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2017 Annual Report

Rockport Ful t n o Chamber of Commerce ‘Set Sail’ with the Chamber By BETTY HATTMAN 2017-18 Chairman On behalf of the Board of Directors I want to thank Rick McKinney for his strong and steady leadership of the Chamber this past year. Rick’s sound judgment, tenacity and commitment have enabled the Board to fulfill our goal of Guiding Members to Success. I am honored to follow in his footsteps. As I pondered the theme for the 201718 year, I focused on the Chamber’s mission of working in partnership with business, individuals and government leaders to promote commerce and tourism while maintaining our beautiful environment. In keeping with our Charm of the Texas

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We accomplished much in 2016-17 By RICK McKINNEY 2016-17 Chairman I was proud to serve as your chairman this past year. We started the year off with a very productive strategic planning retreat identifying areas where we wanted task forces established, goals we wanted accomplished for the Chamber and the community. The Rockport-Fulton Chamber is structured with five divisions; Economic Development Division, Program & Events Division, Membership Division, Operations Division and the Community Partners Division. Each division was focused on accomplishing the program of work outlined at the Board of Directors Retreat. I am pleased to announce every area was 90 to 100% completed. Here are just some of the items focused on this year: • Membership Level Sponsorship increased by 35% over the previous year helping operate the Chamber and bring each member more programs and activities. • M2M Discount Card funded and mailed to all members giving a direct link member to member. • Formed productive Councils now meeting monthly in the areas of RV Parks, Hotel & Lodging, Home Based Business with incredible networking forming each and every time they meet. • Leadership Aransas County funded the fence restoration project of the Rockport Cemetery and completed a full 9-month section of learning how our community works. They were encouraged to seek leadership positions in the future. • Workforce Enhancement Task Force is working hard to strengthen continuing education credits with Del Mar College and our online courses. • Windshield Bus Tour was presented with the most comprehensive list of business development in the region. • Marketing and Promotion of the Community is of highest priority. • Designed and printed a Business Brochure to attract Tier II & Tier III level businesses to the area.

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Top accomplishments for the year By DIANE PROBST, CCE President/CEO Working with a full program of work to accomplish the goals set forth by the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce board of directors, committees and staff and working hard to produce activities and programs for a chamber you can be very proud of. All activities are done with the thought process of “how does this help the businesses or organizations of our community.â€? It’s all about building the economy with good solid promotion, leadership training, advocating for the needs of the businesses, organizations, and the community, and a tremendous amount of networking. Here are some highlights and accomplishments for the year. • Held a successful Seafair boosting the economy during a slow period • Holiday Luncheon featured the Corpus Christi Symphony • Held brainstorming session with Charmers and Millennials on how to keep our Visitor Center relevant • Setup Chamber Academy and ZipEdTech eLearning Series • Shelly Stuart of our staff served as Class Advisor for the US Chamber’s Winter Institute • Formed the Rockport-Fulton Chamber Foundation for scholarships and workforce

training • Completed “Where Business Meets Funâ€? EDC Brochure • Created and mailed the M2M Discount Card • Chamber Magazine updated, completed and distributed • Promoted the Veterans Wall – The Wall that Heals to attract just under 10,000 people • Hotel Occupancy Review Informational Meeting Held • Revamped TV Promotions with new footage and fresh look • Chamber Map updated, completed and distributed. • Shelly Stuart of our staff graduated from Center for Chamber Excellence • Hospitality Training Courses get great reviews • Exciting Non-Profit Chamber Organization Award Chamber Luncheon • Spring Fling Outdoor Media Event resulting in nice articles featuring our area in the news • Great exposure at the Rockport-Fulton Night at the Hooks Game with 500 in attendance • Business Expo was largest ever with a new tent outside. • Very informative Chamber Luncheon on “Tourism and the HOT Fund Collections/ Expendituresâ€?

• Named one of the Top 6 places in the US for Affordable Vacation Beach Homes by TripAdvisor • First ever SKYPE Conference Call with our Congressman • LAC Attack Kayak Fishing Tournament raised just under $2,000 for Youth Leadership • Hurricane Preparedness Breakfast had 114 in attendance, Fulton evening event had 140 people • Dedication of Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary and ADA Kayak Opening at St. Charles Bay • Full evening of airtime on San Antonio PBS station featuring our Little Bay Sea Queens • Completed full lineup and online registration for HummerBird Celebration set for Sept. 14-17 where 90% of the event attendees are from out of town. • Mailed 5,000 past attendees of the HummerBird Celebration a newsletter • Successful Best Practices Visit with the Grapevine Chamber • Sandy Jumper of our staff completed the Texas Travel Industry Association’s Tourism College receiving her Certified Tourism Executive designation. There were three important task forces formed from the Board of Directors Retreat last August. Those Task Force’s assignments were to pursue the following:

• Young Professionals - Review what it would take to get more of the millennial generation into leadership roles into our community. A group has now been formed under the direction of Blake McDavid, Vice Chairman of the Board and Courtney Sanchez, newly appointed Associate Director of the Board. • Workforce Enhancement – Determine ways to improve the current workforce through skills training, middle school and high school programs, and hospitality training and certification programs. A team has met with Del Mar College and the Workforce Solutions of Coastal Bend representatives to form partnerships to receive training grants and continuing education credits. • Civic Center 2023 – The future will be upon us before we know it. A committee of all those seeking to build a building for their organization convened several times during the year which prompted very good discussions for around the 2023 year and the facilities and funding available at that time period. This group will meet again mid-October to determine the next step. It is hard to believe another year has gone by. It is great pleasure that we serve our community. If you would like to get more involved with the Chamber, please send me an email and let me know what area is your area of interest. We would love to have you!













