With a large media presence in Southeast Texas, the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce invited local reporters and editors to lunch and to catch up on the latest Chamber activities to keep readers and viewers up to date.
The State of the Chamber luncheon was held Feb. 13 at the Chamber offices in downtown Beaumont.
Reporting on the Chamber's Leadership Development Division, Amy Dennison said the organization is pleased with the growth of its mentoring program. Eight young people have been matched with eight community leaders, double the amount of participants from last year. Among the mentors are area judges U.S. Magistrate Keith GIblin, Jefferson County Justice of the Peace Nancy Beaulieu and City of Beaumont Municipal Court Judge Craig Lively.
The Division also hosts a youth leadership event at Lamar University for 80 middle school students from 16 area schools. The students learn skill development, understanding leadership styles and other strategies.
Chamber President Jim Rich told the media about a public hearing with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association on Feb. 26. The meeting is important because TWIA is in such dire financial straits that if there is another catastrophe, they could assess everyone a 30 percent fee or could even tack on the 30 percent to automobile insurance policies.
Overall, Rich said Beaumont is experiencing a "Renaissance of Manufacturing," with several major construction and building projects. Included are the announcement of $1.9 billion methanol facility, the "biggest investment in the history of Beaumont."
There are also two projects connected to the methanol project of $700 million each.
Another project already in the works is the Trans Canada pipeline. Although the Texas portion is pumping oil to the coast, the federal government has not approved the permit for the crossing of the U.S.-Canadian border. Rich said it has been pending for five years and the Environmental Impact Statement is done, but they are waiting for the secretary of state and the president to approve.