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table of

contents 06 08 14 18

POETIC COMPLETION

Ted Poe’s departure from Congress merely a career change

BREW FROM THE PEW

Local brewmaster navigates marketplace, TABC challenges

ELECTION GUIDE

Local & federal candidates answer questionaire

THE ROAD TO COMMUNITY RESILIENCE

A time line depicting one year post Hurricane Harvey

20 24

THE RIGHT RECIPE

Humble shows it has what it take to attract commercial development

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

Resilient small businesses ready to kick off holiday shopping

28

HUMBLE ISD CELEBRATES 100 YEARS

Concludes with February 16, 2019 celebration

ON THE COVER Bobby Harl, owner and master brewer of Back Pew Brewery. Photo by Hope Photography.

Lake Houston Business Matters is a quarterly publication of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce. It is distributed to Chamber members and area businesses. Digital copies are available online at LakeHouston.org.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce 110 West Main Street, Humble, Texas 77338 (281) 446-2128 | LakeHouston.org

CHAMBER LEADERSHIP Chair of the Board Corinn Price Insperity Chair Elect Sam Schrade DNA Studios President & CEO Jenna Armstrong, IOM Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

EDITORIAL STAFF

Editor in Chief Morgan McGrath – mmcgrath@lakehouston.org Contributing Writers Tom Broad — broadtom@hotmail.com Steve Hale — shale@metromediapublishers.com Project Manager Ryan Moore – ryan@metromediapublishers.com Photographers Hope Photography – lynn@hope-photography.com (281) 324-1534

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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) 4462128. NO ARTICLE MAY BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE LAKE HOUSTON AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. 4 | Lake Houston Business Matters


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POETIC COMPLETION

Ted Poe ‘s departure from Congress merely a career change BY STEVE HALE | PHOTOS BY HOPE PHOTOGRAPHY

C

orinn Price, chair of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, ventured a request seldom made. She politely asked Texas Congressman Ted Poe to take a seat. And he did. With a smile. A big smile. Price, on behalf of the Chamber, presented Rep. Poe with a rocking chair at the conclusion of his remarks as given at last month’s Focus on Federal Government luncheon at the Walden on Lake Houston Golf & Country Club. The seven-term congressman representing the Texas 2nd Congressional District dutifully settled into the rocker with his patent full-quill ostrich skin boots on full display and beamed in appreciation. “That could be the first rocking chair I ever sat in,” Rep. Poe said later. “That was nice of the Chamber to give me that. It will get its fair use.” Don’t jump to the conclusion this high-profile public servant will soon be taking things easy. Ted Poe may have delivered one of his final presentations in his capacity as congressman to a group of Lake Houston business and 6 | Lake Houston Business Matters

public service representatives he knows and respects, but his forthcoming retirement as a 14-year member of the United States House of Representatives from his perspective is more akin to a change in careers. “I never intended to make Congress a career like some people do,” Rep. Poe said. “I weighed the pros and cons and made the decision. I’m not retiring from work or life. This is a move to another chapter.” However the page turns for Rep. Poe, it will unlikely eclipse the prominence he currently holds on the local, state and national stage in his capacity as a forthright conservative Republican who wears an unabashed love of Texas on his sleeve (and boots). Agree or not with Poe’s politics, everyone regardless to what side of the aisle they lean, knows where the straight-shooter stands. “The people of Texas know where I stand up here in Washington on every issue,” said Poe, knowingly pronouncing “Warshington” with an inserted R. “I’m not part of the anonymous caucus where you don’t know where members stand. I represent our people and I try to make


sure people up here know how the people of Texas feel about every issue that faces them.” Of course that’s no surprise to constituents in Rep. Poe’s district, where most folks know the man as “Judge Poe.” For 22 years as a criminal court judge in Houston his innovative “Poetic Justice” sentencing garnered nationwide attention and helped him secure a base of loyal supporters in his repeated wins running for Congress. He’s unquestionably one of Texas’s most recognized, respected and appreciated political figures. On the Chamber front, Rep. Poe is held in high esteem as an advocate of business interests. As noted at the recent luncheon, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has multiple times bestowed Rep. Poe with the Spirit of Enterprise Award for his work on behalf of business at the national level. At the local level, he’s long been a partner with the Lake Houston Area Chamber. The respect is mutual. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Rep. Poe places the Chamber on his list of entities taking the lead in recovery efforts, most notably to the benefit of area businesses. He said the collective response from the community to Harvey’s wrath, even before the flooding stopped, was to take care of each other. “The folks in our area of Texas are the most resilient people on earth,” said Rep. Poe. “There was no panic over Harvey. People just did what needed to be done. They’re still involved making sure the appropriate action is taken by all government agencies, not only for the recovery, but also for the prevention of future flooding. “I thought the community dealt with Harvey in a remarkably bold manner. People didn’t look at themselves as victims. They looked at themselves as survivors.” Whether Rep. Poe realizes it or not, those comments in no small amount apply to himself. Replace the word “Harvey” with “cancer.” If ever a fellow Texan demonstrated resilience and being a survivor, Ted Poe is it. In July 2016 the congressman was diagnosed with leukemia. Doctors sent him home to MD Anderson Cancer Center where he immediately began chemotherapy

