, Port Arthur, Texas

January 16, 2014

Bernard passes torch to Macon at Ned Chamber installation banquet

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

PORT NECHES — Though he hails from Galveston, Dan Malain has spent the last 19 years in Nederland — long enough to discern that the town is something special.

“We are big enough to have what we need, but small enough that you may not know everyone, but everyone looks familiar,” Malain, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Nederland, told members of the Nederland Chamber of Commerce gathered at the Pompano Club for the Chamber’s 73rd annual installation banquet. “And we have a tradition of friendliness.”

Malain used various colorful anecdotes to illustrate the resources available in Nederland — not only in terms of revenue, but what Malain said is called “social capital.”

“Social capital exists in the community in the relationships between people,” he said. “It gives the community a sense of pride.”

That sense of pride was prevalent at the Pompano Club in Port Neches, on Thursday evening. The mood, already light, became even more jovial when outgoing chairman John Bernard, president and CEO of  Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), of Southeast Texas, officially retired his good friend, “Flat Allan.”

“Flat Allan” was made in the likeness of State Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, who was unable to attend the banquet to see his good friend off. This wasn’t the first such event Ritter had missed, Bernard said.

“Flat Allan will go out with me tonight,” he said.

Bernard went on to speak of the Chamber’s triumphs in 2013, which included yet another successful Nederland Heritage Festival and a record 98 entries in the Nederland Christmas Parade, before passing the torch to chairman-elect Mitch Macon, of B.C. Miller Electric.

“Mitch, it’s yours,” Bernard said, before embracing his successor.

After thanking everyone from Chamber President Jinni Akins to wife Angie, Macon spoke of his mission to unite the community of Nederland while at the Chamber’s helm.

“The 2014 Board of Directors, City of Nederland, EDC, NISD and local businesses will make coordinated efforts to improve the interests of those businesses in the city and make our community a better place to do business, to shop, to dine and to raise a family,” Macon said.

“Our chamber has had difficult times, as all businesses do, but we have life. We have taken huge strides and are not done yet.”

Dee Lane, director of Guardian Force Security, was named the Chamber’s 2014 Ambassador of the Year. Community Care Prayer Outreach received the inaugural Service Organization of the Year, and Cropo’s Barber Shop was named Small Business of the Year.


Twitter: @ErinnPA