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10 Texas

Page 48

FEATURE 10 » Flowers in the bouquet of life 12 » Keep your employees smiling 14 » The right direction REAL ESTATE 16 » A rare Texas gem 21 » The decade of downtown 22 » A sense of discovery TRAVEL 26 » For a good time, call Embassy Suites

FINE DINING 40 » Delightful and delectable 46 » Hooked on restaurants



Thanks to the friendly, upbeat atmosphere provided by Roxann Parker Lagow and her staff, clients truly experience something special at this unique wig spa, which offers one of the largest in-store inventories in the state.

STYLE 66 » Reinventing the makeup wheel 68 » Model mania

With determination, attention to detail and customer service, John Dyess and Matt Vickers continue to expand their business across the Lone Star State, making the lives of Texans more safe and secure than ever before.


ENERGY 32 » A swift look at the SWIFT 34 » A sense of urgency 36 » On the road to sustainability

EVENTS 58 » The hottest ticket in town



RELATIONSHIPS 28 » Celebrating true love 30 » Enjoy the magic

58 Austin


In light of the positive results of a recent survey conducted by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, the Houston chapter president discusses the economic boom in Houston and why the biggest city in Texas is the place to be.

LEGAL 56 » Saving grace?

70 Houston FEATURE 70 » Breaking barriers 71 » The sky’s the limit STYLE 72 » An artful array of talents

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REAL ESTATE 74 » Community man

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Rio Grande Valley


A leader in small business since its inception in 1983, this “local Texas bank” brings quality banking to communities across South Texas, proudly embracing its position as the Valley’s bank.



82 San Antonio 88

Page 88


Having made it a priority to serve others through her talents throughout her life, this active Independence Hill resident and lifelong music lover shares her story of song and service.

ENRICHMENT 90 » The rules, part I 92 » Wake up smarter! LEGAL 94 » A proactive approach FINANCE 96 » Talking to kids about money

FEATURE 82 » Premium experience

POLITICS 98 » Fan favorite


Continuing to put many of his lifelong values into action, the director of season ticket retention for Spurs Sports & Entertainment is proud to work with one of the most highly regarded organizations in professional sports.

SPORTS 100 » Time to pay the piper? MENTOR 102 » What a mess! NONPROFIT 103 » All-star lineup 104 » Woman of the year 105 » A diamond in the rough

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EVENTS 106 » Seven years of success 108 » Around town

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NSIDE Texas Business Magazine - January/February 2014


ELIOT GARZA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Kelly Hamilton EXECUTIVE EDITOR Erin O’Brien DESIGN MANAGER Cristina Villa Hazar PROJECT MANAGER Michael Mancha REGIONAL SALES MARKETING DIRECTOR Martha Morales REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Liz Whittaker SENIOR WRITER Jody Joseph Marmel REGIONAL EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Arielle Andres CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Stacy Allred, Lisa Bakke, Mario A, Barrera, Douglas S. Cain, Eric Carvajal, Dan Corbett, Heather Daniels, Bre’anna Emmitt, Chris Emmitt, Katie Fittz, Samantha Galloway, Francisco A. Gónima, Kelly Hamilton, Kyle Novell Hayungs, Christopher Hernandez, Lisa Hinojosa, Saumil Manek, Jody Joseph Marmel, Medora, Aquila Mendez-Valdez, Ginger Robinson, Jennifer Pucci Starr, Blake W. Stribling, James M. Summers, Zuani Maria Villarreal, Johnny Walker, Jennifer Webb, Chris Weigand, Mary Zambrano PHOTOGRAPHY Alexander Aleman, Kendy Azenath Photography, Justin Calhoun, Manuel Serrata For advertising information, please call 210.373.2599 or email For editorial comments and suggestions, email 18402 U.S. Highway 281 N, Ste. 201 San Antonio, Texas 78259 Phone: 210.298.1761

Scan QR Code to GETNSIDE 6


Copyright © NSIDE Media Productions. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


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A note from the publisher




of the energy, the creativity and the spirit of the cities we circulate throughout. As long as you retain a pioneering attitude, as long as you overcome obstacles, as long as you are industrious and as long as you wake up each morning ready to put one foot in front of the other and march toward an ideal that keeps you inspired, we will be inspired to share your story. We are always interested in keeping our finger on the pulse of the business and medical industries, along with the many philanthropic endeavors we enjoy partnering with, so if you believe there is a story we should cover, feel free to email me with your suggestions. We will also be launching our newly revamped website in March, which will be geared to more fully engaging our statewide audience. We look forward to growing with you, Texas, and as always, I truly appreciate your love and support. Get NSIDE, Texas! Godspeed,

ELIOT GARZA Publisher/CEO NSIDE Media Productions


one of the best feelings is receiving a referral. Someone valued you or your goods and services enough to share with someone else, encouraging them to connect with you. That may, in fact, be the best endorsement one could hope for. Another is a renewal. In my business, a business some consider fickle at times, receiving a renewal is sometimes a more rewarding feeling than making the original sale. It is a sign that you are on the right track and fulfilling your promises to that customer. I recently received my first renewal in the new Houston market. As NSIDE Texas has grown, I have spent quite a bit of time cultivating my relationships in Houston, meeting people and doing what I love. Throughout NSIDE magazine’s lifespan, I had been asked countless times to consider a move into Houston. Honestly, given the level of comfort and the deep roots I had in San Antonio, I was intimidated. Now I wonder what took me so long. I am so impressed with the industry in Houston, from oil and gas, of course, to medical. Everything is booming, and I now know why Houston is Houston. Thank you for the endorsement and my first renewal, Houston. I am gathering steam, and this was the encouragement I needed to press on. The Rio Grande Valley is also showing great promise and support. I am excited about all of the possibilities in all of our markets. I have always said that NSIDE is simply a reflection





Editorial Director

Executive Editor



Design Manager


Regional Sales Manager 210.621.7301 / mobile

Project Manager


Regional Sales Marketing Director 832.628.9445 / mobile JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS



[ Life with Lisa ]

FLOWERS IN THE BOUQUET OF LIFE How great girlfriends bring kindness, sincerity and compassion to your life

For more information, contact Lisa Bakke of Bakke Limited Interiors at or 210-861-7798.

Morgan, Ana, Valentina, Lisa, Jennifer

GREAT GIRLFRIENDS — can any of us have enough of them? I am speaking, of course, from a woman’s perspective. But if you are a man reading this column, I guess you agree that most men can’t have enough great girlfriends either, right? 10


In my mind, kindness matters – and true, lasting friendships are based on this. Kindness attracts kindness and softens those hearts filled with anger or fear. One of my closest friends has known me nearly all of my life: Lori,

my sensitive and caring younger sister. I must admit, when we were children, neither of us could have imagined that we would ever possess the capacity to be friends, as we were too busy arguing. And as the eldest, I was always getting into trouble. But

after years of maturing and sharing in the highs and lows of our lives, my sister, Lori, understands me better than just about anyone, and she is my greatest supporter. There was a time in my life when I was enduring senseless litigation – not once did she miss one of the more than 20 court appearances I had to make. She sat quietly behind me, praying continuously for peace and protection. I would glance back at her and immediately feel her love for me, and I knew that no matter the outcome in court that day, I would make it through because I was deeply loved. She was, and remains, my rock. And then there is Raven, my daughter’s godmother. She is a beautiful and hilariously funny and uplifting woman. As both of us are designer/ decorators, we share a love and passion for interiors. I cannot tell you how many times over the years we each have unknowingly purchased the same Catimini baby clothes for our girls, ordered the same Oushak rugs or selected the same fabrics for our clients … which makes us the perfect shopping team when we go to market or antique scouting for our clients at Round Top. The two of us are always on a mission. This past October sale, we once again navigated our way through the miles of tents at Round Top. We shot photos to each other (when we got lucky and had cell reception) and



Lisa, Raven

bounced ideas and thoughts off one another, preventing each other from straying too far from our goals and spending too much money on personal purchases (well, maybe not so much!). Despite our 10-hour shopping days, we did manage to find time to attend Rachel Ashwell’s booksigning party at her farm just outside of town this last trip. Rachel visited with everyone and signed books at a beautiful property with charming cottages and a picturesque barn (featured in one of the photos). We had great fun, but were exhausted at that point, so we headed back to our bed and breakfast to clean up for dinner, enjoy a delicious glass of wine and plan our next day of client power shopping.

Emi, Monica, Lisa, Olivia

Lori, Lisa

KINDNESS MATTERS – AND TRUE, LASTING FRIENDSHIPS ARE BASED ON THIS. No one is more graceful and stoic than my friend of more than 20 years, Monica. Most Halloweens, Olivia and I have the privilege of spending the evening with Monica and her daughter, Emi, at Debbie and Jerome’s home, where they host a delightful and intimate Halloween party. The parents prepare to follow our determined group of trick-or-treaters. With wagon in tow, wellappointed with the perfect charcuterie, a little vino and yellow-label bubbles, we embark from base camp to share in the excitement of our children – and keep up with them – as they race to each house, loading up their bags with candy. Monica and I, sometimes strolling arm-in-arm, watch our girls grow up before our eyes and reminisce about years-past weekend trips and birthdays. We’re fascinated with the young adults our beautiful daughters are becoming and delighted that we are able to share in the joy of watching them develop and mature. Where does the time go? As darkness falls, it’s back to the house, where Jerome whips up something delicious for an “après” trick-or-treat dinner (he is French, and a chef, of course). Always a lovely time! Design projects in Austin over the past couple of years have led me to this energizing city, where I have met several groups of great new friends. In this town, everyone is on the go all the time, and Formula One weekend is no exception! The Stubbs bus and a shiny Prevost, conveniently parked along the track, was home base for all of us. There was

food, drink and more importantly on that rather hot afternoon, air conditioning! I managed to get a pre-party girls’ photo before the cars began racing past us about 50 feet from the bus (we were photo bombed – the guilty culprit: my Austin client, Tom). After a short golf cart ride to the stands, we were at turn 15, where I ran into my San Antonio friends, Linda and Traci. In between the tremendous noise of the racecars, Caroline (Eddie’s fiancée) and I chatted about important matters, like her upcoming wedding, while the boys intently strategized the race. The social dynamics in Austin remind me of the friendships I have in Vail, as everyone has come from somewhere else – no one is “from there,” so there is a diverse assortment of experiences, traditions and view points. I love this about Austin, and about the great women who live here: Ana, my metaphysical friend, and Morgan – gorgeous ladies I immediately connected with; and Kristina and Rebecca, Trisha, Jess and Jenn – adorable and sweet, but completely spunky women! Love them all, and I am blessed to be part of their lives and to share in fantastic events – and a great post-race after party back at the bus. It’s all of these friendships – each and every one of them special and evolving – that cause me to feel whole. All of us are connected by a common thread of kindness, sincerity and compassion. Girlfriends are flowers in my bouquet of life – blooms of affection, encouragement and support without judgment. I can’t imagine life without them! JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS




fer a solution or contradict facts will likely only escalate the situation. Limit your responses to short confirmations that you’re still listening (“uh-huh,” “I understand,” etc.) or verifications of the facts (“So you put in a time off request on Monday?”).

• WITHHOLD JUDGMENT. Avoid confrontational language like “calm down” and “that’s not possible.” Hear the entire complaint, and when necessary, conduct your own investigation before deciding what action to take. • DOCUMENT THE MEETING. If possible, have another supervisor or human resources representative present. Take notes about the employee’s complaint and what solutions you offered. Confirm the details with the employee to ensure you are both on the same page. • ASK QUESTIONS. Ask for specific dates, whether or not the employee has complained to others in the chain of command and for details about those conversations. Make sure you know all the details.

The Better Business Bureau offers some tips for efficiently handling and responding to employee complaints.

• COLLABORATE ON A SOLUTION. Ask the employee how he or she would like to resolve the issue. If you are unwilling to meet those conditions, don’t say “no,” or “I can’t.” Propose your own solution and stick to positive language (“here’s what I can do…”). • STAY OUT OF HARM’S WAY. If the employee gets confrontational or makes threats, walk away. Leave the room, have the employee escorted out or call the police. Document the threat and your reaction to it.



you are a major corporation or a small business owner, you probably couldn’t function without your employees. So when an employee comes to you with a complaint, you want to address the issue as efficiently as possible without losing sight of your company’s goals. To help you avoid an unnecessary conflict



in your company, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers these tips for handling employee complaints:

• LISTEN CAREFULLY. If an employee is angry or upset, allow him or her to vent without interrupting. Stopping the employee mid-story to of-

BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior. For more information, please contact Mary Zambrano, public relations specialist for BBB, at 512-206-2815.



• IDENTIFY THE ISSUE. Not all complaints should be taken at face value. Employees may complain about their hours when they’re really upset that they aren’t being heard. If the underlying issue involves discrimination or harassment, that opens you up to additional legal concerns. You may want to consult an attorney about your next course of action.


Offices: Austin, Texas College Station, Texas Grapevine, Texas Houston, Texas Kerrville, Texas San Antonio, Texas Waco, Texas McAllen, Texas

Documation of San Antonio 231 E Rhapsody San Antonio, Texas 78216 JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS



THE RIGHT DIRECTION How streamlining your internal operations can improve profitability within your business By: KYLE NOVELL HAYUNGS



Is your business Google or Android application friendly? Are you protecting your investment with integrated surveillance? What kind of retail or restaurant POS software best fits your business’ needs? Is your credit card equipment compliant with PCI and EMV standards? How much is this change going to cost you? Are you currently utilizing any type of loyalty or rewards program to show your customers you appreciate their business?


Middlemen and high design fees can double the cost of your print projects. Are you working directly with wholesale printers and inhouse graphic designers to get the best deal? Are you currently getting the most competitive pricing on your business’ paper supplies?


Processing fees, confusing merchants’ statements and constant calls about your credit card processing make your head spin,



but a consultant could assess your statement and find where you could be saving thousands of dollars each year by getting you set up on the most efficient pricing platform that fits your type of business. Are you tired of bounced checks? Check guarantee and conversion services might be a great option for your business. Do you think an ATM will create more foot traffic through your doors?


Does your business make a good first impression with its branding and marketing materials? What are you not doing that your competition is? The most effective marketing campaigns are taking place on the local, mobile and social media levels. How are you tracking your return on investment for your advertising costs? Do you have a marketing budget? Fifty percent of businesses that don’t have a marketing budget can locate money within areas of their business that they are currently overpaying on.


The idea of social media is overwhelming for most business owners who know it’s a tool to grow their business, but are not sure how to monetize their social media sites. Growing your brand through the new “word of mouth” is easier and more effective than you think. Are you maximizing your social media campaigns to their fullest?


Does your website have smart responsiveness technology? How often do you update and add new content to your website? Do you even have a website that is consumerfriendly? This could be the difference between customers finding you in a search engine and getting buried in pages of listings on Google or other search engines. All of the new trends and innovations that come out each year make it very difficult to keep up and stay ahead of the curve. Take the time to do a routine checkup that can influence the success and profitability of your business. Until next time, keep your business moving in the right direction. Best wishes.


Kyle Novell Hayungs is the president of Merchant’s Resource Group – ‘’the merchant expert.” For more information, call 1-855-MRG-5333 or email

IT IS FAR MORE DIFFICULT than most people think to be a business owner. The global marketplace has created competition on an unprecedented scale, as we see consumers bargain shopping from faceless companies overseas and relying on daily deal sites to dictate where they purchase products or services. But competition for customers is not the only reason businesses do not succeed. It has been found that some 88 percent of businesses fail because of uniformed proprietors and uneducated operational business decisions. Streamlining internal operations will improve your bottom line and increase your profitability. With limited time in the day, where does a business owner find time to fine-tune structure, operations, marketing and strategy within their business? If taking the time to scrutinize all of your options seems overwhelming, your best option might be to bring in a business consultant to do the legwork for you. An analysis of your internal processes could quickly uncover significant savings of time and money in the areas of:


Real Estate






A RARE TEXAS GEM As one of the most picturesque parts of the Texas Hill Country, Lake LBJ continues to attract families, real estate investors and retirees from all over the world.

TUCKED AWAY in Central Texas, you will find one of the Lone Star State’s finest gems. Named after former President Lyndon B. Johnson and his efforts with the Rural Electrification Act, Lake LBJ is one of the few true constant-level lakes in Texas. Lake LBJ is part of the Highland Lakes System, which consists of seven freshwater reservoirs created through a series of dams along the Colorado River. Its purpose is to control flooding in the region and more importantly, to supply power to the Texas Hill Country. As Central Texas endures harsh drought conditions, yet continues to lead the nation in a strong real estate recovery, Lake LBJ has attracted the attention of families, real estate investors and retirees from all over the world. Many have heard about Lake LBJ’s prized Horseshoe Bay Resort, known for its outstanding golf courses and extravagant homes, not to mention the Marriot Hotel and one of the largest private airports in the nation. Still, there is much more to Lake LBJ that you should know. The Texas Hill Country is known as a golf retreat with four award-winning courses in Horseshoe Bay, a nine-hole golf course in Blue Lake Estates and Legends Golf Course in Kingsland. With approximately 6,534 acres of surface area, this constantlevel lake provides ideal conditions for boating and 16


water sports and serves as a popular fishing hole for catfish and bass. The majority of the property on Lake LBJ is privately owned, and some popular residential areas include Blue Lake Estates, Granite Shoals, Highland Haven, Horseshoe Bay, Kingsland and Sunrise Beach. In these areas, you will find private homes in various price ranges depending on size, waterfront type and waterfront footage. Lake LBJ is considered much more affordable compared to surrounding freshwater lakes, and its value as a real estate investment has proven strong. Marble Falls is the largest local city on Lake LBJ, and it provides various amenities for area residents. Scott & White is currently constructing a 46-bed hospital complete with a 24-hour emergency room and four operating rooms, expected to open in early 2015. This highly anticipated addition to the city is expected to have a big economic impact on the area by attracting health care professionals to the city and providing much-needed services to the area. Marble Falls offers the convenience of retail chains like H-E-B, Home Depot and Lowe’s, and on Main Street, you will find boutique shopping, fine dining and even a little nightlife. Matagorda Bay (the second largest estuary in the Texas Gulf Coast) and many downstream farm-

ers rely heavily on the Highland Lakes System, but extreme drought conditions have threatened the water supply and forced the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to seek alternative strategies to address the deficit. As other Highland Lakes reservoirs such as Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis continue to suffer historically low water levels, recent discussions have included the possibility of allowing Lake Austin (considered a constant-level lake) to fall below normal levels until it is naturally replenished. Depleting water levels on Lake LBJ is not an option since this water supply serves to cool the area’s power source – a primary reason the Highland Lakes System was created. The LCRA is currently completing the Ferguson Replacement Project, a larger, cleaner-burning power plant on Lake LBJ that will mandate water level range requirements for Lake LBJ to remain constant. It is expected to come online in early 2014. For Lake LBJ, there is a silver lining to the drought crisis, as this has not only protected property values, but also increased demand for Lake LBJ waterfront homes. Currently, the water level on Lake LBJ is approximately one foot above its monthly average. Lake LBJ is one of the most picturesque parts of




the Texas Hill Country, and its lush landscape and gentle topography create some of the most breathtaking views you will find anywhere in Texas. Area frequenters can quickly escape the busy life and find themselves deep in the heart of Texas amongst the native scenery and gorgeous waterfront in little time. Situated approximately 90 miles north of San Antonio and 45 miles northwest of Austin, this family-friendly lake getaway offers a little something for everyone. Y’all might want to keep an eye on this Texas gem.

For more information on Lake LBJ, visit or email Eric Carvajal at eric@carvajalgroup. com.



Take Ownership of Your Active Lifestyle…

Affordable, Unique & Sophisticated Retirement Living in San Antonio

Follow us on 1 Towers Park Ln

San Antonio, TX 78209 I n d e p e n d e n t

The convenience of city living and the quiet charm of a resort lifestyle flow together at The Towers on Park Lane. Conveniently located near Alamo Heights, Ft. Sam Houston and downtown San Antonio. The Towers is surrounded by fine dining, The Quarry shopping center, and is the prime location for an active lifestyle. The Towers caters to both civilian and military individuals age 50 and over.

R e t i re m e n t

L i v i n g

As a cooperative, The Towers provides the advantages of HOME OWNERSHIP in an upscale senior residential community that is sophisticated, yet affordable, with floor plans ranging from one to three bedrooms. SERVICES & AMENITIES ✤ ✤ ✤ ✤ ✤

Maintenance-free living Weekly Housekeeping Scheduled Transportation Parking, Valet, & Shuttle Services 24-hour Surveillance of Property and Grounds

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Penthouse Club Overlooking Downtown San Antonio 4.5 Acre Park with Walking Paths and Garden Beds Heated Indoor Swimming Pool & Whirlpool Wellness Center with Weekly Classes Restaurant-Style Dining Room & Casual Deli Daily Resident Activities & Clubs

Call us for questions and to schedule your private consultation. Let our staff help you make your move to The Towers a smooth transition.


210-822-8722 ✤



Find Your Retreat.

3706 Pack Saddle | $1,950,000 Blue Lake Estates | Horseshoe Bay 4 Bed, 4 Bath | 108 Waterfront Feet JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS


215 Geddington - Bentley Manor $1,190,000

1702 Juniper Ridge - Greystone Estates $1,350,000

Villas Santiago Town Homes - Medical Center Prices From The Low $250’S

Luz Ortiz 210-232-7859 Keller Williams Luxury 10 Dominion Drive JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 20 NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / San Antonio, Tx. 78257


THE CITY HAS SLOWLY, BUT SURELY MOVED FROM “FAT ANTONIO” TO “FIT ANTONIO.” jobs. The development received $2,688,150 in public incentives and represents $1,511,150 in public improvements. The building opened in early 2012.


The 1221 Broadway is a $46 million mixed-use development located in River North in District 2. The project consists of 309 market-rate apartments, 12,161 square feet of retail and 64,296 square feet of commercial office space. The project also includes $2 million in public improvements and $3,463,209 in incentives. Construction was complete in summer 2011. Additional residences are under construction.

THE DECADE OF DOWNTOWN Urban revival in the Alamo City

The Peanut Factory Lofts is a mixed-use development including 98 market-rate units and 500 square feet of retail space. This project is the first major residential development for the near West Side and represents a total investment of $10,082,000 with $1,038,048 in public incentives. Construction began in summer 2013 with completion scheduled for fall 2014.



SAN ANTONIO is a city on the rise. After several years of living and working in the community, I am still amazed by the development happening in and around its urban core. The city, which was once known as a sleepy burg located deep in the heart of Texas, has expanded its urban footprint quite rapidly. At my civil engineering firm, BIG RED DOG San Antonio, we have been closely attached to the developments happening in our downtown area. Many of the projects have our stamp on them, and others we admire for their contributions to our growing community. For the uninitiated, recent years have provided a dramatic turn of events for downtown San Antonio. Dubbed the “Decade of Downtown” by Mayor Julián Castro, the past five years have seen a revival. Incentives, tax abatements and other perks now exist for developers wanting to grow in our center city. Prior to Castro, Mayor Phil Hardberger set his sights on enhancing the city’s quality of life by increasing its number of park spaces, green belts and bike trails. All of Hardberger’s efforts paid dividends, and they will continue in the years to come, as our city has slowly, but surely moved away from its unwelcome moniker of “Fat Antonio” into a healthier, more attractive “Fit Antonio.”


Like Hardberger and his mission to improve our city’s overall health, Castro has focused much of his attention on invigorating downtown with new businesses, new residents and new ideas. Thus far, his work and the work of his team have been a resounding success. Here is a quick overview of the projects recently completed or currently under development*:


The Cevallos Lofts is a $39 million development consisting of 252 mixed-income apartments and $3,626,925 in public incentives. The development opened in January 2012.

THE 1010 (1002 SOUTH FLORES)

The 1010 on South Flores is a $7.5 million development with 56 market-rate apartments. The development received $727,789 in city incentives and $358,325 in public improvements. It opened in October 2013.


The ButterKrust Bakery is a $23.2 million, 108,000-square-foot development generating 125

Elan Riverwalk, located at the corner of Cesar Chavez Boulevard and St. Mary’s Street, will provide 350 new apartment units representing a $47,000,000 investment and $4,865,558 in public incentives. The project will consist of three- to fivestory buildings with an integrated parking garage. Construction began in fall 2013, and it will be complete by summer 2015. These samples of projects in downtown or just outside of it are simply the tip of a very giant movement. As we approach the year 2020, Castro and his teams will continue to aggressively pursue more commercial and residential development in our center city. This will ensure the viability of our downtown as more than just a tourist destination. We cannot wait to see it blossom as city leaders and citizens intend it to. It’s a wonderful era in San Antonio – one that is years in the making.

*Facts and figures of downtown properties courtesy of **BIG RED DOG San Antonio projects Chris Weigand is the president of BIG RED DOG San Antonio. For more information on his firm, please visit JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS




A SENSE OF DISCOVERY As one of the most recognized and experienced boutique design firms in the senior living and design sector, three: living architecture designs Franklin Park at Alamo Heights, a unique and highly functional senior living community. By: KATIE FITTZ

SAN ANTONIO RESIDENTS in the Alamo Heights area have wanted a senior living community for years, and now their hopes are being designed. The 315,000-square-foot, $30 million Franklin Park community designed by three: living architecture will boast 117 independent living units, 64 assisted living units and 40 memory care units. One of the unique amenities of this property is a freestanding coffee house open to the public that will occupy the corner of Everest and Sunset and will be completely staffed by residents of the senior living community. Franklin Park will also boast a gallery space showcasing incredible photos by a professional photographer and will be open to other art exhibits for public viewing. “Franklin Park presented a challenge to design because the community sits on a hill, so there is a 40-foot drop across an L-shaped site,” said Gary Koerner, founder and president of three: living architecture and lead designer for the project. “However, this drop presented us the opportunity to design a series of wonderful, landscaped courtyards – each unique – as you move vertically up and down the hill. This provides residents and visitors a sense of discovery as they experience the entire property. “Based on our firm’s hospitality expertise, we collaborated with Faulkner Design Group for the interiors and Mesa Design Group for landscape architecture. Together, we created spectacular dining venues and social spaces that carefully integrate the indoors with the outdoors, promoting courtyard environments that are not only wonderful to be viewed from the residential units, but highly functional for the residents’ personal and family use.” 22


As one of the world’s most recognized and experienced boutique design firms in the senior living and hospitality sector, three: living architecture was engaged by Franklin Companies, a San Antonio development, construction and management firm specializing in high-quality senior and multifamily residential properties, to design Franklin Park senior living community. Groundbreaking on this project is slated for February 2014. “We have worked with three: living architecture on other assisted living and memory care communities in San Antonio, and they bring knowledge about our industry and an understanding of our desired program and services,” said Luke Classen, president of Franklin Companies. “They took space and conceptual planning to new heights, and the end product looks like it will surpass our expectations.” The Westin Riverwalk, Hotel Contessa and Franklin Park at Stone Oak, a senior living community, are three other completed projects three: living architecture has designed in San Antonio. Hotel Pearl, another local project that serves as an adaptive reuse of the old Pearl Brewery, is slated to open in fall 2014. And the premier boutique design firm is currently working on several other projects that are underway in the San Antonio area.

For more information on three: living architecture, visit

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8666 Huebner Rd. Ste 106 San Antonio, TX 78240 JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS








If the walls could talk at Embassy Suites Corpus Christi, they would say, “We go way back!” By: LISA HINOJOSA



conferences, seminars and a wad of other divergent activities. Newlywed Irma Martinez recently held both her wedding ceremony and reception in the hotel’s renovated Sparkling City Ballroom. Martinez scouted several locations, but ultimately selected the Embassy Suites for her September nuptials. “I assumed the hotel had meeting space, but I didn’t realize that it had a ballroom, so that was a major draw be-

cluded everything from a face-painting station to a photo wall. Wolf, an events maven herself, said she has created 40-plus large- and midscale events all over town, including festivals in Heritage Park. And she is nothing if not thorough. “I got quotes from eight or nine venues, but I just re-

“NO MATTER THE OCCASION, EVERY EVENT IS IMPORTANT TO THE PERSON HOLDING IT – AND BECAUSE OF THAT, IT IS IMPORTANT TO ME.” ally liked the space and the size and the customization with the menu,” Wolf said. For the kid-friendly fare, she collaborated with the catering department to create a kid-friendly cornucopia of mouthwatering sliders, chicken tenders, crispy french fries and much more. “Service goes a long way, but we really need to have a top-quality product, which is why we are over the moon about the renovated meeting rooms,” Herrera said. “It’s just another benefit we can offer our clients.” And people are taking note. “A lot of people did not know Embassy Suites had a meeting room as large as that. People were asking me to refer them to Cesar during my event,” Wolf said with a laugh. And did she? “I already booked one of Priscilla’s friends for next year,” Herrera said. Thus, the party never ends.

For more information, contact Lisa Hinojosa at 361-653-4656 or


FEW PEOPLE in the Coastal Bend have not at one point attended an event held in one of the Embassy Suites Corpus Christi meeting rooms. From newborns to octagenarians, the Sparkling City Ballroom has seen its share of celebrants since 1984. Social events, corporate events, weddings, reunions, anniversaries – festivities of all genres have graced that space. The smaller rooms have accommodated baby showers, business breakfasts,

cause I then knew that the venue could accommodate my reception since we planned to have at least 100 people,” Martinez said. The guest suites also were a plus. “It was a hotel, and that way, any of our out-of-town guests could stay there and not have to worry about traveling from one location to the next,” Martinez said. At 2,504 square feet, the Sparkling City Ballroom can accommodate all of the trappings of a festive wedding reception from a dance floor to a deejay table and even a photo booth. As an added bonus, all 3,890 square feet of meeting space, including the Sparkling City Ballroom, has been furnished with new carpet, new bedding, new draperies, new furniture and new fixtures. The woodwork has been polished and restained, chic lighting fixtures installed, high-tech audio/visual equipment added – no expense has been spared. Behind the events productions is Cesar Herrera and his trusted banquets team. Herrera, the effervescent sales and events manager, is by no means average and neither is his enthusiasm. “From small business meetings to over-the-top 1-year-old birthday parties, you name it – I love it all,” Herrera said. “No matter the occasion, every event is important to the person holding it – and because of that, it is important to me.” Herrera is quick to admit it takes a team to pull off everything. From the servers to the chefs and the decorators, everyone is integral. “What I couldn’t have absolutely believed was that they turned that room around so fast. I mean, I had a lot of details,” said Priscilla Wolf, who recently reserved the Sparkling City Ballroom for her grandson’s first birthday. Wolf feted her grandson, Jayden, with a grandiose “Monsters Inc.” themed party that in-




TEXAS RELATIONSHIPS IT’S A NEW YEAR and as we usher in 2014, many of us are pausing to reflect. We make resolutions – many of which we probably won’t keep. Personally, I stopped making resolutions a while back so as not to disappoint myself. Instead, I just try to self-correct as the year passes. Now, some of us might also examine what is and what is not right in our lives. Sometimes, our reflections result in a moment of epiphany about the reality of our romantic relationship. If you are in an unsatisfying love relationship, you may

CELEBRATING TRUE LOVE Getting through Valentine’s Day: Regardless of your personal romantic situation, the solution lies completely within your control.




find yourself pondering whether or not you need to bring it to a close. Since January is also often viewed as a time of new beginnings, during this time, many tend to cast out that person who no longer suits them in preparation for finding someone who will. So if you think or feel that you aren’t with the right person, in January, you might find yourself on yet another quest to find “the one.” It might not be a surprise, then, to learn that January is the No. 1 premeditated breakup month, with February following close behind for both married and unmarried couples. Divorce attorneys will attest to the fact that January and February are, indeed, among their most fruitful months for acquiring new clients. In third place is October, before the holiday season begins. For anyone one who might have been gob-smacked by a January or pre-holiday breakup, even if you knew or thought it was coming, the following Valentine’s Day can be particularly painful and difficult. Love seems to be all around us – magnified by the competitive commercialism of the greeting card, candy and flower industries trying to create a want/need/desire on our part. And let’s face it: They do a very good job of forcing a great majority of us to focus on celebrating love on one particular day. However, even if you are coupled or married with no breakup in sight, your partner might not be the greatest romantic and you still might be sad or disappointed on Valentine’s Day. So how do you get through the day? How do you survive it without losing all of the enamel off of your gritted teeth, as it seems like everyone you know is getting the cards, romantic dinners, flowers and gifts that you’d like? The solution to the problem lies completely within your control – whether or not you are in a romantic relationship.

FIRST: I don’t think folks should wait for any particular day to celebrate love. Each day we are given should be dedicated to getting up and identifying ways that we, individually, can be more loving people. If you can somehow intellectually adopt this view, it might just put the specific day of Feb. 14 into its proper perspective. SECOND: Regardless of your own situation on Valentine’s Day, remember that other folks who aren’t in a romantic relationship also often find it very hard to have the day come



and go with nary a Valentine remembrance. So start within your own family. In particular, make sure the elder members have been remembered. Then think of your circle of friends. Whose Valentine’s Day might be brightened if someone lovingly remembers them? Use the occasion of Valentine’s Day as a reason to shower the people you love with love on the day the whole world celebrates love. These are the solutions I utilize, so I can offer them from personal experience. And my experience of abiding by these solutions is this: Regardless of the situation, any time I have shifted the focus off of my own pain and identified a way or ways I could help someone else, it has made me feel better. Much better. As a result, I’ve learned that there is nothing more personally gratifying than lightening someone else’s load of pain and bringing a smile to their face. It’s what true love is all about.

For more information, contact Medora, the relationship expert, at or You can also look for Medora on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (@medoraonline).

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Looking for a big-ticket Valentine’s gift this year? Enjoy both an effortless experience and a well-made custom piece that makes you feel like a star with the help of an established private jeweler you can trust. By: SAUMIL MANEK

WITH VALENTINE’S DAY right around the corner, some of you may find yourselves in the market for a big-ticket item. If you’ve found yourself headed to big name jewelry stores in the past, it may be worth your time to find someone you can trust and with whom you can build a long-term relationship. This is going to be a special gift, and you don’t want to join the herd shuffling to a retail establishment – there’s a better way. Think small, white glove, couture – think private sector diamond consultants and custom jewelers. Here are a few ways you can uncover a good jeweler in your area and why you should:




Reputation is everything in the jewelry business. The last thing jewelers want to do is put their name on an inferior product. Couture is where it is and where it should stay. Who finds joy with the same ring as everyone else? Custom design allows you to infuse your personality into a piece. This helps you express your personality or status in any environment, creating your own “wow!” Imagine having more options and the ability to choose from diamonds from all over the world.



Have jewelers come to your home or business to educate you on diamonds? Have they worked around your schedule to accommodate your busy lifestyle? This is the relationship you should demand. A reputable private jeweler can provide superior options of diamonds, custom stones and savings. Reputable jewelers have access to the best sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds from domestic and international sources. Building long-term relationships is far more important than any sale, going above and beyond expectations to satisfy the client’s needs.

You’ve heard it many times, and in this case, it could not be truer: You get what you pay for. The bottom line is that you’ll get more for your money because there is no overhead and no extra costs incurred. That said, you may be asking yourself, ‘Great, now that I know I should be dealing with a private jeweler, what’s next?’ Seek a relationship with a reputable jeweler and participate in the magic of creating your forever piece. When looking for a solid jeweler, you need only

look in the mirror. Search for someone on a comparable level where conversation flows effortlessly. After all, how you speak is a reflection of yourself. Do they wear khakis and polo shirts? Or are they in well-tailored clothes that represent their brand? Personally, I wouldn’t waste my time with someone who doesn’t prize hygiene and a great drycleaner. Know what you want. This is your chance to take control. When you find yourself ready and with the right jeweler, there is a series of questions you should expect: What are your likes and dislikes? This conveys your sense of style. How did you both meet? The story helps in the preparation of the ring and center diamond. What’s your budget? This is paramount in choosing the center stone. Once the center stone is chosen, the consumer sits with the designer and creates a design best suited to their taste. Then the design begins its journey to realization. An auto computer-aided design (CAD) image of the ring is formatted. At that point, the client can tweak the ring so as to clear up any design issues that were lost in translation. Once the client signs off final approval of the ring, it’s on to the wax. A wax milling machine or 3-D printer creates the exact proportions of the design. This enables you to experience the ring and feel it for the first time. The client is involved in the whole process. Once the wax is approved, it’s sent to casting. What precious metal did you choose – gold, white gold or platinum? During casting, they take the finalized wax and make it into a mold. Once the mold is taken out of the oven, the molten metal is carefully poured. After cooling, it’s cleaned, filed down and polished to have the final setting of the diamonds. The diamonds are chosen by hand and individually inspected as per requirements. Once they are set, the final inspection and quality control are completed and the ring is finished. The emotional value put into the ring and the step-by-step process is priceless. Well-made custom jewelry makes you feel like a star. If you are looking to buy something special, take the time to meet with a private jeweler. Established private jewelers will make this experience effortless. Preserving your time, money and peace of mind is ultimately what it’s all about. Cheers and good luck.

Saumil Manek, AJP, is a diamond grader with Xaver Jewels.









TEXAS’ CONTINUED ECONOMIC GROWTH HINGES ON THE STATE’S ABILITY TO PROVIDE WATER SUSTAINABILITY. securing water supplies. Water may be obtained from surface water, groundwater, municipal water suppliers, treated wastewater from municipal and industrial treatment facilities, power plant cooling water, recycled produced water or flow back water. Where possible, wastewater from other industrial facilities or recycled fracking water is used, followed by ground and surface water sources, with the preference of non-potable sources over potable sources. And of course, the oil and gas industry is working every day to innovate the fracking process, exploring the use of fluids and solvents to gain access to the reserves released in the fracking process. Technological innovations and smart conservation continue to provide more efficiencies in the fracking process, but the question of a sustainable water supply is one that must be answered not only for the oil and gas industry, but for our agricultural industry and our general population growth, as well. Thanks to the November passage of Proposition 6, an amendment to the Texas Constitution based on legislation that was passed in the 2013 Texas legislative session, the answer to that question has become a bit clearer. The 83rd Legislature approved three bills as part of a broad package to provide funding for projects within the state water plan. These bills include Senate Joint Resolution 1, House Bill 4 and House Bill 1025. Taken together, these bills comprise the now-approved amendment to the Texas Constitution creating the State Water Implementation Fund of Texas (SWIFT).

What Proposition 6 really means

By approving Proposition 6, Texans authorized a $2 billion investment from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (also known as the Rainy Day Fund) to create two accounts to help fund water projects in the state: the SWIFT and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund of Texas (SWIRFT). Designed to make the financing of water projects more affordable and to provide consistent, ongoing state financial assistance for water supplies, this one-time investment dedicated to the implementation of the state water plan is intended to work closely with other constitutionally created funds and provide a broad funding framework for future water projects. The implementation, based on the deadlines in House Bill 4, may not be complete until March 2015.



A SWIFT LOOK AT THE SWIFT “WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE” is not a phrase that comes to mind in Texas. With our diverse geography and weather conditions, we’ve always enjoyed a mix of climates ranging from areas in the east that can be swamp-like to the arid and – well, let’s just say it – parched land of the west. Thanks to a drought of historic proportions, our dry area now extends from the Valley north to the Panhandle, and many are questioning Texas’ water future. Energy production, urban expansion and agriculture all rely on water, so Texas’ continued economic growth hinges on the state’s ability to provide water sustainability. It’s no secret that a significant challenge of fracking operations is 32


While water is essential to all of us, not everyone knows the legislation behind it. Before we get into the specifics of Proposition 6, now referred to as the SWIFT, let’s talk about how Texas governs water. Following the historic drought of the 1950s, the Texas State Legislature created the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) in 1957 to manage the state’s water resources. The agency has three main responsibilities: assisting with regional water planning and preparing the state water plan every five years; collecting and distributing water data; and providing loan and grant money for Texas water and wastewater projects. Every five years, 16 regional water planning groups assess the projected population and water demands and supplies in their areas for the next 50 years. Each region then compiles a regional



water plan, and those plans are compiled into what becomes the state water plan. The state water plan also includes information on statewide trends and policy issues, as well as lists the water supply strategies identified to meet the regional water shortages over the next 50 years. The most recent state water plan was presented to the governor in 2012, and it addressed the needs of roughly 3,000 water user groups, encompassing more than 4,500 projects with a range of water strategies including reuse, conservation, new reservoirs, development of new groundwater supplies, desalination and more. “Water user groups” include cities, rural water users, agriculture, livestock, manufacturers, mining and steam-electric power – every community and every water user group in Texas is planned for. Through the regional water planning process, local and regional water experts recommended these projects as the most efficient and viable ones for their communities. The total cost to implement all projects in the 2012 State Water Plan is approximately $53 billion. Of that, local and regional entities identified that $27 billion would be needed through state financial assistance programs. Until now, much of the state water plan process has not been fully realized – there simply has not been enough money to fund most of the projects proposed. In other words, financial assistance is needed in order to meet the needs outlined in the state water plan. That’s where Proposition 6 comes in. The SWIFT, and ultimately the SWIRFT, creates the funding needed to make many of the projects a reality, and then the state can start determining which water strategies to finance. The SWIFT funds will be used to provide low-cost financing for projects in the state water plan, allowing the projects proposed by local and regional entities to meet future water demands with the assistance of the state. The TWDB will invest the funds provided to create the SWIFT and use the revenue to help communities afford the projects they have identified as crucial to their progress. Not every project in the state’s 50-year water plan will have equal priority – the TWDB must determine a method for prioritizing the projects. Although that process has yet to be determined, according to the TWDB website, “many factors would be considered in this evaluation, including the number of people served, the urgency of the project, the ability of local and regional sponsors to support the project and the degree of conservation achieved.” The prioritization criteria will be further defined through the rulemaking process. It’s important to note that the SWIFT may only be used to support projects identified in the state water plan, and the legislation behind the SWIFT stipulates how the money will be used. The TWDB must attempt to spend 10 percent of the funds for rural areas and agricultural water  conservation and 20 percent for water conservation and reuse. The catch is that while the legislation designates funding for rural water and some for conservation or reuse of water, the specific definitions of what will be considered “conservation” and “rural” are still to be determined. These will also be defined through

SWIFT TIMELINE As soon as practicable after Nov. 5: Lieutenant governor and house speaker appoint SWIFT Advisory Committee. TWDB creates the Regional Water Planning Group (RWPG) stakeholder committee to establish standards for project prioritization. June 1, 2014 RWPGs submit draft prioritization of projects from 2011 regional water plans. Sept. 1, 2014 RWPGs submit final prioritization of projects from the 2011 regional water plans. The SWIFT Advisory Committee submits recommendations to TWDB regarding rules relating to the allocation of funds for specific purposes and for prioritizing projects. Dec. 1, 2014 TWDB shall provide SWIFT implementation report to the governor, the lieutenant governor, the house speaker and the legislature. Dec. 1, 2014 – March 1, 2015 TWDB shall adopt rules relating to the allocation of funds for specific purposes and for prioritizing projects. the rule-making process. The uncertainty regarding the definitions and other aspects of the SWIFT that are still to be defined have led to rumors that the SWIFT will mean an overhaul of the laws governing water rights. However, there appears to be nothing in any of the proposition’s supporting legislation that would indicate that it could change water rights. The SWIFT will not affect groundwater rights or other private property rights in any way. Further, the SWIFT will not affect how groundwater conservation districts manage local groundwater supplies. And of course, surface water – water from lakes and rivers – is governed by an entirely separate set of statutes. An interesting side note from the 2012 State Water Plan: For all practical purposes, the vast majority of Texas’ surface water supply is already allocated and permitted. It is estimated that groundwater will supply almost 10 percent of the state’s water.


The initial $2 billion will be transferred from the Rainy Day Fund to the SWIFT. The legislation for these funds outlines several planning requirements and milestone dates before the funds will be available in March 2015. The funds specifically provide for an initial capitalization coupled with the state’s bond authority and allow the ability to leverage a $2 billion investment to finance an estimated $25 billion to $30 billion in water projects over the next 50 years.

Over time, revenue generated from SWIFT projects will be deposited into the SWIRFT and then used to fund even more projects. It is expected that this infusion of funds can be loaned, repaid and reloaned, providing a replenishing fund to support most of the state water plan needs for the next 50 years. The TWDB will manage the money and make decisions about which projects to fund. The upfront costs on water infrastructure can often make it difficult for some communities to build what they need, but the SWIFT provides the economic opportunity for communities to overcome this hurdle by providing low-cost, flexible financing options for water projects. The money may be used for lowinterest loans, credit enhancement agreements, deferral of interest obligations and  other methods of financial assistance for public entities developing and managing water supplies. The funds would help communities develop and optimize water supplies at cost-effective interest rates. Cities, counties, water districts, river authorities, irrigation districts, regional water authorities and nonprofit water supply corporations across this state are all eligible to use TWDB’s financial assistance programs to address implementation of state water plan projects. An interesting aspect of the SWIFT that shows how important water conservation is to Texas’ water future: In addition to the requirement that 20 percent of the SWIFT funds be used for conservation projects, water conservation is also promoted by requiring that applicants for SWIFT assistance have already implemented effective conservation programs, helping ensure communities use their water wisely and extend the life of their current supplies.


As we’ve discussed in previous articles, two of the most vital resources we have are water and energy. Our use of each of these most basic needs of society is reliant on and affects the availability of the other: Water is needed to produce energy, and energy is necessary to make water available for use, so the two are intrinsically linked. Balancing our water use and our energy use is vital to our future, and the oil and gas industry is leading the way through research and development to minimize its water needs. And thanks to the SWIFT, long-term water sustainability is coming into focus.

James M. Summers is a partner specializing in oil and gas and real estate in the San Antonio office of Norton Rose Fulbright, a global legal practice providing the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. Recognized for its industry focus, Norton Rose Fulbright is strong across all of the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and health care. JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS



A SENSE OF URGENCY What we can learn from Dr. John P. Kotter of the Harvard School of Business about taking both our personal and our professional lives from ordinary to extraordinary

MOST PEOPLE WHO KNOW ME know that I live every day with a sense of urgency because it kind of dovetails with my “not one day wasted” philosophy. Now, while I have had this “sense of urgency” point of view for many years, I thought I was just a bit manic and did not realize it meant much more. That was until I read the book, “A Sense of Urgency,” by Dr. John P. Kotter of the Harvard School of Business. As you read the book, with its corresponding author’s views and wonderful stories, you will that find many of the traits and strategies he uses in the book are things some of us have might have been doing for quite a while without realizing it. After finishing Kotter’s book and realizing its compatibility in my life, what got me was how I have changed since moving my company to San Antonio 30 months ago after 62 years in Houston – also, how this change has transformed not just the company and me, but also the people around me, especially over just the past year. Let’s start by going over a statement Professor Kotter makes that describes how to live with a sense of urgency: “Create action that is exceptionally, externally originated, relentlessly aimed at winning, making some progress each and every day and constantly purging low-value-added ac34


tivities, all by always focusing on the heart and not just the mind.” Like me, the statement is concise, but chock full of great ideas. But the implementation of them on a daily basis is what will make that concise statement come alive. So let’s break it down.

me personally, you know there is not a single cell of complacency in me. So Kotter’s first two words get the party started: Create action that is exceptionally alert. If you are just sitting around waiting on the next email or phone call to be the million-dollar contract you were waiting for, well, you are going

“CREATE ACTION THAT IS EXCEPTIONALLY, EXTERNALLY ORIGINATED, RELENTLESSLY AIMED AT WINNING, MAKING SOME PROGRESS EACH AND EVERY DAY AND CONSTANTLY PURGING LOW-VALUE-ADDED ACTIVITIES, ALL BY ALWAYS FOCUSING ON THE HEART AND NOT JUST THE MIND.” – DR. JOHN P. KOTTER Kotter says the problem with more than 70 percent of the companies he has been involved in (throughout his 30-plus years of researching urgency in businesses) is that they are complacent. If you have read my previous columns or blogs or know

to be waiting a long time. “Externally originated”: I used to be glued to my desk … and I liked it that way. I rarely visited my clients except for the Christmas holidays, and I minimally kept abreast of my industry, much less my



Stubborn fat has met its match. competitors. Now I am like a lion in a cage when I am at the office. I cannot wait to go out and visit with my clients to hear what is going on in the industry. I try to find out at least one thing every day that I did not already know, and I like it. Expose yourself to your clients, vendors, industry and employees. You will be able to make the most of the upcoming opportunities and prepare for potential hazards. Are you “relentlessly aimed at winning”? If you are an ex-jock like me, I am willing to bet you have the intensity and an utter distain for losing, which is the only thing that kept you on the field. Are you getting up every day not willing to accept any failure? Is doing “your best” good enough for you? Trust me: Your clients do not want to hear about how hard you tried to help them – they just want to know how you succeeded in taking care of their needs. If your clients can demand that level of response from you, why can’t you demand that level of effort and success from yourself? Are you “making some progress each and every day”? We have a Dougism here at the company. If you let something little slide for a day, it turns into three; two days turns into a week; and letting something slide for a week turns into a month. No matter how little the thing is, get after it and get it accomplished. It’s the daily forward motion that turns your company and your life from just ordinary to extraordinary. Remember: Repetition sets you free. Over the last few years, I went from doing literally everything to having an internal office staff of 15. Needless to say, one learns to delegate responsibilities, but one also learns that for one thing you delegate away, two more things will pop up to rob you of your most important resource: time. So over the past year, I have become very good at “constantly purging low-value-added activities.” I have flushed so many time wasters from my life over the past year that it has become an inside joke at the office. All meetings are planned and have agendas in bullet points and a set time limit. Everybody talks to me in Doug Bites (only three at a time – if you have more, you have to leave my office for an hour and return). Plan your work and work your plan. But it’s those last words in Kotter’s quote that really speak to me: “…all by always focusing on the heart and not just the mind.” Folks, you have all heard some variation of the “hearts and minds” speech, whether it was from President John Adams or LBJ, but its most effective use is when you are affecting the hearts of people. That is where the real buy-in is. You have to get your people on board on any major or minor project. I have learned that one cannot do it alone. So as you assess your personal and your business life, are you living with a sense of urgency? Are you making every opportunity count? Is there not one day wasted? You have no idea how far you can take yourself in such a short amount of time if you just apply yourself. Until next time …

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ON THE ROAD TO SUSTAINABILITY Halbouty Energy leads the way with ParaSolve, a cutting-edge treatment for paraffin issues that could change the oil and gas industry as we know it. By: SAMANTHA GALLOWAY

HALBOUTY ENERGY may just have the answer. “One challenge that will never fade in our industry is our struggle to find new ways to effectively and efficiently find, drill and produce oil,” says Michel Halbouty Hewitt, president of the company. “New technology and ways to extract oil have changed not only the industry as a whole, but it has changed our country. We are now on 36


a road to sustainability. It is our past that has made it possible for us to be where we are today. “With new technology, we will continue to thrive and become a more independent nation. We will no longer need to rely on foreign oil and imports. The oil is out there, and it’s in our backyard. All we have to do is go find it, as my grandfather aptly put it. And I add … apply

The LEADER in Oilfield Transportation and Logistics. Serving the Interests of San Antonio and the Eagle Ford Shale

• San Antonio Economic Development Council • Texas Railroad Commission – Eagle Ford Task Force • Texas Alliance of Energy Producers – South Texas Wildcatters • San Antonio Desk and Derrick Club DOUG CAIN is committed to supporting the sustainable growth

of the Eagle Ford Shale and ensuring its positive impact on the local economy. Lake Truck Lines transports oilfield materials to the well site and Lake Oilfield Services sells and services the equipment used to contain and process those materials. All of our trucks are connected to the NexTraq Fleet Tracking System so that our customers are always one click away from the real time status of their delivery and all of the equipment we manufacture is engineered with long-term solutions in mind. We are proud to represent San Antonio and the Eagle Ford Shale during this exciting time of progress and expansion.

Eagle Ford Shale: 20474 Spanish Grant Road San Antonio, Texas 78264 210.626.1329 Permian Basin: 2630 E. Pearl Street Odessa, Texas 79761 432.242.1329



this new technology to sustain our country’s selfsufficiency.” One issue that has plagued the oil industry is paraffin. Paraffin is a waxy material found in the majority of the world’s crude oil. When crude oil is kept at formation temperatures, it stays a liquid and does not pose a problem. However, when the crude oil cools, the paraffin starts to solidify. The solidified paraffin then falls out of suspension, and it must be “treated.” The treatments currently in use damage the well and significantly reduce its lifespan. Halbouty Energy is an emerging leader pioneer-

storage space, and therefore, reduces the available capacity for oil while also decreasing the system throughputs. If there is enough wax buildup, the flow of oil will be restricted or could be completely blocked. A secondary, often unrecognized, problem that can develop is when microscopic micelles containing wax are suspended in the produced water. When this produced water is re-injected into the formation, the wax can plug the tubing perforations and pore throats and even plug off the formation. The presence of the deposit will cause blockage of pore throats in oil and gas production; a flow re-

cosity of a mixture, making it easier to pump and handle. ParaSolve has been successfully tested against numerous paraffins worldwide. Halbouty Energy has experienced success with this single chemistry in multiple applications from Texas, in North Dakota and in Pennsylvania. During one noteworthy event in November 2011, ParaSolve was tested on the Thomas Lease located in Venango County, Penn. The well was operated until it was pumped off. Then five gallons of ParaSolve was mixed with 220 gallons of crude oil and 20 gallons of off-road fuel oil. This mixture was dumped

ing a revolutionary technology called ParaSolve that deals with paraffin and asphaltene issues. ParaSolve works without the addition of heat, and therefore, can attack and suspend multiple paraffins at once. According to Hewitt, “It will revolutionize the entire industry – not only in the United States, but in the global oil market for all sectors whether upstream, midstream or downstream.” Throughout the production, transmission and storage of crude oil, organic deposits are formed. Deposits form when the crude oil’s properties are changed due to changes in external conditions. Cooling below the cloud point, mixing with incompatible materials and the introduction of water to form emulsions make up the most common causes of sludge formation. The presence of these deposits in a storage tank, pipeline or well presents both an economic liability and an engineering challenge. First, it occupies space in the tank that could otherwise be used for more valuable product. Second, it is a byproduct of the oil placed in the tank. That is, if 1 percent of each barrel of oil becomes sludge, the sludge represents a loss of 1 percent of the value of the oil originally placed in the tank. And thirdly, sludge poses a problem for inspection and maintenance. Because sludge is a layer of un-pumpable material, it must be removed before measurement, preventive maintenance and inspection can be performed. During the production process, paraffin and asphaltenes will precipitate or crystallize into solids when the temperature or pressure drops. When this happens, the wax will plate out from the oil and form crystals that will grow in volume and coat equipment surfaces with a layer of wax. This crystal growth can take place in the formation near the well bore, inside the production tubing or casing, in the pipelines, inside the treating and separation equipment and in the storage equipment. When the organic deposits or sludge build up in storage tanks, the sludge occupies usable tank



striction on fracture faces and sand packs; reduction of pipe volume; hindrance of pump rods and blocking of pumps; and a decrease in pipeline volume similar to the problems encountered in storage tanks. All of this causes costly workover and cleanup jobs, which means the company producing the oil loses both time and money. The prevention or removal of the deposit can greatly improve the volume of production, reduce the energy required in pumping and lift and increase profitability. Most companies react to the problem of paraffin with mechanical knifing, hot oiling or solvents. These are reactive. Thus far, there has been no perfect solution to the paraffin issues confronting these oil producers. However, ParaSolve’s proactive treatment technique of keeping the paraffin “in suspension” can have a major impact in solving paraffin issues for many companies. ParaSolve is a mixed-structure, oil-soluble paraffin dispersant synergistically combining multiple chemistries. ParaSolve acts in several ways. First, it acts as a wedge between the wax crystals to initiate the opening of a “crack” or fracture between the wax crystal surfaces. The presence of this crack lowers the amount of energy required to create the new crystal-free surface. By lowering the energy required, it becomes possible to easily disperse the waxes using lower pressures and flow velocities. Second, ParaSolve changes the polarity of the crystals to a like charge, causing them to act impulsively. This second set of surfactants in ParaSolve acts on the wax surfaces, modifying them to have a net negative charge. The wax crystals now repel each other. And third, it distorts the edges of the wax crystals, making it difficult for them to fit together. The repulsion between the crystals prevents their precipitation, keeping them suspended. This action can also significantly lower the pour point and vis-

down the annulus of the well. Air pressure was applied for an hour-and-a-half and then locked in. One week later, the well was put on pump, two hours on and two hours off, and it was pumping at a rate of two gallons per minute. By the second day of pumping, the well yielded 10 barrels. Before ParaSolve, the well produced three barrels of oil per month – after treatment, it was producing three barrels a day. While most paraffin inhibitors are designed to treat a particular paraffin in a certain region, ParaSolve is designed to treat sludge, which is typically a mixture of numerous paraffinic oils carrying different properties in different areas. Once the paraffin is in suspension, it will remain in that state into the refinery. By reducing maintenance and production costs with paraffin issues, this technology allows producers and operators to dramatically lower their costs. As costs begin to lower and more crude is produced and moved, this technology could become “commonplace” as an industry standard for oil treatment. Halbouty Energy’s cutting-edge treatments for paraffin issues with ParaSolve are leading the way to greatly increasing production in America’s oil wells. Halbouty Energy will continue to pave the way with new technology and bring it to the forefront of the marketplace. It is safe to say that Halbouty Energy will be able to make an enormous impact for many companies moving forward, and it will be exciting to watch. Others should take notice of the company’s vision. Under Hewitt’s leadership, the company is poised to do some amazing things that could potentially change the industry as we know it.

For more information on Halbouty Energy, call 713239-0336 or visit




Fine Dining








MAX’s Wine Dive expands throughout the Lone Star State with its fun juxtaposition of gourmet, chef-driven comfort food, unique wines from around the world and casual, rock ‘n’ roll-inspired atmosphere. By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL

THE MOTTO AT MAX’S WINE DIVE IS “Fried chicken and champagne? Why the hell not?” Once you read or hear that, you may just be sold on this Texas-based restaurant concept in every way possible. Developed with this mantra in mind, it embodies the “fun” side of the concept – a juxtaposition of sorts. While MAX’s has a serious focus on a top-notch food and wine program, it also provides a casual, fun, rock ‘n’ roll-inspired atmosphere. There is a good dose of irreverence alongside the serious attention they pay to the food, wine and service. Pairing champagne with fried chicken just makes sense at MAX’s. MAX’s Houston opened in December 2006, and in May 2009, the second location opened in downtown Austin. In October 2010, the third MAX’s 40


opened in San Antonio. No. 4 was in Dallas in September 2012, and the fifth MAX’s opened in Fort Worth in September 2013. The sixth location will open in the Montrose area of Houston in January 2014, and Atlanta, Denver and Chicago will follow during the first half of 2014. As the founder of The Tasting Room Wine Café, MAX’S Wine Dive, Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden and The Black Door, Jerry Lasco began his entrepreneurial career in 2003 when he opened The Tasting Room at Uptown Park, Houston’s first wine bar to also sell retail wine. This location reportedly has the highest volume of wine sales of any wine bar in the country. He opened his new concept in dining in Houston in 2006, and MAX’s Wine Dive is known as a “unique wine-focused

restaurant combining gourmet, chef-driven comfort food with wine from around the world.” And with great success, the aforementioned locations were born and continue to get rave reviews throughout Texas. Appealing to a broad demographic, most guests fall in between the 25- to 55-year-old age range, but if you are “young at heart,” anything goes. MAX’s is a popular late-night spot for young professionals, and it is also a family-centered restaurant for weekend brunches. While they do not offer kids’ menus, the brunches feature several kids’ items and MAX’s welcomes children. It is the type of place where you can enjoy an outing with your friends, an intimate evening or family fun time. With its fine foods and heavenly wines that are difficult to find elsewhere, plus the jukebox that is forever playing wonderful tunes, the laidback atmosphere is just what Texans needed. And the growth factor is proof that Lasco’s formula for success is working very well. Each MAX’s has specialty dishes that the locals crave. In Dallas, it is the Pumpkin and Squash Mezzaluna on the fall menu, which features handmade mezzaluna stuffed with squash, pumpkin and goat cheese topped with a sage butter sauce. In Austin, they favor the Antelope Tartar – a smoked blue cheese, bacon, pickled shallot, pine nuts, arugula and gaufrette. “Gluten friendly” is popular no matter which location you visit. And in Houston, the Chicken Fried Lobster Tail is one of the specialty dishes that Houstonians rave about – and with good reason. It tastes divine. “Operating in downtown Austin is invigorating,” says Rick Van Pelt, president of MAX’s Wine Dive. “We are located downtown at 3rd and Jacinto, and thrive off the energy of being in Austin. In addition to a classic MAX’s layout upstairs, we have 9,000 square feet of event space downstairs that can host events of any size. When you combine the location, size and ambiance and Chef Erica’s abilities, we are primed for success.” Apparently, this is the case with all MAX’s locations in terms of unlimited growth and success. While they are still under 10 years old, their future plans indicate why they are a wonderful model for great food and wine served a la American-style. “We have an exquisitely renovated patio with a

new awning, dropdown curtains, ceiling fans and portable heaters to control climate,” adds Jeff Solomon, general manager in Dallas. “Also, we offer the largest interior dining space of any MAX’s in existence.” Each city has its own version of MAX’s with the local flair, but the overall casual elegance exists in every MAX’s Wine Dive in Texas. Wines from around the world are perhaps one of the most fascinating finds in a place like MAX’s. Some examples include Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy, Languedoc and Rhone in France; Piedmont, Maremma and Veneto in Italy; Douro and Madeira in Spain and Portugal; and Mosel and Nahe in Germany. There are also wines from Lebanon and Israel; Swartland & Hemel-en-Aarde in South Africa; wines from Oregon-Willamette; wines from Sonoma, Napa, Alexander and Central Coast in California; wines from Red Mountain in Washington; and several wines from Texas. “We work very hard to find wines that we would serve in our own homes to close friends,” explains Darrin Baumunk, corporate wine buyer. “Or perhaps the wines are so good that we keep them for ourselves to enjoy. We have brands with which you are quite comfortable and some you have never seen before. We are always looking for great values. Sometimes it leads us to places whose names are interesting, but unfamiliar.” Whichever MAX’s location you frequent, you are sure to be in for a delectable and delightful dining experience. Something rare and refined like champagne combined with something familiar and deeply appealing like fried chicken seems an un-

likely pairing at first, but the customers love the attitude that has inspired MAX’s to surprise them with unexpected and delicious combinations. There is always something new; the creative cooking in the kitchen matches all of the amazing new wines from around the world that they are constantly sourcing. MAX’s was partially inspired by a dive bar on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that featured a jukebox with classic rock and classic country music. “It’s all the stuff we love listening to, and it’s not unusual to hear everyone singing along to the music.” The jukebox is always on; guests can make their own selections or just let it play on “random” for a broad variety of great tunes. It sets the tone, and people understand right away that MAX’s is not a stuffy place. The proof is seeing someone eat a $40 chicken-fried lobster tail with a glass of Dom Perignon with Johnny Cash playing on the jukebox. MAX’s Wine Dive will continue to provide exceptional experiences to all of the guests in its existing locations. “We will continue to build the best team in the industry and continue to seek out exciting new locations for additional MAX’s.” Growing the MAX’s brand on both a national and international level seems just as perfect as pairing fried chicken and champagne. Cheers!


