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TEXAS STATE AQUARIUM TAKES THE BITE OUT OF SHARKS COASTAL BEND BUSINESS

MAGAZINE

INSPIRED STYLE FEATURING CANDACE TORREZ

FORM AND FUNCTION MIKE

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

SCHLITTERBAHN CORPUS CHRISTI

BRANNON AND LIGHTLINK LIGHTING

RELAXATION AND RENEWAL

VBAR DRY BAR SALON & SKIN LOUNGE A PERSONAL TOUCH

MAIL CENTER USA

FOR THE LOVE OF GOLDEN OLDIES FOSTERING SENIOR ANIMALS FOR THE GULF COAST HUMANE SOCIETY

CHRISTUS HOSPICE AND HOME HEALTH: THE FINEST IN HOME HEALTH AND HOSPICE SERVICES page

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THE COASTAL BEND’S NUMBER 1 VOLUME FORD DEALER samesford.net 2

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on 2014 Total New Retail Sales from Ford Motor Co. Sales Report.


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CONTENTS

BUSINESS COACH 16

FEATURES 18 Ullberg Studios 20 Protecting Your Flying Investment 22 Taking the Bite Out of Sharks 24 Dream Bling 26 Fall Into Fun 28 Rising Star

OCTOBER.NOVEMBER 2015

MONEY MATTERS 50 52

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Leave it to the Pros

Financial Focus Practical Diversification Tools

REAL ESTATE 54 56

The Art of Zen/Industrial How Much Does it Cost to Buy a House?

ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY 60 62 64 66

Ecological Progress Integrity, Choice and Service Safe and Secure Keeping it Fresh

TRAVEL 70

The Rules of the Sky

EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION 72

Salt of the Sea

INSPIRED STYLE COVER AND TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTOS BY: PAUL MARSHALL

30 CHRISTUS

HOSPICE AND HOME HEALTH

Executive Director D’Anna Perry and her staff work to educate the community and provide the best quality of care to patients with comfort, dignity and respect.

34 VBAR DRY BAR SALON & SKIN LOUNGE

Veronica Brashear and her staff offer guests relaxation and renewal at this unique escape, never settling for anything less than excellence.

38 MAIL CENTER USA

Far from your typical shipping and packing center, this unique business continues to stand out in reputation and customer service after 26 years in operation.

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Candace Torrez

42 SCHLITTERBAHN

CORPUS CHRISTI

The hottest, coolest time in Texas comes to the Coastal Bend.

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MEET THE STAFF

Team Inspire

COASTAL BEND BUSINESS

MAGAZINE

OCTOBER.NOVEMBER 2015 PUBLISHER

ADRIAN GARZA EDITOR

ADRIAN GARZA PUBLISHER

adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.548.1044

Allison Alvarado

ART DIRECTOR Liv Madison

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND PRODUCTION Holly Duvall

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Colton Bartel Kristen Bily Andrea Bolt Kim Bridger Chase Carlisle Tim Clark Jessica Dusek Coral Dworaczyk Christopher Hegg Stephanie Kusy Connie Laughlin Erin O’Brien Kelly Trevino Sarona Winfrey Jeanie Wyatt

HOLLY DUVALL DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND PRODUCTION holly@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 479.935.0868

PHOTOGRAPHY Paul Marshall

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Morgan Bartel Brittanie Robertson Else Villalba

SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR

MORGAN BARTEL

Morgan Bartel

SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR morgan@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 620.417.5392

www.inspirecoastalbendmag.com For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

BRITTANIE ROBERTSON

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE brittanie@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.425.6483

ELSE VILLALBA

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE else@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.688.6994

PAUL MARSHALL MEDIA SOLUTIONS AND PHOTOGRAPHY

paul@inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.737.4087

For editorial comments and suggestions, please email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

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.


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America's #1 Tempur-Pedic速 Retailer. Nationally Known, Locally Owned. Ennis Joslin & SPID Carmel Village Moore Plaza Superstore 7625 S.P.I.D 4124 S. Staples #A 5425 S.P.I.D. #178 361-866-5834 361-866-5838 361-866-5836 Five Points Shopping Center Portland 4101 IH 69, Access Rd #D4 1702 US Hwy. 181 361-248-1327 361-704-3010 M AT T R E S S F I R M . C O M

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BUSINESS COACH

LEAVE IT TO THE PROS Outsourcing drives profitability!

By: CONNIE LAUGHLIN

T Connie Laughlin is a business consultant for UniqueHR. For more information on outsourcing your human resources, contact her at 361852-6392 or conniel@ uniquehr.com.

he small to medium-sized business should no longer handle employee administration internally. Only Fortune 1,000-type corporations with qualified personnel and economies of scale can handle it effectively and judiciously. Most employers attempt to take care of employee admin by combining an in-house delegation of various duties to outsourcing other things to various vendors. An excellent option is to outsource all of it to just one vendor: a professional employer organization (PEO). With a PEO in place, you’ll have more time to focus on making money, you’ll have fewer vendors to hassle with and you’ll have less financial risk. Now you can work on your business, not in it!

STREAMLINE FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE

Today’s business strategies are keen on streamlining all areas of operation and finding the most cost-efficient practices with the least amount of risk. The other advantage to these business models is their effectiveness at achieving peak performance for yourself and your workforce. Streamlining starts with time management strategies, so stop spending everyone’s time on things that don’t increase your profitability. Lowering costs to do business might be near impossible on your own, but with a PEO in place, you’re not only containing employee costs at a low rate, you’re likely save money in the process.

EMPLOYEES NEED HUMAN RESOURCES

Fortune 500 companies realized the necessity of high-functioning human resources (HR) initiatives 20-plus years ago. It’s crucial to the health of a business to have fullblown HR initiatives in place. Ongoing certified training, certified professional in human resources (CPHR) credentials and tenured work experience are all required to proficiently handle HR. With the much-needed emphasis on constructing a dynamic workforce and assuring legal compliance, you can see why your average manager is not up to par with the necessary certified training and skill sets. When you let the pros handle these things, you’ll notice employees are more engaged. And your bottom line will

thank you. This is what you can expect when you have a PEO arrangement.

EMPLOYERS NEED HUMAN RESOURCES

Why is HR so important? If you have one incident and don’t have the required or suggested procedures, policies or training in place, you could have the “book” thrown at you. You can bet on it, as your lack of action indicates you’re an indolent business owner who wouldn’t take the time to ensure appropriate workplace procedures, legal compliance measures and safety processes were in place! You’ll be fined, sued or both. Any type of claim can cause the cost of being in business to go up. In addition, you could lose your ability to work due to experience rating hikes if you’re in a higher-risk industry. One of the most important tools to have at hand is the expertise of a CPHR. A CPHR with a lot of experience is priceless! Speaking of price, they aren’t cheap to have on the payroll, so it’s a good thing you’ll be outsourcing one’s service in your PEO arrangement.

EMPLOYMENT RISK MANAGEMENT

You need the protection outsourcing brings to a business. PEOs eliminate many associated risks, and they can control costs. You’ll have legally compliant employee handbooks and other necessities in place. On your own, it can be difficult or ineffective to manage a claim, whether it’s workers’ comp or unemployment, if you’re not savvy in HR risk management. A professionally managed safety program is vital to many organizations. If a worker is injured on the job, it can cost the company in lost time, increased insurance rates and legal costs. How can you prosper if you’re too busy trying to protect your assets? Leave it to the pros.

KEEP EMPLOYEE COST LOW

Small to medium-sized businesses do not have economies of scale. You’re going it alone. For example, if you have a claim and employ around 30 employees, your cost to do business can go up; if you have 1,000 employees and four claims, you can say you have an economic advantage over the smaller companies.

PEOS ELIMINATE MANY ASSOCIATED RISKS,

and they can control costs.

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(Kent with Sailfish) “My work is intended as a celebration of nature's beauty. Here's a sailfish rising from the waves off Padre Island.” - Kent Ullberg

(Cooling His Heels) “Living in South Texas, you cannot escape the iconic longhorn.” - Kent Ullberg

(Preening Heron) “I’m endlessly fascinated by the abstract sculptural shapes inherent in nature. Great Blue Herons near my home on the Texas coast have been my inspiration for several sculptures over the years, both in abstract and realistic expression. The particular treatment of this piece “Preening Heron” is influenced by the great modernist sculptor, Archipenko, whose ability to interpret the human form into a modern idiom (without giving up representation) I’ve admired since my student days in Sweden.” - Kent Ullberg

(Solo Flyer) “I was inspired to create this sculpture after Steve Irwin, renowned Australian wildlife expert known as “The Crocodile Hunter” was killed by a stingray at the Great Barrier Reef. The stingrays’ reputation suffered as a result. They are actually very beautiful, gentle, curious creatures of wonderful sculptural qualities which I’m attempting to express in this work.” - Kent Ullberg

Ullberg Studios (formerly CC Art Connection at Lamar Park) is now located on Yorktown Boulevard. It exclusively features Kent Ullberg sculptures. 18

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PHOTOS BY PAUL MARSHALL

FEATURE


AFTERGLOW Bronze 18”x21”x12”

Gallery Hours: M-F 9:30am-5pm

“I would do this even if it were illegal.”

