Lake Houston Business Matters Fall 2015

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FALL 2015

Home Grown


GIVING GUIDE 8 Ways to Choose the Right Charity

Shining execs making a difference in the LHA

Fall 2015 | 1









Source: NAPEO publications: Professional Employer Organizations: Fueling Small Business Growth, September 2013, and Professional Employer Organizations: Keeping Turnover Low and Survival High, September 2014, by Laurie Bassi and Dan McMurrer

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table of

contents 06 10 12 18 22 24 26 30

Home Grown

Jetco Delivery CEO, Brian Fielkow, drives toward perfection

Message from the President Vote “YES” for Proposition 7 on November 3

Lake Houston’s 4 Under 40 Meet these bright execs doing great things for the LHA

Economic Development: Transportation Update

Jay Crossley with Houston Tomorrow explains Walkable Urbanism

Follow the Leader

Two local leaders lead by example

Goalsetting for 2016

Todd Sullivan talks setting goals and how to stick to them

Align With the Right Charities Corinn Price gives tips on giving through the Insperity Advantage Program

Small Business Saturday Shop Small November 28

Lake Houston Business Matters is a quarterly publication of Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce. It is distributed to Chamber members and regional businesses. Digital copies are available online at CONTACT INFORMATION Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce 110 West Main Street, Humble, Texas 77338 (281) 446-2128 | CHAMBER LEADERSHIP Chair of the Board Melinda Stephenson Kingwood Medical Center Chair-Elect Robert Sitton Edward Jones - Financial Advisor CEO Charlie Dromgoole Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce President Jenna Armstrong Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce EDITORIAL STAFF Editor-in-Chief Colleen Merritt – Contributing Writers Jenna Armstrong – Jay Crossley – Colleen Merritt – Kelli White – Graphic Designer Angie Davis – Photographers Lynn Cheney – Diane Meredith – PUBLISHER Metro Media, Inc. David Small – 4210 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 314A Fairway, Kansas 66205 | (913) 951-8413 To Advertise contact Kathy Moore (913) 951-8441,

The Chamber is not responsible for advertisements included in this magazine. The information in this publication was compiled with care to ensure a high level of accuracy. Nonetheless, Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce and MetroMedia cannot guarantee the correctness of the information provided or the complete absence of accidental errors. For changes or additions, contact the Chamber at (281) 446-2128. No article may be reproduced without permission of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce. 4 | Lake Houston Business Matters


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On the Move CEO Brian Fielkow is driving Jetco Delivery to perfection. BY KELLI WHITE • PHOTOS BY HOPE PHOTOGRAPHY

6 | Lake Houston Business Matters

e’ve heard it our entire lives: “No one is perfect.” While that saying might be true, CEO Brian Fielkow claims that when it comes to company culture, if you hire the right people, you’ll come as close to perfect as humanly possible. And with more than 25 years of business experience under his belt, Fielkow doesn’t plan to strive for anything less. It’s that drive and a team of dependable people that continue to propel Jetco Delivery toward perfection. “If you hire the right people and have the right process, the company will work in harmony,” Fielkow said. Jetco Delivery is a Lake Houston Area-based company, and its original owners are native to the area. Fielkow moved to the Houston area before coming to Jetco in 2006 and absolutely loves the Lake Houston community. Originally from Wisconsin, Fielkow was a corporate attorney who left to work for one of his favorite clients, a company in the recycling industry. He grew that company and moved it to Houston, but his entrepreneurial spirit guided him on another path. “I wanted to see what I could do with a company if I bought one. I had been around trucks in the recycling business so I had some familiarity with the industry. At the time, Jetco was healthy but the owners decided to sell and I was in the right place at the right time.”


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And just what has Fielkow done with the company he purchased? Plenty. The company has grown from 40 to 160 employees and it is the people-side of the business that Fielkow is most passionate about. “I love everything about my job, but what I love most is interacting with our people. I enjoy helping people develop professionally, personally and financially. I like to watch them grow and take on new challenges.” People are key to a strong organization. “If you focus on employees having a strong core, that will translate to customers. The formula is simple: convergence of right people and process plus up-to-date technology equals a successful organization,” Fielkow said.

Going the Extra Mile Jetco invests in trucks to deliver good service. And yet, while the fleet is essential to operations, continuous improvements on operating systems and technology are as well. Jetco installs GPS and cameras in all trucks and uses technology to link to customers in real time. Fielkow

“It doesn’t matter what business you’re in. You can be average or you can be extraordinary.” – Brian Fielkow said Jetco’s employees excel at anticipating their customers’ needs. “Jetco ‘goes the extra mile’ by creating a customer experience and having a plan in place for troubleshooting,” he said. The company also offers storage and warehousing services in addition to delivery. 8 | Lake Houston Business Matters

While Jetco might be cruising along a positive business path, the trucking industry is actually faced with several key challenges that, if not rectified, could change the transport business significantly. With an annual turnover rate in the trucking industry of 115 percent, driver retention is clearly a problem. Jetco’s is a fraction of that, but driver retention is still vital. “It’s hard to build a culture with a revolving door. So we do our best to attract the right people, those who are in line with our values. We improved the work environment, and we treat employees with the utmost respect,” Fielkow said. In June 2015, Jetco relocated to its new headquarters, which was built based on input from employees. Designed to be an open facility for all, the space is more than three times larger than the former location and is built on enough acreage for the company to continue to add infrastructure as needed. The new building offers a full gym, an open teamwork environment, collaboration spaces and quiet rooms. Jetco employees even had a say in the new location. Since most employees live in the Lake Houston Area, Fielkow felt it was important to minimize their commute. “It is a fantastic feeling to reward our team for their loyalty by giving them higher quality working conditions, Fielkow said.” Building new headquarters was a significant investment, one that Fielkow believes will become a powerful recruiting tool for new hires and for retaining current talent. In addition to the trucking industry’s challenge of driver retention is the lack of drivers entering the field. Fielkow explains that this is causing a real problem that will affect our economy. “If it weren’t for drivers, we’d all be naked and hungry,” he said. Jetco aims to ensure its drivers are paid well and are respected, the latter being a responsibility that also lies with society. “Driving a truck is one of the hardest things a person can do. I’ve been out with these guys and it’s tough. It’s stressful.” A related issue that is a looming problem for the trucking industry is the need for a long-term highway bill. “We need to pay for infastructure,”

Fielkow said. “Not all taxes are bad. A highway bill is critical to our country’s future.”

