E - Economic Development, Hurricane Harvey Recovery, Post Harvey, Presidents Blog, Uncategorized

Hurricane Harvey Progress Report; Officials gathered to hear reports of percentage complete

By Diane Probst, CCE
President/CEO

Elected officials, emergency personnel, first responders, long term recovery team
members, and key players in the Hurricane Harvey Recovery effort met this week to review, report and conclude the overall percentage complete for projects related to the disaster that struck the Rockport-Fulton area August 25, 2017.
Emergency Operations Director and Fulton Police Chief Rick McLester received reports from department heads and key leaders reflecting where we are at the end of the 2018 year, 15-months post Hurricane Harvey. He opened the meeting stating how the flow of the verbal reporting process would function. “This will give us a great reading on where we are but also let each other know what the other person has done and needs to do, said McLester. He encouraged everyone to take a step back and look at all that has been accomplished.
Senior Advisor for Long Term Recovery William Whitson gave a brief overview of the Long Term Recovery Plan via Skype. He stated the plan is divided into two areas: Individual assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA). These are areas affecting residents and local government as a whole. He highlighted areas of the 140-plus page plan and where the Long Term Recovery Team is currently in terms of completion for each issue area. He stated some areas are at 75% complete while other areas such as housing are 40-50% complete.
Other reports of percentage completion were given for the following areas: Debris management 99%, Beaches 80-90%, Power 75-80%, Lodging 50%, Businesses 89%, Public Schools 70-75%, Local Attractions 75%, Airport 10-15%, Housing 40-50%, Law Enforcement 65%, Public Schools 70-75%, and Street Signs 60%. Although much progress has been made, reports of delays in areas of funding, insurance, red tape,
paperwork, etc. still remain as obstacles. In conclusion, McLester reminded everyone “This is a marathon, not a sprint. Our goal in the beginning was and still is if one person falls through the cracks then we have failed. We have to take care of our fellow man.”
Representatives from the Volunteer Reception Center and the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group reported the need for more volunteers to come to our community to assist with rebuild projects. “We have some 500 projects yet to complete. We have people just now coming forward who have started to realize they can’t do it on their own. We want them to feel comfortable to come down to the First Baptist Church to get on the list to get the assistance they need,” stated Cyndi Powell of Hands of Hope Organization.
For homeowners still needing assistance, the Texas General Land Office’s homeowner Assistance Program contracted with GrantWorks, a housing repair program. GrantWorks is expected to help repair thousands of homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The local office is open at 2803 Hwy 35 in the Live Oak Shopping Center next to Popeye’s. The Coastal Bend Region was allocated more than $121 million on a first-come first-served basis. Homeowners with damage are encouraged to stop by the Rockport location or go online here.
Aransas County Judge Burt Mills in his remarks praised the Long Term Recovery Team and the progress they have made. “The team has done an outstanding job for us and he would hate to even think about where we would be without them,” concludes Mills.
For more information, call the Long Term Recovery Hotline at 361-790-9496 or visit here.

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A - Advocate, E - Economic Development, Hurricane Harvey Recovery, Post Harvey, Presidents Blog, Uncategorized

Wow! There is a lot in this plan!

By Diane Probst, CCE

President/CEO

This past year, in collaboration with Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University, the Aransas County Long Term Recovery Team (LTRT) and all jurisdictions within the County have drafted an Aransas County Long Term Recovery Action Plan and Report.

Long Term Recovery Leaders William Whitson and Kim Foutz have been working on the plan since their arrival mid-October 2017. The Report was written to lay out a plan to detail actions after Hurricane Harvey and to document the challenges we face and have faced along the way in the Long Term Recovery process.

This final draft has been posted for public comment. Click here for the link. Please note, it is a very large document and will take some time to load. You do not have to join Dropbox to view.

