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Entrepreneur | Business | Education and Career | Finance | Real Estate | Technology | Insurance

October 2017

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Inspire, Inform & Educate

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122nd Edition

5th Annual Top 30 Influential Women Awards Gala:

A Night to Remember (from left to right)  •  Dr. LaQuita Carter  •  Chief Vera Bumpers  •  Cristala J. Poole  •  Carla Brailey  •  Kelley Taylor  •  Courtney Johnson Rose  •  PJ Douglas Sands  • Shemetre Richmond  •  Carla Lane  •  Mary Young  •  Bea Washington Philips

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INSIDE

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04

Comfort is the Enemy of Change

In the Business Community… Senator Cornyn and Congressmen Olson awarded Missouri City Fire and Rescue commendations for exceptional service during Hurricane Harvey

27

2017 Black Home Ownership Report Issued With Cautious Optimism


2  |  October 2017

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October 2017  |  3

Publisher’s Message

MR. D-MARS

d-mars.com is proud to share the success stories of African American businesses and civic and community leaders. We know that success does not always come easy and it is not always measured in money. How have you helped your fellow entrepreneur? Have you supported your locally-owned African American business? Have you donated to a nonprofit that is working in our underserved communities? Questions to think about and actions to take. This month’s cover story highlights the 5th Annual Top 30 Influential Women of Houston Awards Gala. The Awards celebrate women who are entrepreneurs, C-Suite executives, philanthropists and civic, community and nonprofit leaders.

Behind the Journal

Vice President, Marketing Anita Bates SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES C.T. Foster Tiffany Black

our services

04 Business 04  Comfort is the Enemy of Change 05, 10  U.S. Small Business Administration: GETTING DISASTER HELP FROM SBA 06  Seeking a small business loan? What you should know

Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Floyd

ACCOUNTING MANAGER Eugenie Doualla

—Jack Welch

contents

Publisher & CEO Keith J. Davis, Sr.

EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Sharon C. Jenkins

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

06 06 Education 06  Small business owners complete Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at HCC 08  A Seat at the Table: To Educate or Not 08  Houston Strong. One Houston. One Library. 07  In the Business Community… 07  Senator Cornyn and Congressmen Olson awarded Missouri City Fire and Rescue commendations for exceptional service during Hurricane Harvey

PHOTOGRAPHY L.C. Poullard Grady Carter

11-22  Cover Story 11-22, Top 30 Influential Women

MULTIMEDIA DIRECTOR Andrea Hennekes

23 Entrepreneur 23  7 steps to improve cybersecurity

LAYOUT & GRAPHIC DESIGNER Angel Rosa

24 Insurance 24  Allstate Announces August 2017 Catastrophe Loss Estimate

ADVERTISING | MARKETING MEDIA | COMMUNICATION • Business Journal • Health & Wellness Journal • Community Journal • Black Pages Online Business Directory • Top 50 Black Health, Medical & Wellness Professionals • Top 50 Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs • Top 30 Influential Women of Houston • Top 25 Prime & Subcontractors for Diversity • Business Connection • Business Development • Business Consulting • Graphic Design • Photography • Printing • Web Design • Online & Email Marketing • Public Relations • Social Media • Advertising • Writing • Promotional Marketing

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Project Coordinator Taelor Smith Antoniece Portis

26 Political 26  Monthly letter October

DISTRIBUTION Booker T. Davis, Jr. Rockie Hayden

27 Real Estate 27  2017 Black Home Ownership Report Issued With Cautious Optimism

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Noel Pinnock Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner d-mars.com News Provider

These women have shattered the proverbial glass ceiling, while reaching back to help their sisters do the same. The 2017 Class of honorees are an accomplished group of leaders in fields such as government, television, law, medicine, education and professional services. We celebrate these women and their dedication to the Houston community. “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” ~ Jack Welch As always, thank you for your continued support of d-mars.com. When you support us, you are supporting more than just our company; you are supporting the communities in which we live and work. Working together, we can succeed in making positive things happen.

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d-mars.com info MAIN OFFICE 7322 Southwest Fwy., Suite 800 Houston, TX 77074 Phone: (713) 272.9511 | Fax: (713) 272.6364 Email Us: contact@d-mars.com

28 Technology 28  Smart City Networks Keeps Houston Connected Amidst Harvey Aftermath FCC Chairman Pai tours Houston shelters to review impact of hurricane and communications infrastructure

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4  |  October 2017 Business

Comfort is the Enemy of Change this old car but I only have one grandson.” Wow – let that sit right there for a moment. Hmmm…I know if it were me and my parent’s car, I would have probably been dead, beaten, pressed down, and shaken together…LOL – it’s okay to laugh.

By Noel Pinnock Contributing Writer

A

lexander Pope in the An Essay on Criticism book (1711) wrote, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” The verb "err" means to do something wrong; to make a mistake is "to err". "To err is human" because all people ("humans") make mistakes. Unfortunately, we are programmed at an early age to think that failure is bad and this belief prevents individuals and organizations, alike, from effectively learning from missteps. As children, we learn at some point that admitting failure means taking blame! How can we respond constructively to failures w/o giving rise to an “anything-goes” attitude? Executives when asked, reported how many of the failures in their organizations are truly blameworthy, their answers are usually in single digits – 2% to 5% but when asked how many are treated as blameworthy, they say (after a pause or chuckle) – 70% to 90%. Amy Edmondson and Mark D. Cannon (Harvard Business School) writes: “It hardly needs to be said that organizations (individuals) cannot learn from failures if people do not discuss and analyze them. Yet this remains an important insight. The learning that is potentially available may not be realized unless thoughtful analysis and discussion of failure occurs. For example, for Kaiser [Permanente's] Dr. [Kim] Adcock, it is not enough just to know that a particular physician is making more than the acceptable number of errors [in misread x-rays]. Unless deeper analysis of the nature of the radiologists' errors is conducted, it is difficult to learn what needs to be corrected. On a larger scale, the U.S. Army is known for conducting After Action Reviews that enable participants to analyze, discuss, and learn from both the successes and failures of a variety of military initiatives. Similarly, hospitals use "Morbidity and Mortality" (M&M) conferences (in which physicians convene to discuss significant mistakes or unexpected deaths) as a forum for identifying, discussing, and learning from failures. This analysis can only be effective if people speak up openly about what they know and if others listen, enabling a new understanding of what happened to emerge in the assembled group.” I have written this before and for edification purposes you can review it once more: “You see, hindsight is always 20/20 but in order to realize the power that is produced in failure we must first be able to acknowledge it; second, analyze it; and third, learn from it. German theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein once stated, “We can’t solve yesterday’s problems at the same level of