(also available by appointment)

Email: ullberg@sbcglobal.net

Ullberg Studios, Inc. 5337 Yorktown Blvd. | Ste. 2C | Corpus Christi, TX 78413 | 361.851.1600 | www.kentullberg.net 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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FEATURE

Drones: the biggest little things in aviation insurance

By: CHASE CARLISLE

AS OF AUGUST 2015, THE FAA HAS ISSUED MORE THAN

1,000

DRONES: not just a sci-fi reference anymore. Drones have now become common, with more and more models coming out that are accessible for anyone to purchase and operate. With the average drone costing near $1,000 and more, it becomes even more important to know what it takes to protect this flying investment. According to EBCO Aviation Underwriters, drones are classified as an aircraft, and therefore, require an aviation policy. In many cases, insurance companies have taken their existing aviation policies and modified them to include coverage for drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Many drone aviation insurance policies provide liability coverage only, with very few adding in physical damage on the unit to their policies. The number of insurance carriers that will write drone aviation policies has grown over the past five years, as only one company was willing to take drones into consideration at that time. In the insurance world, drones have been used for various reasons. Often, insured parties can utilize drones to take aerial photos of property to assess damage, determine value and more. Drones are also used to fly over forest fires to determine how to control the blaze, to show better views of homes for sale, to conduct building inspections and more. Drones are rising in popularity for both recreation and business, mostly for their ease of use and ability to see the world from a new perspective. However, with each drone in the air, the risk rises of damage or danger to persons or property. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still determining how to best approach the regulations that will be put in place to cover drones. UAVs are operated by both businesses and individual persons, meaning there need to

EXEMPTIONS TO COMMERCIAL OPERATORS.

be regulations in place for both groups. The FAA has proposed that most commercial drones operators will need to apply for the FAA 333 exemptions. As of August 2015, the FAA has issued more than 1,000 exemptions to commercial operators. It is estimated that more than 30,000 UAVs will be utilized by companies by 2020, making drones the most dynamic growth sector in the aviation industry, according to the FAA. This makes the need for a clear set of insurance regulations regarding drones that much more important. One large issue in reference to drones is the worry about invasion of privacy. TV shows have even begun to parody this issue, proving gravity of the concern. Liability coverage, which is provided under most aviation policies in place for drones, generally covers personal injury, which in many cases refers to invasion of privacy, as well. While each policy has different details, the majority of coverage comes down to the purpose of the UAV for each person and how they plan to operate. Another large hurdle for UAV insurance coverage is size. Most aviation policies cover large aircrafts and jets. With the size of drones being significantly smaller, the policies will need to determine how coverage will work and what will be protected. Drones have become a common site at concerts, sports games, parks, events and other social arenas. When it comes to insurance for drones and other UAVs, there are a lot of details that still need to be determined. If you or your business is considering purchasing a UAV, talk to your insurance provider about their aviation policy and how you can insure the risk of using your drone.

For more information, visit Carlisle Insurance online at www.carlisleins.com.

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14KTGOLD/BIGSTOCK.COM

PROTECTING YOUR FLYING INVESTMENT


DRONES ARE GROWING IN POPULARITY FOR PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES. TAKE PRIDE IN THE RIGHT AVIATION INSURANCE PLAN TO COVER YOUR INVESTMENT.

SPECIAL INSURANCE PROGRAMS COMMERCIAL INSURANCE EMPLOYEE BENEFIT S PERSONAL INSURANCE CARLISLEINS.COM

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TAKING THE BITE OUT OF SHARKS The Texas State Aquarium’s upcoming exhibit shows these misunderstood animals need our help, not our fear. By: ANDREA BOLT

J

ustifying not only the existence, but the conservation of Jaws is a hard license plate to swallow for many ocean-loving humans. Not everyone feels pity for the ocean’s apex predators, but the fact is that sharks are crucial to the health of our world’s oceans, and their declining populations need our help now more than ever. Helping to illustrate the various ways in which we can and are conserving shark species is “Saving Sharks,” the newest exhibit brought to you by the Texas State Aquarium, OCEARCH, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “Saving Sharks” is an interactive, informative exhibition designed to capture the hearts and minds of conservationists and lifelong shark fans, alike. Featuring a live touch exhibit area where visitors can see and feel whitespotted bamboo, carpet and epaulette sharks, track great whites in real time and even stand inside a life-sized underwater dive cage, it’s a shark showcase that’s sure to excite and engage every member of the family. A section on shark biology helps

accomplish this by exhibiting a shark’s cartilaginous skeleton, as well as skin, scales and teeth samples from a number of different species. The king of the shark world, the great white, is well represented throughout the exhibit, especially where OCEARCH is concerned. OCEARCH is a nonprofit organization and leader in open source data collection and research concerning great whites and other apex predators. Aboard the OCEARCH research vessel, the team travels the world and collects data including reproductive conditions of females, body measurements for comparative studies around the world, muscle biopsies to identify key life stages and more. Led by Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer, OCEARCH is able to bring live shark tracking straight to your fingertips via the Internet and their Global Shark Tracker. Follow majestic creatures such as Katherine, the 14foot great white who has swum over 15,000 miles in the two years since she was tagged, or cruise alongside Sam Houston, the 10-foot long tiger shark tagged off the coast of Port Aransas last summer. OCEARCH plays a critical role in providing scientific information

SHARK POPULATIONS HAVE SEEN A

70 TO 90 PERCENT DECLINE THROUGHOUT OUR OCEANS.

necessary in tracking and measuring shark species across the globe, helping to lead and better steer conservation efforts. Some of the first identified sharks that OCEARCH ever tracked were tagged by Corpus Christi’s own Dr. Greg Stunz of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Stunz was one of the first grantees to benefit from the Texas State Aquarium’s Wildlife Care, Conservation and Research Fund. Stunz’s main project focus was to gain a better understanding of shark migration patterns in the Gulf of Mexico. Just why is conservation of these misunderstood animals so high on the worldwide priority list? Shark populations have seen a 70 to 90 percent decline throughout our oceans, earning many of them a place on the endangered species list, and unfortunately, humans have had a heavy hand in getting them there. Due to practices like overfishing and finning, habitat alteration, climate change and marine debris clogging our oceans, we are harming shark species. Despite this fact, however, is the hope that equipped with the proper knowledge, we can change. Passing on all shark products, consuming only sustainable seafood, fishing responsibly and learning more about your local shark populations are all things you can do to make the oceans safer for sharks – which makes it safer for us all. An ocean without sharks is truly terrifying. Scientists have stated that the presence of sharks is actually an indicator of a healthy reef system, as these top-down predators keep marine populations in check and help regulate the oceans. If you remove sharks from the equation, other marine life go unchecked, thus disrupting the balance and healthy equilibrium sharks provide. Swim on over to the aquarium’s new exhibit, where you can join fins with us and we can help support our environment and our world by “Saving Sharks.”

For more information on “Saving Sharks,” call 361-881-1200, email mermaid@txstateaq.org or visit the aquarium online at www.texastateaquarium.org.

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SOLARSEVEN/BIGSTOCK.COM

FEATURE


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FEATURE

Custom jewelry to fit any imagination By: COLTON BARTEL

H

ave you ever been out shopping and found a shirt you liked, but then after you bought it, you realized every one of your friends had the same shirt and miraculously decided to wear it the same days you did? If you want to be different and stand out from the rest of the world, you need something that no one else has, which means something that has been customized. Most things can’t be changed or altered much, let alone completely customized without costing you your firstborn! Sure, you can jack up your truck and put an exhaust on it that will blow the neighbors front door off. Yeah you can remodel your house and give it a fresh coat of neon green paint, making people wonder who could possibly live there. I personally don’t recommend ei-

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details, and if changes need to be made, it takes just minutes instead of hours. Another great feature of having something custom made is the ability to use jewelry you already own and make it into something new. Many times, people will inherit family jewelry, but it’s just not in great shape or it’s out of style. We can take the stones that were in your great-great-grandmother’s ring and put them into something more modern and tasteful. You still have the sentimental value of the stones belonging to your great-greatgrandmother, but you don’t have to dress like her to make the style of her ring work with what you have on. The best part about custom is that you are the designer, and you are the one who knows what you want to wear. Designing something yourself guarantees you won’t ever walk into another room again worrying if someone is going to have the same thing on. Do you want to be that shiny, new Bentley with the custom metallic-black paintjob pulling up to the party getting all the attention, or do you want to be just another AMC Pacer with bad flame licks at a “Wayne’s World” convention? We are all different, and we all have our own personalities. What better way of showing it off with a custom piece of jewelry to match? Talk to your local jeweler and ask about their custom options and processes. I’m sure they will be more than happy help get you started on your dream bling!

Colton Bartel is a G.I.A. graduate gemologist and jewelry designer for Susann’s Custom Jewelers. For questions or to set up an appointment, please contact Susann’s Custom Jewelers via phone at 361-991-7565, via Web at www.susanns-jewelers. com or in person at 4254 S. Alameda in the Town and Country shopping center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SUSANN’S CUSTOM JEWELERS

DREAM BLING

ther, but that’s just me. Something you can customize that most people don’t think of is the jewelry they wear. I know what you’re thinking: ‘This is going to cost me my firstborn and maybe a couple other relatives!’ It’s really not bad, and honestly I probably wouldn’t want the relatives you would be willing to trade anyway. Actually, custom jewelry is comparable to buying something right out of the case, but it’s one-of-a-kind instead of one-in-amillion. The great thing about custom jewelry is the whole reason for it: customization and imagination! If you really want to be original or have a design in your head that you’ve always wanted to see in your hands, custom jewelry is the way to go. Most independent jewelers have some sort option to do custom work, and some have more options than others. The old, tried-andtrue way of doing things is by fabrication or hand carving, and these are still viable ways of making jewelry today. However, technology has made major improvements on these methods, making more complex designs easier to produce and with better quality. Computer-aided drafting, or CAD, programs, along with new milling machines and 3-D printing, has taken jewelry designs to a level never seen before. What I always tell customers now is, as long as we are not trying to defy physics, we can make it (i.e. we still can’t literally make diamonds float, but we can make a setting that allows them to move without losing them). One of the best features of these CAD programs for the customers is the ability to see a rendered image of what the finished piece will look like before any metals or stones are even touched. This gives you the option to make changes before any work is done, saving you time and money. This also ensures that what you have envisioned in your head is exactly what you see when you put it on. In the past, designs were done from sketches that were drawn and then painted to scale, and usually with only one view. Now we can look at the design from any angle and even zoom in to see


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FALL INTO FUN With autumn in full swing and the holidays just around the corner, La Palmera celebrates the season. By: SARONA WINFREY