So what’s in the plan that you should be aware of? Take a look at the chart on page 4 for a helicopter overview of all the components of the recovery. Then scroll to page 13 for the funding mechanisms and take into account the complexity of the system. Read through the housing challenges on pages 40-46 and skim to Workforce Housing on page 51. The potential projects underway gives an overview of what’s in the works and this can be found on pages 62-63. The entire “economic” recovery plan is on pages 75-84. The barometer of recovery pages 123-124 explain more about how to measure our success. The funding mechanism charts are helpful. Read through them on pages 129-140. The 142 page document is full of information to guide us in the recovery process.  Keep in mind it is a constant moving target so information has to be updated almost as soon as it is documented.

A full Progress Report meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 3 p.m. in the Emergency Operations Center. Emergency Management Director and Fulton Police Chief Rick McLester will lead the discussions as department heads and long term recovery officials give their reports at the 15-16 month mark post Harvey.

 

 

A - Advocate, E - Economic Development, Hurricane Harvey Recovery, L - Leadership, Leadership Aransas County, N - Networking, P-Promote, Presidents Blog, Uncategorized

Last quarter of the year needs your support now more than ever

Last quarter of the year needs your local support more than ever before
The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors met Tuesday, Oct. 16 and the following are items currently in motion at your Chamber of Commerce:

Top 5 Highlights of the Month were:

  1. Seafair and its impact on local organizations and the economy

  2. Nation’s Capitol visit with other Chambers in the Coastal Bend

  3. Corpus Christi Ad Campaign is in full motion. Monitoring closely to maximize results.

  4. Met with Workforce Executives on agreement for temporary office.

  5. Working with the Travel & Tourism Division for tour of information center counselors the first week of November.

Seafair – This 33-member strong committee has successfully completed the 44th annual Seafair. They each did an outstanding job.  Additional tent was needed for overflow of vendors. Reached 120 vendors, 3 boutique vendors, 4 food trucks, and 10 food booths.

– Huge crowd Saturday from approximately 5:30 p.m. and beyond.

– Successful fundraiser for RFHS Choir, RFHS Emeralds, and RFHS Project Graduation raising a grand total of nearly $5,000.00.

– Zip code reports tell us a large percentage of people were from out of town. Waiting for final totals.

– All committee chairs agreed to remain in their positions for next year – the 45th anniversary Oct. 10-13, 2019.

– Will debrief on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend this session.

Coastal Bend to DC Trip – Great reception at the Cheniere offices upon arrival. Met with lead governmental affairs personnel. Break briefing with the US Chamber of Commerce on Trade Policy, Immigration and Energy. Photo on the Capitol Steps and Speaker’s Balcony with Congressman Cloud followed by a briefing on Transportation & Infrastructure, FEMA, Homeland Security, Texas Governor’s DC office, Housing, and Military Affairs. Reception followed at restaurant across from the Nation’s Capitol with Congressman Cloud’s staff. Visits also with Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz. Interesting to interact with industry officials and how that all fits into the Coastal Bend Region.

Corpus Christi 50-mile radius Ad Campaign – Coordinated the creative work for this campaign creating digital ads and tv commercial. Press releases are forthcoming. Will also do presentations in front of groups to encourage people to come over for dinner, etc.

Workforce – Met with Workforce executives on the idea of locating a workforce employee inside Chambers of Commerce in the Coastal Bend Region. Del Mar College is working with our Chamber on a Rebuild Texas Fund grant for skills training for carpenters in the region. Working also on providing another Rural Small Business Developer employee for our Chamber through the Disaster Recovery Grant.

Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) – Working with TTIA Davis Phillips to create a dynamic tour through our area of information center managers, media and state personnel. This is a great group to have come through our area so they can give the correct information on how we look after the hurricane as they run the 12 information centers throughout Texas. We also attended the Texas Travel Industry Association Travel Summit in Galveston this past month. Galveston officials were exceptional as they treated us to lunch and gave pointers on what worked for them through the Hurricane Ike Recovery.

Small Business Saturday – Committee is currently working through the details to make this Saturday (Thanksgiving Weekend) a great sales day.

Small Business Grants – Working with Coastal Bend United Chambers to start third and last round of funding. Collectively, if all goes as planned, will have raised $1 million for small businesses after Hurricane Harvey. There have been no administrative costs taken out of these funds.

EDC and ED Plan – Continue to pursue the formation of an Economic Development Corporation. Next meeting is Monday, Nov. 5 at 12 noon at the Chamber.

RF Chamber Foundation – Coordinated with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the State Comptroller to carry out beverage sales license permit for Seafair. This will provide a much needed revenue stream for the General Operating Fund. Worked with local attorney Brent Klender to create Seafair Agreement between the Chamber and the Foundation.

Bay Blazers Membership Team – Membership renewals are steady but have to be monitored closely. Harvey We Won Ribbon Cuttings are going well and continue to keep everyone busy. Will be working on bringing in 10 new members each month. Business After Hours continues to be a popular event. This month it will be at Juicy’s Airstream Retreat Oct. 25 from 5 pm. to 6:30 p.m.

Building Repairs – Flooring will commence after Seafair then paint outside and portions of the inside.

Leadership Aransas County – Class has formed. First session on “Community Planning” went well. They learned about master planning, zoning and the comprehensive plan. The next session is the ropes course Oct. 27 at Camp Aranzazu.

Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Breakfast – Attended breakfast. Gave Report on activity. Let them know we are progressing. Trying to stay in the forefront so we are not forgotten.

Executive Workgroup – Department heads continue to meet on Long Term Recovery.

Hotel & Lodging Council –We have a little more than 1,000 rooms open now. This group has gone to quarterly meetings. Each hotel and rental property companies have been asked to provide zip codes per month for monitoring advertising results.

RV Park Council – One of our larger group meetings. Facebook group page going well. They meet the last Wednesday at the Chamber at 12 Noon. They were sponsored a lunch meal last month by South Texas Bone & Joint.

Tourism Development Council – Next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 8 at 10:30 a.m. Charmers, volunteer greeters at the Visitor Center, continue to do great work and love their monthly tours and training.

Business Builders (Small Business Council) – Business of the Month for this month was Moore Than Feed. Looking at how to promote the Member2Member ID Card Program. Working on Small Business Saturday set for Thanksgiving Weekend. Business Breakfast for September went well with speakers on insurance and tax credits. Waiting on Chamber Academy item with Small Business Toolkit.

Youth Leadership Aransas County – This program is going really well. Chair Dawn Walker had a great session with them on the ropes course at Camp Aranzazu. Their next session is Oct. 20 with history on the boat ride with Capt. Tommy Moore followed by a session at the Fulton Mansion. They were able to secure enough sponsors to give T-Shirts to each student. They also received a grant this month from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation for $2,000.00.

Leadership Alumni Association – Have set up the next Candidates Panel & Issues Forum for Oct. 22 for ACND Navigation District Election set for Nov. 6. They have brochures ready for the Candidates & Issues School. LAC Attack will be held the first Saturday in June.

HummerBird Celebration – This event did as well as we received the rain insurance claim for Friday at $10,000 and Business Continuity Income for the cancellation of last year’s event. Will review year end totals and proceed forward to reviewing surveys and making the event better for next year. Dates are: Sept. 19-22, 2019.

Governmental Affairs Council – Reviewing items on the Federal, State and Local levels. Reviewing the Corpus Christi Chamber’s legislative agenda. Next meeting was Thursday, Oct. 18. Aransas County Day planning under way. Date is set for Feb. 27-28, 2019.

Christmas Luncheon Committee – Luncheon is set for Dec. 4. Will have a total of three meetings. Need to decide on location. Silent and raffle items.

Attractions Committee – Continues to meet monthly to review and collaborate on upcoming events. This is a committee of all local attraction staff.

Please join in at Network Wednesdays every Wednesday of the week at the Chamber at 10 a.m.

