• 70°

Sign up for Thursday’s virtual PA Chamber banquet

The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce will host a fully virtual annual banquet this year.

The move came due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, chamber president/CEO Pat Avery said.

The Chamber originally planned to have half the attendees login virtually while the other half attended the 121st Annual Banquet in person. Avery said the chamber decided to go fully virtual to keep people safe and cut expenses.

“It has been very challenging to learn these new things,” Avery said. “It is good for the mind to grow and develop. I have been in such a learning curve about the whole thing. We are going to tape it all and we are in the process of scheduling everyone for their part in the banquet.”

Avery said the usual dinner is the chamber’s largest expense for the banquet each year.

The banquet is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday (Jan. 28).

There is still time to participate, and those interested are asked to email Joe Tant at acct@portarthurtexas.com. For more information, call 409-963-1107.

“People can watch it while they are working,” Avery said. “Since there is no meal, we are hoping that we will get more participation from our community. We are doing pretty well. We are lucky to have a huge industry and contractor base in Port Arthur. They are supporting their chamber, whether they go or not, or get to see it or not. That is going to sustain us through these difficult times of not being able to raise money for our chamber events.”

The chamber is a non-profit organization that has to raise its own money to help local industry and small businesses.

“We want to make it as exciting as we can be, while making it efficient with everyone’s time as well,” Avery said. “We are honoring our petro-chemical sites that are part of our chamber as well.”

Those who buy a ticket to attend the virtual banquet will also get more out of the experience than simply saying they donated to the chamber.

The chamber is giving out the Arthur E. Stilwell award to Tom Neal, who is the director of the Museum of the Gulf Coast. Those who attend will also hear presentations from guest speakers Margaret Spellings, who is the president and CEO of Texas 2036, and Ron Arceneaux, who is the 2021 chairperson for the chamber.