Port Neches Chamber sees 2020 as year of potential – Terry Schwertner taking over as president

Published 12:13 am Friday, January 24, 2020

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches Chamber of Commerce will welcome its newest members and officers at 7 p.m. Monday at the Neches River Wheelhouse during the annual Installation Banquet.

Outgoing president Lance Bradley will introduce 2020 Chamber of Commerce President Terry Schwertner to kick off the presentation. Schwertner has been a member of the board since 1980 and is the owner of McFerrin Insurance Agency on Nall Street.

Schwertner said he is looking forward to his upcoming term as president, a position he held previously in 1984.

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“What we’re going to do is continue supporting what is going on within the city,” he said. “We are having housing developments, the riverfront development and the coming of Iguana Joe’s. The Chamber’s main job is to promote those new businesses and grow all the businesses that are already here.”

Schwertner said he is hoping to increase membership and promote current businesses.

“The Chamber is doing a great job,” he said. “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing.”

On Monday, Schwertner will also welcome incoming members before Port Neches Mayor Glenn Johnson gives a wrap-up about TPC Group Port Neches Operations and a 2019 city report.

Port Neches Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debbie Plaia said following Johnson’s report, current businesses and individuals will be recognized for their accomplishments in 2019.

“(The banquet) is going to be really low key this year,” Plaia said. “We don’t have a guest speaker or anything. Instead, we are focusing on the installation of the incoming officers and celebrating all the accomplishments from last year.”

In 2019, the Chamber celebrated 21 new members, eight ribbon cuttings, 11 businesses of the year and gave out 14 scholarships.

The Chamber also hosted annual events such as Port Neches RiverFest, Trade Days on the Avenue, Catch a Shooting Star fundraiser, the Port Neches Christmas Parade and the annual golf tournament.

Plaia said RiverFest, a four-day festival with tunnel boat races, food vendors, carnival rides, arts and crafts, was a bright spot.

“RiverFest is a lot of work, but it’s one of the best things we bring to the city,” she said. “The attendance is always high. It’s five days of rides and entertainment going on. It was a lot of fun last year and it continues to be one of our favorite events.”

Plaia said she is also proud of all the fundraisers and scholarships that were given to local students.

“Student of the Month is one of the best events we have outside of the several other scholarship awards,” she said. “We partner with the school district and these students are recognized by their teachers and honored at our coffee mixer.”

The Chamber also hands out scholarships at the Miss Port Neches Pageant, an annual event where thousands of dollars are awarded to local girls for scholarships.

Plaia said while 2019 brought many bright spots, it was also one of the most challenging years due to the flooding of Imelda and the TPC explosions.

“It’s been a tough year,” she said. ““Almost everyone on the avenue had something damaged, so we are looking forward to no floods, no hurricanes and no explosions, but I’m proud of the way everybody is picking back up and continuing ahead.

“We have a good feeling about 2020, this is the year that everything will line out.”

Call 409-722-9155 for more information.