Community Minded Fielkow is also a public speaker and author. He wrote the book, Driving to Perfection: Achieving Business Excellence by Creating a Vibrant Culture, in 2014 and is working on a new book now that is slated to come out in 2017. He said although his new book is on a similar topic, it will be “more of a how-to, a playbook.” “I try to speak about 30 times per year. Jetco is my first priority but speaking and writing is fun. I love to share what I learn and [from speaking engagements] walk away with new ideas.” Fielkow is thrilled to have Jetco’s headquarters in the Lake Houston Area. “We aim to create jobs for Lake Houston Area community members and as we integrate into the community, we are cognizant of giving back, especially to causes important to our employees. Jetco is a very charitable-minded company and strives to be a steward of our environment by maintaining newer, cleaner trucks. We strive to be a responsible company in all ways, and we look forward to meeting other businesses in the area and learning how we can interact with them.” Jetco’s client base is “deliberately diverse.” Jetco has a partnership with the Houston Texans to deliver freight to away games and to make charity deliveries for the team. But from sports to oil to liquor, Jetco’s exposure is not concentrated in any one sector. The company would rather be available to all of Houston and sample all markets. Jetco was named one of Houston’s fastest-growing private companies in 2011. Four years later, it seems the com­ pany shows no signs of slowing down. This year, Jetco was named one of Inc. 5000’s Fastest Growing Private Compa­ nies in America. And Fielkow plans to keep moving miles ahead.



Fall 2015 | 9

Message from the President It is no secret that our area is about to see an unprecedented boom in residential, commercial and population growth. While the anticipated growth is an indicator of a healthy economic climate in the Lake Houston Area, the Chamber is mindful of the effects this rapid growth will have on our region – primarily transportation and mobility. On November 3, voters will go to the polls to consider, among other things, ballot items that will help with mobility in our area and across the state. Of most significance is Proposition 7.

Proposition 7

Proposition 7 is a constitutional amendment that would direct a portion of the general sales and use tax and the motor vehicle sales and rental tax to the general highway fund. The funds can only be used for right-of-way purchases, construction and maintenance of non-tolled public roads and to pay down certain transportation-related debt. The Legislative Budget Board estimates Prop 7 would dedicate $2.5 billion to the state highway fund in 2018 and 2019, and close to $3 billion in 2020. According to the latest report of the 2030 Commission, approximately $6.1 billion per year in construction funding is needed to achieve “worst possible” conditions and $9.5 billion per year is needed to achieve “minimally competitive” conditions. While the proposed amendment would not fully fund the state’s overall

transportation needs, it would be a key step toward securing critical funding for transportation projects in Texas. Upon passage, beginning in September 2017 (fiscal year 2018), if general state sales and use tax revenue exceeds $28 billion in a fiscal year, the next $2.5 billion would be directed to the State Highway Fund. Beginning in September 2019 (fiscal year 2020), if state motor vehicle sales and rental tax revenue exceeds $5 billion in a fiscal year, 35% of the amount above $5 billion would be directed to the State Highway Fund. The general sales and use tax provision would expire at the end of fiscal year 2032, and the motor vehicle sales and rental tax provision would expire at the end of fiscal year 2029. However, the Legislature may extend these provisions in 10year increments by a majority vote in each chamber. The Chamber’s Board of Directors and Public Policy Committee implore you to please vote “YES” for Proposition 7 on November 3. The future of mobility, infrastructure and transportation in the state of Texas desperately depends on this amendment passing.

Jenna Armstrong President, Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

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These thirty-somethings deliver their best work to the Lake Houston Area—on and off the clock. BY KELLI WHITE COVER IMAGE AND PHOTOS BY DIANE MEREDITH PHOTOGRAPHY

Over the summer, the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce searched for our community’s best and brightest executives, volunteers, business owners and advocates under 40 years of age. Now it’s time to meet the honorees! 12 | Lake Houston Business Matters

