Press Release (ePRNews.com) - DEER PARK, Texas - Aug 28, 2018 - The Economic Alliance Houston Port Region annual conference, the 2018 Gulf Coast Industry Forum, is expanding to two full days of keynote presentations, panel discussions and policy updates from national, state and local experts. The move to two full days allows conference attendees to hear more vital information from industry executives and policy makers about business expansion and economic policy impacting energy, petrochemical and maritime industries. The event will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center Sept. 19 and 20.
Port Houston Chairman Janiece Longoria will provide an update on what collaborative efforts are being given to address the needs for improvements to the Houston Ship Channel to keep commerce moving. Each year more than 200 million tons of cargo move through the Port of Houston. The efficiency and safety of the Houston Ship Channel is vital to maintaining the health of the regional and state economy.
Delivering keynotes on business expansion are Dave Morgan, Senior Vice President, Polymers & Specialties, Chevron Phillips Chemical; Rich Wells, U.S. Gulf Coast Vice President of Operations, Dow Chemical; and, Jerry MacCleary, Chairman and CEO, Covestro.
Economic experts delivering keynotes on business conditions leading to growth include Dr. Steve Byrne, U.S. Chemicals Equity Research with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and Jim Bowen, CEO of First Trust.
U.S. Congressmen Gene Green, Randy Weber and Brian Babin will lead a congressional panel discussion on infrastructure investment, regulatory reform and foreign trade.
Five additional panels, including two looking at petrochemical growth, will provide insights and answer audience questions regarding growth in the U.S. Gulf Coast that is driving U.S. and global economies. Individual panels will reflect on freight transportation infrastructure requirements, workforce development needs and regulatory reforms necessary for continued maritime, petrochemical and logistics growth.
Participating on the petrochemical panels will be Kim Foley, Site Manager at LyondellBasell’s Channelview location; Derrick Morgan, Senior Vice President, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM); Cathy Culpepper, Vice President of Manufacturing in North America, INEOS; William Hammarstrom, Vice President of HyCo in the Americas, Air Products; and, John Mabry, Operations Manager-Corpus Christi, ExxonMobil.
Freight transportation panel members include Quincy Allen, District Engineer, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT); Roger Guenther, Executive Director, Port Houston; Brian Fielkow, President, Jetco Delivery; and, Jack Morman, Commissioner, Harris County Precinct 2.
Workforce panel members include James Rhame, Vice President of Polymers, Flint Hills Resources; Steve Skarke, Executive Vice President, Kaneka; and, Jeff Garry, Operations Director, Dow Chemical.
The industry regulatory overview panel features Larry Taylor, Texas State Senator; Bryan Zumwalt, Vice President of Federal Affairs, American Chemistry Council; and Kathleen Hartnett-White, Senior Fellow and Director, Texas Public Policy Foundation. Hector Rivero, President and CEO of the Texas Chemical Council will moderate the panel.
Three high-profile elected officials will give keynote speeches. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will speak on the afternoon of the first day of the conference. Ryan Sitton, Texas Railroad Commissioner, will give the luncheon keynote on day two, and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will provide the conference closing keynote.
“We already have a strong lineup of speakers and we anticipate one or two more big names might confirm their participation in the next couple of weeks,” said Chad Burke, President and CEO of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. “More than 1,200 people registered for the Gulf Coast Industry Forum last year. We clearly expect to exceed that number this year.”
Burke mentioned that expanding into the morning of the first day helps schedule additional speakers and provide greater content for attendees.
The conference kicks off at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, with networking and vendor visits. Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner officially welcomes conference participants and speakers at 9 a.m. The first day will feature a congressional and petrochemical panel, as well as six keynote presentations. Chairman Longoria delivers the luncheon keynote, Mayor Turner the afternoon keynote and Jim Bowen closes the conference with a keynote prior to a reception at San Jacinto College’s Maritime Center. San Jacinto College and Turner Industries are reception sponsors.
The second day, Thursday, Sept. 20, starts with a student breakfast and vendor visits at 8 a.m. and first speakers at 9 a.m. High school and college students interested in careers in petrochemical, maritime and logistics will meet with managers in those industries during breakfast and attend the conference to learn more about the industries in which they will work.
A workforce development panel on Thursday will be of interest to students and others who work in the industry. Three other panels on Sept. 20 will look at issues and solutions for freight transportation, industry regulation and petrochemical expansion.
Ryan Sitton will deliver the luncheon keynote and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will close the conference prior to a celebratory reception sponsored by BGE.
Port Houston has been the presenting sponsor of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region Gulf Coast Industry Forum since its inception in 2010.
Platinum sponsors of the 2018 forum are San Jacinto College, Lee College, Turner Industries, Air Products and Covestro. Gold Sponsors include ExxonMobil, Shell, Wood, Dannenbaum Engineering Corp., City of Pasadena, Pasadena Economic Development Corporation and Houston Business Journal. As of August 1st, 33 silver and bronze sponsors were supporting the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region Gulf Coast Industry Forum.
“Very much like our region continues to expand, this conference continues to grow in every aspect,” said conference Chairman, Roger Blackburn of Wood. “We have added value with more speakers and content, we have secured more event sponsors and we expect to break all attendance records.”
Blackburn expressed his appreciation to the planning committee that works on this event year-round and cited committee enhancements that continue to improve the Gulf Coast Industry Forum. “Turner Industries and San Jacinto College have teamed up to provide a popular networking event on the first evening of the conference,” Blackburn said. “It is a great networking event and it provides an opportunity to see how San Jacinto College is preparing students to work in the maritime industry. Our guests cannot resist the opportunity to test their skills at navigating the Houston Ship Channel, of course using the college’s simulators.”
The opening evening reception on Sept. 19 begins at 5:30 p.m. The final evening reception on Sept. 20 will be held in the lobby of the Pasadena Convention Center immediately at the close of the conference.
“It is exciting to add compelling national and global speakers, attract more attendees and sponsors, as well as include additional conference events,” added Burke.
To register for the conference or to secure a timed agenda, please visit: http://www.allianceportregion.com/gcif
Economic Alliance Houston Port Region