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Chamber staff profiles

Diane Probst, IOM, CCE is the President/CEO of the Chamber and has held that position since 1990. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University - College Station, a graduate of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management and a Certified Chamber Executive from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. She also completed the economic development course at Texas A&M University and the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Chamber of Commerce Excellence Program. She is past chairman the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives in Austin. She is the recipient of the 2012 Marvin Hurley Award achieving that organization’s highest award. She launched her book titled Chamberology in 2014. It is an inspirational all-in-one guide to maximizing a Chamber professional’s potential for building and maintaining a five-star organization. She and her husband, Mike, have two grown daughters. Alyssa (Doug) Wilson and Ashlee (Cody) Lynch. They have three grandchildren: Ben, Connor and Campbell. Shelly Stuart, IOM, is Vice President of Operations. She has held this position since June of 2011. Shelly joined the staff at the Chamber as Membership Coordinator in November of 2004 then served as Office Manager from 2007 to 2011. Shelly started as a volunteer by serving as a Bay Blazer and was Chairman of the Small Business Council (Business Builders) a committee which she is still involved in today. She is a graduate of LAC Class IX and is now coordinator of the program. Shelly is also staff liaison for the LAC Alumni Executive Committee, Youth Leadership Council and LAC Steering Committee. Stuart is a graduate of Institute for Organizational Management at Tucson, AZ and recently received her certificate from Center for Chamber of Commerce Excellence from the University of Oklahoma’s Outreach Program. She has lived in the RockportFulton area since 2000. Shelly’s position at the Chamber keeps her involved in many activities outside the office and she spends most of her spare time entertaining her 9 ½ year old grandson, Samuel. Sandy Jumper is the Director of Tourism and Events. Sandy joined the Chamber Staff in 2011. She is a Marketing graduate from Northeast Mississippi Community College and recently received her CTE (Certified Tourism Executive) status from the Texas Travel and Tourism Industry Association’s Tourism College. Before joining the Chamber staff she worked in various areas of the Hospitality and

Marketing Industry. Other prior work experience includes working in the non-profit and educational industries as well as running a family business. Sandy has lived in the Rockport-Fulton area for over nine years. She and her husband, Randy, own property that sits on the dividing line between Rockport and Fulton, making her a true representative of both. Sandy enjoys her work and delights in the increase of tourism in the area. She works closely with HummerBird, Seafair, Spring Fling, Heroes Cup, Attractions, and the Tourism Development Council. She also serves on the Steering committee for Aransas Pathways. Sandy is a member of Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, where she sits on the Membership Committee. She will receive her TDM (Texas Destination Marketer) certification in August. She is a twotime recipient of the Kay Wolf/Rob Early award. It is the highest award given to an individual working within the tourism industry by Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council (TCBRTC). She is serving her second term as President of TCBRTC. Bob Strait is the Visitor Center Coordinator at the Chamber. He was born and raised in East Texas. After high school, he joined the Navy. He has a BS in Business Management. He worked in management for various major freight forward companies loading and unloading aircraft throughout his career. He retired in 2006 and started traveling. During his tenure with the air freight companies, he was exposed to a lot of customer service both on the phone and in person while making sales calls. He finally decided to make Rockport-Fulton his home in 2009 and has been working and volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce ever since. He loves talking and visiting with the many visitors who walk in to the Visitor Center. Paula Hollingworth is the Receptionist. Originally from Port Isabel, Paula moved to the Rockport-Fulton area in June of 2016, shortly after joined the Chamber working part-time. Prior to that she and her husband, traveled to many parts of the country for the past 20 years. During her first week with the Chamber she gladly attended the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Chamber Basics Fall Conference in Austin for a one-day “boot camp” about Chamber operations. Paula’s work experience includes taking part as a

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Building Relationships. Building Families. Communities are like families ... When everyone comes together and works together, wonderful things can happen. The spirit of community is alive and well, right here and now thanks to the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. We proudly salute you and your accomplishments.