Louis Flory, President of Effex Management Solutions As most entrepreneurs can attest, the experience one gains from working for others is invaluable. But the desire to be your own boss never goes away. Louis Flory is not unlike most entrepreneurs. It was always his goal to start a company, and in 2007 he did just that. A short eight years later, Effex Management Solutions is one of the largest staffing companies in the country, a professional feat Flory is most proud of. He said the most satisfying aspect of his job from a business standpoint is continuously setting and achieving seemingly unattainable goals and sharing them with others so he is accountable. The most satisfying aspect of his job apart from business goals, is to make an impact on someone’s life. Flory does this through his work and through donating—not just money, but more importantly, his time. Flory, who came from meager beginnings and was brought up by his grandparents, has a strong level of compassion for others and said donating to a cause or a specific family in need is such an enormous reward. “Donating and volunteering are food for my soul. From a spiritual and emotional level, I want to help those looking for a hand up, not a hand out—to help people who are trying to help themselves,” he said. But, for Flory, the most important part of donating is to get involved. Whether it be researching the right charities to give to or going the extra step and giving time not just checks, Flory believes strongly in being active in his donations. One of his fondest volunteer memories is from a Christmas six years ago when he spent hours with a family who had undergone unbelievable hardship. From that visit, Flory experienced the true meaning of giving. “My daughter and I had tears in our eyes after hearing their tragic situation, but not out of sorrow for them, but because their attitude was remarkable. Through it all, they were so joyful. To see that family laugh in the face of adversity and to see their strength was one of the most heartwarming times of my life. I never would have had that experience had I just bought gifts and dropped them off,” Flory said. Flory still receives Christmas cards from that family every year and believes that from his visit, he gave those kids hope that because he grew up like they did, in a poor financial situation, it is truly possible to rise above your situation. When he’s not running his successful staffing company, Flory loves to travel, play golf with his son, 8, and go on date nights with his daughter, 11. He hopes he earned this recognition because he’s been “blessed with professional success but leveraged that to have a greater impact on the community.” Where does this 37-year-old see himself on the other side of 40? Switching gears—in a couple ways. Flory said he’s always wanted to get involved in politics, but it must be at the right time. On the other side of 40, but before

50, he would like to shift gears and run for public office. “I wouldn’t want to do it strictly for a career. I would do it to affect greater change,” he said. The other gear he looks forward to shifting? That of grandparent. Although his kids are still young, Flory said he very much looks forward to being a grandparent and foresees it being a fun time in his life. “I want to continue to pass on more wisdom and I look forward to a time in life when my sense of focus is bettering others’ lives,” Flory said.

Louis Flory’s recent professional accolades and accomplishments • Inc. 5000 (2014, 2015) • HBJ Fast 100 (2014, 2015) • HBJ Largest Houston Area Temp Staffing (2015) • SIA Fastest Growing Staffing (2014, 2015) • SIA Largest Industrial Staffing (2015) • SIA Largest Staffing Firm (2014, 2015) • EY Entrepreneur of the Year (2015)

His corporate philanthropy and donations include: Autumn’s Dawn • HAAM • Andy Roddick Foundation Augie’s Quest • Humble Charity Kingwood Alliance Soccer • Texas Heat Boys and Girls Country • Allen Community Outreach Fall 2015 | 13

Erica Johnston, Marketing Director at Chick-fil-A Wilson Road/Beltway 8 If you ask Erica Johnston about her work, she’d say she has the best job. And it just so happens to be with the company where she started working as a teenager. Not many people can say that! Johnston and her (now) husband were Chickfil-A team members and worked their way up to ownership. Together, they’ve been on the career journey since college, and Johnston said she can’t imagine doing anything else. Their Chick-fil-A restaurant celebrated seven years in May 2015, which also marks the famliy’s tenure in the Lake Houston Area. The Johnston’s, who grew up in North Houston, relocated to the Lake Houston Area from Beaumont, Texas, where they had their first Chick-fil-A restaurant. They wanted to be within minutes from work and to raise their kids (Emma, 7 and Mason, 5) in the small town feel that the Lake Houston Area provides. “There are so many positives here: the familiar faces, the team spirit, the synergy and the sentiment for a better community for everyone. Lake Houston is experiencing positive change due in large part to the Chamber’s effort to unite major sectors: education, business and community,” Johnston said. Johnston is in charge of marketing and community outreach for their restaurant and while she enjoys the flexibility of her role, she absolutely loves getting out and about in the community serving as community liaison, networking with schools and 14 | Lake Houston Business Matters

planning events. And seeing her smile around every corner has been good for business. “Over the last five years it has been amazing to watch the growth of our business. We have been enjoying significant sales increases, and we strongly feel that it is related to the efforts we make in the community,” she said. “My husband sells the chicken, but I get to give it away! I get to bring smiles around the community.” While she loves growing her business, Johnston is steadfast on another goal that is not only a big part of the Chick-fil-A company culture but is near and dear to her heart: volunteerism. Johnston said one of her favorite volunteer roles is being an Education Ambassador for Bright Pink, a national nonprofit focused on saving women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer. Three years ago Johnston learned she had a mutated BRCA 1 gene, which causes women to have an exponential risk for breast (87%) and ovarian (54%) cancer. “These were numbers I couldn’t live with so I made the proactive decision to have a preventative double mastectomy at age 28,” Johnston said. “Through this journey, I discovered that there is an organization called Bright Pink, a nonprofit that helps high-risk women navigate their choices and supports them through it. They also educated women ages 18-45 about breast and ovarian cancer and the importance of knowing family history with these cancers. I look for groups that would like to be educated about this and present a 20-minute workshop designed to inform and empower women to take charge of their health.” Johnston’s other volunteer and professional achievements include: Leadership Lake Houston; Leadership North Houston; Sunday School Teacher at Second Baptist Church; Board Member for Holy Trinity Episcopal School, Lake Houston YMCA and Kingwood Area Republican Women; and Leadercast. Leadercast is a leadership conference held at hundreds of locations around the world, and Johnston helped bring it the Lake Houston Area four years ago. The conference has more than tripled in size with more than 100 attendees. All profits are donated to a local nonprofit. In 2014, Leadercast raised $1000 that went to Humble Area Assistance Ministries and in 2015, $1200 was donated to Including Kids, Inc. In 2014 and 2015, the Leadercast conference provided scholarships for Leadership Lake Houston. For Johnston, it is important to continuously search for ways to contribute, whether it be utilizing business resources for a specific cause or exercising her own passion for education and community involvement. When asked where she sees herself on the other side of 40, the 32-year-old laughed. “My daughter will be driving by then and that scares me!” In all seriousness, Johnston and her husband have a dream to own an additional Chick-fil-A location in the Lake Houston Area community of Summer Creek. “I get most excited about the influence possibilities that come with having two stores to allocate resources from. Our work is just beginning and we are just getting started-- bring on the years ahead!”