MAX’s Wine Dive Austin:

MAX’s Wine Dive Dallas:

MAX’s Wine Dive San Antonio:

For more information on MAX’s Wine Dive, visit




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HOOKED ON RESTAURANTS Chris Tripoli’s A’ la Carte Foodservice Consulting Group is on everyone’s menu – and judging by its success so far, it will stay there for many years to come.


He vividly remembers helping his mother with all chores related to the kitchen while his brothers helped with other household chores. As he grew up in



Phoenix, Ariz., the Southwest has always been what feels like home to him. Enjoying Little League, Pop Warner football and track in high school, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Plant and Van Morrison became his teenage idols. At 15, he started to work at Ralph Gaines’ Colony Steakhouse bussing, dishwashing and doing pantry prep work. This was only the beginning of what was to become his calling. While managing Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse, a famous western tourist attraction, Tripoli attended Phoenix Community College. He met a man named Chandler, and they quickly became friends. He was opening his first restaurant in



Houston and wanted to put a small team of young managers together to develop creative concepts. “I liked the idea and moved to Houston in 1975,” Tripoli says. “I helped develop Luther’s BBQ and quickly expanded it to nine units before I left in 1980. In September of 1981, I opened my first restaurant.” Tripoli’s continued success kept him well focused on the restaurant industry. Little did he know that when he moved to Houston, he would not be returning “home” to Phoenix. Instead, Houston became home and it has been ever since. Giving credit to the COO of Sonic Industries at the time, Tripoli explains how Vern Stewart helped him during his early years in the restaurant business: “He consulted with me when I owned my own restaurants and helped me greatly when I started to consult on my own. He encouraged me and believed I had the quality to influence and taught me to trust my instincts. He taught me that the difference between good consulting and bad is the ability to listen.” In 1996, Tripoli started consulting and opened A’ la Carte. He knew that when he started, it might take some time to become known and develop clients. He developed a network group that still meets regularly. “I also spent a good deal of time writing for trade associations and speaking at trade shows. I knew there was a need for the smaller restaurant operator to receive the same type of services as the larger restaurants and franchises.” As the word got out, a few clients turned into more clients, and Tripoli was convinced that his theory was true.

countries wanting to expand into the United States. A’ La Carte has worked with a few groups from Mexico, and they are beginning to work with one coming to the United States from Sweden. “These clients will require an understanding of how their existing operations will adjust in order to be accepted and operate successfully in our country. I enjoy the challenges involved in setting operators for franchising and providing the ongoing franchise field services.” Over the years, Tripoli has developed the opinion that “everyone really must eat in restaurants, but everyone doesn’t need to own one.” This was one of the reasons he developed a course on the proper way to open a restaurant. The class is called “So you want to open a restaurant,” and it’s taught at the University of Houston’s small business development center. Teaching the course for 10 years, Tripoli feels that it has saved the industry from some terribly unprepared and poorly financed first-time restaurant concepts. “When you consider the high cost of opening and operating a restaurant, the increasing competition, the ever-changing consumer and the tight margins of profit, restaurant consulting and ongoing advisement is needed today more than ever.” Developing restaurants in non-traditional locations are some of Tripoli’s favorite projects. These include Artista in the downtown Hobby Center for Performing Arts, The Grove in the downtown Discovery Green Park, Food Court restaurants in Houston’s intercontinental airport and Niko Niko’s (a


“MY 10-YEAR PLAN IS TO REMAIN RELEVANT TO THE INDUSTRY I LOVE AND HAVE SPENT MY ENTIRE CAREER IN.” A’ La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group works with restaurants and food service establishments in hotels, convention centers, airports, theaters, parks and stadiums. The Houston team assists existing operators with menu development issues, cost management, revenue building, management development, staff training and financial planning. A very popular service is operations assessment. “This allows the smaller restaurant owner an opportunity to learn how their current operation compares with industry standards. This identifies strengths and opportunities for improvements, as well as provides a written plan of action. Our tagline (“from idea to opening and beyond”) represents the vastness of issues our services cover.” Tripoli explains the two aspects in today’s market that are in high demand: small established restaurants (one to three units) wanting to grow through franchising and restaurants from other

kiosk in Market Square Park), and the future foodservice for Buffalo Bayou Park, Evelyn’s Park, and the Library Plaza in Houston. Others are Ragin Cajun and Niko Niko’s in Houston, MAX’s Wine Dive in Austin, Dallas and Houston, La Pampa in Brownsville and McAllen, Genghis Grill in Dallas, Angelo’s in Washington and Pennsylvania, Boondocks in Ramrod Key in Florida, El Huarache in Mexico City and Café Vertigo in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “I find working internationally very interesting. It never ceases to amaze me just how well accepted American brands are abroad. Some of the busiest national chain restaurant units aren’t inside the United States anymore; they are in China, Europe and the Middle East. These clients may not be our target clients, but their success has created a new clientele for us.” Now there is a new market made up of independent restaurant operators in coun-

tries wanting to expand and/or operate in a way to better compete with growing American chains that are there. Tripoli lives by the motto, “to work with people I like, on projects I think I am going to like.” He enjoys the group he has assembled around him, and he wants to spend the next few years maintaining a good balance of projects on helping existing restaurant operators on operational improvement issues, expansion-growth related issues for successful restaurant concepts and creating new restaurant concepts from scratch. “My 10-year plan is to remain relevant to the industry I love and have spent my entire career in. I enjoy teaching and my work on the board of the Texas Restaurant Association’s educational committee. I also look forward to working on the board of the National Restaurant Association’s education committee.” Tripoli has plans for a book, and as he slows his consulting in future years, he will have the opportunity to complete it. Considering all of the marketing menus that A’ la Carte has created and new, innovative ideas for future dining venues in the works, Tripoli has made his mark in the restaurant industry and A’ la Carte will be on everyone’s menu for many years to come.

A’ la Carte Foodservice Consulting Group is located at 14125 Memorial Drive, Ste. 104, in Houston, Texas. For more information, call Chris Tripoli, FCSI, at 281293-0077 or visit www.alacarteconsultinggroup. com. JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS



IN TEXAS Continuing to expand business across the Lone Star State and beyond, John Dyess and Matt Vickers maintain their focus on providing both cutting-edge technology and top-notch customer service at Dyezz Surveillance & Security. By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL | Photography: ALEXANDER ALEMAN

IN 2001, JOHN DYESS WAS ON A MISSION – A MISSION HE BELIEVED WOULD HELP PEOPLE FEEL SAFE AND SECURE. Following the 9-11 attacks, Dyess and his partner, Matt Vickers, started a small company that initially was founded to protect residents and business owners from “foul play.” With determination, business savvy, keen attention to detail and customer service, Dyezz Surveillance & Security (DSS) has grown beyond Austin’s limits by entering the San Antonio market in 2003, followed by El Paso, Dallas and Houston. By providing the highest quality of installations and services, DSS offers a plethora of options: video surveillance systems, burglar and fire alarms, access control systems, covert surveillance, bug detection, intercom systems and home automation.



Regardless of their size and unlimited growth potential, their philosophy remains certain: “We strive to remain accessible and responsive to each and every one of our clients in order to meet and exceed their specific needs.” Dyess explains that today’s alarm systems are more than just “intrusion alarms.” With integrated systems like those provided by Connect 24, Telular Interactive and, home and business owners can now enjoy the convenience of home automation previously reserved for the wealthy. With affordable monthly charges starting as low as $15.95 a month, there is no contract or credit check necessary and the stellar service is unbeatable. Technology now allows “interactive control” of your entire home or business with one simple and secure app on either your smart phone or your tablet device. “With Z-Wave wireless connectivity, the list of devices that can interact with your alarm system might surprise you.” These include

light switches and dimmers, wall outlets and appliances, thermostat and HVAC controls, garage door openers and doorknob locks and deadbolts. In addition to all of these features, DSS can add HD cameras that allow you to view live and recorded video right from your phone. With today’s various programming options, the package can be customized to make your life more safe and secure than ever before. Whether it be business or home security, DSS is there 24/7 with the finest technology has to offer and always striving to enhance the customer experience with security systems, whether basic or the “whole package.” A DSS design specialist will help you customize the plan that best suits your needs. This is a complimentary service that all of the DSS clientele greatly appreciate. And if you want to upgrade or change a detail on your current plan, the DSS team is there to make it happen with an easy transition for your peace of mind.






Dyess reflects on the beginning of the business more than a decade ago: “Chris Weinheimer, owner of the Dirty Dog Bar, Jason Najjar and Salim Salem with Element Nightclub, Matt Luckie with Lavaca Bar and Red Fez Bar gave me a chance way back then. We proved that we could do the job and provide the best in service in the Central Texas area. With their support in believing we could do the job, the business took off. Our beliefs in hard work, determination, forward thinking and focusing on the customers we serve have all played a part in our formula for success – that is, success for our customer base, as well as the Dyezz Surveillance & Security business model.” Some Austin customers include the Monarch, the Hilton Downtown and 360 Condos. Bars and restaurants include Trudys, Uchi, Benji’s Cantina, RIO, Iron Cactus, Star Bar and Hopdoddy, to name a few. Houston customers include MAX’s Wine Dive, Kung Fu Saloon, Dogwood in Midtown and Windsor at Siena. “We [started] a $300,000 large-access control alarm system and IP megapixel video surveillance project in Houston for Windsor at Sovereign in December of 2013,” Dyess explains. Other customers include: IN DALLAS: J. BLACK’S and Windsor at Turtle Creek IN EL PASO: the Rivieria, the Network, Custom Sounds and Andre’s Pizza IN SAN ANTONIO: Grand Hyatt, the St. Anthony Hotel, Henry’s Puffy Tacos, McDonald’s, Ride Away Bicycles and Gauridos And there are more clients in each city, as the Dyezz name becomes a household name. Looking at their history, it is easy to forecast their local leadership in the security and surveillance industry throughout the state. Eventually, the Dyezz name will go further than Texas because of their state-ofthe-art products and services and their outstanding customer service, which is second to none. To ensure the highest level of satisfaction, the Dyezz Loaner Guarantee is an extraordinary service offered. “Sometimes issues may arise, and if this happens, we will gladly provide you with a loaner video surveillance system until your system is fixed or replaced, free of charge.” And this is not exclusive to current DSS customers. “If you have a video surveillance system that is not working, we are happy to visit your company with a loaner system, as well, until we can fix or replace your security hardware. We want you to be proud to be a valued Dyezz customer.” Daniel Huckaby, director of Coyote Ugly, details his ultimate satisfaction with the DSS team: “I have used Dyezz Surveillance for over seven years at all of my Coyote Ugly locations nationwide. They have always provided superb customer service. John and Matt have been nothing short of excellent. Their business model of working as hard, if not harder than their employees is exactly how businesses should be run. When I see other businesses doing it that way, I know the relationship will be perfect.

Their new motto should be, ‘We do good business.’ Very few businesses can say that these days.” Chad Womack, Jason Carrier and Brad Womack, owners of Dogwood, Molotov, Dizzy Rooster and Chuggin’ Monkey restaurants, couldn’t agree more. “We use Dyezz Surveillance in all of our locations

nical support and specialists available to be on top. DSS has and always will be on the cutting edge of technology. With a successful personal and business relationship with his brother, Omar Dyess, a real estate maven in the Austin area, the residential sector of

“WE STRIVE TO REMAIN ACCESSIBLE TO ALL OF OUR CLIENTS IN ORDER TO MEET AND EXCEED THEIR SPECIFIC NEEDS.” and could not be happier. It has helped defend lawsuits, stopped theft and give us a true sense of security. On top of a superior product, we could not be happier with the service provided by everyone in the company. From the owners to the technicians, they are all professional, dedicated people that care about each account, and it shows through everyday actions. We know that we can call at any time and someone will be onsite that very day if needed.” Thinking “big” in Texas and growing stronger within the state is part of what Dyess is planning on for the next few years. With regional offices in Houston, El Paso and Dallas and main headquarters in Austin serving both the Austin and San Antonio markets, the growth potential is unlimited. “Our goal is to provide peace of mind and continue providing the best in customer service. On average, we gain approximately 40 new accounts a month, and we have the advanced technology, knowhow and quality service to provide our customers with all the security provisions that are in demand.” Treating customers well is one of the main ingredients Dyess and his team have fostered since day one. “We look at the customer list for a given day and make sure that each and every one of them are contacted the next day to get feedback. This is part of our mission: making our customers happy ones.” Scoring an average of 9.5 or more out of 10 in great service is one of the company’s many strengths. A growing portion of the business has been hidden cameras and technical security countermeasures (TSCM). Bug detection devices are growing more popular to protect businesses and personal matters. “We help to eliminate the risk of sophisticated eavesdropping that can be done with high-tech equipment and bugging devices that pose a threat to businesses,” Dyess explains. “We are installing more and more of these types of applications. Many people want to know what the employees, babysitter, spouse and kids are doing. Bug detection has been a growing business for Dyezz.” Several celebrities in both Austin and San Antonio are acquiring these types of services. DSS has been offering TSCM for a while – way ahead of the larger companies that simply do not have the tech-

DSS is also growing. Sixty percent of the company is business, and 40 percent is residential. John Dyess gives a great deal of credit to his team. “Matt Vickers has taken the company to the next level. We also have an excellent general manager, Casey Ellison, and other office personnel that are making our business model even more successful with their business talents and valuable input.” While the focus at DSS is “deep in the heart of Texas,” they completed jobs in Key West and Nebraska, and they are currently working on a big project in Colorado. Looking ahead, they are expanding into Fort Worth and New Mexico (Las Cruces and Santa Teresa), and they have started doing installations in the Juarez, Mexico, market. “Building our staff and staying on the edge of technology are always a part of our long-term goals. Eventually, we want to be big enough so we are able to give back to the community and help certain nonprofit groups, charities and organizations. This is what growing a successful business is all about: helping the community on a local level. This is the key to being that local company that is always there for their customers and their neighbors.” Knowing Dyess and seeing his company grow at an enormous rate, it is certain that DSS will be “giving back” in the very near future.

The Dyezz Surveillance & Security/Dyezz Fire Controls main headquarters is located at 2113 Wells Branch Parkway, Ste. 6700, in Austin, Texas. For more information, call 800-370-2762 or visit www.

DYEZZ SURVEILLANCE & SECURITY Austin: 512-331-2788 San Antonio: 210-265-8596 El Paso: 915-603-5213 Dallas: 214-838-1028 Houston: 713-904-1400






A PERFECT STORM FOR ENTREPRENEURS As evidenced by a recent survey conducted by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Houston is booming. Entrepreneurs’ Organization Houston President John Carter shares how the city is sharing the wealth and leading the economic rebound. By: AQUILA MENDEZ-VALDEZ | Photography: JUSTIN CALHOUN

ABOUT THE ENTREPRENEURS’ ORGANIZATION The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a dynamic, global network of more than 9,500 business owners in 42 countries. Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO is the catalyst that enables entrepreneurs to learn and grow from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life. Entrepreneurs must qualify and be accepted by the chapter to become a member in one of EO’s 120 chapters. The average member is 41 years old with annual revenues of U.S. $17.3 million. For more information on EO, visit www. or call 1-703-519-6700.

PUT ON YOUR COWBOY HATS and your best square dancing boots, y’all. Houston is booming, and the results from a recent study indicate there’s no end in sight to the wild ride in this economic rodeo. Conducted by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), the survey included responses from 143 Houston-based companies. Respondents were chosen from a select group of entrepreneurs – each respondent is the founder of a business with at least U.S. $1 million in annual revenues. However, the financial clout of the respondents generally surpassed this mark. On average, the annual revenue of a respondent company was U.S. $4 million. The entrepreneurs spanned every industry in Houston from telecommunications to oil. The results for Houston entrepreneurs were, surprisingly or not, overwhelmingly positive. Most notably, the survey indicated that 60 percent of Houston-area entrepreneurs expect to hire more fulltime workers, with an additional 56 percent expecting to hire more part-time workers in the coming six months. Hiring and unemployment numbers have been a large part of the story in the Great Recession, but it appears entrepreneurs are finally willing to stick their necks out to increase their staff. One Houston entrepreneur, EO Houston Presi-

dent John Carter, has seen his staff increase by 20 percent in recent months, with more hires on the horizon. “We’re extremely happy with our numbers, but some of our other EO members have even seen their staff grow by 50 percent or more,” Carter says. “In Houston, the issue has been that there are so many jobs, we’re having to compete for the right personnel. That’s not something we’re seeing at a national level yet. It’s a great luxury to be able to recruit the right people for the job, rather than not having any jobs to give them.” Within his own company, Carter says his focus has been on creating a “bench” of people he’s ready to hire when the time is right. “We’re confident that we’re going to keep growing, and we’re going to need the right people for the job very shortly,” he says. “You have to be a good salesperson in this job market. It’s all about finding someone who fits your company culture, and that can be tough to do when the best and brightest are being pursued by so many successful companies.” The Houston entrepreneurs surveyed also believe the economy is moving in a positive direction, with 86 percent reporting positive feelings about starting a new business in the next six months. As is custom in the entrepreneurial world, it seems many are ready to begin explorJANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS


ABOUT ENTREPRENEURS’ ORGANIZATION HOUSTON ing new territory, which can only mean an increase in capital investments for the city. Carter says he’s always looking to innovate in his own industry, and he sees positive things for other EO members’ businesses, as well. “In this economic environment, the entrepreneurs who survive and thrive are the ones who can innovate, adapt to rapid change and are customerfocused,” he says. “Real estate is in major demand here in Houston, and so are oilfield products and services. Anyone who has an idea, innovation and drive can come here and take a chance and make it happen; it’s



a perfect storm for entrepreneurs.” The recession hasn’t been easy on everyone in Houston, Carter notes, but most EO members have found a way to stay afloat. “Head-hunting businesses took a major hit in 2007, 2009, but most of them have bounced back now,” he says. “It was the folks who were wiling to keep innovating that made it through. I think it’s a quality all the great entrepreneurs have: the ability to shift your focus when it makes good economic sense.” It seems Houston entrepreneurs also have a great deal of faith in the country

Open to members of the local business community, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Houston enables entrepreneurs to learn and grow from each other through educational and networking events, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life. Entrepreneurs’ Organization Houston is the local chapter of a global community that enriches members’ lives through dynamic peer-to-peer learning and once-in-alifetime experiences. For more information, please visit

This is good news in a national and global economy that depends so much on the resources of others. “We aren’t an island,” Carter says. “If the rest of the country isn’t buying, it affects us, as well. So we’re glad that Houston can start sharing the wealth and develop long-term success.” The numbers from Houston entrepreneurs are comparable to the global survey numbers, which indicate that 63 percent of entrepreneurs around the world plan to hire more fulltime workers and 52 percent of entrepreneurs plan to hire part-time workers. The slightly lower percentages are understandable, considering the rapid rate of growth in Houston has not been seen on a global level. However, the results indicate perception of future success is increasing no matter one’s location on the globe. Carter says part of the benefit of being part of EO is connecting with other business owners at a global level. “When we have conferences and events with chapters around the world, it’s amazing to hear what they’ve got going on in their own backyard,” he says. “We can collaborate, discuss ideas and really get a feel for how their markets are doing. The exchange of ideas is always incredible and powerful.” In addition to foreseeing potential growth in their current businesses, 84 percent of global entrepre-


as a whole, with 45 percent of respondents saying they believe the national economic environment will improve in the next six months, with only 13 percent of respondents saying they feel the environment will deteriorate. For Carter, times have been good for a few years now for his telecommunications company, TELMART, but he’s just now starting to see the impact at a broader level. “I think entrepreneurs have been feeling cautious because of everything we hear in the news every day,” Carter says. “But in Houston, we’ve been sheltered from the worst of that, and it feels like the rest of the country is finally coming around.”

neurs are hopeful about starting new ventures in the coming six months. Again, this is a slight deficit from Houston numbers, but a vast majority of entrepreneurs still feel confident enough to dip their toe into the new business pool once again. “We actually see a lot of EO members from chapters out of town opening offices in Houston,” Carter says. “I think that’s good news for both parties because it not only means they’re growing, but they view Houston as the place to be in terms of financial investment and their long-term success.” For Carter, the survey news is truly good news for business owners everywhere. “The results from the survey underscore that Houston businesses are thriving despite the current economic climate,” he says. “We expect our businesses to continue growing, and we expect the market to rebound in a positive way. “Houston is fertile ground for entrepreneurs and new businesses. We have this influx of talented people, and they’re bringing ideas and drive, so it just builds an engine of economic activity that keeps building on itself. The climate is exciting, and

it’s cool to be a part of it. Houston really is the place to be.” Carter notes that it’s more than just entrepreneurs contributing to the ambience. “We’ve got all the universities bringing their ideas to the table, and the tech incubators that are constantly evolving, as well,” he says. “There’s so much business, so much money in Houston, you see seeds sprinkled all over the place and it’s fun to watch them grow into successful business ventures.” So despite the bucking bronco that was the Great Recession, it seems Houston entrepreneurs have lasted more than eight seconds – they’re excelling. In all reality, though, it’s what great cowboys do: They rise above to meet the challenge head-on, and they find entrepreneurial success within.

