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*Based 2014 Retail I N S Pon IRE C O A Total S TA L New BEND M A GSales . C O Mfrom Ford Motor Co. Sales Report 2




4721 Ayers St. 78415 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



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Salsa Bar (made fresh daily) Express Lunch Menu Off Site Catering ďƒ‹ Party Room available Like us on Facebook

Gulfway Shopping Center 6042 South Padre Island Drive CC TX 78412 (361) 334-6081

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SPECIAL FEATURE 14 Stellar Service BUSINESS COACH 16 Give Back to Give Thanks FEATURES 18 Jack of All Shades 20 Coastal Treasures 22 Celebrating Ethical Practices 24 A Season to Celebrate REAL ESTATE 50 Getting Started TASTE 54 Kids’ Classic – for Adults TRAVEL 56 Food for Thought ENTERTAINMENT 58 Many Acts, One Roof NONPROFIT 62 So Much More 64 HELP Helps! INSPIRED STYLE 66 Stephanie Kusy




As trainers, Sammy and Sebastian Giraldo are committed to developing individuals both as elite soccer players and as people.


32 PINNACLE ROOFING SYSTEMS President Ben Molina and Vice President Chris Cuellar follow the Golden Rule and honor both their clients and the community with honesty and reliability at this awardwinning local business.

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Following her passion to make lives better, the new Corpus Christi city manager has great things in store for the citizens of the Coastal Bend.

The proposed new campus will help the college further its mission of impacting the community with higher education by providing students with hands-on, realworld experiences.



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Its ART Time at

Tracey’s Studio of Arts and Crafts




PUBLISHER/SALES 361.548.1044

Where all you need is your imagination! After School Activities Drawing Painting Ceramics Mosaics Clay Crafts Wreaths

Holly Duvall


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mandy Ashcraft Colton Bartel Kristen Bily Kim Bridger-Hunt Tim Clark Jessica Dusek Coral Dworaczyk Richard E. Glover Jr. Dr. Ridge Hammons Stephanie Kusy Connie Laughlin Sylvia Slezak Kelly Trevino Sarona Winfrey Dayna Worchel



• Water color and Acrylic Classes • Mixed Media Classes • Weekly Homeschool ART Classes • ART Birthday Parties • Art Parties for all Occasions! • Kid’s Night Out! Second Friday of every month • Walk-ins are always welcome

PHOTOGRAPHY Dustin Ashraft Mark Joseph/Dark Lab Photography David Olds For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email For editorial comments and suggestions, please email

361-371-5023 5922 Yorktown Blvd. Ste. 110


7957 Wolverine Corpus Christi, Texas 78414 Phone: 361.548.1044



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

Wraps Salads Entrees Wraps Salads Entrees Dine-in Meal PLans Catering Dine-in Meal PLans Catering S Staples #102 Corpus Corpus Christi, Christi, TXTX78413 992-9696 74267426 S Staples StSt#102 78413 (361) (361) 992-9696 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M




The sights and sounds of the season begin here. shop. dine. be merry. 5488 S. Padre Island Drive, Corpus Christi 10

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Great Food. Great Times. Great Experience. Happy Hour 4-7pm

7 Days a Week

5409 Saratoga Blvd., Corpus Christi 361.992.2333 Sun-Thurs 11am-1am

Fri & Sat 11am-2am I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


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5510 Williams Drive | Corpus Christi, Texas | 361.991.8383 | I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M




Meet Stellar Energy Solutions Employee of the Month Darrel Halbert, who is being recognized for excellence in customer service and achievement. By: TIM CLARK


arrell Halbert is an exemplary employee at Stellar Energy Solutions. He consistently does an excellent job educating our current and future customers, and he is always willing to support staff on the proper way to approach customers. He keeps his sales quota in constant sight, while doing a number of other tasks. Recently, with the extreme weather and disasters across the nation, Halbert worked tirelessly to make sure our existing and prospective customers received all critical communications and updates. He kept

them aware of important information on how this can and will change the cost of electricity for commercial and residential consumers. He also kept them updated as to when the timing is right to take advantage of lower-than-normal electricity rates. Halbert worked many late nights and weekends to accomplish this. He is an excellent employee who deserves this award.

For any and all of your electricity pricing needs, please contact Darrell Halbert at, 361-687-4183 (cell), 361-884-8973 (office) or 361-884-8963 (fax).


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Why Choose us: Our customers come first. The Stellar Energy Solutions and Hudson Energy support team is made up of people who understand the industry and care deeply about helping you in every way. We are here for you.  Dynamic Pricing: We have several clear advantages over other suppliers, including market experience and purchasing power, which add up to more value for your business.

 Environmentally Sound: We see the big picture. As an industry leader, it's our responsibility to explore green energy product options and offer affordable ways for companies to reduce their environmental impact.

 Energy Advisors: Our team of industry specialists will work with you to create an energy solution that meets all of your company's needs from budget to roll-out and support.

 Fully Integrated Partnership: Stellar Energy Solutions partners with Hudson Energy because our business values align. There is a mutual trust in our white glove approach to serving your business needs.

361.884.8973 |

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Three ways to benefit both your workplace and your community


ee or an employer, your value might be determined by the gifts you’re willing to share with others today or tomorrow. Be generous. One winning HR initiative is to offer two paid days off to employees who volunteer at nonprofits providing services, whether they provide relief support to flood victims, raise funds for needy children at Christmastime or plant trees on Arbor Day.



2. Sharing your talent What are your collective talents? God gave each of us certain gifts that we can share. Can you teach something? Host an event? Mentor a young executive? A local businessman and friend of mine told me that he had a mentor early on in his professional career; he accredits his financial success to that one relationship. You see philanthropic efforts grow morale and loyal employees. Everyone works together for the common good, no matter if we’re helping our clients or our community. We’re all working together as a team.


1. Sharing your time Giving of one’s time could very well be the biggest sacrifice. But you’re sure to find that when you carve out time to mentor young professionals, aid in fundraising campaigns or feed the hungry, everyone benefits. Whether you’re an employ-


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CONNIE LAUGHLIN is a business consultant for UniqueHR. UniqueHR provides payroll administration, workers’ compensation insurance, a safety program, risk management, a human resources program and, optionally, benefits – all as a package. For more information, you may contact Laughlin at 361852-6392 or conniel@


3. Sharing your treasure Financial treasure isn’t the only kind of treasure to be given. What can you donate? What do you have that someone else could use or benefit from? Our employees at UniqueHR and Unique Employment love the Friday Jeans program. Everyone who agrees to donate money electronically from each pay period gets to wear jeans on Friday. Toward the end of the year, we all get together and vote on a worthy charitable cause beneficial to our community, the company matches and we’re able to offer some much-needed help. We’re a tight-knit group, turnover is rare and our employees are enthusiastically engaged because we enjoy what we do – and part of that is giving back!




uring our season of Thanksgiving, look into philanthropic programs for your company. Creating a volunteer program or charitable fundraising opportunity could be a huge human resources (HR) initiative to roll out right now. Employers who allow their employees to choose the beneficiary and take part in the efforts create an environment of respect for one another, gratitude and company pride. There’s no better recruiting tool than offering a workplace with a positive community image, and one where employees find satisfaction in their work and are happy to come to work every day.

2401 Cimarron Blvd., Suite 102 Corpus Christi, TX 78414 (361) 992-9025 LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

Michelle Cardiel (361) 549-1827

Michelle Gallegos (361) 446-4809

Locally Owned and Operated




CCISD SCHOOL BOARD AT LARGE Vision  Knowledge  Experience As a retired CCISD Central Office Administrator I WILL:  Promote Educational Excellence  Be a steward of financial accountability  Promote value and integrity for personnel  Ensure for safe and secure schools

Early Voting: 10/24-11/04 Election Day: November 8th “My extensive background and experiences in leadership, management, school board relations, evaluation of campus operations and instructional implementation, as well as knowledge of district operations, will provide a positive insight and be the best asset as a CCISD School Board Member.”

