Strategic Planning

Request for Proposals (RFP) for the provision of professional consulting services for strategic planning services for Greater Houston Port Bureau (Port Bureau)

Note: This notice is available for download here.


Greater Houston Port Bureau (Port Bureau) seeks a consultant (firm or individual) who will assist our Board of Directors and staff in creating a strategic framework that positions our organization as the leading maritime trade association in the Houston port region over a three-and-a-half-month period ending November 18, 2021.

Organizational Profile

Vision Statement: Companies working together to improve our port region.

Mission Statement: To promote cooperation and efficiency within the maritime community through vessel information, port information, networking, and advocacy.

Founded in 1929, the Port Bureau is a member driven, 501 (c)6 non-profit trade organization dedicated to the success of the Houston port region.

With over 230 member companies and under the leadership of a board of directors comprised of executives from leading companies in and affiliated with the local maritime industry, the Port Bureau partners with members for cooperation and collaboration to advance the port region for the benefit of all.

The Port Bureau works to further the dialogue on the top issues impacting industry today, such as the Houston Ship Channel Expansion (Project 11) and optimizing chemical tanker scheduling. We collectively champion the value of the maritime industry to public officials and the community at large.

Leaders, professionals, and public officials from the maritime community make new connections and gain business insights at our Commerce Club series of educational luncheons, our informative Port 101 sessions, and at our Annual Maritime Dinner.

Because the Port Bureau operates as the Marine Exchange of Texas, members can access a variety of resources providing valuable data and analysis for doing business along our waterway, including detailed vessel movement information for Texas deepdraft ports and more.

Fast facts:

  • 235 member companies representing 50 business types. View here.
  • 3 membership levels: $7,500; $2,500; $750 annually. View here.
  • 33 Board Members: 12 Executive Committee (including 5 officers); 21 Directors at Large. View here.

Scope of Work

The Port Bureau Board of Directors has established a Strategic Planning Committee (Committee) for development of the 2022 – 2024 three-year strategic plan and framework based on a ten-year outlook. The Port Bureau does not have an existing strategic plan, but the Committee intends to establish a 3-year review cycle following this strategic planning session.

To qualify, the following should be demonstrated in the consultant proposal:

  • Experience in strategic planning and facilitation with non-profit and membership organizations; experience with trade associations preferred.
  • Highly developed project management skills.
  • Familiarity with the maritime, transportation, or related industrial/manufacturing fields would be an asset.
  • Consultant location in the greater Houston area and willingness to conduct some in-person/hybrid meetings preferred.

Expected Activities & Deliverables

The consultant is expected to manage the entire program, facilitate the process, and provide expert advice throughout the project and toward the delivery of the activities and deliverables listed below.

We expect the consultant to be responsible for:

1. Process management and meeting facilitation

  • Delivery of a clear, easily operationalized, measurable, strategic planning roadmap/workplan.
  • Assisting discussion and decision making and ensuring that conversations further the Port Bureau’s long history of facilitating competitive cooperation amongst members.
  • Interviews, focus groups, and/or surveys of a cross-section of members by industry type, taking into account the size and diversity of member types.

2. Needs assessment / environmental scan

  • Review of existing documents pertinent to the strategic plan.
  • Identify trends and patterns applicable to the maritime industry and organizations similar to the Port Bureau.
  • Consult with stakeholders/members to seek input and engagement.
  • Analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Discuss strategic alternatives revealed during needs assessment.

3. Drafting of Strategic Plan for review by Committee and members

  • Consultation with the board, members, and key stakeholders to reach consensus on the draft plan.

4. Development of the final Strategic Plan document

  • Final strategic plan document.
  • Highlights and framework to be used by Port Bureau in marketing the plan.

5. Overall project management

  • Regular meetings and status reports to keep the project on schedule.
  • Update the Committee on the process at biweekly Committee meetings.
  • Updates presented at board meetings on September 23 and October 28.
  • Planning, coordinating, and documenting all meetings, including member/stakeholder consultation sessions.
  • Development of tools and instruments for gathering input to the planning process (e.g., surveys, questionnaires, polls, etc.)

