Lake Houston Business Matters_Winter 2015

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table of

contents 06

Resolve to Make Your Business Grow

Tips to follow & pitfalls to avoid for business success.

08 12 16 20 24 26 28

Citizen of the Year

Meet recipient Norman Funderburk.

Home Grown

Sam Schrade and Digital Network Associates.

Economic Development and Education

Learn about the important relationship between our schools and commercial development.

Follow the Leader

Meet three leaders doing great things for our community.

Preparing for Tax Season

Tips to keep you organized all year long.

Unity in Community

The Lake Houston Area Planning Council is connecting community leadership.

Shell Houston Open Golf Tournament

The only Houston stop on the PGA Tour brings big bucks to the LHA.

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 - Charlie Dromgoole - Michael Prats – Kelli White – Graphic Designer Jen Weber – 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. 2 | Lake Houston Business Matters

PostNet-Lee’s Summit

Welcome from the President Welcome to the second issue of

that our thriving business community ex-

Lake Houston Business Matters Maga-

perienced this past year and are excited

zine. This publication was created by

for what 2015 will bring.

the Lake Houston Area Chamber of

After reading this issue, we encourage

Commerce and is designed to serve as

you to visit and Lake-

a resource to the Lake Houston Area to learn more about our

business community. For more than

efforts in attracting new businesses, ex-

90 years, the Chamber has worked

panding existing companies, representing

with community partners and local

our area on local, state and national eco-

businesses to build a strong, economi-

nomic issues and developing and promot-

cally viable region and we hope this

ing the economy and quality of life in the

magazine will aid in our mission to attract new business, strengthen the business environment, serve our members and promote community growth.

Lake Houston Area. For information about the magazine or to submit story ideas, email We encourage

The content was created with our regional businesses

you to support the firms that are investing in the growth

in mind as we strive to cultivate a healthy economic cli-

and development of their community through their partic-

mate and keep our business owners and citizens abreast

ipation in the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce,

of current opportunities and economic development. We

the Economic Development Partnership and Lake Hou-

hope you find Lake Houston Business Matters to be in-

ston Business Matters Magazine.

formative and educational, with a hint of entertainment. Our Chamber grew in 2014, with more than 181 new businesses joining the Lake Houston Area Chamber, which kept our Ambassador committee busy. The Ambassadors officiated at more than 40 Ribbon Cutting and Ground Breaking ceremonies to celebrate and to welcome new business members. And more than 87 networking opportunities were held in 2014 — equating to one opportunity every three working days. We are thrilled with the success

4 | Lake Houston Business Matters

Jenna Armstrong President, Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

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Resolve to Make Your Business Grow Two consultants offer pointers for success and pitfalls that can plummet your business. BY KELLI WHITE

you have a start-up or an established business, several key practices can make all the difference in your business’s sustained success and continued growth. The new year is a perfect time to take stock and brush up on better business practices. Here is a breakdown of what to do and what not to do when starting and while growing your business.


Five Must-Dos for Success 1) Have a Plan

According to Jan Koenig, Senior Consultant with the Lone Star College System Small Business Development Center, business plans are not only for start-ups. “Even existing businesses should have a plan. Most businesses fail in early years, but no matter what stage your business is in, you need a plan,” he said. Bob Galbreath, consultant with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) agrees. “Start-ups and established businesses need an appro6 | Lake Houston Business Matters

priate business plan. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road might get you there. A business plan is a road map showing where you are and where you want to be. Business owners must determine where they want to take their business. How they get there varies by individual.” For established businesses, Galbreath said there is not “a magic formula for growing a business. It depends on so many factors, but having a business plan is the one thing more than any other that will help.” When it comes to writing a business plan, owners need to determine their goals. After that, consultants can help.

2) Know the Answer to, “Why Me?”

Every business has competition, either direct or indirect. According to Koenig, business owners should have a clear sense of why they are preferable to their competition. Businesses can differentiate themselves from their competition through several approaches: quality, convenience, service, price, etc. Koenig said it is important to understand alternative ways customers solve a single

problem and understand how competitors appeal to those methods of problem solving.

3) Have a Team

“I strongly recommend at any point in the business life cycle to not go it alone,” Koenig said. It is important to have a team. Surround yourself with a capable accountant, attorney, professional advisor and small business development person. Galbreath agrees and said, “Often, even existing companies don’t seek assistance. They don’t have a team to ask questions, and they try to do everything on their own. When you’re your own counsel, it isn’t enough. If you need help marketing, there are business consultants who have spent their whole career marketing who could help.”

4) Use a Financial Reporting System

Many owners use a shoebox method, which is inefficient and leaves room for error. Koenig suggests using a program like QuickBooks that will help identify problems before they are too big to handle. “It is important to analyze and track the financial health of your business,” Koenig said.

5) Have Adequate Capital

Both Koenig and Galbreath said it is important to plan for sources of capital in advance. “People don’t pay enough attention to forecasting cash flow. I encourage owners to look further ahead and identify potential problems. Businesses usually don’t go bankrupt because they don’t have profit, they go bankrupt because they run out of cash. You must have an adequate source of capital before you need it. The more you need it, the harder it is to get,” Koenig said. Galbreath said oftentimes people don’t know where to get funds, how much they need, or what they need it for. “Starting a business without an adequate source of funds is statistically the biggest downfall,” Galbreath said.

The new year is the perfect time to take stock. It’s a time to assess where you are in your business and where you need to be. Jan Koenig has an extensive background in the corporate world and as a business owner. He is now a consultant and reminds clients to ask themselves: 1) Do I have a plan? 2) Do I have a good financial reporting system and do I know how to use it? 3) Do I have a team helping me to succeed? A Little Housekeeping

For new and established businesses, categories of problems and pitfalls may be the same but how owners handle them may differ. No matter the stage of your business, it is important to have a plan, find cash, and surround yourself with a knowledgeable team to support you along the way. If you’re thinking about starting a business, Koenig stresses the importance of understanding there is a difference between running a business and doing a business. For example, he said, “Running a restaurant is a very different job from cooking good BBQ.” Many small business owners aren’t comfortable with selling their product or service. Koenig said this is one major mistake start-ups make. “You need someone to tell the story of the business. If you don’t sell, people won’t know you’re there,” he said. Where the marketing dollars go depends on the type of business, but “remember ‘Why Me?’” Koenig said.