To learn more about the Global Entrepreneur Indicator, visit JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS




Payable on death accounts: more trouble than they’re worth? By: CHRISTOPHER HERNANDEZ



POD ACCOUNTS ARE THE QUICKEST AND LEAST EXPENSIVE WAY TO TRANSFER PROPERTY AT A PERSON’S DEATH. person does not need to use the money for that purpose; it is the beneficiary’s money and they are not liable for the debts of the deceased person. Often, the beneficiary will just keep the money and the estate will be forced to sell property to pay debts because all of the liquid assets are gone, leaving less money for the heirs. Next is where the owner names a person as a beneficiary intending to leave the property to that person in a trust. This is by far the least common way, but it still happens. In this case, the owner has created a will that leaves the property to a person in trust, but then lists them as the beneficiary on a POD account. When they receive the money, they will receive it outright – not in a trust as the owner intended. Lastly, the owner has multiple accounts and lists different beneficiaries on the different accounts intending to leave equal amounts to the different people. However, at the time of their death, some accounts have been closed or the accounts now have far different balances. I don’t mean to discourage anyone from setting

up a POD account; they have some very useful effects. However, they are not always the saving grace they might appear to be at first. Outside of spouses, business partners and sole heirs, it has been my experience that they can cause a tremendous disruption in the estate. However, by using some minor estate planning tools, you can avoid the potential problems these accounts can cause and still reap similar benefits. Some options are as simple as leaving a will or creating a trust. Furthermore, these options are far less expensive for your heirs than dealing with them after your death.

Christopher Hernandez is an estate planning and probate attorney with the J. Guerra Law Firm. For more information, contact Hernandez at 210-366-4529 or


PAYABLE ON DEATH (POD) ACCOUNTS can be either a great way to transfer money efficiently at a person’s death or a huge disruption to what would otherwise be a quick and inexpensive probate. A POD account automatically transfers the money in the account to a designated person at the owner’s death without the need for any estate proceedings. This happens whether or not the person has a will that would leave that money to another person, or if the intestacy laws would say someone else should receive the money. POD accounts are normally set up when the account is opened. When customers open an account at a bank, they are given a signature card to give other people access to the account. However, there is also a box you can check on the card to make it a POD account. In my experience, bankers are quick to point out the benefits, but they do not explain the potential pitfalls well. The benefits of POD accounts are that they are the quickest and least expensive way to transfer property at a person’s death. To receive the money in the account, all the beneficiary needs to do is take a death certificate to the bank, and the bank will release the money to them. The problems arise in a few ways. The most common way is when the owner names one beneficiary whom they intend to use the money to pay their outstanding debts. The problem here is that that







Kristyn Kennedy , Alex Earl, Melissa Fournier, Arleen Sanchez, Rebekka Glass, Nan Zam, Christy Cook, Laura Stewart, Mayra Del Bello

Martha Morales, Kristy Dwyer, Nataliia Diehl



TO ANYONE WHO ATTENDED LEAP’s fourth annual Casino Royale event on Oct. 18, 2013, Austin’s W Hotel may very well have passed for a posh Las Vegas casino. High rollers and socialites donned their best James Bond attire for an evening of highstakes entertainment to support LEAP LifeWorks. Considered the hottest ticket in town when it comes to hosting spectacular events, themed parties and happy hours, LEAP is focused on raising money and community awareness for LifeWorks, which invites individuals to get involved and help make a difference in the life of someone in need. In 2013, LEAP raised more than $57,000 to support creating a path to self-sufficiency for former homeless youth, kids in the foster care system and teen parents.

Matthew Ketterman, Amy Ross, Carol Scott, Alfred Robinson


LEAP hosts its fourth annual Casino Royale event to benefit LifeWorks.


Martha Morales, Katy Genden, Carol Scott, Amy Ross

Kevin Warden, Diana Von Rosenberg, Aaron Ross

Natalie Cruz, Martha Morales, Christian Casas, Kristy Dwyer, Serese Brown

William Jackson, Alexis Neal, Cabil Gibbs, Ruben Morales

Dr. and Mrs. Michael Moossy

Andy Blecha, Melissa Fournier, Lee Loya

Adam Loewy, Chris Benedict, Lisa Benedict (Mr. and Mrs. Benedict) JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS






AN AUSTIN GEM Roxann Parker Lagow and her staff proudly offer one of the largest in-store inventories in the state and happily help their clients walk out with a smile at Parker Serenity Wig Spa.




ROXANN PARKER LAGOW, A NATIVE AUSTINITE, HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY FOR DECADES. Her family owned Parker Beauty Supply, a wholesale beauty supply business. After school, Lagow would go there faithfully because she enjoyed all of the different aspects of the beauty field. From hair color and perming to straightening and new design techniques, she was interested and involved in the haute happenings in beauty and hair trends. Lagow graduated from college and was teaching at an Austin school during the day. She always had to be part of the business due to her avid interest in the beauty industry and the creativity being expressed in so many different art forms. Her mother started the wig side of the business more than 50 years ago. “Back then, we sold wigs – mostly bubble curl wig-



lets and falls that were clip-ins,” she says. “At that time, hairpieces were mostly a fashion statement. We used to have wig shows at the hotels in Austin with models and all the fashion fun.” When Lagow’s father passed away in 1981, she left teaching and joined the family business. In outside sales, she covered many areas of Texas, selling salon furnishings and all salon products. During that time, wigs became more popular for chemotherapy patients and people who were diagnosed with alopecia and other types of hair loss. “I worked closely with my salons, finding the right wigs for them to sell to their clients.” In 2006, Parker Beauty Supply closed after 66 years in the industry. “I had a special passion for

the wig client care industry. My mother was a cancer survivor, and I had lost my niece and several good friends to cancer. I knew we held a very special place in the community, and I wanted to grow and enhance the good name my family had worked hard for.” Envisioning an atmosphere of peace and tranquility very much like that of a spa, Lagow wanted clients to experience something special. “We work hard to maintain the upbeat, friendly atmosphere because we are not like a walk-in retail outlet.” Working on the finish-out of the new space with a spa room with many services, it was going to be impossible to include all that this caring and business-savvy woman wanted to do for her clientele. Due to their growth, Parker Serenity Wig Spa needed the room for more private areas for wig fittings and extra space for loved ones to join the customer being fitted. As a result, Lagow had to let go of some of her visions in order to make sure her customers were comfortable and happy with their selection and comfortable with the impeccable customer service that Parker Serenity Wig Spa has continually given to each of their guests. Lagow explains that her staff is another reason she wanted to keep the business alive. “I was so fortunate to keep Mary Pozos, our manager for over 40 years at that time, and Candy Garza, who had been

with us for over 10 years. When you have an experienced team, your clients are so much happier.” “Roxann is a loving and caring woman,” Pozos adds. “When we thought the business was going to close, we all felt so sad. Roxann decided to keep the wig salon, and I am so happy that she did. It is a wonderful experience seeing people during a difficult time in their life walk out the door with a new sense of empowerment. There is nothing quite like helping people feel attractive again.” Currently, there are five incredible wig specialists who help in every aspect of wigs and hairpieces. Their work and service are unique to the market in so many ways. Services include custom fittings, complete alterations, specialty cutting, color blending and color match, personal appointments and some tender loving care. “Parker Serenity Wig Spa was my savior in a very sad, trying time in terms of my health,” says Susan B., a customer. “The first time I purchased a wig online after my cancer diagnosis, I cried and thought, “I can’t look like this for a year or more”. I overheard some ladies at my chemo treatment talk about Serenity and how wonderful their choices were and how much kindness the employees had towards them. I told my husband, and he took me the next day. They showed my husband and me different styles and colors. I ended up buying three JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS


different wigs, and after two years, I am still a devoted client.” Lauren Webb, another customer, moved to Austin in 2012 because she got a new job. “I had lived with thinning hair for years, but just ignored it. A neighbor was visiting with me, and I commented on what beautiful hair she had. She laughed and said it was a human hair wig she bought at Serenity Wigs. I asked her the price, and she told me to go and look because I would feel so much better about myself if I had beautiful hair. The wig specialist was so knowledgeable, and we had a great time. I bought a beautiful human hair wig. I looked at it as an investment in myself. I feel so confident, and people that I work with will never know it’s not mine!” There are endless testimonials given by customers and with good reason. Thanks to the reputation, knowledge, craftsmanship and skills that Serenity Wigs shares with clients, this is an experience their clients will never forget. While many clients shop for wigs for medical reasons, there are many other clients who buy wigs for travel or just to change styles. “We carry one of the largest in-store inventories in the state and pride ourselves on making our clients walk out with a smile.” Parker Serenity Wig Spa specializes in high-quality synthetic and human hair wigs, hairpieces and a vast array of turbans, hats and scarves. Lagow is always working hard in order to showcase the finest quality in wigs, and she continues to educate her staff and clients. “This business is my life, my love and my pride. We will always strive for the best in both our products and in customer service and satisfaction.” It is easy to understand why Texans from all over the state visit Parker Serenity Wig Spa; the wigs are made by the finest and the word continues to spread throughout Austin and the Lone Star State. If you need a wig for any reason, this is the place to go.

Parker Serenity Wig Spa is located at 2900 Anderson Lane, Ste. H, in Austin, Texas. For more information, call 512-323-9220 or visit



New Year, New You!


AT STELLA BLUE SALON AND BOUTIQUE Dream Catcher Extension Specialist Master Stylist & Master Colorist

1204 S. Congress, Austin TX 78704 512.443.2583 |



AUSTIN STYLE GROWING UP IN HOUSTON, Mandy Granado ventured west and arrived in Austin 12 years ago to further her career in the beauty industry. While working on a job for a magazine, Granado met a hairstylist who gave her a fulltime job as a makeup artist. Doing makeup 24/7, Granado found a love and passion for hair, as well. “Through blood, sweat and tears and working late hours, I mastered hair coloring and hair cutting. I have experience with professional hair color lines such as Paul Mitchell, Aveda, Redken and my signature favorite, Wella.” Most of Granado’s clients are cut and color. She offers complimentary makeup touchups after hair services are completed. When she is not “behind the chair,” Granado works off site on photo shoots and travels to do hair and makeup for concerts, shows and other creative venues. “It keeps my job interesting – never a dull moment,

REINVENTING THE MAKEUP WHEEL Women with sensitive, aging or otherwise problematic skin can look and feel beautiful with Granado Mineral Cosmetics, Mandy Granado’s natural skincare cosmetics line. By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL



for sure. I am always meeting someone new, and I love taking on new clients.” As she specializes in makeovers, those of you who want to change your look or need some advice on what can accentuate your look need not look further. Granado covers it all and then some. Another wonderful service she offers is a “how to” appointment. “I show you how to style your own hair for that fresh salon blowout look. I go further and show how to use a round brush, how to curl your hair and what kind of blow dryers and curling irons to purchase. I love educating my clients on how to achieve your own look at home.” With her array of beauty service packages that will help enhance your desired look, Granado has an exceptionally creative handle in the beauty industry. As if this were not enough, Granado launched her own line of cosmetics a couple of years ago: Granado Mineral Cosmetics. Marketing more toward the well-being of your skin, it is a natural skincare cosmetics line with fashionable colors. Granado explains that most natural makeup lines tend to be afraid to add color. Granado’s line features high-fashion colors with an edge. “The ingredients are the favorite part of my cosmetic line. For instance, my concealer has arnica gel infused in it to help repair damaged skin and inflammation.” The cosmetics also treat acne and problematic skin, as well as people suffering from rosacea and acne. Granado does not use any synthetic fillers to replace color. All cosmetics are pure pigment, concentrated and paraben-free. Granado Mineral Cosmetics has natural sunscreens and humectants to fight against humid weather. With antioxidant power, the more you wear the cosmetics, the better your skin will feel and look. “Just after a week of using my foundation, you will notice a tighter and smoother feel to the skin. It doesn’t clog pores, and therefore, fewer breakouts will occur.” Granado’s creamy treatment concealer covers any post-surgical bruising and acne blemishes. The cosmetic line can be found at Grapevine Salons in Austin, or you can purchase Granado Mineral Cosmetics online. Made especially for women with sensitive skin, problematic skin, aging skin, hyper pigmentation and post-surgical skin, Granado will continue to educate as many people as she can about her wonderful products that make you look and feel beautiful.

Grapevine Salons is located at 7942 Great Northern Blvd., No. 3, in Austin, Texas. For more information, call 512-3004052 or visit






AUSTIN STYLE ising career that their dreams are made of. Getting to know Brown has helped uncover some of the mystery in the world of model mania. Q: How did you begin your career in the modeling industry? A: While living in Southern California, I was approached and was asked if I wanted to model. I didn’t know that regular people could actually make money doing that. Of course I was intrigued, so I shot a really bad portfolio and signed with an agency. I booked a few jobs, including being the Fit Model for Lucky Brand Jeans. While going to college, I was able to make $85 an hour to try on jeans, which helped subsidize my school expenses.

MODEL MANIA NSIDE sits down with Justin Brown of the Wilhelmina Brown Modeling Agency and talks Texas talent in the world of modeling.




TALKING WITH CEO JUSTIN BROWN of the Wilhelmina Brown Modeling Agency in Austin, NSIDE takes an exciting journey into the world of Texas talent. Who will be the next top model locally? Nationally? In search of new faces to champion and promote into potential stardom, “The Texas Model Search,” a call to all aspiring models in the state of Texas, continues the agency’s search for a select few models to potentially join the ranks of its agency, as well as to have a chance to make an impression with parent agency, Wilhelmina Models Inc. Wilhelmina Models Inc. has represented such celebrity clients as Kendall Jenner, Tyra Banks, Nicole Scherzinger and Britney Spears, along with a list of runway and print catalog models throughout the United States. The winner of the search will enjoy the full representation of Wilhelmina Brown and the chance to go as far as their beauty and talent can take them. The search was conducted throughout Texas cities on various dates, allowing the greatest number of potential winners to audition for a three-year contract with the agency and a trip to New York City for two nights. The satellite auditions took place between Oct. 25 and Oct. 29 and were hosted in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Marcos, College Station and Waco. The winners of each audition competed in the finals at Beauty 360 in Austin on Nov. 9, 2013. And the winner is on their way to a promNSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014

Q: What did you do after you modeled for Lucky Brand Jeans? A: My agent offered me a job as her assistant. At that point, I realized I was much better and enjoyed working behind the scenes than in front of the camera. I worked my way up and became an agent. From there, I was offered a job with a company to manage the training and placement of their new models and talent. Later on, I decided to start my own business where I would find new models, develop them and place them with the biggest modeling agencies in the world. Q: When did you come to Texas and launch Wilhelmina Brown? A: It wasn’t until 2005 when I decided to move to Austin and expand my business to the Texas region. I was still training and placing local actors and models with agencies in NY and LA, but most people were not capable or did not want to move to a bigger market, so I tried to build relationships with local agencies. To my surprise, I could set up meetings with huge agencies in LA and NY for talent just based on my recommendation, but I couldn’t even get a local Austin agency to return my email. In 2008, I started my own agency, mostly as a way to give my trained actors and models an opportunity to work locally. After a couple of years of building the agency roster, I was in NY at a party at the Wilhelmina office. They offered me a chance to become an affiliate of theirs. After much discussion, we launched Wilhelmina Brown in March of 2010. In 2012, the agency became very successful, so I sold the developmental side of my business and have been working on the agency exclusively. Q: Who are your clients? A: We have too many customers to list, but most of our money comes from companies outside the state. Austin isn’t the fashion hub that NY is, but we do a lot of commer-

cials. We have done nationals for Chevrolet, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Marshalls, Chrysler and a ton of others. Locally, we work with major department stores for in-store events, local designers such as Kendra Scott, many charity fashion shows and we provide models for several local events. Q: Please tell us about the three-day model search event statewide. How can you cover so much territory in such a short time? A: We have cloned ourselves, so it won’t be as hard as you think. Our goal is not to just have the best actors and models right here in Austin, but we want to start representing models across the state. We have a lot of big clients – that makes it worth it for a model to drive four hours to work. We also want to find the best models to place in bigger markets where we can be their “mother agent.” Q: What are some of the current projects you are working on? A: We are working on a new feature film where we just had one of our child actors book a major role. We just booked another child on the TV show, “Dallas.” We are confirming models for a fashion show for Formula One. We just finished an in-store event with Neiman Marcus, and we have about four commercials pending, two of which are nationals. We are also working on the Jeremy Reitner movie starring Adam Sandler. Auditions are just starting for this important event. Q: Are you independent or a franchise of Wilhelmina Agency? A: We are independently owned, but we are an “affiliate” of theirs. We are independent, as we can continue to work and place models with any other big-market agencies. The advantage is that we work closely with all the other offices. We share clients and models between the offices, making sure the work “stays in the family.” Q: What is your long-term goal? A: My long-term goal is to continue to build our roster with great talent and expand our network and reach. I want multiple milliondollar models working in the biggest markets in the world while our actors continue to book roles on major TV shows, feature films and of course, what pays the bills: national commercials.

For more information on Justin Brown and the Wilhelmina Brown Modeling Agency, visit





HOUSTON FEATURE business associates along the way told her she wouldn’t make it as a business owner, primarily because she was a woman. When she first started recording expert testimonies on video for clients, the equipment

periences,” she says. “I see so many women balancing their families, careers, charity work, and I feel for what they’re going through. I think the most important thing to remember is you can do whatever you want



Alicia Smith defies the stereotypes and makes a difference at Innovative Legal Solutions, one of the most progressive legal recording firms in the nation. By: AQUILA MENDEZ-VALDEZ

IF YOU’VE EVER watched an episode of “Law and Order,” you’ve probably seen the stereotypical court reporter busily typing away as the lawyers debate. She’s typically a plump, middle-aged woman looking bored or a timid young girl with thickrimmed glasses and a wallflower personality. When Alicia Smith graduated from court reporting school in 1987, she not only broke those stereotypes, but 70


also began innovating the industry itself. She hasn’t slowed down since opening the first female-owned legal video firm in 1992 and eventually building one of the most progressive legal recording firms in the country with Innovative Legal Solutions. “I think I always knew I wanted to have my own business and work for myself,” Smith says. “I’ve just been very lucky to have the support to go out on my own.” Smith says several

was so bulky and heavy that she initially had to prove she could even carry it. “I remember one particular person telling me the only reason I was getting any business was because I was wearing a skirt – not because I was good at what I do,” Smith says. “We’ve come a long way since then, and I’m proud to see more and more women owning their own businesses.” In her personal life, Smith is wife to husband, Lance, and mother to three boys: Justin, Cole and Chandler. She includes the entire family in her charitable pursuits, of which the number of organizations is too long to list. “Both my husband and I are entrepreneurs, so I think our boys have grown up very aware that they can do anything they want to, but they’re going to have to work for it,” Smith says. “I’ve brought them along for every volunteering experience I could, hoping to instill that value in them, as well.” One particular group, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Houston, has provided Smith the opportunity to connect with other highly successful entrepreneurs, both male and female. “Being an entrepreneur means you make the decisions – you can go out and be courageous and make things happen,” Smith says. “But that also means if you make the wrong decision, it’s all on you. And that can be a scary thing, so it’s nice to connect with entrepreneurs who are also dealing with that fear.” In addition to helping the less fortunate and connecting with fellow business owners, Smith believes strongly in women helping other women. “We can all relate to each other and feed off each other’s ex-

– you just have to get out there and go for it. Make it happen.” As the accolades and industry recognitions pile up, Smith remains remarkably humble and refreshingly down-to-earth. She has not become the successful business owner who, once she reaches the top, makes it her sole focus to be queen of the hill. Instead, she reaches down and offers a helping hand to those in need and those in pursuit of their dreams. And that’s the very best type of entrepreneur there is.

For more information about Entrepreneurs’ Organization Houston, visit

ABOUT ENTREPRENEURS’ ORGANIZATION HOUSTON Entrepreneurs’ Organization Houston is the local chapter of a global community that enriches members’ lives through dynamic peer-to-peer learning and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Entrepreneurs’ Organization Houston is open to members of the local business community, and it enables entrepreneurs to grow and learn from each other through educational and networking events, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life.