“The Right Choice” #9 Elect Mr. A.  361-549-8886 

Pol. Ad p a i d b y th e E l e c t S. J a i m e Ar r e d o n d o C amp aig n, A d elf in o Palacio s, Tr eas ur er, 4 0 2 Peo p le S t . , C. C. , T X 7 8 4 0 1

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Exotic origins, vibrant colors and unique opportunities for one-of-a-kind designs make tourmaline the gemstone of choice for many designers and collectors.


ay you’re exploring South America in the 1500s and you happen across a green stone lying in the dirt. What is your first conclusion? Probably, like most people, you think, emerald! That is exactly what happened to a Spanish conquistador as he was traveling through modern-day Brazil. For centuries, people believed that the green stones he had discovered were emeralds. It wasn’t until the 1800s that scientists figured out he had unearthed an entirely new stone, now known as tourmaline. Though tourmaline was first discovered in Brazil, it is actually found in many other places around the world, including several African nations, Russia and even Southern California, just to name a few. In some cases, the origin of these magnificent stones can have a huge impact on their value. Each location provides different atmospheres for the crystals to grow, resulting in many different colors, some showing multiple colors and even some phenomenal stones like cat’s-eye tourmaline. Brazil does remain the leading source for these gems in every color, producing millions of carats each year. One of the more notable stones would be Paraiba tourmaline. Coming from the Paraiba state, these stones are known to have a very intense, electric blue-green color, and to be very bright. In this case, both origin and color have the biggest influence price, with some stones commanding several thousand dollars per carat. Since tourmaline occurs in every color, it lends itself very well to unique jewelry designs, most of which would normally be made using more expensive stones such as emerald or ruby. Chrome tourmalines, which are of the green to blue-green variety, can be substituted for emeralds and usually will be free of eye-visible inclusions (emeralds are notorious for having lots of


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those). Rubelite tourmalines are the vibrant red variety that almost everyone confuses with very fine rubies. Indicolite is the blue variety of tourmaline that can sometimes appear as if it is fine blue sapphire. Another more unusual variety is watermelon tourmaline. This stone looks exactly like you would expect it to: pink in the middle and green on the outside. Watermelon tourmaline occurs when the crystal forming in the ground changes color during growth from pink to green, making the entire stone look like a juicy watermelon. Almost all of the stones are cut into slices to really show off the colors. There are other color combinations that can occur, as well; these are called parti-colored tourmaline. Whatever color you may want, there is a tourmaline variety to fit. One of the best benefits of tourmaline is its availability. Though still rare, it is very plentiful by gemstone standards, and sometimes occurs in very large crystals weighing several pounds. Several years ago, one mine in Brazil uncovered a large pocket of “emerald green” tourmalines weighing over a ton! Because of this supply, it is not uncommon to see very unique and intriguing cuts, as well as large stones over 10 carats. What you will typically find when shopping in a store for tourmaline will be larger rings, usually accented with diamonds, as well as pendants that show off the same features. Some designs will focus on a single stone, while others may take advantage of the wide range of colors and use several stones to create vibrant, multi-colored statement pieces. In some cases, you may be able to look at loose stones and use them to create your own one-of-a-kind piece. Designers as well as stonecutters love tourmaline, too. Due to the amount of rough available and large average crystal sizes, they can have a lot of fun with shaping and cutting the stones. Unusual shapes,



facet patterns and even carved stones are relatively easy to come by. Designers really like the availability of calibrated stones, or stones that are cut in traditional shapes and sizes that fit pre-made settings common in the industry. This works out especially well if a design is to be mass-produced or requires several stones of the same size and color to fit into one piece.

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• Serving Corpus Christi, Alice and surrounding areas • Affordable funeral services and cremations • Prearranged funeral plans with low monthly payments • Family owned and operated since 1995

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The cutters have more fun with the cutting process, obviously. Some will experiment with a new or different way of polishing the stones, and some will even carve the stones into random shapes or figures. Whether you’re a designer, a collector or just someone who appreciates fine gemstones, tourmaline should be at the top of your list of stones to own. The exotic origins, vibrant colors and occasionally unusual sizes and shapes make this an intriguing stone sure to be the center of conversation for years to come.

For more information, or to see these amazing gems in person, visit Susann’s Diamond Jewelers, located at 4254 S. Alameda in Corpus Christi. You may also call 361-991-7565, visit or look for Susann’s on Facebook.

120 E. Front St., Alice, TX

Corpus Christi: (361) 879-0085 Alice: (361) 668-1116 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



be able to follow along with local artists as they take you step-by-step through the painless process of creating a beautiful painting. Go ahead, paint a masterpiece and hang it on your wall. You could be the next Picasso. Here you take your own refreshments, your favorite food or snack and any wine, beer or pre-bottled alcoholic beverage to sip on during the adult classes. The Tipsy Canvas is also great for a team-building event, family bonding, bachelorette parties, a girls’ night out or any occasion. They will even tailor your group’s painting specifically for you. shares three hidden gems that are perfect places to ease your holiday stress. By: SYLVIA SLEZAK


ummer is gone, and won’t be back ‘til next year. Autumn is here, and so is the holiday season along with all its adjectives: happy, hectic, stressful, sad, memorable, etc. But we have a few suggestions for you to consider doing either before or after the holiday season. Make time for yourself to be with those who matter the most to you. Here are three hidden treasures to discover and explore. A villa by the bay Villa La Casita is a hidden coastal treasure that provides an intimate and refreshing retreat in the Coastal Bend. It is perfect for celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary, birthday or weekend getaway with that very special someone. Lush tropical gardens on the rear patio and side party lawn provide the perfect setting for such celebrations. A weekend in your own villa can be a great way to unwind after the holidays or prepare for the busy holiday season. Bask in the sun, sit in the shade or enjoy your breakfast while surrounded by the smell of the flowers and the

sound of the trickling fountain in the beautiful courtyard. After an active day outdoors, return to the courtyard to relax and collect yourself before dinner. It’s like being transported to another place and time. You can get some local sightseeing in at the nearby attractions or soak up some sun at the downtown beaches. Visit the museums, the USS Lexington, Texas State Aquarium or the Harbor Playhouse. Enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, rollerblading or bicycling along Shoreline Drive. Take a short stroll to Cole Park to watch a beautiful sunset and the sailboats returning to port each evening. One weekend of this may cure most of what ails you. A fun way to celebrate If you prefer to connect with the artistic side of you, there is an adventure awaiting you at an art studio offering a great night of painting without the commitment of a regular art class. That place is The Tipsy Canvas. Even if you’ve never touched a paintbrush in your life, you’ll

Safe and happy holiday wishes Though our coastal journey together has ended, your holiday adventures await you. May you be safe, happy and blessed during this holiday season.

Sylvia Slezak is the director of marketing and social media at For more information on where to relax, have fun and enjoy the hidden treasures of the Coastal Bend, visit us online at to explore the featured premier restaurants, attractions and local events.


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A tasteful ending After a beach trip, take the load off your feet, have a burger, have a drink and watch the sunset. The laidback atmosphere at Padre Island Burger Company is a place for tourists and locals to have fun and fellowship. Their “Dr. Padre Burger” is a culinary masterpiece created by Jason Johnson, a classically French-trained culinary chef who takes burger bliss to a whole new level. The Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce burger is said to blow your mind once you pair it with their tasty garlic fries. You can smell the garlic fries as you walk through the restaurant. Johnson cooks up the barbecue sauce from scratch. The beef, the buns and the ingredients for the barbecue sauce are all from Texas, and the bacon is corn-cob-smoked. Some say it is the best bacon ever on a burger, and that the sauces are what make a good burger. The barbecue sauce and Dr. Pepper syrup combination gives it just enough sweetness with a great deal of deliciousness. While the famous “Dr. Padre Burger” is still the burger that stands out, there are a variety of savory options on their menu, as well. To start with appetizers, order up some deep-fried pickle slices, their famous Dr. Padre sauce or honey cholula wings, famous green chili fries topped with melted cheese, onion rings, quesadillas or regular or sweet potato fries. Build your burger with your choice of beef, chicken, portobello mushroom cap or chicken strips, nestled on a bun and topped with your choice of cheese, fried egg, Dr. Padre barbecue sauce, garlic aioli, sliced avocado, corn-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, green chile, sauteed mushrooms, guacamole and/or jalapenos.

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In order to honor businesses that exemplify its mission of advancing marketplace trust, the Better Business Bureau announces the regional 2017 Torch Awards for Ethics Competition. By: KELLY TREVINO least a “B” rating to be considered for the award. Also, past winners can only enter once every three years. Candidates will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the business and academic communities. The judging criteria includes these six categories: 1/ Leadership Commitment to Ethical Practices 2/ Communication of Ethical Practices 3/ Leadership Practices to Unify the Organization 4/ Organizational Commitment to Performance Management Practices 5/ Organizational Commitment to Ethical Human Resource Practices 6/ Organizational Commitment to the Community

The winner of the 2017 Torch Award has the unique opportunity to receive public recognition for their excellence in ethical business practices. Being selected as a BBB Torch Award winner not only is an honor, but includes the following recognition: • Inclusion in a press release announcing winners • Announcements made via BBB’s social media channels • Inclusion in several BBB promotional vehicles • Lifetime use of the BBB Torch Awards seal (as long as winners maintain a “B” rating with BBB) • Torch Award trophy presentation by BBB • Professional quality photos taken of the winning business by BBB • Website recognition • Perpetual placement on Torch Award winners page (as long as winners maintain a “B” rating with BBB) • Qualification to enter the 2017 International Torch Awards for Ethics (ITAE) Republic Dental, Compliance Resources Inc., Just Right Lawns Inc. and Jon Wayne Service Company were awarded the 2016 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics in February. For entry forms, updates on the deadline of submissions and additional information, visit www.go.bbb. org/centex-torch.

