A Look Back
Founded in 1959 the Gulf Coast Chamber Executives mission has remained steadfast since its early beginnings. Simply stated the mission of GCCE is to provide continuing education and support for the chamber professional. Through its annual leadership conference and scholarship program that mission is being met today.
Since its early beginnings, several distinguished chamber professionals have led the organization, including the first President, Fred Jones of Texas City. Several GCCE past presidents have also been recognized by their peers by receiving Texas Chamber of Commerce (TCCE) awards. Recipients of the Marvin Hurley Award include; Hollis McGinnis (Alvin), Tracey Wheeler (Baytown), Bill McCoy (Pasadena), and E.S. “Stew” Darsey (Conroe). Recipients of TCCE’s Distinguished Service Award include; Jerry Eversole (Humble Area), Tracey Wheeler (Baytown), Jimmy Hayley (Texas City / La Marque), Bill McCoy (Pasadena), Richard Knapik (Bay City), and Bruce Hillegeist (Greater Tomball Area). At least two former GCCE presidents have gone on to seek elected office. Jerry Eversole, GCCE President in 1978 served as Commissioner of Precinct 4 of Harris County and 1989 GCCE President Kevin Brady currently represents the citizens of U S House District 8 as their U S Congressman.
Many GCCE leaders have served TCCE in various positions in the state organization.
In the early years of GCCE the president’s had to preside for several years in succession with Fred Jones serving from 1959 to 1962, followed by Leonard Patillo (Houston) from 1963 to 1965 and then Tom Purdy (Galveston) in 1966 and 1967.