PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

January 20, 2014

Venable to bring experience to Groves chamber

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

GROVES — Gene Venable is one busy volunteer.

A disabled veteran who served in the “good ol’ Navy,” Venable works with the Texas Pecan Festival, serves as president of the Groves Senior Citizen Foundation, is active in his church and is vice president of the Jefferson County Pony League.

On Tuesday he will take on a role he has held before, that of president of the Groves Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Center. The chamber will host its annual installation breakfast at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Magnolia Manor in Groves.

Venable, who previously served as president around 2005 when Hurricane Rita struck, has his goals as president in his sights.

“I wish to get input from not only chamber members but the City of Groves businesses and find out what we’re doing good, what we’re doing wrong and what changes do we need to make to be a good representative for the city,” Venable said.

Some time this year the chamber and city will negotiate a new hotel/motel agreement and Venable wants to see what the city’s goals are, so as to match them with the chambers, so “we can both be proactive in what we do with the city’s hotel/motel money we incur from local motels.”

“We want to expand our membership in 2014 and find better ways to serve our members. We will continue to be involved with the City to expand our business awareness in Groves,” he said. “We ask for and will be open to input from the citizens and businesses of Groves for ways to better our community involvement.”

Ronnie Boneau, executive director of the Groves Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Center, looks forward to working with Venable.

“I look forward to working with Gene as president in the new year. We have a few issues we want to address in this upcoming year, and Gene’s past experience will come in handy,” Boneau said. “I really enjoy the mixture on the board. We have newer members bringing fresh ideas and others who are more experienced board members. I think the mixture of the two will be good for Groves Chamber.”

Boneau, who has been at the helm of the chamber for seven years, finds the mixture of board members “refreshing.”

Venable offered thanks to the outgoing president, Kent Manuel, who served two back-to-back terms.

“I want to extend a special thanks to the past year’s president and board of directors and chamber members for their hard work and dedication to our community,” he said. “We also want to thank our ambassadors for their work their past year. It is because of their dedication that we see in our chamber that we will have a very exciting and fruitful year to come.”

Manuel, he said, did a superb job and was always readily available, which is something that Venable wants to continue.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews