Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine Business May/June 2020

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A BEACON FOR THE COASTAL BEND Always here for our community

Through calm seas and troubled waters, the Port of Corpus Christi is helping to navigate this uncharted territory–proudly supporting our area first responders. From meals to supplies and beyond, we’re providing the necessary items these teams need to complete their mission to serve. As we look ahead, while some things are uncertain—the people of the Port will be here in every capacity for our neighbors, partners and throughout the community. Together, we’ll get through these waters.

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18 COVER STORY MATT CRAVEY Overcoming considerable adversity to become one of the top commercial realtors in Texas, Matt Cravey celebrates 45 years of service in the Coastal Bend.

BUSINESS COACH 10 Tighten Up Security

SPECIAL FEATURE 12 New Perspective

FEATURE 14 Enhancing the Experience 16 Printing Solutions

EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION 24 Tribute to the Class of 2020

LOCAL PARTNER MESSAGE 44 Stronger Together





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46 Summer Snacking

TRAVEL 48 Open for Business

NONPROFIT 50 Virtual Volunteering


For Advertising Call (361) 882-3088 Locally owned and operated since 1981 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M









SOCIAL MEDIA Morgan Bartel CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Steven Alford Mandy Ashcraft Kim Bridger-Hunt Jacqueline Gonzalez Christina Hunter-Villeda Samantha Koepp-Stemplinger Connie Laughlin PHOTOGRAPHY Dustin Ashcraft TWINS Media

ELISA GIORDANO DESIGN DIRECTOR 210.716.5320 For advertising information or editorial comments, please call 479-935-0868 or email



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Copyright 2020 © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.

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NOW HERE WE ARE, LIVING THROUGH UNPRECEDENTED TIMES. Who could’ve predicted that we would ever experience a full-blown pandemic play out during our lifetime? It’s really quite extraordinary. Our hearts go out to everyone whose health, families, jobs and businesses have been impacted. I have tried my best to take it in stride and to stay positive, but this has become increasingly difficult, as the situation continues into months of uncertainty. Like many, our team has experienced several ups and downs, and has had to learn a new way to conduct our regular business. We stay committed to doing whatever we must to continue to serve our clients and community, and we are excited to be moving our operation toward a better tomorrow despite the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. We had a plan prior to the pinnacle of this crisis to share some insight on mental health, as May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And, well, I guess the stars aligned in a sense. The impact this thing is having on all of us is certainly not limited to just financial or physical woes; its effects are reaching well beyond these things. My hope is that our MD stories will provide you all with guidance and also be a resource to you, helping you find a sense of positivity in challenging times.

Bend high school soon-to-be graduates. This was an enormous project that I scrambled to bring to life late in the game of production. I knew it had to be done. I, the mother of a graduating high school senior, could not allow these future leaders to go unsung. Fortunately, I was not the only one to see it this way. So, with the support of sponsoring partners and the efforts of our fabulous team, we reworked the issue and have the privilege to share this with you. I am confident you cannot walk away from these pages without a smile on your face. As most of you know, Inspire Magazine is a small business, and we consider our staff a team of families. We want to thank our advertisers and partners for making this issue possible, and for helping to keep us afloat. We are truly inspired by so many stories we get to hear of service above self in this community, and it is so comforting to see that the worst of times brings out the best in so many. We have been missing you at our mixers and all of the fabulous community events, and we look forward to gathering again soon. Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives. We wish you good health, and we are here for you.

On the business cover, we feature an amazing worker and achiever who has triumphed and become a top commercial realtor and broker. Another story of triumph we chose to feature in lieu of our regular business profiles is a special tribute honoring some of our Coastal

Holly Lewis, Publisher


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Tighten Up Security How secure is your business? By: Connie Laughlin

ow secure is your Internet usage and data storage? What about your accounting policies? When was the last time you conducted a thorough review of your human resources (HR) solution and safety protocols? There are various ways an employee could scam or otherwise harm a business, or even become injured. It’s mind numbing to think about and prepare for all the what-ifs.


Even when things are going well and you feel no pain, planning is a must, as that’s when you’re probably the most vulnerable. Fraudulent employee claims, theft and negligence can take a big bite out of revenue – all of this comes with the price of being in business. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It takes years and years of training, certifications and experience to manage accounting, payroll, safety, HR, information technology (IT) and security departments in a business. Additionally, the professional salaries in these fields start in the high five-figure range. Instead of focusing on what they could add to their HR resources tool, business leaders really need to focus on operations and production to keep profit margins up.


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So, what are your options? You could create an HR department inhouse by adding additional personnel, as well as a certified HR pro, or you could contract with a professional employer organization (PEO) to guide you through the maze of disciplinary issues, payroll and employment law, and how to proactively mentor employees. Without this expertise, one might think they’re justified in firing an employee or by ignoring an employee’s request, only to find out later it should have been handled differently! PEOs administer payroll

administration, provide your workers’ compensation insurance and claims administration, safety solution and, optionally, benefits. It’s a bundled solutions. The main goal of having professional HR assistance is to maximize your return on investment for all employees while minimizing potential liability. If you have an employee off work on a workers’ compensation insurance claim and believe it’s fraudulent, wouldn’t it be nice to know someone had your back – even going so far as to follow the employee with a video camera while he/she loads the boat with an ice chest and shoves off from the dock?

Every business should have a robust safety program that includes risk assessments for safety hazards and periodic training.