Change is an elusive beast. In fact, someone once said that no one likes change but a wet baby but I am here to tell you that change is inevitable, constant, impersonal, and ever present. Although we may try to avoid it we can’t escape it. Change is such an extraordinary, sometimes uncomfortable thing, isn’t it? So many of us crave it but fiercely resist it, fueling an ever-escalating inner civil war. In our society, we may have taken the privilege of comfort too far. It’s so easy to stay comfortable. Too warm? Adjust the air-conditioning another degree cooler. Too cold now? Turn the heat up a few degrees. We insulate ourselves against anything that is the least bit uncomfortable. I’m not talking about the extreme discomfort of not having a roof over your head or of being the victim of abuse or some other horrible circumstances. I’m talking about the everyday entitlement that leads us to believe that everything we want should be handed to us, that mastery can be attained through a bit of dabbling or by short bursts of obsessive attention. Here are five reasons (count with me 1-2-3-4-5) why change is important:

thinking we are at when we created them.” In order to get back up when we have fallen down requires a change in our beliefs as well as in our thinking because when we change our beliefs, we change our thoughts, and when we change our thoughts; we change our feelings and when we change our feelings; we change our actions. At the end of the day, top of the morning, it’s about taking action after the error, failure, short fall, opportunity for improvement (OFIs), or whatever word or phrase you find acceptable in your lexicon. Those that catch, correct, and learn from failure before others will succeed but those that wallow in the blame game will not.” It’s ironic that college and most of the schooling we receive teaches us that accuracy is key and failure is bad. They don’t really teach or equip us with the skills to know how to get back up. The first thing we see when we get that Scan Tron or blue book back are the red errors or the comments addressing the deficiencies. This doesn’t promote a culture of achievement but a culture of failure with little to no opportunity for improvement. I remember Pastor Charles Swindoll whose grandfather said to him after wrecking his grandfather’s car pulling out the barn…his grandfather said, “It’s alright Chuck…It’s alright…I can always fix

1. Change will help you focus on the person you need to become and the leader you need to be 2. Change ensures life stays exciting…who wants to live a boring life (no one eats the same thing every day) – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a change in results 3. Change leads to opportunity and opportunities lead to victories – Opportunity doesn’t knock but you have to knock on the doors of opportunity and if you don’t get in then…break the window 4. Change helps you move on and provides the stairway to a new role…in life there are no elevators to get you there and what may get you there may not keep you there (pow) 5. Change means progress and gives double for your troubles by building your testimony that will encourage others who are in trouble. At the end of the day - Comfort is the enemy of change because it enters your home as your guest, remains as your host and eventual becomes your master. Most of you decided to pursue a degree of higher learning because you were not comfortable with your current job, salary, or career trajectory. The desire for change motivated you to take action in order to reach a desired result or end and I am very proud of each of you for evicting comfort and taking change out for dinner. At least when you finish the meal you can pay for the bill because change is a good date and shouldn’t be treated as a one night stand. #getatit!

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October 2017  |  5 Business

U.S. Small Business Administration: GETTING DISASTER HELP FROM SBA

WHAT WHATYOU YOUNEED NEEDTO TOKNOW KNOW

•  SBA offers federal low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters. •  Businesses of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair/replace disaster property damage. •  Small businesses, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations may also borrow to help meet disaster caused working capital needs. The $2 million maximum applies to the combination of property damage and working capital loans. •  If you are a homeowner or renter, FEMA may refer you to SBA. SBA disaster loans are the primary source of money to pay for repair or replacement costs not fully covered by insurance or other compensation. •  Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. •  Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property, including vehicles.

WHATYOU YOUNEED NEEDTO TODO DO WHAT •  Register with FEMA at www.disasterassistance.gov. This is the fastest way to register for help. •  Homeowners and renters should submit their SBA disaster loan application, even if they are not sure if they will need or want a loan. If SBA cannot approve your application, in most cases we refer you to FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program for possible additional assistance.

•  Apply online using SBA’s secure website at https:// disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. •  Apply in person at any Disaster Recovery Center and receive personal, one-on-one help from an SBA representative. For additional information or to find a location near you, visit our website at www.sba.gov/ disaster, call SBA at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. •  Apply by mail: Send completed paper application to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION FACT SHEET - DISASTER LOANS TEXAS Declaration #15274 & #15275 (Disaster: TX-00487) Incident: HURRICANE HARVEY occurring: August 23 through September 15, 2017 in the Texas counties of: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller & Wharton; for economic injury only in the contiguous Texas counties of: Angelina, Atascosa, Brooks, Burleson, Caldwell, Grimes, Guadalupe, Houston, Jim Wells, Kenedy,

Live Oak, Madison, Milam, San Augustine, Shelby, Travis, Trinity, Washington, Williamson & Wilson; and for economic injury only in the contiguous Louisiana parishes of: Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Sabine & Vernon

ApplicationFiling FilingDeadlines: Deadlines: Application Physical Damage: October 24, 2017 Economic Injury: May 25, 2018 If you are located in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). What Types of Disaster Loans are Available? o Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible. o  Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

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CONTINUED on page 10


6  |  October 2017 Business

EDUCATION

Seeking a small business loan? What you should know

Small business owners complete Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at HCC

By d-mars.com News Provider

S

mall businesses still struggle to obtain credit; nearly half of those who applied for credit in 2016 didn't get all the funding they sought, and 17 percent of those who didn't apply for financing skipped it because they didn't think they could get what they needed, according to the Federal Reserve Banks' Small Business Credit Survey. However, a growing number of small businesses are turning to alternative sources of financing. "The process for accessing and receiving funding can be slow and cumbersome and alternative forms of lending are greatly helping to improve the availability of financing for small business owners," says Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital. "Ensuring that the financial system is more inclusive and addresses the needs of small business owners who may have been previously underserved by traditional lenders is paramount." The Federal Reserve study has shown steadily increasing numbers of small businesses, with annual revenues of less than $1 million, seeking financing through non-traditional sources such as online lenders. In 2014, just 18 percent applied to online lenders, while in 2016, 21 percent did. As the alternative lending industry continues to grow, small business owners should keep five points in mind when evaluating loan offers, Reses says:

take time small business owners don't have. Others have been able to tackle both of those challenges. For example, Square Capital can see the health of a small business based on its sales and transaction data, allowing it to evaluate the business's stability and actual ability to repay over time. With this unique insight, it can assess eligibility for a loan and deliver offers right to the small business owner. From there, an application takes as little as a few clicks to complete and once approved, funds are deposited as quickly as the next business day.