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Past award recipients Citizen of the Year 1993 - Ceil Frost 1994 - Dunny Dunsworth 1995 - Nancy Cooper 1996 - John Jackson 1997- Allen Ray Moers 1998 - Glenda Burdick 1999 - Van Hovanesian 2000 - Valerie Guillory 2001 - Penny Baldwin 2002 - Richard Dias 2003 - Kam Wagert 2004 - Tom Staley 2005 - Don Hanks 2006- Bobby Jackson 2007 - Jack Wright 2008 - Susie Bracht Black 2009 - Barbara Long 2010 - Pete Chamberlain 2011 - Carla Reed 2012 - Jerry Lewis 2013 - DeMcLallen 2014 - Phil & Pam Stranahan 2015 - Tom Callan 2016 - Penny Hong Chamber Members of the Year 1993 - Dunny Dunsworth 1994 - Dunny Dunsworth 1995 - Glenn Guillory 1996 - Nancy Mayhood 1997 - Don Hanks 1998 - Debbie Luce 1999 - Gary VanAntwerp 2000 - Martin Cabaniss 2001 - Les Edmonds 2002 - Kay Wise-Denty 2003 - Asa Yeamans 2004 - Kelly Gibson 2005 - Pat Hall 2006 - Laura Denham 2007 - Kam Wagert 2008 - Craig Griffin 2009 - Peggy Mayo 2010 - Carla Rinche 2011 - Brian Olsen 2012 - Lynda Pouyer 2013 - Tiffanie Hoover 2014 - Abigail Hutchinson 2015 - Marsha Reid 2016 - Robert Mitchell

Bay Blazer of the Year 2004 – Julie McLeish 2005 – Irma Parker 2006 – Lamar Story 2007 – Kelly Gibson 2008 – Peggy Chapman 2009 – Gene Harrison 2010 – Dana Daniel 2011 – Dana Daniel 2012 – Gene Harrison 2013 – Gene Harrison 2014 – Tempe Parisette 2015 - Dawn Walker 2016 - Diana Pardue

Meetings Bay Blazers First Wednesday monthly Business Builders First Thursday monthly

Big Open Luncheons Second Tuesday monthly (Summers Off)

Small Business of the Year 2010- KRM Consulting 2011 – J&M A/C 2012 – Seaworthy Marine 2013 – Fulton Convention Center 2014 – Angel Rose & & B 2015 - Humane Society 2016 - Sugar Shack, Legends, Magnolias

Board of Directors Third Tuesday monthly

July - 1st Community Bank Aug. - Allen Samuels Sept. - Eling Real Estate Oct. - Edward Jones (Sam Spears) Nov. - Diamante Azul Dec. - Bella La Rue Jan. - Crab-N Feb. - Schoppe Insurance March - Lee Construction April - Hampton Inn May - Full Circle Printing June - Stevie Lew’s BBQ

Mission Statement The mission statement of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is to work in partnership with businesses, individuals and governmental entities to promote commerce and tourism while maintaining and enhancing the environment.



Magazine Maga Ma gaaazi zine zin ne


Leadership AC Steering Com. First Thursday quarterly

Businesses of the Month (July 2016 - June 2017)


Charmers (Volunteers) Last Tuesday monthly

Business Builder of the Year 2010 – Kathy David 2011 – Jatin Bhakta 2012 – Lynn Baskind 2013 – Elizabeth Klontz 2014 – Elizabeth Martin 2015 - Becky Mays 2016- Candy Fletcher

Non-Profit of the Year 2016 - Castaways


Economic Dev. Council First Monday monthly

Leadership AC Alumni Annual Meeting held in July Tourism Dev. Council Last Thursday every other month


Business After Hours Last Thursday monthly Finance Committee Friday or Monday before 3rd Tuesday Business Breakfasts Last Wednesday monthly (Check calendar for dates) Business Counseling (Tuesdays, Call for appt.)

It is great to be a member of our


Seafair Committee Mondays- Varies HummerBird Celebration Committee Thursday - Varies Governmental Affairs Council Third Thursday Hotel & Lodging Council Third Wednesday RV Park Council Last Wednesday Here Everything's Better.™

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Home Based Business Council Last Wednesday following “Network Wednesday”

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Coast motto, and my lifelong experience as a sailor, I selected “Set Sail with the Chamber.” In business and life it is not always smooth sailing and just as a sail must be adjusted for wind conditions, we all must adjust for new conditions. We celebrate the new opportunities from the Coastal Bend’s economic growth, but we also want to remain that Charm of the Texas Coast. The Chamber brings together community leaders to focus on the issues facing businesses, individuals, and government entities. When you and your business Set Sail With the Chamber you are joining that partnership for growth and prosperity. I am excited about the strength of our Board of Directors who represent diverse business-

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• The Wall That Heals Exhibit was brought to the Festival Grounds attracting just under 10,000 attendees. • Governmental Affairs Council and Aransas County Day at the Capitol continue to grow this program and held our first SKYPE Conference Call. • Formed the Rockport-Fulton Chamber Foundation to establish scholarhips and hospitality training for the workforce. • Rockport-Fulton Seafair bringing in out of towners and locals to enjoy a festival by the sea during a slow economic period for our community. • HummerBird Celebration bringing in a strong attendance from more than 180 cities in Texas, 27 states and eight countries. A new year brings changes in leadership and I would like to say thank you to my Board of Directors, you have been phenomenal. My greatest appreciation goes to


