The Odessa Chamber of Commerce will name Billy Bassett as 2018’s Entrepreneur of the Year on Thursday, recognizing the president of Bassett Construction for his community service and work building homes and businesses in Odessa for decades.
Bassett’s company built hundreds of homes since he founded it in the mid-1980s with a team that includes his brother, Don Bassett, after they worked in the family motel business.
At Bassett Construction, they built mansions and modest-sized houses. But the company also constructed a series of significant structures for Odessa, including the first student housing apartments at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Bassett also served on the successful campaign to create the four-year university.
Another project was overseeing construction of the 4,000 square-foot West Texas Gifts of Hope building, also known as Hope House, which provides free lodging for cancer patients across from the West Texas Cancer Center. Hope House, where he now volunteers, opened in 2014.
“We always felt like it was important to contribute more than a motel room or a hammer and a nail,” Bassett said. “It’s important to give back to the community.”
Bassett, a former chamber chair and former Odessa City Councilman, also serves with organizations such as the West Texas Jazz Society, the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale, Odessa Habitat for Humanity, Permian Basin MHMR, Texas Lyceum and the Permian Basin Home Builders Association.
The chamber’s Director of Operations Lynn Van Amburgh said that history encapsulated the purpose of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, given every year to one of the chamber’s members.
“It’s to celebrate entrepreneurship in our community and to foster that belief that there are entrepreneurs out there and they add a lot to our community,” Van Amburgh said. “And without them we really don’t have a lot of economic development or quality of life. They add to that.”
Bassett will receive his award Thursday at a luncheon at the Odessa Country Club. Here are the other honorees:
Jimmie Todd, the founding attorney and president of Todd, Barron, Thomason, Hudman and Bebout, a law firm he started in 1978. He is past president of E.L. Farmer and Company, a trucking company sold in 2013. He is president of the J.C. Ferguson Foundation, which donates to various charities in the area. And he served on boards of organizations including Boys Club of Odessa, Permian Basin Rehabilitation Center, Meals on Wheels and the United Way of Odessa.
Gary Felker, president of Milam-Felker Insurance Services, a locally owned independent insurance agency. Felker also serves on the Ector County Airport Advisory Board and with the Independent Insurance Agents of the Permian Basin.
Tommy Ervin and Norlene Ervin-McBride, co-owners of Ervin Plumbing and Supply. The brother and sister are the third generation of Ervins to run the business that their grandfather opened in 1934.
Norlene Ervin-McBride volunteers for organizations including Downtown Odessa, American Cancer Society Relay for Life , Crossroads Felowship and the Don’t Mess with Texas Initiative.
Tommy McBride is president of the Ector County Utility District. He also serves with groups including Gideons International, the Greater Gardendale Water Supply Corporation, the Ector County Appraisal District and the Imperial Water Development Board.
Joe Hurt, an owner of PBP Fabrication, an oilfield equipment business began in 1980. He comes from a long line of local ranchers and is a part-owner of four other businesses. He serves on boards including the Ector County Appraisal District Agriculture Advisory Committee, the Odessa College Foundation Board, the Deacon Board at Crossroads Fellowship and the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission.