Salter: Next generation of entrepreneurs will dictate future success of Port Arthur – Port Arthur News
Stuart Salter’s enthusiasm is contagious.
This character trait is one that is gaining momentum, bringing others together in his field of positive ideas for the growth of the town as the new President of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce.
Salter, president and chief operating officer of the nearly century-old Julian Salter Company, knows that the future is in the hands of the next generation.
Back when Salter was a banker, he saw the look of hunger in an entrepreneur’s eyes. This look was the one he was looking for, knowing that this person had the desire to succeed.
“You have to have a solid idea and you have to have capital. You need all of those things in place, but more important was that burning desire to get it done. People will create their own reality,” Salter said.
He remembers seeing someone complaining on Facebook recently that Port Arthur would never be the same again.
“No,” he chuckled, “It’s not supposed to be. Old Port Arthurans — I’m a Port Arthuran veteran — we’re not going to be the ones doing the new Port Arthur.
“The new Port Arthurians will be Alvarez at the new retail center. It will be Mike Aref who will sell furniture. It will be new blood, as is always the case, that will come into our community; this will take it to the next stage, to the next level.
The pandemic has temporarily halted the progress of many projects in the city and region. So when we worked with chamber president and CEO Pat Avery on a theme for this year’s chamber 122nd annual banquet, the discussion turned to jobs and progress and to a return to prosperity.
“This city, pre-COVID, had it all,” he said. “We have to restart this. We have to restart this “anything goes for him”. We are going to become energetically dominant again. We will build everything here.
“We are going to do these expansions and these projects. They (the developers) are going to develop downtown Port Arthur. These things will happen. It’s been delayed but it will happen.
Avery also noted Salter’s enthusiasm.
“Stuart is a dynamic leader who can make tough decisions and stick with them,” Avery said. “In my experience, his business decisions are sound and forward-looking. It can create excitement around an issue, which can rally the community and the region. His business acumen is really, really good. He is charismatic, generous, loyal and dedicated.
And with projects restarting on the back burner, there is talk of new ventures. We have liquefied natural gas plants in the city and LNG is one of the cleanest fuels, he said.
The region that was built on oil can also successfully transition to alternative fuels.
Carbon capture is a perfect project for the region, he said, noting the salt domes typically used for oil storage.
“Total is one of the world leaders in alternative fuels,” he said. We will take advantage of this opportunity. We are not married to hydrocarbons. We are married to everything that feeds the world. This is what we do.”
One of his goals as president is for regional chambers to work together more than every two years on Golden Triangle Days in Austin.
“My friend Verna Rutherford likes to say, ‘the chamber of commerce does what everyone thinks just happens’ and that’s really it,” he said of the former chamber president/CEO.
Credit for the current highway interchange work at US 69 and Texas 73 should go to Ron Arceneaux, the outgoing chairman who has served on the Golden Triangle Days transportation committee for several years.
“The city of Port Arthur has had a lot of engineers coming and going,” Salter said. “We’ve had a lot of city managers coming and going, mayors and politicians, but one constant has been Ron Arceneaux with the committee sweating with the Chamber of Commerce pushing and pushing and pushing.”
Salter said we needed someone smart, knowledgeable, and able to communicate properly with the necessary entities, and Arceneaux delivered.
This year marks Salter’s second time as president of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce. Salter first served in 1997.
“In the meantime, Stuart remained active and engaged in the Chamber, leading campaigns that were important to Port Arthur and important to the whole region,” Avery said. “His vast knowledge of all aspects of our community is unparalleled. His company, Julian Salter Company, is multi-generational in Port Arthur and could very well be one of our oldest members of this Chamber of Commerce.
Salter holds licenses as a risk manager and general insurance agent and is a member of several processional associations. He has been an active member of the Chamber his entire adult life, starting with the Port Arthur Jaycee in the 1970s holding all positions on the Board of Directors.
He has been married for 40 years to former Patti Freeman of Groves and they have one grown child. They are members of the United Methodist Temple in Port Arthur and enjoy their free time exploring in their motorhome. According to his biography, his hobbies include fine automobiles, cooking, and a daily nap.
The 122nd Annual Banquet will be held February 17 at 6 p.m. at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center. For more ticket information, call the chamber at 409-963-1107 or register at portarthurtexas.com.