The Golden Triangle Reverse Trade Show is set for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, January 29 at the Robert A. Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. Dr. Ben Stafford, Dean of Technical Programs at Lamar State College-Port Arthur, called the event an “all-for-one and one-for-all” effort involving the College, the City of Port Arthur, the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Triangle Business Roundtable.

While most trade shows allow vendors to set up booths and tout their wares or services to potential buyers this reverse trade show will have corporate purchasing agents and buyers staffing the booths and walking vendors through the steps to get on the plants’ lists of approved suppliers.

“Every industry in Port Arthur wants to do business locally and every local business wants to do business with industry,” Bill McCoy, President of the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, said before a recent planning meeting at LSC-PA. “But the red tape – the documents industry sends out – scares small businesses off.”

The Golden Triangle Business Roundtable became an enthusiastic partner during the planning phase, as Dennis “Bert” Black, Executive Director of the Roundtable, explained: “Our mission is to promote cost effective construction and maintenance in the Golden Triangle area through cooperative efforts for the benefits of our members and the community. This Reverse Trade Show is one of those efforts. The use of local business is good for all concerned.”

Dr. Stafford consults with the City of Port Arthur’s Port Arthur Business Enterprise Program, which seeks to certify local suppliers to do business with the multi-national companies that own the refineries and plants that have industrial district agreements with the city in lieu of taxes.

To that end, the dean says he hears over and over from plant purchasing agents that the failure to understand the bid process and how to properly fill out a bid packet keep many would-be suppliers from landing contracts.

Key businesses that will be at the show include BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals, Chevron Phillips, Christus, City of Port Arthur, Exxon Mobil, Flint Hills Resources, ISNetworld, Jefferson County, Lamar State College-Port Arthur, Motiva, PICS, Total Petrochemicals and Refining, Valero Port Arthur Refinery and Veolia.

The fee to register, payable at the door, is $10, but members of the hosting organizations – Association of Chemical Industry of Texas, Texas Chemical Council, Industry of Southeast Texas, Industrial Safety Training Council, Golden Triangle Business Roundtable, Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, Port Arthur Business Enterprise, and Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeast Texas – can attend for $5.

For more information, go to or contact Angela Russell at 512-646-6410.

The morning of the trade show, a pair of seminars will be held, also at the Civic Center. Though they are designed for Port Arthur small businesses, they are open to all, Dr. Stafford said.

Shawna Tubbs, purchasing manager for the City of Port Arthur, will present “How To Do Business With The City,” from 9:30 a.m. to 10: 40 a.m. She will show how to find current city projects looking for bids and offer instructions on how to fill out the city’s bid package.

From 10:50 to noon, Conrad Cooper, adviser at the LSC-PA Small Business Development Center, will present “The Critical Elements Of A Successful Bid Package To Medium And Large Businesses.” Businesses can sign up for the training by contacting Dr. Stafford at

“My goal is to educate businesses how to take advantage of the industries in Port Arthur,” the PACOC’s McCoy said.

It’s what the Reverse Trade Show is all about.

“We’ve invited all of the local players,” Dr. Stafford said.

Huddling up before a planning meeting for the Golden Triangle Reverse Trade Show are event organizers Bill McCoy of the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, Dennis “Bert” Black of the Golden Triangle Business Roundtable, Shawna Tubbs, City of Port Arthur purchasing manager; and Dr. Ben Stafford, Dean of Technical Programs at Lamar State College-Port Arthur. The event, set for Jan. 29 at the Port Arthur Civic Center, will allow local small businesses to visit with purchasing agents from area plants and get instructions on how to fill out bid packages for upcoming work.