Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce
As the new year begins the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce celebrates another successful year. In 2018 the chamber continued to expand programs designed to offer our members opportunities to benefit from the billions of dollars in new and expanding projects.
The Contractors Business Development Group hosted programs, each month, educating members on the process of becoming a registered, certified or qualified vendor to bid on major projects. At the same time Travis Woods, Group Chairperson, shared contact numbers of purchasing agents, and project managers. Speakers, from area projects, came to enlighten the participants of project timelines and bidding requirements. The Contractors Business Development Group is a part of a coastal network of contractors sharing information and resources.
The chamber recognized the need to involve our Hispanic owned businesses in the chamber. Creating the Hispanic Business Council addressed the feeling of segregation felt by many or our Hispanic business owners. Each, monthly, meeting is held in Spanish and English. The members are invited to attend luncheons and trade shows in the area. The HBC also sponsored two Lunch and Learn events, each attended by 25 members. Next year it is the hope of the chamber the HBC expands their programs to include leadership training and the importance of being included in the 2020 census count.
Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) is always a priority for the chamber. Traditionally HUB businesses are thought of as woman or minority owned businesses. Veterans owned businesses are also included. Being certified as a HUB provides a business with an edge when bidding on government projects. Many government projects or private projects funded by the government are required to have a percentage of the project provided by HUB businesses. The chamber highly recommends the Small Business Development Center at Lamar Port Arthur as the organization to see to become a HUB business. Linda Tait, director of the SBDC, offers free services to all requesting it.
The chamber sponsored four Leadership Breakfasts and four Membership Luncheons. Each of these were attended by 150 – 200 business leaders to hear leaders from government entities to plant managers from the area.
Paige Snyder, our membership/events director organized a Trade Show and a New Members Showcase for the purpose of offering our members networking opportunities. These will continue in 2019 and will expand.
Our Hispanic Business Council sponsored the Golden Pass LNG Golf Tournament. This was the chamber’s first golf tournament and 30 teams participated. The tournament was played at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course in Port Arthur.
The Port Arthur Education Foundation was in the right place at the right time to help PAISD, SPISD and Lamar State College – Port Arthur recover from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Thanks to Golden Pass LNG and other area industry and businesses the Foundation was awarded and distributed $338,254.00 to the schools and college. The foundation also awarded teacher grants for innovative programs, not otherwise funded by the state. At the Stars Banquet, the foundation awarded the top students scholarships and recognized teachers and parents for their support
Perhaps the shining star in the chamber’s crown, for 2018 was the awarding, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of the 5 Star Accredited Chamber recognition. Out of 7000 chambers in the United States, less than two percent achieve this rating. The award was recognition of the efforts of the volunteers and staff. It was proof the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce is well managed, planned, staffed and offers a value to its members.
Golden Triangle Days In Austin is rapidly approaching. Register to attend the Golden Triangle Days in Austin. If you have not registered for the event you must go to www.gtdatx.com and do so soon. If you have booked a room this does not register you to attend the legislative sessions nor the celebration on the evening of February 12, 2019. Please note, all activities will take place on February 12, 2019. There is no Sunday or Monday night reception. If you have questions call the Beaumont, Orange or Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce.
I am extremely proud of the impact the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce has had on Port Arthur, Texas in its 119-year history. It has been the driving force behind the economic growth of this city. I appreciate being allowed to be a part of this organization since 2011.