Noah LaBauve, Owner of State Farm Insurance, in Summer Creek and Spring If you asked a younger version of Noah LaBauve if he thought he would end up in the insurance industry, he would have said, “not at all.” As his surname indicates, LaBauve is originally from southern Louisiana. Armed with a medical degree from Louisiana State University, LaBauve had an orthopedic physical therapy practice in Lafayette. And although he misses seeing patients, he doesn’t miss the challenges of the healthcare industry. He has found his dream job as business owner and mentor. “My dream job is helping others and that’s what I am doing. State Farm is more than selling insurance. I help develop people to be their best. I contribute to their growth, which also drives revenue for the area. We serve the community through growth of agencies and ourselves,” LaBauve said. He relocated to the Lake Houston Area eight years ago in search for two things: the best quality of life for his family and the best opportunity for business growth. And he is proud to say he made the right choice. “The Lake Houston Area has the best of both worlds,” LaBauve said. “It offers opportunities for growth akin to a large

city while retaining the small town community feel, which is important to me.” LaBauve grew up in a town of 3,000 people. “Everyone knows each other in small towns, which makes them accountable for their actions,” he said. And that’s a quality he appreciates. While he likes the small-town feel of the Lake Houston Area, LaBauve is hopeful for growth. “The recent growth is great and is something Lake Houston should be proud of, but we still need to let outside communities know why it’s great here. When people refer to Northeast Houston, no one really knows Humble, Kingwood, etc. The growth I’ve seen since opening my business eight years ago has been all positive change. We need to continue the grassroots approach of getting the message out,” LaBauve said. When it comes to his business, 36-year-old LaBauve has done well spreading the word. He has grown his State Farm branch from four to 20 employees and his is the first agency in Texas (and one of fewer than 100 State Farm offices nationwide) to have two locations. He has one in Spring and the other in Summer Creek. For LaBauve, he loves being in control of his own success and truly feels he found a job that utilizes his skill set: helping others. And he does so in his business and in the Leadership Lake Houston Program. LaBauve voluntarily serves his company through nationwide speaking engagements and by mentoring other agents. “My talents lie in the business of developing people,” he said. Twenty years from now, he imagines he’ll be doing the same thing but hopefully on a larger scale, although he hopes to retire before 60. In the meantime, he plans to raise his young family and continue juggling his two offices. Where does LaBauve see himself on the other side of 40? “Do you have a 5 under 50?” he answered. Indeed. We just might see his name again.

Recent professional accomplishments and volunteerism: • Top 10 New Agent in the country • Top 50 Agency (out of 18,000) in our company for the last five years • Lifetime Presidents Club member • Chairman Circle Agent • Top 2% of agencies in the country for 7 consecutive years • Medical mission trip to Africa with a local church • Trained more than a dozen new Houston area State Farm Agents • Leadership Lake Houston Fall 2015 | 15

Heath Rushing, Sr. Vice President & CEO of Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital This 38-year-old has turned innovative healthcare ideas into reality and pioneered the expansion of medical services to the Lake Houston Area region through his position as CEO at Memorial Hermann Northeast. He’s done that while also focusing on his family and his community. And it’s attaining the perfect balance among the three that is always his numberone goal. Originally from Alice, Texas, Heath Rushing has lived in the Houston area since college, and has worked in the Lake Houston Area since 2007. He and his family moved to Kingwood five years ago and Rushing said this is the place he can finally call home outside of his south Texas birthplace. “The Lake Houston Area community has embraced me and my family as has the Memorial Hermann community. I always wanted to live where I work and intend to stay here for a very long time,” he said. Rushing has spent his entire career at Memorial Hermann, where he started in patient relations. He set his goal to become CEO and attained it on February 22, 2015. On a daily basis, Rushing is responsible for the operation of the 255-licensed bed acute care hospital, its 1,100 employees and one of 16 | Lake Houston Business Matters

the busiest emergency departments in the Gulf Coast Region with 78,859 visits per year. He takes great pride in offering the highest level of service and care for those in their most vulnerable state. “Memorial Hermann has supported me as I learn and grow. I still have a good bit of career ahead of me and my goal is to stay here for the duration,” Rushing said. “I’ve had great mentors along the way who have guided and coached me and helped me develop into a better person. I hope I earned this recognition because I took those lessons to heart.” Something else he takes to heart is the continuous goal of achieving work/life/community balance. While many people strive for work-life balance, for Rushing, community involvement is an essential part of a satisfying life. “For me, supporting my community is a responsibility. We are fortunate to have so many community-minded individuals who help shape the Lake Houston Area,” Rushing said. But how do we ensure that commitment to community continues? “We need to develop the next generation of community leaders,” Rushing said. “The Chamber has taken that task on. Leadership Lake Houston was designed to give young professionals a better understanding of our community and ways to be involved.” Rushing was a member of Leadership Lake Houston’s inaugural class five years ago and said the program had a profound impact on him and that we are well on our way to addressing programs that will benefit the future of the community. Rushing is engaged in the Lake Houston Area primarily through the cornerstones of any successful community: education, healthcare, civic and business groups and family activities. Rushing is a twice-elected Humble ISD School Board Trustee and has been involved with the Lake Houston Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, Lake Houston Economic Development Partnership, American Heart Association, YMCA and the United Way, as well as serving as a volunteer coach in youth sports. Rushing and his wife, Sara, have been married for 10 years and have three children: Harper, Graham and Finn. He enjoys coaching his kids and helping with their swim and soccer teams. Heath’s disciplined approach to every facet of his life has allowed him to maximize his positive impact on others with the efficient use of his time. And even though it’s time efficiency that is often the most challenging, Rushing refuses to give up on striking the perfect balance. Where does he see himself on the other side of 40? “Well, 40 is a LONG two years away,” he joked. “On the other side of 40, I hope to have struck a perfect balance among work, life and community. If I can accomplish that, I’d consider myself a lucky man.” And the Lake Houston Area community is lucky to have such a supportive ambassador.