You might want to consider taking advantage of the multiple initiatives discussed in this article, as they eliminate a lot of risk and help keep your labor burden cost low and stable! Another bonus: You’ll find they help create a more dynamic workforce and place more focus on revenue production!

On the flip-side, you want a proactive workers’ compensation insurance solution that provides the best medical attention to help an injured worker. Professional claims management is imperative! What about your accounting and security practices? Periodically visit with a CPA to assess your business for weaknesses and leakage. Don’t hold over deposits. Take your money to the bank daily. Run background checks on employees and/or your new hires. Depending on your business’ service and needs, you may want to conduct random drug screens. If so, you’ll need a third-party to administer it. Install video surveillance equipment at your various locations, interior as well as exterior. Surveillance equipment can also protect you from harassment or performance issues. If you have fleet vehicles, put GPS tracking devices on them. Inventory tracking systems pay for themselves and save time. If your company becomes the target of fraud or theft, you’re going to lose not only money, but your hard-earned credibility. Especially if you handle other people’s monies or goods, you need to be on top of it. Another key initiative is to have a robust safety program that includes risk assessments for safety hazards and periodic training. If you operate a blue- or gray-collar company, hire a safety consultant (or outsource to a safety consulting business or PEO). Refine your safety protocols, create or modify your safety manuals and mandate ongoing training. Additionally, risk assessments should be conducted on equipment and your building.


Professional Photography & Videography

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Keep IT security tight, and maintain control of technology and sensitive information. Enhance your computer and network security, fight cyber-crime and keep your system up and functioning by outsourcing IT services. Additionally, lock your files and keys. Outsourcing might be an answer to eliminate slippage in bookkeeping, payroll and other administrative duties, and to implement best practices. And it saves time! No employees have to leave the worksite for ongoing training. Streamline your organizations with best practices, eliminate unnecessary risk, create a more dynamic team and place all your time and talent on your core business.

Connie Laughlin is a business consultant for UniqueHR, a locally headquartered PEO. You may contact her at 361-852-6392, No. 112, or I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



New Perspective German exchange student explores South Texas amid coronavirus. By: Steven Alford

“Emilia has truly shown us what it means to make the most out of it, and to do it with a smile.”


his was supposed to be one of the most memorable years of Emilia Grosche’s life, and in a way, it was – but for very different reasons. The German foreign exchange student was excited when she learned she was matched with a family in South Texas and would be headed to Corpus Christi.

“Before I came here, I thought everyone had a farm with cows and horses and walked around in cowboy boots,” Grosche joked. “But it turns out I really like Texas. The beach is close, and you can have fun on the ranch, too.” Grosche’s host family’s house in Calallen provided outdoor fun and a pool, and close proximity to horse riding and Gulf Coast beaches. But just halfway into the school year at Calallen High School, everything changed. The world, and life as she knew it, was upended by the outbreak of the coronavirus. “I was in a lot of school events and playing tennis and running track,” Grosche recalled. “And I was really excited to compete with other students … but now that’s all on hold.” Like most of society, Grosche has had to shelter-in-place at home with the Wise family, her hosts, and communicate with her own family in Germany as they share a common struggle of life amid the coronavirus.


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Both families agreed that it would be better for Grosche to remain in Texas, rather than travel for dozens of hours by airplane, train and automobile, exposing her to hundreds of people in crowded airports and train stations. “My parents just thought it would be way more complicated and stressful than just staying here with my family,” Grosche added. “I have a pool and horses, dogs to take care of. We live a lot outside, so it’s pretty nice.” With no certainty of when to return to her native country, Grosche is hopeful she can fly back in June when her J-1 student visa expires. But she wonders, what kind of world will she return to? Her family in Germany remains sheltered in place, with school and daily life on hold there, as well.

Looking back at the things she will miss in Texas, she most looked forward to attending a real-life American prom – something German students dream about, she said. “I was really upset about prom because we don’t have prom in Germany,” Grosche shared. “For us, to go to an American prom is a really big deal; every girl and boy in Germany really wants to go.” Grosche says she is grateful to her host family for being such gracious hosts, and they are proud to welcome her to their group, regarding her as a second daughter. “She is an optimistic young woman with a contagious smile,” said Conni KohlenbergWise. “She has fit seamlessly into our family.” The Wise’s daughter, Amanda Geary, has become like a sister to Emilia, as the pair have enjoyed outdoor activities in Calallen while under lockdown from the coronavirus. “Emilia has truly shown us what it means to make the most out of it, and do it with a smile,” Geary said. As Grosche awaits her opportunity to return home and be reunited with her own family, she says she is making the most of her remaining time in South Texas. She loves the miles of beaches, the wide-open ranches and the many friends she has made along the way. What’s most frustrating, Grosche says, is because of the lockdown and closing of schools, she is unable to socialize with the people she has met. This is crucial to mastering the English language – time spent interacting and fitting in. But Grosche says she is thankful for the time she has enjoyed here and hopes

to return again someday. The reception she was afforded was greater than she could have imagined, she says. “I want to thank my school and my teachers for their support,” Grosche shared. “It’s not easy to go to a different country, with different people, and my teachers were there for me when I didn’t really understand what to do. And, of course, my host family. I’m really happy I can have the opportunity to stay here.”


