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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership GRCC
Galveston County
GEDP 6th Annual Economic Development Summit
News Release
Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Approximately 350 attendees participated in the Galveston Economic Development Partnership (GEDP) 6th Annual Economic Development Summit at Moody Gardens Convention Center on Tuesday.

Approximately 350 attendees listened to 5 different panel discussions focused on economic development relevant to Galveston and Galveston County.

Mayor Jim Yarbrough, County Judge Mark Henry, Representative Wayne Faircloth and Senator Larry Taylor participated in a conversation moderated by the 2017-2018 Chair of the GEDP Victor Pierson. Topics included Hurricane Harvey, the Pelican Island Bridge, Storm Surge Suppression, transportation and education.

Throughout the Summit there were four other panel discussions focused on Maritime, Emerging Technology, Disaster Resilience and Sports Tourism. Fred Raschke led the Maritime discussion with panelists John Martin, Robert Sakowitz, RADM Michael Rodriguez, General Bill McClain and Peter Simons. John Martin described the tremendous economic impact that the Maritime industry has throughout Galveston County. Topics also discussed included industry growth and the Panama Canal, Texas A&M University at Galveston growth and importance as one of the top Maritime Training Academy’s in the United States and the initiatives of the Port of Galveston including their work toward a new Strategic Plan that will be completed after the first of the year.

Rebecca Trout Unbehagen led the Emerging Technology panel which included Scott Livingston, Cheryl Sadro, Walter Ulrich and Robert Heard. As this region’s critical mass continues to grow, this panel talked about the availability for talent, facilities and capital in which to support an emerging technology ecosystem for the future.

Disaster Resilience had a dynamic panel led by Victor Pierson. Diane Probst from the Rockport Chamber of Commerce shared updates and the status of the Rockport/Coastal Bend area as they continue to recover from this most recent event. Jeff Finkle from the International Economic Development Council, Chuck Wemple from the Houston-Galveston Area Council and Brian Maxwell, Galveston’s City Manager all relayed lessons learned and observations related to this year’s hurricane season.

The final panel of the Summit included Kelly deSchaun, Jerald Temple, Josephine Sullivan, Chuck McElroy and Bob Ford. Johnny Smecca moderated this panel and recounted the last few years of work and research that has been developed by the GEDP, CVB, GISD, the City of Galveston and other Tourism Task Force members. Rounding out the conversation by this panel was topics covering Youth athletics, a new and state-of-the-art Adaptive Tennis Facility and the success of the Houston Astro’s – and what their World Series win did for those in our region still moving forward with repairs from Hurricane Harvey.

In conjunction with this annual event, the GEDP also released their 2017 Developer Profile magazine to those in attendance. This magazine represents a collection of economic factors and highlights of activities happening in Galveston and Galveston County.

Jeffrey Sjostrom, President of the GEDP, said “this year’s event was a tremendous success thanks to the leadership of the members and Officers of the GEDP, the sponsors that supported the event and the caliber and quality of those who participated throughout the day in the various panel discussions”. He added, “the benefits of this type of event are the conversations that are started as a result of our Summit and the momentum that is ignited for moving forward with projects into the new year”.

Helping the GEDP in the production of this year’s event were Robert Mihovil, Mihovil Photography; Debbie Kirby, Kirby Advertising; Darrell John, DLJ Productions; UTMB; and Melissa Rivera and Leonard Woolsey of the Galveston County Daily News.

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Remembering Jim Guidry

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