Diane Meredith

Fall 2015 | 17


Livable Lake Houston

Walkable Urbanism could be a development alternative. OP ED BY JAY CROSSLEY

Houstonians want to live in a large house even if that means having to drive everywhere. Houstonians want to live in a walkable neighborhood with nearby neighborhood amenities, even if it means living in a smaller house. Houstonians think that we need to invest in more roads. Houstonians think that public transportation is the best strategy for solving our traffic problems. All of these things are true for millions of people in the Houston region according to the Kinder Houston Area Survey. About half of us want the drivable sub-urban lifestyle that has predominated public subsidies in our state for decades. Another half of us would prefer to live a more efficient walkable urban lifestyle. However, our local policies and funding decisions are not meeting the massive pent up demand for walkable urbanism and decades of our current style of transportation spending have not met the demands of our rapid growth. By LOCUS President Chris Leinberger’s estimates, only about five to ten percent of the housing stock in the Houston region could be considered walkable urbanism, but about half of us are looking for that kind of place to live. Thus, if you prefer a car dependent neighborhood, there

18 | Lake Houston Business Matters

are currently homes for just under six million people available to you in the Houston region. On the other hand, just over three million Houstonians wish they lived in a walkable neighborhood, but the supply can only accommodate about 650,000 of us. Assuming preferences stay at these percentages in 2040, when the region will have grown to at least 9.5 million people, the current housing stock of car dependent sub-urbanism would surpass demand by a little over a million people. Even if we only built walkable urbanism starting today and added this option for 3.5 million people, we would not be able to meet the pent up demand and we’d still have a million people not satisfied with their housing options. A key mistake of the Houston region has been talking for decades about affordable housing without talking about affordable transportation. In some instances the cost of car dependency can negate the housing affordability advantages of the Houston region. However, those with the privilege to live in our existing walkable urban neighborhoods drive as much as 10,000 less miles a year than their suburban friends and spend less on transportation.

Affordable, healthy neighborhoods like this are not foreign to the Houston region, but in fact part of our true historical heritage. Downtown Humble was an urban place where people walked in the 1920s. Today there is an opportunity to have first floor retail, restaurants, and jobs for Lake Houston Area’s professional, creative class in Downtown Humble. Living in a place with access to a variety of things closer to your home is more affordable, simply because you can walk down the block for lunch. How could we build a brighter future for the Lake Houston Area by aligning regional policies and spending with the priorities of Houstonians? We could adopt a Complete Streets philosophy for the design and construction of all streets, now a core part of City of Houston policies. Complete Streets means prioritizing the safety and comfort of all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transport. This won’t mean bike lanes on every street, but simply asking our engineers to design with the safety of every one of us at the top of their minds and assuming as the default that streets should be inviting to walk, bike, skate, propel a wheelchair, or ride in a car or bus. We could plan for walkable urban areas around the Lake Houston Area. Every neighborhood needs a core, the corner store and coffee shop you can walk to and from your house. Large areas like Lake Houston Area need two to three major activity centers, where a mix of uses and income levels coexist. If you want your children and grandchildren to be able to stay in the Lake Houston Area, you should be working to add some dense housing in appropriate locations. Building up to urban density in some points in the area will also make serving the area with transit a feasible option. Low density, cul de sac neighborhoods are not possible to serve with transit without significant subsidy, because there simply aren’t enough homes and businesses within walking distance of a station to collect together enough riders. However, a Lake Houston Town Center could create the critical mass to bring such services to the area, not to mention attracting retail, making services like Uber more reliable, and providing jobs close to homes. We could invest in transit. Texas and Ohio are the only large populated states in the nation that do not provide state funding for transit in their major urban areas. Houston lags behind our competitors nationwide in our small share of regional funding going to transit. If you perceive that you do not have access to transit, you’re probably not wrong, and the reason is that we haven’t been investing in it enough. We have started to invest in transit like a 21st Century Metropolis, and we simply need to continue following the lessons we have learned from our existing transit successes, like the New Bus Network’s focus on providing high quality service. Or that the Main Street Light Rail Line is the most successful modern light rail line in the nation in terms of ridership per mile, because rail transit should be built where the most people and jobs are. Or that our existing HOV Park and Ride system is terrific commuter transit - if you happen to work Downtown. We can build upon that success to create a true regional Bus Rapid Transit system, connecting

distant walkable urban areas to each other and into the urban core and frequent local bus and rail everywhere density supports them. We could build more beautiful human spaces in those dense urban nodes. Every child growing up in the Lake Houston Area should be able to walk to parks, to playgrounds, to splash pads, from their home. Why not install beautiful urban plazas, like you find in the core of the Woodlands, where we can all come together in healthy, human spaces? We could restore balance to the Houston region and in our housing and development policies. Investing in our future as if we all wanted a car dependent large home with a big yard not only meets just the demand to half of our people, it happens to make life inconvenient for those of us that do want the suburban lifestyle. Source: Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research: 34th Annual Kinder Houston Area Survey

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Fall 2015 | 19

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Kingwood Country Club Island Course


THE CLUBS OF The Clubs of Kingwood KINGWOOD • Recent multimillion-dollar Clubhouse and golf course renovations • 90 holes of championship golf • Largest teaching and practice facility in Houston • Great tennis programs for all ages and skill levels • State-or-the-art fitness facility and full service day spa • Kids Club, camps and junior instruction • Great social programs and events throughout the year • Waterpark with lazy river, large splash pad and two-story water slide • Excellent venue for corporate golf tournaments, wedding receptions and special events