Must-Dos for Start-Ups Bob Galbreath has worn many hats in the business world. A former CPA, CFO and General Manager, he is now a consultant with SCORE. He said there are three things start-ups must do: 1) Contact the Houston Business Solutions Center, which is staffed with experts to help with all rules and regulations for any kind of business. 2) Take a seminar designed for starting a business. SCORE and other small business development organizations offer all-day seminars that cover broad business operations like legal, marketing, insurance, finance, etc. 3) Devise a business plan. Winter 2015 | 7


OF THE YEAR Norman Funderburk has demonstrated a tireless commitment to improving our community.


Since 1967,

the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce has had the annual honor of recognizing one outstanding individual who is dedicated to public service and who stands as a pillar of our community by awarding the annual Haden McKay, MD Citizen of the Year Award. Norman Funder­burk was chosen as the 2014 recipient of this prestigious award.

The Haden McKay, MD Citizen of the Year Award recognizes selfless public service by an individual, performed on his or her own time and not in the regular course of earning a living or advancing professionally. Requests for nominations are sent out to the community each October and then past award recipients choose the winner. Tim Baker, Executive Vice President at Independent Bank, worked with Funderburk on the Northeast Hospital Foundation and said he exemplifies everything the Citizen of the Year Award represents. “Norman is an excellent choice as Citizen of the Year,” Baker said. “He went to school in Humble and is very proud 8 | Lake Houston Business Matters

of his heritage. He supports the school system, is active in the community and has been an integral part of the Hospital Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board for many years. He has made a direct impact on our ability to provide healthcare services to people in our community.”

Humble Proud

Norman Funderburk is a native Houstonian and has been a resident of Humble since 1971. His rich family history is deeply rooted in the Humble area and he is well known for community activism. “When I first came to Humble in 1966, I knew this was where I wanted to stay,” Funderburk said. “Kathy [Norman’s wife] and I are both graduates of Humble High School, class of 1970. We’re very fortunate that we’ve been able to remain in the community where we went to school, maintaining lifelong friendships and doing our part to contribute.” Jack Fields, CEO of Twenty-First Century Group and former Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives played high school football with Norman, and their families share deep-seeded Humble ties. “We take the term ‘Old Humble’ to a new level,” Fields said. “Norman represents everything that is good about our community. He works to maintain the values, history and culture that make our hometown unique but he is also progressive. His work has helped make our area one of the most vibrant in the country. He’s paved the way for development and job growth and has truly acted as a bridge

between where we came from and where we’re headed.”

Community Councilman

Norman Funderburk lives and works in the Lake Houston Area. He has more than 40 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry and has worked at Koch Specialty Services for nearly 28 years, currently serving as VP of Project Services. In addition to his day job, Funderburk serves on the Humble City Council. He is the representative to the Houston-Galveston Area Council and serves as the City’s liaison to Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. “I had aspired to serve on our City Council for some time,” Funderburk said. “The City of Humble has been fortunate to have had excellent leadership over the years and I wanted to continue that tradition by being a part of it.” The Lake Houston Area is experiencing tremendous growth, and Funderburk wants the City of Humble to progress while still retaining the area’s identity. He said events such as Good Oil Days, the Rodeo and our Annual Christmas Parade of Lights are great examples of traditions that have become part of the Lake Houston Area’s identity. “I want our community to be a destination location where families want to live, a place where anyone would want to visit, and a place where our businesses can thrive,” he said. “I want to ensure that quality of life is maintained

for our residents, with safety and security being paramount. Our community has such a rich history and a great legacy, my desire is for all our residents to embrace it and I’ll always work to protect it.”

Dedication to Education

Funderburk’s entire family has worked in education, so his passion for our schools is understandable. His wife, Kathy, has 27 years as a Humble ISD employee, currently at Woodcreek Middle School and previously at Atascocita Middle School. They remain especially close to Humble High School’s athletic programs, where their son and daughter-in-law are both coaches. Cagney Funderburk, Norman’s son, coaches varsity football and is Varsity Assistant Baseball Coach at Humble High School, while Michelle, Norman’s daughter-inlaw, is Assistant Athletic Coordinator and Head Volleyball Coach. The family has held Humble High School football season tickets for as long as Norman can remember. They are recognized as members of the “Old Guard,” dedicated game-goers that attend all games, home and away. The Funderburk family also supports the Humble ISD Education Foundation, participating in the Humble Rodeo Livestock Show and Auction in February and the Foundation Gala in April.

Winter 2015 | 9

Troy Kite, Athletic Director at Humble Independent School District, met Funderburk while coaching basketball at Humble High School and has worked with him more directly since he transitioned to the Athletic Office. “Norman represents everything you’d want your son to grow up to be because of his integrity, honesty and passion for what’s going on in his community,” Kite said. “When I was coaching I worked with Norman’s son and daughter-inlaw. I got to know him and his wife because they were always cheering at the games. I knew his volunteerism and activism weren’t limited to Humble High School sports but when I became Athletic Director I saw firsthand the amount of time and energy they pour into our community. We live in such a hectic world -- we tend to focus on our immediate families and what’s happening in our personal lives. Norm has the rare ability to focus on his family and work, but to also carve out time for our community. He is a genuine, caring person and we’re lucky to have him in Humble.” Kite relies on Funderburk as his “Old Humble source”. When the district honors Humble High School graduates from years past they can count on him to know the history and find the contact information. “As a district grows it can be hard to keep diehard fans once parents’ kids are out of school but that’s never happened in Humble,” Kite said. “Norman is part of a core group of Humble High School graduates that have stayed close for decades. They are passionate about Humble sports and have amazing school spirit. They do everything they can to support the school and have helped us hold on to our heritage, culture and history. It’s nice to have as we grow as a district and it’s hard to find these days.”