THE SKY’S THE LIMIT With their stellar service and competitive prices, the staff at quality health club Dynamic Fitness focuses on helping members “look, feel and be dynamic.” By: HEATHER DANIELS

JARED WILLIAMS, founder of Dynamic Fitness, opened the doors to this state-of-the-art fitness facility in October 2009. With a wonderful reception from fellow Houstonians, a second facility was built, and they opened a third location in Post Oak-Galleria, Houston, at the end of 2013. “Our mission is to always deliver a quality health club with great amenities at a competitive price, along with stellar service,” Williams says. And by the rave reviews, Dynamic Fitness has excelled in all of those areas and beyond. Engagement is a big part of the philosophy at Dynamic Fitness. The staff makes sure there is something inside Dynamic Fitness that helps new members get off on the right foot on the road to personal success. With 10 to 20 personal trainers per facility, individuals can format their workout programs, get nutritional advice, maintain members’ consistency through accountability and last, but not least, get members the results they want. Group classes are included in membership, and with more than 40 classes per week at all times throughout the day, members have another format-

ENGAGEMENT IS A BIG PART OF THE PHILOSOPHY AT DYNAMIC FITNESS. ted routine they can follow that they have fun doing, as well. The facilities are not restricted because Monday through Friday, they are open 24 hours to accommodate members’ work schedules. Dynamic Fitness also provides staff at all hours to ensure safety for their members during all operating hours. According to Williams, “success of this business is our team constantly being relentless to always find innovated ways to make Dynamic Fitness that much better so when people walk in through those doors, they always see Dynamic’s best presentation.” Dynamic Fitness has an impressive list of amenities unlike most fitness facilities throughout the state. The staff wants to make sure they provide the clients with what they want so that everyone

can reach their fitness needs. Depending on location, the clubs provide aquatic areas (pools and Jacuzzis), racquetball, dedicated cycle classes with phenomenal Keiser bikes with on-board computers, state-of-the-art strength/cardio equipment, group classes, towel services, VIP locker service, tanning, boot camps, kid fitness, a full line of supplements, a smoothie café, a Wi-Fi area, dry saunas, personal training, cooler drinks and kid zones. “I have been in the gym business for 18 years, and I love working for Dynamic Fitness because you feel like you are working with your family,” says Soraya Hadipour, director of operations. “The members are awesome, and the staff is a pleasure to work with every day.” Hadipour’s outlook is contagious – the members feel the same way, which is exactly what a quality fitness center wants and encourages in order for the members to reach their full potential. “I am super excited to see the direction in which the company is growing, as well as the opportunity we are providing not only for the employees, but for the existing member base,” says Chuck Borsche, general manager of Dynamic Fitness-Pearland. “I truly love working with the staff and getting to know all of our members.” Dynamic Fitness has their formula for success, and it’s a win-win for all parties concerned. At Dynamic Fitness, they not only provide the best product for their members, but they are actively engaged with their member base to make sure service is being backed along with it, as every member is a VIP customer. Their short-term goal is to continue to grow in the Houston market and become a household name in the city. Looking ahead, “we want to make sure that with this aggressive growth pattern, we maintain what makes us great: a company who takes pride in their work, employees and members. As long as this can be maintained and managed, the sky is the limit for us.”

Dynamic Fitness has locations in Pearland, Sugar Land and Houston (Post Oak/Galleria). For more information, visit JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS



AN ARTFUL ARRAY OF TALENTS With her unique flair and artisan’s knowhow, Lauren Luna brings the “wow” factor to her one-of-a-kind “wearable art” shoe collection. By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL




WHEN DECIDING what path to travel on during life, some are lucky enough to find the road that was created just for them. Others choose intertwining roads that they created on their own. Lauren Luna elected “roads” she created to explore, resulting in eclectic artworks, wearable art and sharing her talents teaching students how to express their creativity via artwork. This amazing woman has a plethora of skills, and she is just beginning to take her career to new levels. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Luna graduated from Kent State University with a degree in fine arts with a focus on painting. Being adventurous, she moved to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a famous artist. Although this dream did not happen in the Big Apple, she had to find a job that provided her with higher pay than what she was making as a visual designer at Bloomingdale’s. “My next stop was to the local school district office to investigate how to become a substitute teacher. While there, I found they needed special education teachers. As a result, I ended up teaching special education for three years in New York, and I completed school at Manhattan College with a master’s degree in special education.” A year after her son was born, they moved back to Columbus and Luna continued teaching special education. She put the art dream on somewhat of a hold, but the need to be artistic was reignited in 2008. Luna started graduate school for the second time at the Academy of Art University. Graduating in 2012 with a master’s degree in fine arts in painting, she relocated to Houston with her son, where she could pursue being an artist and business owner fulltime. “Currently, I am an art teacher for Alvin ISD, and I am in love with my job. It’s not what I envisioned when I said I wanted to be an artist fulltime. I still am a professional artist and business owner, but now my ‘day job’ is also art-related. It’s funny how things work out.” From Luna’s beautifully painted artwork, she decided to paint her first pair of sneakers in 2009. “I simply wanted a pair of cool sneakers that were self-defining. It was a struggle to find something that I really wanted. A coworker at my school sug-

gested that I paint my own, and I did. Then I made another pair and put them both online for sale. I got a few bites of interest and felt that I was onto something.” So Luna began her “wearable art” shoe collection: Lauren Luna Ltd. With her unique flair and artisan’s knowhow, she began designing stunning shoes from sexy heels with the “wow” factor to sneakers and other various styles to attract her client base. As fate took a role in Luna’s success, she gives credit to a friend she grew up with in Columbus. “He recently started a magazine merging popular culture and politics. I felt that this would be a good venue to show some of my political paintings. I was featured in the magazine and also got an ad.” Luna reached out to some of the local radio station personalities to model her shoes for this ad. They agreed, and once the photo shoot was completed, they all posted their own prose on social media outlets. Since then, the ball has been rolling. “Their influence helped raise the awareness of my budding company in my hometown, and that start later turned into newspaper and television stories, celebrity connections, branching out into other cities and everything that Lauren Luna Ltd. has grown into today.” Many of Lauren Luna Ltd. shoes have fine art elements to them – line, shape, form, texture, space and balance. Luna believes that all art and fashion belong with the same set of rules. “If you know them, it’s easy to jump back-and-forth between the two worlds. It’s not a far leap.” In the Lauren Luna Ltd. collection are black, white and primary gridded shoes that are a nod to Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. Luna has painted everything from da Vinci’s Last Supper to Warhol’s Marilyn on shoes. As she has a stock of readymade shoes in the store, custom orders are welcome. The option of customizing your shoes is a novel idea, and customers enjoy both shopping at the store and deciding what they want painted on their original, one-of-a-kind Lauren Luna shoes. Luna’s shoe collection was featured at Houston Fashion Week, and last April, her shoes were present on the runways at Austin Fashion Week. The next stop for Lauren Luna Ltd. is being featured in British Vogue and British Glamour magazines. In five years, Luna would like the boutique number to have a zero behind it. With her chic clientele, Lauren Luna Ltd. is aiming to be sold in major department stores in the future. This is the beginning of Luna’s story: Art and wearable art collide into fun and fashionable finds.

For more information, call 832-713-7217, or visit www. or You can also look for Lauren Luna Ltd. on Twitter and Instagram (@ laurenlunaltd).





Guardian Equity Companies Founder Trey Stone provides clean, reliable housing, as well as a better way of life, for underserved families across Texas. Special To NSIDE

TREY STONE, founder of Guardian Equity Com-

panies, wears many hats – investor, entrepreneur, owner. But he is most proud to be called a community developer. Since starting his career in multifamily residential real estate in 2005, he has turned around 17 blighted apartment properties in underserved Houston neighborhoods, providing clean, reliable housing and creating welcoming residential communities. Stone began his career in residential real estate as a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, when inspired by late-night infomercials and books promising a fortune with absolutely “no money down.” He invested in his first single-family home in 1998, and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Stone was lucky to earn a modest profit in that first investment, but he caught the real estate bug, and many more transactions have followed. Upon graduating from UT, Stone continued to invest in single-family homes while running his own mortgage company. He often brokered multifamily deals and soon realized that was the way to go. In 2005, he passively invested in his first apartment property with well-known Houston investor Emery Jakab, who became Stone’s mentor. “Emery has been an amazing mentor – generous with his time and providing invaluable advice that shaped my career and saved me from costly lessons,” Stone said. “I’ve learned everything about revitalizing an apartment property from him from supervising all the renovations to personally powerwashing the sidewalk.” A few months later, Stone acquired his own apartment community with a few family and friends, and he has been at it ever since. The business continues to grow and today, Guardian Equity Companies employ 180 people and manage 7,000 apartment units in 18 cities and nine states, including their own portfo-


lio of 15 apartment communities in Greater Houston. Stone credits his success to his mentors and a great team of Guardian executives. While many companies and peers defaulted on their loans, losing money, properties and businesses during the recession, Stone grew his business and was the first independent owner to earn recognition from local, state and national apartment associations. He was named Independent Owner of the Year by the Houston Apartment Association in 2007, the National Apartment Association in 2008 and the Texas Apartment Association in 2009. He actively participates in those apartment associations, and he is the 2014 president of the Houston Apartment Association. He recommends all new investors get the right education and join investor groups to meet experienced mentors and exchange best practices and ideas. Through his involvement with the Houston and Texas apartment associations, he has helped establish the independent rental owner certification with the National Apartment Association, which is recognized by lenders such as Fannie Mae. Guardian follows a unique business model of finding underserved neighborhoods in Houston and revitalizing distressed multifamily properties. Extensive renovations and providing above-average amenities and quality of living standards not typically found at this class of properties such as playgrounds, soccer fields, clubhouses and barbecue areas attract great residents and encourage families to spend time together. The company accepts bank statements as income qualification, giving those Houstonians with cash-paid jobs an opportunity to find a home they deserve. At the same time, strict screening standards and community policy enforcement guidelines, enhanced with participation in the Houston Police Depart-


ment’s Positive Interaction Program meetings and resident crime awareness meetings, creates a safe community. In many cases, Guardian Equity Companies’ multifamily residential communities are the nicest properties within their sub-markets, with welcoming staff and amenities that make residents feel at home. “I am the most proud of the fact that I have taught this same approach to many other multifamily owners, which has directly resulted in millions of dollars invested in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio’s low-income apartment communities that need this most,” Stone said. “I am incredibly fortunate to be able to create quality rental housing and a better way of life for underserved families across Texas, and am hoping to continue to create great communities here in Houston and to expand across the Southwestern United States in the future.” According to Stone, Houston is experiencing rapid growth thanks to the dynamic job market and lack of zoning, fueling the multifamily housing boom. While the new development does add inventory to the market, it also creates construction and other jobs, as well as additional demand for affordable housing. Since institutional investors are less likely to acquire distressed properties, they are an opportunity for individual investors to make a profitable investment and contribute to the local community, provided they are willing to put in the time and effort to bring them back to life.

For more information about Guardian Equity Companies, visit com.











A LEADER IN SMALL BUSINESS Lone Star National Bank: Having served as a “local Texas bank” since its inception in 1983, the Valley’s bank proudly continues to bring community banking and superior customer service to South Texas.





DEEP IN THE HEART OF SOUTH TEXAS, A COMMUNITY BANK CAME TO LIFE IN JANUARY 1983. THE CULMINATION OF A GROUP OF BUSINESSMEN AND WOMEN, THE BANK AND ITS FOUNDING FATHERS FORGED THEIR PATH AND EMBLAZONED THEIR PLACE IN OUR GREAT STATE’S FINANCIAL HISTORY. Through the vision of those businesspeople in the small town of Pharr, Texas, Lone Star National Bank (LSNB) was born. Conducting business in a small, 3,000-square-foot temporary building, the bank opened its doors with the objective of making the future more prosperous for the community. With an emphasis on family-owned business and the intrinsic value of helping small businesses get off the ground, their vision was one of providing banking to the people of the Rio Grande Valley and affording small business owners the opportunity to affiliate with a bank whose heartbeat is derived from longstanding relationships. The founders of LSNB began their professional foray as small business owners and intimately understood that small business owners are the heartbeat and nucleus of every community. Now, more than 30 years, 33 locations across South Texas (27 of which are in the Rio Grande Valley) and more than 600 employees later, LSNB has proven they are firmly founded and here to stay. According to Edna De Saro, SVP of marketing, a prima-



ry reason for the institution’s growth is that, “Our bankers work diligently to build relationships one customer at a time, embodying our board’s ‘spirit of banking’ customer service mentality.” Throughout De Saro’s decade-long career with LSNB, she has witnessed tremendous growth to the tune of $2.2 billion in total assets. Under the tutelage of current bank president, S. David Deanda Jr., the growth has been accomplished organically versus larger banking institutions’ primary method of acquisitions. LSNB has infiltrated South Texas’ financial scene one customer at a time by knocking on doors and through positive referrals from one customer to another. Relationships are the premise upon which LSNB sets itself apart from other institutions. “We value the relationships we share with our customers,” Deanda says. “We recognize that our growth and success has been attributable to the loyalty of our customers. This is why we treat each customer as an individual and not as a mere account number.” Compared to other banks, LSNB is a relatively young company. The growth has been accomplished by mirroring the image and vision of their board. A pivotal piece of that vision is “value-added customer service.” “Value-added customer service is something we instill in our employees,” De Saro says. “We have over 600 employees, and they are our customers first. By treating each other as a customer, the value-added approach grows from the inside out.” LSNB employees embody a premium level of customer service and respect internally within each department, and in turn, this spills over to the external customers. The management at LSNB is taught to be creative and to think outside the box. In a competi-

tive market such as today’s, daily integration of the board and a united vision of the shareholders are of vast importance. Their motivation inspires the management team to put their actions and vision into play daily. “We are blessed with a front line of staff that takes care of our customers day in and day out,” De Saro says. “Leadership of the organization has played a key factor to success of the company. Our management, board of directors and shareholders are second to none.” Truly a full-service financial institution that encompasses not only banking, but insurance, investments and mortgage, LSNB is a one-stop shop. Through the belief that they are creating and adding value to the services their customers receive by incorporating additional financial aspects, any customers who cross their threshold can walk away not only with a bank account, but with a comprehensive financial plan and package of services. That itself speaks volumes on their stance regarding value-added service. “We are like a university experience on a small campus,” De Saro says. “We offer all the bells and whistles within a more personal, relationship-oriented environment.” Known as a local Texas bank, LSNB is dedicated to staying true to their mission of supporting individuals and the small businesses that contribute to the growth of their respective communities. LSNB is a leading small business administration (SBA) that is recognized as a leader in small business. “We focus on small business and familyowned business. As a financial institution, if we were not committed to providing small business loans or lending in general to these particular customers, there is no way we could present ourselves as small business advocates.”




The SBA constituency is the key to community growth. As they expand their businesses, LSNB is at the ready to provide financial assistance promoting community growth. The Valley community has opened its doors to LSNB as a local establishment. “Our city leaders are supportive of LSNB because they value what we bring to the table,” De Saro says. “We are committed to the people of the community. We not only provide monetary support – we also encourage our employees to be civically involved and volunteer.” LSNB is proving itself as a member of the business community that not only hands a check, but also lends a hand. They are eager to treat San Antonio in the same beneficent manner that they do in the Valley. As such, they not only gave a $5,000 check to the San Antonio food drive, but put word into action and collected food to donate, as well. As active proponents for education and health care, LSNB helps organizations give back to the community through creating better opportunities for development via education and community incentives. As proven through various initiatives, LSNB has a soft spot in their heart for nonprofits and those



WE GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITIES WHERE WE LIVE AND SERVE. who help them. One of their biggest fundraisers is the annual toy drive for the holidays. In San Antonio, bank employees purchased toys for St. PJ’s Children’s Home, and in the Valley, they engaged five different nonprofits that help children. “As a whole, we feel that with community efforts such as sponsoring the local church groups and soccer leagues in our communities, we are helping the parents of those children, and in turn, those parents will recognize our presence,” De Saro says. “Through transparent efforts as such, we strive to earn their business and embody our grassroots approach to community service.” As an active social entity, LSNB encourages people to follow them on Facebook so they can see how involved they are in the community. They work daily with the mission of positive personal interac-

tion and to make a constructive imprint on each community they service. They also stand firm in the knowledge that they are still the Valley’s bank. “Lone Star National Bank takes pride in being the Valley’s bank,” Deanda says. “We will continue to strive on providing superior customer service and products to our customers in the Rio Grande Valley. In addition, we will continue to give back to the communities where we live and serve.” 

For more information on Lone Star National Bank, visit You can also follow the bank on Facebook at www.facebook. com/lsnbank.





PREMIUM EXPERIENCE A new state-of-the-art automobile dealership comes to the Alamo City area.

COMING TO THE SAN ANTONIO AREA in June 2014, Nissan of Boerne will be located on more than 10 acres at 31805 IH-10 West in Boerne at the northwest corner of Scenic Loop Road and IH-10 West. The dealership will be able to display 800 vehicles, will have 33 service bays and will employ 50 to 65 initially, with expectations to exceed 100 in the future. The new dealership recently broke ground on construction, and according to dealer principle Umer Khawaja, the facility’s design is based on the latest Nissan facility program design, the Nissan Retail Environment Design (NREDI) initiative, to provide a consistent brand image and offer a premium consumer service experience for sales and service. Amenities will include complimentary refreshments, free Wi-Fi, children’s play areas, complimentary shuttle service and complimentary loaner cars. 82







MARKETING MAGIC Brotherhood, integrity, service and loyalty: Chris Monroe puts his values into action at his dream job with Spurs Sports & Entertainment. By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL | Photography: MANUEL SERRATA

Chris Monroe always dreamed of working for the team his grandparents and parents devoutly supported. “In fact, my grandfather, John Monroe, was

the seventh person in line at the box office for Spurs season tickets in 1973,” he explains. The enthusiasm and drive to make his dream into a reality would come years later, after his formal schooling at Texas A&M was complete. Growing up in North Castle Hills, Monroe was surrounded by a strong family network. His parents, Carolyn and Dan Monroe, felt it was very important for their three children to attend Holy Spirit Catholic School. Chris’ older sister, Shannon, and younger brother, Tanner, went to school with him. Attending Holy Spirit from kindergarten through eighth grade in the same class of 30 students along the way cre-

ated an excellent learning environment he would later experience at Central Catholic High School (CCHS). “Central Catholic High School proved to be the most influential time of my life and provided me with valuable lessons and experiences that have helped me personally and professionally,” Monroe says. “It is difficult to describe this time in my life, but I appreciate it even more now than before. It is very similar to my alma mater, A&M. From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it … and from the inside out, you can’t explain it. Central Catholic taught me the importance of loyalty, service, tradition and brotherhood.”



“WE WORK HARD TO PROVIDE A SPURSQUALITY PRODUCT BOTH BUT ON THE COURT AND IN THE OFFICE.” Within the culture of CCHS, Monroe vividly recalls the hierarchy of seniors to freshmen, programs such as Kairos Retreat and Nazareth Farm, which involved service work for the poor and those in need in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, the National Honor Society, the values of friendship and the engaging school and sports activities. He was actively engaged in all extracurricular activities, and he played one sport for the Buttons: golf. “I was a member of the golf team, and in 2000, under the leadership of Coach Andrew IIiff, we surprised a few schools and won the state tournament (TAPPS 5A) in Waco. It was exciting to be part of the first-ever state-championship golf team in Central’s 150-year history. The following year,



as team captain, I led the team in a low scoring average and the team finished fifth overall at the state tournament. I proudly represented Section R (rowdy) at the football games, the soccer field and in the stands of the Snake Pit (gym).” Fun times, school spirit and quality education are all part of Monroe’s experiences at CCHS. “I remember CCHS as a hive of intelligent, driven young men, always full of energy and ideas. It was a culture of pride brotherhood and togetherness. On top of that, our teachers and administrators were committed to our development, and looking back now, I realize the selflessness involved and I am so appreciative for their guidance.” During a weekend visit to College Station, Texas, Monroe saw many of the same characteristics at A&M of that reminded him of CCHS. He concluded that the Texas A&M stamp at the top of his college degree would be much more impactful in his life than a decision to play competitive golf at a lesserknown university. He chose A&M and the “spirit of Aggieland.” He graduated with a BBA in Marketing in 2005. With a marketing degree and connections built through his business fraternity, Monroe interned

with Creative Civilization in San Antonio in summer 2004. “Through their advertising agency work, Al Aguilar and Giselle Girard introduced me to some of San Antonio’s top companies, including the Spurs. An email exchange with Joe Clark (Spurs VP of sales) and a phone conversation with Rebecca Caven (Spurs service director) opened the door to my dream job. It has been an incredible eight-year run and counting with the organization I wanted to be a part of for a very long time. I’m very fortunate.” After an internship with Caven’s department at Spurs Sports & Entertainment, Monroe landed a job as a season ticket service coordinator, which he held from 2005 to 2007. He then was promoted to season ticket services manager in 2008 and stayed there through 2010. In another career move up, he was the senior manager of service and retention from 2011 to 2013. He is currently the director of season ticket retention. And by the look in his eyes and the sound of his voice, Monroe plans on continuing to grow within one of the most highly regarded organizations in professional sports. “I manage a team of customer-facing account representatives for Spurs Sports & Entertainment. My reps are devoted solely to season ticket hold-

ers for the Spurs, Silver Stars and Rampage. San Antonio has an incredibly loyal fan base, and we are fortunate to have a history of sustained success. The focus of my team is to develop one-to-one relationships with each account and customize the service-delivery to their needs. Season ticket holders are the lifeblood of our organization, and each one (from the first row to the last row of the AT&T Center) is incredibly important to us.” One of the most important lessons Monroe learned at CCHS was that success in life is directly related to the people you surround yourself with; success is not achieved alone. Being with people who are smarter than you and who will lift you higher has proven to be a key to success for him and in his career. He credits Clark and Caven for the opportunities he’s been provided. Monroe is extremely proud of the values the Spurs organization represents. The team-first approach on the court is reflected in the business operations. “We work hard to provide a Spurs-quality product but on the court and in the office … and we don’t take any shortcuts along the way.” In many places, core values are words on a wall. However, at Spurs Sports & Entertainment, they live them daily in meetings, starting every meeting with “values in action” stories that recognize and encourage the employees to keep doing a great job. Positive feedback is always given, and employees are rewarded with the recognition they deserve. “My team fulfills benefits associated with the purchase of season tickets, and we strive to add value for our clients. A season ticket with the Spurs is more than just a reserved seat to every game; rather, it is a connection that provides experiences, recognition and opportunities exclusive to members of the Spurs family.” San Antonio has an incredibly dedicated fan base dating back to the ABA days. In fact, there are 300 season ticket holders from the first year at the HemisFair Arena in 1973 who are still with them today. “We are fortunate to have leaders like Coach Pop and General Manager R.C. Buford. Combine a work ethic and measured approach with the culture that Mr. Holt has created, and you have a group of players and staff committed to winning while upholding the values that make the community proud. And we earn their unconditional support.” Interestingly, similar values are shared within the networks Monroe has surrounded himself with: brotherhood, integrity, service and loyalty. And Monroe will continue to build relationships with the long-standing season ticket holders of the Spurs utilizing many of the traits CCHS taught him. His big opportunity is ushering in a new generation of Spurs fans and converting them to family.