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Fall 2015 | 21

James “Jamey” Smith A native Texan, Jamey Smith knows the state well but appreciates the smaller towns most. He attended Baylor University where he earned a B.S. in Mathematics and an M.B.A. In 1972, Smith moved to Houston to begin his banking career. Upon moving to Kingwood in 1979, and even more so after joining Humble National Bank in 1983, Smith and his family became actively involved in the community. He served as a deacon, stewardship committee member, youth leader, bus driver, sound board operator, and choir member at his local church. He took an active role with the Boy Scouts of America and served as a member of the Humble Noon Lions Club. “Living or working in a community without becoming personally involved can be a sterile existence. Our lives are enriched by relationships with others and without involvement those relationships never exist,” Smith said. Having grown up in the small community of Carthage, Texas, Smith found moving into a community bank role very attractive. “Being able to work and live in the same community and becoming involved with that community on a daily basis was important to me,” Smith said. In 1998, Humble National Bank was acquired by the much larger Sterling Bank. Smith remained with Sterling until October 2004, when he embarked upon the startup of a new branch location in Humble for the Kilgore, Texas-based Citizens Bank. 22 | Lake Houston Business Matters

“The return to a true community bank environment was the deciding factor in taking the risk of “starting over” at that stage of my banking career,” he said. And the move has worked out well. Independent Banker magazine recently named Smith as one of six community bankers in the nation. Smith currently serves as the CEO for the Houston Region of Citizens Bank. Smith’s involvement with the Lake Houston Area Chamber spans more than 30 years. Serving as an Ambassador and member of numerous chamber committees including transportation, aviation, and economic development, Smith was recruited to serve as a member of the board of directors. He currently serves as the Board Chair for the Lake Houston Economic Development Partnership. Smith’s focus has consistently been on the Chamber’s role in impacting our community to help stimulate economic growth in the form of quality jobs, infrastructure and quality of life. This past year Smith received the Spirit of the Chamber award. “What this award represents to me is a recognition of long-term commitment to our community, to the enhancement of our quality of life, to the quality of our business environment and to the success of individuals and their businesses. I am honored to serve the Chamber as we continue to tell the story of the Lake Houston Area,” Smith said.


Felix “David” Escobar As a young man, David Escobar had aspirations of being a crop dusting pilot, having grown up around many cotton field farms in El Paso, Texas. “But deep down in my heart, I had always wanted to be in law enforcement,” he said. His heart won. Escobar attended the University of Houston and graduated from the University of Houston Downtown Police Academy. He also attended Sam Houston State University and is a graduate of the Texas Constable Leadership College. In 2014, Escobar graduated from the FBI National Academy located in Quantico, Virginia. Escobar relocated to the Lake Houston Area in 1992 and is currently Captain with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office assigned to the East District, which encompasses communities in the unincorporated areas of Spring and the Lake Houston Area. When he’s not serving and protecting area citizens, Escobar enjoys playing golf with friends and colleagues or in a charity tournament, camping with his sons, and trying new restaurants with his family. He and his wife Glenda love to see live music and theater performances in smaller venues. “One of my favorite things to do, believe it or not, is mopping floors at home—my wife thinks that is wonderful! I feel the most important thing in my life is my family and making sure there’s a spirit of love in our home,” he said. But he admits sometimes that is hard to do with three boys competing with each other (one in college, one in high school, and one in junior high).

Escobar is passionate about his family and career but also volunteerism. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors with FamilyTime. He is also the volunteer coordinator for Warrior’s Weekend, an organization that holds a dinner in the Lake Houston Area each May for hundreds of veterans with an emphasis on those wounded in The Global War on Terrorism. Escobar is also Justice & Public Safety Co-Chair for Leadership Lake Houston. He has also served the Boy Scouts and Texas Special Olympics. “My influence to serve in the community was fueled by my experience as a law enforcement officer. Many times I would see a special need that an individual or victim required, but because a lack of resources or persons to help, this need would go unfulfilled. Many times these individuals were truly helpless and if given a little help, they stood a good chance of improving their lives,” Escobar said. Escobar said he has had many memorable moments when rendering service as a volunteer. “I have found working as a volunteer, we tend to forget our own challenges and begin to realize a sense of gratitude for all the good things we have,” he said. “We are so fortunate here in the Lake Houston Area, to be surrounded by wonderful citizens who are willing to volunteer their talents and time, and most of all I have found that these charitable folks are willing to embrace those willing to join in and help others. We can all make a difference and enjoy the personal fulfillment of serving,” Escobar said. Fall 2015 | 23


So you have accomplished every business goal you set out to do this year, right? You’ve launched that new service or menu item, joined a new networking group, hired that ‘right’ person, increased sales by 25 percent, moved into the new facility, reduced email by 40 percent, found the holy grail of lead sourcing… “Realize what you really want. It stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work digging gold.” – William Moulton Marsden Not really? Every business professional struggles to accomplish everything on their daily to-do list, let alone their long-term goals. Generally, the problem is that we don’t take the time to really understand what the goals mean as it relates to the vision. Why are we trying to reach that goal? It comes down to three things: clarity, focus and attitude. Clarify why you have set this goal, be absolute in your focus on it and have a positive can-do attitude toward it. Decide if you are a Victor or a Victim. Do you take ownership and responsibility for your life or do you make excuses or blame others? Are you taking ownership and responsibility for your goals? Grab your dreams and turn them into a vision, and be as detailed about your vision as you can. Be so detailed that people can see, hear, smell it by the description. Your vision is your goal. Create a plan to achieve these goals; the plan needs to be Specific, Measureable, Agreed upon, Realistic, and Time bound (SMART). Just as with your vision – be detailed and create ‘check-in’ dates in your plan. 24 | Lake Houston Business Matters