Commitment to Quality Healthcare

Funderburk’s passion for community activism stretches back to one of the most important developments in the Lake

Houston Area. Today, Memorial Hermann Northeast graces the thoroughfares of I-69 but years ago the community had no hospital and a great need for quality healthcare. Northeast Medical Center Hospital was established by the City of Humble in 1977 as a not-for-profit, community-owned hospital to be operated under a Board of Trustees appointed by Humble City Council. Since 1999 and prior to his election to Humble City Council, Funderburk was appointed as Trustee to Northeast Hospital Board of Authority and served to grow quality healthcare options in the Humble area. “The work was challenging but very rewarding,” Funderburk said. “We truly felt that we were making a difference for the residents in our service area.” During his time on the Board he served in various roles such as Board Vice President, Investment Officer and member of the Finance Committee. In 2007, Funderburk participated in the agreement to bring Memorial Hermann Healthcare System to our community. “I’m very proud of the 15 years spent on the hospital Board of Authority, with close relationships formed with the other trustees, both past and current,” Funderburk said. “The individuals who have served on our Board are a very dedicated group and the community is fortunate to have an excellent leader in Board President Roy Hearnsberger. Memorial Hermann Northeast continually achieves outstanding marks and recognition for quality and patient satisfaction. The current administration, led by hospital CEO Louis G. Smith, is outstanding” Tom Broad, Community Relations Manager at Memorial Hermann Northeast, has worked with Funderburk for more than a decade. “Norman was appointed to the Board of Authority and from there to the Foundation Board,” Broad said. “I worked along side him at community events like the annual HAAM toy drive and Humble High School Alumni Association and have come to consider him a true friend. He is an interesting person and is dedicated to the growth and development of our community.” According to Broad, Funderburk is thoughtful, thorough and focuses on what’s best for the area citizens with every decision he makes. His leadership has been instrumental to the expansion and success of hospital programs including community scholarships, senior health fairs, “Project Mammogram” and “In the Pink of Health.” “Norman is big on consensus,” Broad said. “He is inclusive and that’s one reason he is so successful. He is one of those people who works behind the scenes and makes things happen. He is also fun. Any volunteer knows that volunteer work can sometimes be tough, but with Norman, it’s always fun.”

Well Deserved Accolades Now-retired Edgar W. “Sonny” Robbins III is a revered resident of Humble. Robbins was Mayor of Humble from 1967 to 1971 and worked with Norman while serving as President of the Northeast Hospital Board of Authority. 10 | Lake Houston Business Matters

“I just can’t say enough good things about him,” Robbins said. “For every challenge we faced working on the Board, Norman recognized areas for improvement right away. He’s a good ol’ hometown boy in one way, but a very professional problem solver in another.” Robbins said Humble-area residents and professionals can expect to hear more about Norman Funderburk and his wife. He expects their work in our community will continue to make an impact for years to come. “He is one of the best men I’ve ever met,” Robbins said. “He is respected in the community, he is a good man and he has a good wife. He gets a lot of recognition but he’s very humble. Norman just gets the job done. He is an asset to any association he chooses to be a part of. He and his entire family are top-of-the line people and we’re fortunate to have them here in Humble.”

Words from Norman Funderburk considers the Haden McKay, MD Citizen of the Year Award an incredible honor. “The previous award winners are all individuals who contributed to this community in a mighty way,” he said. “I count many of them as friends and hold them in high regard. Just to be nominated for this award is a tremendous honor, receiving that endorsement from others in the community for my service and involvement. To receive votes… to actually win the award, it’s hard to believe and I’m still amazed by it.” Funderburk has been in the Lake Houston Area community for years and has seen first-hand the impact of previous recipients. “They are all icons of the community and have paved the way for us,” he said. “We are enjoying their legacy. I am extremely proud to have that commonality with them and certainly hope that I can make a difference as well.”

named Schott & Sons Gro­cery. Kathy’s father, Peyton Williams, and her uncle Charles managed the store and Norman sacked groceries every Sat­urday through high school and early college years. “The grocery store was special to me,” Funderburk said. “The $20 I earned was important back then but I also came to know many fine folks from the community.” Humble’s Schott Park is named after Hilton, honor­ing him as a beloved member of our community. Kathy’s grandmother was also active, a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and Mother Advisor of the Order of Rainbow for Girls from 19401944. Kathy’s mom, Joyce Williams, was an English teacher and Assistant Principle at Humble Middle School. After high school graduation, Norman attended Texas A&M University but transferred to University of Houston before his sophomore year so he and Kathy could be mar­ried. Fourty three years later they are going strong and have been members of Humble Area’s First Baptist Church since 1990 where Nor­man has served as a deacon since 2001. Funderburk worked at Brown & Root, Inc. for 11 years in the PetroChem Construction group and joined what would become Koch Specialty Plant Services in 1987. Norman Funderburk was honored as the 2014 Haden McKay, MD Citizen of the Year at the Lake Houston Area Chamber Annual Awards Extravaganza on January 23, 2015. The following day he was entered into the Humble High School Baseball Hall of Fame. BELOW: THE FUNDERBURK FAMILY GATHERED OUTSIDE NORMAN AND KATHY’S HOME. PICTURED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT ARE LISA WILLIAMS, CHELSEA WILLIAMS, TREY WILLIAMS, EVAN WILLIAMS, MIRANDA WILLIAMS, PEYTON WILLIAMS, ROBERT WILLIAMS, NANCY WILLIAMS, KATHY FUNDERBURK, JADEN FUNDERBURK, NORMAN FUNDERBURK, MICHELLE FUNDERBURK AND CAGNEY FUNDERBURK. SEATED ARE JOYCE WILLIAMS AND TRINITY FUNDERBURK. PHOTO BY JACK TAYLOR OF HUMBLE, TAKEN IN NOVEMBER 2007.

