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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
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Economic Alliance Houston Port Region
News Release
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Secretary of Energy Perry, U.S. Senator Cruz and Texas Railroad Commissioner Sitton
Deliver Keynotes at Gulf Coast Industry Forum Event September 20-21
Economic Alliance Houston Port Region outlook conference features “blockbuster” speaker lineup of national, state and local policy makers, business and industry executives sharing growth plans

DEER PARK, TEXAS – An Economic Alliance Houston Port Region conference that shares economic forecasts and opportunities in the energy, petrochemical and maritime industries, features three influential keynote speakers, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, and Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton. The three policy makers deliver keynotes on September 21, the second day of the two-day conference at the Pasadena Convention Center, in Pasadena Texas.

Each of the policy makers is expected to provide insights into American global energy policy and the role Texas and Texas companies’ recent economic growth impact that policy.

Secretary Perry and Senator Cruz are making their first appearances at the annual economic outlook conference which is in its eighth year. Commissioner Sitton has delivered keynote addresses the past three years, where he has been a popular draw.

The conference agenda also includes top executives from companies and organizations in the U.S. Gulf Coast region which is experiencing robust economic growth.

“We have a blockbuster lineup of national, regional and local speakers for this Gulf Coast Industry Forum. We expect nearly a thousand guests during the two-day event will hear from a U.S. cabinet member, a U.S. senator and several congressional members from Texas, and presidents, vice presidents and plant managers from industrial and maritime businesses,” said Chad Burke, president & CEO of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region.

The conference kicks off at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20th, when Port Houston Chairman Janiece Longoria delivers the opening keynote. Chairman Longoria will give an overview of Port Houston activities, growth and future investment to meet growing global shipping demand. Through the first half of 2017, Port Houston has already handled 20 million tons of cargo, an increase of 13 percent over the same period last year. Container volumes increased 14 percent compared to the same time last year, and steel jumped nearly 50 percent with more than 1.7 million tons of steel crossing Port Houston wharves, according to a July Port Houston news release.

Port Houston has been the presenting sponsor of the outlook conference since its inception in 2010.

A global shipping panel of experts will give an overview of the maritime industry immediately following Chairman Longoria’s opening keynote. The global shipping panel includes Nick Vafiadis, global business director, IHS; Bill Ralph, president R.K. Jones, and Clint Kuhfeldt, Gulf sales manager for Bahri General Cargo Lines.

Petrochemicals will take center stage on the opening day when BASF senior vice president of petrochemicals, Heather Remley, gives a keynote outlook for North America petrochemicals. Jim Bowen, CEO of First Trust, delivers the conference’s first day closing keynote with an optimistic talk about current investment climate, a growing U.S. economy, improving employment, and the U.S. manufacturing revolution.

The conference’s second day begins with a breakfast where students interested in working in the petrochemical industry can meet with plant managers. The students will attend the full-day session to learn about growth, expansion, jobs and challenges of the industry.

The second day’s presentations start with a panel of freight transportation experts. U.S. Congressman Randy Weber, a member of the House Transportation committee, will provide a federal infrastructure overview while Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Texas Transportation Department engineer Bill Brudnick provide a regional look at transportation infrastructure development. Scott Campbell of LyondellBasell, chairman of the East Harris County Manufacturers Association Transportation committee, will discuss industry transportation needs.

Secretary Perry’s keynote address will precede another panel of experts who will provide insight on regulatory controls on business and industry. U.S. Congressman Pete Olson, vice chair of the House Energy subcommittee and member of the Environmental subcommittee, will give a Congressional overview on environmental regulation, and Cal Dooley, president of American Chemistry Council, will also present a national perspective of U.S. regulation.

Dr. Bryan Shaw, Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will provide the status of regulatory initiatives at the state level, while Hector Rivero, president of the Texas Chemical Council, will discuss impacts on industry and how industry is meeting environmental goals.

Commissioner Sitton will provide the luncheon keynote, which will be followed by the day’s third panel of experts, this time from the petrochemical industry. Ron Corn, senior vice president of Petrochemicals for Chevron Phillips Chemicals; Earl Shipp, Dow Chemical vice president of operations for the U.S. Gulf Coast; Roderick A. Herrick, vice president and site manager for Covestro Industrial Park, Baytown, and a member of Covestro’s North American Leadership team; and Marcus Pezent, site director of the BASF Pasadena site will discuss recent expansion projects and what the future holds for continued growth.

“This conference continues to grow in value and content for our petrochemical and maritime industries and for the people who service those industries,” said Roger Blackburn, with Infinity Wood Group and chair of the conference. “Since we have expanded to two days, we have been able to attract national and regional speakers and have grown the attendance.

“We have an outstanding planning committee that has worked hard on putting together a quality conference. We are excited about additional events and venues and attracting more than a thousand guests to attend the two-day event,” added Blackburn.

Blackburn mentioned that after the closing keynote on Wednesday, September 20th, from 5:30 ‘til 9 p.m. Turner Industries is sponsoring a reception for conference participants and others interested in networking with the speakers and members of the maritime and petrochemical industries. The event will be held on the Houston Ship Channel at the San Jacinto College Maritime Center.

Additionally, following the conference’s closing keynote by Senator Cruz on Thursday, around 4 p.m., BGE, Inc. is sponsoring a reception for all attendees of the event.

Turner Industries and BGE Engineers are two of the nearly 60 businesses and industry members sponsoring the eighth annual Gulf Coast Industrial Forum.

“It is exciting to see new sponsors become engaged in our Gulf Coast Industry Forum to provide more events that help attract phenomenal speakers and more attendance. We will top 1,000 participants this year,” added Burke.

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