Central Catholic High School is a well-known allboys college preparatory school located at 1403 N. St. Mary’s St. For information regarding enrollment, please call 210-225-6794 or visit www.cchs-satx. org. JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS



THE SONGBIRD An avid lover of music since childhood with an impressive story of service during World War II, Virginia Brys continues to serve her friends through her talents with her involvement at Independence Hill Retirement Community. By: KELLY HAMILTON Photography: ALEXANDER ALEMAN




rior to World War II, our nation wholeheartedly endorsed the ideal of women who worked as housewives, secretaries or teachers. While all noble callings, the embodiment of the feminine wife and mother prevailed until World War II when the fairer sex was called to duty in Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s factories as replacements for their men who bravely served and sacrificed abroad. These women diligently heeded the call to work in a capacity unimaginable to them before the war.

Because of these womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s service, we now have the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter in her chambray uniform and red bandana. Life is content for Virginia Brys, and she relishes the comfort of knowing she is exactly where she is supposed to be at this point in life. An avid lover of music since childhood, Brys is now an instrumental part of the Independence Hill Retirement Community Chorus. The four-year resident at Independence Hill developed her musical abilities from her father

throughout her childhood as they would sit side-by-side on the player piano bench and sing. “That chorus has meant more to me and the members than anything else we could’ve done here,” says Brys, adding that she does not believe there are choir groups like this in other retirement communities. “The members are so dedicated to the rehearsals, and their commitment to it is what makes it a success.” The joy and fulfillment she receives from the work she does with the choir makes all the practice worthwhile. When she asks people about joining the choir, more often than not, they tell her they used to sing in high school, but can’t anymore. She quickly retorts, “You have the same vocal cords you had in high school, and they will still work.” She loves that they think they cannot sing and then find out they can. Growing up in Pennsylvania as a middle child, Brys was always active in musical activities. She excitedly shares her memory of a second-grade performance in “Aunt

“Every one of us has a purpose, and I’d like to be known for having found mine.” Drusilla’s Garden,” wherein she played the lead. Upon graduating from high school, Brys intended to take preparatory courses and go on to college, but the war had another plan for her. Brys and her mother, along with countless other women, enlisted to work in the local factories after their men went off to fight the war. She spent her days for two years working eight- to 12-hour-long shifts at a shell shop that manufactured cars before the war. Her mother ran a drill press, while she helped build rockets. “We had to dip them into vats of acid before they (rockets) were put on a line for painting.” Brys goes on to explain that she was not provided with a mask or protection of any kind during the acid process, so this was not her favorite job and she quickly moved into spot welding. Her new job was to spot weld four fins onto rockets. Since that time, she has visited numerous museums looking for an image of those shells. Only recently, her son found a picture of one online. Shortly after Brys’ son found the picture and showed it to her, she showed it to her dear friend, Bob Olsen, at Independence Hill. Much to her surprise, Olsen exclaimed, “Ginny, that is the bomb on a Hellcat!  I flew the Hellcat during the war.” Brys and Olsen were beyond thrilled to think that perhaps one of the bombs she made was on his plane. Brys explained that very few men were onsite aside from the ones who were

medically disqualified from serving in the military. It was her experience that there was typically good morale and that everyone was happy to be helping because they knew the greater cause they were serving. “We had to get in there and work. I wonder now if that would happen. It was a different era and mentality. We didn’t give it a second thought. If you couldn’t go to work, then you’d work at the shirt factory making Army uniforms. Nobody thought about it. They just got in there and pitched in.” Once the war was over, it was a bit of a transition for Brys. She went back into music and took some college courses, resulting in work as an admin for a large company. Eventually marrying, Brys is proud that her children, once raised, did beautifully and ended up in the medical or engineering fields in some way. All six of her children are musical in some way, much like their mother. Talking about her children’s musical abilities brings to mind a memory of which Brys recalls the story of a high school cello player with whom she was friends. He was drafted and shortly after, killed in the war. His mother searched for Brys for years and gave her that same cello when she found her. It was on this cello that Brys’ son learned to play. Ultimately, she donated the cello to her high school alma mater in honor of her fallen friend. Nicknamed “Songbird” by her friends at Independence Hill, Brys is a busy lady.

Aside from leading the chorus, she also belongs to the Resident Appreciation Fund, which is responsible for organizing sales and events within the retirement community. Neatly displayed on the side arm of a chair in her living room is a partially completed baby blanket she is crocheting. Brys patiently explains to me that it’s all in allowing the thread to flow through your fingers. The blanket does not yet have a recipient, but she smiles as she tells me that when the next baby comes, she’ll have a gift for it. Serving others through her talents is something Brys has made a priority throughout her life. Coming together as a community for the betterment of everyone comes first nature to her, and because of this innate knowledge and ability, Brys knows she has followed God’s will and fulfilled her purpose in life. She confidently states that, “Every one of us has a purpose, and I’d like to be known for having found mine. Sometimes it’s late in life, but my life has been fulfilled with my children and family. There’s nothing in my life that hasn’t been fulfilled, and for that, I am immeasurably grateful.”

For more information on Independence Hill Retirement Community, visit or call 210-782-9892. JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS



[ On Leadership ]

THE RULES: PART I How to make the most of life on the road, according to Alberto

LIKE ANY FATHER, mine taught us lots of rules growing up. Every bit the South American patriarch with an imposing mustache encasing a knowing smile, my dad, Alberto, always has words of wisdom on the tip of his tongue. (It’s an article of faith in our family that “The Most Interesting Man in the World” was modeled on him.) From how to deal with office politics to how to build a deck that will outlast the house it’s attached to, he shared his insights generously with us when we were growing up. Of all of the tips he’s handed down, though, I think the ones that I’ve gotten the most out of have been his rules for how to make the most of life on the road. Whether traveling for work or vacationing with my wife and kids, the Alberto Rules have never let me down.

Alberto’s Travel Rule No. 1:

ALWAYS PACK A BATHING SUIT. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, why or for how long. A swimsuit takes up almost no space, and it can provide access to a much-needed Zen soak when you least expect it. I can’t even count how many disaster operations I worked in my Red Cross days where a late-night swim in the hotel pool saved my life.




WHENEVER YOU GET WHERE YOU’RE GOING, FIND ICE. Whether it’s for savoring a single malt scotch on the rocks, an icy coke or a tall glass of water, being intentional about refreshing yourself at the end of your day of travels always pays off. It’s not the ice that counts. It’s what having gone through the ritual of procuring it leads you to: 10 to 15 calm, quiet minutes to feel a cold glass in your hand, breathe slowly, relax your gaze onto nothing in particular and savor whatever it is as it goes down, refreshing your spirit along the way.



Set the bar for us. Nice and high. Alberto’s Travel Rule No. 3:

LIFE IS SHORT; ORDER THE SPECIAL. Picture it: You’ve gone to all of the trouble and expense of putting yourself on another part of the planet than your usual turf … and you’re going to order what you could have had at Luby’s? Try new things and put yourself in the hands of artisans who dedicate themselves to dreaming those up things to delight you. You’re bound to learn as much about yourself in the process as you learn about the places you visit.

Alberto’s Travel Rule No. 4:

ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT, “SUCH IS THE LIFE IN THE TROPICS.” This wisdom is hard earned from the lifetime my dad has spent doing business in beautiful, exotic, unstable and underdeveloped places around the world. No matter how diligent your planning, there is always a good chance the unexpected disruption of a power outage, a flight delay, a government overthrow, etc., will show up. Frustration only occurs when you hold onto the belief that it was the universe’s obligation to play along with your plan. When you embrace the chaos or simply the possibility of it, you are better prepared to flex and roll with it when it shows up. From that perspective, disruptions become lucky changes in plans. I once had an oversold flight in Osaka, Japan, turn into two all-expense-paid days at a beach resort in Guam. It did not suck, I assure you. Why are these rules so essential? Simple: To stay in the game for a lifetime, leaders have to know just as much about finding joy in life as they know about finding success, purpose or profit. We all know people who get so intense about everything that they become impossible to be around. In all likelihood, anyone who is really up to something big can’t help but periodically turn into that person. That’s why Alberto’s travel rules can be so helpful. In my life, they have helped me snap out of overbearing seriousness on more than one occasion. That moment when I’m in my hotel room at a conference and I think to myself, ‘my time is far too valuable to try the hotel pool,’ is when it hits me that that’s exactly when I need to get my ass into the water. Taking a step back to center myself as I float on my back will always shift my perspective and reveal the bigger plays available. I can’t count how many times this has both brought forward “ah-ha!” moments and brought me back down to earth, enabling me to pounce on new opportunities and partnerships, or even bringing a helpful playfulness back to the task at hand to keep me and my teammates excited and motivated. Want to change your life? Be sure to pack a bathing suit on your next trip … and when you get there, find ice.

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WAKE UP SMARTER! Creating new habits: what we can learn from highly successful people

WHAT SEPARATES highly successful people from everyone else? It definitely isn’t education, although many are highly educated. It isn’t IQ – success comes to all intellects. It’s not even that they work twice as hard or are exceedingly disciplined. What is a differentiating factor, however, is the series of habits they form. And when we can replicate how they align those habits, we can literally move mountains to achieve successes we never thought possible. Let me explain. Highly acclaimed psychologist William James was ready to commit suicide. He was a No. 1 quitter; no matter what he did, he couldn’t follow through. He wanted to be a painter, but he quit. He wanted to be a doctor, but he dropped out of medical school. He wanted to go on an expedition up the Amazon, but he didn’t stay with it. He was so distraught that he seriously contemplated suicide, but then he decided to try an experiment for one year instead. His experiment: He decided to believe that he truly had free will and could therefore think and envision how he wanted his life to change; he could absolutely make anything happen with an action plan and a different set of beliefs, which he would put into a series of habits. He figured he had little to lose, and consequently, before the year was up, he had begun teaching 92


at Harvard, married and turned his life around. Exactly how did he do it? By creating a new set of habits. Habits can make or break us. We’re living our lives right now surrounded by our choice of habits, so the question is: How do we start using habits to our advantage? It’s simpler

HABITS CAN MAKE OR BREAK US. than you might think, but like many things, it takes awareness and getting started. Begin by choosing one of two things you would like to change in your life; be specific and don’t limit your thinking. Next, look at what it would take to make the change a reality. As an example, if you say you want to be 50 pounds thinner and run a 5K, to move up within your organization or to leave your job and become a writer, write down who is doing what you want to do and the first five steps those people probably had to take to make it a reality. Then incorporate those steps. Changing habits isn’t about getting every-

thing done now, but simply changing a couple of keystone habits. In the process, everything else will start to change. Now, what do you have to do every single day to start creating the change? It doesn’t matter what it is; it’s the continued accumulation of habits that makes the change. Make room in your schedule, rearrange things and commit to do the behavior or action every day without fail. Imagine the end result – what will happen when you’ve actually achieved the goal. Change one or two small habits and do them consistently, which is exactly what James did. It kept him alive and joyous, and it turned his entire life around. It’s never too early or too late to decide to create new habits. And when you do, not only do you see the manifestation of what you want, but even more importantly, you start to think differently. You see yourself as whatever the habits are designed to change in you. And like any great self-fulfilling prophecy, the more you see and feel the changes, the more they just keep happening.

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Protecting your company’s greatest assets: important provisions and considerations in employment agreements

LONG THOUGHT TO BE APPLICABLE to only the most senior officials within the company, employment agreements are now frequently being used with a broader group of employees. This movement reflects the reality that often, “boots on the grounds” personnel have contacts that are valuable to an employer, have access to the company’s competitively sensitive information and help develop and/or implement strategic plans. Conversely, when hiring a prospective employee, an employer must consider any legal obligations and restrictions that follow that individual from his or her previous employer, as well. If an employer is not aware of and/or otherwise does not heed the provisions of a potential candidate’s employment agreement with a prior employer, that company may be unwittingly inviting litigation. By including four basic “restrictive covenants” in 94


its employment agreements, an employer can protect against competitors raiding its employees and gaining access to its operations, as well as protect its name and image. And by familiarizing yourself with these covenants, you’ll know which questions to ask prospective hires to determine whether the individual is subject to similar covenants and thus, worth the risk of hiring.



Employment agreements often contain provisions dealing with the treatment of confidential employer information that will be provided to the employee in the course and scope of employment. Effective non-disclosure provisions often have three key components: ➊ Such provisions frequently define the informa-

tion considered confidential that will be provided to the employee during employment. ➋ Non-disclosure provisions often include an explicit obligation to return such information upon termination of employment.



➌ Time periods also may be defined for different types of information, data and employee position.


The basic aim is to ensure that an employee is prohibited from or at least limited with respect to post-employment efforts to recruit customers and/or fellow employees. Non-solicitation provisions can prove valuable in the sense that they can potentially limit the downside of losing a key employee.


Non-competition provisions are perhaps the most important feature of an employment agreement. Such provisions, which allow an employer to ensure that a former employee does not go to work for a competitor, are only effective to the extent they are enforceable. Time duration and geographic scope are the two key metrics that courts use to evaluate whether a particular non-compete provision is enforceable, and finding the right balance is critical to a successful provision.


Employers should think prospectively about contractually addressing the forum for and law applicable to any subsequent lawsuits arising out of or relating to the employment agreement. Bottom line: Employers need to think strategically about how to best guard their corporate name, confidential information and critical members of their workforce. Restrictive covenants are a valuable resource – if carefully crafted, they can minimize turnover and keep competitors at bay. On the other hand, they can create potential exposure if prospective employees have existing obligations to their old employers. Either way, employers stand to benefit from a proactive approach.


Folks often have a general sentiment that they are somehow protected from others saying or writing unflattering things about them. Employers can utilize non-disparagement provisions to add an additional layer of protection – beyond the law of defamation – and to put a stop to harmful inputs in the rumor mill and protect their reputation.


Employers should also consider spelling out the remedies available, especially whether injunctive relief (i.e., an order to do or not to do something) and/ or money damages will be available to the employer in an action to enforce its restrictive covenants.


Mario A. Barrera is a partner specializing in labor and employment law, and Blake W. Stribling is an associate working in the labor and employment and litigation practice groups in the San Antonio office of Norton Rose Fulbright, a global legal practice providing the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service.

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IT’S CRITICAL TO RECOGNIZE THAT BECOMING FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT IS A JOURNEY. financial strategy. Rather than revealing your entire investment portfolio, perhaps start by reviewing a college savings account once each quarter.



Helping a teenager create a monthly budget is a great way to instill financial discipline. Sit down and discuss the basics of money management, or if there’s resistance to your involvement, bring in your Financial Advisor. They can help kids create a budget, learn basic skills and discuss planning their financial future. Parents can foster solid financial habits in their children by asking them what they are saving for right now and what that goal is going to cost, in effect giving them a chance to develop their own relationship with money and their own intrinsic motivations.






six ideas for providing education about money matters and judicious financial support.

Investing smaller sums with limited consequences is a great way to learn about making informed choices and managing risk. One option is to open custodial accounts with starter funds and let your child work with your Financial Advisor to create a small portfolio and evaluate its performance. Explain that it’s not about never making a mistake; it’s about learning from those you make.




WHEN A CHILD BEGINS to edge into adulthood, how do you make sure he or she has the knowledge and skills needed to make smart financial decisions? It’s critical to recognize that becoming financially independent is a journey – one that may take longer in today’s uncertain economy. “Achieving financial autonomy is a transition rather than an abrupt change,” notes Eileen Gallo, co-author of Silver Spoon Kids: How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children. Fortunately, there are ways that allow parents to ease the journey to financial autonomy. Here are

You can learn important life skills – doing research, decision making and accountability – through philanthropy. Also, it’s a great way for siblings to learn how to make joint financial decisions. For example, children can be allotted a giving budget and charged with jointly evaluating charities and deciding which ones to support. Naming grown children as co-advisors to a donor-advised fund (DAF) can get them started early on deciding the most effective ways to give to others, as they would be tasked with making recommendations to the DAF on how to spend its assets.


Affluent parents are often so concerned about their children feeling entitled that they keep them in the dark about the family’s assets. But children often learn a family’s values best by observing those principles in action. Entitlement is a natural state we all go through in youth. To emerge into stewardship, you need to learn about money and accountability. It can be helpful to ease into sharing elements of


Whether it’s a bad investment or a splurge that busts the monthly budget, a misstep is bound to happen occasionally. When one occurs, resist the urge to swoop in and rescue your child financially. If you take away the consequences, you do your child a disservice. Instead, talk it through and work out a way to solve the problem together, whether that means cutting back on spending or getting a part-time job.




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There are some expenses it may make sense to fund, such as medical insurance, continuing education, or therapy. Making sure your child has health insurance or the guidance she needs is not an indulgence. Be clear about what you will fund and what the expectations are when you do fund expenses. Families with greater assets that want to set up trusts for kids can tie trust distributions to certain benchmarks. One idea Gallo suggests is to create a “results-oriented trust,” which identifies specific results for a beneficiary to achieve while offering some degree of flexibility. Alternatively, a trust could simply state that the children will receive their money whenever the trustee is confident that they are mature enough to handle it. A Financial Advisor can help you obtain more information about the various trusts you can use. Every family will have its own idea about what assets to give the next generation and when. But the most valuable things to give your children may be the knowledge and skills they need to spend, save, invest and share their income responsibly. Beyond allowing them to become financially independent, such skills will also put them in a better position both to help others and to make sure they in turn leave something for the generations after them.

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For more information, contact your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor Tiffany Mock Briggs of the San Antonio office at 201-805-2848 or Tiffany_Mock@ Merrill Lynch Wealth Management makes available products and services offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”) and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation (“BAC”). “Merrill Lynch” refers to any company in the Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., group of companies, which are wholly owned by Bank of America Corporation. Note: This article was reviewed by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and edited according to the company’s policy and style.





City Councilman Ron Nirenberg: one of San Antonio’s newest and brightest By: DAN CORBETT



IT WOULDN’T BE A STRETCH to say that San Antonio City Councilman Ron Nirenberg probably has more energy than most of the city council. He rises early, goes to bed late and manages to juggle a family, a rigorous workout routine, a hectic community schedule and city council duties that would leave most corporate executives exhausted. On a typical day, Nirenberg awakes at 5:55 a.m., and after two snaps of the snooze button, he is ready to hit the ground running. The first responsibility he faces is getting his 5-year-old son, Jonah, ready for kindergarten, which is a typical start of the morning for many parents. His wife, Erika, is a source of great strength and support in his life. She is the director of customer insights at H-EB, and she has totally supported his jump into politics. A close adviser of Nirenberg’s is former District 8 City Councilwoman Bonnie Conner, who served on the council from 1999 to 2003. Conner was one of the most highly regarded councilpersons to ever serve the San Antonio community. She was also Nirenberg’s campaign treasurer in his successful city council race against Rolando Briones in 2013. Nirenberg is typically the first councilperson to arrive at City Hall, which is typically around 8 a.m. His first duty of the day is checking in with constituents to learn what pressing issues he has in his district. Later in the day, he usually holds a staff meeting consisting of around seven people, and they all go through the city council agenda together as a group. On Wednesdays, during the “Citizens to be Heard” segment of the council meeting, Nirenberg stays as long as it takes to listen to each and every citizen. His most enjoyable moment so far was when he presented an award for distinguished citizenship to 8-year-old Anzleigh Bryant, who didn’t want the council to cut the parks program. Nirenberg sometimes stays late into the evening – sometimes into the next morning. So he’s a politician who clearly talks the talk and walks the walk when he says he listens to the residents of District 8. On average, he attends seven to eight meetings a day. Nirenberg is also noted for being a councilman who does his homework when it comes to what’s going on in his district. His sincerity and thoughtfulness toward the citizens in his community has already made him a fan favorite with the voters. He’s clearly as affable and ap-

proachable as anyone who has ever served on the city council. He describes himself as an optimist who appreciates it when citizens can see how government listens to their viewpoints. On the weekends, Nirenberg spends his time serving on boards, attending community events, checking on constituent and neighborhood issues, participating in sports and being involved in events where he gets to take along his wife and kids. His workout routine consists of lifting weights three days a week and doing cardio at least twice a week. He keeps himself in supreme physical condition, which is evident by anyone who meets him. Nirenberg is 36 years old, and he was born just outside of Boston, Mass. His ancestry is varied, as it includes Russian, Polish, Filipino, Malaysian and English – and that’s just going back two generations. He says it varies even more past that. On Oct. 31, he decided to resign from his fulltime job as general manager of KRTU-FM at Trinity University in order to concentrate fulltime on his city council duties. This was a financial sacrifice, but it was one he was willing to make in order to better serve the public. Nirenberg feels the city has an outstanding group of professionals comprising key city staff positions and the police department, as well. He credits San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus with streamlining the SAPD into a highly efficient law enforcement agency. He and McManus enjoy an excellent working relationship.