F

all is here, with the holidays right around the corner, and the La Palmera Shopping District has a number of activities planned, some designed to inform and others to entertain. 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 Radiology Associates “Coastal Bend Day of Pink” fundraising event on Oct. 3, 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 and an informational art display in Center Court. The City of Corpus Christi and other Coastal Bend communities are also helping, issuing a proclamation to help increase breast cancer awareness and education. November marks the start of the retail holiday season, and the La Palmera Shopping District will ring in the holidays with its traditional community festivities. On Thursday, Nov. 5, the holidays will be in full swing at La Palmera with the annual arrival of Santa Claus. The evening’s activities will take place from 5 to 8 p.m., and include live music and entertainment throughout the mall with face painting, arts and crafts, local mascots, plus cookies and storytelling with Mrs. Claus. As is tradition, there will be a special ceremony at 6 p.m. to welcome Santa, who will be meeting with boys and girls and posing for photos in Center Court through Dec. 24 during regular mall hours. And while the holidays mean beloved traditions, shoppers will soon be enjoying new additions, including new stores and other improvements coming to the La Palmera Shopping District by year’s end. Crews have begun work on rebuilding the main parking lot at La Palmera. Fencing is up along South Padre Island Drive at the outer edges of the main

WE TRY TO BE PROACTIVE WITH UPGRADES AND REPAIRS SO THE GUEST EXPERIENCE REMAINS TOP NOTCH.”

parking lot up to the sidewalk by Dillard’s, where demolition of the existing parking is underway. Crews are working their way east in sections toward JCPenney and Chili’s Grill & Bar over the next couple of months as they work to complete the project before the holiday season. “We try to be proactive with upgrades and repairs so the guest experience remains top notch,” said Fred Walters, vice president and general manager for La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera. “Guest amenities are also a factor in attracting national retailers, such as Michael Kors and Tilly’s, which were recently announced.” Famous for its signature clothing and accessories, Michael Kors will be located at Center Court. Construction is now underway on the 3,500-square-foot store, which will feature signature accessories, footwear, watches, jewelry, men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, eyewear and a full line of fragrance products. Michael Kors is scheduled to open by year’s end. Construction has also started on the 6,500-square-foot Tilly’s, a leading specialty retailer in the action sports industry selling clothing, shoes and accessories. Tilly’s offers one of the largest assortments of brands and merchandise from the top players in the surf, skate, motocross and lifestyle apparel industries at its 211 stores in 33 states. Located adjacent to Soma Intimates, Tilly’s will also open later this year. “The La Palmera Shopping District continues to be an economic engine for Corpus Christi,” Walters said. “The Coastal Bend is a very desirable location for many national retailers, and we are pleased to provide them with the best location available. We anticipate additional tenant announcements very soon.” At The Shops at La Palmera, construction will soon begin on a new building to house three new tenants, yet to be announced, which will be located near Chipotle Mexican Grill on the corner of Staples Street and McArdle Road. Facade work was recently completed on the building adjacent to DSW Shoes, the current location for SAS Shoes, Sunshine Dental and Victoria’s Jewels and future location for the recently announced Salons by JC.

For more information on La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera, go online to www.lapalmera.com, visit us on Facebook or call 361-991-3755.

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SELENKA/BIGSTOCK.COM, NIK_MERKULOV/BIGSTOCK.COM

FEATURE


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

7 Days a Week

5409 Saratoga Blvd., Corpus Christi nikossteakhouse.com 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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FEATURE

RISING STAR

Eric Jaramillo, who was recently promoted to assistant general manager/director of marketing, talks about his new position, his passion for this business and the future of the marketing world at the American Bank Center. By: KRISTEN BILY

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When the announcement was made on your new position, what was the first thing you thought about that next morning? The journey continues! Since joining SMG and American Bank Center in February 2009, I have always [fallen] into a position where I served as a resource for others. Being the director of marketing, it easily put me in a position to be a resource for my coworkers and community. My thoughts going into the AGM position continued that thought process of being more a resource to others. Overall, I felt humble that I am advancing in a career that I truly love. Not everyone gets to say that.

ERIC’S HARDWORKING ATTITUDE, BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE AND PROFESSIONALISM MADE THIS PROMOTION AN EASY ONE FOR US TO MAKE.”

Describe a great lesson that you have learned from a failure. Failure is not all-around a bad thing. There is always a silver lining when an event or plan fails. The trick is to learn from it. I love getting feedback, good or bad. Unfortunately, when it’s bad feedback, we have failed at some point in the process. However, if we truly love what we do, we should always want to get better at it. Sometimes it’s just an unfortunate point in the process that we can learn from. What will define your career in the coming year, and what goals have you set for yourself? Overall, I’m trying to immerse myself into the venue operations as much as possible. I have defined my career so far in the live entertainment industry as a marketer. Next is to take those skills and develop general management skills.

PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN BANK CENTER

T

he marketing department and the entire SMG-managed American Bank Center family recently came together to congratulate the promotion of Eric Jaramillo from the director of marketing to director of marketing/ assistant general manager. “Eric’s hardworking attitude, business knowledge and professionalism made this promotion an easy one for us to make,” explains Jim Salamenta, general manager of SMG-managed American Bank Center. “He is a rising star in our industry, and this promotion will only strengthen the overall service the American Bank Center is proud to provide.” The future is looking so very bright not only for Jaramillo in his new position, but also in the positive direction that SMG-managed American Bank Center continues to head into. Sold-out shows such as Carlos Santana, Chris Tucker and Enrique & Pitbull, which ended up being the highest grossing show in American Bank Center history, are proof of that direction. These successful shows that come to the Coastal Bend are due in large part to the team here at the American Bank Center that make these shows come to life. Jaramillo continues to be a crucial part of that team, and he is ready for the next chapter. Jaramillo joined SMG at American Bank Center in February 2009. He has more than 12 years of venue and live entertainment experience, starting in 2003 at the AT&T Center with Spurs Sports & Entertainment. While earning a marketing degree at University of Texas at San Antonio in 2003, he started his industry experience with the game operations department for the NBA San Antonio Spurs, WNBA Silver Stars and AHL Rampage. From there, he gained experience as an event marketing coordinator for Community Arena Management (C.A.M.), AT&T Center’s venue management group. Jaramillo will continue to manage the marketing department as the director of marketing. In his new role, he will assist the general manager within all departments to include sales and operations by implementing and overseeing de-

partment heads in changes to facility programs and operations, establishing and maintaining contact with booking agents, professional managers, promoters and others within the industry to encourage continual and regular use of the facility. He will work closely with the general manager in the preparation and negotiation of service agreements and in reviewing contracts for compliance with events and/or government specifications and suitability for occupancy. Recently, Jaramillo sat down to discuss his new position with SMG-managed American Bank Center and his goals that have been set in place for this new adventure.


Learning in this business gives one the opportunity to learn from great people in this industry. Who is your most important mentor, and what was it that you learned? I have numerous mentors in this industry. I couldn’t put one over the other, though. I was fortunate to have a mentor – early, when I was a sophomore in college – in a college professor. That led to a part-time position with the San Antonio Spurs in which I met a good number of mentors. Over time, all of my mentors have moved on to other positions in the industry, but we all keep in touch ‘til this day. It’s great to have that kind of support and advice. The live entertainment business gives you the opportunity to see things that most never get to see behind the scenes of their favorite show. What is your most memorable moment from a concert you worked on? My most memorable concert was the first one that I worked at. Initially, I got into this business working for a professional franchise sports team, Spurs Sports & Entertainment. Growing up as a Spurs and Cowboys fan, I thought naturally I would love to work for the Spurs. A couple of years into that sports franchise experience, I noticed the marketing manager for concerts and family shows struggling as her assistant manager and her interns all left the department. I offered her my help, and that turned into me helping her at the first concert I ever worked, The Lady’s First Tour featuring Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott and Jessica Simpson. That alone was a very enlightening experience, and from there, I knew I wanted to be in the concert/family show venue industry. What advice would you give to people who have a passion for marketing and the live entertainment business? Don’t be afraid of getting gray hair (or as I put it, silver highlights), as this business will do it to you! All kidding aside, we do what we do because we love the business. We don’t do it for the paycheck. We are very fortunate to have found something we love doing. I think that’s a big part of life – finding what you like doing and figure out how to do it well. Also, be sure to work with others in your industry. Relationships continue to go a long way in the industry.

SMG-managed American Bank Center is Corpus Christi’s premier event center. Follow us online at www.americanbankcenter.com, www.facebook.com/americanbankcenter or www.twitter.com/americanbankctr, and on Instagram (@americanbankcenter), on Tumblr (@American Bank Center) and now on Periscope (@AmericanBankCenter).

POSTAL AND BUSINESS SERVICE CENTERS  Full Service Shipping and Packing  Fine Stationery and Imprintables  Invitations for All Special Occasions  Personalized Gifts and Fine Chocolates  Wide Assortment of Gift Wrap and Custom Party Supplies

You’ve Never Had It So

Good!

TAYLOR CENTER

3636 South Alameda Suite B Corpus Christi, TX 78411

361/854-2771 Fax 361/854-0662 mailctrusa@aol.com 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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COVER STORY

LOCAL INDUSTRY EXPERTS

CHRISTUS HOSPICE AND HOME HEALTH OFFERS THE FINEST IN HOME HEALTH AND HOSPICE SERVICES FROM AN INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAM OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS LED BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR D’ANNA PERRY. BY: STEPHANIE KUSY  PHOTOS BY: PAUL MARSHALL

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WITH COMPASSION, RESPECT AND YEARS OF EXPERTISE, D’ANNA PERRY EXPRESSED THAT IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO OFFER HOME HEALTH AND HOSPICE CARE TO RESIDENTS OF THE COASTAL BEND.

life care. Now she and the CHRISTUS Hospice and Palliative Care team provide patient- and family-centered comfort care personalized for each individual in the face of a serious illness. As the only faith-based hospice in the community, Perry says hospice is not about giving up. Instead, their goal is to help patients maintain independence and live well despite a life-limiting illness. Hospice also serves to help caregivers and loved ones during the journey of illness. Perry utilizes an interdisciplinary approach of nurse, physician, social worker, chaplain, nurse aide, bereavement and volunteer staff to provide support. According to Perry, “It’s not just patient care when it comes to hospice; it’s family care – the feelings you are having, the grief, the sorrow, the anger, all the things that go through your mind witnessing your loved one being sick or terminally ill. Yes, they are going