Family Tradition

Funderburk’s father was a petroleum engineer with Gulf Oil. His mother, Samye Funderburk, was an English teacher and Counselor at Huffman’s Hargrave High School. Kathy’s family is deeply rooted in the community as well, going back to the days of the oil boom. Her great-grandfather, A.O. Schott, came to Moonshine Hill in 1908 and operated a sa­loon there until Prohibition. Her grandparents, Hilton and Ida Schott, were civic leaders and operated a grocery store beginning in 1929. Hilton Schott later served on Humble ISD School Board from 1931-1944. The grocery store became Winter 2015 | 11

“Digital Network Associates is always searching for ways to do things better, faster and cheaper. People call us because we’re problem solvers.”


Digital Network Associates

Local Entrepreneur Sam Schrade is innovating live broadcast streaming. BY COLLEEN MERRITT AND KELLI WHITE


like so many other Americans, Sam Schrade has experienced occupational hardship. He was laid off after 9/11, but out of the ashes of his previous career, Digital Network Associates was born. Schrade is the owner of Digital Network Associates (DNA), a media company that provides television programming, mobile facilities, video transmission and live broadcast streaming. “When I was laid off I tried working for a sales company,” Schrade said, “and that wasn’t working. Then I moved on to a web company. That didn’t work either. I had an idea, saw a need and had the passion so I decided to start my own company. We started in the living room of my house and outgrew the space in less than nine months.” In 2007 he saw a need to help small businesses get con-

12 | Lake Houston Business Matters

nected to the Internet, formed a business plan and created DNA. He envisioned a "digital network" of talents to help create websites, multimedia and online video. Schrade created an innovative way to send video across the web, and DNA's clients were able to hold seminars online. Because clients were saving money, they were able to expand their productions. DNA needed more equipment to meet demand and they began settling into their niche. Within two years, DNA’s revenue doubled and Schrade began looking for investors to expand the media side of the business. DNA bought the resources of a retiring broadcast company and soon DNA was on the road producing mobile television for clients from coast to coast. Clients include ESPN, NBC Sports, Fox Sports and other major networks. - continued on page 14


About Sam Schrade Born in Vietnam, Sam grew up in west Houston after being adopted by American parents in 1975. A visit to a radio station disc jockey for a class project intrigued Schrade and blossomed his desire in broadcasting and technology. He graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing and has spent many years working in TV, radio and newspaper. Schrade has been selected as: • Executive Committee Member - Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce • Past Chair of the Ambassador Team - Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

• Co-Chair the Total Resource Campaign - Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce • Atascocita Bizcom Advisory Board - Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce • Lake Houston 10k 5k Committee, Business Expo Committee, Parade Float - Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce • Leadership Team for the Young Professionals of EMC • Founder and leader of 7:45 Business Networking • Active member of Woodcreek Band & Athletic Booster Clubs

Schrade was also winner of the 2002 Communicator Award, a national award for those in the broadcast field. Winter 2015 | 13

When Schrade’s clients wanted streaming video broadcasting, he was happy to oblige. He started with one camera, quickly expanded to two, then three, then four. Then DNA was invited to collaborate with ESPN's Innovation Lab on a project that would soon bring televised sports to the computer, now known as ESPN3. It was the innovative ideas from Schrade and the invention of new technology that helped lead to smaller, compact mobile production trucks. Clients were saving 50-70 percent on production costs without sacrificing broadcast quality. “Working with the ESPN Innovations Lab has been a blessing,” Schrade said. “They have quality standards and we constantly push to deliver high-quality broadcasting at one-third the price of the other guys.” With a background primarily in business and sports as a former Sports Information Director, it makes sense that Schrade’s major client is ESPN. “Ninety percent of our business is sports,” Schrade said. “We helped pioneer and test streaming technology for ESPN so they can deliver the broadcast to viewers.” Schrade pointed out that a sporting event is one of the few things we can watch live on television. In a market when multiple generations expect immediacy, technology must deliver. “Viewers today don’t want to wait for anything,” he said. “So that has put a real shift in our industry.” With the company’s capabilities and current technology, people can watch live events anywhere, anytime. DNA provides everything networks need from satellites to camera crews to graphics and instant replay. And it is the only company in Houston that does. “We offer a complete package for the network. We are unique. Fewer than 10 companies within a five-state area do what we do. Sometimes I pinch myself that we are really doing this,” Schrade said. Schrade and his team search for emerging technologies and go directly to the manufacturers, asking them to design equipment specific for their needs. “We’re innovative,” he said. “Digital Network Associates is always searching for ways to do things better, faster and cheaper. People call us because we’re problem solvers.” As a business owner, Schrade likes to be hands on with as many facets of the job as time allows. He said wearing multiple hats can make any job more exciting. Schrade has worked everything from SuperBowls, NBA Finals, World Series, and so many more. DNA has provided broadcast fa-

14 | Lake Houston Business Matters

Community and Charitable Contributions

Digital Network Associates is an active participant in many community and nonprofit organizations including: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Alvin ISD Arrow Prison Ministries Boy Scouts of America East Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Fellowship of the Woodlands East First Baptist Church Humble Fort Bend ISD Greater Houston Partnership Heaven’s Army Humble ISD Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce The Junior League of Houston MDA Telethon Miss Wheelchair America Will's Kids

cilities and equipment for MLS, NCAA Men and Women's Tournaments and even the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. “We get paid to watch TV,” Schrade said. “We never know what the content will be. It could be a cheerleading video or a Gospel concert, but that makes it interesting.” DNA does all of this with two full-time employees and a network of more than 200 contractors. Total gross sales have increased the past three years and 2014 marked the highest-ever profits. DNA is forecasting an explosion in growth thanks to YouTube, Netflix and on-demand products. The company currently owns a large market share in the Houston area and a large percent in Texas.