Totalpayback paybackamount amountofofaaloan loan Total Knowing how much a loan is going to cost isn't always easy. For a small business owner, being able to see exactly how much you will need to repay and accounting for that in your budget is crucial, and you should always look for transparency. Total payback amount is the dollar value that represents all costs, so business owners know exactly what they will owe over the life of the loan. Businesses should look for this when they assess loan offers. Assessing offers solely on other metrics like APR may not always provide a fair or easy comparison.

RepaymentMethod Method Repayment The ease of repayment is also important to consider and there are some unique options available to small businesses looking for flexibility when it comes to repayment. With Square Capital for example, a fixed repayment amount is automatically deducted from the business's daily card sales processed through Square until the loan is repaid, enabling the business to pay more when things are busy and less if things slow down. Businesses also have the opportunity to repay early and without penalty at any time before the end of the loan term.

Speed Speed Traditional small business loans can take weeks to process from the time you collect all the paperwork to apply, to the time you actually get approved, to when you see the money in your account. Yet, according to the Fed's survey, the majority of small businesses that applied for credit in 2016 did so in situations where time was a factor; 64 percent wanted to expand their business or take advantage of a new opportunity, and 45 percent needed the money to cover operating expenses. While some funding sources have a reputation for being faster to approve, getting the money can still

Affordability Affordability Business owners may know how much they need, but be less aware of what size loan they can afford. It's important to accept a loan offer that your business can repay within a reasonable time period while also helping it grow. Square Capital's ability to use unique data to assess the eligibility of a business for a loan also enables it to provide access to loan offers tailored to a business's cash flow, reducing the risk of businesses borrowing more than they can afford to repay. Loans are sized based on a reasonable projected payback period so that a small business can use its funds to grow and not be stuck in debt for extended time periods.

Trust Trust Before applying for credit from any lender, it's important to do your research. Know how they present their offers, look for transparency and flexibility that puts the borrower first and understand customer satisfaction and lender dependability. Working with a trusted brand is important to many small business owners and should be to you as well. While online lenders are opening up access to the financing small businesses need to run and grow, it's important to do your homework and carefully determine which financial partner best meets the needs of your business. To learn more about small business loans through Square Capital, visit www. squareup.com/capital. -BPT

T

he 19th cohort of small business owners recently completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Houston Community College (HCC). The celebration ceremony took place Friday, Aug. 18 at the HCC Alief–Hayes Campus. These business leaders spent 14 weeks, roughly 100 class hours, at HCC studying a business and management curriculum designed by Babson College and delivered by HCC faculty. The curriculum covered accounting, human resources, negotiations and marketing, among other topics. The program also included one-on-one business advising, financial workshops and advice from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses community partners. HCC and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses leaders emphasized how proud they were to welcome the small business owners as alumni. The program graduates include:   •  Todd Allen, Radarview/UCT   •  Tere Batista, Employers One Source Group, Inc.   •  Julie Bihlet, Blackline Engineering   •  Patricia Boral, Boral Agency   •  Stephanie Boutté-Phillips, HTEC-Houstons Training and Education Center, Inc.   •  Sonya Brown-Marshall, Marshall Management Group Inc.   •  Eddie Brunet, PDHengineer   •  Elias Camhi, ELDA Management Services, Inc   •  Kent Cartheuser, Brazing Technologies, Inc.   •  Marisa Chapman, Custom Made Trailers   •  Tobi Cooper, Houston Pecan Company   •  Mike Faherty, ProSales Connection, LLC   •  Connie Farias, C. Cheveux Salon   •  William Fong, Fong & Associates, LLP   •  Micah Guynes, i45 Signs   •  Candace Hoelscher, Coterie Spark   •  Alli Jarrett, Harold's Restaurant & Tap Room   •  Callie Kuehler, Light It Right   •  Rusty Lacock, Minuteman Press FM 2920   •  Ronnie Lockridge, Lockridge Packaging LLC   •  Venkat Maddikayala, V3Main Technologies   •  Roxanne Morrison, Hawkmorr Transportation and Logistics   •  Sandra Richardson, PARC Enterprises Inc.   •  Heather Sasser, VideoEnvy   •  Eduardo Schleh, Field Claims Company The keynote speaker for the event was Zawadi Bryant, NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care co-founder and chief executive officer. Bryant is a 2012 graduate of the Houston program and four-time recipient of a spot on the Inc. 5000 list. She emphasized how implementing their new growth plan can lead to a sustainable life between growing their business and their personal time. Bryant also shared how that implementation was a turning point in her business and will be in theirs as well. Applications for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at HCC are accepted on a rolling basis. The program is open to business owners from across the Greater Houston region. To learn more or to apply, visit hccs.edu/10ksb or www.10ksbapply.com.

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In the Business Community…

October 2017  |  7

To View More Photos, Visit Our Website www.d-mars.com and Click on ‘Photo Gallery.’

Senator Cornyn and Congressmen Olson awarded Missouri City Fire and Rescue commendations for exceptional service during Hurricane Harvey

On September 23, 2017 U.S. Senator Cornyn and U. S. Congressmen Olson awarded first responders for the sacrifice and service during Hurricane Harvey. Chief Campbell’s thoughts were that Harvey brought many challenges to the City of Missouri City and the surrounding areas. However, when natural disasters of this magnitude affect our community, the way Hurricane Harvey has done, the “Show Me City” answers the call and rises to stand together. Missouri City Fire & Rescue Services along with several outside agencies and fire departments, collectively responded spectacularly to this natural event which claimed many homes and displaced residents. Members of every area of our department met the challenge and went above the call of duty during the response and rescued more than 1300 people. Chief Campbell humbly accepted the award on behalf of all the members of MCFRS. Remembering always that, “Together, We Excel!”