As the executive director of CHRISTUS Hospice and Home Health, Perry brings more than 15 years of expertise to the health care industry. CHRISTUS Spohn HomeCare and CHRISTUS Spohn Hospice and Palliative Care are part of CHRISTUS Continuing Care, a division of one of the nation’s largest Catholic health systems. When it comes to hospice and home health, Perry wants patients to rely on CHRISTUS HomeCare and Hospice and her team to receive the best quality of care from her highly experienced staff. This area of the health care industry is sometimes misunderstood by the general public. Home health uses a specially trained medical team and support staff that utilizes a holistic approach in providing care in the home or facility environment. Whether a patient is recovering from surgery or illness, or living with a chronic disease like diabetes, the HomeCare team can make hospital visits shorter and less frequent with home-based skilled nursing, rehabilitation and chronic disease management. CHRISTUS HomeCare works closely with physicians to coordinate all aspects of care, focusing on helping patients recover and regain independence. “My goal is to provide the best quality of care for as many patients as possible,” Perry says. In 2014, the company received a Home Care Elite award for being one of the top-performing home health facilities in the nation. Perry’s visionary leadership is marked by compassion and integrity. In addition to her executive experience, she has a strong clinical background. She received her nursing degree from Del Mar College and earned certifications from the National Board of Hospice and Palliative Care in nursing, as well as administration. While working as a registered nurse, Perry discovered her passion for bringing comfort, dignity and respect to patients needing end-of-

through it, but you are going through it with all the stages of grieving, so that’s what makes the whole concept.” Hospice is one of the most underutilized and misunderstood Medicare benefits even though it has a significant, positive impact on patients and their families. It is 100 percent covered by Medicare. In addition, most Medicaid and commercial insurance plans cover the service. Many people do not take advantage of this benefit because patients and families are unaware of the full spectrum of services hospice and palliative care offer. “Every day, our focus is to provide education to the community,” Perry says. “Physicians, health care workers and community members are often uncertain about eligibility for these ser-

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“EVERY DAY, OUR FOCUS IS TO PROVIDE EDUCATION TO THE COMMUNITY.”


PERRY’S VISIONARY LEADERSHIP IS MARKED BY COMPASSION AND INTEGRITY. vices and what they offer. Hospice is a misunderstood word that can create feelings of fear or anxiety. The use of hospice is increasing in the U.S. and in this community, but there’s still confusion regarding its role in patient and family care.” Perry joined CHRISTUS HomeCare and Hospice just over two years ago when they served about five patients a day. Most of the community did not know the nonprofit existed any longer even though the company opened its doors more than 30 years ago. Perry has since

revamped the entire program by hiring quality staff and improving their quality of care. Her team provides service to more than 70 hospice patients on any given day. While the office appeared busy during the interview, staff constantly poked their heads in Perry’s office, enthusiastically sharing stories about their mild-mannered boss. They say her leadership is characterized by a passion for excellence and fairness in all she does, advocacy and ongoing education for herself, her staff and

patients and their families. Her colleagues say she is as an advocate for patients, a positive role model and a mentor for other leaders. “D’Anna Perry exemplifies excellence and integrity in all she does,” says Liz Boatright, account executive for HomeCare. “She’s just a great boss. I can’t imagine working for anybody else. I love her passion.” When Perry takes off her scrubs, she enjoys fishing, kayaking and just about anything involving water. She and her husband of 16 years live in Flour Bluff. She says the most rewarding aspect of her career is seeing the difference she and her team make in patients’ lives. “Whether it’s rehabilitating a patient in the home health side and getting them back to work to provide for their families or, on the hospice side, providing that psychosocial support, families are better able to deal with their loved one passing and having that experience,” she says. “We want to provide that piece so patients can pass away comfortably. It is incredibly amazing some of the things I’ve seen my staff do to guide patients and families through this journey.”

CHRISTUS HomeCare is located at 6200 Saratoga Blvd. in Building B, Ste. 104. Call 361-994-3450 to speak to a specialist or visit www.christushomecare.org for more information.

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PROFILE

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RAISING

THE BAR Veronica Brashear and her staff never settle for anything less than excellence at VBar Dry Bar Salon & Skin Lounge, which offers guests an escape like no other. BY: Stephanie Kusy PHOTOS BY: Paul Marshall

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THE DOORS OPEN at VBar Dry Bar Salon & Skin Lounge, and immediate solace is found from trying to escape the South Texas heat. Tunes from Lana Del Rey and other runway tracks play softly, creating a relaxing atmosphere in a chic space. When it comes to salons, Corpus Christi has never seen this concept before. A dry bar salon and skin lounge like no other, VBar offers a transformative escape to every guest. Veronica Brashear opened the modern salon just over two years ago because she wanted to deliver high-end services at an affordable price. Back then, the dry bar concept did not exist in town. Traveling to New York City inspired her to bring inventive haircuts from the fashion world back home. “The dry bar concept is all over New York City, Houston, Dallas and every big city, but at the time when we were coming up, there wasn’t anybody marketing for that here,” she says. “Starting out was really scary because I’m not a big risk taker. I like things planned out. I’m just not a fly-by-the-seatof-my-pants person. I didn’t know if we would be well received or not. But once we did it, business has been great.” A blow dry bar accommodates anyone from the working mom to the businesswoman on the go, to the Friday night gals. VBar stylists wash and style your lovely locks so you do not have to. For $35, guests can choose from a variety of looks they desire to achieve, whether it is The Anna – sleek and smooth hair with high shine – or the Elyse – lots of loose curls with a natural finish. The best part: Each blow out comes with instructions on how to recreate the look and extend the life of the “do” throughout the week. “What’s the point of putting an amazing color on someone’s hair, style or cut, if they go home and don’t even know what to do with it?” Brashear states emphatically. These top-of-the-line stylists use topof-the-line products. VBar exclusively carries Bumble and Bumble, a complete hair care line with a full range of shampoos, conditioners and styling and treatment products. The most popular services include haircuts and color. Currently, many clients request color using a freehand technique known as “bayalage,” a French word meaning, “to sweep,” or “to paint.” It creates sun-kissed, natural-looking hair color with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. This one-stop-shop also offers a skin lounge where guests can take advantage of services such as waxing, facials and skin peels. While Brashear’s business has taken off, styling hair was not her first career choice. She initially wanted to become a paramedic, but dropped out of college for two years to take care of her grandfather while he battled cancer. After his passing, she enrolled in a community college and tried registering for classes on the last day of registration. Only cosmetology courses were available. Now a cosmetologist for 15 years, she cannot imagine doing anything else. This first-time entrepreneur places emphasis on training top-notch stylists by inspiring them through her knowledge and craft

EACH BLOW OUT COMES WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO RECREATE THE LOOK AND EXTEND THE LIFE OF THE “DO” THROUGHOUT THE WEEK.

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of the industry. She enjoys working behind the scenes and strives to create a family-like work environment. “It’s what keeps me going in the morning, knowing that people look up to me and what I’m doing,” Brashear says. “The decisions I’m making affect the lives of others. I have the ability to change that for them.” While she is changing lives of up-and-coming stylists, she still finds it difficult to completely put the scissors down. “I do get behind the chair,” she says. “I don’t think I’ll ever leave because that’s what keeps my pulse going: actually having my hands in someone’s hair.” Having her hands in someone’s hair is how she plans to leave a legacy for her two daughters, Elyse Mia, 16, and Zoey Paige, 2. She hopes they will follow in her footsteps and one day take over the family business, which is growing. Brashear says she is looking to open a second salon in her hometown of San Antonio. The VBar staff endlessly strives to offer each and every guest a space of relaxation and renewal. One thing is for sure: They will never settle for anything less than excellence. VBar Dry Bar Salon & Skin Lounge is located at 7426 S. Staples, Ste. 104, in the Encantada Village. You may call 361-960-0545 to make an appointment. And for a price list and other information, visit www.vbarsalon.com. 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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PROFILE

COLOR, TEXTURE AND VERA WANG –

OH MY!

Celebrating 26 years in business, the Mail Center USA continues to stand out for its outstanding customer service and the renowned personal touch of its owner, Gail Ivie. By: Jessica Dusek Photos by: Paul Marshall

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“SHE CAN REMEMBER THE NAME OF CUSTOMERS FROM FIVE YEARS AGO,” DESCRIBES RUSSELL IVIE WITH AN ENDEARING VOICE OF HIS WIFE, GAIL IVIE’S, CORPUS CHRISTI BUSINESS, MAIL CENTER USA. SHE LAUGHS, “NOW, DON’T SAY THAT – I’M GETTING OLDER.”

The small business owner celebrates her business’ 26th anniversary this October. Friendly customer service and her personal touch has kept customers – and even their children – coming back to her store as she recalls her many years in business. Customer loyalty remains strong and shapes perspective of the Mail Center’s customer service in the community. Located on Alameda, just a few blocks from Corpus Christi’s Oceanfront Drive, Gail Ivie has learned a thing or two about the industry – and her customers. This year, the Mail Center has expanded their inventory, carrying vibrant and textured stationery, and offering lines from top designers such as Crane, William Arthur, Vera Wang, Checkerboard and many others. You can get something for basic needs or your most memorable events. Over the years, Ivie had already expanded the Mail Center’s services, adding an esthetic side to their shipping specialty. “I got into something that others didn’t do, and that was gift wrap,” she explains. “All professionally hand-tied bows – that was a niche I got into.” The personal touch added to her reputation as a local shipping business that set itself apart from other shipping companies, and provided an experience-based visit for customers. Initially, her business began as a mail-servicing center. What made her business different from competitors was her attention to detail and the needs of her customers. She got her start in the printing industry while working in the university system. In 1986, she and her husband decided to make a career- and life-changing move. Russell, a helicopter pilot, took a leave of absence from his company, and Gail resigned her position at the university and purchased a small commercial franchise printing company called Minuteman Press.

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“This is no typical shipping and packing business. It has a much more pleasant, inviting atmosphere.” She moved to San Antonio to open their new company and did her training for the printing industry in New York. Russell returned to his love of flying after one-and-a-half years of helping Gail get things off to a good start. In late 1989, Russell was transferred to Corpus Christi, so he and Gail decided to sell the printing company, and they opened the Mail Center in 1990. Ivie was successful transitioning with the new business component, as it complemented her existing operation. “I was able to reactivate old accounts, and began opening new accounts.” Providing a place in her store for customers to sit down and re-

view stationery options allows the customer to relax and review examples and product options. “I prefer that the customer gets to feel the quality of the paper,” explains Gail of her extended stationery selection. “These days, a lot of customers are ordering online, and sometimes it doesn’t meet their expectations.”