you for being a champion of your particular area somewhere in the Chamber whether it be in a fundraising capacity such as Seafair, on a Task Force or Focus Group to fine tune a program such as Chamber Academy, for attending countless meetings and helping run the Chamber to the utmost of your abilities. My Executive Board of Chair-Elect Betty Hattman of TCS Telecom, Past Chair Tiffanie Hoover of Ron Hoover RV & Boat Sales, Vice Chairman Cindy Duck, DJD Consulting, Vice Chairman Blake McDavid of GSM Insurors and Diane Probst, President/CEO met so diligently developing and monitoring all activities of the Chamber. I could not be more proud to serve with this great team. I look forward to an awesome 2017-18 year, thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

es and organizations. Along with our 5-Star Chamber Staff we can effectively promote and advocate for our community and businesses. We will work diligently to build and grow our economy along with improving the amenities for all of us who live here. We look forward to our Board of Directors and Committee Chair Strategy Planning Retreat in August. At that half-day event we will collectively plan our “Program of Work” for the year. The results of the retreat will be presented at a fall Chamber luncheon. Progress on each of our goals will be tracked throughout the year with quarterly updates to members. We encourage all of our members to get involved with our committees to help complete each task. We are blessed with an outstanding and highly professional Chamber staff. Businesses demand a lot from our staff and they work tirelessly every day. That dedication spills over to our entire organization, making it one of the best in the nation. We strive to provide you with quality programs, energized activities and efficient work results. Our standing committees are strong, our staff is well-trained and our events are well-planned and supported. We know our course ahead and are sailing in the right direction. I am so very proud of our community and our Chamber and invite each of you to get involved and Set Sail With the Chamber! Thank you!

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customer service, administrative and managerial employee in the hospitality, real estate and construction industries. She has also participated in the Texas Hospitality Training Course offered through the Chamber. She enjoys getting to know the community, the wonderful and friendly residents and all that it offers. She enjoys working with the Chamber of Commerce and participating or assisting the staff with the ongoing activities and events. In addition to greeting visitors and locals that stop in for information about our resort area. This is a great place to live and work. While not at work, she and her husband enjoy family outings and celebrating milestone moments with them. Paula’s outlook in life is to live life to the fullest and make the most of what’s around you.

Kristy Williford is the new Membership and Communications Coordinator. Originally from Omaha, NE she spent her most recent career of 14 years in Liberty, Texas where she was a Customer Service Representative/Mortgage Loan Officer. She recently moved to Rockport-Fulton to start a new chapter in her life after the death of four siblings due to Huntington’s disease. She was a past volunteer of the Elks Club where she helped special needs children. She loves RockportFulton and is ready to jump in and get to know everyone. Her passion for RockportFulton makes her a strong advocate for the county, cities, the Chamber and for all its members.

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Board of directors profiles in the Asian American of Hotel Owners Association, March of Dimes and is now excited to be a part of his second round on the Board of Directors of the Chamber. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a BA in Management Information Systems. He holds 15-plus years of experience in the hospitality industry. Under his leadership, Hampton Inn and Suites has earned the prestigious Connie Award (two times!), 3 Circle of Excellence Awards and 3 Lighthouse Awards in recognition of great customer service and accommodations. He serves on the Chamber Board to share his cooperative spirit and ideas to help Aransas County grow. He has lived in Aransas County for 10-plus years. He moved here from Dallas where he worked for IBM Global Services. He is married to Jatel and they have two children. Cindy Duck, Vice-Chairman, and her husband Bill along with their 16 year-old son McCauley chose Rockport as their permanent home 11 years ago. Cindy facilitated the Chamber’s Youth Leadership Program, a collaborative program between the Chamber and ACISD which focuses on developing leadership qualities in middle school students. Cindy’s love and commitment for the Rockport-Fulton area is evident through her numerous volunteer activities including Chamber Board, Chamber Governmental Affairs Committee, Leadership Aransas County Class XVI, Vice President ACISD Education Foundation, Executive Council ACISD Education Foundation and Nomination Chairman, RFHS SBDM Council, Rockport Center for the Arts 2016 Co-Chair Tour of Homes and 2012 Co-Chair 4th of July Patron Party, VP Rocketts, President K.A. Investment Club, K.A. Women’s Club, K.A. Garden Club, A.R.B. Review Board and Coastal Bend Troop Support. “I look forward to continuing to build opportunities for our area’s youth!” Blake McDavid, Vice-Chairman, GSM

Insurors, was born and raised in Rockport. H e is a graduate of Rockport-Fulton High School and Texas State University. He is Vice President and Sales Director of GSM Insurors. His previous service on several boards has helped him gain experience in helping the community. He and his wife have 2-year old twins Dean and Bailey and look forward to raising their family in Rockport. His focus will be making the Rockport-Fulton area a better place to live, work and raise a family. Malcolm Dieckow, Director, chairman of the Aransas County Navigation District, is a lifelong resident of Texas and has resided in the city of Rockport for the last 10 years. Malcolm is involved in many community orga-

nizations including the Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce, The Cultural Arts District, Storm water management committee, Pathways, and Keep Aransas Beautiful. Malcolm is an active member of First Baptist Church of Rockport where he sings in the Choir. He is retired from the Directorate of Nuclear Weapons, and is a Vietnam veteran. His hobbies include fishing, bird watching and collecting antique pocket watches. Malcolm would like to continue to work with the Chamber and other community groups to enhance environmental awareness in Aransas County. Connie Garcia, Director, has been the sole owner of Hidden Treasures for 45 years. She feels, “Not only is it important to put Rockport-Fulton on the map but encourages the community to take pride on what assets we have. The Chamber of Commerce has done an excellent job of promoting tourism. Together we can continue to encourage the economic development.” Connie is a member of Sacred Heart Church and has been a member of