Companies and organizations can also rent DNA’s digital studio in Humble to communicate their message. The studio provides HD cameras, audio and lighting and clients can upload their commercial/video directly to YouTube or Facebook. To accommodate continued demand, DNA has plans to build a 5,000 square foot broadcast studio in Humble. “We’re diversifying our business offerings with the new studio. It’s a way for us to utilize our equipment when we’re not on the road. We’ll be able to broadcast TV shows, sports talk shows — the possibilities are endless,” he said. “We work across the Greater Houston Area but Lake Houston is home,” Schrade continued. “We moved here in 2004 because of the pretty trees, lighter traffic and excellent schools but the Lake Houston Area is so much more. I’ve built a great network of business contacts and friends here.” Schrade’s dedication extends well beyond offering top-notch service to his clients. He is passionate about his community and dedicates much of his time to local nonprofit organizations. He is also founder and leader of 7:45 Networking, created to offer a quick, fun and

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free networking opportunity to local small businesses. “We’ve had more than 1,000 different business owners and operators attend a 7:45 Networking meeting at one time or another,” Schrade said. “I know the group has had a positive economic impact on the Lake Houston Area because I’ve watched startups grow and prosper because of the referrals we share.” In only seven years, DNA has provided entertainment and sports programming for millions of viewers on television and the web. Schrade’s desire isn't to have the biggest company, merely the best. DNA has reached success with a combination of innovation, service, donation and reliability that many small businesses strive to achieve. Pure entrepreneurial spirit and hard work have been the fuel firing this company since day one. Sam understands that giving back to the community is important to continue to grow, learn and succeed. Regardless of whether his client is a small local business in Kingwood or “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” DNA promises to deliver the goods on time and on budget. Visit for more information about DNA’s business offerings.

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Economic Development & Education School funding relies on modified State legislature and more commercial development within district boundary lines. BY KELLI WHITE

In the Lake Houston Area, 80 percent of property tax comes from residential development. That’s the highest in the state, and it’s detrimental to local schools. Residential property tax is not a significant factor for funding schools or long-term growth of our community. While new housing options and residential growth are exciting for the Lake Houston Area, our community is lacking business tax from commercial property to support that growth. Charlie Dromgoole, CEO of Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce and Lake Houston Economic Development Partnership, said, “Humble ISD receives only 18 percent tax value from commercial property and 80 percent—the highest in the Houston area by a long shot—from residential. Texas has a unique financial model and caps

16 | Lake Houston Business Matters

property tax value. We are close to the top of that cap.” “Fortunately, Humble ISD is well managed,” Dromgoole said. “The district does a great job forecasting needs but it would make it much easier if funds could come from business tax value. No one has marketed the Lake Houston Area to investors, but we hope to change that.” Land use in the Lake Houston Area is geared toward residential development, and it has been that way for decades. The Lake Houston Economic Development Partnership is working to entice industrial and commercial companies to the area, along with helping to expand existing businesses. Our schools will receive a direct benefit. Busi-

“Humble ISD receives only 18 percent tax value from commercial property and 80 percent—the highest in the Houston area by a long shot—from residential.”

– Charlie Dromgoole

nesses pay substantially higher property taxes than homeowners. Without enough commercial property tax to support the school district, tax payers are asked to pass bonds and school administrators are tasked with finding revenue streams from other avenues. Dr. Guy Sconzo, who has served as Humble ISD Superintendent for 14 years, said, “To generate revenue, we do one thing that other districts do not. We advertise.” Covered under State law, Humble ISD sells ad space on school buses, at football stadiums and on its website. But, according to Sconzo, advertising generates less than one percent of the district’s funding. Humble ISD holds a Superior Achievement rating on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The district also received 4.5 stars on the State Comptroller’s FAST (Financial Allocation Study of Texas) report for very low spending while meeting student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and post-secondary readiness standards. Additionally, Humble ISD has been recognized by state, national and international organizations for its careful and responsible management of resources. Acknowledgements include the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award and the Meritorious Budget Award from American School Business Officials International as well as the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association. The last school bond passed in 2008, which allocated funds for future projects and saved on construction costs. “More than 70 percent taxpayer approval passed an eight cent local tax rate increase to fund new campuses to support the fast growth in our district,” Sconzo said. “We have $155

million left of those bond funds, which is good because we expect to add 13,500 kids over the next eight years.” Funds have been used to purchase land for six campuses necessary to support growth. “The remaining funds should be sufficient to open three of the six new campuses, which will take us to 2018, at which point the district will need another bond referendum,” Sconzo said. The Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce and Lake Houston Economic Development Partnership are working to draw in new commercial development. Sconzo said he has never experienced more aggressive Chamber effort to solicit new business and retain existing business. “The Economic Development Partnership has grown relationships with the Greater Houston Partnership, but no matter how successful our local economic development efforts are, we will always be a household community. There is not enough land to build the commercial property we need, so it will take a major change in how the State funds our schools from an equity standpoint,” he said. Right now, 45 percent of school funding comes from the State and 55 percent from local tax. “Those numbers should be reversed,” Sconzo said. “Constitutionally, the State should be bearing the larger portion.” The legislative session began in mid-January and Sconzo feels positive that the legislature will make changes to increase state funding for schools. “Texas is in a better economical state and at a good place to address shortcomings for public schools. We are one year away from major needed changes because the system was found to have inadequate funding, and the Supreme Court order will drive more change,” he said. There is a cyclical relationship of commercial development and the strength of local schools. With strong commercial growth, comes more jobs, which leads to more money infused in our economy, which adds to the highly sought after live, work, play environment today’s young professionals and families are seeking. This eventually leads to a flourishing school system, workforce and socioeconomic environment. But how are schools helping to ensure this cycle flows?