For more important business advice, visit our website at under the “For Businesses” section, or our independent blog, Kelly Trevino is the regional director for the Corpus Christi/Victoria area of Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. She is available for media interviews and speaking engagements. You can reach her at 361-945-7352 or


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o you think you have what it takes to be the next Torch Award winner? Does your business demonstrate a solid commitment to marketplace trust? Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin is now accepting entries for the regional 2017 Torch Awards for Ethics competition. BBB created the Torch Awards for Ethics regional competition to recognize and celebrate ethical business practices. Spotlighting these companies fits BBB’s mission, which is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. Any for-profit business headquartered in BBB’s 105-county service area can submit an entry for the Torch Awards. Entrants must have been in business for at least three years. While BBB accreditation is not a requirement, businesses must be in good standing with BBB and have at


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4903 Ambassador Row, Corpus Christi Texas 361.854.5000 Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am – 6pm, Sat 8:30am – 2:30pm, Sun Closed Instagram@interstatebatteries_cc I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



A SEASON TO CELEBRATE La Palmera welcomes the holidays with a number of seasonal events and activities for all visitors to enjoy.


all is here, and the holidays are right around the corner. Coastal Bend residents and guests alike will find a number of seasonal events and activities to enjoy at La Palmera. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and La Palmera will commemorate it with a month-long awareness campaign sponsored by Radiology Associates LLP. The mall will host a number of events and show off touches of pink throughout the month to raise awareness for breast cancer, including pink ribbon-wrapped palm trees in front of La Palmera. Events will include a Pink-A-Palooza Kickoff on Oct. 1 where shoppers can pick up beads, T-shirts and personalized lawn hearts to place in their yard or the yard of a breast cancer survivor. There will also be a “Chairity” Pink Painting Party on Oct. 6 where participants can join the “Operation Empty Pink Chair” phenomenon by creating their very own chair to take home and put on a porch or in an office. A professional artist will provide instruction and guidance to budding Picassos on how to turn their pink chair into a “masterpiece.” The evening includes a reception at 5:30 p.m. with painting from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost is $50 (you supply the pink chair) or $75 (pink chair is provided). To register or find more information,

email or call 361-561-3157. November marks the start of the retail holiday season, and La Palmera will be ready with a variety of activities and events for the Coastal Bend. On Thursday, Nov. 3, the holidays will be in full swing at La Palmera with the annual arrival of Santa Claus, including a parade, ice princesses and live reindeer. The evening’s activities will take place from 5 to 8 p.m., with live music and entertainment throughout the mall, face painting, arts and crafts and more. Santa’s Winter Wonderland will be at La Palmera through Dec. 24, including Santa meeting with boys and girls and posing for photos in Center Court during regular mall hours. And while the holidays mean beloved traditions, shoppers will soon be enjoying dining and shopping at both La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera. At La Palmera, shoppers will now find delicious ice cream treats from Häagen-Dazs. Located outside the mall’s main entrance adjacent to Charming Charlie, the new 1,048-square-foot Häagen-Dazs shop will open Oct. 3, offering its world-famous ice cream creations, including cakes and drinks. Fashionistas are also anxiously awaiting the opening of fashion leader H&M. This will be the first Coastal Bend location for the popular retailer


known for its wide-ranging and varied collections for women, men, teens and children. Currently under construction, the two-level, 26,558-square-foot La Palmera store will connect 16,033 square feet formerly occupied by Aveda Institute Corpus Christi on the upper level with 10,525 square feet formerly occupied by Buckle and Wet Seal directly below. At The Shops at La Palmera, hungry guests are now enjoying Grub Burger Bar. Located near Chipotle Mexican Grill, Grub Burger features eclectic gourmet burgers on homemade buns, fresh salads and side dishes and cutting-edge shakes, as well as delicious bar appetizers and cocktails. Meanwhile, construction has now started on the 2,500-square-foot Urban Bricks Pizza adjacent to Grub Burger. Known for homemade dough and fresh ingredients, Urban Bricks diners can customize their own salads and pizzas, including their choice of crust, sauce and combination of toppings. The restaurant will also provide delivery service. The Shops will soon have yet another new retailer with the planned addition of men’s clothier Jos. A. Bank. Once constructed, the new 3,729-square-foot store will provide quality clothing for men and boys, including formal wear, suits, shoes and accessories for purchase or rental.

For more information on La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera, visit, look for us on Facebook or call 361-991-3755.


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 Commercial and residential roofing  Master Contractors of Duro-Last “The World’s Best Roof”  Fully insured - General Liability & Workers Comp


2501 S. Padre Island Drive  Corpus Christi, TX 78415  (361) 887-0599  Member of Associated General Contractors (AGC)  Member of Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT)  A+ Rated by BBB  Actively involved in the community (Habitat for Humanity, WBA, LCC) I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



ELITE DEVELOPMENT How Giraldo Elite Futbol is churning out top soccer talent in the Coastal Bend By: STEPHANIE KUSY Photos by: DAVID OLDS


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CHARACTER. ATTITUDE. Top soccer players tend to all possess these qualities. They must go above and beyond while making sacrifices to join the ranks of the elite. Brothers Sammy and Sebastian Giraldo believe many Corpus Christi soccer players possess the talent to make it happen, yet lack the professional coaching and environment. They founded Giraldo Elite Futbol four years ago with the goal to expose South Texas players to top-of-the-line, professional training. Just last year, they opened an indoor soccer facility off Corona, the GEF Indoor Zone, across the street from the YWCA, so players can train safely and soccer aficionados can play pick-up games for $5. Sammy and Sebastian Giraldo have a dream: to give players the chance to play at the highest level of the game. These coaches live, eat and breathe soccer. After all, they are Colombian. “I grew up with a soccer ball at my feet every single day of my life,” Sammy said. “We were immersed in it.” The brothers moved with their parents to the United States as children and went to high school in Corpus Christi. Their love for the sport grew,


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and both played soccer in college. Their paths diverged as adults, though, when Sebastian went on to get his Ph.D. in sport management with a focus on elite athlete development and Sammy was accepted to medical school. While waiting for school to begin, Sammy came home to Corpus Christi and started giving private soccer lessons to make a little extra cash. He quickly realized the opportunity to expand the soccer development business to the Coastal Bend. “Soccer has been in the dark ages for a long, long time,” Sammy said. “Corpus is a weird mid-size city where it lacks professionals like us to train players. The talent has always been here. There just hasn’t been professional trainers and programs to help develop them over the long term.” Sammy decided to scratch medical school and convinced his brother to move home. One soccer team turned to many, and four years later, they have grown their business to train 300 to 500 students from 5 to 18 years old. “We develop players to try and play at the highest level of the games

available here in the U.S.,” Sebastian said. “Whether that’s professional academy, college or professional soccer, those are our objectives for our players, which I would say is much different than what most clubs and soccer organizations do.” Seven players made the U.S. Olympic Development Program soccer regional team this year – the most Corpus Christi has ever seen. In the soccer world, this is a big deal. “We are focused on professional soccer development,” Sammy said. “What that means is that we use modern research training philosophies that come from research backgrounds from academies and universities, and apply it to our training model. They’re age-specific training models. What that means is that at each age, you’re using different techniques to get the most out of the kids and their development environment.” Giraldo Elite Futbol provides private and team training for youth. Private training is a very elite environment. They vet players and parents before they’re accepted. Team training is through the Great Western club for which they are the directors of coaching. As the popularity of soccer grows throughout the country, the best players must develop a solid foundation at a young age so they can fine-tune their skills as teenagers in order to play at that next level. “What happens when they go through puberty is the determining line,” Sebastian said. “If they didn’t get taught the game right, they don’t have the right skills; they didn’t get taught the right discipline, tactics of the game, they won’t be able to hang when they’re 16.” Dropping out of the sport is a major issue in the United States because of this. The coaches also take a different perspective when it comes to winning: It isn’t everything. “Losing is part of good development,” Sammy said. “You should lose because you learn to play the game making lots of mistakes. We need to accept that losing and winning has nothing to do with proper development early on.” Sebastian quickly agreed. “We’re competitors and would love to win every game, but we’re not here to win championships,” he said. “We’re here to get players to the highest level of the game. You’re not going to take I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



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your team, or your parents or your friends to college or to the next level. You really have to create a culture to know that what you’re willing to put in – that sacrifice – that’s what’s going to reap the rewards in the long run.” These coaches radiate intensity. They dedicate 12 to 14 hours per day, seven days a week, nine months out of the year to train and travel with their teams. Clearly, they expect their players to rise to the occasion. “Soccer is our passion,” Sebastian said. “I would say our jobs are probably more enjoyable than most people. We get to play with our players whenever we want. I’d play soccer every day if I could. In the end, watching our players get those opportunities is the payoff. If we can continue to do that, we are happy.”

