FLOYD BATISTE — Outgoing Port Arthur EDC CEO says goodbye to community he loves

Published 12:47 am Saturday, August 28, 2021

What we have accomplished over the last several years in Port Arthur has fundamentally improved the way businesses and job seekers are served in our City.

Floyd Batiste

As is often the case, it’s the people who have made these experiences exceptional. Together we have broken through artificial barriers, abandoned territorialism and ignored ego to focus on the work that needed to be done.

Not only has it been gratifying and enjoyable, most importantly it has resulted in better services for our residents.

When a community unites to work toward a shared goal, anything is possible. People in Port Arthur has shown how true that statement can be. Our collective effort is called Live, Work and Play, which has its genesis in the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation (PAEDC) Board of Directors’ vision to make Port Arthur the No. 1 city in America to live, work and play by 2025.

READ HERE: Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation moving ahead with changes in leadership

Live, Work and Play is a unique holistic economic development strategy to successfully compete for workforce talent on the national stage. Today’s young professionals want to live in places offering a high quality of life and businesses are following them. It is clear, therefore, that in order to grow investment and retain talent, a city must focus on its quality of life offerings.

During my time directing this initiative, I was able to bring together individuals, organizations from private, public and community sectors and more than 45 unique business projects in our community. Leading PAEDC has connected me to hundreds of people, made me more aware of our community, helped me get immersed in what Port Arthur has to offer and, more importantly, led me to make a difference in my own small way. PAEDC became my life, and vice versa.

Port Arthur’s commitment to becoming a stronger community is unparalleled. Over the last 17 years, I’ve seen numerous efforts making progress and moving the needle on important issues such as equal rights, affordable quality housing, better education outcomes, community safety and employee well-being and building world-class trails.

Thanks to PAEDC partners, sponsors and supporters, we’ve begun the creation of an engaged community that is making a resilient and welcoming place for ourselves and others.

The way the people of Port Arthur have embraced me is unequalled. I’d like to thank the leaders of Motiva Enterprises, Valero, Golden Pass, Sempra, Port Arthur ISD, Lamar State College Port Arthur, Port or Port Arthur, Drainage District 7 and the City of Port Arthur for everything they have given us.

While I have only positive personal experiences to write about, it would be unfair of me not to mention some aspects of Port Arthur that could be improved before we can call ourselves the best.

While living in a comfortable home, I couldn’t help but note how many families and individuals struggle to find quality affordable housing. While I can afford good health care services. While I feel safe in my neighborhood, I know many friends who don’t. While I’m fortunate to have a loving and fulfilled life, I know a number of community members who are victims of domestic violence.

If I were to generalize Port Arthur, I’d call it an amazingly international city where people take pride in their city, and care deeply about their community. There’s no reason why Port Arthur can’t become a model community that is open, accessible and welcoming with great education, affordable housing, healthcare, vibrant arts and culture and recreation for everyone.

I know we will be No. 1 as long as we remember that we are only as strong as the most vulnerable of us. Port Arthur has always treated me fairly and embraced me without any conditions attached. I urge this community to do the same for everyone who calls it home.

Here’s to wishing you all the best for claiming the No. 1 position by 2025, if not earlier.

Thank you for the opportunity and pleasure of working for you all. Goodbye, until we meet again.

Floyd Batiste is the outgoing CEO of the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation. He can be reached at fbatiste@paedc.org.