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Betty Hattman, Chairman, is serving her fourth year on the Chamber Board. Betty and her husband own and manage TCS Telecom, a wholesale communications company providing telecom services in over twenty states. Last year TCS began offering local retail telephone service and introduced “The Total Phone” in the Rockport-Fulton area. The Chamber has assisted TCS by providing networking opportunities and workforce training to grow the business and staff. Betty serves on the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council and looks forward to assisting the Chamber with legislative advocacy for small business. Rick McKinney, Past-Chairman, is a lifelong Texan residing in Rockport for the past 9 years. He is very involved in the community volunteering time to a number of organizations like: RF Chamber of Commerce, Texas Maritime Museum, Boy Scouts & Sacred Heart School & Church. Rick’s education includes a BBA from Texas State University, MBA from University of Houston Victoria and Graduate Banking Degree from UT. Rick has been in banking for the past 25 years. When not working his hobbies include fishing, playing golf and hunting. Rick would like to add new benefits for current and new chamber members. He would also like to find new ways to enhance our chamber staff’s work environment and benefits. Jatin Bhakta, Chairman-Elect, is the owner, along with his family, of the Hampton Inn and Suites, LaQuinta Inn and Suites and the new Fairfield Inn by Marriott. Jatin is involved



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Sacred Heart School advisory board for over 30 years. Connie is a graduate of the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, board member for the Rockport Center for the Arts and is a board member of The Education Foundation supporting Aransas County ISD. Debra Corpora, Director, is president of the Aransas Bird and Nature club. She currently serves on the Chamber Tourism Development council, the Steering Committee of Aransas Pathways, and the Board of Directors of Aransas First. Protecting the environment is her passion. An avid birder and adventure traveler, Debra is a graduate of Texas A&M University. She a n d her husband, Sam, have two grown children. She believes that nature tourism can create economic opportunities while preserving our coastal habitat. Becky Mays, Director, was raised in Houston and moved to Katy Texas in 1989 with her husband David Mays Sr. of 29 years. They have 2 beautiful children David Mays Jr. age 26 and Megan Mays age 24. She has a gorgeous granddaughter Peyten Elizabeth that is 18 months old. Volunteerism is very close and dear to her heart. Becky is currently the Director of Sales and Marketing for North Shore Country Club. Becky serves on the Board of Directors for the Council on Aging Governmental Affairs, Board of Directors for the Council on Aging Aransas County, Board of Directors for ACISD Education Foundation, Past President of Business Builders, Graduate of LAC Class XVII, Director of LAC Class XVIII, Past LAC Alumni Executive Committee, Steering Committee. She is a member of the Fulton Volunteer Fire Department and has served on the Board of Directors for Fulton Oysterfest and is currently on the Seafair Committee, Ducks Unlimited Committee and is a Little Bay Sea Queen. Melanie Head, Director, is owner of TWFG Insurance Services in Rockport. She opened TWFG – Melanie Head in 2013 has been in the Insurance field for 15 years. Melanie is pleased to be serving her third year on the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Promoting local businesses in the Rockport-Fulton community and helping increase Chamber membership is one of

her top priorities. She will continue to work on programs such as Chamber Academy and contribute to Business Builders Committee as well as the Workforce Committee. Eric Heller, Director, graduated from Texas Christian University in 1987 with a BA degree. He has worked in the financial industry for 18 years in Houston as a Branch Manager, District Manager and Loan Officer. His mother and father moved to Rockport 17 years ago, and he was fortunate enough to move to Rockport July 2014 to open 1st Community Bank as the Manager and Loan Officer. Since arriving he has become involved in the ACISD Education Foundation, YMCA, Odyssey After School, RockportFulton Chamber of Commerce: Bay Blazer, Seafair Chairman and ACISD Mentoring Program. Rickey McLester, Director, was born in Corpus Christi and raised in Fulton Texas. Rickey is a graduate of Rockport-Fulton High School Class of 1999. He currently resides in Rockport with his wife Desiree McLester and two daughters Aubree and Bailee. As for Rickey’s paid career in Public Safety, in February 2002 he was provided the opportunity to begin his career as a 911 dispatcher with the Rockport Police Dept. Afterwards, he worked for the City of Rockport for six years and was recognized by the late Sheriff Mark Gilliam as Communicator of the year twice, as well as received several letters of accommodation. In March of 2008 he was given the opportunity to join the HALO-Flight Air Ambulance team in Corpus Christi as the Communications Director. Since being at HALO-Flight, he has strived to maintain the most up to date Communications center and help HALO-Flight adhere to the ever changing regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration. Rickey currently sits on the Coastal Plains Local Emergency Planning Committee as the Exercise and Design Chairman, the Regional Communications Committee, the Coastal Bend Emergency Managers Association serving on the Hurricane Conference Committee, and was recently appointed to the Board of the National Association of Air Communication Specialists. Rickey currently holds several certifications; National Registry Emergency Medical Technician Basic, EMS Instructor, Firefighter 1, Firefighter Instructor II, Extrication Technician, AHA Basic Life Support Instructor, Communications Unit Leader, Certified Flight Communicator, and Advanced Telecommunicator. Donna “T” Townsend, Director, moved to the Rockport-Fulton area in 2004 to

