Port Arthur native talks importance of bringing engineering firm downtown

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A local businessman with a familiar face brought good news and greetings before the Port Arthur City Council Tuesday morning with an announcement about moving his engineering and planning firm into the city.

Kelvin L. Solco, founder of Solco Group, LLC., gave a short presentation on his firm, its work and plans to move downtown.

Solco grew up in the city. His father retired from Chevron and founded Victory of Christian Church, and his mother was a long-time Port Arthur educator who retired from the district.

“It’s great to have you home; great to see you today,” said Mayor Pro Tem Donald Frank. “I always enjoyed lunch at Luby’s with your mom and dad. Your dad is such a joy. It’s great to have individuals come back home. There’s plenty of work to do.”

After graduating from Stephen F. Austin High School, Solco went to Prairie View A&M University, where he majored in Science in Civil Engineering and later earned a master’s in Business Administration from LeTourneau University.

He’s been a licensed engineer in the state of Texas since 1993.

“For the most part, I began to cut my teeth and drove my expertise around everything involving civil site design and also pavement, asphalt, everything on the ground and also sunlight structures,” he said.

He opened his firm in 2018, but was unable to find suitable office space in Port Arthur due to damage from Hurricane Harvey. So the firm temporarily based its headquarters in Beaumont.

But they are currently working with the PAEDC, he said, to move operations into The News building on 4th Street once it’s complete.

Since opening the firm, Solco Group has done work throughout the county as well as other places. They’ve been granted three contracts by Jefferson County to do work at Jack Brooks Regional Airport, are currently working on design projects with Port Arthur Transit, and have projects going in McAllen and Louisiana.

“You might wonder why I’m doing work all over the state or all over,” Solco said. “The secret is, obviously, I’ll take anybody’s money and bring it to the City of Port Arthur if we get the opportunity. We can reach out, cast a wide net and we want to bring things back to the local economy. We hope to be the first black engineering firm based here in downtown Port Arthur, Texas. That’s our goal.”

Because Port Arthur, he said, has always been at the forefront of his mind.

“Port Arthur has always been my roots and I carry that title, that name and the good things about this city everywhere I went,” he said.

He was met with wide praise from council members.

“Mr. Solco, we certainly appreciate you wanting to come back to the Port Arthur community…and bringing your professional program here,” said Mayor Thurman Bartie.