Nirenberg’s city council agenda items include education, street and drainage repair, improvement of the infrastructure and property-crime issues. His education and experience make him well-suited

political leaders on both sides of the spectrum – so much so that it wouldn’t be surprising if a “Draft Nirenberg for Mayor” movement started to emerge during Mayor Julian Castro’s last term in office

NIRENBERG IS A POLITICIAN WHO CLEARLY TALKS THE TALK AND WALKS THE WALK. for the complexities of being part of a city government in one of America’s largest communities. In college, Nirenberg attended Trinity University and majored in communication with a concentration in business. He received a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. It was in college that he met his future wife, Erika, at the Annenberg School of Communication. They married in 2001. All in all, Nirenberg has made a significant positive impact on the San Antonio community in just a short time in office. He’s readily accessible to his constituents in District 8; his sincerity and honesty are refreshing, if not admirable, in the current toxic climate in national politics; and he displays the type of dedication and work ethic that we wished all of our political leaders exhibited (and many don’t). He’s a true independent who works well with

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when the citizens of San Antonio will be looking for a successor. Based on what we’ve seen in only his first year in office, Nirenberg not only would be considered a strong contender for mayor, but would also make an outstanding one if elected. A “Mayor Nirenberg” administration would be a big win all around for the residents of San Antonio, no matter which area of town they live in.

Dan Corbett is a local educator and Republican political strategist, and he is the president of the British Society of San Antonio. For more information, you may email him at corbett2004@yahoo. com.

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NCAA (No Cash off Amateur Athletes): Part I By: JOHNNY WALKER

THE NCAA can no longer profit off the labor of amateur athletes under the auspices of a nonprofit entity. Their existence as a no-profit organization strikes a chord of the misguided rhetoric the NCAA has stood for. By definition, a nonprofit organization acquires funds that must stay within the corporate accounts to pay for the reasonable salaries, expenses and activities of the corporation. Of course, the key word in this explanation is “reasonable.” Now, if the income of the corporation inures to the personal benefit of any individual, the corporation is considered to be profit driven. 100


The NCAA has tactfully hidden behind this infamous nonprofit wall and on occasion, popped up with hands out on occasion to collect millions on student athletes’ names and likenesses and then gracefully duck back down behind it when they get exposed and asked for explanations. They have discovered a way to systematically modify and amend the bylaws associated with being a nonprofit, effectively making a profit for every entity involved except the student athletes. Forgive me for referencing an old adage, but they have been robbing Peter and now they are going to have to pay all.


Between 200,000 and 300,000 current and former student athletes are finally going to be compensated for the senseless, yet methodical profiteering of their name and likeness. Video game producer EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company will pay $40 million to settle lawsuits brought by former players whose likenesses were used without compensation. The lawsuit brought by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon has also been settled, and the court has determined that former players who did not appear in video games will still receive some sort of compensation. The courts have finally decided to represent the student athletes instead of big business – oh, I mean nonprofits. The courts have resolved that the settlements are compensation “for property theft,” and thus, do not affect a current athlete’s eligibility if money changes hands in the settlement. How the NCAA has been able to stave off this ruling for so long is beyond the realm of reality, considering the law in every state allows that your likeness, whether you’re an athlete or not, cannot be used




in commercial purposes without compensation or your permission. These two court rulings have allowed student athletes who have been extorted financially for so many years to pry open the lock to the Pandora’s box that the NCAA has vehemently fought to keep chained close. Inside that box lies the unjust exploitation of student athletes’ names and likenesses to coax the sales of video games, books, magazines, video clippings, jerseys and college team memorabilia. As it stands, the possibility of damages awarded to student athletes from the NCAA could be in the billions. Now, it is important to reiterate that the settlements are between EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company and former student athletes – not the NCAA. In a released statement, the NCAA said, “NCAA has never licensed the use of current student-athlete names, images or likenesses to EA. The NCAA has no involvement in licenses between

EA and former student-athletes … But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.” Nice try, but the contract I was coerced to sign at the tender legal age of 18 that permitted me to participate in any NCAA-sanctioned games clearly forced me to sign away my name and likeness to the NCAA forever. That signature allowed the NCAA to barter my name and likeness to companies interested in exclusively acquiring those extorted rights from the NCAA. If that wasn’t enough, the NCAA was exposed once again by commentator Jay Bilas for selling the jerseys of prominent college players on their website. It’s egregious and plain comical to listen to how Mark Emmert attempted to justify the NCAA‘s actions. He said, “We can certainly recognize why that could be seen as hypocritical, and indeed, I think the business of having the NCAA selling those

kinds of goods is a mistake.” Really, Mr. Emmert? It gets better! He said, “To my understanding, the NCAA made no money off the online store and that it was an aggregation site … It’s been done for a long time, so I can’t tell you when and how long it’s been doing it … There’s no compelling reason the NCAA should essentially be reselling paraphernalia from institutions … I can’t speak to why we entered into that enterprise, but it’s not appropriate for us, and we’re going to exit it.” Well said from the president of one of the most profitable nonprofits (wink, wink). In the next issue of NSIDE, I will discuss the legal battles the NCAA is preparing to face, their lawsuit against EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company for settling with ex-student athletes, the highpowered legal team they have hired with extensive anglings with the Supreme Court and the 1984 court ruling that NCAA has used to justify their cause.




WHAT A MESS! We may see a mess in our lives, but God sees a masterpiece.

THE OTHER DAY, we cleaned our house spotless – all of the kids’ toys were tucked away, the dishes were done and the floors were shining. Within an hour, it looked like a wreck. What happened? Kids. Kids happened. You see, we love our three kids dearly, but at the ages of 6, 4 and 2, they have not yet learned to appreciate the value of a neat, clean house. Over the years, we have found everything from permanent marker on the walls and bottles of baby powder dusted over entire rooms to – the worst of all – sippy cups of milk left in the SUV for a week. We try to stay on top of things, but as much as we clean and pick up, we sometimes feel like we live in a constant mess. It’s easy to feel like our lives are a mess, too. Our work, marriage, family, parenting, finances and relationships – how often they feel unorganized and dysfunctional. Even when it seems like things are going well, all it takes is one conversation, one look or one decision to turn the entire thing into a mess. Now, some of us had incredible families and friends growing up, but some of us would call those relationships dysfunctional at best. Those of us in the latter group are trying to be the best parents, siblings, children or spouses, but it feels like the past haunts us daily. 102


I want to encourage you with an old verse from the Bible: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT 2nd Ed.). What an incredible truth. God considers us his

MASTERPIECES ARE VALUED, CHERISHED AND OF HIGH WORTH. masterpiece! Think about it. Masterpieces are valued, cherished and of high worth. They are something the owner takes pride in and proudly displays for all to see. God thinks the same way about his children. We see a mess, but God sees a masterpiece. For us as parents, we have many masterpieces in our house – but they’re not what you may be thinking. They are made of popsicle sticks, construction paper, cotton balls and crayons. If you have kids, you probably have similar masterpieces. They are extremely valuable to us – not because of what they look like, but because of who made them.

It is the same way between you and your heavenly father. He finds extreme value and high worth in you – not because of what you have done, but because of who you are. Next time you find yourself looking at your marriage, finances, parenting skills, relationships or life in general and thinking, ‘what a mess,’ remember: We may see a mess, but God sees a masterpiece.

Chris Emmitt is a pastor at Community Bible Church, and Bre’anna Emmitt is a freelance writer and a stayat-home mom to their three kids. You can usually find them ministering together at Chris’ services on Sundays at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. You can view Chris’ sermons at and keep up with Bre’anna’s blog at You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.





Culinaria 2014 kicks off with the exceedingly popular Chefs for Chefs Brunch and 5K Wine & Beer Run. By: GINGER ROBINSON

CULINARIA IS GEARING UP for another wonderful year of divine culinary experiences. Kicking off the New Year, Culinaria hosted its second annual Chefs for Chefs Brunch at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19, at Biga on the Banks to give back to those in need. The Chefs for Chefs Brunch provides the opportunity to return the favor to the men and women who work so diligently – and often sacrifice time spent with their friends and family – in order to inspire us with their delightful dishes. Many of the chefs from last year returned, and several new chefs joined the all-star lineup to create an even greater benefit brunch that enchanted the appetites of San Antonians while helping the community. You’ll want to purchase tickets for this event soon, as they are limited to 300. While you’re at it, make sure you check out the early bird prices for the 5K Wine & Beer Run. In an effort to promote good health by way of sound nutrition and maintaining a regular exercise regimen, Culinaria is proud to bring back its exceedingly popular event, the 5K Wine & Beer Run, on Saturday,

March 22, at The Shops at La Cantera. Participants will eagerly line up at The Shops at

as possible for the best 5K Wine & Beer Run yet! This event has sold out every year, so you definitely want to sign up before it’s too late. Proceeds from the 5K Wine & Beer run will benefit Culinaria’s newest project: the Culinaria Educational Center & Gardens. As soon as these two fantastic events come to a close, you’ll have less than two months before Culinaria kicks into full swing with the much-anticipated Festival Week. Taking place from May 14 through 18, 2014, Culinaria will bring back all of the crowd favorites, including the Winemaker Dinner Series, the Taste Test Seminars and the larger events such as the Food Truck Event, Best of Mexico and more.

CULINARIA IS GEARING UP FOR ANOTHER WONDERFUL YEAR OF DIVINE CULINARY EXPERIENCES. La Cantera to run or walk throughout the mall and enjoy the scenic Hill Country in the process. However, it wouldn’t be a wine and beer run without the reception to follow the finish line. Featuring several chefs and restaurants from the area, as well as wine and beer for sampling, how could you turn down this excuse to exercise? You can go by yourself or with a team of 10 runners or more. Another option: Help support the Culinaria Educational Center & Gardens in the process by joining the Culinaria Green Team. With the price increasing at the beginning of each month, be sure to sign yourself up as early

Culinaria has some great things in store, and tickets will be available for purchase soon.

To learn more about the Culinaria events and the progress of the Culinaria Educational Center & Gardens, follow Culinaria on Facebook (Culinaria San Antonio) and Twitter (@culinariasa), or visit the Culinaria website: JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS




Industry leader Tina Kahlig represents top ranches in the San Antonio area and gives back to the community, recently winning the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year campaign. By: JENNIFER PUCCI STARR


AS SOUTH TEXAS NATIVE and real estate expert Tina Kahlig prepares for 2014, she looks back at a year of achievements that include becoming Woman of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). As she reflects, “2013 was a banner year. I enjoyed great sales for my ranch and commercial real estate 104


clientele both for buyers and sellers, but honestly, it was my work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that made this one of the most challenging, yet rewarding years in history.” Held in cities nationally, the LLS Man & Woman of the Year campaign brings business leaders together for a spirited 10-week competition to raise

money for cancer research. “Cancer touches the lives of so many,” Kahlig says, “and when you see these amazing children battling the disease, you do all you can to help.” Kahlig was the local winner of the campaign who raised more than $150,000, and as candidates for 2014 come on board, she urges them to have faith and give it their all. “It’s not easy, but it is so rewarding, and I will be there to mentor any candidate that needs encouragement.” Receiving her real estate license when she was just 19, Kahlig is an industry leader in buying and selling ranch and commercial property through her company, Tina Kahlig & Associates Real Estate. Growing up on her family’s Hill Country property gave her a keen eye for ranch living, and her passion for buying and selling premium land has earned her repeat business from the most discernible clientele. Together with her husband, Clarence, she spends much of her free time giving back to her community. She believes in lifting up young people and giving them every opportunity to become leaders. Kahlig volunteers for and supports organizations that fulfill those dreams, and she serves on the boards for the Catholic School Tuition Assistance nonprofit, Hope for the Future and international

organization Children in Need, which helps children living in conditions of extreme poverty around the world. A hunter herself, Kahlig not only represents top ranches, but also lives the life splitting time between her own ranch and her San Antonio home. With her children and grandchildren mostly living in South Texas, she feels extremely blessed to be doing what she loves, surrounded by family.  

For any interests in ranch, commercial real estate and developing with Tina Kahlig, please visit www.tkre. info.


A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH Amateur boxing for a good cause: The 78th Annual San Antonio Regional Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament is set to benefit local youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio.



FOR ONE WEEK in February, the local boxing community comes together for an event unlike any in town. The San Antonio Regional Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament, benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio, is the first step a local amateur boxer takes toward possible national recognition – and for many, it is a chance to achieve their dream of becoming a champion. The 78th Annual San Antonio Regional Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament will host more than 175 boxers in a single-elimination tournament. Boxers register on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio Eastside Branch. Preliminaries are held during the week, Tuesday through Thursday, at Woodlawn Gym. Then championships for the sub-novice and novice divisions will be held that Friday, Feb. 21, and the open division championship will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22. Boxing in San Antonio has a rich and long history, but it is the tournament’s different aspects that make it special. First and foremost, Golden Gloves is an amateur boxing tournament officially sanctioned by United States Amateur Boxing Inc. The tournament is open to any individual 17 to 34 years of age who qualifies under the rules of USA Boxing and passes the rigid physical exams. Winners from this tournament can ultimately make it to national stage for a chance to be part of the U.S. Olympic team.

The tournament is open to all who dream of competing in the ring. There are three divisions: open, novice and sub-novice. While the sub-novice boxer enters the ring for the first time for an official fight, the open division boxers are more experienced and

THE TOURNAMENT IS OPEN TO ALL WHO DREAM OF COMPETING IN THE RING. can advance to the state and national tournaments. In fact, open division champions will immediately travel to Fort Worth for the state tournament held the following week. Golden Gloves brings the community together. Generation after generation has trained in the same boxing gyms in San Antonio. Family and friends gather to cheer on their boxers, bringing posters and signs of support. And fans come to watch and perhaps catch a glimpse of a future champion. Both in the ring and out of the ring, the coaches and boxers exemplify the best of sports. Yes, it is boxing. It is a very physical event. But in the end, it is the prevailing sense of respect that is evident in all of those participating. Getting in the ring is no

easy task. Each boxer demonstrates strength, character, discipline and dedication to get to that point. Lastly, the San Antonio Regional Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio. All proceeds from this weeklong event go to support programs and services to help keep kids off the streets, in schools and on the right path to succeed in life. The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio serves more than 8,800 youth with programs focused on academic success, healthy lifestyles and good character and citizenship. Ninety-nine percent of its members stay in school and progress to the next grade on time, and 100 percent of its seniors graduate and go on to college with scholarships. These are amazing results, given the fact that they serve youth who face incredible obstacles every day – poverty, violence, gangs, abuse and neglect, to name a few. The Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament is a gem in the world of sports – a diamond in the rough. It is rich in history and tradition, and it supports a worthy nonprofit serving the youth in need. Now let’s get ready to rumble!

For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament, please visit JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS




NSIDE PUBLICATIONS held its seventh annual gala at the La Cantera Resort on Dec. 12, 2013. The black-tie event celebrated the magazine’s statewide expansion while catering to more than 400 guests who enjoyed a seated dinner and live entertainment provided by the Stan Wayne Band and Grooveline. Silent and live auctions, held with Tommy “T-Bone” Bounds serving as auctioneer, raised more than $10,000 for the designated nonprofit, St. PJ’s Children’s Home. Eliot Garza, owner of NSIDE Publications, along with Edna De Saro, marketing VP for Lone Star National Bank, presented recognition awards to Drs. Chang, Gerez-Martinez, King and Thakur of the BHS Physicians Network. NSIDE Publications would like to thank Outside the Box event planning for their tireless work in making the gala a success. 106



NSIDE Publications celebrates the magazine’s statewide expansion at the seventh annual gala.








Around Town Paseo del Río Association 2014 Calendar of Events


River Walk January 17-19, Friday-Sunday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.


TBD February 21, Friday 7:00-10:00 p.m. The crowning of the 2014 River Walk King and Queen and their royal court. The male and female candidates who raise the most money are crowned King and Queen, and represent the Paseo del Rio Association throughout the year.


Arneson Theater February 22, Saturday 1:00-7:00 p.m. A Battle of the Bands! Four Local San Antonio Bands battle for the title of “Official Band of the River Walk.”

February 22

the Mardi Gras River Parade on Saturday, March 1st.


River Walk Extension February 28-March 2, Friday-Sunday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.


Arneson Theatre, River Walk March 1, 12:00-7:00 p.m. A procession of decorated river barges will transform the San Antonio River Walk into a floating Bourbon Street. Krewes of costumed revelers & live entertainment will celebrate Mardi Gras San Antonio Style! Enjoy live music on Arneson Stage from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and a festival of food, arts & crafts, activities and more at La Villita. Parade will take place 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.


Various River Walk Establishments March 13, 6:00-10:00 p.m. Participants will “crawl” on their own from bar to bar on the River Walk enjoying free cover, front of the line entry and food and drink specials all night!


River Walk Extension March 14-16, Friday-Sunday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.


TBD February 25, Tuesday 6:00 p.m. The King Rex coronation is a ceremony during which the person who eats the slice of cake with a plastic baby hidden inside is crowned as the official 2014 Paseo del Rio King Rex. King Rex will lead



La Villita/Arneson Theater March 15-16, Saturday-Sunday 1:00-6:00 p.m. A family-friendly festival of music, food and fun! Floats release 110 pounds of environmentally friendly green dye into the San Antonio River. The event transforms the 2.5 mile river into a miniature Emerald Isle where a proclamation is read, temporarily re-naming the river “The River Shannon.” Enjoy live music on Arneson Stage, and a family-friendly

festival of food, games, activities and more in La Villita from 12:00-6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday! Beginning at 3:00 p.m on Sunday, enjoy a parade of barges, commemorating St. Patrick.


River Walk April 22-25, Tuesday-Friday 7:00-10:00 p.m. Local middle school and high school Mariachi Bands perform on floating barges along the River Walk during FIESTA.


River Walk Extension April 25-27, Friday-Sunday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.


River Walk May 17, Saturday 6:00 p.m. A River Parade dedicated to the men and women of the Armed Forces.

April 22-25




River Walk Extension May 23-26, Friday-Monday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.


River Walk Extension July 3-6, Thursday-Sunday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.


River Walk Extension July 2, Saturday 7:00-11:00 a.m. The Canoe Challenge is a competition that helps boy and girl scouts understand teamwork. Over 100 canoe teams compete in the challenge of timed heats as parents, Scout Leaders, and fellow employees cheer their favorite teams to victory. Signed up for this race are teams made up of local celebrities, city officials, and corporate companies as well as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The race begins at the Chamber of Commerce, then heads east through and around the Convention Center Lagoon, through the River Center Mall Lagoon and ends back at the Chamber of Commerce. The Canoe Challenge is the only time that the City allows any-one to canoe in the San Antonio River Walk.



River Walk Extension August 29-September 1, Friday-Monday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.


Participating Restaurants September 9, Tuesday 6:00-8:30 p.m. The Taste of Houston Street is a precursor to the Taste of the River Walk that features culinary samplings from Houston Street restaurants. As part of the Downtown Tuesday initiative by the City of San Antonio, parking will be FREE at City-owned lots and garages after 5pm.

July 2







Pearl Brewery River Walk October 4, Saturday 3:00-6:00 p.m. December 5-21, Monday-Sunday 6:15-9:15 p.m. 20,000 Rubber Ducks will race down the San Joyous caroling fills the evening air along the San Antonio River! Only $5 to adopt a duck! Proceeds Antonio River Walk as more than 185 school, church, benefit Haven for Hope and the Paseo del Rio Ascompany, and civic choral groups ring in the holisociation! The race will be preceded by a Concert. days by singing traditional carols on cruising boats. River Walk Extension October 10- 12, Friday-Sunday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.


River Walk October 31, Friday 6:00-8:00 p.m. Floating coffins and costumed participants on barges travel along the San Antonio River during this eerie Halloween celebration!


River Walk November 28, Friday 7:00 p.m. For over 30 years, this spectacular one-hour parade along San Antonio’s River Walk has featured illuminated floats with celebrities, bands and lavishly-costumed participants.


Participating Restaurants September 10-11, Wednesday-Thursday 6:00-8:30 p.m. The Taste of the River Walk is an event that brings the local San Antonio crowd to the River Walk to sample culinary offerings from over 35 participating establishments over a two- day period.

Museum Reach December 5-6, Friday-Saturday 6:00-8:00 p.m. Enjoy a magical evening on the Museum Reach with Christmas Lights and floating entertainment. Bring your camera and take a FREE picture with Santa, positioned on a fully decorated barge anchored at the Park at Pearl.


River Walk December 5-7, 12-14, 19-21, Friday-Sunday (Beginning at dusk) Experience the Holiday serenity of the River Walk as you stroll along the lush banks of the San Antonio River guided by more than 6,000 Luminarias. Warmly glowing candles in sand-filled bags line the walkways to symbolically mark the “lighting of the way” for the Holy Family. This century’s old tradition begins at dusk Friday, Saturday & Sunday only.


River Walk Extension December 12-14, Friday-Sunday Vendors display and sell handmade merchandise along the San Antonio River Walk.

All events are produced by the Paseo del Rio Association. All dates subject to change without notice.

December 12-14

(NOTE: Arts & Crafts Fairs can be 3-4 days long. On the first day, the Fairs run from 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. On the middle day(s), the fairs run from 10:00 a.m.11:00 p.m., In the final day, the fairs run from 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2014 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS


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