Entrepreneur of the Year Award & Business Hall of Fame
In order to emphasize the importance of Odessa’s small business community, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce honors one individual each year as Entrepreneur of the Year.
Additionally, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce inducts one or more individuals into the Business Hall of Fame. Help us recognize these individuals by nominating a business leader today.
2018 Entrepreneur and Business Hall of Fame nomination forms will be available in January
Enterpreneur of the Year Honorees
Billy BassettBassett Construction, Inc.
Billy Bassett was born in Odessa, Texas to parents A.C. “Johnny” Bassett and Melba Bassett. Bassett graduated from Permian High School in 1965 and attended Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) where he received a Bachelor of Administration in Marketing.
After graduating from SMU, Billy joined his father, and his brother, Don Bassett, to build and operate four Best Western Motels, with the Colonial Inn in Austin, Texas being their lead property.
After selling motel properties in the mid 1980’s, Billy participated in several business interests before establishing his present company, Bassett Construction, Inc. With the help of his team consisting of brother Don Bassett and quality subcontractors, the company has flourished in West Texas.
Today, Bassett Construction has built well over 1,000 homes over 50 years. During those years, his company has built homes, motels, offices and the first student housing apartments for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and West Texas Gift of Hope “Hope House.” Bassett Construction has built homes ranging from 1,000 Sq. Ft to 12,500 Sq. Ft. The company offers services such as general contracting, residential and commercial and land development. Bassett’s company philosophy is to provide quality construction regardless of the size.
Bassett is an active community member who has served on many boards including the Texas Hotel & Motel Association, Texas Lyceum, Permian Basin MHMR, Odessa Habitat for Humanity, and the Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale. He has served as the past chair for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, Odessa Country Club, and the Permian Basin Home Builders Association. Bassett also served the city of Odessa as the district 2 councilman in 1988-1990.
Bassett is a volunteer for the West Texas Jazz Society, the Permian Basin Home Builders and West Texas Gifts of Hope. Bassett was also part of the committed group of citizens that traveled to campaign and advocate to make UTPB a four-year university.
Prior to being named the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year, Bassett was also inducted into the Chamber Business Hall of Fame in 2007. His company was also recognized by the Permian Basin Builders Association as Builder of the Year in 2008.
Bassett has been married to his wife Sheilagh for 44 years. They are the proud parents of two talented daughters, Erin, and Paige, and two grandchildren. In his free time, Bassett enjoys golf, sailing, and skiing. Bassett will be honored with a luncheon on Thursday, April 5 at 11:30 a.m. at the Odessa Chamber of Commerce.
- 2017 - Dr. Jayaram B. Naidu
- 2016 - Austin Keith
- 2015 - D. Kirk Edwards
- 2014 - Les Littlejohn
- 2013 - Scott Sibert
- 2012 - Collin Sewell
- 2011 - Larry Feeler
- 2010 - Jane & Mark Knox
- 2009 - Toby Eoff
- 2008 - Trina Moralez
- 2007 - Frank Deaderick
- 2006 - Larry G. Lee
- 2005 - Herbert Graham
- 2004 - C.R. “Dick” Saulsbury
- 2003 - Dr. Sudhir P. Srivastava
- 2002 - Don Wood & Jack Wood
- 2001 - Sam Holloman
- 2000 - Fred D. George
- 1999 - B.L. Crenshaw & Harvey Page
- 1998 - C. Richard “Dick” Sivalls
- 1997 - John Bushman
- 1996 - Wanda Jones
- 1995 - Bill Massey
- 1994 - Clay Wood
- 1993 - B.R. “Barnie” Jones
- 1992 - Bob Barnes
- 1991 - Bobby Cox
- 1990 - James O. Reese
- 1989 - Dane Widner
- 1988 - David Boutin
2018 Business Hall of Fame Honorees
Jimmie B. ToddTodd, Barron, Thomason, Hudman & Bebout, P.C.
Jimmie B. Todd is the founding attorney and President of Todd, Barron, Thomason, Hudman & Bebout, P.C., where he continues to practice law and serve as the managing partner. Originally from Perryton, Texas, Todd graduated from Perryton High School in 1956 and attended Texas Christian University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce, majoring in accounting in 1960. A few years later, Todd received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas and became a certified accountant in 1964.
Soon after, Jimmie began practicing law in Odessa, Texas at the Deaderick, McMahon and McKim firm. In October of 1978, he started his own law firm, which is now Todd, Barron, Thomason, Hudman & Bebout, P.C. In 2002, Jimmie served as president of E.L Farmer & Company, a 300 employee trucking operation, until it sold in 2013. Today, he continues to serve as President and Director of the J.C. Ferguson Foundation which makes contributions to various charities throughout the Odessa area.
After moving to Odessa, Jimmie was heavily involved in the community. He was a driving force in securing the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, and he helped establish the Village Place Charitable Trust. He has served on multiple boards including the Boys Club of Odessa, Permian Basin Rehabilitation Center, Meals on Wheels, and the United Way of Odessa. Todd is also a Deacon at First Baptist Church, and served as the Director of the Western National Bank from 1989 to 2015.
Jimmie has been married to his wife, Ann, for over 50 years. Together they have two children, Michael (deceased) and Mary Todd Koym. They also have three grandchildren, Zachary; Jarrod and Hope.
Gary FelkerMilam-Felker Insurance Services, Inc.
Gary Felker began his career in 1977 as an employee of Jack Milam and Associates, a locally owned independent insurance agency that began in 1965. For the next ten years, Felker would learn the business and become partner in 1986, and president just a few short years later. Felker attended Haskell High School in 1969 and graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s in finance. Prior to becoming a broker, Felker worked as an insurance adjuster after college.