treatments. He was back in Washington by fall, the chemo having taken his hair and leaving him a bit frail, but his spirit was undeterred. Seems Rep. Poe deals with personal challenges the same way he said his friends across Houston dealt with a hurricane, as a “temporary phenomena.” Rep. Poe’s cancer is in remission and, even though required to take a chemo pill every day, he indicates the prognosis is good. “I had leukemia and dealing with it is just part of life.” He said his health was considered when making the decision to leave Congress and return to Texas on a permanent basis, but it was not the determining factor. “It’s time to do something else.” Rep Poe stands tall with his multiple accomplishments in office, admitting much satisfaction in his role in passing legislation dealing with the rights of victims of crime, sexual assault and human trafficking. His legacy, he hopes, will be as having been responsive to his constituents and for having a high-caliber staff willing to provide one-on-one assistance when constituents heeded the old phrase “call your congressman.” He admits he’ll likely miss being involved in bringing issues to the House floor and taking part in the give and take that comes with the territory. Travel to and from the nation’s capitol will not be missed. Rep. Poe never took residence in Washington and commuted every month from his home in Atascocita where he and wife Carol have resided for the past 40 years. He’s looking forward to being closer to his four kids and 12 grandkids, all who live where he directed them to live: Texas. His parents, both age 93, live nearby in Houston. The rocking chair from the Chamber can expect limited use, at least for a while. Judge Poe pledges to stay involved with his home community in some way publically, but “not necessarily in an elected position.” He’ll do so for one primary reason: “I want to.” “It’s been a great privilege,” Rep. Poe said of his career as a prosecutor, judge and congressman. “There’s no better place than Texas. We’re blessed to live in a very, very good community.” Having made that point, Houston’s outgoing congressman would likely conclude, “And that’s just the way it is.”

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BREW FROM THE PEW

Local brewmaster navigates marketplace, TABC challenges BY STEVE HALE | PHOTOS BY HOPE PHOTOGRAPHY

8 | Lake Houston Business Matters


B

obby Harl is sweating his tail off. It’s a typical 110-degree heat-index kind of Texas day and inside his production plant in Kingwood the boiler is going full tilt. Harl is a craftsman, so despite the steamy, pungent heat, he takes the lead with the physical-yet-exacting task of measuring, mixing and mashing the ingredients of his trade. Such a day is commonplace for Robert “Bobby” Harl, Jr., president, founder and head of brewing operations at Back Pew Brewery, a successful and fast-growing start-up located slightly off the beaten path on Sorters Road behind Lone Star College’s Kingwood campus. Since the company’s founding in 2014 and getting its first beer to market in 2015, Back Pew has hit rather aggressive sales markers. The brewery produced 2,100 barrels in 2017 and is on pace for 3,000 barrels this year. Hard work? No doubt, especially considering Harl’s physical labors in his beloved brewery are only a portion of what makes his company click. But like most entrepreneurs with the title of “brewmaster,” the job is as much a passion as it is a profession. In Harl’s case, it would be appropriate to consider his career a “calling.” Aptly named Back Pew Brewery is housed in what was previously a church. Back Pew has made solid inroads in the Houston marketplace. The likes of “Blue Testament” America Pils, “Sweet Salvation” brown ale and “Hopostle” IPA can be found on store shelves and behind-the-bar tap handles from Montgomery to Galveston. The brewery is making a name for itself as a destination point, no doubt enhanced by an idyllic setting, occasional live music, food trucks and the recent completion of an air-conditioned tap room. It seems Harl’s skill for creating unique German-style beers has caught the attention of craft beer enthusiasts who put as much importance on flavor as they do on beat-the-heat guzzling. “I brew the beer we believe in, not the beers I think are just fine or a flash in the pan,” Harl said. “I’m a fan of all of our products. If I didn’t like it, you guys wouldn’t even see it. So if it makes it on to the wall and especially if it makes

it into a can that’s something I really believe in and something I’d drink. That’s the thing about our product and our brand. The made-for-the-masses beers are not why I got into this business.”