 

These are the main points of discussion at the Board of Directors meeting reviewing the current activities and programs of the Chamber. Other reports were given from governmental representatives present. The Board consists of 23 businesses owners, representatives of non-profit organizations and individuals.
For more information, visit www.rockport-fulton.org, call the Chamber at 361-729-6445  or stop by at 319 Broadway, Rockport. TX 78382.
A - Advocate, E - Economic Development, Hurricane Harvey Recovery, L - Leadership, N - Networking, P-Promote, Presidents Blog, Uncategorized

Last quarter of the year review and highlights

Chamber of Commerce News
By Diane Probst, CCE
President/CEO
Local support and shopping needed now as we go through this slow economic period 
 
The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors met Tuesday, Oct. 16 and the following are items currently in motion at your Chamber of Commerce:

Top 5 Highlights of the Month were:

  1. Seafair and its impact on local organizations and the economy
  2. Nation’s Capitol visit with other Chambers in the Coastal Bend

  3. Corpus Christi Ad Campaign is in full motion. Monitoring closely to maximize results.

  4. Met with Workforce Executives on agreement for temporary office.

  5. Working with the Travel & Tourism Division for tour of information center counselors the first week of November.


Seafair – This 33-member strong committee has successfully completed the 44th annual Seafair. They each did an outstanding job.  Additional tent was needed for overflow of vendors. Reached 120 vendors, 3 boutique vendors, 4 food trucks, and 10 food booths. Huge crowd Saturday from approximately 5:30 p.m. and beyond. Successful fundraiser for RFHS Choir, RFHS Emeralds, and RFHS Project Graduation raising a grand total of nearly $5,000.00. Zip code reports tell us a large percentage of people were from out of town. Waiting for final totals. All 33 committee chairs agreed to remain in their positions for next year – the 45th anniversary Oct. 10-13, 2019. Will debrief on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend this session.

Coastal Bend to DC Trip – Great reception at the Cheniere offices upon arrival. Met with lead governmental affairs personnel. Break briefing with the US Chamber of Commerce on Trade Policy, Immigration and Energy. Photo on the Capitol Steps and Speaker’s Balcony with Congressman Cloud followed by a briefing on Transportation & Infrastructure, FEMA, Homeland Security, Texas Governor’s DC office, Housing, and Military Affairs. Reception followed at restaurant across from the Nation’s Capitol with Congressman Cloud’s staff. Visits also with Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz. Interesting to interact with industry officials and how that all fits into the Coastal Bend Region.

Corpus Christi 50-mile radius Ad Campaign – Coordinated the creative work for this campaign creating digital ads and tv commercial. Press releases are forthcoming. Will also do presentations in front of groups to encourage people to come over for dinner, etc.

Workforce – Met with Workforce executives on the idea of locating a workforce employee inside Chambers of Commerce in the Coastal Bend Region. Del Mar College is working with our Chamber on a Rebuild Texas Fund grant for skills training for carpenters in the region. Working also on providing another Rural Small Business Developer employee for our Chamber through the Disaster Recovery Grant. 

Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) – Working with TTIA Davis Phillips to create a dynamic tour through our area of information center managers, media and state personnel. This is a great group to have come through our area so they can give the correct information on how we look after the hurricane as they run the 12 information centers throughout Texas. We also attended the Texas Travel Industry Association Travel Summit in Galveston this past month. Galveston officials were exceptional as they treated us to lunch and gave pointers on what worked for them through the Hurricane Ike Recovery.

Small Business Grants – Working with Coastal Bend United Chambers to start third and last round of funding. Collectively, if all goes as planned, will have raised $1 million for small businesses after Hurricane Harvey. There have been no administrative costs taken out of these funds.

EDC and ED Plan – Continue to pursue the formation of an Economic Development Corporation. Next meeting is Monday, Nov. 5 at 12 noon at the Chamber.    

RF Chamber Foundation – Coordinated with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the State Comptroller to carry out beverage sales license permit for Seafair. This will provide a much needed revenue stream for the General Operating Fund. Worked with local attorney Brent Klender to create Seafair Agreement between the Chamber and the Foundation.

