Economic Growth

Oct 30, 2013

Since Mitch Osborne is the incoming Chairman of the Board for the chamber I arranged to meet him at his office at Veolia for a tour and to discuss the chamber’s plans for 2014. 

Veolia provides hazardous and non-hazardous waste treatment and recycling services, as well as industrial cleaning and maintenance. Although I enjoyed learning about the procedures necessary to reduce hazardous waste to non-hazardous levels and then dispose of them, I enjoyed more learning the everyday hazards of operating on the coast. Mitch pointed out a small pond and said “there were 30 alligators in that pond after the last hurricane.” The building, in which Mitch has his office, had almost 6 feet of water. Maybe we will see an episode of Gator Boys filmed at this location or better yet Swamp People.

The Chamber’s Workforce Initiative Task Force is still grappling with the direction we need to take to get more of Port Arthur’s citizens working. Currently we are attempting to get more information about those not working and coordinating the efforts a private and government programs to help them back into workforce. It is not an easy task because of having to work around privacy issues. Just because it is tough doesn’t mean we will back off our goal of improving the quality of life for our citizens and assisting local business in finding qualified employees.

The Directors of the chamber met in October for a one day planning retreat. Dick Hammond, Leadership on the Move, was our facilitator for this event. The morning session concentrated on leadership styles and team building. Following lunch the board concentrated on setting goals for the 2 to 6 years for the chamber. Some the ideas discussed were:

  • Develop a Proactive Advisory Council to interact more with our political leaders (city and EDC) to discuss and develop issues impacting our members.
  • Increase diversity in chamber leadership and membership.
  • Become the catalyst to improve the reputation and community pride of Port Arthur.
  • Plan and host a city wide Expo.
  • Work closely with the city, EDC, existing industry and business to develop a strong business development program. The program would address attracting new business, retaining and growing existing businesses.
  • Continue our networking opportunities through morning breakfast connection, luncheons, and seminars.
  • Grow the chamber through membership and retention.
  • Register to become a United States Chamber Accredited Chamber. Accreditation with the United States Chamber of Commerce is the only program of its kind that defines excellence in chamber planning and recognizes chambers for outstanding contributions toward positive change in their communities. The purpose of the U.S. Chamber's Accreditation Program is to facilitate continuing excellence in the chamber industry and to foster a pro-business environment across America.


The chamber will follow up with smaller meetings to set time lines for each of these ideas. Every member is invited to contact the chamber to offer other suggestions or projects that will help our chamber to improve. The goal is to build a chamber that offers full service to our members while working to improve the economic growth of Port Arthur.


Port Arthur fuels the Golden Triangle area and the Port Arthur Chamber intends to continue telling our story to shed a positive light on this city. If you want to help, call me.

Bill McCoy

Chamber President


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