Making connections: Chamber event draws plants, contractors tighter together

Published 12:12 am Friday, August 2, 2019

Mary Ann Reid of Golden Pass LNG had this succinct take on the Industry Show presented by the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce on Thursday: “It puts business in line to do business with business.”

The chamber presented the event for a second consecutive year at the Bob Bowers Civic Center, doubling its participation from a year ago. Last year, 25 businesses met in an event that helps the major plants in the vicinity and various contractors and companies to meet and discuss business possibilities. On Thursday, 54 businesses and agencies rented booth space.

Eight area plants were represented Thursday, and plant representatives mingled freely with contractors and service companies.

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“It’s a good crowd,” said Travis Woods, who chairs the chamber Contractor’s Business Development Group. “We knew when we sold 54 tables that we’d have 500 people in here.”

Chamber representatives put the number closer to 600 participants.

Woods said the event is all about marketing: Contractors and companies can meet face to face with plant representatives and discuss what services or goods they can supply to the large sites.

“You can’t get that opportunity by just dialing a number at Motiva,” Woods said.

Motiva spokeswoman Verna Rutherford said the company is “always looking for opportunities to better understand the types of products and services available through businesses in our community.”

“We appreciate the outstanding job the Chamber did to get the businesses here today for us to be able to engage with them directly,” she said.

Louis Hernandez of Hernandez Office Solutions — the company offers office supplies, copiers and furniture — lauded the “great opportunity to network.”

“We’ve had a chance to re-acquaint ourselves with former customers and to meet potential new customers,” he said.

He said the Industry Show is not about making deals on the spot. It’s more about making acquaintances with other, possible businesses partners and customers.

Travis said the robust turnout suggests that business is booming in Southeast Texas.

“Business is booming,” he said.