The coaches realize few players will make it to play Division I soccer and even fewer will go pro. That won’t stop them from working with players who have the potential. They have the experience, they have the knowledge and they even work for U.S. soccer as Olympic development program senior staff in Texas. If a player has the talent and skill set, they know how to develop that player’s potential. Besides soccer, the brothers savor their spare time with family and food. Both somehow manage to intertwine with their busy schedules. Their father, a mathematics professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, helps train at their facility. Playfully nicknamed “El Maestro,” he brings his vast experience and analytical

nature to the game. Whether traveling around Texas or across the country, the family manages to always find gourmet restaurants to chow down. “I think that’s what keeps us relaxed on the road,” Sebastian joked. As the teams begin to travel more, the coaches spend a good deal of time with their players. Conversations tend to center on – you guessed it – soccer. But the coaches will say it’s much more than that. Discussing nutrition, academics and just life in general helps players develop to the best of their ability – as soccer players and as people. “Their success is our success,” Sammy said. “We’re here for the players. If we don’t do a good job for them, we’re doing nothing for ourselves.”

Giraldo Elite Futbol is located at 4630 Corona across the street from the YWCA. For more information, visit them online at

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AT THE PINNACLE Honesty, reliability and the Golden Rule have served Ben Molina and Chris Cuellar well at the award-winning Pinnacle Roofing Systems. By: DAYNA WORCHEL Photos by: MARK JOSEPH/DARK LAB PHOTOGRAPHY & DAVID OLDS


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CORPUS CHRISTI BUSINESS OWNER AND COMMUNITY LEADER Ben Molina has a philosophy that has served him well in business and in life. “I like to treat people the way I want to be treated. I always give people the benefit of the doubt, and I say, ‘I’ll trust you until I can’t trust you,’” Molina said recently inside his newly purchased Pinnacle Roofing Systems office on SPID. So far, this way of thinking and working has served the 36-year-old president of Pinnacle well. He owns the company along with his partner, Chris Cuellar, who serves as the company’s vice president. Molina, a Kerrville native, began working with the company immediately after graduation from King High School. “I started at the bottom, doing what needed to be done in inclement weather and on hot days, installing roofing,” he said. He soon began working in a managerial position with the company, then known as Apex Engineers and Consultants, doing sales, estimating, project management and repairs. Previous owner Charles Schibi decided to retire after Molina had been with the company for 17 years already and gave Molina the opportunity to purchase the business. Molina became president in 2015 after he and Cuellar


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decided to purchase the business from Schibi. “I’ve known Chris for several years,” Molina said of his partner, who started working with Pinnacle Roofing in late 2014. Cuellar has a background in residential roofing, and he brought his expertise to Pinnacle, which had previously performed mostly commercial roofing, according to Molina. “Chris has built our residential market, as well as helping our commercial market grow,” he said. Molina said Pinnacle Roofing was born out of a company called Apex Engineers and Consultants, which was also owned by Schibi. Apex was hired in 2004 to help an irrigation district in the Rio Grande Valley to find a solution to a problem with blowouts happening in its irrigation canals. Molina said the company studied various membranes and materials and came across

a material called Duro-Last, a roofing material created in 1978. Apex contacted the manufacturer and told them they wanted to line the canal with the membrane. The Duro-Last company sent material and a crew, and Apex lined the canal with it. “It saved the irrigation district half a million dollars and solved their problems,” Molina said. Duro-Last honored their warranty with that canal, and the Apex staff became more familiar with the product. “One of the guys we worked with came up with the idea to use it on a roof. Who would have thought? It’s one-fourth pound per square foot, so it’s not too heavy,” Molina said. He’s won awards from Duro-Last for his work. “Over the years, we’ve been awarded Master Contractor status, Elite contractor status and the president’s award,” he said. Both companies, Apex and Pinnacle, ran at the same time for a while. Molina was general manager of both from 2006 until 2015, when he and Cuellar became the owners of Pinnacle in 2015. “I knew the ins and outs of both companies,” he said. Business has picked up for Pinnacle since Molina and Cuellar have taken over. “We hired more sales staff and installers, and have purchased and renovated an office building,” Molina said. “We have several good residential and commercial projects going on now.” Molina, married for more than 11 years to Jennifer Molina and the father of two schoolaged children, didn’t attend college, but he has no regrets about that at all. “I took the road less traveled,” he said. “While my friends were attending school and incurring debt, I kept my nose to the grindstone. I think the hard work paid off, and now being a small-business owner has been my reward.” In May, Molina, who has a history of being heavily involved in his community, announced he is running for Corpus Christi City Council to represent District 2, which occupies several neighborhoods in the center of the city. “I told my friends what I was thinking, and they encouraged me to do it,” he said. He said there is no one issue that pushed him to run. “My goal for city council is to be receptive to new ideas,” he said. “I want to be responsive. If there are issues that I’m not aware of in the district, I want to find out what those issues are and see what I can do to help in those areas. One of the things I want to do to open that line of communication is to set up quarterly town hall meetings in the district.” Holding the town hall meetings will give him feedback from the community so he can find out the concerns and hopefully come up with solutions. “I think that’s important,” Molina said. “That and the overall improving the

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quality of life, which will include streets, drinkable water and all the other issues you see in the news.” Molina has also served as board president of Habitat for Humanity, and was vice president of the City of Corpus Chris-

“I STARTED AT THE BOTTOM, DOING WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE IN INCLEMENT WEATHER AND ON HOT DAYS, INSTALLING ROOFING.” ti’s Zoning Board Adjustments. Molina is currently the board president of Westside Business Association, he is a graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi’s Class 42 and he recently served on the Steering Committee for LCC Class 44. He credits his experience in the Leadership Corpus Christi program with helping


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him to decide to run for city council. “It was very enlightening,” he said of the program. “It is what you make of it. You get out of it what you put into it.” Molina, who enjoys serving and helping, got a chance this summer to put it into practice in a very concrete way, with Mission 911, a local organization that serves the homeless. Founder/Director Tony Reyes called to say he needed help replacing a roof at the shelter. He called Molina, who donated some of the roofing materials and partnered with his roofing supplier to donate the rest. “Ben was very influential in helping us out,” Reyes said. “He did it out of his heart. He asked what we needed, and he made sure it happened.” The new roof houses the dental office and a meeting room at the Mission 911 shelter. “A lot of times, when people say they are going to come through with something, they don’t,” Reyes said. “That wasn’t the case with Ben.”


For more information, visit Pinnacle Roofing Systems online at www. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M




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is guiding the city of Corpus Christi to new goals. Rose accepted her new role in July of this year. Her leadership in city management is supported by her 29 years in public management, including city and county governments. For the last 14 years, Rose has served in Corpus Christi as assistant manager and city deputy city manager. In her new role this year, she prepares for the upcoming 2017 agenda. “There are a lot of different things we will be dealing with,” Rose explains. “Once we start dealing with these issues, there are a lot of positive things.” Her dedication and commitment shine through her voice, as her role will be key in seeing these processes to completion. “I will be able to help the process in where we want to be,” she explains. With her years of expertise, she brings with her a sincere joy for service. “Working to make our lives much better – that is what brought me into the profession, and what keeps me where I am,” Rose says, passionately. Yet, interestingly enough, her path wasn’t always crystal-clear. 40