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8  |  October 2017 EDUCATION

A Seat at the Table: To Educate or Not By Leah Rapley

Contributing Writer

W

hy do black people (insert something related to slavery, hair, music food, dance, beliefs)? When asked that question by an culturally unaware friend (no it’s not just whites), my mind plays out two scenarios. Scenario 1: School this person Sooo, walk them through the rich history of black america. Throw out a few prominent names and explain impact of history of black lives in America. That person asks a follow up question, and then I explain, explain , explain, explain. Scenario 2: Don’t school this person I thank the person for the question and provide a list of references for them to study. I kindly encourage them to come back once they’ve read to discuss the questions further. In real time, I act out Scenario One mostly out of fear that Scenario Two will leave me with the label of ‘creating division’ or ‘ ‘that black person that wants to just complain and not do anything to bridge the gap’, or , the one that I love, ‘the angry black women’. I used to be of the mindset that it was my duty to do whatever I can to educate people about my culture. In essence, I had to coach (educate) people to win a seat at my table but in the real world, nobody coached me how to earn a seat at America’s table. I had to learn--- on my own (with the support of family, friends, and ‘woke’ teachers). At a time where information is overwhelmingly abundant , I believe Scenario

One has been on repeat for far too long. I recently came across the quote on social media. Unfortunately, I never wrote it down but I remember the things it made me think about. This quote magnified the core issue of the internal struggle I have whenever a culturally unaware person implicitly asks me to ‘teach’ them about me. With this quote in mind, from now on I will always take Scenario 2 (for $300 please). Because 1)  It’s energy draining-- It is physically draining. 2) Constantly having to explain my history to someone who has the resources to learn for themselves gets very old and very old quickly 3)  The same time that I can use educating/sitting in deep discussion (where I am generally the spokesperson for blacks), I can use that energy using my gifts and talent to empower the black community and learning about policies in this country so that I can address inequality. So, what will I do to address division in this country where the political environment reeks of racism, it certainly will not be Scenario One. Instead, my energy will be focused on uplifting my community, educating people about unjust policies, and us- ing my gifts to actively tackle the big ugly giants called... Inequality & Inequity. To sit at MY table, you will already need to have your plate prepared and ready to ACT. EDUCATION

Houston Strong. One Houston. One Library. Beginning Monday, September 25, 31 Houston Public Library locations will be open for service in the below locations. These locations will be open with extended hours till after the Thanksgiving holidays on Monday, November 27. Central Library Monday - Wednesday | 9 AM - 7 PM Thursday LATE NIGHT! | 9 AM - 8 PM Friday - Saturday | 10 AM - 5 PM Carnegie Library Monday - Wednesday | 9 AM - 7 PM Thursday LATE NIGHT! | 9 AM - 8 PM Friday - Saturday | 10 AM - 5 PM HPL Express Libraries Monday - Wednesday 10 AM - 6PM Thursday LATE NIGHT! 12 PM - 8 PM Friday - Saturday | 10 AM - 5 PM •  HPL Express Southwest •  HPL Express Frank Discovery Green Express Library Tuesday | 10 AM – 2 PM Friday – Saturday | 10 AM – 5 PM

Special Collections Tuesday - Wednesday | 10 AM - 6 PM Thursday LATE NIGHT! | 12 PM - 8 PM Friday - Saturday | 10 AM - 5 PM •  Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research •  Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) Neighborhood Libraries Monday - Wednesday | 10 AM - 6PM Thursday LATE NIGHT! | 12 PM - 8 PM Friday - Saturday | 10 AM - 5 PM •  Bracewell Neighborhood Library •  Collier Neighborhood Library •  Freed-Montrose Neighborhood Library •  Heights Neighborhood Library •  Henington-Alief Neigbhorhood Library •  HiIllendahl Neighborhood Library •  Johnson Neighborhood Library •  Jungman Neighborhood Library •  Looscan Neighboorhood Library •  Mancuso Neighborhood Library •  Melcher Neighborhood Library •  Moody Neighborhood Library •  Oak Forest Neighborhood Library •  Park Place Regional Library

•  Pleasantville Neighborhood Library •  Ring Neighborhood Library •  Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library •  Smith Neighborhood Library •  Stanaker Neighborhood Library •  Tuttle Neighborhood Library •  Vinson Neighborhood Library •  Walter Neighborhood Library •  Young Neighborhood Library *The African American Library at the Gregory School will open at a later date. Please check houstonlibrary. org for updates.

Select locations will have follow standard open hours: Fifth Ward and Stimley-Blule Ridge Closed Locations Several library locations incurred damage from the storm such as flooding and/or roof damage. These locations will be unable to open for the remainder of the year. Updates on the status of each location will be posted on houstonlibrary. org and on HPL social media channels; Facebook and Twitter @houstonlibrary and on Instagram @houstonpubliclibrary. Customers are welcome

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to sign up to any of the library's newsletters to receive updates on each location. •  Flores Neighborhood Library •  Kendall Neighborhood Library •  Lakewood Neighborhood Library •  McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library • McCrane-Kashmere Neighborhood Library •  Meyer Neighborhood Library Supporting HPL The Houston Public Library Foundation (HPLF) and Friends of HPL are spearheading wonderful efforts to help make HPL better than ever in the next coming year. Any donations questions are to be directed to HPLF. Volunteer and book donations or drives questions are to be directed to the Friends of HPL. Waiving Late Fees Book due dates were extended to September 29 for books checked out pre-Hurricane Harvey. HPL is now waiving all late fees and fines till November 27, 2017 after the Thanksgiving holiday. HPL wants all Houstonians to be able to focus on recovering from this catastrophe and not have to worry over late fees or overdue books.


October 2017  |  9

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10  |  October 2017

CONTINUED from page 05 o Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.

Whatare arethe theCredit Credit What Requirements? Requirements? o Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA. o  Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay all loans. o  Collateral – Collateral is required for physical loss loans over $25,000 and all EIDL loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires you to pledge what is available.

