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Chamber History

“To promote the economic development and community growth to ensure the prosperity of Pasadena’s businesses and citizens.”


The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce mission statement is a perfect summary of the Chamber’s character, demeanor, and approach throughout its long, 88 year history. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has been promoting and advancing the city of Pasadena from nearly the beginning.  The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has strived to grow, flourish, and foster the city of Pasadena into the thriving city it is today.

In 1927 the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce was formed. A.T. Vick on November 28, 1927 wrote an open letter that in effect, announced the formation of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. The original location of the Pasadena Chamber was the Aubrey Cruise Service Station, located near highway 225 and Spencer, where it operated out of a back room.  There were several pressing issues effecting the area that is now Pasadena, so the citizens and businesses made the decision to organize. One of the first pressing issues the newborn chamber had to concern with was the possible annexation of Pasadena by the city of Houston. 

In 1941 the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce elected its first chairman of the board, Mr. Joseph F. Henson. In 1942, the chamber hired its first President/CEO, Mr. George Powell. Then in 1943 the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce joined the national United States Chamber of Commerce organization.

In 1947, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce moved to Jensen Building. Then in 1953 the Chamber filed its articles of incorporation with the Texas secretary of state.

In 1967 Mr. Jess Strickland was named by the chamber, Pasadena’s first Citizen of the Year. The Citizen of the Year award is a prestigious recognition of one Pasadena citizen’s exemplary efforts and extensive work to better the lives of fellow citizens and the betterment of the city. Annually this award is given out at the End of the Year Gala.

Starting in the late 1960’s through the late 1970’s the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce was located in several locations to maximize member and community accessibility and convenience. In the late 1960’s the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce was located in the KIKK Radio Station. Next, in 1975, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce moved into the Diamond Shamrock Building. Then, in 1978 the chamber moved to its current location on 4334 Fairmont parkway, where it continues to reside to this day.  The current location was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Harris family, of John O. Harris Interest who donated the land for chamber usage. The Building Committee, and its Chairman, Mr. Varreece Berry along with Winchell & Sons contractors and Powitzky/Gardner Partnership Architects are credited for the work of the building completion. In 2007, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce pursued a capital campaign to make major renovations to both the interior and exterior of the building. Thanks to John O. Harris Interests continued support they were a major sponsor of this capital improvement project along with many other businesses and community sponsors.

In 1988 the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce named its first Business of the Year, John Phelps Insurance. The businesses who receive this award has contributed to the flourishing, developing, and progressing of Pasadena. Consideration for this award are companies who exhibit financial stewardship, active involvement in community organizations, participation in local events and lending resources. These businesses have gone above and beyond, to put it simply made life better for the residents of Pasadena. Annually this award is presented at the State of the City Address.  

In 1988, The Pasadena Chamber of commerce also awarded the first Artist of the Year award to Martha Smith Hayes. This award goes to an individual working to restore the arts within Pasadena and servicing the community.

 

In 1989 the Chamber held the first annual Taste of the Town. This event enables the restaurants of Pasadena to showcase themselves to the public and make themselves known. This event features a variety of cuisines annually with awards given for the different categories, including the coveted People’s Choice Award.  This event also serves as the largest fundraiser for the chamber and has one of the largest live auctions around!

In 1995 the first Industry of the Year for Pasadena was awarded to Air products. Recipients of this award annually exemplify characteristics of involvement in charitable organizations, community projects, positive impact within the business community and a focus on safety, environmental and quality control standards. Annually, the chamber hosts an Industrial Appreciation Golf Tournament and Industry of the Year Membership Luncheon in the spring to recognize the many contributions of the recipient.

 

Location History:

-1927 The Aubrey cruise service station

-1947 The Jensen Building was on Shaw St by water tower by old city hall and post office then moved to main (KIKK)

-Late 1960’s The KIKK Building by Sterling Loomis Sporting Goods store

-1975 The Diamond Shamrock Building

-1978 The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Building

 

President/CEO History:

- 1942 George Powell

- 1943 Oscar D Bush

- 1945 Albert Y Shockley

- 1951 Harvey Cole

- 1953 John Pachelhofer

- 1956 Travis Cowen  

- 1957 James Hestand

- 1960 Malcolm Maupin

- 1965 Darold  

- 1966 Jerry Huffman

- 1969 Carrol Davidson

- 1974 Ken Waddell

- 1976 Ben Whitley

- 1978 Wanda BedenBagh

- 1990 Bill McCoy

- 2007 Sherry Trainer

- 2014 Cristina Womack

On Thursday, December 8, 2015, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce celebrated 75 years of Chamber leadership.