Large crowd, community celebration expected for PA Chamber banquet

Published 12:08 am Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce will hold its 120th Annual Banquet honoring our Port Arthur refineries: Motiva Enterprises, TOTAL Petrochemicals and Valero Energy’s on Wednesday at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur.

The award reception begins at 6 p.m., and the dinner and program takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

This year’s recipient of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce 8th Annual Arthur E. Stilwell Award is Verna Rutherford, the communications manager for Motiva Enterprises. The Arthur E. Stilwell award is given to someone who exhibits the vision and dedication of Arthur E. Stilwell, the founder of Port Arthur.

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Rutherford is a Port Arthur native, where she lives, works and serves actively. She developed an extensive background in government affairs, community and economic development while working in city and state government and while owning and operating a small retail business, leading to her 14-year career as president of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce.

Accepting the refinery awards will be:

  • Motiva Enterprises, LLC, Port Arthur Refinery, Vice President and General Manager Greg Lucchesi, who joined Motiva in January 2015 as general manager of the Port Arthur Refinery.

Lucchesi has over 35 years of industry experience, with a strong track record in refinery operations, process engineering, and economics. Most recently, he was the refinery manager for Phillips 66’s Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, La.

He began his career as a technical service engineer with Mobil Oil, working at refineries in Buffalo and Ferndale, Wash. In 1989, in conjunction with the sale of the Ferndale refinery to BP, Lucchesi moved to BP’s headquarters in Cleveland, where he held a variety of commercial roles of increasing responsibility.

Following his time with BP, Lucchesi held various leadership roles at refineries in Ohio and Louisiana and then with ConocoPhillips in Pennsylvania and Texas.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

  • TOTAL Petrochemicals USA, Inc., Port Arthur Refinery General Manager Tom Chavez joined TOTAL on Sept. 5, 2019. Chavez has spent more than 30 years in the oil and petrochemical industry.

During his career, he has held various positions — technical, operational, HSE and managerial. After receiving his bachelor and master’s degrees in engineering from MIT in Cambridge, Mass., and working as a member of the research staff there, Chavez started his career doing advance control, optimization and six sigmas. He later moved into operations leadership and became focused on aligning people, work processes, and assets to deliver safe, environmentally sound, reliable and profitable performance every day.

Most importantly, doing so in a way that made people feel they are part of a winning team.

Before joining Total, Chavez was the general manager of Marathon Petroleum in Saint Paul, Minn. He calls joining the Total family an exciting opportunity and looks forward to starting up the $1.7 billion ethane cracker later this year.

Chavez and has is wife Julie have family in this area and wanted to move back home to the Gulf Coast. He has been married for 29 years and has two kids.

  • Valero Energy, Port Arthur Refinery Vice President and General Manager Mark Skobel is the vice president and general manager of the Valero Port Arthur Refinery.

Skobel began his tenure at the Port Arthur refinery in August of 2017. He began his refining career in 1977 as an operator for the Charter Oil refinery in Houston.

Over the next four decades, Skobel’s passion for obtaining knowledge, dedicated work ethic and strong leadership skills helped him progress and placed him in lead roles at six Valero locations. He has served as the plant manager at the Valero refineries in Krotz Springs, La; Lima, Ohio; Houston; Meraux, La; Memphis, Tenn.; and most recently in Port Arthur.

He holds a bachelor of science degree in industrial education from California University and a master of science degree in occupational education from the University of Houston. He has been actively involved with many organizations in each of the communities where Valero facilities are located including the United Way, Junior Achievement, LIT Foundation, SETX Plant Manager’s Forum, and the Port Arthur Industry and Community Leader’s Advisory Group.

Skobel and his wife, Jill, have been married 33 years and are members of the St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Houston. They are the proud parents of two children. Their son, Steven, is a mechanical engineer in Lafayette, La., and their daughter, Julia, is a fourth year surgical resident in Jackson, Miss.

The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce is excited to celebrate 120 years of successful business advocacy in Port Arthur and the surrounding area.

For more information about the banquet or how to attend, call 409-963-1107.