Southeast Texas Economic Development – Orange County TX

orange-texasSoutheast Texas Economic DevelopmentOrange County TX

Each edition, we highlight a region of the Golden Triangle and examine what is driving the economy.

For this edition, we sat down with a number of the women, men, and organizations who are working to shape the future of Orange County.

Each was enthusiastic about what the future holds for their region.

Jessica Hill, Executive Director of the Orange County EDC, started out by discussing the way Orange is set up to be an excellent partner for its neighbors, Jefferson County, and Southwest Louisiana, “Orange County does not have any refineries – what we do have is Chemical Row, with a strong base of companies that make chemicals and plastics many using petroleum products that are refined by our neighbors. We are not in competition with Jefferson County or Southwest Louisiana – rather, we are ideal growth partners for our neighbors”.

The Orange County EDC reaches out to companies who would benefit from Orange County’s unique infrastructure. Companies can find bimodal and multimodal tracks of land allowing them access to any combination of the I-10 corridor, the Sabine Neches Waterway (and Port of Orange), and the rail system.


For many companies, the transportation options combined with being right in the middle between the hot industrial projects in the Jefferson County / Baytown / East Houston / and Southwest Louisiana is ideal.

The Orange County EDC has had success in attracting businesses due to these factors. Hallwood Modular Buildings recently relocated their operation from edclogoShreveport to Orange County. The company manufactures blast resistant buildings for industrial and petrochemical facilities. Hallwood Modular Buildings was selling a lot of buildings to facilities in Pasadena, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sulfur, and Lake Charles. It made strong financial sense for them to make a move to Orange which is right in between two very hot markets for their blast proof modular buildings.

The Orange County EDC is working with the community to get input on what they would like to see in terms of commercial and industrial development in Orange County. High on the list for the public is a new hospital, perhaps a “boutique” hospital with about 25 beds. A hospital like that would give local overnight care to mothers having babies and others who would benefit from not having to drive to Beaumont or Houston for medical care.

Orange TX is a community that is heavily weighted towards an aging population. This provides two great opportunities – one for those who serve senior citizens and one for companies that can assist the community in retaining young workers.

  1. The community is ideal for new skilled nursing facilities, senior apartments, and other senior housing options.
  2. The community is interested in minimizing loss of young adults by keeping more of their graduating students employed in the community. They will be aggressive in attracting companies that can put local young people to work in good paying, career path jobs.


The community is proactively addressing ways to keep young adults engaged in the community. Lamar State College Orange has several programs that can provide higher paying jobs within Orange County. For many students, the certificates and degrees available in Lamar College Orange’s process operator program and industrial technology programs are ideal – they can offer starting salaries in the $35,000 to $55,000 range – or about double what a rural, starting teacher with a four-year degree makes. Lamar State College Orange also has a strong nursing program which is another profession that can give young adults higher paying jobs without leaving the community.


The next great program from Lamar State College Orange is on its way. Lamar has announced their Maritime Program. The project is being Pest Control Marine Louisianaspearheaded by Captain Michael Miller. Captain Miller has taught at Texas A&M Galveston and he set up the Maritime Program at TCU. There are very high paying jobs available locally on tugboats, pilot boats, rig runners, and other commercial vessels. Many of the experienced crewmen are retiring and there have not been enough qualified new recruits to replace them. Lamar Orange’s program will help people receive their Merchant Marine Credentials, which will provide entry into the profession. The program will also assist experienced sailors by providing a local resource for continuing education and certification renewal for skills like radar – the program will have a state of the art radar simulator. The maritime program will also have a full mission bridge simulator that can be used in training and can actually generate revenue for the program by renting the facility to the Coast Guard, oil companies, or other maritime companies who are reviewing how accidents happened. The program will evolve to assist sailors in reaching higher level certifications including pilot licenses and captain’s licenses. One of the most exciting aspects of the program is that it is capable of partnering with local maritime companies to give them the real world training they need. For example, if your company has five tugboats, the Lamar Orange Maritime Program can provide you with entry level employees who have recently received their Merchant Mariner’s Credentials, assist your experienced sailors with keeping their certifications up to date, and can help you develop talent internally to replace retiring pilots or captains.

For more information about the program, contact:

  • Captain Michael Miller, Lamar State College Orange TX
  • Office Phone: (409) 882-3032
  • Cell Phone: (979) 299-4623


A plan for providing a steady influx of skilled workers into the Orange County economy is on track.