REPUTATION AND CUSTOMER CARE Bright-faced and energetic employees reinforce the customer service value. Throughout the past 18 years, Gail’s passion as a young women’s kickball coach has helped her recruit her employees. This uniquely made 80 percent of current and former young women kickball players – her daughter, along with her many kickball-centric staff members.

“I’ve seen them come and go, some having stayed as long as 10 years,” Russell says. “Their personalities are very friendly and outgoing. This is no typical shipping and packing business. It’s considerably different – a much more pleasant, inviting atmosphere.” Industry knowledge and environment set the tone for Corpus patrons, and those visiting from surrounding areas. Although the business engages in radio and magazine advertisements, 75 percent of their business is word-of-mouth and referral-based. New inventory additions include a new customer base pulling in Corpus’ local doctors, lawyers, brides-to-be, college graduates, church camp coordinators and those celebrating special occasions and holidays. Gail says of her customers: “We can truly call them friends.”

Mail Center USA extends a multitude of suppliers and lines, and Gail Ivie can customize them and place special orders. For more information or to learn about upcoming events, swing by the Mail Center, or visit the company online at www.mailctrusa.com or via Facebook. You may also contact Ivie directly at mailctrusa@aol.com. 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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rowds made their way to North Padre Island this summer to check out the latest tourist attraction: Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi Riverpark & Resort. Thousands recently packed the park for free during an employee appreciation day. The waterpark made an effort to recognize groups including teachers, city workers, county workers, military personnel, health care workers and more in an attempt to lure families from across the Coastal Bend to see what Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi has to offer. The park operated with about 65 percent of its rides and attractions completed, but that will change soon. While crowds have subsided since the 2015 season officially wrapped on Sept. 20, construction crews and park staff continue to prepare for the 2016 season when all rides and attractions will be completed. The park will boast the largest river system out of all five Schlitterbahn waterparks. “When it is fully opened and operational, it will take you two hours to navigate through the Krystal River,” says Amy Gazin, marketing and public relations director. “This is going to be one of our signature trademarks.” The lazy river system will operate almost like a highway where guests tube down the main Krystal River until they want to exit for a change of pace – say, the Torrent River, which picks up speed and splashes guests with rapids and descends underneath a waterfall. Or perhaps guests would rather venture down the Deluge, an exhilarating tube chute. Whatever their choice, waterpark guests will not be disappointed.

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The options are endless, and that’s exactly what Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi strives to provide in hopes of becoming a first-class resort. By next year, 92 rooms will be available for overnight lodging. Some rooms will be able to accommodate up to 13 people, making sure no family is too large to stay onsite. In addition, multiple levels of meeting and convention space will be available. “There aren’t many places for groups to come out and meet on the Island,” Gazin says. “So Jeff Henry, owner and developer of Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi, is tapping into a market that has largely been ignored. The sky’s the limit as to what we’re going to be able to do when this resort is finished.” Gazin says the riverpark resort will capture a specific convention market and attendees will bring their families to play down below at the waterpark while mom or dad attends convention sessions upstairs. The park makes sure there is a little something for everyone, including two play areas specifically designed for Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi’s youngest guests: Little Skipper’s Cove and Buccaneer Bay, both of which provide age-appropriate slides and entertainment. Spring Break 2016 promises to be an exciting time, but we couldn’t get Gazin to spill the beans just who will be performing on Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi’s famed Freedom Stage. “We will utilize the Freedom Stage for concerts during Spring Break and beyond,”


she says. “The water in front and around the Freedom Stage can be drained in about 20 minutes, leaving plenty of room for concert-goers. A full-service spa, exercise room and other amenities will be open to resort guests once construction is complete. The park may appear quiet now, but the Veranda Restaurant & Bar remains open. Built mostly with reclaimed wood from the Bastrop, Texas, wildfires from 2011, the Veranda Restaurant & Bar brings its own unique elegance for visitors to enjoy. Those trying to catch a sneak peek at the waterpark can come in to dine and enjoy weekly chef specials, weekday happy hours and a Sunday breakfast buffet. Live music takes place inside the restaurant on the weekends. Jeff Henry is the creative genius behind this masterpiece. At the tender age of 15, he helped his father build the original Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. He is world-renowned for his out-of the-box

ideas when it comes to designing water rides, and he has helped with the creation of waterparks as a far away as Dubai. For Henry, Schlitterbahn is a lifestyle, and he remains dedicated to the success of the park. “Sometimes our city as a whole is not viewed as the most business friendly,” Gazin says. “I think it’s a testament that [Henry] has

stayed the course and worked through some major construction hiccups, and look what’s now here because of that kind of dedication. It’s just a beautiful opportunity to make memories with your family that will last a lifetime.” Gazin says Corpus Christi once claimed the name, “Sparkling City by the Sea,” but she has gained a whole new perspective since she began working for the waterpark earlier this summer. “I like the description ‘Jewel by the Sea’ because once this riverpark and resort is up and running, it’s just going to sparkle and shine,” she says. “It will be like nothing else we have in this area.” Gazin believes tourism will increase as a result of Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi. “As a long-time resident, I think we have needed something like this to jump start and attract people here from all over the state,” Gazin says. “Then they get to see the Texas State Aquarium, the USS Lexington Museum and go to a Corpus Christi Hooks baseball game. It’s just a positive win-win domino effect.”

Schlitterbahn Riverpark & Resort is located at 14353 Commodores Drive. For more information, visit www.schlitterbahn.com/corpus-christi. 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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Specializing in New Construction and Renovations

ART RAMIREZ President /Builder

R.O. Construction Group  (361) 813-6520 www.roconstructiongroup.com  www.facebook.com/artthebuilder

There is an Art to building your dream home, let’s do it together! 46

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MONEY MATTERS

FINANCIAL

FOCUS Avoiding emotional investment decisions

What’s the biggest obstacle to your ability to invest successfully? Is it the ups and downs of the financial markets? Political events? The fact that you weren’t born rich? Actually, the chief hurdle you face is something over which you have control: your own emotions. Your emotions can lead to a variety of ill-advised investment behaviors, such as these:  Cutting losses: Declines in the financial markets can lead some investors to try to “cut their losses” by selling investments whose price has declined. Yet, when prices have dropped, it may actually be a good time to buy investments, not sell them, especially when the investments are still fundamentally sound.  Chasing performance: In the investment world, the flip side of “fear” is “greed.” Just as some investors are propelled by fear of loss, others are motivated by quick, big gains. They may pursue “hot” investments, only to be disappointed when the sizzle quickly fizzles. Instead of trying to “score” that one big winner, you may be better off spreading your investment dollars among a range of vehicles – stocks, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit (CDs) and so on. While diversification can’t guarantee a profit or protect against loss, it may help reduce the impact of market volatility on your portfolio.  Focusing on the short term: When the market is down, you might get somewhat upset when you view your monthly investment statements. But any individual statement is just a snapshot in time; if you were to chart your investment results over a period of 10, 15 or 20 years, you’d see the true picture of how your portfolio is doing – and, in all likelihood, that picture would look better than a statement or two you received during a down market. In any case, don’t overreact to shortterm downturns by making hasty “buy” or “sell” decisions. Instead, stick with a long-term strategy that’s appropriate for your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.  Heading to the investment “sidelines”: Some people get so frustrated over market volatility that they throw up their hands and head to the investment “sidelines” until “things calm down.” And it’s certainly true that, when owning stocks, there are no guarantees; you do risk losing some, or all, of your invest-

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STAYING INVESTED OVER THE LONG TERM CAN PAY OFF.

ment. But if you jump in and out of the market to “escape“ volatility, you may take on an even bigger risk – the risk of losing some of the growth you’ll need to reach your goals. Consider this: If you had invested $10,000 in a package of stocks mimicking the S&P 500 in December 1979, your investment would have grown to more than $426,000 by December 2013. But if you had missed just the 10 best days of the market during that time, your $10,000 would only have grown to less than $206,000 – a difference of about $220,000, according to Ned Davis Research, a leading investment research organization. The bottom line? Staying invested over the long term can pay off. (Keep in mind, though, that the S&P 500 is an unmanaged index and isn’t meant to depict an actual investment. Also, as you’ve no doubt heard, past performance is not a guarantee of future results.) Our emotions are useful in guiding us through many aspects of our lives, but when you invest, you’re better off using your head – not your heart.

This article was contributed by Barbara Ellis, financial advisor with Edward Jones.

BRAGIN ALEXEY/BIGSTOCK.COM

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MONEY MATTERS

PRACTICAL DIVERSIFICATION TOOLS

How to build a portfolio that is less volatile than the overall market

By: JEANIE WYATT to as a wealth grower should be, “I take my risk on the stock side, not the bond side.”

WITHIN STOCKS, OWN VALUE AND GROWTH

Value stocks (cheap/out-of-favor) and growth stocks (accelerating sales and earnings) tend to move in cycles; when one does well, the other does (relatively) poorly, but both go up over time. So value and growth stocks are inversely correlated, which makes them a great diversification tool. This inverse correlation holds across small, mid and large company stocks, as well as international stocks. Owning both value stocks and growth stocks a good way to minimize downside risk for the equity portion of any portfolio.

P

eople know their investments should be diversified, but all too often, this gets translated in practice into just owning a bunch of stuff. The goal of diversification is to build a portfolio that is less volatile than the overall market. By doing better than the market during bad times, and while participating in market gains during good times, a diversified investment approach can lead to increased wealth over time while reducing – though not eliminating – risk. So how do you diversify? By owning assets whose prices don’t move together, but do go up over time.

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OWN STOCKS AND BONDS

The most important decision a longterm investor makes is how much to allocate between risky stocks and safe bonds. In times of high uncertainty, stocks tend to decline as investors pull money out of the equity (stock) market and put it into safer, fixed-income securities like U.S. government and municipal bonds. Bonds are a natural hedge to stocks. But riskier bonds, like high-yield junk bonds and emerging market bonds, tend to do poorly in times of uncertainty just like stocks. These types of bonds offer little in the way of diversification, particularly in volatile times when you need it the most. Your mot-

THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION A LONG-TERM INVESTOR MAKES IS HOW MUCH TO ALLOCATE BETWEEN RISKY STOCKS AND SAFE BONDS.

