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Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Galveston County
Galveston County Economic Alliance Annual Meeting
by Jim Guidry
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Galveston County Economic Alliance President Don Gartman presented his annual report to his board of directors this morning in Texas City. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

“Galveston County Economic Alliance is a county-wide economic development organization funded by the county, city, businesses and industry memberships,” Gartman said.  “We also operate the Small Business Development Center in conjunction with the University of Houston.”

Gartman said that the county continues to recover from Hurricane Ike.

“The economic downturn and instability in the marketplace is still having a detrimental effect on the economic development market,” he reported.  “With that said, 2011 was a pretty good year for the Alliance and the Small Business Development Center.”

Gartman said the Alliance is working with Galveston County to develop a Small Business Recovery Loan Program utilizing Community Development Block Grant funds to assist businesses that were negatively impacted by Ike.

“We also work closely with the petrochemical industry in Galveston County, which is the largest taxpayers in the county,” he said.  “During the year we also worked with various prospects including a proposed medical research laboratory, a wind turbine company, a Scottish professional soccer team owner, a waste management company that creates fuel from waste, a Chinese solar panel company, a proposed Chinese methanol plant, an emergency shelter manufacturing company and the possible expansion of a local plant.”

SBDC Director Carroll Cobb said that 2011 was a year of repositioning. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

“We made a conscious decision to change our focus a little bit toward developing a client base that would be more likely to yield impact, and by that I mean capital formation and job creation,” she said.  “It may take more than  a year or two to fully see the results of it, but we are already getting to see some impact from that plan.”

Cobb said that her staff has improved its QuickBooks training program and three business advisers have been certified as global business professionals.

Gartman called on economic development professionals on his board of directors to make reports. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

They included Gwen Wagner, regional manager of economic development for CenterPoint Energy; Mike Flanagan, director-external affairs for AT&T; and Ronnie Richards, director of the Clear Lake Shores Economic Development Corporation.

The next meeting of the GCEA Board of Directors will be on May 24.

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