Winter 2015 | 17

With strong commercial growth, comes more jobs THE CYCLICAL

which leads to more money infused in our economy

in a better economical


state and


at a good


place to address

which leads LOCAL SCHOOLS to a flourishing school system, which adds to the workforce and highly sought after socioeconomic live, work, play environment. environment

One need has been addressed by a change in curriculum. Local schools are providing programs that better support the need for skilled labor force. “Industries looking for new locations consider criteria like logistics, utilities, and a trained workforce. Attracting skilled labor will be a major factor for locations in the near future and schools are recognizing that by emphasizing more workforce training. They realize the future lies with good labor,” Dromgoole said. Sconzo agrees and said, “The greatest legislature ever passed was House Bill 5 (HB5) that changed our graduation requirements. We got away from one size fits all. The reality is not every student should attend a four-year university, nor does society need that. Now, with HB5, high school studies are more relevant for students and more sensitive to their career interests and needs.” As a result of HB5, students can choose one of five broad career pathway areas, analogous to a college major but not as extensive. The areas are: Humanities; Public Service; Business and Industry; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); and Interdisciplinary Studies. Students also take four electives within their respective career pathway area. “I am excited about HB5. It will lead to a promising fu18 | Lake Houston Business Matters

“Texas is

shortcomings for public schools.” - Dr. Guy Sconzo

ture in filling job demands,” Sconzo said. Development continues around the Lake Houston Area, like Generation Park to the south and Grand Texas Theme Park to the north, but neither of those developments are located in the boundaries of Humble ISD, so none of those commercial property taxes will directly benefit local schools. “School boundary lines were drawn years ago. We have a fast-growing district, but the commercial growth is outside of those lines. The structural problem with school finance in Humbel ISD is the high residential tax base. We don’t get value of capital-intensive projects coming into the State,” Dromgoole said. “The growth happening is because of new homes, not business and industry. It is a heavy burden on homeowners,” Sconzo said. Stay updated on recent economic developments in the Lake Houston Area by reading the EDP E-Newsletter. Subscribe to the mailing list at Also, plan to attend the Chamber’s Economic Outlook Luncheon in February where national and local economic experts will present economic indicators and forecast what we can expect locally, statewide and nationally.

Abundant Health & Wellness

Casey Christman Chief of Staff • Dan Huberty, Texas State Representative Dist. 127 Casey Christman’s Humble/Kingwood roots run as deep as her passion for public service. A native Lake Houstonian, Christman was born at Northeast Medical Center in Humble and was reared in Kingwood. After attending high school and college in Washington State, she returned to her Texas homeland where she has dedicated her professional and personal life to public service. Her appetite for public service was whet during graduate school at the George Bush School of Public Service and Administration at Texas A&M University where her focus was nonprofit management. As a student, Christman met and talked with former President George H.W. Bush who further influenced her call to service. As a part of her studies, she interned at the White House where she got what she calls the “political bug.” From there, Christman worked for a conservative organization in Washington D.C., for Governor Rick Perry’s Public Affairs office in Austin and led Perry’s re-election campaign in North Harris County. It was during her campaign work that she fortuitously met Janet Huberty whose husband just happened to be running for the local state Representative post. A month later she was hired by Dan Huberty to run his campaign for State Representative, and after he was elected in 2010, Huberty hired Christman as his Chief of Staff. As if her days are not filled enough with the constant churn of political affairs, Christman chooses to spend her personal time volunteering for various community and state-wide organizations. A self-described “over-volunteer20 | Lake Houston Business Matters

er,” she is often the first to raise her hand to organize events, chair auction committees, help fundraise and attend community events. Christman helped found the Lake Houston Young Professionals organization in 2012 for which she was honored by the FamilyTime Crisis & Achievement Center as a “Woman of Achievement.” In 2014, she was named a “Tribute to Women” honoree by the Texas Federation of Republican Women. She remains involved as a committee volunteer with FamilyTime and also serves on the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Houston Go Metro Humble/Kingwood Committee, the AiM at a Cure for Melanoma committee, and she is the current recruitment chair and past publicity chair for the Kingwood Area Republican Women. She was elected class president of the 2012 Humble Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy and currently serves on their alumni association committee. Christman also graduated from the Leadership North Houston program in 2014. Her past volunteerism includes an impressive list of area nonprofit organizations; however, she cites her most significant leadership moment as her time spent in the Leadership Lake Houston program. Christman said that her participation in the program was “life-changing,” noting that every moment spent in the program was educational, inspirational and unforgettable. Since completing the program in 2012, she has served as a day chair for the Government session where she said she is moved by each class when she sees the excitement and motivation in the students’ faces.


Jerry Martin Pastor • Light of the World Christian Fellowship The fifth child of eight growing up in the 5th Ward of Houston, Pastor Jerry Martin says he not only gained a personal understanding of the social and economic needs of people in a community, but he also was able to experience the benefits of the sights, sounds and flavor of diverse cultures that only inner-city living can provide. Martin is a pastor at Light of the World Christian Fellowship, a booming congregation of more than 500 families in Northeast Houston, where he leads his church families to take an active role in their community. He and his wife Jackie founded the church in 1994 with just one family, and after 10 years of renting hotel space for services, they purchased 27 acres in Humble to build a church. Martin is passionate about serving with groups that enhance the welfare of his community, so much so, that one of the ministry goals of their church is to become involved in serving the community. “I thought it was vital for our church to contribute to and influence our community,” Martin said. “Instead of expecting the community to serve the church, we believe the church should serve the community. Our community’s wellbeing is a reflection of our community involvement. ” As does their pastor, church members volunteer at various organizations throughout the Greater Houston Area. Martin has served as Commissioner of ESD 46 for the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department; Chairman of the

Board of Leadership North Houston; Vice President of Marketing and Recruitment at the College of Biblical Studies; and President of the Light of the World Community Development Corporation. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce and will fulfill the role of board treasurer in 2015. Martin understood early on that in order to help people and build the community, the areas in most need must be a priority. When reflecting on his tenure as a community volunteer, Martin spoke about a particular effort to help a nearby community. “One of my most memorable moments was organizing a Bible Study that met in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the Greenspoint area,” Martin said. “At that time, the area was often referred to as ‘Gunspoint.’ We put in a children’s program with weekly kids’ activities, and we set up chairs in the parking lot to teach the adults. The people were so pleased that church members would risk their safety to come and work in that community.” Giving people hope is what gives Martin the most joy. He said the greatest thing about his work is seeing transformation in people’s lives. “I see people going from a life they feel is without meaning, to a life of hope and significance,” Martin said. “That is very satisfying.”