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“When you are 17, it’s difficult to know what you want and why,” explains Rose, taking us back to her early career days. “I was supposed to go on the journey of becoming an engineer. I graduated early from high school.” She describes a pivotal time period, a sort of catalyst that introduced her to public work. “I was basically waiting to graduate, and one of my counselors indicated that there was an opening (in city government).” With six months left, she joined the accounts payable department in a temporary position in Inkster, Mich. During her time working for the city, she found she had a sincere passion working directly with the community. “I really enjoyed working with the citizens.” Allowing her to understand the perspective from a taxpayer’s point of view, she found she could direct citizens to certain needs, in terms of support, programs and available solutions. “As a result, I really enjoyed interacting with the senior citizens. I really felt good about it,” she recalls of her first job. “It really kind of changed my direction just being in that environment.” Receiving mentorship and exposure to influencers early on, she met the city manager and asked him about what he did and why – a conversation that sparked a personal interest for Rose. “He really got me engaged to the point where I spent time at the library, which was nextdoor to where I was working.” As her family expected her to take the calcu-

lated path of an engineer, she couldn’t help but feel the tug back toward city government. “It was a profound change that my family didn’t particularly like,” she explains. Knowing she could make a difference – knowing that she was helping others had more substance. “It was a real decision to make,” she describes of her choice. With withdrawn support of her family, “I had to deal with a lot of challenges.” Figuring out the financial support to fuel her career change, she supported herself entirely though college. “All I knew is that I had a passion for that work,” she says. “As a result, I decided to put myself through school.” Attending Eastern Michigan University, Rose received her undergraduate degree and continued on to earn her graduate degree in public administration, graduating in 1991. Working in assistant purchasing, she moved to a director position. “It really allowed me to serve the different departments,” she describes. In that capacity, she served as director of public works, offering an opportunity to learn about the whole public works. “I never regretted having made that decision,” she says. “I found that I am very much an individual that likes to be engaged with people. I need to be out and engaged with individuals I’m going to be dealing with.” Rose’s background in public service includes work on the county level. While working for Wayne County, she managed the park system. Serving as deputy director, she served on the county level within a community of nearly 2.5 million. She was exposed to new issues within the recreational context that would broaden her perspective working in local governments. Serving with the county for threeand-a-half years, her true passion called her to return to city government – where she could really make an impact. “What was very interesting for me – I wasn’t as engaged with citizens,” she explains of her insight working on the county level. “Citizens usually go to their city government. There weren’t a lot of citizens at the meetings. And that was my foundation.” In hindsight, her family later expressed that her decision to go into public service was the right choice. Yet, if Rose could lend some wisdom to other young 17-year-old women facing similar difficulties, she would advocate the following: Have clarity. “I truly believe that you need to be

very clear in what you want because that decision is a critical decision,” she says. “Whatever profession you are interested in, the clearer you are on what you want, the stronger you will be.” Avoid distractions. “Don’t let others deter you from what you want to pursue,” she says. Listen to yourself. “Make sure you understand what you want and follow it,” she says. “My getting up and going to work is what it’s about. You’ve got to have a passion and desire to do that job.” Know what you want – and once you are clear, move forward, boldly. “It’s helpful to have support of your family, even if they disagree. And if you receive no support, listen to that passion!” she says. “My mother later stated that I did make the right decision. I believe that because my mother was very clear about what you want – all of that training played a big role.” Using this approach herself, Rose moved forward with the odds against her. “I didn’t think it would play a role. But it did,” she explains. It played a role ultimately in her favor and the work she chose. With large shoes to fill in a vibrant city, Rose is confident and excited for the upcoming changes. The success comes with her expansive perspective in government and ability to connect with others to get things done to better the city. “It really takes me all the way back to the basics,” she explains. “In Corpus Christi, the issues are much greater. Working with the community and the elected officials – working on the dynamics that goes with it … The needs are still there. As long as we exist, there will always be issues that need to be resolved. It’s all about helping people.”

For more information, contact City Manager Margie Rose at 361-813-8599 or I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES With the proposed Southside Campus, Del Mar College plans to meet a growing need for greater opportunities in higher education for Coastal Bend students.



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The college aims to provide real-world experiences for its students.

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ccording to the Del Mar College Southside Master Plan, district voters approved $1.8 million in funding in 2014 to develop the 96 acres of land on the corner of Yorktown Boulevard and Rodd Field Road. “The growing need to educate members of our community so they can take on new employment opportunities has been thoroughly researched,” explains College Regent Susan Hutchinson. “What we’ve found is the development of this Del Mar College campus is critical to addressing this need, and any delay in making this investment will mean missed opportunities for individuals and for the community as a whole.” In 2010, the Southside Campus proposal for Del Mar’s expansion plan for educational opportunities to the south side was put into motion. Houston-based Gensler Design Firm has completed the campus plans, which could represent a big addition to Corpus Christi’s suburban side of town. The board is presently determining how to fund the remainder of this plan, in hopes of providing more resources to citizens of the greater Coastal Bend. The South Campus would also expand continuing education courses to residents in the south side of the city. Plans indicate South Campus development and construction will take place in three phases. The first phase aims to serve 3,000 to 6,000 students. Phase 1 funding is proposed at $139 million. “The vision for the Del Mar South Campus was developed through the input of hundreds of business leaders, educators, students and interested citizens at large,” notes Dr. Scott Elliff, retired Corpus Christi Independent School District superintendent and lifelong educator. “The first phase of construction will establish the site infrastructure and first buildings on the 96-acre site, which is a site at the center of regional population growth.” Del Mar presently offers some 200 fields of study. Plans for the Southside Campus include the culinary arts, architectural/drafting technology, biotechnology, engineering technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-focused courses. The college aims to provide real-world experiences for its students. The community college already makes quite an

Del Mar College students receive hands-on training in the natural sciences department’s biotechnology program, using equipment found in laboratories in real-world settings.


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impact in varying fields. Currently, data indicates enrollment has increased by nearly 70 percent in architecture transfer and drafting technology in the past five years. Job growth in the greater Corpus Christi area is expected to go up nearly 20 percent in the coming years. Plans supporting the culinary arts and hospitality management programs are to kick it up a notch, providing environments and resources that enhance student learning. A large part of the strategic location in Corpus Christi’s south side is to also reinforce higher education to those students planning to transfer to neighboring Texas A&M Universities – Corpus Christi and Kingsville. Research indicates that workforce and continuing education enrollment grew 76.6 percent in the last five years. The rapidly growing population and housing development in this area indicate this is a good fit. In addition, 40 percent of Del Mar students presently live on this side of town. There is also an existing student population that could reach this campus more easily. The selected location appears to be an ideal place to develop the next Del Mar campus to serve existing and new students enrolling in programs. In addition to the Southside Campus plans, health and wellness has been a strong item on the agenda for the completed campus. The college will incorporate a “healthy lifestyle zone,” featuring sports courts, a pool and a sports recreational area. A community event center also has been proposed in the plans, along with hike and bike trails. There are no current plans for student housing on this campus. As most Del Mar graduates stay in Corpus Christi after graduation, the new plans are viewed to directly benefit the community – long-term. Research indicates that nine out of 10 Del Mar students are from Nueces County, and 2013 state data indicates that graduates with a technical or occupational degree earn a median income of about $58,000 annually. This heightens the oppor-

Training is flaming hot in Del Mar College’s culinary arts program, which prepares individuals for careers in fast-paced workplaces in the food industry.

Del Mar College faculty member Laura L. Wright (right) reviews computer design work with two students enrolled in the technology education department’s architectural/drafting technology program.

tunity for local workforce and education that reinforces these standards while also investing in students who are likely to be long-term residents. Meanwhile, capital improvements continue at other Del Mar College locations. The existing East Campus will continue to serve students pursuing fields in business, fine arts and

natural sciences, while the West Campus continues serving technical, occupational, public safety and health sciences students. Updates continue to take place at these locations. In the 2014 bond election, voters approved $157 million for critical repairs and replacement of aging facilities. However, some needs have remained unmet. In 2004, the total cost for new or renovated facilities to meet all identified college needs was estimated at $397 million. Overall, Del Mar’s expansion plans will offer Corpus Christi and Coastal Bend residents expanded educational resources that will, in turn, directly impact our South Texas community for years to come. “With the South Campus,” Elliff says, “Del Mar will achieve that community vision and continue its 80-plus-year tradition supporting workforce demands and educational needs in South Texas.”

For more information about Del Mar College, go to I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M








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Wednesday, October 12th This promises to be a fun-filled sporting event and we invite you to put together your best shooting team and compete for awards and prizes. The 5-member team format features one box of shells (shells supplied) and a .410-gauge shotgun (must provide your own shotgun) per team member. The team entry fee is $2,000. Participation in the Una Caja Dove Shoot will be limited to the first 25 paid teams.

