Business Buzz

August 1st, 2019

Port Houston Commission Chairman Ric Campos, second from left, arrives at the Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership reception in his honor at the Marriott Hotel on the Gulf Freeway. Among those welcoming him were, from left, BayTran Chairman Carl Joiner and Lockwood Andrews Vice President Steve Gilbreath and Facilities Engineer Jack Drake.

BayTran welcomes new port chairman
Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership members got a rare treat when they hosted a reception recently for the new chairman of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority, Ric Campo.

BayTran President Theresa Rodriguez and Chairman Carl Joiner introduced him to the crowd.

The event was held at the Houston Marriott South, where Campo made his way around the room during a Meet and Greet, after which he updated the crowd on Port activities.
Campo, who is chairman and CEO of the Camden Property Trust, was appointed by Harris County and the Houston City Council earlier this year to replace Janiece Longoria, who was term limited.

NASA selects 142 proposals
Managing pilotless aircraft and solar panels that could help humans live on the Moon and Mars are among the technologies NASA is looking to develop with small business awards totaling $106 million. In all, NASA has selected 142 proposals from 129 U.S. small businesses from 28 states and the District of Columbia to receive Phase II contracts as part the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

NASA selected the proposals based on a range of criteria, including technical merit and feasibility, as well as the organizations’ experience, qualifications, and facilities. Additional criteria included effectiveness of proposed work plans and the commercial potential of the technologies.

Three Kuraray facilities win safety awards
Three of Kuraray America, Inc.’s Texas facilities received top honors from the Texas Chemical Council at its annual award banquet June 6. They are:

  • Septon Plant, Pasadena: Best in Texas, Caring for Texas, Distinguished Safety Service, Zero Incident Rate, Zero Process Safety Incidents.
  • Bayport Plant, La Porte: Zero Incident Rate, Distinguished Safety Service, Zero Contractor Incident Rate.
  • La Porte Plant: Caring for Texas, Zero Process Safety Incidents.

TCC’s awards program recognizes member companies for their demonstrated commitment and exemplary results toward safe operations, community awareness, emergency response, security and pollution prevention. Applications are anonymous and judged by a group of industry peers and community members.

“At Kuraray, safety is at the cornerstone of everything we do,” said Tom Abrey, Kuraray’s director of health, safety, environment & security. “We are committed to providing a safe working environment for not only our employees but contractors and visitors alike.”

Kuraray America, Inc. took home 10 awards, including top honor – Best in Texas – for the Septon plant.

Area chamber is a winner
Pasadena Chamber’s website, Chambergram, took first prize honors at the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives annual convention in El Paso June 17-20.

Not far behind were its entry in the newsletter competition, which took second place in the state competition, and the chamber’s Resource Guide, which also was a second place winner.

The conference provides chamber professionals an opportunity to network, attend educational sessions and take an in-depth look into issues related to leadership, workforce development, membership and how Texas communities fared following the legislative session.

Kuraray America named one of the ‘Best and Brightest Companies to Work For’ in Houston area

May 5th, 2016


Executives with Kuraray America, Inc. have announced that the company has been recognized for the fourth consecutive year by the National Association for Business Resources as one of “Houston’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.”

Every year, NABR recognizes companies who successfully hire and retain qualified employees, demonstrating leadership in employment standards.

“We are honored and humbled to once again receive this award. This recognition is all about our staff and their commitment to Kuraray,” said Director of Human Resources Tom Tonan. “Kuraray continues to be an innovative company because of our amazing team that paves the way for our customers and industry.”

With more than 10 years of experience, the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For competition identifies and honors companies that deliver exceptional human resource practices and an impressive commitment to its employees. Organizations are assessed based on communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition and retention.

Headquartered in Bayport in the southeast Houston area, KAI has over 400 local employees as well as over 700 employees nationwide. With four plants in the Houston area, KAI is a global leader in specialty chemical, fiber and resin production, leading the industry in specialty dental, fiber and elastomer products. For more information on KAI, visit

About Kuraray
Founded in 1926, Japan-based Kuraray is a world leader in performance-based polymer and synthetic chemistry technologies, including resins, chemical, fibers and textiles. It was the first entity in the world to bring polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) synthetic fiber to market. The company operates 19 subsidiaries around the world, including Kuraray America, Inc., which is headquartered in Houston. The U.S. division is focused on becoming an integrated supplier with complete portfolio of coatings and compounds for the food, glass, packaging and oil & gas sectors. For more information, visit

Kuraray America celebrates opening of new plant in Pasadena

April 28th, 2016

6-1XKurarayXatXBayportKuraray America, Inc., a global leader in specialty chemical, fiber and resin production, is celebrating the grand opening of its new, $300 million, 81-acre, green-field Kuraray Poval plant in Pasadena.

The opening of this plant further distinguishes Kuraray Co., Ltd. as the largest producer of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) in the world.

“Today is an exciting opportunity for Kuraray America, Inc., as we continue to increase our footprint within the Bayport area. Adding the Kuraray Poval™ site to our portfolio will only ensure continued growth for our company and provide our customers with the ability to purchase product from a truly global scale,” said Bob Chvala, vice president and general manager of the PVOH Business Unit for Kuraray America, Inc.

The new plant will produce 40,000 metric tons of PVOH annually and employ a total workforce of nearly 100 employees (54 Kuraray employees and 40 contract personnel). Kuraray America, Inc. employs over 400 people in the Houston area, with 3 additional plant sites and the Americas headquarters located in the region. Kuraaray Poval is used in a wide range of industries, including paper, textile, emulsion, PVC, construction, adhesives, and films.

“With the opening of our new Kuraaray Poval plant today, we are providing additional, needed supply to our customers around the world,” said George Avdey, president and CEO of Kuraray America, Inc. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication to safety of our Kuraray employees in opening this plant, we can offer product from around the world, further enhancing our global resources and supply.”

6-1XKurarayXopeningKuraray America’s grand opening festivities were infused with Japanese customs, including a samurai sword ribbon cutting, Daruma painting of the eye and a Kagamiwari (sake barrel) ceremony.

Executives from Kuraray Co., Ltd.’s Japanese headquarters, including President and CEO Masaaki Ito, participated in the ceremonies.

Production of PVOH has already started at the new plant. PVOH is a unique, functional resin that Kuraray first industrialized in the 1950s. Kuraaray Poval has a variety of characteristics such as superior adhesive strength, film formation, emulsifying properties and oil-resistant abilities. The polymer’s water solubility is its most distinct characteristic, along with its ecological advantage of being biodegradable. The physical and chemical properties of Kuraray Poval make it ideal for a wide variety of applications, including adhesives, paper, ceramics and films.

About KURARAY POVALKuraray America, Inc. is a globally recognized specialty chemical company that creates quality, sustainable solutions that strengthen products from a diverse range of industries.

Kuraray America, Inc. develops products that transform the ordinary — pulp to paper, glue to glass. From films that make glass safer to coatings that make paper stronger, resins are used in diverse applications across industries. Known for its commitment to making quality solutions, Kuraray America, Inc. focuses on improving the community and the environment and developing market-leading research to drive innovation. For more information about Kuraray Poval visit

Bay Area Houston Magazine