Winter 2015 | 21

Terry Vaughn Community Leader • Walgreens Whether he’s leading a team to raise more than $100,000 for a local non-profit or simply driving a bus full of boy scouts to a camp out, there is not a volunteer role too big or too small for Terry Vaughn. Vaughn hails from the small East Texas town of Buna where he learned the value of hard work at an early age from his father whom he cites as his role model. He began his career with Walgreens 17 years ago working as a cashier while he was in college. From there, Vaughn worked his way up through every department and position before attaining his current role as Community Leader. In this position, he is responsible for the operations of six drug stores as well as promoting Walgreens’ brand and services to the community. Vaughn feels he has a duty to make his community a better place for families, neighbors and future generations. Since he and his family made Lake Houston their home 10 years ago, Vaughn has put his passion for youth development and health and wellness to work in our community. He holds several positions within the Boy Scouts of America including District Rally Chair, Cubmaster and Scoutmaster. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Humble Area Assistance Ministries and the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce. His Chamber leadership extends to serving on

22 | Lake Houston Business Matters

the Ambassador committee and as a team captain for their annual Total Resource Campaign. He was recently selected to participate in the Leadership Lake Houston program where fellow classmates elected him to serve as their class president in November. His past leadership roles in the community have included being a coach for Junior Achievement, working with Including Kids and Humble ISD’s career development program as well as participating in fundraising walks for JDRF, a global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research, the American Heart Association and Muscular Dystrophy Association. Although the impact of his work with non-profit organizations is widespread throughout the community, Vaughn is drawn to moments where he can make a more personal impact, regardless of how small the act may be. “I enjoy the things that may seem insignificant to most, but may mean the world to others,” Vaughn said. “Whether that is carrying a watermelon during a HAAM food drive or helping a scout catch and clean his first fish. Those small things are the fuel that keeps my volunteerism-fire burning.”

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TAX TIPS TOWARD BETTER BUSINESS PRACTICES Pointers for starting off on the right foot and keeping up all year long. BY KELLI WHITE


s tax time approaches, it is important to get your ducks (or receipts) in a row so you’re not left in the hot audit seat. Accredited business and tax advisor and tax preparer, Ricky Pritchard, has been preparing business tax returns since 1979 and has been licensed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since 1987. Business Matters tapped in to Pritchard’s decades of experience and compiled the most important general tax preparation tips business owners should follow now, and all year long.

Keep Good Records “It is imperative to maintain a set of books and categorize business income and expenses,” Pritchard said. It can be a simple tracking method in an Excel spreadsheet. For

24 | Lake Houston Business Matters

expenses, record receipt information in columns like date, amount and category. Show date of earning for income and categorize if necessary. Other recordkeeping programs like QuickBooks or Quicken are also helpful, or hiring a bookkeeper is an option. “Keeping invoices and receipts is the key to running a business successfully,” he said.

Stay Organized Find someone you can visit a few times during the year to review your books and to answer questions. “It is important to have an advisor,” Pritchard said. “Ask this person at the start of the year what deductions to look for throughout the year. Even if you don’t understand everything, at least keep it to hand to someone who does.”

Separate Business from Personal

Turn in Taxes

Pritchard advises to set up a separate bank account for the business. He urges owners to recognize they are operating a small business, not enjoying a hobby. “It is important to establish yourself as an individual and then as a business individual. Keep everything tracked that way,” Pritchard said. “Personal vehicles are often used for business, so it is important to keep a daily mileage log to see how much use is for business. A small-business person should compare actual auto expenses to what the IRS allows for the annual mileage rate for a particular year and deduct the higher of the amounts.”

If you have employees, it is important to turn in employee taxes to the IRS. “You cannot use withholdings for business purposes,” Pritchard said. “I always tell people if you can’t afford to run a business without doing that, then you probably shouldn’t be in business.” Also, if you have contract labor and pay them more than $600 throughout the year, then you have to send them a 1099 form at the end of the year.

Use Resources Taxes can be tricky, so arm yourself with knowledge along the way. A good starting point, Pritchard said, is “It is a good resource that has information for business as well as for individual. It also outlines new acts that have passed and is up-to-date,” Pritchard said. Other online sources are available for a fee so Pritchard advises going directly to a professional to get the information firsthand. Visit for more information.

Following these tax tips will help ensure you resolve issues before they become issues. “If people keep books and mileage logs, categorize copies of receipts, have a reliable advisor, and turn in W2 and 1099 forms, then they are doing everything properly to avoid problems,” Pritchard said. “I see the same things happening over and over. These are the things that small businesses need to know to save time and money.” For more information on business taxes, contact Ricky Pritchard or another Lake Houston Area tax professional on Click Business Directory.

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Winter 2015 | 25

Lake Houston Area Planning Council


During the 2014 program planning session of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, one of the top priorities of the Chamber Board was to establish a planning mechanism for the area to deal with the significant growth that the entire Lake Houston Area is experiencing. Since the Lake Houston Area geography includes: 1) parts of two counties with areas in three Harris County Commissioner precincts as well as a portion of Montgomery County Precinct 4; 2) the City of Humble; and 3) part of the City of Houston, there is not one single entity responsible for the planning for orderly growth and development in the region. Thus, the Lake Houston Area Planning Council was born. An initial meeting was called on May 5, 2014, to include representatives of Harris County Precincts 1 and 4, City of Humble, City of Houston, Humble ISD, Lone Star College-Kingwood, Houston Airport System, Lake Houston TIRZ #10, Generation Park, Insperity, Memorial Hermann Northeast, Kingwood Medical Center, Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Partnership and State Representative Dan Huberty. The purpose in establishing the Lake Houston Area Planning Council was to provide an opportunity to bring together leaders representing the cities, counties, State of Texas, education and large businesses to share interests, help identify community issues and develop solutions to joint concerns. The desired outcome was that, collectively, planning council members would have the potential to greatly influence the quality of life and economic development in the Lake Houston Area. The initial meeting discussions focused on infrastructure needs to accommodate current and planned growth. The initial meeting was most beneficial in establishing communication among all entities with a focus on the many facets of the Lake Houston Area. Participants also want to develop a long-term vision for the Lake Houston Area that would identify objectives and measurable mile26 | Lake Houston Business Matters


