Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation believes potential leader could be “breath of fresh air”

Published 12:46 am Thursday, October 6, 2022

After months of searching and meetings, Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation selected a new leader.

Now it’s up to the Port Arthur City Council to give final approval of that selection. Council is scheduled to consider a resolution approving an agreement with Terry Stokes for professional services and employment as CEO of the PAEDC during the 9:30 a.m. council meeting Tuesday at city hall, per information from the city.

Stokes declined to give a comment to Port Arthur Newsmedia on Wednesday regarding the selection. Stokes is from Yoakum, Texas, and according to that city website, he serves as the executive director of the Yoakum Economic Development Corporation.

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The city is approximately 50 miles from the Port of Victoria and 116 miles from the Port of Corpus Christi, according to information from Guadalupe County Economic Development.

Jerry LaBove, PAEDC board president, believes Stokes is a breath of fresh air for the organization.

“We haven’t had a real leader in there, not that Krystle (Muller, interim CEO) is not doing a wonderful job,” LaBove said. “We need a real person in there and this could be it.”

Muller, who is the PAEDC’s contract compliance manager, was tapped to step in as interim CEO until a permanent one was hired.

LaBove believes Stokes will get the PAEDC back on track.

“We have lots to do and this is a good organization,” he said.

A total of 18 people applied for the job and that number was narrowed down to seven.

Members of the PAEDC’s search committee — Jerry LaBove, Beverly Raymond and Christopher Smith — then had the seven applicants to choose from. That group of candidates was narrowed down to two before deciding on the finalist in late September.

The PAEDC board approved an agreement with Stokes for professional services and employment as CEO of the corporation during the Oct. 3 meeting.

The EDC board was seeking a new leader to replace the previous CEO, Jessica Carpenter, who tendered her resignation effective May 4 after approximately two months at the job.

She took over the position that was vacated by Floyd Batiste, who was with the organization for 17 years.

Earlier this year Next Move Group was chosen as the search firm to aid the corporation in finding CEO prospects. A job profile was compiled by the search firm and approved by the EDC search committee.

The profile was advertised, and recruitment done by the search firm took more than four weeks from July through August. The application deadline was Aug. 5.