamber members. In those years almost, every elected official and business owner was a member of the chamber. It was then and is, now the business network. Some would and still do call it the “Good Ole Boy” network. It is now called the “Good Ole Person” network. The more people, of influence, you know and volunteer with, the more doors are opened. I’m not talking about illegal contacts. These networks are alike, you do business with people you know and trust.
The major investors in Port Arthur were some of the first chamber members. Later when some of our major industries wanted to move, it was chamber members that persuaded them to stay. It was chamber members that built and developed the land around the mall and everything else in between. All of these developments produced jobs, home owners and taxes to build roads and fund the education system. Each of these elements attract hotels and restaurants and every other business you see. Without the growth aided by early and existing chamber members that business that stated they saw no benefit in the chamber, would not be here. They benefited from someone else’s work. We just ask them to become part of the organization that made it possible and keep the economy strong for the next generation.
As for the member that never attend our meetings we offer advertising on the website and in the newspapers, resource guide, city map and community calendar. We also assist in attracting new businesses and work to keep our existing industry healthy.
For those members that have the time to attend, we offer networking opportunities in the form of our Contractors Business Development Group, Hispanic Business Council, Membership Luncheons, Leadership Breakfasts and Morning Business Mixers. If you can set aside 7 – 8 hours per month you would have the opportunity to meet, exchange business cards and get to know, approximately, 200 area business leaders, each month. It would not take too many successful handshakes to pay for your membership several times over.
Another reason we host these events is because membership investment, alone, does not generate enough income to cover the chamber’s budget. Instead of golf tournaments and drawings the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce raises funds through these events. We limit asking our members for donations and gifts because we want them to pay their membership and pay admission to those events that offers them a return.
For over a hundred years the chamber was the only economic development organization in the city and we did it without tax money. If you are interested in becoming the most successful and oldest economic development team in Port Arthur, meeting successful business leaders and advertising your business, call Paige Snyder at 409-963-1107.
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