stones. It was agreed that the group would meet quarterly and that a representative of Harris County Precinct 2, Montgomery County Precinct 4, METRO, Houston-Galveston Area Council (HCAC), and local representatives of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) should be added to the group. The second meeting of the group held on August 4, 2014, focused on the status of transportation projects and future infrastructure needs of the various entities represented. Ranging from traffic signal installations to several area mobility studies to major road project issues to large construction projects that will impact the area, the communications aspect was beneficial and informative to all in attendance. “It was an enlightening experience to see all of the entities describe in detail their projects and the interaction particularly among the governmental agencies,” stated Dr. Katherine Persson, Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Outgoing Chair and LSC- Kingwood President who is serving as the Chair of the Lake Houston Area Planning Council. “When you get this many governmental agencies and the largest private employers in the region being involved in a dialogue on growth issues impacting the region, I think we will see positive results and cooperation that will benefit the entire region.” “With the unusual number of governmental entities that have responsibility for just a part of the Lake Houston Area, communication and cooperation is essential to working together to achieve orderly growth and development in the region,” continued Persson. The next steps of the Lake Houston Planning Council are to craft a long-term vision for the future of the Lake Houston Area and to identify measureable objectives and community issues of common interest among the entities involved that will result in developing solutions to joint concerns.

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Shell Hou

Annual golf tournament is an upswing for


he only Houston stop on the annual PGA Tour, the 2015 Shell Houston Open is scheduled for March 30 through April 5, 2015, at Humble’s Golf Club of Houston located at Fall Creek. The tenth-oldest PGA Tour event on a 46-tournament schedule, the Shell Houston Open has been played at the Golf Club of Houston since 2003 and brings in millions of dollars to the Lake Houston Area every year. Steve Timms, President and CEO of the Houston Golf Association and Tournament Director of the Open said, “The event brings a lot of visitors to the Lake Houston Area, and the annual economic benefit is about $20-25 million.” The Shell Houston Open draws significant exposure to the Lake Houston Area because it is televised live and rebroadcast worldwide. Herb Lipsman, General Manager of The Golf Club of Houston, said, “More than 100,000 people discover a new side of Houston when they come for the tournament. It takes less than 30 minutes from downtown to get here and the tournament offers a great opportunity to show off this part of the city. It is a highly accessible area.” In addition to showcasing the Lake Houston Area to Houstonians and to spectators around the world, the tournament 28 | Lake Houston Business Matters

also benefits the Lake Houston Area economically. A fundraiser for the Houston Golf Association and for youth organizations like First Tee, an academic scholarship program, and a junior golf program, among other beneficiaries, the Open raises nearly $25 million each year. “The Open is the second highest fundraiser on the PGA Tour,” Lipsman said. “The Shell Houston Open does great work for the youth of our community and from an economic impact perspective for our entire community. I encourage local businesses to support the event in some form of sponsorship,” Timms said. “Companies interested in becoming a sponsor can find information at or call our office at 281.454.7000. Sponsorships start at $500 for a ticket package,” Timms said. The tournament is played one week before The Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA, which is the first of four of golf's major championships. “The tournament course is similar to playing conditions in Augusta. Rees Jones designed the course that way so players would want to play here,” Lipsman said. And it has worked. “Seven out of the top ten ranked golfers last year played The Shell Open,” Lipsman said.

ston Open the Lake Houston Area The Shell Houston Open attracts some of the best professional golfers from all over the world. In 2014, a total of 47 international players from 17 different countries (excluding the USA) teed up for this tournament. Of these, 23 were already playing in The Masters including Angel Cabrera (Argentina), Ernie Els (South Africa), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), and Mike Weir (Canada). Additionally, Australian Matt Jones earned his first Masters invite by virtue of his Shell Houston Open win. In 2014, the 21 USA players already in The Masters included: Steven Bowditch, Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Derek Ernst, Rickie Fowler, Lucas Glover, Bill Haas, Russell Henley, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, D.A. Points, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Kevin Stadler, Scott Stallings, Kevin Streelman, Steve Stricker and Jimmy Walker. Big names in golf bring big bucks to the Lake Houston Area. The increase in visitors brings the potential for area businesses to gain revenue, hotels to be booked, restaurants to be packed, and charities to reap greater benefits each year. For the past 11 years, that has been the case. The Shell Houston Open is truly a positive event for golfers, spectators and the entire community. Visit for updates and ticket information.



Winter 2015 | 29


Golf Clubs in the Lake Houston Area

The Lake Houston Area is home to dozens of fairways that are sure to fire up players, whether it be for leisure or competition. Here are some of the fine golfing options in the area: Deerwood Club 1717 Forest Garden Dr. Kingwood, Private 18 281) 360-1065

Kingwood Country Club 1700 Lake Kingwood Tr. Kingwood, Private 72 (281) 348-2217

Sanctuary Golf Resort 27350 Afton Way Huffman, Public 18 (281) 324-1841

Golf Club of Houston 5860 Wilson Road Humble, Semi-private 36 (281) 459-7800

Kingwood Cove Golf Club 805 Hamblen Road Humble, Public 18 (281) 358-1155

Tour 18 3102 FM-1960 E Humble, Public 18 (281) 540-1818

Humble Oil Patch Golf Center 2107 N. Houston Ave. Humble, Public 9 (281) 548-7273

Oakhurst Golf Club 20700 Mills Branch Dr Porter, Public 18 (281) 354-4653

Walden on Lake Houston 18100 Walden Forest Dr Humble, Private 18 (832) 445-2115


30 | Lake Houston Business Matters

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