Now that you have your plan to reach your goals, identify the potential challenges that you will undoubtedly face. A great majority of these challenges will be from within yourself. Commit yourself to your goals, get an accountability partner, and raise the bar on yourself. If you need to hire a coach or advisor, then do it. Don’t get stuck doing busy work. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishments. You simply cannot get absolutely everything done every single day, but you canget the most important and difficult tasks done first on a daily basis. And you can work smarter toward achieving your long-term goals. Don’t wait for 2016, start working on them today! Todd Sullivan has served others as a performance coach and trainer for 15 years and is a prolific volunteer. As a certified Business Coach, certified Process Improvement Advisor, certified Lead ISO 9001 Auditor, he coaches business owners & professionals to ask the hard questions, analyze complex situations, develop strategies, and implement decisions. Todd also conducts workplace behavioral and stress assessments to decrease conflict and improve productivity.

INSPERITY KelseyAD Seybold #2Clinic Kingwood is Our Neighborhood, Too For nearly 30 years, Insperity has made its home in the Livable Forest. Of our more than 2,200 employees nationwide, almost 950 work right here in Kingwood. We live, eat, shop and play here, too. We think every neighborhood should be as nice as ours. That’s why our mission is to help businesses succeed so that communities prosper. Could we help your business? Find out – right here in the neighborhood. | 800-465-3800

Fall 2015 | 25



You want to give back to the community, but where do you start and how do you know your money is going to the right place? When your company attaches its name, time and money to a cause, you want to know it will be a good steward. After all, it’s your reputation on the line, too, if the organization turns out to be unscrupulous. How can your company minimize the likelihood of allying with a charity that is not ethical, or one that doesn’t align with your organization’s core values? Here are eight steps you can take to protect your personal and corporate reputation:

1. Consider your company’s values The first step in deciding whether to support a charitable cause lies in understanding your company’s core values. What is it you want to support and why? How can you, your company and its employees move the needle in making a real difference by focusing on your values? There are essentially two kinds of philanthropy for businesses: general and strategic. 26 | Lake Houston Business Matters

Strategic philanthropy aligns your company with nonprofits related to your business and industry. For example, if you own a restaurant, a strategic alliance would be with a nonprofit that addresses hunger or childhood obesity. By nature of what your business does, you can effect real change in these areas just by getting involved. General philanthropy addresses your community’s needs. What are the issues facing your neighbors; what charities do your employees support? For example, after-school childcare may be a big need in your community, so you could give a grant to the YMCA to sponsor children in their program.

2. Consider the charity’s values Once you have your company’s values, you should evaluate the core mission of the charity. There are a lot of charities to choose from; finding one that shares your views and values will make the relationship more meaningful for both of you. You may not hit on all topics, but using a checklist of values can help you narrow the field.

3. Ask questions This is a common mistake that many companies make because it takes time – and sometimes you don’t have a minute to spare. Vetting a charity should be as important to you as choosing a vendor or business partner. Talk to others in your industry and community. Find out which causes they support and why. Ask if they’ve ever had problems with a charity you’re considering. At the very least, talk to the executive director of a charity you’re considering. You can also talk to board members and ask to attend a board meeting. You’ll get a front-row view of how they do business.

ate about, they will a have stronger allegiance to you as a business owner. Volunteerism is important to many employees and they’ll appreciate you encouraging their input.

8. Communicate your strategy Consider having someone in your company keep a running list of groups your employees support, as well as the top causes your firm wants to associate with. Be proactive and intentional about setting a philanthropy budget. How much will you donate over the course of a year in cash and in-kind donations? One option is to use part of your budget to reward employees who volunteer by donating to their favorite charities. For example, a charity that receives 50 hours of volunteer time from one of your employees receives a $500 check from you.

4. Do your homework It is important to properly research any group you’re interested in supporting through your community involvement program. There are charity watchdog organizations such as GuideStar and Charity Navigator that analyze and rate nonprofit organizations. They assess a charity’s financial health, accountability, transparency and governance. These ratings can help you determine which charities are best for you. Don’t spread yourself too thin – be particular about the organization you get involved with.

5. Meet the press Look at how your charity is presented in the news. Is it constantly being raked over the coals? Remember, people like to gripe about what went wrong, so an instance of bad press may not be the whole story. There are no perfect charities – mistakes will be made. Part of doing your homework is finding out how the charity recovers after something bad happens. Who are the people making decisions, how are they fixing it and did they learn from it?

6. Assess their strategy Your charity of choice should have a strategic business plan, preferably three to five years out. Does the plan align with its core values? Does it align with your company’s values? A strategic plan tells you a charity is organized. Without it, they typically are focused on day-to-day activities, and may have a hard time growing. Donors and businesses like to see a long-term plan that lays out how the organization plans to change the landscape of a community over the next several years.

7. Solicit feedback from partners and employees Check in with your business partners and get their take on your philanthropic plans. Is there anything they don’t want you to get involved in? What is their reasoning? What are your employees interested in? If you support what they’re passion-

Although it’s tempting, you can’t say “yes” to every school fundraiser. Help manage the requests by putting your philanthropy strategy and guidelines on your website so others will know your charitable initiatives and how to make donation requests. Having a corporate social responsibility program can be good for your community and your employees. People want to work for companies that care.

The Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce and Insperity have entered into a partnership through the Chamber Advantage Program. This partnership is best defined by our shared mission: to inform, educate, connect and inspire the performance of small and medium-size businesses in the Lake Houston Area community. This article, originally published as “8 Ways to Ensure Your Company Aligns With the Right Charities” at www., has been shared through that partnership.