What Whatare arethe theInterest InterestRates? Rates? By law, the interest rates depend on whether each applicant has Credit Available Elsewhere. An applicant does not have Credit Available Elsewhere when SBA determines the applicant does not have sufficient funds or other resources, or the ability to borrow from non-government sources, to provide for its own disaster recovery. An applicant, which SBA determines to have the ability to provide for his or her own recovery is deemed to have Credit Available Elsewhere. Interest rates are fixed for the term of the loan. The interest rates applicable for this disaster are: •  No Credit Available Credit Available •  Elsewhere Elsewhere •  Business Loans 3.305% 6.610% •  Non-Profit Organization Loans 2.500% 2.500% •  Economic Injury Loans •  Businesses and Small Agricultural Cooperatives 3.305% N/A •  Non-Profit Organizations 2.500% N/A •  Home Loans 1.750% 3.500% Date: 09/18/2017 •  Amendment #5

Whatare areLoan LoanTerms? Terms? What The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years. However, the law restricts businesses with credit available elsewhere to a maximum 7-year term. SBA sets the installment payment amount and corresponding maturity based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. What are the Loan Amount Limits? o Business Loans – The law limits business loans to $2,000,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate, inventories, machinery, equipment and all other physical losses. Subject to this maximum, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss. o Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – The law limits EIDLs to $2,000,000 for alleviating economic injury caused by the disaster. The actual amount of each loan is limited to the economic injury determined by SBA, less business interruption insurance and other recoveries up to the administrative

lending limit. EIDL assistance is available only to entities and their owners who cannot provide for their own recovery from non-government sources, as determined by the U.S. Small Business Administration. o Business Loan Ceiling – The $2,000,000 statutory limit for business loans applies to the combination of physical, economic injury, mitigation and refinancing, and applies to all disaster loans to a business and its affiliates for each disaster. If a business is a major source of employment, SBA has the authority to waive the $2,000,000 statutory limit. o Home Loans – SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Subject to these maximums, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss. What Restrictions are there on Loan Eligibility? o Uninsured Losses – Only uninsured or otherwise uncompensated disaster losses are eligible. Any insurance proceeds which are required to be applied against outstanding mortgages are not available to fund disaster repairs and do not reduce loan eligibility. However, any insurance proceeds voluntarily applied to any outstanding mortgages do reduce loan eligibility. o  Ineligible Property – Secondary homes, personal pleasure boats, airplanes, recreational vehicles and similar property are not eligible, unless used for business purposes. Property such as antiques and collections are eligible only to the extent of their functional value. Amounts for landscaping, swimming pools, etc., are limited. o Noncompliance – Applicants who have not complied with the terms of previous SBA loans may not be eligible.

This includes borrowers who did not maintain flood and/or hazard insurance on previous SBA loans. Note: Loan applicants should check with agencies / organizations administering any grant or other assistance program under this declaration to determine how an approval of SBA disaster loan might affect their eligibility.

ThereHelp Helpwith withFunding Funding IsIsThere MitigationImprovements? Improvements? Mitigation If your loan application is approved, you may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples of improvements include retaining walls, seawalls, sump pumps, etc. Mitigation loan money would be in addition to the amount of the approved loan, but may not exceed 20 percent of total amount of physical damage to real property, including leasehold improvements, and personal property as verified by SBA to a maximum of $200,000 for home loans. It is not necessary for the description of improvements and cost estimates to be submitted with the application. SBA approval of the mitigating measures will be required before any loan increase.

ThereHelp HelpAvailable Available IsIsThere forRefinancing? Refinancing? for o SBA can refinance all or part of prior mortgages that are evidenced by a recorded lien, when the applicant (1) does not have credit available elsewhere, (2) has suffered substantial uncompensated disaster damage (40 percent or more of the value of the property or 50% or more of the value of the structure), and (3) intends to repair the damage. o Businesses – Business owners may be eligible for the refinancing of exist-

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ing mortgages or liens on real estate, machinery and equipment, up to the amount of the loan for the repair or replacement of real estate, machinery, and equipment. o Homes – Homeowners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing liens or mortgages on homes, up to the amount of the loan for real estate repair or replacement. What if I Decide to Relocate? You may use your SBA disaster loan to relocate. The amount of the relocation loan depends on whether you relocate voluntarily or involuntarily. If you are interested in relocation, an SBA representative can provide you with more details on your specific situation. Are There Insurance Requirements for Loans? To protect each borrower and the Agency, SBA may require you to obtain and maintain appropriate insurance. By law, borrowers whose damaged or collateral property is located in a special flood hazard area must purchase and maintain flood insurance. SBA requires that flood insurance coverage be the lesser of 1) the total of the disaster loan, 2) the insurable value of the property, or 3) the maximum insurance available. For more information, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@ sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s Web site at https://www.sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call (800) 877-8339. Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https:// disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.


d-mars.com

October 2017  |  11

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston 2017 VOLUME ll

5th EDITION

Name Title of Company Positiion

Name Title of Company Positiion

2017

Name Title of Company Positiion

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston Directory Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


12  |  October 2017

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston - ICON Honorees “To be in the company of such an esteemed group is truly humbling and inspiring. My hope is this event can serve as that spark to ignite a passion in community service in the next generation. Thank you D-MARS for being a leader and giving us this opportunity to inspire.” —Cynthia Cisneros

Shauna Clark

The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore

"The gala was a true evening of inspiration. It was also a beautiful evening in every detail, planned to perfection to make every honoree feel special. I loved hearing the stories of perseverance, compassion and phenomenal achievements. I am honored to have been included among an amazing group of women. This event showcased one more example of the great people who call Houston home.“

Deborah Duncan

Dawn Ullrich

— Carrin Patman

"I would like to thank Mr.d-mars and his team for honoring and celebrating women from different professions who continue to give back to their communities. I am privileged to do what I love, and I am humbled and grateful to be honored for my work. I will cherish my award, knowing that I will continue to help other women achieve their goals and their own personal greatness."

“The rest of the country – and the world – was surprised and inspired by Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey – how resourceful and resilient we are, and how we take care of each other in tough times. But I wasn’t surprised. The other Top 30 Influential Women of Houston honorees exemplify that spirit – in times of disaster, yes, but in their everyday work as well. I was proud to be honored alongside them, and I am grateful the event brought us together.”

