The Regional Economic Development Initiative Committee (REDI) was well represented at the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. Regina Lindsey, President of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce welcomed everyone to the REDI sponsored Southeast Texas – Aberdeen Scotland breakfast. Paul Latiolais, Lamar University was one of the panel participants. Paul gave a great presentation and responded to questions about opportunities to our area. REDI also provided flash drives, containing more detailed information to approximately 100 of those attending
The REDI TEAM consist of economic development experts and chamber executives from Orange, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Nederland, Sour Lake, Entergy, Kountze, Sabine River Authority, The Governor’s office and Port Neches. This group receives leads from various sources and work together to offer available sites that might attract new industry. The meeting is not open to the public and the projects are given code names for reasons of confidentiality. This is not a covert group but if we do not honor the confidentiality of these prospects and lose their trust our effectiveness as an economic development team diminishes. Potential companies will simply refuse to include us in their searches. This team is currently monitoring potential projects with the potential investment of fifty billion dollars and forty-two hundred jobs. Each month, a few drop off the list and we add a few new ones.
The city of Port Arthur continued to show it support of economic development when voters gave approval for the Port of Port Arthur to issue bonds to add to our port. The election would result in an increase in our property tax of approximately ten dollars per year on a property valued at one hundred thousand dollars.
The Port Arthur Education Foundation held its Stars Banquet on May 19 at the Bob Bowers Civic Center. Two hundred supports of education attended the banquet to recognize the top ten students from Port Arthur Independent School District. Each of these students will receive a scholarship from the Foundation. Each student also recognized the teacher that had the most influence on their academic success. This year the foundation added scholarships for two students from Sabine Pass Independent School District. These students also recognized their two selected teacher. All teachers received a rose from their student.
The banquet was funded by business sponsors. Each sponsored table had one student, their parents or guardians and the teacher of their choice. The remaining six seats were occupied by guests of the sponsoring company. This arrangement allowed our businesses members to meet students that might possibly be great employees in the future.
Watching these 12 students receive recognition for making the right life choices and rewarding them with financial assistance to the next academic phase of their life is truly exciting. One other result of this event is that all profits are used to fund teacher grants for PAISD AND SPISD. These grants must be used for innovative and successful teaching programs.
Although it is only June 2016 the Orange, Beaumont and Port Arthur Chambers are already planning Golden Triangle Days in Austin for 2017. Hotels and meeting facilities are already reserved. Sponsors are lining up and legislative committees will be meeting shortly. Each chamber will decide what legislative issues need our attention and our agenda will be published. The final agenda will be forwarded to the offices of our state legislature and we will personally reinforce those issues when we get to Austin.
The chambers of commerce in the Golden Triangle are working together on economic, transportation, education and environmental issues. If you want to be part of a winning team that continues to make a difference in your community and the area, join one or all of them. If you are in the Port Arthur area call anyone at the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce. 409- 963-1107.