Corinn Price serves as Insperity’s Director of Community Involvement, which she has grown from a one-person department to an expansive corporate philanthropy program with five employees and a national 50-member volunteer council. She has served on the boards of numerous nonprofit charitable and professional organizations and holds a Certificate in Corporate Community Involvement from Boston College. Fall 2015 2015 || 27 27 Fall


Humble Area Assistance Ministries

Alpha Women’s Center of Kingwood, Inc.

Humble ISD Education Foundation

American Heart Association

In Touch Residential Youth Center

Azleway, Inc. •

Including Kids, Inc. •

Be An Angel Fund •

Kingwood Women’s Club

Choices4Life • Family Promise of Lake Houston FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center For Life Christian Counseling Friends of the Atascocita Library • Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council • Have Shears Will Travel Heaven’s Army of Resources and Recreation Center Holocaust Garden of Remembrance

Lake Houston Family YMCA • LifeLine Pregnancy Care Center Lupus Foundation of America, Texas Gulf Coast Chapter Mission Northeast, Inc. • The Mercer Society The Nathaniel Foundation Single Parents Igniting Relationships In Truth, Inc. Wags to Whiskers of Texas

❝Changing the small business world,



Mission Northeast



one network at a time.™ ☛ Hardware as a Service ☛ Desktop Support ☛ Network Security ☛ Managed IT Services ☛ Server Support ☛ Backup & Disaster Recovery ☛ Email/Spam Protection ☛ On-Demand IT Services Chamber Member since 2003.


Mission Northeast is changing our community, one life at a time, through the love of Jesus Christ - won't you help us?

We provide food, clothing, household items, education, job training and much more to families in need.

We will feed over 1,000 needy families in 11 zip codes at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please consider holding a food drive to help us meet these needs.

For more information call Lynn at 281-354-1200, ext 8211. All our services are provided free of charge, thanks to the support of our community. 28 | Lake Houston Business Matters



Azleway LAKE HOUSTON COME FAMILY YMCA TOGETHER LAKE HOUSTON FAMILY YMCA • Day camp • Swim lessons • Child care • Group exercise • Indoor pool • And more!


benefitting the economy | enhancing the quality of life | preserving green space is working on projects in east Harris County that will enhance the environment and connect people to nature. Talk to us about volunteer opportunities and corporate team building activities, including: Trail Building • Tree Planting • Bayou Clean-Ups • Kayaking

The Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition


Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition (“The Coalition”) seeks to benefit the economy and enhance the quality of life for the more than 500,000 residents in the Greens Bayou watershed through flood mitigation, parks and trails development, and economic development.

16945 Northchase, Suite 1900 Houston TX 77060 281-874-2142

Fall 2015 | 29


Just like last year, the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce is your Small Business Saturday Neighborhood Champion. We’re tapping into the power of the Shop Small Movement to encourage all Lake Houston Area residents to keep it local, to Shop, Dine, Stay and Play right here in our own backyard. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 28, 2015 and the Chamber would like to encourage everyone to Shop Small. The Chamber supports Small Business Saturday because the more we shop local, the more vibrant our community becomes. There are more than 6,800 established businesses in our area and 90 percent have fewer than 20 employees. These small businesses are owned and operated by our neighbors and friends. We encourage you to visit local shops on November 28 but also to look past retail locations and reach out to service industries such as insurance providers, print shops, web developers and more. When you shop small, the money you spend here stays here. The Lake Houston Area business community is invited to attend our kickoff celebration at the Small Business Salute Luncheon November 17, 2015. We’ll have merchandise to give away including Small Business Saturday tote bags, welcome mats, event banners, buttons and more along with tools to help our area businesses leverage Small Business Saturday. We’ll launch a social media campaign where attendees can pledge to Shop Small on Small Business Saturday. Local businesses can invite customers to shop with them November 28 by snapping a photo holding a Small Business Saturday poster. We’ll then share it with our social network using #ShopSmall. 30 | Lake Houston Business Matters

We’re also honoring three Chamber members who are finalist for the 29th Annual Small Business Awards Banquet hosted by the Lone Star College Small Business Development Center and recognizing our volunteers who participated in this year’s Total Resource Campaign. Small Business Saturday offers an opportunity to celebrate local businesses that help our community thrive, to show them our support and do our part to stimulate our economy. On November 28, Shop Small and help the Lake Houston Area prosper. Want to get involved? We’re your Small Business Saturday advocates and we’re here to help. American Express offers free tools and resources to business owners. Promote your business with everything from graphics and poster downloads to suggested social media and email marketing copy. Watch inspirational videos featuring small business owners from around the country and get ideas on how to engage. Visit to get started. Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Remember to shop locally on Small Business Saturday, and every day. The Small Business Salute Luncheon Presented by Insperity and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 17 at The Clubs of Kingwood. For information or reservations, contact Chris O’Dell or visit

Cardiovascular Association, P.L.L.C. Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Imaging & Vein Center


In 1998, Dr.Mazen Ganim and a team of Houston cardiologists founded Cardiovascular Association. The team is dedicated to providing advanced heart care by providing quality service, state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and procedures to prevent and treat heart diseases and improve the quality of life.


Implantation of pacemakers and defibrillators.

Full non-invasive cardiovascular testing including echocardiography, stress testing, stroke screening, circulation testing, etc. Electrophysiologic testing including radio frequency ablation for arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation.

Heart catheterization with angioplasty and stent placement. Non-surgical treatment of aortic aneurysms. Non-surgical treatment of circulation disorders including venous ablation for vein problems.

Serving Houston, Humble and Kingwood .

For further information please call 281-446-6656. Fall 2015 | 31


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