There are 10 broad economic sectors (e.g. health care, energy, utilities, etc.), and the stock price performance of any one sector is notoriously hard to predict. So owning some stocks in every sector is another way to prudently diversify an equity portfolio. Most stock market bubbles and collapses are really sector bubbles and sector collapses. The key to avoiding these recurrent, yet unpredictable sector blowups, like the recent dramatic decline of the energy sector or of the financial sector in 2008 or the technology sector in the late 1990s, is to limit your exposure to any one sector.

COMPANY STOCK EXPOSURE

Wealth creation requires some con-

SOLARSEVEN/BIGSTOCK.COM

OWN STOCKS IN ALL SECTORS, BUT NOT TOO MANY IN ANY ONE SECTOR


centration of investments. You don’t want to hold too much in any one company (say, more than 3 percent of your portfolio), but you don’t want to hold too little, either. Many investors follow a 20-to-30 stock rule of thumb as the adequate number of stocks required to achieve market diversification, but those numbers come from research conducted in the 1960s and 1970s. Subsequent research demonstrates that the optimal number of holdings increased over time to no fewer than perhaps 50 stocks, but probably no more than 100.

SIZE OR MARKET CAPITALIZATION

This is another classification of stocks that displays inverse correlations. Large, mid and small cap stocks often move in distinct cycles, similar to value and growth stocks. Here again the key to leveraging this diversification benefit is to maintain some exposure to large, mid-size and small company stocks at all times.

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DIVERSIFY INTERNATIONALLY

A final level of diversification is achieved by owning stocks across international boundaries. The correlations among U.S. and international stocks have increased over time, which reduces somewhat the benefits of international diversification, but you should still allocate 10 percent to 20 percent of your portfolio to international companies. And instead of stressing about which region of the world is going to do well or poorly, just look for good companies. Think globally, but at the company level, not the country level.

FLIPPO/BIGSTOCK.COM

In summary, in order to be properly diversified, an investor should own stocks and safe bonds. Within stocks, investors should own value and growth stocks across all size or capitalizations and in some international companies, as well.

South Texas Money Management Ltd. is an independent registered investment advisor with $2.7 billion in assets under management. It has five locations across the state.The newest office is in Corpus Christi (located at 921 N. Chaparral, Ste. 112), and may be reached at 361-904-0551 or www.stmmltd.com. Jeanie Wyatt, CFA, is the CEO and CIO of the firm.

361.994.7884 7602 S. Staples St. #104 Corpus Christi, TX 78413 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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REAL ESTATE

THE ART OF ZEN/INDUSTRIAL Form and function: Mike Brannon and LightLink Lighting By: ERIN O’BRIEN

“Vanishing Point” series

With the rise of the Do It Yourself (DIY) Movement, many people are turning their attention to re-purposing and recycling. This general interest has extended into the design world, as well, compelling an increasing number of designers to improve on existing materials to create something new that is both functional and fabulous - a trend called upcycling. For some designers, however, upcycling is far from a mere fad - it’s a way of life. One such designer is Mike Brannon, a South Texas-based lighting extraordinaire who has been championing upcycling and practicing what he preaches since the birth of his design company, LightLink Lighting, nearly 20 years ago. “I use an additive process,” Brannon says. “I go with what I’ve got and then find ways to juxtapose the materials. I only drill and cut when it’s necessary, because I believe in honoring the material as it comes to me. And I try to use as many green and sustainable products as possible so that hopefully, for example, a piece of scrap metal I find can become a light instead of being sent to a landfill. But while my prototypes may come about from industrial scrap, you will never be able to tell from the finished product.”

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF LIGHTLINK LIGHTING

“Northern Lights” suspension


Indeed, Brannon’s lights, in their finished forms, are very clean and classy, often featuring clever blends of cool “space age” and Bauhaus-inspired elements with earthy woods and other nods to nature’s wonders. In other words, his visions are often simultaneously down-to-earth and out-of-this-world. “A lot of my designs come from astronomical phenomenon, like the Northern Lights, shooting stars, desert-scapes and sunsets. Those things have always informed the designs,” Brannon says. “But I’m also inspired by things mankind has sent up into space, such as the Sputnik, which reminds me of where we were in the ‘space race’ at that time.” Some of Brannon’s additional influences include more “grounded” natural fixtures, such as oceans and other waterways; modern architecture and designers, such as Frank Lloyd Wright; and sci-fi films, such as Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 epic, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” But Brannon’s lights aren’t only about form; they’re also about function. He employs wireless dimmers and touch-sensitive technology in his lights so that people don’t have to walk over to a wall switch in order to light up the room or select their ambience of choice. However, he is looking to take this convenience a step further and switch to entirely wireless lighting. “Lighting should be simple,” he says. “We should be able to put our lights anywhere we want, wherever we want, inside or outside, without having to worry about wires and bulbs. It should not be ‘plug and play,’ but ‘place and play.’ This is something Tesla was able to do 130 years ago, so why aren’t we doing it now?” Ultimately, Brannon’s priorities are simplicity and essence – providing his clients with lights that are cool, clean and convenient in a series of beautifully blended nods to earth, sky and outer space. It’s a simple approach, but a brilliant one – the true embodiment of Zen/ Industrial.

“HyperNova” suspension

PHOTOS COURTESY OF LIGHTLINK LIGHTING

LIGHTING SHOULD BE SIMPLE.”

LIGHTING UP THE WORLD: IYL 2015

TOP: "Dichroic Drum," "Dichroic Twig" and "Bamboo Column," featured in the Vidorra ASID show BOTTOM: The "FI" suspension, featured in the TEDx Austin Lounge

It’s a special year for the light sciences, as 2015 has been dubbed the International Year of Light and LightBased Technologies (IYL 2015). Thanks to this announcement from the UN General Assembly 68th Session in December 2013, many different entities from educational institutions to scientific unions and societies have joined forces to educate the world population about the many potential benefits of light-based technologies – and as Mike Brannon, owner of LightLink Lighting, notes, education is key. “We’re at a place in the world where you can’t not think about the environment,” he says. “It has to be part of our kids’ education now. Education is vital, and IYL 2015 is a great way to help make that happen.” The IYL 2015 programs have been occurring throughout the year, and to date, the cause has been endorsed by numerous scientific unions all over the world, and has over 100 partners from over 85 nations. For more information, visit www.light2015.org.

To learn more about LightLink Lighting, please visit www.archinect.com/lightlinklighting, or email Erin O’Brien, director of marketing and social media, at erin.lightlinklighting@gmail.com.

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUY A HOUSE? Part II of II: Sellers’ closing costs explained

I

n the last issue of Inspire, we explored the typical closing costs and expenses paid by homebuyers at closing or settlement. Sellers also have expenses that should be taken into account before a final sales price is set for any property. Here is a quick review of closing costs commonly incurred by sellers in the Coastal Bend. Please keep in mind that there may be other additional costs under specific circumstances. Typically, the largest expense paid by sellers when selling a property through a brokerage is the broker’s compensation, or the fee paid to the listing broker to market the property and to attract the largest pool of potential qualified buyers. Real estate brokers in our area usually cooperate with each other and share the total commission paid by the sellers between the sellers’ listing brokerage and their agents and the buyers’ brokerage and agents. This often confuses new sellers when informed that they are also paying the buyer’s agent, but, in essence, the seller is paying the buy-

By: CORAL DWORACZYK

er’s agent for bringing the buyer to the proverbial table. It is important for all parties to know that legally, this compensation or commission rate and the sharing of compensation between brokers is not fixed, controlled, recommended, suggested or maintained by the Association of REALTORS, the local MLS system or any listing service. Instead, this seller expense and its distribution between parties is negotiated between the seller and the real estate agent hired to list the property for sale. If a seller decides to list the property as “for sale by owner”, or “FSBO,” no brokerage fees are paid unless a prospective buyer has selected an agent and requests that the seller pay his or her commission. In addition to paying the brokerage fees, there are other seller closing costs. Most of these are related to title expenses. In our area, the seller traditionally pays for the owner’s title policy. This title insurance policy ultimately protects the new owner (and also the lender if there is a mortgage

involved) against property losses or any potential damages from liens on the property, encumbrances or defect in the title to the property. The cost of this title policy varies based on the contract price of the property. In addition to the title policy expenses, there are other fees from the title company related to attorney fees (for drafting the title documents), escrow or closing fees and fees associated with recording the new deed and paperwork with the county. The seller may also have purchased a home warranty (also called a residential service contract) for the buyer, and this may also be billed and paid from the seller’s proceeds at closing. Prorated property taxes are also collected from the seller on the day of closing. Keep in mind that property taxes are paid in arrears. For example, the 2015 property taxes will be paid in one lump sum at the end of 2015 or the very beginning of 2016. Therefore, the taxes are prorated on a daily basis from Jan. 1 through the day of closing and paid to the buyer to hold (personally or in their escrow account set up by the buyer’s lender) until the property taxes are due and billed by the county. Sellers often ask how all parties will be paid as the actual closing date nears. Fortunately, the title or escrow company takes care of this task. A final settlement statement will be prepared by the title company and the lender (if there is a mortgage involved). This will outline the buyer’s and seller’s expenses and officially inform both parties how much they need to bring to or expect to receive at closing. After all of the official closing documents have been signed, the title company will collect monies from the buyer and lender (this is called “funding”), and then issue payments to the seller’s mortgage company (if there is a remaining mortgage on the property), the brokerages and agents involved, the title company, any unpaid contractors that may have performed repairs on the home being sold (as may have been negotiated in the contract) and then finally, issue the remaining balance to the seller in the form of a cashier’s check or wire transfer. Once the documents have been signed and funds have been transferred, the transaction is considered to be officially complete. Sellers and buyers should always keep in mind that legal possession of a property officially transfers to the new buyer only after all documents have been signed and the transaction has been funded, unless a temporary lease has been established.

