Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce Gathers to Honor its Outgoing Chairman of the Board

By: Hannah Brown
| Published 08/19/2019


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Attendees of the 2019 Chairman’s Ball, hosted by the Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, found themselves greeted right away by a costumed performer on stilts. This year’s theme was “Under the Bigtop,” and the Chamber certainly delivered a night to remember. Among the guests were members of local government, business representatives, nonprofits, community leaders, and notably, a trio of extremely photogenic capuchins.

Though the event is ostensibly black-tie, costumes are encouraged, and many attendees took the encouragement and ran with it. Gowns and tuxedos prevailed, but a number of ringmasters, lions, monkeys, magicians, and pirates made appearances as well. The Chamber’s president and CEO, J.J. Hollie, elected for a ringmaster’s attire over a suit and tie.

In the spirit of the night’s levity, Congressman Kevin Brady, noted that Mr. Hollie had, upon informing him of the ball’s theme: “It’s a circus, but since you’re already in Congress, I think you’re set!” The purpose of the event is to honor the outgoing Chairman and, despite the crowd’s cavalier energy, the evening’s speeches proved as personal and heartfelt as any. In presenting a Commendation to Stuart Lapp, the outgoing Chairman, on behalf of the United States Congress, Congressman Brady noted, “last year, [Lapp] talked about the need to set in place a long-term strategic planning approach so that this Chamber will always stay ahead of the curve, always ahead of the growith, always ahead of the challenges, and that’s what Stuart accomplished.”

When it was time for Mr. Lapp to speak, he began by thanking the Chamber staff and previous leaders for their dedication to the organization. “When I got the call [to be Chairman of the Board], I could think of a thousand reasons not to do it,” said Lapp. But after encouragement from his wife and business partner, he said yes. Being taken out of his comfort zone was a motif in Lapp’s address. “My wife, when we first met, said ‘that man has never had a day of fun in his life!’” After promising that he has indeed had many fun days since she became his wife, Lapp, a humble man, stated that “she took me out of my comfort zone -- I learned that it’s okay to be out of your comfort zone.” For Lapp, great and lasting changes can only be made by doing things a little differently, by pushing ahead of the curve, and he hopes his successors will, like him, be “all in.”

Lapp will officially be succeeded by incoming Chairman Jeff Garrett of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company at the end of the month.

Woodlands Online also produced a video of the event, which can be viewed here

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