— State Representive, Senfronia Thompson

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—Ann Stern


October 2017  |  13

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston Community Achievement Award "To be selected as an honoree among so many phenomenal women was truly a humbling experience! I commend the D-MARS organization for producing an amazing experience, celebrating the positive contributions of trailblazing women supporting the Houston Community!" —Dorinda Walker

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston - Honorary Co-Chairs "d-mars has curated a distinct event that sheds light on our community effort to positively impact Houston and change lives. It is an honor that yields the responsibility to keep going and empower others. Collectively we are so strong!" —April Day

I am so proud and honored to have been a Honorary Co-Chair for the group of dynamic women recently recognized at d-mars.com 2017 Top 30 Influential Women of Houston Awards. I was truly uplifted, inspired and reminded once again how powerful we all become when our gifts and talents are used to positively impact the lives of others. —Carlecia Wright

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14  |  October 2017

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston - Honorees "It was so empowering to be surrounded by like women who understand and are result driven. The achievements and result driven actions of these empowering ladies is currently changing so many lives." —Carol Brace

Johnte Archer

Cherie Cox accepting on behalf of Juuhi Ahuja

Dr. Margaret Allen

Lea Bogle

Dr. LaQuita Carter

Karina Barbieri

"I am so full of gratitude and admiration for all the women that I had the honor to share the night with. For a moment I said to myself “what am I doing here.” Then when I heard my name, a Venezuelan Dancer who came to the states, I stood proudly on the stage. I am humbled to have been chosen as a woman that is making an influence. Thank you d-mars for an unforgettable evening." — Karina Gonzalez

Dr. Jacqueline Horton-Cobbin

Cheryl Duncan

Twila Carter

Diane Englet

LaTreace Harrison

Tamar Davis

Dr. Karen Hill

"Once again, thank you for recognizing the Amazing women in our Houston community. The gala & everyone that attended were absolutely breathtaking. I kept thinking to myself "the stories I will have to tell my future grandchildren" I felt like we were leaving our foot prints in the sand that night & making history. The recognition was truly an honor not only for myself, but for everyone that has supported & encouraged me along this journey."

— Ige Johnson

Carneta Hunte-Larkin

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October 2017  |  15

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston - Honorees “Thank you, D-Mars, for creating a space with this special award, allowing me to take a long breath of gratitude. I deeply appreciate this wonderful community of Houston, for what you do, for this talented diverse group of women, for those who have gone before me, for family, for coworkers, for friends and for my unique journey. What a shining series of threads we have woven together. Thank you for raising my head to see the beautiful tapestry before me.” —Regina Mellinger

Monica Lewis

Paula McHam

Courtney Johnson Rose

Torsha Johnson

Cydonii Miles

Mary Moreland

“I am honored to have been selected as one of Houston’s Top 30 Influential Women of 2017 and to be in the company of such amazing women! As a mother of three beautiful girls, I especially appreciate the focus on women who are making a difference in the lives of so many in the Houston area. Thank you for the recognition and for organizing such an enjoyable event." — Kristin Tassin

Kimberly Gee Stith

Debra Stewart

Dr. Anhlan Nguyen

Delesa O'Dell-Thomas

Nicole Streeter

Barbara Vilutis

State Representive Shawn Thierry “I am honored to be recognized among some of Houston’s most powerful women. Women who have succeeded in their respective careers and made significant contributions to the community. The energy in the ballroom transcended age, race, profession, economics, etc. It was women celebrating women, and it was beyond beautiful.” — Kelley Taylor

Dr. Cynthia Wilson

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16  |  October 2017

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston

MR. D-MARS | d-mars.com President & CEO

“The 2017 Top 30 Influential Women of Houston are an elite group of female leaders who are bright lights opening doors for the next generation of female leadership. This being the fourth year, we honored another amazing group of women who are not only accomplished, but their inner beauty is something to truly be acknowledged. Their accolades and reputations speak for themselves, but what I most respect and admire about this 2017 group, is that they are leaving a great legacy of giving to their communities. d-mars.com continues to celebrate and recognize influential women who are true examples of women’s empowerment.” Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


October 2017  |  17

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston Kimberly Floyd | d-mars.com Vice President

“This 2017 group of honorees makes me proud to live in one of the most diverse cities in the nation. Houston is a great city, and this year’s honorees have made great accomplishments, helping to keep Houston on the map as an amazing place to be. d-mars. com finds it an honor to put the spotlight on some of the most influential women in our city. The 2017 Top 30 Influential Women of Houston honorees are dynamic. Not only are they examples in their professional lives, but they have a genuine spirit of sisterhood, helping the next woman to succeed. d-mars.com will continue to recognize women who are making a difference.” Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


18  |  October 2017

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston - Gala

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October 2017  |  19

Top 30 Influential Women of Houston - Gala

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20  |  October 2017

VIP Reception

3841 Bellaire Bl

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October 2017  |  21

Title Sponsors

d-mars.com ADVERTISING | MARKETING | MEDIA | COMMUNICATIONS

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Presenting Sponsors

I

L WELDING ACAD STRIA EMY NDU

“Integrity with Attitude” 713-672-WELD (9353)

Platinum Sponsors

HOUSTON AIRPORT S STEM

CONCRETE & CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

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22  |  October 2017

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October 2017  |  23 Entrepreneur

7 steps to improve

cybersecurity T

here was a time you could run a small business with a bank account, a telephone, an internet connection and some sort of physical base. These days, cybersecurity has been added to this list as a necessity nearly every small business owner needs to consider. This is especially true for small businesses such as law offices or accounting firms that deal with a client's highly sensitive information. Despite recognizing the need for effective IT security to guard against the next cyberattack, 83 percent of businesses say organizational difficulties put their company at risk, according to a global survey conducted by Citrix. In addition, 74 percent of businesses say they need a new IT framework to improve security and reduce risk. Because of the highly technical and complicated nature of cyberattacks, many small business owners don't understand the enormity of these threats, and most learn the hard way. For example, Dr. David Krier, whose Volunteer Voyages lost over $14,000 through fraudulent withdrawals, learned that banks do not always offer protection against these attacks. His organization was not reimbursed for the money the cyberthieves stole. The situation is not improving. Recently, CBS reported a drastic rise in phishing scams. In 2017, 200 organizations were victims of a phishing scam that resulted in the theft of the data of several hundred thousand employees. "Because most of the news coverage happens when big companies like Equifax or Target are attacked, many small business owners mistakenly believe that only larger companies are at risk of a security breach," says Nate Spilker, vice president, product management at Citrix. "The fact is, the majority of cyberattacks will have a detrimental impact on small businesses if they do not have a cybersecurity plan in place." Cybersecurity is a very real and very serious matter, but the more you know about it, the better you can prepare against an attack. These seven steps lay the groundwork for establishing an advanced and cost-effective way for small businesses to better guard against the ever-present reality of a cyberattack.