Enhancing the Experience With the help of Turner Ramirez Architects, Kleberg Bank – Crosstown Banking Center upgrades its design profile, blending traditional values with modern innovation. By: Christina Hunter-Villeda

have made significant investments and changes in the bank’s footprint to raise our profile in the communities we serve,” said Gabe Guerra, president and CEO of Kleberg Bank. Located on the northwest corner of Horne Road and the Crosstown Expressway, Kleberg Bank’s Crosstown Banking Center synergizes the rich Texas culture to innovation and modernization. At night, the branch has a large sign with a bold Kleberg-red stripe seen from either side of the highway, noticeably indicating the bank’s presence to all. The exterior’s rustic colors, materials and textures contrast the streamlined design of linear and angled canopies surrounding the structure. Meant to cover a heavy stream of traffic, “the Crosstown Banking Center is located on a highly visible, easily accessible corridor in Corpus Christi,” Guerra says. “With the help of Turner Ramirez Architects, Kleberg Bank customers now enjoy a state-of-the-art facility with features such as double stacked drive-thrus and teller automation to improve efficiencies, in addition to well-lit premises that promote safety while also incorporating environmentally friendly lighting solutions.”


Commitment to community is one of the founding concepts of Kleberg Bank. Established in Kingsville and with ties to the King Ranch, Kleberg Bank capitalizes


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on community cooperation and traditional South Texas values. Robert Justus Kleberg, the founder, was known for his innovation and entrepreneurship across South Texas, specifically with helping bring a deep-water port to Corpus Christi and railroad lines to the general South Texas area. However, the innovation of the bank did not stop with him. Years of forward-thinking leadership and prowess brought the bank headquarters to Corpus Christi, expanding its reach and image across the Coastal Bend. “Over the last few years, we

The main entry doors lead into a high-ceiling lobby with sophisticated, overlapping circular light fixtures and a curved front desk, informing the rest of the design to the walk-in customer. Walking into the bank and up to the front desk, the arc of the tile flooring inherently directs the customer to the teller desks, passing a series of closing offices with a waiting area on the way. Curved lighting continues above the customer, mimicking the floor and


rom its inherent community values to its cohesive architectural design, Kleberg Bank is a vision of South Texas. The move to Corpus Christi brought many new opportunities to show the Coastal Bend new facets of the bank. Through modern architectural designs, the bank demonstrates how it is raising its design profile and experience to the customer.

The main entrance, faced with a porcelain, limestone-look tile, recalls the traditional Kingsville roots, while the pre-finished aluminum angle canopy hugs the doorway into a contemporary facility.

neighboring wall. The adjacent curvilinear wall with a South Texas-themed mural hugs the customer as he or she waits in line. The mural depicts the historical contributions of Mr. Kleberg throughout South Texas. A bright, Kleberg red envelops above and around the teller desk that gives a modern vibe, implanting the unforgettable red brand onto the customer. As the Coastal Bend expands, Kleberg Bank will be at the forefront of advancing the customer experience through efficient banking methods and innovative design. According to Guerra, “The Crosstown Banking Center is reflective of our commitment to transform the customer experience to be the very best,” keeping the bank true to its original community values and truest vision of South Texas.

“The Crosstown Banking Center is reflective of our commitment to transform the customer experience to be the very best.”

For more information, contact Turner Ramirez Architects at 361-994-8900.

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Local artist 3D-prints masks to donate to Coastal Bend health care professionals. Special to Inspire Coastal Bend

oastal Bend 3D artist Alexis Kadonsky is taking strides to find an alternative for the lack of PPE for first responders across the country. With the COVID-19 pandemic stressing the capabilities of our health care system, simple necessities, such as face masks, are running short in supply. 3D printing can be an option to create more PPE.


In the course of just three weeks, Kadonsky’s idea to 3D print reusable medical masks for local Costal Bend first responders has grown into an operation of 13 printers in her own hands, as well as over 15 more printers from other locals joining in to help volunteer. The 3D masks and other 3D-printed PPE are now donated daily across the country to first responders.

the country supported by community donations. “We will all keep printing and making masks until the funds run out and all of the PLA is gone, which I hope isn’t anytime soon because we have about 2,000 open orders and it’s growing.”

“Our machines have been running 24 hours a day since I discovered this was an option to help,” Kadonsky said. “Between my 13 printers and the other locals that have joined me in printing, we can make about 500 masks a week at full capacity.”

How are the masks made? Kadonsky is printing the clinically tested Montana Mask (, which was developed by a team of medical professionals. It passes fit testing, as well as a standard N95 mask. Every 3D printer will have its own setup needs starting with telling the printer how to work with the 3D models. After all the appropriate settings are applied in the software, every printer then gets PLA filament loaded and the printer beds leveled.

Kadonsky would like to thank everyone who has joined in volunteering with her along the way: Michael Lee Vickers of Ceiling Solutions of Texas, Jon Scott of Coastal Orthopedic Supply, Danny Mendiola of RedViking, Dave and Kristin Allen, Jack William of The Markets at Timbergate, Jennifer Leal-Garcia, Crystal Martinez, Larry Adams, Louis Katz, Lynnette Stirling of Loving Coastal Living, Thomas Devine of Merlin’s Workshop, Rob Boostrom, William, Lars and Joshua.