Coral Dworaczyk is a realtor at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Bradfield Properties in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information, please contact her at 979-229-2836 (cell) or via email at corald@bradfieldproperties.com.

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ANDY DEAN PHOTOGRAPHY/BIGSTOCK.COM

REAL ESTATE


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ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY

age to hardwood or other trees and surrounding ground. Our expertise can enhance your enjoyment of your property, give you better views and allow you to make improvements much more easily, including fencing. Our service eliminates expensive haul-off, burn piles and unsafe site burns and damage to the ground and desirable trees. Additionally, LCS is experienced in both clearing and maintaining right-of-way areas for ease of access.

AT A GLANCE

Land Clearing Solutions LLC makes cutting-edge forestry mulching available to Texas landowners.

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and Clearing Solutions LLC (LCS), owned and operated by Stephen Stryk and Susie Nemec Lee, with more than 15 years’ experience, offers a better alternative to effectively clear unwanted trees and underbrush from your property. Our company takes great pride in what we do and the services we provide for our customers. Our cutting-edge forestry mulchers are land-friendly track machines equipped with forestry mulching heads using the best technique to achieve a nice natural blanket of mulch byproduct on the ground. The size of our forestry mulchers offers excellent maneuverability unmatched in the land-clearing industry. Mulching results in less soil dis-

turbance and has the added benefit of leaving the soil topped with eco-friendly, beneficial mulch, which helps retain soil moisture and improve soil quality. Mulch is interlocking, so it is resistant to most rain washout and can help with soil erosion, allowing beneficial vegetation to grow, if desired. In addition, as the mulch rots, it creates nutrients for the soil. Cleared land is more useful land, and it conserves your property’s natural resources. Also, clearing unwanted trees and underbrush opens your property for productive uses and enjoyment. LCS can clear and mulch areas for wild game, hunting, nature trails, paths, all-terrain vehicle access or even horseback riding. We can selectively clear brush and trees without dam-

AT LCS, WE HAVE A PASSION FOR THE LAND WE CLEAR AND FOR INDIVIDUAL RANCH AND PROPERTY OWNERS.

We have experience:  Ranches  New subdivisions  Developments  Lot and acreage beautification  Fence and survey line clearing  ROW (utility, pipeline, wind power)  Fire break  Habitat improvement  Hunting leases LCS has successfully cleared large projects for contractors, major oil companies and utility/electrical companies. We have a passion for the land we clear and for individual ranch and property owners. We are fully insured. We will bid your projects by the job or by the hour. And we have a Better Business Bureau accreditation. Stryk is the real talent behind our business, our repeat customer base and in growing our business through customer satisfaction. Become part of our growing business base by contacting us for all your clearing needs and a bid on your project.

For more information, call Stephen Stryk at 361-443-9762; call Susie Lee at 361-947-1358; or email lcs21@yahoo.com.

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PHOTO BY PAUL MARSHALL

ECOLOGICAL PROGRESS

Tree and brush mulching advantages:  No burning  No brush piles left behind  No stumps  No hauling  No damage to valuable trees or surrounding areas  Promotes growth of native habitat  Provides visibility and accessibility for lots, large and small acreage


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ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY COMING FROM humble beginnings, Stellar Energy Solutions is now the premier energy broker for South Texas and the surrounding area. One of the things that makes Stellar different is that we work with several retail energy providers who all submit bids for your business, which in turn, creates competition to earn your business at the lowest rate possible. With a crew of only six employees, Stellar Energy Solutions manages more than 1,000 commercial and residential accounts of all different sizes. Stellar Energy Solutions is one of the only brokers who offer “future price locking” so customers can take advantage of signing up and renewing throughout the year when energy prices are the cheapest. Our goal here at Stellar is to earn your business for the life of your business.  We do that by educating our clients on the way customers’ bills are made up, as well as informing them about the current trends in the market so they can see the state of the market and where prices are headed. We break down customers’ bills and provide them with a cost analysis showing a penny-for-penny savings breakdown of what they are currently paying compared to what our company is willing to drop their rate to. Stellar Energy Solutions is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation for sales even though we only compete in Texas and Ohio. We help you by taking a time-intensive project off of your plate and providing you with a turnkey solution. As an experienced electricity broker, we use our industry resources, experience and technology to view and analyze your usage. We then provide a comprehensive quote for you, usually within 24 hours. We will find you savings on your electricity, leaving you free to work on your core business objectives. It’s that simple – no strings attached. With Stellar Energy Solutions, there are no cost, credit checks or fees required to shop your load. If we find an option you are pleased with, great! If we don’t, that’s OK, too. We present you with your options – after that, it’s your call. We strive to offer products and services, along with educating our customers on market timing to take advantage of the lowest rate and most cost-effective way to save money on your overhead cost with integrity, choice and service.

INTEGRITY, CHOICE AND SERVICE Earning your business for the life of your business: Stellar Energy Solutions By: TIM CLARK

For more information, visit Stellar Energy Solutions online at www.stellarnrgsolutions.com.

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YANC/BIGSTOCK.COM

STELLAR ENERGY SOLUTIONS IS CURRENTLY RANKED NO. 5 IN THE NATION FOR SALES EVEN THOUGH WE ONLY COMPETE IN TEXAS AND OHIO.


Land CLearing SoLutionS

Forestry Track Mulchers www.landclearing services.com Contact: Stephen Stryk 361.443.9762 Susie Lee 361.947.1358 lcs21@yahoo.com

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ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY

SAFE AND SECURE

IT OFTEN SEEMS like not a day goes by without word of another cyberattack or data breach. From the U.S. government to major retailers, no one is immune from dedicated and talented hackers. If you think your own business is safe from cyberattacks and data breaches, chances are you are mistaken. It is not a matter of if hackers will target your network; it is only a matter of when. If you have not yet taken steps to secure your network, you are living on borrowed time. One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect your network is install a quality spam filter. The majority of cyberattacks and phishing attempts come through email, and simply keeping spam out of your network can greatly reduce your risk. Of course, even the best spam filter is not perfect, and it is impossible to keep every junk email out of your employees’ inboxes. That is why training is so important, and why you should take proactive steps to help your employees protect your network. Recent examples have shown that humans are often the weakest link in the data security chain. Computers have

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always done exactly what they have been programed to do, and that is why human error climbs to the top of the list. Better employee training and more comprehensive policies can go a long way toward keeping your data secure and safe from hackers. One of the best things you can do as a business owner is train your workers to never click links in emails from unknown recipients. While emails and attachments from fellow employees are likely to be safe, the same cannot be said of attachments from other sources. Teaching your employees to be suspicious of unknown senders is one of the smartest things you can do to secure the company network. Teaching employees to avoid clicking links and opening unknown attachments is one part of the process – asking employees to report any suspicious emails or attachments is just as important. This kind of reporting serves a number of different purposes. For one thing, it puts you on alert that hackers are targeting your system, thus prompting your security personnel and IT staff to be more vigilant. Reporting suspicious emails also allows the IT staff to tweak the spam filter

By: CHRISTOPHER HEGG

IT IS NOT A MATTER OF IF HACKERS WILL TARGET YOUR NETWORK; IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF WHEN.

and make it more effective. Those tweaks can keep even more suspicious emails out of employee inboxes and keep your network even more secure in the future. Due to the rise in ransomware, where a hacker locks you out of your computer and data for ransom, becoming more prevalent these simple tips could save you from losing thousands of dollars from just one attack! According to a public service announcement from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the CryptoWall variant of crypto-ransomware cost U.S. businesses and consumers at least $18 million between April 2014 and June 2015. If you have any questions about taking the first steps in better protecting your network, remember that not all IT professionals are created equal. Ensure you contact a cybersecurity company with experience in IT security. It’s just like selecting a doctor; you wouldn’t see an optometrist for a foot problem, would you? For more information, please call 800-955-2596 or visit CoreRecon online at www.corerecon.com.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CORERECON

Protecting your company from cyberattacks


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ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY

How to create and maintain your company’s website and online presence

D

oes your business have a website? Is it visually appealing, and is the information up-todate? Many businesses either don’t have a website or build it without keeping it updated. With more consumers relying on the Internet as their primary research tool before making buying decisions, it is vital your business has an online presence. Websites give an inside look into your business and the products and services you provide, which is an advantage over your competitors.

CREATING A WEBSITE

Creating a website that looks professional is fairly simple. Many website builders offer a “drag and drop” formatting as an alternative to coding your own site. The most important step to develop-

ing a website is to have content, then find a professional Web designer or research an online “do-it-yourself” website builder site. There are many free website builders offered online that will help grow your business. Some of the top website builder sites for businesses include Wix, Squarespace, Weebly and GoDaddy. These sites are also known as Web hosts. Once you have chosen your Web host, the next step is to choose a domain name, or the URL people type into their browser to get to your website. The domain name is typically the name of your business or closely related. Domain names do cost money, but they are relatively inexpensive.

MAINTAINING A WEBSITE

It is important to regularly update basic content, like the products and services your business offers and contact informa-

HAVING A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE WILL INCREASE YOUR COMPANY’S WEBSITE TRAFFIC.

By: KELLY TREVINO

tion. More often than not, businesses forget to maintain and update the website regularly. Be sure to update information like the physical address of your business, as well as phone numbers and email addresses people use to reach your business. Also, add photos and videos to your website, and integrate social media by including links to accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn. Many small businesses are now using social media platforms as a website alternative.

GOT SOCIAL MEDIA? GIVE IT A TRY

In a society ruled by communication and technology, social media plays an active role in our everyday lives. More and more businesses are turning to social networking as a way to interact with customers and other professionals. Social media acts as an online sharing forum and give your business instant access to positive or negative feedback. This will provide insight on the customers’ perspective and their wants and needs. By using social media monitoring, your business will gain key information on your competitors and allow you to make strategic business decisions in order to stay ahead of the competition. Having a social media presence will also increase your company’s website traffic. So if your business is looking to increase its brand awareness with little to no budget and to create meaningful relationships with customers, social media is a must – and something traditional advertising will never achieve.

Kelly Trevino is the regional director for Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. For more important business advice, visit our website at www.bbb.org/central-texas under the “For Businesses” section, or visit our independent blog at www.watchyourbuck.com.