See BOARD, page 8






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marry her husband Stanley who worked here. Donna T and her husband love this community and after 11 years they own three business: Legends and Sugar Shack in Fulton and Magnolias in Downtown Rockport. The support from the Chamber and the community has been part of what has kept the Townsend’s here. Donna T is very involved with the Humane Society, serves on the Board of the Chamber, Tourism Development Council, chairman of the Battle of the Bands of Seafair. She volunteers where she is needed. She is very excited to see the growth of our community and feels volunteering not only helps internally but externally. “Volunteerism allows you to touch and feel why the Rockport-Fulton community is so wonderful. I believe the community has much more to come” says Donna T. MJ Olsen, Director, was born in Brownsville, Texas and after a whirlwind tour of living in many resort cities (due to her husband Brian’s hotel career) loves being back in Texas. Little did she know that Rockport would become a permanent home after moving in 2004. MJ retired from her retail career in 2004 and in 2006 decided that her marketing and sales experience would be an excellent fit as a Realtor. But it’s her reallife experience of “moving” that gives home buyers and sellers the patience and knowledge that it takes to “get moving”. That’s her passion. MJ is a realtor at Coldwell Banker The Ron Brown Company. She has earned following certifications; Certified Residential Specialist, Resort & Second Home Property Specialist, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Certified Negotiation Expert, and a Texas Affordable Housing Specialist. She is married to Brian and have one son, Sgt. Charles Olsen, US Army Reserves. MJ is a Gold sponsor of the

Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce and looks forward to serving on the Board of Directors. Robert J. Mitchell, Director is a retired 22-year Veteran of the United States Air Force. As a part time member of the Community from 19992011 he was active in volunteering for events such as Tropical Christmas and Seafair. Upon Retirement in 2011 he took a short break and then started working for Rockport Fitness, a Crowley Property. In 2014 Robert became a Bay Blazer for the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and in 2015 was voted in as Bay Blazer President. After graduating from Leadership Aransas County Class XIX he was invited back as the Director of Class XX. He is also active as a member of the Board of Directors for Coastal Bend Troop Support, an organization which not only supports local Veterans but also packs thousands of boxes each year and sends them overseas to our military members that are deployed. He is on the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is Chairman of the Leadership Alumni Association as well as the LAC Attack Kayak Fishing Tournament which supports the Youth Leadership program. Robert is also on the Board of Directors for Rockport Little Theater and serves on the Board of Trustees for Care Regional Medical Center. He is currently co-chair of Seafair and has already been established as the Chairman of this major event for the 2018 year. Diana Pardue, Director, moved to Rockport in 2009 and married her husband Rusty in 2013. She is co-owner of Attitudes and Latitudes in Downtown Rockport. In Fulton she and her husband own Rusty’s Tropical Grill Restaurant. The support from the Chamber has been a very big part in her business and personal growth in

the community. Diana is very involved, she serves on the Board of the Chamber, Bay Blazer president, Chairman of Business Expo, Just Desserts at Seafair and Shop Small Saturday. She volunteers where she is needed and is looking forward to another awesome year. Dawn Walker, Director, Dawn and her husband David have been married 18 years and have 2 awesome teenagers, Kayla age 16 and David Jr. age 13 and an older son, Brandon age 32 with wife Alice and 2 precious grandbabies. Dawn and David own and manage Angler’s RV Retreat which has been a truly rewarding venture. They have been members of the RFCoC since 2009. She volunteers at Sacred Heart School sitting with the late children for the Friday children’s mass, Dawn is a Bay Blazer and has served as Vice President for the last couple of years. She is a graduate of LAC class XIX, is chairman of LAC steering committee, she loves LAC so much that she is the facilitator for Youth Leadership Council for the last 2 years and running, she was on the committee for the LAC Attack Kayak fishing tour- ney to raise money for the YLAC. She has chaired

many other functions with the RFCoC. She loves Rockport and all of the people who make this place such a wonderful home. Mayor Pro-Tem Patrick Rios, Appointed Director, is in his fifth year on the Chamber Board representing the City of Rockport. He serves as the Mayor Pro Tem for the City and holds a Certified Municipal Official (CMO) designation from the Texas Municipal League. In addition to sitting on the Rockport City Council, Rios serves as liaison on the Rockport YMCA committee, alternate on the Aransas Pathways Steering Committee and the Coastal Bend Council of Governments. He feels that the RF Chamber’s dedication to the Rockport Fulton Community and their businesses has set a standard that many Chambers’ strive to achieve. Pat knows that the Chamber will continue its Best Practices approach in all that it does in showcasing the benefits of our Community. The Community is fortunate to have quality Chamber members and dynamic leadership. County Commissioner Betty Stiles, Appointed Director, was born in

