SETX Industrial Contractors tournament supports education in unique ways

Published 11:42 am Monday, May 15, 2023

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The upcoming Southeast Texas Industrial Contractors Golf Tournament has a lot to offer, from a good time on the course, friendly competition, food and a chance to help a college student further his or her education.

The golf tournament is set for Oct. 6 at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course, 3500 Jimmy Johnson Blvd. in Port Arthur. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m., and a shotgun start is at 7:30 a.m.

What’s it about

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Imagine being a college freshman facing your sophomore year and realizing you need to buy expensive welding gear or pay for a costly test in order to go forward with your education.

There is a local organization ready to help these students who hail from Lamar State College Port Arthur, Lamar State College Orange, Lamar University and Lamar Institute of Technology. It’s called the Southeast Texas Educational Development Foundation. It was formed by Joe Tant after the loss of his son at 32 weeks as a way to continue his memory and help others.

The foundation has partnered with Southeast Texas Business Referral Group with Breanne Miller as the owner. Another partner is Hol-Tech run by local businessman Elton Hollis III.

Also included is Small Business Friday, a podcast by Tant and Hollis that aims to help small businesses.

“A lot of folks are helping by partnering with this,” Tant said.

Tant said this would be their second golf tournament to raise funds for the foundation. Last year they raised $60,000, which was given to students at LSCPA, LSCO, LU and LIT.

Joe Tant of the Southeast Texas Educational Development Foundation jokes around on the golf course with Elton Hollis III of Hol-Tech. (Natalie Picazo/The News)

How it works

Students apply for the funds, and the foundation looks into the students’ needs, such as speaking with LSCPA President Dr. Betty Reynard, for example. From there the application is put before the board, he said.

“For example, we had a young lady that was absolutely homeless and we got her into a dorm in LSCPA in December. We paid for her dorm for six months and now she’s going into the Coast Guard in two weeks,” Tant said. “Had we not done that, I don’t know where that student would be.”

The great thing about the golf tournament is the students receiving assistance are out there, and golfers and sponsors get to see the people they support.

A lot of meeting and greeting goes on during the tournament when the students are there.

“It’s like, ‘have you met Becky? You paid for her books and helped with her tuition. You just gave $2,500 to this young lady to get into dental school and help pay for her summer courses because she’s going to do online and in person and hold down a full time job,’” he said.

Elton Hollis also provided an example of how the program works.

“Probably the biggest, shining example that I can think of is that most scholarships just pay for certain items related to books, typical schooling tools for the student. The scholarships we give out could be for a welder. That student can use it for a welding hood, gloves, welding rod, whatever is needed for ancillary items that go with the cost of college,” Hollis said.

When a student learns he or she is the recipient of a scholarship, the first reaction is obviously shock since this is a different kind of scholarship.

Hollis said there are people who ask if they are concerned about students using the money for something other than college.

He and Tant thought it over and came to the conclusion it is not their job to manage money for a college student. What they use their opportunity for is their choice, Hollis said.

Why help?

Hollis, whose background is in construction, worked hard to become the businessman he is today.

He said there is a direct correlation between college students and the need for workers.
“We do not have enough workers in our area to fill the jobs we have because of the economic growth,” Hollis said.

He said they are doing a small part by helping put more people in the industry pool for the local area.

Tournament & sponsorship

When it comes to playing golf, Hollis said with a laugh he is a shining example of an amateur.

It’s the camaraderie of golf that he enjoys.

“It’s a sport where people will take the time to help others with their swing and later sit around a table and chat,” he said.

The tournament is a four-person scramble, and there are prizes for the winning golf team as well as for a cooking team.

Last year there were three to four tents holding nine to 10 cooking teams. Club pro Mitch Duncnan will be a judge, and there’s the Travis Woods Good Eatin’ Award in addition to the Small Business Friday Community Award, where a bunch of people come together and taste.

There’s no set menu, Tant said.  It could be barbecue alligator brisket.

“We tell them to just come out and cook your best,” he said.

In addition there will be a Port Neches-Groves student who is a bit of a long drive expert. He will be on hand to launch a ball out for a fee.

“He’s the move up guy, a long drive expert. He can tee off the ball a long way. We will be helping him with a scholarship for summer courses,” Tant said.

There are a number of sponsorship opportunities. They include:

  • Event partner, $8,000
  • Shirt sponsor, $5,000
  • Hospitality sponsor, $2,500
  • Golf ball sponsor, $1,500
  • Scholarship sponsor, $1.000
  • Photo sponsor, $1,000
  • Golf towel sponsor, $1,000
  • Golf team $600
  • Beer sponsor, $500
  • Swag bag sponsor, $500
  • Drink cart sponsor, $500
  • Golf tee sponsor, $500
  • Closet to pin, $300
  • Longest drive, $300
  • Hole + tent sponsor, $300
  • Cooking team, $300

For more information on signing up or sponsorships, call 409-926-1397 or email