1. Assess current security tools Your company's data is only as safe as the technology it employs. Instead of thinking how well protected you are, consider bringing in an outside consultant to expose your vulnerabilities. This will help you to honestly analyze the current tools your company uses and understand where you can improve.

2. Invest in staffing It can be challenging for a small business to hire new employees. But because the cyber threat is so real and potentially devastating, hiring knowledgeable and experienced security personnel might be the most important step you can take to protect your business.

3. Encrypt your data You may trust your personal photos and music to the web, but your business's and your clients' data raises a whole other host of concerns. Many businessclass cloud services employ encryption technology, which transforms data in an indecipherable code that

can only be opened with a specific key as it travels between secure destinations.

4. Think beyond passwords It's safe to say most people are unable to remember all their passwords. Not only are passwords cumbersome, but poor password practices can create major security problems. In fact, 91 percent of security professionals think passwords will be a thing of the past within a decade. Many security experts now recommend user authentication technology to make protecting data both easier and more effective.

5. Use a consolidated platform By implementing a secure, company-wide tool such as Citrix ShareFile, which includes file sharing, storing and document signing as well as remote desktop access that integrates with common business apps like Microsoft Office 365, employees will be more collaborative and productive. They will also be able to work from anywhere, on any device, at any time.

6. Create and enforce a standard IT policy Whether you have a traditional office setup, contractors working remotely or a bring-your-owndevice policy, make it a priority for employees to understand the security risks involved with using unapproved applications.

7. Be proactive Stay updated on the latest developments and concerns in the cybersecurity landscape and how you can improve your company's defenses. For instance, take the time to review how the ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT) can both benefit and add new security risks to your company. A solution that takes into account many security measures involves implementing a cutting-edge file sync-and-sharing system, like Citrix ShareFile. With more than 80,000 business customers and 20 million business users, Citrix has developed their systems to be easy to use and capable of handling all types of files, from sensitive legal briefs to 3D architectural designs. Combining user experience with security, ShareFile safeguards data through leading industrial security standards. To learn more about small business technology solutions, visit www.sharefile.com. -BPT

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24  |  October 2017 Insurance

Allstate Announces August 2017 Catastrophe Loss Estimate By d-mars.com News Provider

T

he Allstate Corporation today announced estimated catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance recoveries, for the month of August 2017 of $593 million, pre-tax ($385 million after-tax). Catastrophe losses occurring in August comprised 6 events at an estimated net cost of $591 million, pre-tax, plus unfavorable reserve reestimates of prior reported catastrophe losses. Allstate previously announced $181 million, pre-tax ($118 million after-tax), in estimated catastrophe losses for the month of July 2017, bringing estimated catastrophe losses for the months of July and August 2017 to $774 million, pre-tax ($503 million after-tax). Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday, August 25, 2017. Estimated gross catastrophe losses, excluding homeowners flood, totaled $576 million, pre-tax, which will be reduced by $23 million in anticipated reinsurance recoveries for a net estimated loss of $553 million. Hurricane Harvey estimated losses include approximately 55% related to auto coverages. We incurred estimated losses and expenses of $53 million not covered by our reinsurance related to commercial insurance, auto protection contracts and loss adjusting expenses in excess of our reinsurance allowances. Given the complexity of this event, we may experience a higher level of uncertainty in our estimates due to the inability of our customers to gain access to their homes and autos and submit claims. Hurricane Irma occurred in September and is not included in our reported estimates.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting people from life's uncertainties with 75 million proprietary policies. Allstate offers a broad array of protection products through multiple brands and diverse distribution channels, including auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brands. The Company provides additional protection products and services through Allstate Benefits, Allstate Roadside Services, Allstate Dealer Services, Arity and SquareTrade. Allstate is widely known from the slogan "You're In Good Hands With AllstateÂŽ." Allstate agencies are in virtually every local community in America. The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners have a proud history of caring for local communities. Financial information, including material announcements about The Allstate Corporation, is routinely posted on www.allstateinvestors.com.

Forward-LookingStatements Statements Forward-Looking This news release contains "forward-looking statements" that anticipate results based on our estimates, assumptions and plans that are subject to uncertainty. These statements are made subject to the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements do not relate strictly to historical or current facts and may be identified by their use of words like "plans," "seeks," "expects," "will," "should," "anticipates," "estimates," "intends," "believes," "likely," "targets" and other words with similar meanings. We believe these statements are based on reasonable estimates, assumptions and plans. However, if the estimates, assumptions or plans underlying the forwardlooking statements prove inaccurate or if other risks or uncertainties arise, actual results could differ materially from those communicated in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements may be found in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the "Risk Factors" section in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement. SOURCE http://www.allstatenewsroom.com

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October 2017  |  25

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26  |  October 2017

The Mayor's letter

Political

By Sylvester Turner Mayor of Houston

here will be no candidate names on the ballot for the November 7 Houston Municipal Election, for which early voting starts October 23. But in many ways, it will be one of the most important elections for Houston’s future. Voters will be asked to say yes or no to five propositions that will set the city’s financial course -- and could improve city facilities such as police and fire stations, libraries, and parks -- for years to come. Passage of any or all of the propositions won’t trigger any tax increases. But, the propositions would allow the city to control pension costs and provide a more cost effective way to pay for things Houstonians need. I urge every registered voter to participate in this election. Proposition A is part of what is called the Houston Pension Solution. It would allow the city to issue bonds that are part of a reform plan that shrinks the city’s debts to the pension funds that benefit police, fire and municipal employees. The reform plan has already been approved by the Texas Legislature and saves the city millions. But if voters say no, pension officials would have the option of unwinding the pension reforms they agreed to, which included the reduced payments by the city. Rejection of Proposition A would cost the city $159 million in the next budget year and more later. That’s why I consider Proposition A to be crucial to the financial health of our city. Proposition B, the Public Safety Improvement Bond, would provide about $159 million for improvements at neighborhood police stations and fire stations citywide.

t

Mayor Sylvester Turner Proposition C, the Parks Improvement Bond, would provide $104 million for improvements at parks citywide. These include pavilion replacements, swimming pool upgrades, ball field lighting upgrades, and replacement of aging playground equipment. Proposition D, the Public Facilities Improvement Bond, would provide $109 million for renovations to health facilities, sanitation/recycling and essential

improvements at city facilities. Proposition E, the Library Bond, would provide $123 million in funds for library improvements. These include replacement and/or rehabilitation of existing neighborhood libraries. Again, approval of the bonds will not raise taxes, but it will set Houston on the right financial course towards growth and prosperity. I hope to see you at the voting booth!