See BOARD, page 9

Proud Supporter Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce

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Washington, DC. She came to Texas in 1970 and worked for El Paso Natural Gas as a commercial/industrial photographer. Moved to Dallas and then Houston and owned her own photography studio. Bought a home in Lamar in 1981. She has two children Bill Santaiti of Houston and Tracy Goodwin of Rockport. She has a beautiful granddaughter Britney Goodwin who will be a junior at Rockport-Fulton High School this fall. She has served as Republican County Chair from 2007-11 and past Treasurer of the Chamber’s Leadership Alumni Executive Committee. She also serves on the Board of Friends of Goose Island State Park, as liaison from the County to the Navigation District. She also serves on the Aransas County Historical Commission and attends all Storm Water Management Committee and Pathways Steering Committee meetings. Betty was an Elector to the Electoral College 2012 and founding member of the Rockport Rocketts. She is highly involved in environmental issues which includes freshwater inflows into our bays and estuaries, protecting Little Bay, groundwater conservation and water quality. Betty serves on the Governmental Affairs Committee and her main interest for the Chamber in the coming year is Legislative updates. Myra B. Kline, Appointed Director, has been in the Rockport community since 1997. She been the into banking industry since 1974 until she began work for the Town of Fulton as the Coordinator for the Paws and Taws Convention Center. Myra is very involved with the Rockport Center for the Arts where she served as a board member. During her time as director she was treasurer and then secretary of the board. Myra is also very involved with her church, St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church, where she served as a Vestry member for 3 years. She is also a Lay Reader for the church. Myra was born and raised in Aransas Pass where she graduated from Aransas Pass High School. She continues her education at Del Mar College and received an Associate Degree in Banking and Finance. She continued her banking education by attending and graduating from Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU in Dallas, Texas. Myra is married the John Kline. Although they do not have any two legged children they do have four dogs and one cat that keep them very busy. Nancy Bolting, Associate Director, owner of Bella la Rue Boutique. Nancy worked as a Cost Accountant for

Tyco International in Victoria, TX. In 2001 she accepted a position with a local chemical plant and moved to Rockport with her husband and daughter. Due to frequent travel and long hours away from her family she acquired her alternative teaching certification and began teaching middle school math. After 10 years the decision to leave teaching and follow her dream of owning a business became a reality. She is a graduate of the University of HoustonVictoria with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. Sarah Solis, Associate Director was born in the small university town of Pittsburg Kansas. When she was seven, Sarah’s family uprooted from the plains and moved to the Texas coast. Sarah attended school in Aransas Pass, Portland and then Rockport, where she graduated early as a Pirate in 1998. She then worked as a math teacher’s aide and yearbook teacher. From 20002003 she operated a small day care and in 2004 moved into a real estate career all while starting a family of four boys with her wonderful husband Dwayne. As she wasn’t busy enough, in 2007, Sarah decided to follow her passion and start her own small business focusing on advertising and graphic design. Through the years of steady growth, she gained a business partner and best friend and with the strong support of their husband counterparts, they now have a thriving printing and advertising business right here in Rockport. Her focus will be to continue to help small businesses grow. Elizabeth Martin, Associate Director, is a lifelong Texan and has been residing in Rockport since 2010 and is currently the Managing Broker of Eling Coastal Real Estate. In 1991 as a single mom of two young daughters, she graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction. Elizabeth taught 18 years in Elementary and Special education. In 1996, while teaching school, she obtained her Broker’s license in Real Estate. Over the years, Elizabeth had been teaching and working in the real estate market. After teaching one year in Rockport, Elizabeth left teaching and opened Aransas Bay Real Estate in June of 2011. Right after opening her doors, Elizabeth joined the Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce and has been an active member in the Bay Blazers and the Small Business Builders. After winning the Small Business of the Month for March of 2013 and the Business Builder of the year in July 2014, Elizabeth met Margaret “Missi” Thomas. Elizabeth and Missi soon joined together when Elizabeth

See BOARD, page 10

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It’s all about the kids! The Education Foundation

The Education Foundation uses your

tax deductible donations to fund scholarships and to award grants that underwrite innovative learning programs for students within ACISD in all subjects.

The Education Foundation will host three more major donation drives this year....

Shopping Tournament ...October 7, 2017 Patron’s Party ...November 11, 2017 Symphony by the Sea ...December 10, 2017 Please visit our website or call 361.729.6934 for information



TDC - Marketing & Promotion of the Community The Tourism Development Council is an advisory group for the marketing plan of the Rockport-Fulton area. In addition to implementing the plan, its goals are: marketing for destination weddings, promote golf as an added attraction, attract groups during the midweek, and public relations to further promote our events and activities. Pictured, from left, are Diane Probst, Sandy Jumper, Bob Strait, Luis Puron, Jessee Pilgrim, Dawn Huff, Paula Dean. Tammy Finstad, Donna Townsend, Pam Stranahan, and Fulton Alderman Larry Pahmiyer. Not pictured, County Commissioner Bubba Casterline, Rockport Councilwoman Barbara Gurtner, Betty Hattman, Rick McKinney, Craig Griffin, Cheri Penry, Debra Corpora, Commissioner Brian Olsen, and Marsha Hendrix


Business Expo is held in April Every year April is the month for businesses to shine at the annual Business Expo. This year’s theme was “Flip Flops & Palm Trees - Where Business Meets Fun.” Vendors inside and outside the Paws & Taws showed what they can offer the local community and beyond.

