The inaugural annual meeting of the Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation was held Friday, Jan. 31 at the Old Fulton Seafood Cafe meeting room.
The purpose of the meeting was for members to convene for the first time to elect directors, followed by the board of directors electing their officers.
Chairman John Jackson opened the meeting addressing fundraising efforts. He announced total pledges are approaching $400,000 for investors’ three-year commitments to the program.
The 33 investors at the time of the meeting were introduced. Jackson talked about the need for Advisory Directors going forward and named Bob Combs (retired executive with experience from the Fredericksburg EDC) and Clayton Reaser (owner of Rockport Terminals and a member of the San Antonio EDC) to those positions.
Nominating Committee Chairman Betty Hattman stated all candidates were considered based on their willingness and ability to serve, their knowledge and commitment, and their impact on the community.
On behalf of the nominating committee, she presented the committee’s recommendation for directors to serve on the board. They are Karen Mella, Re/Max Security Real Estate; Phil Salemi, Ace Hardware; James Creekmore, Johnson & Creekmore, PLLC; and Jim Riedel, Paradise Key Dockside Bar & Grill.
The membership unanimously approved the slate.
Jackson then introduced the Ex-officio members present, including Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills (Aransas County), Mayor Pat Rios (City of Rockport), Mayor Jimmy Kendrick (Town of Fulton), Superintendent Joey Patek (Aransas County Independent School District), and Chairman Malcolm Dieckow (Aransas County Navigation District).
Michael Treyger and Priscilla Duran of the Office of the Governor, Economic Development Division. Treyger presented services from the governor’s office available to the EDC. When asked what direction he would give to a newly formed EDC, he explained the need to decide what you want, who you want, how you want to go after it and who is going to do it.
In the board meeting that followed, the board elected two members at large. They are Rebecca Bagby, Key Allegro Real Estate; and Jackson, The Rockport Group at Morgan Stanley.
Hattman then submitted the following as officers of the organization: Creekmore, treasurer; Bagby, secretary; J. Mark Wagnon (attorney), vice chairman; and Jatin Bhakta (Hampton, Fairfield, LaQuinta Hotels), chairman. All carried unanimously.
Bhakta, the newly elected chairman, spoke about moving forward and set the next meeting for Monday, March 2.
A committee was established to set up a job description and criteria for the hiring of a professional staff person experienced in economic development.
This committee will make a recommendation for going forward in the hiring process at the March 2 meeting.
Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Diane Probst told the board an administrative employee position for the EDC could be funded with a disaster recovery grant administered by the Department of Labor.
For more information, or to invest in the Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation, visit www.investaransascountyedc.org.