As we look back on a past year, we always see where we could have done better as a Chamber, but we are also proud of what our organization and members accomplished for the community.
Perhaps one of the biggest contributions was the organized effort of all the Golden Triangle chambers to help bring American Airlines to our area. After some adjustments the percentage of seats filled has risen to 78.9 percent. The delayed departure and canceled flights were less than 10 for September, October and November. These numbers indicate that American Airlines is providing trustworthy air service, and the passengers are beginning to take advantage of the service. While some might say we shouldn’t have spent the money to bring them here, if you look at approximately $850,000 spent versus the $2.5 million earned by the county and saved by the customers, it is good return. These numbers do not include the benefit to the businesses in and near the airport or the economic impact the air service has on the Golden Triangle. Here’s hoping the upward trend of passenger numbers continues in 2014.
This last year, the Chamber had 118 new members join. Our total number of members is now at 652, and we expect to continue growing. Assisting us in this growth are the Chamber Ambassadors. The Chamber Ambassadors are a group of volunteers that help us welcome new businesses and members to the Chamber and community. They visit new members, offering help. This also gives the ambassador the opportunity to advertise their company to these new members. We have 13 active ambassadors. If your company would like to have a representative join our Ambassador Team, call the Chamber and ask for Paige Snyder, membership director. The ambassadors also hosted our second annual New Member Showcase. This event allows each new member to showcase their products and services. It is just another opportunity for our members to network and advertise for the price of their Chamber membership.
The Chamber hosted four luncheons showcasing interesting speakers and networking opportunities. We also sponsored five leadership breakfasts, allowing our area officials the opportunity to share their successes and events with our members.
Fundraising is a necessary part of funding a Chamber, and we held two such events in 2013. The second annual Cosmic Costume Ambassador Bowling Tournament was a great success with 32 teams participating in the tournament. Southern Summer Night was a success with proceeds being shared with the Port Arthur Seafarers Center.
The Education Committee continued its efforts to partner our local businesses with PAISD schools. BASF TOTAL
Petrochemicals funded Wheatley Early Childhood’s Safety Projects. Valero worked with Booker T. Washington on their Accelerated Reading Kick-off Program. The program encourages students to read. The program featured talks from local attorney Langston Adams and Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie. Valero also involved the school in
Veterans Day Celebration. Valero employees and students and sponsors from Booker T. Washington Elementary rode on the Valero fl oat and tossed candy and beads during the Port Arthur Christmas Parade on Dec. 14. Th ere were about 20 members of the Cheer Team from BTW along with five adult sponsors that rode along with the Valero employees. Valero’s partnership with the Southeast Texas Food Bank’s Backpack Program is going very well, and students at BTW who might not have enough food for the weekend are receiving healthy food essentials to take home each Friday. OCI sponsored an ice cream party for the All A and All A/B Honor Roll students for the First Six Weeks period at Staff Sergeant Lucian Adams Elementary. Everlasting Changes organization gave an All A Honor Roll female student a bike for the first six weeks. They will do the same for an All A Honor Roll male student for the second six weeks.
These are just a few of the stories coming from our Education Committee business partners. These Port Arthur industries continue to give back to the community.
As you can see, being a partner with the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce offers an opportunity to promote your business while giving back to the community. Come join us in 2014; it will improve your business and Port Arthur, Texas.
Bill McCoy, President
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