There are four process milestones aligned with key deliverables:

1. Week 1 (or as soon as is reasonable): Kick-off meeting to discuss initial strategic planning roadmap/workplan and Gantt chart
2. 50% mark: An environmental scan and needs assessment
3. 67% mark: A draft strategic plan
4. Main output: the final strategic plan and presentation to the Port Bureau Board of Directors (November 18, 2021)
The process/performance of the consultant will be monitored by the Port Bureau Vice President. The Vice President will serve as a conduit between the consultant and the Committee and facilitate outreach to the Port Bureau membership.

Port Bureau resources available for the consultant to utilize in relation to this project at no cost:

  • Training room seating approx. 50 theater-style or 28 classroom-style with A/V and video conferencing (must schedule in advance).
  • Conference room seating approx. 15 boardroom-style with A/V and video conferencing (must schedule in advance).
  • Parking at the Port Bureau office is ample and free.
  • Printer/copier.

The selected consultant is expected to operate professionally and deliver high-quality tasks and products on time and within budget.

Proposal Requirements

1. Consultant/Organization Profile:

  • Name, title, and contact information
  • Description of relevant background
  • Description of services offered

2. Qualifications and Experience

  • Outline how the consultant/organization meets the required and, if applicable, preferred, qualifications and experience.
  • Identify team members to be involved with the project and their role/experience.
  • Specify which team member will be the project lead.

3. The methods/philosophy that will be used to facilitate the strategic planning process

  • Description of approach to planning, facilitating, and developing a strategic plan.
  • How the planning results will be captured and reported.
  • Recommendation on number of interviews/focus groups.

4. References & Sample Work

  • Provide two client references.
  • Strongly preferred: Provide one to two sample strategic plans and/or frameworks for which consultant/organization provided service. Note: these can be fictitious samples or sanitized/redacted versions of previous work products.

5. Budget and contract terms

  • Detail total cost with an itemized breakdown of fees and deliverables, including all taxes and expenses.
  • Budget range: $20,000 - $45,000 (includes all expenses).
  • Standard contract terms, if available.

6. Page limit – 8 pages not including appendices for references and sample work.

Review of Proposals

Proposals will be reviewed by the Port Bureau Vice President, the Committee, and the Port Bureau Board:

1. The Vice President will undertake the initial screening of proposals and check the completeness of the proposal, i.e., the presence of all requested information.
2. The Vice President and President will evaluate and score the proposals on the following:

a. The proposed approach to the scope of work.
b. The level of experience of the individual(s) identified to fulfill the project.
c. The individual’s/organization’s experience with similar projects.
d. The total proposed cost.
3. The Committee will review, assess, and interview the three (3) top-scored proposals resulting in the selection of the consultant.

Selection will be made on basis of the best overall value for the product and “fit” with Port Bureau.

Conflict of Interest & Contractual Disclaimer

Applicants agree that they or their employees do not currently have, nor will they have, any conflict of interest between themselves and Port Bureau. Any perceived or potential conflict of interest must be disclosed in the proposal.

Nothing in this RFP mandates that Port Bureau is obliged to award a contract under this RFP. Port Bureau reserves the right to not accept any or all proposals without stating reasons.

Furthermore, should Port Bureau in its sole discretion decide not to award a contract under this RFP, Port Bureau may create a new RFP on the same subject as this RFP.

Port Bureau will issue a contract/letter of agreement and non-disclosure agreement with the selected applicant, within which the manner and schedule of payment will be addressed.

Proposal Submission

Timeline for Selection of Consultant

1. Call for proposals to be announced: July 1, 2021
2. Zoom webinar for interested candidates: July 8, 2021, at 3:00 pm CST

a. Register in advance at
3. Clarifying questions to be submitted to Port Bureau by: July 13, 2021
4. Response to questions to be posted on GHPB website: July 14, 2021
5. Proposal submission deadline: July 19, 2021, 5:00 pm CST
6. Interviews with top candidates: July 22, 23, 26, and 28, 2021
7. Decision on the successful candidate: July 29, 2021
8. Contract award: week of August 2, 2021

Please submit clarifying questions and proposals to Christine Schlenker, Vice President, at by deadlines indicated above. Answers for questions submitted after the July 8 Zoom meeting will be posted as soon as possible on the Port Bureau website at for all interested candidates to review. Please note, project contact will be unavailable July 9-13, 2021. All answers to questions received during this time will be posted on July 14.


Find the current list of questions and answers here (last updated July 14).

Watch the recording of the RFP webinar here.