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RAWPIXEL/BIGSTOCK.COM

KEEPING IT FRESH


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TRAVEL

THE RULES OF THE SKY

THERE IS NO DISTINCT RULE THAT PROHIBITS TRAVELERS FROM TAKING FOOD ON AN AIRPLANE OR FROM TAKING SOLID FOOD THROUGH THE TSA CHECKPOINT.

Flying out this holiday season? Think before you pack. By: KIM BRIDGER

I

t’s hard to believe that this year is almost over. Just a few weeks ago, we were complaining about the heat and humidity and wondering when summer would ever end. As we head into the holiday travel season, there are more than a few things to consider before you begin planning. If you are a frequent flyer, most of these suggestions are old news. But for those of us whose air travel itineraries are few and far between, it might be worth a little time to brush up on the rules of the road, or in this case, the rules of the sky.

LIQUIDS

GIFTS

During the holidays, travelers tend to show up at the airport with gifts to take to their final destination. It’s even more fun if you get your presents gift-wrapped for free. Just keep in mind that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may have to unwrap those gifts to see what’s inside. Their advice is to take your gifts unwrapped so that no one’s time or handy work is wasted.

FOOD

There is no distinct rule that prohibits travelers from taking food on an airplane or from

taking solid food through the TSA checkpoint. While liquids larger than 3 ounces containers are not allowed, there are exceptions for things like baby formula and medications.

WEAPONS

It’s still amazing that so many people forget about having guns and knives in their carry-on bags as they approach the TSA checkpoint. Even though it’s legal in a lot of cases for people to have guns in their possession, it is still strictly prohibited to carry a gun on to a commercial aircraft. Each year, there are a dozen or so guns detected at the TSA checkpoint here at the Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA). And each time, the traveler ends up having to pay a hefty fine. Prohibited knives are commonly confiscated at checkpoints all over the country. So while you’re thinking about all the items you need to pack for your trip, take a moment to

think about the things that you absolutely cannot pack. This mistake will cost you a lot of time, delays and money. Guns are allowed in checked bags. But there are very strict rules about how guns must be secured in your luggage. If you plan to pack a gun in your checked bag, it’s a good idea to check the rules published by the TSA or by your particular airline. And make certain that you declare the gun to the ticket agent at check-in. If you have questions about particular items that you want to transport, the TSA has a very comprehensive list of dos and don’ts online at tsa.gov. If you have trouble finding the answer you need, send us an email and we’ll try to help you with your question. Here’s to a pleasant, calm holiday travel experience out of a relaxing airport here at home. Fly CCIA, and travel safe!

Kim Bridger is the marketing manager at the Corpus Christi International Airport. For more information, email her at kimb@cctexas.com.

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VENUSPHOTO/BIGSTOCK.COM

The last thing you want to have happen on the way to grandma’s is to have your $50 bottle of perfume confiscated. There is always talk that someday, the carry-on liquid rule will be relaxed. But don’t get too excited. The 3-1-1 rule is still in place at airports across the United States. If you plan to take liquids in your carry-on bags, you are limited to only one quart-sized, clear zip-lock bag that contains liquids packaged in 3-ounce containers. Nothing larger. That zip lock must be removed from your carry-on before you send your bags through for screening. Even though this rule has been in place and enforced for many years, it still catches some travelers by surprise.


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EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION

Salt Sea of the

The Texas State Aquarium: pioneering aquatic rescue, research and innovation By: JESSICA DUSEK Photos by: PAUL MARSHALL

Corpus Christi’s Texas State Aquarium dives deep – with vision and purpose. “Our goal is to engage every person” says Tom Schmid, president and CEO of the nonprofit. “They are going to learn about wildlife, yet are directly supporting conservation just by visiting.” The local tourist attraction pulls 75 percent of patrons from Texas metro area including San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. In 2013, the aquarium launched the $50 million Capital Campaign project to fund their Caribbean Journey Exhibit. Capturing 80 percent of their campaign targets, to date, they are ahead of schedule. Plans will be in place for the final $10 million by January 2016.

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What drives the innovation of Texas State Aquarium? Schmid’s genuine interest in aquatic research and wildlife conservation. The South Florida native earned his master’s in biological sciences from the University of Central Florida and began his work at Sea World. His enthusiasm for aquatic restoration is contagious as he describes his upcoming trip with the Harte Research Institute to Flowers Gardens National Marine Sanctuary – 100 miles off the coast of Galveston. “It’s one of the most pristine coral reefs; few scuba divers get out there,” he describes. “In August, the corals spawn and expel their eggs. It’s a magical thing to watch.” Not your average hands-on experience for most CEOs.


THE JOURNEY

For the Texas State Aquarium, it took time to build its present-day momentum. Established in 1990, the organization faced obstacles locally in regard to city planning. “It was a pretty ambitious project; the economy wasn’t as strong as it had been,” Schmid describes of the tail-end of the 1980s oil downturn. Throughout the years, new exhibits gained appeal. “Touch tanks allowed visitors to become familiar with otherwise suspicious creatures such as the cownose ray,” Schmid explains. “They are not menacing animals; they have an important role in the environment.” The focus is to not only to inform the public, but also engage their interest in aquatic life cycles and the impact of connectivity within a greater eco-system. In the mid-1990s, customer interest showed a decline. “Attendance dropped from 600,000 to less than 400,000,” Schmid says. This sparked their 1998 jellyfish exhibit, demonstrating a 10 percent increase in attendance. Next, they introduced seahorses from around the world. Not long after, they opened a section for sea turtles, river otters and their dolphin exhibits. In terms of membership, “our bottle-nosed dolphin program really accelerated our growth,” Schmid says. “People are fascinated by dolphins.” By 2001, the nonprofit saw a dramatic change in the patron’s average visit – initially 45 minutes extended to two hours. Expansion to outdoor exhibits featured alligators, hawks and eagles, not to mention the Splash Park drew member interest. Growth indicated $5 million in revenue per year to $10 million over 15 years.

RESEARCH AND GUIDING THE NEXT GENERATION

“Since 2005, we’ve treated and released more than 1,000 animals that we have rehabilitated either back into the wild or to another accredited zoo or aquarium – primarily shorebirds, hawks, eagles, other birds of prey, also marine turtles, manatees and dolphins,” Schmid says.

A LARGE PART OF CARRYING THE AQUARIUM’S REHABILITATION EFFORTS IS FOCUSING ON FUTURE CAREERS FOR TODAY’S YOUTH.

A large part of carrying their rehabilitation efforts is focusing on future careers for today’s youth. “One of the most exciting developments that has happened over the last 18 months: We were thrilled to receive a $1 million grant from Flint Hills Resources to launch a new center focused on STEM education,” Schmid says of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math emphasis. “We can’t just rely on people being inspired; that’s why we developed the center for STEM education to get students focused.” Obstacles developed fortitude. “When we started this fundraising program, there were some folks that thought this project was a bit ambitious for Corpus Christi,” Schmid explains. The significant amount of funding has come from all around the state of Texas. “I think that has helped our ability to fundraise,” Schmid says. He credits his team: “We have talented fundraising professionals, along with our board of trustees that are very active.” Alongside 50 trustees, “they help open doors to meet with foundations and corporations,” Schmid explains. “We were also very fortunate to have received state funding in the last legislative cycle. Our local delegation was extraordinarily helpful.” Their $50 million Caribbean Wing will be attached to their Gulf of Mexico building. Conceptual designs and cost estimates for program development took effect, and by summer 2014, they raised 50 percent of their target. “We knew this was level we would need to begin construction,” Schmid says. Other emerging programs include the Wildlife Care Conservation and Research (WCCR) fund. “We typically budget more revenue than expenses; we operate the aquarium in a fiscally responsible manner,” says Schmid of reinvesting in research-based projects. He refers to previous projects that brought education to the public: “oyster restoration, helping with sea turtles, addressing problems in gulf and helping animals important to the Gulf and Texas. At the end of the year, we have net income left over. We’ve now developed a grant program for researchers. We’ve given $200,000 out of that program so far.” 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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Redistributed grant dollars have also contributed to their collaborative efforts with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, making a direct impact through research. One project in the last year includes support for Dr. Greg Stuntz, an endowed chair at the Harte Research Institute, whose work includes tagging and studying sharks in the gulf. “This is one example of a dozen projects,” Schmid says. “We’ve helped fund his work over the last two years.”

ON THE HORIZON

A bright future is in store for the Texas State Aquarium, as they continue to engage local and statewide audiences. In March, they launched a strategic planning process that will take them beyond the Caribbean wing and will guide growth over the next five to 10 years. “I can tell you that we have a lot of exciting things planned beyond the Caribbean additions, including a major renovation to our existing Gulf of Mexico program,” Schmid says. Future developments for the program include possible aqua culture additions such as “growing corals, propagating reef fish,” according to Schmid. “Our goal is to finish that strategic planning process at the end of the year.” For more information about the Texas State Aquarium, please visit www.texasstateaquarium.org.

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5433 S. STAPLES ST. CORPUS CHRISTI, TX 78411

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INSPIRED

style

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CANDACE TORREZ KRIS 6 SUNRISE LIVE REPORTER

PHOTOS BY PAUL MARSHALL ON LOCATION AT BUTLER SIGNATURE EVENTS’ SHOWROOM HAIR & MAKEUP BY VBAR DRY BAR AND SKIN LOUNGE WARDROBE PROVIDED BY LE’VU

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My Philosophy: The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away. Why I Love Doing What I Do: I feel very fortunate to wake up every day and do what I love. Since a young age, I have always been inspired by the “lights, camera, action,” rush of entertainment television. Growing up in South Texas, I have always aspired to be a positive role model for other Latina women and set out to prove that through education, hard work and dedication, anything is possible. Through my position as a live shot reporter, I get the opportunity to meet people in the Coastal Bend who are making a difference in the community. Being a part of the KRIS 6 News team also allows me to work with a great group of talented people every day. Turning my passion into a career has truly been a blessing, and it’s only the beginning.

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li words to

by: e v Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, and live the life you have imagined.

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Inspire Coastal Bend Business Oct/Nov 2015  
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