Chamber a finalist for national award

The Longview Chamber of Commerce has been named a finalist for the 2019 Chamber of the Year award, presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

The award, sponsored by MemberClicks, is the most prestigious and competitive recognition presented annually by the Virginia-based association. It is an association of more than 8,000 professionals from 1,300 chambers of commerce, including 93 of the top 100 U.S. metro areas.

The Chamber of the Year award recognizes the leadership role chambers have in their communities.

Chamber of the Year winners will be announced July 15 at the association’s annual convention in Long Beach, California.

Organizations entering the Chamber of the Year competition must meet minimum thresholds in at least three of five key performance areas, including net revenue and assets, membership account retention, and membership dollar retention.

TSTC, MEDCO partner on diesel equipment

MARSHALL — The Marshall City Commission has approved a Marshall Economic Development Corp. request to spend more than $170,000 for two mobile diesel engine training modules for Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.

“The equipment is the most modern equipment available that complies with all the emission regulatory entities,” said Donna Maisel, MEDCO’s executive director. “This equipment is not available just anywhere. Having the equipment in Marshall is significantly unique. We are at the forefront of training for this program, which could be accomplished through the partnerships.”

The equipment will be housed at TSTC for use by students. The equipment can also be taken to area recruitment events or used for workforce training.

TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program is one of Workforce Solutions East Texas’ targeted career areas, according to information from MEDCO. Workforce Solutions predicts a 20.6 percent increase in diesel occupations through 2026 in the East Texas workforce development area. Some of the jobs are in farm equipment repair and bus and truck maintenance, according to MEDCO.

HealthFirst among Best Places to Work

TYLER — HealthFirst TPA, a division of UT Health East Texas, has been recognized among the nation’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine.

The recognition program honors workplaces throughout the health care industry with high-performing cultures focused on providing outstanding care. A ranked order will be revealed at an awards dinner Sept. 26 in Dallas during Modern Healthcare’s Workplace of the Future Conference.

“To be included on this prestigious list the first year we applied is a testament to the quality of the culture at HealthFirst,” said Moody Chisholm, division president and CEO for UT Health East Texas.

Since 1983, HealthFirst, a third-party administrator, has created customized, self-funded health care benefit plans based on the needs of employers.

Organizations making the list were selected based on interviews with leadership and an employee survey, which assesses satisfaction, work-life balance, communication, policies and practices, work environment and culture.

To learn more about HealthFirst, visit

UT Health Quitman on critical care list

QUITMAN — For the second consecutive year, UT Health Quitman was named to the “Critical Access Hospitals to Know” list published by Becker’s Hospital Review, a leading health care industry journal. The 25-bed hospital is the only critical access hospital in the state on the list.

UT Health Quitman provides a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services as well as 24/7 emergency care to Quitman and the surrounding communities. The hospital has designations as a Level IV trauma center and a Level III Stroke Support Center. In 2017, it was acknowledged for excellence in patient satisfaction by the Texas Office of Rural Health, and in 2018 was named to Becker’s list of “66 Critical Access Hospitals to Know.”

Critical access hospitals originally were created in response to a string of rural hospital closures during the 1980s and early 1990s to reduce financial vulnerability of rural hospitals and improve access to health care by keeping vital services in rural communities. These hospitals have 25 or fewer acute care inpatient beds and are located more than 35 miles from another hospital.

The list is based on awards and rankings from iVantage Health Analytics, The Chartis Center for Rural Health, National Rural Health Association, CareChex, Healthgrades and Medicare star ratings.

Aquaponics program June 14 in Overton

OVERTON — Hobbyists and prospective aquaponics enthusiasts can learn from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts about aquaponics and aquaculture during a June 14 program in Overton.

The program is set 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1710 FM 3053. Cost is $60 per person or $80 per couple. Registration is on-site beginning at 7:30 a.m.. Lunch is not provided at this event.

Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension small-acreage horticulturist, Overton, and Todd Sink, AgriLife Extension fisheries specialist, College Station, will provide information about the latest research results of two aquaponics systems and cover the basics on how to create and utilize these systems.

A tour of Masabni’s aquaponic greenhouse will follow the program.

For hotel information or other information, email Masabni at .

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