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Entergy Texas Sponsors New 10-County Central East Texas Alliance

May 7, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt, Cheryl Hudec

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SHSU and Entergy staff holding check from entergy
Entergy Texas, Inc., presented SHSU's Center for Rural Studies with a check for $10,000 to support its new Central East Texas Alliance, which will be managed by the Economic Vitality Corporation. At the presentation were (from left): Stacey Osborne, Economic Vitality Corp.; Cheryl Hudec, SHSU; Sarah Beach, SHSU; Melissa Bochat, Entergy Texas; and Michael Fortunato, SHSU. —Submitted photo

Entergy Texas, Inc., has joined forces with Sam Houston State University and leaders from 10 Central East Texas counties to form the Central East Texas Alliance, a community and economic development organization that will focus primarily on rural areas in 10 counties.

Through a $10,000 grant given to SHSU’s Center for Rural Studies, which developed CETA, Entergy Texas has shown its support, “at the highest level,” for both the organization and the 10 participating counties, according to Cheryl L. Hudec, associate director for the Center for Rural Studies.

The new organization will be managed by the Economic Vitality Corporation—a consulting firm specializing in economic and community development—and will include Grimes, Houston, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties.

The new alliance will focus on generating awareness and interest in the Central East Texas region through high-profile events; aggressive marketing and public relations; collaborative approaches to solving problems; and participation in projects and activities that benefit the region and promote the towns, cities and counties within it as premium places to live, work and play. In addition, the alliance will work to complement and strengthen community development efforts within each individual community through education and technical assistance.

“CETA’s goal of pulling together economic development resources from a large, specific region has the potential to help us achieve statewide and national exposure in our efforts to recruit businesses and develop economic opportunities in these counties,” said Melissa Bochat, community development manager for Entergy Texas. “We are very excited to work with the leadership of these 10 counties and to leverage resources and budgets in a way that will benefit Central East Texas for many years to come.”

“We are so proud to have Entergy Texas as a founding sponsor for the Central East Texas Alliance,” said Stacey Osborne, owner and principal of the Economic Vitality Corporation. “Staff and faculty affiliated with the Economic Vitality Corporation and the Center for Rural Studies have worked diligently over the past year to bring this project to fruition because we believe this region has a great deal to offer in terms of economic and community development.

“The support of Entergy Texas’ leadership team has been integral to our success in getting it off the ground, and now having them as a major sponsor for CETA is the icing on the cake,” she said. “Their financial support will supplement our budget and allow us to better serve our members. It will also demonstrate to our members and to the region at large that this effort is appreciated and needed. That kind of encouragement is invaluable, especially for an organization that is just getting off the ground.”

CETA was started in response to a need for economic development support directed specifically at rural communities.

Osborne and Hudec recognized that the communities within the Central East Texas region both want to take advantage of the growth headed there as well as preserve the community character and identity that make them unique, according to Osborne.

“After doing our due diligence and talking with stakeholders in the towns and cities that make up this region, we came to the conclusion that they are missing out on significant opportunities to attract new business, additional residents, and needed quality of life amenities that will help them to grow and develop in a positive way,” Osborne said. “It is our intention for this organization to help them come together toward a common goal of promoting and developing the region, so they can each benefit from shared knowledge and resources.”

The Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University comprises an interdisciplinary faculty and staff who serve rural Texans by providing research services as well as educational and outreach programs, public policy analyses, and rural community-based planning services. Center fellows work to advance the state of knowledge regarding the social, demographic, economic, political, and cultural aspects of rural life in Texas and beyond.

For more information about CETA, contact Osborne at 713.456.9429 or stacey@econvitalitycorp.com.




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