“Every 3D-printed respiratory mask comes with a 3D-printed filter slot, a 3D-printed ear saver, elastic straps, a rubber gasket and HEPA filters,” Kadonsky said. “These 3D masks are reusable because they can be sanitized over and over again, unlike standard N95 masks. They also allow one N95 mask to be used for four uses instead of one and a surgical mask to be used for six uses instead of one.” Amazingly, an entire mask setup only costs about $2. Everything Kadonsky and her team are doing has been donated across

Kadonsky’s team is also printing face shields and ear savers. If you are a first responder and would like to request 3D-printed PPE or have a 3D printer you’d like to use to help print PPE, please visit If you can donate to help keep their cause going, please visit Visit for footage.


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Printing Solutions

Every mask takes about four hours to print; afterwards, the masks are removed for initial quality inspection. The masks are then sanded down and bleached. Once dry, a rubber gasket is applied with an adhesive layer and the outer rim is glued shut for extra precaution. Once the gasket is set, the masks are bagged with elastic, ear savers and HEPA filters and sent off to first responders.

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Overcoming Adversity in Business By: Jacqueline Gonzalez Photos by: TWINS Media

Having served the Corpus Christi and South Texas region for 45 years, Matt Cravey is one of the best in the business.

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eflecting back on his many years of commercial real estate, Matt Cravey, owner and president of Cravey Real Estate Services, recalls the many hurdles he encountered before becoming one of the top commercial realtors in Texas. For the last 45 years, there hasn’t been a single moment where Cravey can recall not having real estate as a part of his life. As a teenager, it seemed that the father of every girl he dated was a very successful real estate broker, and, considering his boredom with school and aversion to attending college, real estate seemed like a powerful career option. At the very young age of 17, Matt enrolled in real estate courses in San Antonio, where he began his trek toward becoming a licensed realtor. After several failed exams, and judgements for being so young, he quickly learned that real estate wasn’t easy, nor was it all about “making the big bucks.” He wasn’t going to let this bump prevent him from succeeding, so he took a night job at Continental Airlines, where he and his coworkers would study during slow times. Once he passed the test and became licensed, he entered a whole new tornado of hurdles. Nonetheless, he pushed through them. Raised in the Texas Hill Country, north of San Antonio, Matt knew quite a bit about ranches and decided this would be his real estate pot of gold. After being told that he “knew


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Matt Cravey participated in the bestselling book, “Get in the Game,” providing his insights into overcoming adversity in business and getting back in the game. nothing about investments,” or that at such a young age, he was “just a tour guide,” Matt knew there was more to be learned about the field. Without any direction from the broker he worked with, he took it upon himself to become well-versed in his field. Luckily, he got his hands on some investment journals an airplane passenger left behind and got to learning. In 1976, when he moved to Corpus Christi, he took on a few more jobs to gain experience. After finding an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal for a gentleman who was looking for shopping centers and apartment complexes in the South Texas area, he jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, this job did not turn out as planned, almost causing Matt to give up on this career path. Instead, he reached out to the gentleman, pled his case and asked if he could tag along to learn more. At this point, Matt became hooked after seeing the process of commercial real estate, and knew he’d never go back to selling ranches again. His first big sale – Christy Estates – launched his career, propelling him to seek out bigger deals. The deals kept coming, and eventually, the scope of his career expanded to include marketing commercial buildings, retail centers, apartment complexes and developer tracts. Unfortunately, during the ‘80s and ‘90s, Cravey was met with another career struggle when the economy took a big hit and almost a third of the savings and loan associations failed, leaving his company in quite the predicament. “The tax laws were changed, disallowing the tax advantages of investing in real estate, oil and gas,” he says. “These changes were also retroactive back a year or two, and so all of these investors I was working with suddenly lost these advantages and had to come up with money to pay the IRS. People started fleeing from oil and gas and real estate investments, so we no longer had investors to help carry properties.” To make matters worse, there was a recession at the time, so the big companies that were tenants in properties he owned started going out of business. Due to this economic storm, Cravey lost most of his staff, leaving just him and his bookkeeper.

Matt Cravey holds two of the highest designations in the commercial real estate industry: Society of Industrial Office Realtors (SIOR) and Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM).

Eventually, his company was up and running financially again, so Cravey began working with bankers and investors and managing properties with an eye toward rebuilding his company. Although he was hesitant to rebuild and his confidence was shot, he met more people along the way with whom he was eager to work, and instead of seeing this event as a crutch, he chose to learn from those mistakes and continue growing from the knowledge acquired. Not knowing when the money will appear is another struggle commercial real estate agents contend with. While residential real estate agents see their commissions within nine weeks, Cravey has to wait upwards of six months to a year for his, so it’s important to work hard and have some staying power in the industry. Cravey takes his job very seriously and works diligently to make sure he’s putting his best foot forward. As he has stated before, “My customers know that I’ll always have their back. That’s ingrained in my personality.” No matter how many hurdles he’s encountered, Cravey recalls the best success in his business as the contributions he’s made to this community in the way of the buildings he’s sold to investors. When explaining the feeling of seeing packed parking lots and large groups of people at the various sites he’s sold, he says, “When you build a house, you touch that family. When you build a shopping center, you touch a larger number of people, and it feels good knowing that you lent a hand in making that happen”. Although many of his competitors are retiring, Cravey has no intention of backing down just yet. There are many new ideas and projects brewing, and he hopes to continue taking on large projects. As he says, “the bigger the project, the more satisfying!”

