Meet the new executive director of the Groves Chamber of Commerce

Published 12:16 am Sunday, April 9, 2023

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GROVES — Letha Knaus’ community involvement and vast business networking abilities seems to make her the perfect choice for her newest title.

Knaus is the recently hired executive director of the Groves Chamber of Commerce & Tourist Center. She made her debut at the Chamber’s annual Easter Egg Hunt last week.

Knaus was previously employed with CenterWell Senior Primary Care as the community engagement representative. She recently found a number of name badges from the vast array of organizations she’s been involved with, including Nederland, Port Arthur and Beaumont chambers, the board of directors of the Nederland Chamber of Commerce and ambassador for the Port Arthur and Beaumont chambers.

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She’s also this year’s past president of the Nederland Rotary Club and was the 2020 president of the Kiwanis Club of Jefferson County.

She said most people she knows, know of her for community service.

“I mean, we’re supposed to be His hands and feet, so that’s always been a big part of my DNA, and it means a lot to me that this position is absolutely in my wheelhouse,” Knaus said. “For me, it’s like a dream job because I’ve always been involved in my community.”

A Jasper native, Knaus spent time in this area off and on and had been back for 10 years. She is a resident of Groves.

Loyd Patterson, board treasurer, said the Chamber board feels Knaus fits the profile for what is wanted in a director.

“We want somebody that can reinvent us or rebrand us,” Patterson said. “And I think that’s what we want to do now. We have the ability to do something here. We just have to get all the parties involved. That’s what we think she can do.”

The city and businesses can be the drawing card to bring others here, he added.

Letha Knaus, left, speaks with Loyd Patterson, Groves Chamber board treasurer, as they prepared for this month’s Easter Egg Hunt. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Grow with Groves

Knaus knows there is growth in the city and area and is ready to meet needs head on.

During a local Contractors Business Development meeting, officials predicted there would be an additional 44,000 people coming to the area by 2024-2025.

Those people, Knaus said, will be looking for houses, maybe jobs for family members. They may also have their parents with them that might need the help of local nursing facilities or senior living facilities. They will be looking for new schools for their children, she said.

“And we want, and Groves wants, to be that place where they want to settle down and raise their family,” Knaus said. “But we want it to be advantageous to them to do that and also advantageous to Groves to have new families moving in and make it a full circle spectrum. Cultivate old relationships as well as new relationships.”

The future

Knaus is a natural born networker who is “super excited” about upcoming Chamber events that includes the Pecan Festival.

“I’ve done all these types of things for years,” she said. “With my current job I was doing five events a day, sometimes, and driving back and forth to other areas, Houston, Conroe. So this allows me to do it right here at home and love on my community and watch it grow, not just population but the businesses. The mom and pop places, supporting the community building it up, making sure that our hometown dynamics stay prosperous and growing.”

Patterson believes the community wants to see the Chamber come forth with a cohesive plan for the future and now, with Knaus at the helm, there is real potential for this.