Expert panels share economic outlook at Gulf Coast Industry Forum September 19-20

Economic Alliance Houston Port Region economic forum features five business panels
By: Economic Alliance Houston Port Region
DEER PARK, Texas - Sept. 12, 2018 - PRLog -- The Economic Alliance Houston Port Region annual conference, the 2018 Gulf Coast Industry Forum, expands to two full days of panel discussions, policy updates and business presentations from national, state and local experts. The event will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center Sept. 19 and 20.

The expanded schedule allows for five panels of experts to discuss critical topics impacting the petrochemical, maritime and logistics industries in East Harris County – from developing a skilled workforce, to improving logistics infrastructure and maintaining economic conditions conducive to continued economic growth.

The first panel of operations leaders from the petrochemical industry kicks off on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 19. Panel members will provide insights and answer audience questions about sustaining growth and expansion of refining and chemical plants in the Houston Ship Channel region. Cathy Culpepper, INEOS Vice President of Manufacturing for North America, Kim Foley, LyondellBasell Site Manager for its Channelview complex and Derrick Morgan, Senior Vice President of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers will talk about factors impacting continued plant expansions and demand impacts for additional supply. Dennis Winkler, Chief Operating Officer of Winkler Public Relations, will moderate the panel.

Day two of the conference, Sept. 20, will kick off with a morning panel discussion of critical freight transportation issues, including adding necessary infrastructure to safely and efficiently move people and product. Quincy Allen, District Engineer for Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Roger Guenther, Executive Director for Port Houston, Brian Fielkow, President of Jetco Delivery, and Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 2, Jack Morman will headline the panel discussion of infrastructure improvements and other enhancements that to handle the increased number of employees and product shipments moving in the booming East Harris County region. Glenn Royal, chairman of the Economic Alliance will be the moderator.

Later in the morning a workforce development panel will examine strides being made by industry and its education partners in creating a skilled workforce. James Rhame, Vice President of Polymers for Flint Hills Resources, Jeff Garry, Operations Director of Houston Area Operations for Dow Chemical, and Steve Skarke, Executive Vice President, Kaneka North America will round out that panel. Jim Griffin, Associate Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President of San Jacinto College's petrochemical training division will moderate the panel.

Additionally, students from local high schools, community colleges and University of Houston will attend to hear messages about good jobs and careers in the petrochemical, maritime and logistics industries.

An afternoon panel of elected officials, thought leaders and industry association executives will provide a regulatory overview of issues impacting industry economic growth. Panel members include Texas State Senator Larry Taylor, District11, Bryan Zumwalt, Vice President of Federal Affairs for American Chemistry Council, and Kathleen Hartnett-White, Senior Fellow and Director at Texas Public Policy Foundation and a former chair of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Hector Rivero, President and CEO of Texas Chemical Council will facilitate the regulatory overview panel.

Prior to the forum closing keynote, another panel of operations experts from the petrochemical industry will share insights and answer audience questions. William Hammarstrom, Vice President of HyCO Americas for Air Products and John Mabry, Operations Manager of Gulf Coast Growth Ventures for ExxonMobil in Corpus Christi will share their company perspectives on growth in the U.S. and Gulf Coast region. Dennis Winkler will moderate this panel.

In addition to the business leaders participating on panels, several industry executives will deliver opening day speeches about business expansion. Dave Morgan, Senior Vice President, Polymers & Specialties, Chevron Phillips Chemical; Rich Wells, U.S. Gulf Coast Vice President of Operations, Dow Chemical; and, MacCleary, Chairman and CEO of Covestro are featured speakers on Sept. 19.

"We have a strong lineup of speakers and we expect to break our attendance record set just last year when more than 1,200 people registered," said Chad Burke, President and CEO of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. 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 second day, Thursday, Sept. 20, starts with a student breakfast and vendor visits at 8 a.m. and transportation panel 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.

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 outlook forum.

"Very much like our region continues to expand, this conference continues to grow in every aspect," "We have added value with more speakers and content, we have secured more event sponsors," said conference chairman, Roger Blackburn of Wood.

San Jacinto College and Turner Industries are sponsoring a reception at San Jacinto's Maritime Center on Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. BGE is sponsoring a Thursday evening reception following the conference closing keynote in the Pasadena Convention Center.

"It is exciting to add compelling national and global speakers, as well as attract more attendees and sponsors," added Burke.

To register for the conference or to secure a timed agenda, please visit:

Interview opportunities are available with speakers prior to and following presentations.

Dennis Winkler, Winkler Public Relations
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Tags:Petrochemical Expansion, Infrastructure improvements, Workforce Development
Location:Deer Park - Texas - United States
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