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Seven ways to make the most of your time when shopping for a new home By: CORAL DWORACZYK


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FOR FIRST-TIME – and even experienced – buyers, it can be overwhelming to walk into someone else’s home and consider it as a home for yourself. At times, buyers get “lost” looking at the seller’s photos, furniture, pets or other impertinent items or only focus on issues unrelated to the possible transaction. Here is a quick guide and a couple of pointers on how to make the most efficient use of your time as a buyer when shopping for a new home:


Your first showing is not the time to make a thorough or lengthy inspection of the house. You are there to view the property to determine if it may be a contender. Plan to stay in each house (especially if you are seeing multiple properties) 15 to 30 minutes. If the property is a contender, it is wise to come back for a longer look that same day or plan to write an offer with your realtor and come back for a longer visit during your termination option period. There are exceptions to this rule, but use your time wisely. If you determine that a house is not what you are looking for, leave!


Before you go into the house, have your agent remind you of a few basic pieces of information. What is the asking price (overall and price per square foot)? How does that price compare to other homes in the general neighborhood? If a home is priced highly compared to others, expect it to be updated and in excellent condition. If a home is priced below average, this may be a strong indicator of issues that need to be addressed. Some buyers also like to quickly recap the overall square footage, the number of bedrooms/baths and the age of the home before entering so they are focused on the task at hand.

3 Coral Dworaczyk is a professional realtor in the Coastal Bend. If you would like more information, or to receive this article summarized in a handy checklist, please contact her at cdworaczyk@ or 979-229-2836.

Discuss any known issues with the house before you get distracted looking around the property. Is the seller immediately offering to make any repairs (such as replace an aged roof or fix foundation problems)? Is the seller immediately willing to offer any other financial concessions such as an allowance or closing costs assistance? This information may be available to realtors in the private comments section of the MLS. This is a comments section that can only be viewed by licensed persons.


Don’t waste time looking at a seller’s family photos, furniture, etc. Go ahead and note furniture arrangements and how they may fit with your lifestyle and belongings. However, there is no need to critique someone else’s decorating style or belongings, or

“figure out if this is someone I know.” If it’s not part of the sale, it’s not important.


Pay attention to important factors that may indicate how well-maintained a home may or may not be. First impressions can still tell you a lot about a property. Is the yard and landscaping well maintained? Can you see any peeling paint on the exterior of the home? Does the roof and flashing look discolored or rusted? Once you get inside, how does the home smell? Is it clean? Do the walls or cabinetry show signs of damage or excessive wear that haven’t been addressed?


Try to plan a path through houses and walk it together with your realtor and any friends or family who are present. Most people tend to enter into a living area, view the kitchen, go into each bedroom (don’t forget to look in the closets to evaluate storage space) and bathroom and end in the backyard. If groups get split up, it can be confusing and it becomes harder to recall the homes later when discussing.


Although most buyers are not licensed inspectors, it is a good idea to take a look at the overall condition of the major systems of the house:  Air conditioning and heating system (Is it new, or is it old and rusted/corroded?)  Plumbing (Is there evidence of old or current leaks under the sinks or dripping faucets?)  Electrical (What type of electrical panel is in place?)  Foundation (Are there noticeable cracks in the sheetrock or broken tiles in the flooring?)  Pests (Do you see signs of rodents, excessive roaches or potential termite damage on the wood portion of the home?)  Roof (Are there missing shingles? Are there signs of wear or granular loss?)  Overall condition (Peeling paint? Broken windows? Carpet condition?) Note: A buyer’s viewing and opinions of condition are very important, but they should never replace the need for a professional inspection of the property. Home shopping can be a stressful and overwhelming experience at times. However, it can also be very exciting! Make a plan when you are ready to view homes, and stay organized. This will help you make the best use of your – and your realtor’s – time so you can find the right home and take one step closer to moving day. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



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Chicken nuggets are known for being two things: 1. A food for children 2. A processed, shaped piece of mystery meat (sometimes in the shape of dinosaurs) The good news is, it doesn’t have to be either of those things (but can still be in the shape of dinosaurs). This recipe uses organic chicken breasts, nutritious quinoa, the delicious flavors of caramelized onions and the baked crunch of panko bread crumbs. Make them in any shape you like; these nuggets are for all ages! Note: This recipe makes 12 to 15 nuggets depending on size. Can be made ahead of time and frozen; see tip after instructions for reheating.

INGREDIENTS: 1 pound organic chicken breasts 1/2 cup dill pickle juice 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa 1/2 red onion 1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup flour 2 eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups panko Japanese-style bread crumbs


For more information, visit


With added touches of caramelized onion and quinoa, these chicken nuggets are for all ages. By: MANDY ASHCRAFT Photos by: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT


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1/ Place chicken and pickle juice brine in a re-sealable bag and place in refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. 2/ Add quinoa and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, place lid and allow to cook for 15 minutes. 3/ Meanwhile, add a drizzle of olive oil to a separate pan and add onions. Allow to caramelize while quinoa cooks. 4/ Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 5/ When quinoa and onions are done, add them both to a food processor. Add cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. 6/ Remove chicken from refrigerator. Chop into large pieces and place raw chicken into food processor with other ingredients. Process until well combined. 7/ Pour panko, beaten egg and flour into separate bowls. Prepare a baking sheet with foil and non-stick spray. 8/ Using your hands, remove nugget-sized amounts of chicken mixture and place into flour. If you’re using cookie cutters to make certain shapes, make them slightly bigger than the size of your cookie cutter. 9/ Coat with flour, then egg, then panko, and transfer to baking sheet. If using cookie cutters, cut out each nugget separately while already on the baking sheet. (Mixture is too soft to hold most shapes while dredging in egg and panko.) 10/ Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce! Tip: Make ahead and freeze! Allow cooked nuggets to cool completely. Place in a freezer-safe container. To reheat from frozen, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen nuggets on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

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In with the new: The three restaurants at the Corpus Christi International Airport are excited to announce some new dining options for patrons. By: KIM BRIDGER-HUNT

COASTAL BEND BAR & GRILL The main restaurant and bar in the terminal has a new name and a new menu, and it is now open for breakfast. The breakfast menu offers all of the popular morning selections like pancakes, omelets, freshly baked muffins and a variety of breakfast tacos and sandwiches. It opens in the morning at 7 a.m. and gives customers the opportunity sit down, order breakfast, enjoy some coffee and relax before embarking on their trip. The lunch and dinner menus now include a variety of salads that can be topped with grilled chicken, salmon or shrimp. Travelers can choose from delights like fried calamari, cheeseburger sliders, twice-cooked wings, fish tacos, a grilled salmon club and a gourmet burger that pretty much covers the entire plate. As the name implies, the Coastal Bend Bar & Grill is also a full-service bar that can serve up whatever spirits move you. CO PILOT COFFEE SHOP The Co Pilot coffee shop is located post-security just as you exit the TSA Security Checkpoint. Here you can choose from a variety of designer cof-

fees, muffins, breakfast items and sandwiches. This shop is open early in the morning before the first flight departs CCIA. If you step inside, you’ll notice an exhibit of Doc McGregor photos on the side wall, courtesy of the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. These photos take you back in time to the beginning years of aviation in Corpus Christi. COASTAL BEND EXPRESS The restaurant on the public side has become known for their great burgers, but now there’s more to choose from on the menu. Customers can now get a variety of sandwiches from the BLTA

THE OPERATOR RECENTLY PROPOSED THESE MENU CHANGES TO GIVE THE RESTAURANTS MORE OF A LOCAL FEEL. (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado) to the Cajun grilled chicken, brisket or pork loin. The Coastal Bend Express is located on the second floor of the terminal near the passenger exit lane. The Express also serves beer and wine. When it’s time to take a trip, shop around and you just might discover that making the choice to fly CCIA makes a lot of sense. CCIA is close to home, and it has plenty of reasonably priced parking that is close to the terminal. When you get here, you rarely see a line and you can usually get from the ticket counter, through security and to the gate in just a matter of minutes. The more we use the services offered by American, Southwest and United, the better our chances of having more to choose from in the future. And don’t forget there are some new and wonderful food choices at CCIA! Whether you grab a bite on the go or sit down for a nice, peaceful breakfast in the Coastal Bend Bar & Grill, it’s sure to make your experience at CCIA a good one.

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


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he days of rushing to the airport to catch a flight with 10 minutes to spare are long over. Security regulations require travelers to arrive at the airport much earlier than they once did. Early arrival translates to plenty of time to answer emails on your smart phone and usually enough time to grab something to eat or drink while you wait for your flight in the terminal. At the Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA), there are three restaurants that are ready and waiting to serve you. The restaurants are operated by one company, and each of them offers a slightly different kind of service. After three years in business at CCIA, the operator recently proposed some changes to give the locations more of a local feel and to offer customers some new choices and new items on the menus.