To learn more about Matt Cravey and to check out current listings, visit


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Judy Herndon "The true light is that which emanates from within many & reveals the secrets of the heart to the soul, making it happy & contented with life."- Kahlil Gilbran

“Congratulations class of 2020! We are proud to have you representing our community and wish you much success on your next chapter!“

"Congrats! The world will be a different place soon - Prepare for it - Stay strong!"

"Congratulations to all of the Coastal Bend Class of 2020 Grads! May your future endeavors bring you the joy & success you all deserve!"

"Congratulations to all the graduates and good luck on your new journeys!"

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. Congrats & good luck as you start your new chapter!"

"Belize Garcia, we are so proud of you! Like mom, like daughter, You are the best!"

Conni & Jay Wise “Wishing the Class of 2020 great success, Congrats!” Marion Luna Brem "We are so proud of you Ally! Beauty, brains, and sweetness!" Becca & Jeremy Taylor "Congratulations Kaila Cardenas on your High School & Associate Degree Graduation. We are Proud of you! AHS Class of 2020"

"Best of luck in your future endeavors!"

"There is no elevator to success, sometimes you must take the stairs."

"You made history. Now build your legacy!"

Holly Lewis "So proud of my GP 2020 graduate, Hannah! Reach for the stars Class of 2020!" Tracy & Adrian Garza "Congrats to the Class of 2020 High School grads!"

"Best Wishes to the Class of 2020, You earned it! We will celebrate soon!"

"The Javelina Nation Congratulates the Coastal Bend Area Class of 2020"

"Congrats to all Seniors!"

"Congrats to all 2020 High School Graduates"

Leila Gallegos "Love & blessings in honor of my grandson, Connor Ray Davila-Class of 2020, Round Rock, TX. Congrats Coastal Bend 2020 Grads!" Drs. Osbert & Nelly Garcia Blow "Congrats to you all! We are so proud of you and stand behind you in celebration of your success now and in the future!" Todd Hunter “Congratulations and we are proud of your accomplishments!”


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"Congrats, Class of 2020, from your Good Neighbor Agent! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness & success!"

"Congrats Class of 2020!"

AGUA DULCE HIGH SCHOOL Cruz Garza Micaela Gianna Gaitan Nyla Gomez Taig Saenz

ALICE HIGH SCHOOL Abrigayle Garza Adam Lee Perez Jr. Amera Maya Saenz Ashley Trejo Hailee P. Carbajal Iris Rivera Jesaiah Torres Kaila Alyse Cardenas Katelyn Victoria Hernandez Leah Barrera Marlysa Lozano Mercedes Mia Macias Orion D. Gonzalez Ysabella Danielle Muñoz

ANNAPOLIS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY Caleb Terry Isaac Montez Jay Guzman Maya Liefer

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ARANSAS PASS HIGH SCHOOL Anaya Lozano Anna Elizondo Austin Seals Edward Trout Elijah Diaz Shelby Scott

AUSTWELLTIVOLI HIGH SCHOOL Lia Marie Hernandez Liann Macie Hernandez Madison Paige Countryman

BANQUETE HIGH SCHOOL Samantha Ibarra Alex Ramirez Isaak Ryan De La Paz Paula Aries Zarate* *Not pictured




Roman Gutierrez

Alex Rodriguez Alyssa Rodriguez Anastasia Victoria Flores Jenna Bammert Taylor De La Paz

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COLLEGIATE HIGH SCHOOL Alessandra Limon "Ali" Gema Rodriguez Jacob Tuley Mercedes Marie Garcia Rheanna Puebla

FLOUR BLUFF HIGH SCHOOL Aaron Palmer Aaron Vera Abby White Ashley Heartwell Austin Weaver C.J. Howe Charlie Abigail Ocean King Durham Harris

Emily Gisewhite Grayson Cox Hannah Spitzer Isabella Williams Jenna Jade Flores John Chapa Kaden Barrera Kamron Riley Snodgrass Karina Chana Katie Anderson Mia Villegas Michael Speed

Preston Michael Wilkey Rebecca Bertlshofer* Reganne Long* Serena Draper Waylon Clay Sabol *Not pictured

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FOY H. MOODY HIGH SCHOOL Abram Hinojosa* Anastasia Caprice Guerra* Arianna Diamond Martinez* Belize Alexia Garcia Brandon Rodriguez Breanna Faith Peña Gloria Angeline Zaragoza Isabella Soriano Jerek Flores Jordyn Sanders

Jose Jesus Franco Julianna Gomez Justine Corin Sauceda Kaiytlynn Constante Kayleen Salomon Madeleine Marie Palomo Marcus Chapa Maria Alexia Gonzalez Velez Mariah Mata Matthew Cantu


Michael Jay Ramirez Michael Gilbert Silva Rachelle Mendoza Randy Guzman Jr Ryan Espinosa Samantha Ortega Sandra Castro Sophia Flores Timothy Escamilla Trinity J'Naya Olmeda Victoria Armes

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*Not pictured

GREGORYPORTLAND HIGH SCHOOL Amanda Leigh Laughlin Ashley Renae Castillo Camden Rymer Craig Allen Stephens Hannah Marguerite Swink Hannah Shaw Joe Sauceda Jose L. Tabarez Jr. Julia Marie Durham Michaela Faith Irwin Rene Rios Sebastian Lindley Shelby Brooke Bridger Taylor Alvarado Trynity Catherine Montez

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HAROLD T. BRANCH HIGH SCHOOL Brianna Renee Santos Dylan Ray Alvarez Jenaly Beseril