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October 2017  |  27 Real Estate

2017 Black Home Ownership Report Issued With Cautious Optimism

National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) issues the 2017 State of Housing in Black America report with a view to push for a more equitable mortgage lending landscape. By d-mars.com News Provider

A

frican Americans are returning to the homebuying marketplace in numbers greater than projected a year ago by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB). The 2017 State of Housing in Black America (SHIBA) report, found that Black home ownership rose from its near 50year low of 41.3 percent in the third quarter of 2016 to above 42 percent in the first two quarters of 2017, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data. "While economic recovery is still out of reach for far too many Black Americans, NAREB sees a break in the storm. Black consumers are slowly regaining confidence in the marketplace, but institutional obstacles remain," said Jeffrey Hicks, President of NAREB formed in 1947 to ensure equal and fair access by Black Americans to own homes. This year's report, co-authored by James H. Carr, Michela Zonta, and Steven P. Hornburg takes aim at traditional systemic barriers and economically-driven displacement trends that continue to impede Black home ownership. It is a sign that NAREB's target for Black home ownership is not only achiev-

able, but also is a reasonable expectation as NAREB pushes to change the narrative to one that encourages Black Americans to build wealth and economic sustainability through home ownership. To achieve that goal, the SHIBA report indicates that key federal policy changes are needed to strike down unequal access to credit, to eliminate unfair fees and cost equivalences of mortgage products, and to enhance mortgage loan disposition. Given the fact that nearly 30 percent of denials for loans to Blacks are due to credit history, the delay in making changes to government-sponsored enterprises' (GSEs) credit-scoring policy until 2019, is unnecessary and unfair, according to the report. While recent data shows signs of improvement in the homeownership arena,

the report noted, the forces that sustain the Black-White disparity are enhanced by policies that NAREB wants to eliminate. Blacks remain on the sidelines of the recovery of the nation's cities, the report states. The forces that are fueling the rebirth of the cities have exacerbated rather than closed the racial wealth gap, the report also finds. What is evolving is a stubborn form of economic segregation that will keep the gap in homeownership wide and daunting. NAREB is determined to reverse this trend. Unless federal housing policy is modified to encourage, instead of discourage lending to Blacks, there will be an "overwhelming lack of access to affordable credit as well as to more effectively manage the large stock of distressed assets to promote homeownership, particularly in communities that have his-

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torically lacked adequate homeownership opportunities," according to the report. The bright signs reflect modifications in federal policy, NAREB noted. These changes include creation of new mortgage products by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; capping of the Loan Level Price Adjustment (LLPA) fees for these new mortgages; changing required debt-to-income ratios from 45 to 50 percent, and the GSEs' incorporation of trended data in their underwriting platforms. NAREB labeled these changes as accomplishments that are the result of two years of diligent advocacy by NAREB and other stakeholders seeking equality in mortgage access. Still, NAREB is pushing for elimination of the barriers to homeownership and at the same time, urging Black Americans to take advantage of educational resources and homeownership counseling to ensure homeownership sustainability in the communities of their choice. "NAREB's guiding principal of 'Democracy in Housing' means choice and the ability to lay down roots or continue to live in legacy neighborhoods. That's NAREB's goal – equality of choice for Black Americans," said Hicks. The full SHIBA report can be downloaded at http://www.nareb.com/ publications/2017-shiba-report/.


28  |  October 2017 Technology

Smart City Networks Keeps Houston Connected Amidst Harvey Aftermath FCC Chairman Pai tours Houston shelters to review impact of hurricane and communications infrastructure By d-mars.com News Provider

S

mart City Networks, the nation's leading telecommunications provider for the convention industry, hosted Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday to review the communications infrastructure at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Park. "Smart City began in Houston more than 30 years ago," said Mark Haley, President of Smart City Networks. "It was a top priority for us to keep emergency response teams and those affected connected when it matters the most. We had a productive meeting with Chairman Pai to give the FCC a thorough update on not only our efforts at our Houston facilities to support the local community, but also in how

we design networks that work reliably for both tradeshows and unexpected events like Harvey." Telecommunication infrastructures at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Park include automated redundancy and safeguards that have been built into the networks to ensure reliability in natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Also, Smart City has opened up WiFi throughout both facilities and have deployed telephones, internet drops, and power drops as required by city officials and the Red Cross. In addition to the two shelters in Houston, Smart City has also played an essential role in telecommunication efforts at shelters opened in the Ft. Worth Convention Center (Ft. Worth) and the Key Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (Dallas). Smart City provided WiFi throughout both venues along with hardline phones, internet drops and VLAN connections for emergency responders and the Red Cross.

City Networks is the nation's largest provider of event telecommunications and technology in the convention industry and the 19th largest employer in central Florida. Smart City Networks can provide wired and wireless Internet services, phone services and digital signage solutions at convention centers and meeting facilities of any size. Smart City Networks designs, installs and maintains data, voice, electrical and utility platforms, coupled with voice, video, and data network engineering, security and monitoring. Providing technology services to over 3,000 conventions and meetings annually, Smart City Networks currently serves more than 39 convention and meeting facilities across the U.S., totaling over 17 million square feet of exhibit space. For more information about Smart City Networks, call 702-943-6000 or visit www.smartcitynetworks.com.

AboutSmart SmartCity CityNetworks Networks About Founded over 30 years ago, Smart

SOURCE https://www.smartcitynetworks.com

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October 2017  |  29

T H E

E X P E R T

N E TW O R K

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30  |  October 2017

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October 2017  |  31

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d-mars.com Business Journal 122