The City of Orange has its own Economic Development department headed by Jay Trahan. The department works hand in hand with other Orange County entities – the Greater Orange Chamber of Commerce, the Orange County EDC, the Port of Orange, and the individual cities that make up Orange County.

Jay Trahan offered some insight into recent events that help position Orange County for further growth, “DuPont was approved by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for a designation as a Texas Enterprise Project, which involves a capital investment and job retention commitment. In addition, INVISTA was approved by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for Texas Enterprise Project funding. International Paper has completed a voluntary annexation with the City of Orange with a commitment of capital investment and job retention”.


These are the kinds of commitment that help communities plan and guide future growth.

When your big employers are upgrading facilities and committing to their workforce, it creates a stable environment that fosters strategic planning initiatives.

Jay Trahan also commented on a company that moved to Orange in part to take advantage of its location on the I-10 corridor, “Blue Beacon Truck Wash is a new company locating in the City of Orange at Interstate 10 & Hwy 62.  The company invested $2.7 million dollars in their facility and has committed to providing 40-50 new fulltime jobs”.

Jay Trahan echoed and reinforced some of Jessica Hill’s observations on Orange County’s infrastructure, “The City of Orange has worked with TxDOT to move the new $68MM Interstate 10 Project forward that will improve access and visibility along IH10 frontage roads. The infrastructure is in place and land tracts are available for new retail and commercial development with local, state, and federal incentives”. The project will only enhance Orange County’s position as a great access point to the I-10 corridor.

Jay summed up the economic development mission of the City of Orange, “The main economic development initiatives for the City of Orange include industrial attraction and expansion efforts, retail development, residential development, and improving the quality of life for visitors and residents.”


The Greater Orange Chamber of Commerce has focused heavily on addressing quality of life issues.

A big part of this initiative has been working with national event coordinators to bring high visibility events to Orange County. Ida Schossow, Greater Orange Chamber President, points to the successful fishing trips the community has hosted including Bass Masters and Bass Champs. A number of individuals and groups, including Texas House of Representatives member Dade Phelan, partnered with the Chamber to create an environment in which these tournaments could flourish. Their first Bass Master’s tournament set a national attendance record with over 33,000 spectators. The following tournaments have had comparable success. Schossow has fielded teams from communities all over the nation who were instructed by Bass Masters to, “reach out to Orange and recreate what they do for Bass Masters”. The tournaments don’t just attract legions of fans; they also bring big money sponsors in the market who may one day locate all or a part of their operation here. In addition, the events raise Orange’s profile nationally, many people are exposed to Orange County for the first time watching a fishing tournament or tunnel boat race.


Doesn’t Orange County sound like a community ready to welcome new businesses and to help them succeed?

Thanks to a team effort of a number of Orange County communities and organizations, this is a community positioned for sustainable growth.





Are you looking for events in Orange TX? Get update information on,, and

Jessica Hill, Orange County Economic Development

Jessica Hill, Orange County Economic Development

Future Goals for Orange County

  • “We’d like to partner with a company or organization to bring a big pavilion to the boat ramp that can be used by the public year-round and that will continue to make Orange a strong candidate for upcoming major fishing tournaments,” Ida Schossow, President Greater Orange Chamber of Commerce.
  • “We’d like for Orange to have a Chic-fil-A and a Starbucks,” comments from the public during an economic development forum hosted by the Orange County Economic Development Corporation.
  • “We’d like to recruit one or more major large logistics and shipping facilities who would benefit from our access to water, rail, and the I-10 Corridor,” Jessica Hill, Executive Director Orange County Economic Development Corporation.

For additional information about doing business in Orange County, please contact:

  • Jessica Hill
  • Executive Director, Orange County Economic Development Corporation
  • (409) 883-7770
  • Jay Trahan
  • Director of Economic Development, City of Orange TX
  • (409) 883-1077
  • Ida Schossow
  • President, Greater Orange Chamber of Commerce
  • (409) 883-3536
Ida Schossow, President Greater Orange Chamber of Commerce

Ida Schossow, President Greater Orange Chamber of Commerce

We hope you have enjoyed today’s feature, Southeast Texas Economic DevelopmentOrange County TX.

Refined Magazine serves the Golden Triangle commercial and industrial communities.

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  • Daryl Fant, Refined Magazine Southeast Texas Commercial Real Estate Online
  • (512) 567-8068
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economic development Orange TX, industry Orange Tx, jobs Orange TX, careers Orange TX, Port of Orange TX



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