By Mary Alys Cherry
Going to the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s 40th Anniversary Celebration was like stepping back in time. Seeing people you hadn’t seen in years and stopping to exchange memories of some long ago event you experienced together.
Besides many who had worked at BAHEP, served on its board or been a part of its many events over the years, some just came to say thank you for what the organization has accomplished.
Lockheed Martin’s Joe Mayer and his wife, Robin, were up from Florida to join the merriment, along with a number of aerospace executives including Johnson Space Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa and former JSC Director Mike Coats, Lon Miller of Jacobs, Gale and Jean Burkett of GB Tech, Tom Short of Anadarko Industries, Sandy Johnson of Barrios Technologies, Joyce Abbey of SAIC, Jorge, Rosi, Tery and Mike Hernandez of Bastion Industries; Brian Duffy of Orbital ATK and John, Rose, Michael and Rosanne Zarcaro of GeoControl Systems.
A number of elected officials were in the crowd, including State Reps. Dennis Paul and Greg Bonnen, County Commissioners Jack Morman and Ken Clark, Tax Collector Mike Sullivan, Mayors Pat Hallisey of League City, Carl Joiner of Kemah, Mark Denman of Nassau Bay, Louis Rigby of La Porte, Michel Bechtel of Morgan’s Point, Julie Masters of Dickinson and Glenn Royal of Seabrook plus City Councilors Dave Martin of Houston, Amanda Fenwick of Clear Lake Shores, Mike Foreman of Friendswood, Bob Warters of Nassau Bay, Keith Gross and Todd Kinsey of League City.
Even former Houston Majority Leader Tom DeLay motored over from Sugarland to mingle with a crowd that included Roy Green, Sheree and Norman Frede, Fred and Betsy Griffin, Shari and John Wilkins, Cindy DeWease, Marie Flickinger, Marcy Fryday, Leslie and Dr. Ted Cummings, Dr. Greg Smith, and congratulate BAHEP President Bob Mitchell and Past President Jim Reinhartsen on all they’ve done.
Back in 1976, a group of Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce members, described as “leaders in their fields and believers in the viability of the Clear Lake/Bay Area,” joined forces to form the Clear Lake Economic Development Foundation, a non-profit that was asked to “come up with a comprehensive plan to promote the area.”
In its early years, it was part of the chamber but eventually set out on its own to focus on bringing new businesses and new development to the area – changing its name along the way to Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership for wider identity. Now, as it celebrates its 40th anniversary, its membership can look back with pride at its role through the years in growing and maintaining a healthy local economy and in turning a Texas prairie into a shining metropolis admired throughout the nation.