Local, Family-Owned, Corpus Christi’s Original

We have a wide variety of A/C filters, standard and specialty • Residential and Business • Ceiling & wall grills and registers • Standard and custom sizes • Polystrand

• Poly Rolls • Pleated Allergy • Merv11 • 1” 2” 4” 5” 6” Glasfloss Filters

We have the largest selection of Circle E Candles in Corpus Christi and we gift wrap for FREE! We carry all factory scents.

5206 Williams Drive (Behind PetSmart)

Corpus Christi, TX 361-723-0130

“Don’t Forget Your Filters!”

1620 SPID #180 (@ Greenwood)

Corpus Christi, TX 361-855-1123

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The American Bank Center is set to bring a number of diverse names to Corpus Christi this October, November and December. By: KRISTEN BILY

THE AMERICAN BANK CENTER is bringing you some fantastic live entertainment for the months of October, November and December! From time-honored country and comedy to one amazing rock show, American Bank Center has everything under one roof for you! Kenny Rogers’ Final World Tour: The Gambler’s Last Deal with Special Guest Linda Davis

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 26 (8 P.M.) American Bank Center Theater The enduring Country Music Hall of Fame member and pop superstar has endeared music lovers around the globe with his amazing songs, heartfelt performances, distinctive voice, gift for storytelling and universal appeal. In 2016, Rogers is embarking on what will be his final world tour with a show that will celebrate his musical legacy: The Gambler’s Last Deal. The first country artist to consistently sell out arenas, Rogers has played to millions of fans around the world. Incredibly, he has charted a record within each of the last seven decades (‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s and ‘10s). He has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide, making him one of the top 10 best-selling male solo artists of all time. Rogers has been the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Entertainment Buyers Association, the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music and the Horatio Alger Award, given to those who have distinguished themselves despite humble beginnings. Rogers has played to millions of fans around the

Dream Theater Presents Headlining US Tour

THURSDAY, NOV. 10 (8 P.M.)

been enjoyed, viewed and replicated by more than 65 million people worldwide. After recording and releasing three songs and two music videos as Bon Qui Qui, Johnson signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records to release a full album titled, “Gold Plated Dreams.” Johnson also has a new movie coming out in January 2017 called “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.” You can watch the official trailer on Johnson’s official fan page on Facebook.

American Bank Center Selena Auditorium Dream Theater announced the details of its fall North American headline tour. The trek, which began Oct. 5, will see the pioneering group performing their widely acclaimed double concept album, “The Astonishing,” in immersive and interactive settings for a unique and unparalleled live experience. Dream Theater is performing at the American Bank Center Selena Auditorium on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. “The Astonishing” debuted atop Billboard’s Rock and Hard Rock album charts, marking the group’s third No. 1 Hard Rock album following “Black Clouds & Silver Linings” and 2013’s self-titled LP. “Even for a group that has blazed new trails consistently, there’s never been anything to compare to ‘The Astonishing,’ the full-blown rock-opera, jumbo-size concept album,” exclaimed Rolling Stone. “Put simply, the new release lives up to its title in every way imaginable.”

Anjelah Johnson

SATURDAY, NOV. 19 (8 P.M.) American Bank Center Selena Auditorium Comedian Anjelah Johnson comes to Corpus Christi on Nov. 19 for one show at the American Bank Center Selena Auditorium. The last time Johnson came to Corpus Christi, she was met with a sold-out crowd! She became an Internet sensation with her viral video, “Nail Salon,” which led to many standup television and film opportunities. That same year, she joined the cast of “MADtv” as a series regular, which spawned another Internet sensation, Bon Qui Qui. This original character, a disgruntled fast-food employee with no filter, has

Dolly Parton – Pure & Simple Tour

FRIDAY, DEC. 2 (8 P.M.) American Bank Center Arena Dolly Parton is set to bring her Pure & Simple tour to American Bank Center in Corpus Christi on Friday, Dec. 2, as she embarks on her first major U.S. and Canadian tour in more than 25 years. As one of the hottest concert tickets of 2016, Parton’s legion of fans is destined to sell out the shows quickly. Parton’s set list will include hit songs all while weaving in a few new songs from her new album, “Pure & Simple,” set for release this summer. She will also be playing songs that have not been heard live for decades.

SMG-managed American Bank Center is Corpus Christi’s premier event center. Follow us online at, or, and on Instagram (@americanbankcenter), Tumblr (@American Bank Center), Periscope (@Americanbankcenter) and Snapchat (@americanbnkctr).


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world, performing songs from his catalog of 24 No. 1 hits, including “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” “Coward of the County,” “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” “Lady,” “Islands in the Stream,” “She Believes In Me,” “We’ve Got Tonight,” “Daytime Friends,” “Through The Years,” “You Decorated My Life” and “Buy Me A Rose.”






Robert Jasso Ed “Chip”Green 361.730.8496 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



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Corpus Christi Black Chamber of Commerce

Cordially Invites You To Join Us Corpus Christi Black Chamber of Commerce

‘ You n g Entre prene ur Ni ght ’ Cordially Invites You To Join Us

Honoring Successful Young Entrepreneurs ‘ Y o u n g E n t r e p r e n e u r NC oir pgu sh Cth r’i s t i B l a c k


Chamber of Com

Cordially Invites You To Join

Honoring Successful Young Entrepreneurs

F e a t u r i n g

‘ You n g Entre prene ur Ni g

K &e y n o t e

HSo npo r ien gaS ukc c e e s srf u l Y o u n g E n t r e p r e n


M i s s G aK ebyrn io et el l Sep e FJaeoka terurrdi nag nK e y n o t e

F e a t u r i n g

M i s s G a b r i( Mea lr ly lea n dJ ) o r Md ias n s

S p e a k

Gabrielle Jord Author, National & Internationally Renown Speaker( M a r y l a n d ) ( M a r y l a n d )

Renown Spea SAuthor, u c c e sNational s f u l E& n tInternationally r e p r e n e u r Renown s i n c e SpeakertAuthor, h e aNational g e o&f Internationally 9! Successful Entrepreneur since the age

Successful Entrepreneur since the age of 9!

Saturday, November 19, 2016 Saturday, November 19, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016



Jazz ‘N Cocktails 6pm * Dinner 7pm


Jazz ‘N Cocktails 6pm * Dinner 7pm Omni Hotel Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi B

900 N. Shoreline Blvd

Corpus Christi, TX

Jazz ‘N Cocktails 6pm * Dinner 7pm

OmniHotel Hotel Corpus Christi Corpus Ballroom Omni Corpus Christi Corpus ChristiChristi Ballroom General Admission: $50 pp (available til 11/1 Sponsorship Available

Information/Tickets Online: www.blackchamberc N. Shoreline TX 900900 N. Shoreline Blvd Blvd CorpusCorpus Christi, Christi, TX

Gabrielle Jordan

FMI: 361.877.3634 * 361.739.0462

General Admission: $50 pp (available til 11/12) til 11/12) General Admission: $50 pp (available

w w w . g a b r i e l l e j o r d a n i n s p i r e s . c o m

Sponsorship Available Sponsorship Available

G aGb ra iber li le el l e JJo ro rd daann

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Business Attire

Information/Tickets Online: Information/Tickets Online:


FMI: 361.877.3634 * 361.739.0462

FMI: 361.877.3634 * 361.739.0462 Business Attire

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The Texas State Aquarium may be one of the top places to see animals in the nation, but the aquarium also works tirelessly to further its conservation efforts to improve the lives of animals and people throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. By: RICHARD E. GLOVER JR.