In 1993, Jack Milam and Associates became Milam-Felker Insurance Services, Inc. Since then, Felker has led the company to become one of the premier independent insurance agencies in west Texas, and one of the most reputable agencies in this part of the state for oil and gas insurance. Today, the company has 14 employees and remains one of the longest independently owned insurance agencies in the Permian Basin.
Felker brings more than 40 years of experience to the insurance business. His business serves multiple industries specific to West Texas, including oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, aviation, transportation and industrial.
Felker serves on the Ector County Airport Advisory Board, and the Independent Insurance Agents of the Permian Basin. In his spare time, he enjoys golfing, flying, and hunting. Felker has been married to his wife Kristy for 17 years. They have two children, Brett Felker and Rebecca Grisham; and one granddaughter named Addison.
Norlene Ervin-McBrideErvin Plumbing & Supply
Norlene McBride is a proud native Odessan who plants her roots deep within her community. She attended Odessa High School in 1976 and went on to take courses at Odessa College and UPTB studying business and accounting.
Norlene began working within the family business during the summer of 1974 and continued part time until graduating from high school. After a few years in Real Estate, she returned to the business full time. For the past 84 years, Ervin Plumbing & Supply has been helping the Permian Basin get “out of the fix they’re in.” With both service technicians and retail store employees, Ervin Plumbing helps their customers with all their plumbing, heating, and air conditioning needs.
McBride is co-owner of the long-standing business alongside her brother, Tommy. Norlene and Tommy are the third generation “Ervins” running the business since their grandfather opened the business in 1934. Together, they work to provide services ranging from simple plumbing repairs, to a complete heating/air conditioning upgrade. Ervin Plumbing & Supply has 17 employees.
Norlene has a strong sense of community pride. She volunteers for Downtown Odessa, Inc, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and Crossroads Fellowship. McBride also works hard to keep her city clean by helping with the Don’t Mess with Texas Initiative. The company adopted a two-mile portion of FM 554 north of East Loop 338 and has been working on cleaning this stretch for more than10 years.
Norlene was recognized as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year by Downtown Odessa and received the Odessa Links Volunteer award in 2011. It is no surprise that her hobbies include volunteering and helping others and making a positive impact with anything that she does.
Norlene has been married to her husband Joe for 25 years. They have two children, Colby and Caleb, and three grandchildren.
Tommy ErvinErvin Plumbing & Supply
Tommy Ervin is co-owner of Ervin Plumbing & Supply, a family-owned business that opened its doors in Odessa in 1934. Ervin graduated from Odessa High School and attended Odessa College. However today, he claims to still attend the school of hard knocks as an ongoing education.
Ervin is a local volunteer for many different organizations including Gideons International and the Greater Gardendale Water Supply Corporation. He currently serves on the Ector County Utility District as President, the Ector County Appraisal District, and the Imperial Water Development Association. In the past, he has served as a board member for the Odessa Parks Advisory Board, the Odessa Plumbing Board, the White-Pool House, and the International Irrigation Association.
Ervin’s company serves as a local resource for all plumbing, heating, and air conditioning needs in Odessa and Midland. Over the years, Ervin’s high-quality products and 24-hour emergency services have earned an outstanding reputation. But his company services are not limited to our area. In fact, Ervin served 18 years on water projects in Haiti. He claims that the most unique thing about his business are his employees and serving West Texans for a fair value.
Ervin is also owner of an event venue in Bronte, Texas named the Rusty Bell. Located only 25 mins from San Angelo the venue is approximately 5000 sq. ft. and offers venues for special occasions of all sorts.
Ervin and his wife Teri have been married for 6 years. Ervin has one daughter, Lori Ann Suffield, and four grandchildren, Rhiannon; Delaney, Taren, and Brendon. His hobbies include spending time with his beautiful grandchildren and helping to provide water for Odessa and other West Texas communities.
Joe HurtPBP Fabrication, Inc.
Joe Hurt is one of the proud owners of PBP Fabrication, Inc., an industry leader in fabricators of oil and gas production equipment, both domestically and internationally. PBP Fabrication, Inc. began in February of 1980. Today, the company employs more than 30 people.
Joe graduated from Odessa High School in 1976, moved to Lubbock, Texas and attended Texas Tech University. Joe is also part owner of four other businesses: MaxTreat Gas Solutions, Inc., Buzzard M. Cattle Company, JBSB Properties LLC., and Johannson Flanigan, LLC.
Joe says the most unique thing about his business is the relationships he has built over the last 38 years. His company mission is to provide quality equipment and services that meet the customer’s needs at a good value, while creating a safe, pleasant, and empowering work environment for all employees of PBP.
Hurt comes from a long line of local ranchers. He is a 35-year member and past chair of the Sandhills Soil & Water Conservation District, and in 2013, received the Community Statesman Award in ranching from the Heritage of Odessa foundation. He also serves on multiple 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.
Joe has participated in multiple mission trips to Mexico, Columbia, France, Austria, Moldova, Kosovo and Odessa, Ukraine. He gives back to his community by sponsoring and volunteering at the Special Kids Rodeo, along with the Annual Christian Youth Night at the Sandhills Rodeo.
Joe has been married to his wife, Sherry, for 40 years. Together, they have three daughters, Natalie, Stephanie, and Baylie, and 8 grandchildren. When he’s not working or volunteering, Joe enjoys hunting, fishing, and traveling, but most of all his family and grandchildren.
See Previous Honorees