Bay Blazers Membership Team – Membership renewals are steady but have to be monitored closely. Harvey We Won Ribbon Cuttings are going well and continue to keep everyone busy. Will be working on bringing in 10 new members each month. Business After Hours continues to be a popular event. This month it will be at Juicy’s Airstream Retreat Oct. 25 from 5 pm. to 6:30 p.m. 

Building Repairs – Flooring will commence after Seafair then paint outside and portions of the inside. 

Leadership Aransas County Class has formed. First session on “Community Planning” went well. They learned about master planning, zoning and the comprehensive plan. The next session is the ropes course Oct. 27 at Camp Aranzazu.

Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Breakfast – Attended breakfast. Gave Report on activity. Let them know we are progressing. Trying to stay in the forefront so we are not forgotten.  

Executive Workgroups – Department heads continue to meet on Long Term Recovery.

Hotel & Lodging Council –We have a little more than 1,000 rooms open now. This group has gone to quarterly meetings. Each hotel and rental property companies have been asked to provide zip codes per month for monitoring advertising results.

RV Park Council – One of our larger group meetings. Facebook group page going well. They meet the last Wednesday at the Chamber at 12 Noon. They were sponsored a lunch meal last month by South Texas Bone & Joint.  

Tourism Development Council – Next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 8 at 10:30 a.m. Charmers, volunteer greeters at the Visitor Center, continue to do great work and love their monthly tours and training.

Business Builders (Small Business Council) – Business of the Month for this month was Moore Than Feed. Looking at how to promote the Member2Member ID Card Program. Working on Small Business Saturday set for Thanksgiving Weekend. Business Breakfast for September went well with speakers on insurance and tax credits. Waiting on Chamber Academy item with Small Business Toolkit.   

Youth Leadership Aransas County – This program is going really well. Chair Dawn Walker had a great session with them on the ropes course at Camp Aranzazu. Their next session is Oct. 20 with history on the boat ride with Capt. Tommy Moore followed by a session at the Fulton Mansion. They were able to secure enough sponsors to give T-Shirts to each student. They also received a grant this month from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation for $2,000.00.

Leadership Alumni Association – Have set up the next Candidates Panel & Issues Forum for Oct. 22 for ACND Navigation District Election set for Nov. 6. They have brochures ready for the Candidates & Issues School. LAC Attack will be held the first Saturday in June.

HummerBird Celebration – This event did as well as we received the rain insurance claim for Friday at $10,000 and Business Continuity Income for the cancellation of last year’s event. Will review year end totals and proceed forward to reviewing surveys and making the event better for next year. Dates are: Sept. 19-22, 2019.

Governmental Affairs Council – Reviewing items on the Federal, State and Local levels. Reviewing the Corpus Christi Chamber’s legislative agenda. Next meeting is Thursday, Oct. 18. Aransas County Day planning under way.

Christmas Luncheon Committee – Luncheon is set for Dec. 4. Will have a total of three meetings. Need to decide on location. Silent and raffle items.

Attractions Committee – Continue to meet monthly to review; collaborate on upcoming events.

These are the main points of discussion at the Board of Directors meeting reviewing the current activities and programs of the Chamber. Other reports were given from governmental representatives present. The Board consists of 23 businesses owners, representatives of non-profit organizations and individuals. For more information, visit www.rockport-fulton.org, call the Chamber at 361-729-6445  or stop by at 319 Broadway, Rockport. TX 78382.

Rockport-Fulton Chamber
A - Advocate, E - Economic Development, L - Leadership, N - Networking, P-Promote, Presidents Blog

Be Informed, Get Connected Communications Update

By Diane Probst, CCE
President/CEO

Be Informed and Get Connected
Over the last couple of months we have been monitoring and adapting Chamber communications to better suit our businesses and visitors’ needs. We have learned the power and importance of digital media marketing in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. As we look to the future we have worked to produce a streamlined product that is both easy to understand and effective. Below is an outline of communication that we will use going forward. Connect, share and engage with us as we work together to grow, promote and support your business.

What is your Role?
The engagement stats that we receive on a monthly basis from Social Media and the Rockport-Fulton.org website are off the charts. Take the time to update your member site through the Chamber website. You can make sure your Social Media pages are populated and have contact info so we can connect visitors with your sites. We will be reaching out to businesses and attractions to host the Facebook Live sessions in businesses throughout the community each week.    Link here to full email

Social Media
#VisitRockportFulton I #RockportFultonChamber I FindYourselfInRockportFulton

 

E - Economic Development, Presidents Blog, Uncategorized

LinkedIn for Jobs

Chamber linking people to jobs in Aransas County

By Diane Probst, IOM, CCE

President/CEO

One of the roles of our Chamber is to provide resources for Workforce Development to businesses. Over the years we have evolved into how that action takes place. In recent studies, researchers tell us that the largest majority of jobs are searched for and received online. The Chamber website houses a page for workforce development opportunities. Click here to view. Over the past two months we have enlisted several social media accounts to help with this. One we find useful is LinkedIn. Have you connected with us? Click here to follow the Chamber’s LinkedIn Page, our content will focus on business and economic information for Aransas County.
The Chamber has strengthened its Social Media influence over the last couple of months by better branding, more conscious content and the overall digital appearance of the ChamberLinkedIn. We are thrilled to see a huge increase in traffic and engagement.
An area of LinkedIn that we find useful is linking jobs and careers to people. We have established links on our website here. The links below highlight available jobs in the region by various employment levels:
We are asking local businesses to post their available jobs on their respective accounts. If you do not have an account contact Mike Woods, Small Business Coordinator at the Chamber.  We want to establish a quick reference for all those seeking jobs as well as a way for employers of the Rockport-Fulton area to find jobs.
We have a lot of job opportunities available in the region due to the Port of Corpus Christi, the Harbor Bridge expansion projects and Gulf Coast Ventures. Online activity is getting good results but together, we can make it better. LinkedIn and other major employment databases like Indeed and Glassdoor are also great resources.
Here is how we can help you:
  1. Go find the Rockport-Fulton LinkedIn in page.
  2. Make sure you click to follow.
  3. Populate your page with your job postings and tag the Rockport-Fulton Chamber page. You can ask most anyone under the age of 30 to help you do this if needed.
Good luck and let the “posting to job seekers” begin! Let’s get this going!
E - Economic Development, Hurricane Harvey Recovery, Post Harvey

Online job websites helping rebuild workforce

By Diane Probst, CCE
President/CEO

Let’s focus on seeking employees. How do you seek for new employees? The total number of jobs in Aransas County is now about 9,800. Take out 1,127 government jobs, you have 8,673 private sector jobs. If you are using 928 plus some businesses that are now open (perhaps 1,100 for the whole county), then it’s approximately 9 jobs per business. That is a lot of employees and positions to fill. The million dollar question is how can you fill these positions with good quality folks. We know another question is where are they going to live but we are working on that too. The focus today is on seeking employees.

A 2015 Pew Research Center report revealed that 79 percent of Americans seeking employment in the previous two years used online resources as part of their job search — more than personal connections or professional contacts, and twice as much as hiring agencies, traditional ads, or job fairs. Nearly one-third of job hunters said the internet was their most important resource.

In today’s world, seeking jobs through an online job seeker website is a must. If you think hanging a Help Wanted sign in your window is what you need, then you are wrong. He is what we want you to do as we continue in the rebuild process for Rockport, Fulton and all of Aransas County.

Local business owners tell me the way to hire during this difficult time is through online job sites. So which are the best for our unique situation. In the study, for Best Job Sites for 2018, sites were tested for the best algorithms, usability, freshness, frequency of new posts, best email alerts and overall quality. According to Review.com, the best online job sites are:

Glassdoor for the most job listings
Indeed for being the most comprehensive
LinkedIn for its great networking capabilities

Use these sites to bring the employees to you. It is amazing to see the number of jobs available listed on the site WorkInTexas.com established by the Texas Workforce Commission. You need to list your positions here as well because it is good to let the region know you are looking for employees.
If you are interested in serving on a Quick Action Task Force to come up with solutions to advance this situation, please contact me here.