INCARNATE WORD ACADEMY AmistĂ Agarwal Isaiah Aguilar Sofia Alexander Luis Armstrong Rilley Arreola Drew Bandas Elysheva Barnett

Anthony Matl Sebastian Mondragon Esteban Moreida Juliana Perez Richard Recio Sneha Reddy Ruben Resendez Jacob Rivera Sean Rodriguez Emmarie Rossiter Marina Salinas


Patrick Shea Emily Sheets Claire Thomas Yanet Vasquez Gavin Vicknair Bella Williams Kelsi Wood Bella Ysassi Zach Zepeda

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Emma Becker Lane Behnke Alex Beltran Juliana Bocanegra Julian Boehm Jackie Brown Owen Burke Perry Burkett Gregg Cervantes Gil Chapa Sophia Cheaney Josef Cuevas

Vivian DeArman Alaina De Leon Sabrina De Santiago Jeremy DeGaish Josh DeLuca Alison Duncan Savannah Flores Lexi Galvan Gabrielle Garcia Joseph Garcia Sarah Garcia Peach Garcia-Esparza

Riley Gourley Eleanor Greco Connor Hein Annie Hoffman Charlie Hornsby Amber Jones Harrison Keenan Minji Kim Jon LaPeer-Donnely Drake Leeson Paxton Longwell Bethany Lopez

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INGLESIDE HIGH SCHOOL Airik Anthony Cortez Alyssa Devon rock Anthony Villarreal Kyle Newlin Sierra Bell

KAUFER EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL Anyssa Tijerina Donniella Elizabeth Goodwyn Noah Jonathan Garcia

LONDON HIGH SCHOOL Averie Jones Jared Bottroff Justin Anthony Cuevas Luke Cazalas Mackenzie Albrecht Nicholas Dylan Vargas Noel Wright

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MARY CARROLL HIGH SCHOOL Alexandra Deleon Amanda Pollakis Caitlin Rae Hafer Danielle Marie Resendez Desmond Xavier Martinez Elias Ceasar Gamez Jacob Anthony Alvarez Jaelynn A. Garza Kendall Smith Kiera Peña Melissa Nicole Mata Mikaela Hewitt Salomon Campos

ODEM HIGH SCHOOL Eliana Hope Villarreal Madysin MIchelle Moreno Megan Frerich Mikaela Molsbee

ORANGE GROVE HIGH SCHOOL Isaac Aguilar Kalah Pressley Luis Ortiz Natalie Serna Tyler Garcia


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RICHARD KING HIGH SCHOOL Abigail Artherholt Alexandria Ortiz Alexus Kristine Alaniz Amaris Bernal Andrew J.Ramirez Brayden Sosa Cierra Francisca Gomez Crystal Salazar Derek Rey Saenz

Izabelle Martinez James Andrews Jenna Leslie Franco Jillian Dunnahoo Madisyn Faith Velasquez Nathalia Cerelia Medellin Nicholas Daniel Garza Samuel Pena Serrena Sky Flores Xavier Alexander Garza

ROBSTOWN EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL Alexis Rubio Antonio Cesar Gonzalez Jonathan Paul Torres Marissa Rubio Ruben Michael Badillo Sierra Nicole Salazar

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ROY MILLER HIGH SCHOOL Darrell Harvey John Anthony Villarreal Kalista Janelle Garza Marco Rangel MaryJane Aleman Mireya Lopez Ronika Baiza Vivianna Alexys Lopez


SANTA GERTRUDIS ACADEMY Ariana De La Paz Melanie Celeste A

SINTON HIGH SCHOOL Austin Kaleb Martinez Dylan Izaiah Summa Leslie Castillo Maya Rodriguez Melvin Howard IV Sebastian Martinez Trey Anthony Rittiman


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ST. JOHN PAUL II HIGH SCHOOL Carmen Maria Franco Christian Ramos Isaiah Garcia

TAFT HIGH SCHOOL Mark “Marky” Morin Michael Esquivel

TULOSOMIDWAY HIGH SCHOOL Aaron Andrade Annabelle Plata Blaire Perez Eliana Martinez Jordyn Lorelle Torre Mariela Ledesma

Michael Ortiz Mireya Lopez* Ryan Hinojosa Victoria Carrizales Zachary Nepote *Not pictured

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VETERANS MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL Adriana Luna Aiden Connor Alexia Guerrero Alyssa Benavides Alyssa Jolee Alaniz, Amryss Chapa Anthony Guerrero Jr “Big T” Ariah Celeste Arsuaga Ashleigh Alanis Ashley Ramirez


Avery Marie Garza Bailey Cabrera Blake Herndon Brandon Cayce Brandon Moreno Brandon Ramos Briana Isadina Hundley Christina Camarillo Daniela Garcia Devin Vargas Eddie Zapata Emily Barron Gabriela “Gaby” Yeackle Grace Bliss

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Haylie Brown Isaiah Williams Jacob Rene Garza Jase Galbreath Jason Garza Jenna Gonzalez Jessa Escamilla Jett Ryan Nicolet Jordan Michelle Hernandez Jordan Winfrey Jose A. Lopez Joseph Daniel Perez Joseph Gonzalez

Joshua Christian Garcia Karoline Krockover Katalena Garcia Katelynn Acevedo Kayla Alaniz Kaylee Canales Kendall Downes Lauren Elena Rodriguez Madison Torrez Matthew Krall Meadow Love Perez MJ Rodriguez Nico Trujillo

