Economic Alliance Gulf Coast Industry Forum features five panels of experts discussing economic growth

and challenges of the petrochemical, maritime, logistics and transportation industries


DEER PARK, TEXAS (September 3, 2019) – The 10th annual Gulf Coast Industry Forum Sept. 18 and 19 features five panels of experts from the maritime, petrochemical, transportation and logistics industries discussing growth and challenges facing continued economic development in the region.

Enhanced transportation, development of a qualified workforce and limited government regulation continue as goals of economic developers and the expanding industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. Thus, the Gulf Coast Industry Forum kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 18 with a state legislative panel. Texas State Senator Larry Taylor, District 14, State Senator Carol Alvarado, District 6, and State Representative Ed Thompson, District 29, will provide insights into the recently concluded 86th Texas Legislative Session that saw school finance and tax reform and other helpful laws passed to support economic develop in Texas. President and CEO of Texas Chemical Council, Hector Rivero, will moderate the legislative panel.

The next panel of experts will take on freight transportation issues as Port Houston’s Rich Byrnes, Texas Department of Transportation’s James Koch, and JetCo CEO Brian Feilkow share the current status of transportation and future plans for reducing traffic to more efficiently move people and product through the Gulf Coast region. Former Seabrook Mayor and Economic Alliance chair Glenn Royal will moderate the transportation panel.



Workforce will be a theme of the 10th anniversary Gulf Coast Industry Forum (page 2)

Following lunch, a refining panel will talk about positioning refineries for future supply and demand and using technology to improve operations, maintenance and safety performance, as well as workforce needs for the refining industry. Panel members are Tim Sutherland, general manager at the Chevron Pasadena Refinery, a recent purchase for Chevron; Brook Vickery, vice president and refining manager at Flint Hills Resources; and Greg Nevermann, site manager at the LyondellBasell Houston Refinery.

The second day of the conference, Thursday, Sept. 19th kicks off with a chemical manufacturing panel which will discuss recent expansions and future capital project opportunities, as well as outline workforce needs in the chemical industry. Chemical manufacturing panel members are Bob Bradshaw, site manager for INEOS; Gregory Masica, BASF vice president and Port Arthur site manager; and Jim Haney, Dow Chemical Company business manufacturing and technology director for Packaging and Specialty Plastics.

The final panel of the conference will address workforce development and supply and demand for qualified workers. While earlier panels will incorporate workforce needs into their conversations, experts on the workforce development panel will provide greater detail about past efforts to develop a qualified and well-trained workforce and ongoing projects to develop more workers to meet continuing demand for the expanding refining and chemical manufacturing industry and the related construction and contractor industry that builds and maintains plants.

Workforce panel members include Kimberly Franklin from Oxy Petroleum Upstream Oil & Gas; Michael Marr, Shell Oil Company; and Brando Mabile of Performance Contractors and current board chair of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC Houston). Russell Hamley, president of ABC Houston and its Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) will introduce the panel. ABC/CMEF is a leader in workforce development for commercial and industrial construction and maintenance contractors. Jim Griffin of San Jacinto College will moderate the panel.

San Jacinto College is showcasing its newly opened Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology with a grand opening Wednesday morning prior to the kickoff of the industry forum and with a reception sponsored by Turner Industries at the end of the first day of the conference. The college will provide tours of its newest building that will improve oil, gas and petrochemical education through state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and skills training centers, as well as a small-scale operating unit.




Special events are planned for the 10th anniversary of the Gulf Coast Industry Forum (page 3)

In addition to the panels, the Gulf Coast Industry Forum will host eight keynote addresses, discussion with leaders of national petroleum and chemical trade associations, and feature four special events. Turner Industries sponsors a networking reception on Sept. 18 at the San Jacinto College Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology.

A workforce development breakfast for students from local colleges and high schools who are interested in entering maritime, logistics and petrochemical careers will be held on Sept. 19. Maritime executives, Port Houston representatives and petrochemical plant managers will answer students’ questions about careers during breakfast.

BGE sponsors a closing reception as the conference ends around 4 p.m. on Sept. 19.

There will also be updates on industry safety performance and regional air quality. Both safety and air quality have seen dramatic improvement in the 10 years since the first conference.

An Industry Icon award will be presented to an industry leader to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Gulf Coast Industry Forum. This award will recognize an individual within industry who has demonstrated prestigious efforts to amplify the region’s economic activity.

“We added an Industry Icon award to recognize someone from industry that has provided noteworthy impact on economic development in the Houston Port Region,” added Burke. “Impacting our region impacts the world because the products we make here improve the world.” The theme of the 10th anniversary conference is “what we make here changes the world,” added Burke

The conference kicks off at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18, with networking and vendor visits. Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner welcomes conference participants and speakers at 9 a.m.

Port Houston has been the presenting sponsor of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region Gulf Coast Industry Forum since its inception in 2010. Additional sponsors for the 10th anniversary include:

  • Platinum sponsors: San Jacinto College, Lee College, Turner Industries and Airobotics.
  • Gold sponsors: ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Air Products, LlyondellBasell, Chevron Pasadena Refinery, Wood, City of Pasadena, Pasadena Economic Development Corporation and Houston Business Journal.
  • Silver sponsors: BGE, Mobil Steel International, Inc., Kuraray, Associated Builders and Contractors/CMEF, ACIT/Texas Chemical Council, Bay Area Observer, Houston Community College, BIC Allliance, East Harris County Manufacturers Association, and Winkler Public Relations.
  • Bronze sponsors: Tolunay-Wong Engineers, Inc., Gulf Coast Authority, Capital One Bank, Stork, A Fluor Company, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., Gallant Builders, Gorrondona Engineering Services, Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Coastal Ice and Water, Houston Pilots, LBC Houston, McDonough Engineering Corporation, Phelps State Farm Insurance, Amegy Bank, Orion Group Holdings, Ernie’s Cafe and Catering, Bartlett Cocke General Contractors, and Houston Area Safety Council

To sponsor, register or for more information, visit:


About Port Houston [Conference Presenting Sponsor]

For more than 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned and operated the public wharves and terminals of the Port of Houston – the nation’s largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage and an essential economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas, and the nation. It supports the creation of nearly 1.175 million jobs in Texas and 2.7 million jobs nationwide, and economic activity totaling almost $265 billion in Texas – 16 percent of Texas’ total gross domestic product – and more than $617 billion in economic impact across the nation. For more information, visit Port Authority website at:



Lisa Ashley, Director, Media Relations

Office: 713-670-2644; Mobile: 832-247-8179; E-mail:


About the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region  

Economic Alliance Houston Port Region is a regional non-profit economic development corporation with a mission to create a vibrant regional economy – driven by economic development.  The Economic Alliance goal is to be the most sought-after region in the entire world for potential employers and their employees. Objectives to accomplish the goal include offering top-notch economic development services to site locators, brokers, private industry, and our member cities & communities from inception of a project to groundbreaking. Since 2008, the Economic Alliance has supported more than 61 successful projects that have helped create more than 4,400 new jobs and over $10.148 billion of capital investment in the region.


Membership of the Economic Alliance consists of 12 cities, the Port of Houston Authority, Harris County, and 250 private industry members with business in the vicinity of the 25-mile Houston Ship Channel.  The Houston Ship Channel is home to one of the world’s most influential energy corridors and trade ports. For more information:



Interview opportunities are available with speakers prior to and following presentations.


Event Media Contacts:

Kaitlyn Conner, Economic Alliance, 832.473.3087

Dennis Winkler, Winkler Public Relations, 713.259.0195



What we Make here Changes the World


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