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 Tagging, tracking and research of

large sharks in the region

 Saving the Vaquita, the world’s most

endangered marine mammal and the smallest porpoise, of which only 60 remain  Creating a human-made pond to help re-establish a larger whooping crane population  Improving water quality in Oso Creek/Bay, Corpus Christi Bay and Petronila Creek  Optimizing coral fragmentation technique for propagation


t’s true that the Texas State Aquarium is the No. 1 cultural attraction in the Coastal Bend and has been honored with increasing frequency on lists of the top aquariums in the nation. However, the Texas State Aquarium has grown into so much more than a fine place to see more than 3,000 animals representing more than 300 species. It has also become a center for conservation and education that impacts lives of animals and people all around the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. One of the most visible ways the aquarium has an impact beyond its grounds its Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program, through which the aquarium treats hundreds of sick and injured animals annually. Those that can be successfully rehabilitated are then released back into their natural environment; if they are deemed non-releasable, they are either transferred to other accredited Association of Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) facilities or welcomed into the aquarium’s animal family. In 2015, a record 86 animals were released back into nature, and four were transferred to other facilities. The program is currently on pace to break that record in 2016. Another program that is less wellknown, but has also proven quite impactful around the Gulf of Mexico is the aquarium’s Wildlife Care, Conservation and Research (WCCR) Fund. Every year, a portion of the aquarium’s net revenue is directed toward funding research and programs primarily that focus on species that are native to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Through this fund, the aquarium has helped support research on such important topics, including (but not limited to):

Additionally, the aquarium endeavors to have a positive impact on the environment through a broad range of practices and initiatives both onsite and offsite. Its onsite green practices are extensive and focus on areas such as energy conservation, water conservation, recycling, environmentally friendly restaurant operations and landscaping. The aquarium reviews its practices on a regular basis and makes changes to reduce its impact on the environment. In addition, the aquarium works hard at conservation education and public outreach both on- and offsite. The aquarium staff undertakes several cleanups of North Beach wetlands and streets every year. The aquarium has also adopted Packery Channel Park on Upper Padre Island, and it conducts periodic staff and volunteer clean-ups there. Additionally, the aquarium acts as the North Beach host three times a year for the Texas General Land Office’s Adopt-a-Beach events. All of these efforts result in the removal of more than 20,000 pounds trash from our local environment every year. The aquarium also holds several environmentally focused public events designed educate and inform guests about threats to the health of our local, regional and global environments, as well as inspire them to take actions to help take care of the environment – all while having a good time enjoying special activities and programming. Among the environmentally focused public events held at the aquarium annually are an Earth Day “Party for the Planet” celebration, Endangered Species Day, World Oceans Day, World Wetlands Day, International Save the Vaquita Day and Green Halloween. Meanwhile, the aquarium’s Flint Hills Resources Center for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education continues to impact the lives of more than 65,000 learners of all ages annually. Through the center, the aquarium offers a diverse range of both onsite and offsite educational programs designed to excite, intrigue and challenge. The Texas State Aquarium continues to endeavor to find new ways to grow its conservation and education impact locally and regionally on a continual basis as it works toward achieving its vision of becoming a global leader in fostering support for the conservation of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

The aquarium offers a diverse range of educational programs designed to excite, intrigue and challenge.

• Gentlemen Cuts • Kids • Fades • Tapers • Military • Facials • Shaves • Manis • Pedis • Waxing

“Come experience the difference”

The Texas State Aquarium is located at 2701 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information, call 361-881-1200 or email

5922 Yorktown Blvd. Corpus Christi, TX 78414 361-834-0311

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Furthering its mission to help local students, Hammons Education Leadership Programs Inc. hosts the one-ofa-kind fundraiser, HELP Hits the High Notes Again! By: DR. RIDGE HAMMONS

HELP is holding its one-of-a-kind fundraiser on Oct. 19 at Brewster Street Ice House. There will be music, excitement, great food and several of the folks we have worked with to tell us what HELP did for them! Mayor Martinez, State Rep. Hunter and U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold will kick off the show. We are planning a take-off on “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the basic theme of the evening – our acts include two separate groups from City Council, including Rudy Garza, Lucy Rubio, Carolyn Vaughn, Brian Rosas and Michael Hunter, along with another group consisting of Colleen McIntyre, David Loeb and JJ Hart. Other acts include a group from H-E-B, the Early Crew from KRIS (Mike Gillaspia, Rachel Cole and Machlov-


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io Perez), Alex Garcia, Ben Molina of the Westside Business Association doing “La Bamba,” Judge Greg Perkes, Chairman Mike Bergsma of the Nueces County Republican Party with Jennifer Ellis of the Democratic Party and many other local celebrities and note-ables.

SPONSORS FOR HELP HITS THE HIGH NOTES AGAIN! INCLUDE:  REPCON  H-E-B  NavyArmy Community Credit Union  Denny Bales Diamonds  Grande Communications  Corpus Christi Caller-Times  ReadyFlo Systems  Solid Rock Ranch  Fleet Reserve Association  Corpus Christi Association of Realtors  Brent Chesney  Prints Charming  FASTSIGNS  Arrow Printing  Nueces County  City of Corpus Christi  Inspire Magazine

There will be a huge silent auction, including guns, jewelry, dinner and theater passes, as well as numerous other materials sure to excite and please. Materials to be auctioned include a generator, a YETI cooler, gold jewelry, art pieces, handcrafted barbecue pits from Craft Training Center, paintings and other things.


HELP takes at-risk and challenged

youth on visits to various worksites around the city and the county to give them hands-on experience in jobs that might spark their interest and give them the desire to stay in school, or to receive the training they need to accomplish their dream. In fact, that is HELP’s motto: “How can you find the job of your dreams if you don’t even know it exists?” HELP’s onsite career mentoring program shows students ex-



ow did you pick your career? Did you have to settle on jobs you already knew about, or did you get to explore a number of exciting careers before you even got out of high school? Hammons Education Leadership Programs Inc. (HELP) takes kids out to look at jobs and see which one excites them and makes them want to know more! Research shows that students who explore careers while still in high school graduate five times more often than students who do not.

them mentors. This is onsite career mentoring, the basis of all our programs. We also install touch-screen computers loaded with videos and photos of our jobsite visits in schools we serve. These cutting-edge computers allow the students to virtually experience most of the real-world educational trips we take and decide if they would like to join us. We are planning on installing the latest Window on the World at Veterans Memorial in a few months to complete the circuit of every high school in the district, plus Tuloso-Midway and Ingleside.


In a survey we conducted last year, 94 percent of the students we had interacted with were either still in school or had a job. Until every student has a career goal, this program will be needed and necessary, especially as schools are being forced to cut many of the vocational programs they do have due to budget constraints. We have had students change from being regular visitors to the Juvenile Justice Center to being “once and done” visitors instead of long-term guests of the county and then the state. As then-County Commissioner Judge Brent Chesney told us, “You could use some of your people as the poster children for a recovery group. I wouldn’t have recognized them if I didn’t know who they were.” Overall, by any measure, we can say that HELP helps! Perhaps the best statement came from the gentleman sneaking out of the presentation in the high-school auditorium at Robstown High School. I asked him where he was going, and he said he had parents in his office. His office? I had taken him for a student, but he turned out to be the principal. He then asked me a question, one to which I had no answer: “Where was this program when I was a student?”

actly what it’s like to do a given occupation and introduces them to any number of career paths, be it welder, pipefitter, nurse, firefighter, police officer, auto mechanic or something else. Students get to see exactly what each career entails because HELP takes students down into the middle of the refinery, into the police academy, into the fire station, into the training center at Del Mar or into the mechanic shop to talk to, observe, interact with and shadow the professionals who are working in the field. In HELP’s eight years of existence, we have taken more than 300 students on scores of trips to 100-plus local jobsites. Students generally complete at least one three-month rotation with us looking at different jobs every month. We go to places like the Port, Spohn Hospital, Sherwin Alumina, CITGO and Valero, as well as other large and small locales where large


varieties of occupations are gathered and easily experienced in close proximity. HELP does things the schools cannot, and we go places that schools do not go due to legal restraints and fears of liability. We take our clients “where the action is.” We have no prepared lectures, no textbooks and no formal classes – just the experience of a job done well by those who do it best, and who are willing to share their expertise.  Once young people find jobs they are interested in, we work to find

For more information on HELP, visit

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Stephanie Kusy Clinical Sales Specialist, Novadaq Technologies Inc.

Vice President and Board Member, the Texas State Aquarium’s Rising Tide Society

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“Attract what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, mirror what you admire.”

My philosophy: If not now … then when? Why I love doing what I do: As a clinical sales specialist: I provide technology/ equipment for surgeons to better visualize blood flow in real-time and identify critical anatomy during procedures. It’s a game changer that can reduce post-procedure complication rates and cost of care for patients who have cancer and other serious conditions. Every day is different with a new challenge, and I’m constantly learning. As a volunteer: The Texas State Aquarium is a precious gem in Corpus Christi. With the addition of the Caribbean Journey to be in complete in 2017, it will become one of the premier aquariums in the nation. The Rising Tide Society (RTS) is a group of young professionals in our community who are passionate about service, education and conservation. We host networking events and volunteer opportunities throughout the year, as well as fundraisers to help rehabilitate injured wildlife in the area. RTS was created just a few years ago, and I quickly got on board. Now we have fun annual events like an indoor “putt putt” tournament and Wine Down with the Dolphins to raise funds. I love animals, and the ocean is my happy place, so working with this group has been an amazing experience.

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Inspire Coastal Bend Business Oct/Nov 2016  
Inspire Coastal Bend Business Oct/Nov 2016