Noah Bustamante Noah Zamarron Ramon Lara Ryan Perez Ryder Cramer Samantha (Sammi) Perez Saul T. Arambula Seth Thompson Teya Martinez Victoria Jordan Bonczewski Victoria Zambrano James Meehan

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W.B. RAY HIGH SCHOOL Bella Ramirez Eric Leal Jack Meyer Jalen Jackson Kati Mae Medina Katie Ramirez Lauren Amaro Marco Serrano Maria Mejares


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Mariah Lynn Alaniz Martin Santos Melanie Ann Rodriguez Michaela Lauren Foote Riley Rayann Benitez Immenhauser Ricardo Cuevas III Stephanie Alicia Cisneros

WEST OSO HIGH SCHOOL Destiny Garcia Larissa Lopez Natalie Rae Laurel Zaylen LomaxÂ


* Some of the images submitted were either too small and/or not of acceptable press-quality to include. Submissions sent beyond our scheduled deadline may not be included. All of the images included were submitted, not collected. We appreciate your understanding. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine on-the-go digital issues







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The Texas State Aquarium transports you to the fascinating habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. You’ll explore coral reefs, coastal lagoons, lush jungles, and the open sea and get up-close and personal with sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, flamingos, and hundreds of other species. Wonder at jumping dolphins and soaring birds during daily presentations and get a hands-on encounter with a live shark or stingray. Best of all, your visit isn’t just full of inspiration and imagination, it’s helping with wildlife conservation. That’s because your visit helps support wildliferescue and conservation, including our Wildlife Rescue, which rehabilitates and releases hundreds of birds and sea turtles every year in the Coastal Bend. At the Texas State Aquarium, you’ll save more than memories.

#SaveMoreThanMemories / Corpus Christi, Texas / I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



Stronger Together A message of encouragement from the Ingleside Chamber of Commerce Special to Inspire Coastal Bend


he Ingleside Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank all of those working on the frontlines amidst this COVID-19 crisis. Your dedication and resolve are commendable, and we appreciate you so much.

The chamber postponed Ingleside Round Up Days and Music Festival just shy of the shutdown; we are hoping to revive it before the end of the year. We have supported small businesses and the community of Ingleside through social media and Go-to Meetings. We are working with the Ingleside Economic Development Corporation on ways to help our community re-open when it is time. For now, we practice social distancing, and are putting the health of our community first and foremost. We are all in this together.


This content was submitted by Executive Director Barbara Gregg and staff. For updates from the Ingleside Chamber of Commerce, visit


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Every business is different. We get that. That’s why we provide unique investment levels, designed to help you right where you are. Don’t just take our word for it.

Research Shows... Consumers are 63% more likely to buy from a business that is a Chamber member. Companies enjoy a 49% increase in consumer favorability rating for being a member of the Chamber.

Membership is valuable & affordable, with investment starting at less than $42 per month

Consumers are 73% more likely to be highly aware of a business if it is a member of the Chamber, and 68% more likely to think positively of its local reputation. 7/10 consumers believe that being actively involved in the Chamber is an effective strategy for enhancing a business’ reputation and for demonstrating that it uses good business practices. Source: Shapiro Group, Atlanta, GA

The United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce is your...

PARTNER IN PROMOTION Increase your visibility, get the word out, gain access to cost-effective and often free advertising for your business.

CONNECTION BUILDER Looking for leads, networking and business showcase opportunities? You’ve come to the right place.

BUSINESS ADVOCATE We are your voice on issues that affect business and we maintain direct contact with leaders in all levels of government. When you need change, we make change happen.

United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce 602 N Staples St., Suite 150 Corpus Christi, TX 78401 (361) 881-1800 For more information on chamber membership, contact Efrain Franco, Jr.



TASTE If quarantine at home has been a circus, add animal cookies! These honey graham bites are both fun and nostalgic. This recipe makes approximately four to five dozen depending on the size of your cutters, so you will have plenty to snack on while seeing what Netflix has to offer this summer.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 butter sticks, room temperature 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 3 tbsp. honey, divided 1 drop pink food coloring (or color of choice) 2 tsp. milk 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 to 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar Optional: sprinkles, raw sugar, sanding sugar, etc. Instructions: 1. Add room-temperature butter, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons honey to mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Mix well, until light and fluffy. Add salt and cinnamon, and mix. Add both flours slowly, until just mixed. 2. Roll dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for 1 hour. 3. Remove dough from fridge, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Summer Snacking Treat yourself to fun and nostalgic iced animal cookies. By: Mandy Ashcraft // Photo by: Dustin Ashcraft

For more information, visit


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4. Roll dough flat about Âź-inch thick and use cookie cutters to make animal shapes. The cutters used for the photo were from Amazon, but use any you like! Bake on a lined cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes. 5. To make icing: Whisk powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon honey, milk and food coloring in a small bowl. When the cookies have cooled, dip or drizzle with icing, adding sprinkles and/or decorative sugar.

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Open for Business CCIA is working – and waiting for you!

during normal traffic. Despite the fact that there are fewer flights, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires commercial airports to maintain all safety standards and to operate in a safe, secure and efficient manner.