BAH & HOT Topic Business After Hours events are the fourth Thursday of each month. They include a HOT Topic of something current and hot at the moment. They are open to the public and a great chance to mix and mingle with people from the community. Pictured here is the Business After Hours held in February at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott where four checks of $2,500 were presented to four worthy organizations picked by the staff of the Fairfield, LaQuinta, and Hampton.

Continued from 9

sold Aransas Bay Real Estate to Missi which soon became Eling Coastal Real Estate. Working for Missi has allowed Elizabeth more free time to volunteer in the community. Two years after opening, Eling Coastal Real Estate won Business of the Month in September 2016. Elizabeth is also a director on the Rockport Association of Realtors Board. She is looking forward to helping the Rockport Fulton Chamber o f Commerce more in the future. Courtney Sanchez, Associate Director is the Director of Behavioral Health Outreach for Corpus Christi Medical Center. She has worked for Corpus Christi Medical Center since 2012. Courtney is a RockportFulton High School graduate. Additionally, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi in 2012 and later received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 2014. Courtney was a member of Leadership Aransas County Class XX in 2016, upon completion of this class she joined the Leadership Steering Committee and remains an active member to this day.

Additionally, Courtney is a co-founder and associate director for the Suicide Prevention Symposium and Coalition of the Coastal Bend. On this board, she acts as sponsor, media representative, and community point of contact for both the yearly symposium and coalition. Given her community involvement professionally and personally, Courtney’s mission is to remain active so that she can maintain and assist in the improvement of Rockport, a place that she has always called home. Chris Krupa, Associate Director has served on the ACISD school board for over 5 years. He has served as a trustee and recently began serving as Vice President. Chris is a Chamber member and has run a business in town for over 15 years. Chris is married to his wife Dion. They have 4 children, a recent A&M graduate, A&M Junior, and two in the ACISD’s High school and Middle school. He looks forward to serving on the Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce as a liaison between ACISD. Together with community support we can strengthen our two organizations.

Looking toward a bright future

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Councils / Committees Bay Blazers – Meets monthly. Currently at 15 members. Conducts ribbon cuttings, ground breakings, and so much more. Home Based Business Council – Good topics on running your business out of your home. Averaging 6 or 7 in attendance. Held immediately after Network Wednesday. Hotel & Lodging Council – At a recent meeting heard a presentation about the proposed Corpus Christi/Port of Corpus Christi/Portland Business Traveler Traffic $50,000 Ad Campaign. There were 6 to 7 in attendance. Held on the third Wednesday of each month. RV Park Council – Meets the last Wednesday at the Chamber. Good roundtable discussions. Around 20-23 in attendance. Economic Development Council – Meets on the first Monday to review new business and expansions of existing businesses. County, Rockport, Fulton, ACND and School District Reports. Tourism Development Council – Completed marketing plan and budget. Made presentations to Rockport, Fulton and County for $540,000 total marketing dollars. Working on four goals adopted during the Marketing Workshop: Destination Weddings, Small Groups, PR Campaign and Golf Packaging at hotels. Meetings will be held to develop action plans for these areas. Business Builders (Small Business Council – Continue to promote the Member2Member ID Card Program. Business of the Month for this month was Stevie Lew’s BBQ. Leadership Aransas County – Class 21 met for its last session. Graduation Ceremony was last night. It was a great year. They will complete the program with 11 graduates. The Mending Fences Project is complete raising more than $40,000. Youth Leadership Aransas County – Awarded three past students scholarship through the Rockport-Fulton Chamber Foundation. No work on this committee until school starts again. Leadership Alumni Association – LAC Attack Kayak Fishing Tournament was June 3. All proceeds help fund the Youth Leadership Program and we think we generated the same or a little more than last year’s $2,000. Attendance grew by three people. Seafair – Finalizing entertainment contracts. Getting the Volunteer Signup site going. Securing media buys. Vendor sales are going well. All layout, etc. is in place. There will be no $1 per gate fee for the Festival Grounds. HummerBird Celebration – The mailer was completed in May and distributed to more than 5,000 past attendees or interested persons on our mailing list. Sponsors are all secured. Working on website updates and the Volunteer Signup site. Chairman Steve Reisinger has moved and Glenn Gomez of the committee has stepped up to the plate. He’s doing an outstanding job. Governmental Affairs Council – Completed first ever SKYPE presentation at the Chamber with the Congressman. Sent broadcast email on School District Funding issue and RESTORE ACT Funding. Reviewing a Permit Request currently with TCEQ. Annual Banquet Committee – Setting up the Silent Auction. Lining up caterer arrangements. Securing table sales. Working on awards, speeches, gifts, plaques, and slide show, script and speaker arrangements.

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Profile for RFcoc Staff

2017 Annual Report  

2017 Annual Report