The Port Arthur Education Foundation held its second official event. The excitement of awarding the top ten students from Port Arthur Memorial High School with scholarships filled the room at the Pompano Club. As the students accepted their scholarships and honored the teacher having the most impact on their education I watched the faces of their parents. There was a mixture of pride and relief as they watched their child achieve one of their first major goals. There was also excitement and pride in the faces of the Education Foundation directors as they enjoyed the beginning of a new foundation dedicated to helping our students succeed and prepare for the next chapter in their lives.
The Foundation will have its budget workshop soon to decide their goals in raising funds and resources to help students and teachers in Port Arthur. I expect the scholarship and teacher grant amount to be increased to provide more help for all. We are in the process of designing our brochures and mailings to solicit help from all of Port Arthur.
The Foundation will also benefit from The Port Arthur News Homecoming Roast. This year’s Roastee was Jamaal Charles. Approximately 600 people watched as Mr. Charles was roasted and toasted by coaches and teammates.
The chamber and PAISD hosted a workshop for HUB Port Arthur business to become vendors for PAISD. The Port Arthur Independent School District has contracted with SSP Consulting, L.C. – Calvin Stephens, to seek and train HUB (Historically Underutilized Businesses) to do business with PAISD. The school and chamber held the first workshop in the chamber. Conrad Cooper with the Small Business Development Center was in attendance. The reason for this team work is that we understand that a two hour workshop is not enough for some small businesses to complete the necessary forms. They may need to become bonded or secure sufficient insurance so the SBDC has agreed to work with those that could not complete the forms that day to insure they will succeed. If you missed this event you might call Mr. Stephens at 409-332-3019 and set up an appointment or contact the SBDC at (409) 984-6531 and speak with Linda or Conrad.
The chamber also joined with the area Economic Development to host an area Economic Development Summit. The purpose was to educate our elected officials, EDC boards and chamber directors on what the area is doing for economic development. The event was held at the Carl Parker Center and featured Port Arthur City Manager Brian McDougal, Entergy’s Karl Segura, Regional Economic Development Initiative’s Jessica Hill, Port Arthur EDC’s Floyd Batiste, Nederland EDC’s Kay Decuir, Groves EDC’s D. Sosa and Port Neches EDC’s Terry Schwartner. The event closed with a networking lunch.
The chamber worked hard during the last Legislative Session to pass reform legislation on Texas Windstorm Insurance. We made some headway and I will have a complete report on the final bill in the next few months. Our State Representatives and State Senators represented Port Arthur and the Gulf Coast well. But their support and passage of legislation that added funding for PK for public schools and buildings and tuition for our Lamar State College in Port Arthur and Orange was especially appreciated. Senator Creighton and Representatives Deshotel and Phelan were honored at the chamber’s June Membership Luncheon.
Summer is approaching so meetings will slow down a bit but the staff will continue working on Accreditation, budget and Strategic Planning. Paige Snyder – Membership and Events Coordinator will also attend the US Chamber Institute of Organized Management in July. She will graduate after four years of study and earn the designation of IOM.
The chamber also said goodbye to Ana Carthers as she and her family moved to the Houston area to begin new jobs. Ana will work for Baker Botts, LLP. We will miss Ana as she brought us into the social media advertising age with her blogs, tweets, Facebook and website communications. We wish her the best of luck in the next vocational chapter of her life.
So we are staying busy so you can do business. If you want to be part of the team call me at the chamber.