By: Kim Bridger-Hunt Every day, our crews are tackling projects, some of which may not be that noticeable to travelers once they return to CCIA. But the work is necessary for us to maintain our federal certification, and to meet the expectations of those who will rely on CCIA when it’s time to travel again. CCIA crews are painting safety markings on the runways, filling in spaces between pavement and grass, power-washing the covered parking structure and canvas in front of the terminal, doing maintenance on emergency response equipment and continuing to step up the cleaning and disinfecting that is necessary inside the terminal. The goal is to not miss a beat during this lull, and to make sure that customers come back to a shiny, clean and beautiful facility.

Then came something called the coronavirus. As soon as spring break ended, air travel out of CCIA began to slow down. As word of COVID-19 spread, people began to cancel vacations and business trips. Since mid-March, air travel has dropped 90 percent at airports across the nation. Airlines are republishing schedules that are drastically reduced going into the summer months. There’s no way to know for certain how long it will last, or when

you, your families, your neighbors or your coworkers will be ready to fly again. One thing you can know for certain is that CCIA is not sitting still during this downturn. The airport is open for business. Although many of our tenants are closed or are operating with reduced hours, airport employees are keeping the lights on, the terminal clean and operational and the airfield in tip-top shape. In fact, the slow-down in traffic has created a window for completing some of the kinds of projects that are challenging

When it’s time to take a trip, we hope travelers will look to CCIA as their starting point. The more we use the service that is provided by American, United and Southwest, the better our chances of getting additional service in the future. And remember that at CCIA, there are no big crowds or long lines to deal with while you’re here. Social distancing at CCIA is really not difficult. Here’s to good health and safe travels for you and your family. We’ll be ready for you when you’re ready to go see the world again.

Since mid-March, air travel has dropped 90 percent at airports across the nation.

Kim Bridger-Hunt is the marketing manager at CCIA. For more information, contact her at


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Just a couple of months ago, traffic at Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA) was on the rise. Last year ended with an 8 percent increase in traffic for the month of December. January and February 2020 continued the trend with increases of 2.3 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

To everyone who is working in these trying times Thank You!

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Insurance underwritten by Farmers Insurance Exchange and other affiliated insurance companies. Life insurance is issued by Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, 3120 139th Ave. SE, Ste. 300, Bellevue, WA 98005. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own insurance. Visit for a complete list of companies. Not all insurers are authorized in all states. Not all products, coverages, and discounts are available in all states. See agent for details.

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



Virtual Volunteering Helping from home in a time of crisis By: Samantha Koepp-Stemplinger

t’s truly remarkable how, even in the midst of personal struggle, there are those who are determined to lend a hand to pull others up out of hardship. This takes shape in various forms, as we all have different resources available from which to give: time, skills, access, ability, etc. What is the same among all acts of kindness, though, is the intent to help people.

Create a call to action All organizations are in need of funding, and any contribution enables their services to go farther. If you are interested in financially donating to a group, consider creating a personal fundraising campaign through social media. Showing your support can encourage those within your circle of influence to support, as well, because they can see that it is important to you, which increases the reach toward those who relate to that cause.

Humanity thrives through society. How we feel part of a community is based on interaction with others, most often through in-person social interaction. As we’ve experienced in these past months, the removal of physical presence within a community can affect every aspect of one’s life – mentally, physically and financially. Ironically, it’s the technology that we’ve often condemned for disconnecting us from the physical world that has kept us connected during a time of isolation. In the words of Jon Bon Jovi, “When you can’t do what you do, you do what you can.” That includes what you can. With an overwhelming number of growing needs from all over, there are endless opportunities to lend a hand – virtually, that is. Many organizations have transferred their office operations online. They

are facing the challenges of functioning virtually while serving the everyday needs of the community, and now the additional emergency needs in response to the public health crisis. So how do you figure out how to help? Connect with your values The first step is finding an organization to which you feel connected. Relating to the mission will give you the ability to determine what getting involved looks like for you. Tell your friends The quickest and easiest way to support an organization is to help them share their message. Like and share their social media posts to spread awareness to your network.

About CASA of the Coastal Bend CASA of the Coastal Bend is a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to speak up for and find permanent homes for foster children in crisis throughout Nueces and Aransas Counties. During mandated social distancing, operations have shifted 100 percent online with volunteers continuing to connect with and support the children they serve, as well as advocate for their needs in court via virtual platforms. Learn more about the role of a volunteer and the application process by attending a 45-minute Virtual Information Session, offered every Wednesday at noon via Zoom.

Offer your support directly Just because a group is not asking for help does not mean that all of their needs are fulfilled. Most nonprofits are shortstaffed and are too busy during normal circumstances to take time from completing essential tasks to ask for assistance. Find out what they need, and then determine how you are able to provide support. While we are living in a time of uncertainty, what is known is that acts of kindness are what will help us get through the challenges – the receivers, the observers and the givers.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – MR. FRED ROGERS

For more information, contact Diana at 361-779-3664 or, or visit us online at or on Facebook (@coastalbendcasa).


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We Salute all of the essential workers, healthcare and public service professionals who have served tirelessly on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not all Heroes Wear Capes THANK YOU PELICAN



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Specializing in Commercial Builtto-Suit as well as Residential, Electrical, Site Work, and Civil Construction



Quality Results Start With Us


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At Gourley Contracting, We Don’t Just Build, We Build Relationships. Highly-skilled and Experienced

p roudly f amily o wned and o perated s ince 1971 The Frame Up began as a Frame-It-Yourself Shop and grew into the largest custom frame shop in south Texas providing excellent framing experience.





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