Home grown talent If Harl’s straight talk sounds like it’s coming from a Houstonian it’s because he is one. Harl was born in Tomball and grew up in the Spring/Klein area with his family often spending quality time camping at Lake Livingston. Not so apparent is Harl’s impressive educational background. After graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in engineering science from Trinity University in San Antonio, Harl spent the next five years at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. At Vanderbilt he earned a doctorate in chemical and biomolecular engineering and a master of business administration. Where did brewing enter the picture? “You can’t do all that education stuff without drinking beer,” Harl laughed. He started home brewing as an undergraduate at Trinity. His first batch came out great and helped set the hook. To Harl’s surprise, his second batch was “terrible.” The setback piqued his interest. “That’s when I realized there’s more to this than mixing stuff together and making beer.” While attending Vanderbilt, Harl found time to have fun with home brewing groups and ultimately connected with professional brewers. He was on the ground floor of successful start-up efforts for Little Harpeth Brewing Company in Nashville. The mentorship and experience from the innovative Harpeth brewery caused Harl’s career path to take a turn. “I’d have to say what started as a hobby turned into an obsession turned into a profession,” Harl said. While studying for his MBA and working in a fast-paced internship with Amazon, Harl had an epiphany: “If I’m going to work this hard regardless, I Fall 2018 | 9


might as well do it for myself. I always thought it would be cool to come home to Houston and do my own brewery. At the time the market was great and I was able to find investors. Houston is two-and-a-half times the size of Nashville and people in Texas drink two-and-a-half times the national average in beer. So it seemed like a pretty good market to me.” Harl admits his educational pursuits did not begin with craft beer production as an intended destination. That said, Harl is convinced his education is appropriate for his business on a variety of fronts, most notably when it comes to active problem solving and running large processes. “To start a successful brewery you have to appreciate and understand brewing is only 20 percent of the business,” Harl said. “Eighty percent is sales and marketing and finance and all those other things. When you think about it, the duality of the Ph.D. in chemical engineering and the MBA brings to light all those aspects to the business and an appreciation for doing all that well.”

Welcome to Texas politics The education of Bobby Harl the brewer has continued on another challenging front. Texas liquor laws tend to favor longstanding convention over the entrepreneurial nature of the burgeoning craft brewing industry. Harl has been working closely with the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Committee primarily in relation to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) laws prohibiting breweries from selling product on property.

10 | Lake Houston Business Matters

“The Chamber knows there are a lot of hot-button items in the brewing world so they keep me in tune,” Harl said. “We talk a lot with Jenna Armstrong at [the] Lake Houston [Area Chamber]. She keeps me in the loop on what’s going on and gives me an opportunity to talk about the subject matter and tell my side of the story.” Back Pew Brewery currently has a BP (brew pub) license which allows the selling of its products at the brewery. That’s fine for now, but should annual production reach 10,000-barrels, which Harl homes to someday attain, onpremise sales are prohibited. Harl said other craft brewers in Texas with intentions to expand are prohibited by law from doing so if they intend to sell their product on site. “Every state has it’s upside and downside of selling alcohol, but Texas is just really falling behind,” Harl said. “The bummer is after this last election, 49 out of the 50 states you can now buy beer to go from production breweries. Mississippi beat us there and Mississippi has some antiquated laws. “Now, if you’re a spirits manufacture in Texas, you can still sell on or off premise. If you’re a winery you can sell on or off. So why are craft brewers the only alcohol entity producer in the state of Texas that can’t do that? It doesn’t make any sense.” Expect the articulate and level-headed Harl to become increasingly involved in TABC legislation. In his viewpoint Texas lawmakers favor larger brewers and established wholesales to the detriment of a growing industry with the potential to employ hundreds. The task at hand, Harl said, is for craft brewers — namely the Texas Craft Brewers Guild — to


consolidate efforts with their own political action committee and seriously explore creating their own distributorships “so we have guys willing to fight for our select brands.” At this point, such a concept is illegal in the State of Texas.

Down-home branding Back at Back Pew Brewery, TABC laws seem far removed from the daily rigors of what Harl does best and enjoys the most: creating beer. He considers the brewery’s location on the outskirts of Houston to be ideal while admitting it wasn’t his first choice. The original plan was to find an old, art-deco manufacturing-type building in the east downtown area. Prevailing real estate prices put a damper on that idea. “Buying a building was never part of my model,” Harl said, “but that’s what the investors were looking to do. We started looking at things in a different way when this place happened to come on the radar. Here was 14 acres, the metal building and the church, which I pegged for the offices and the tap room. We knew people in Kingwood and Humble would be supportive, plus it put us out in the country which is a little more our style.” Beyond the logo and the labels, Back Pew has a definite family orientation. Harl’s dad is involved as much as an appreciation for retirement allows. So, too, to various degrees are his brother, mom, an uncle and an aunt. Other family members were actively involved in the start-up process.

Harl appreciates such support and considers it an important aspect of the brewery’s business model. “Their presence is a big part of our culture,” Harl said. “We want people to be able to come here and feel comfortable. My family and the guys get passionate about it, they understand it. A big part of what drives the culture is my guys knowing the beers and being able to talk about them.” Harl admits his own social life has fallen prey to the time he dedicates to the brewery. That’s not likely to change any time soon. “I have two dogs, there’s no time for anything else,” Harl admitted. So Harl works. And works some more. He’s at the brewery most days not starting with “Sun.” “You don’t go to a brewery’s tap room to just sit there and drink a beer and that’s it,” Harl said. “You go to get a tour, to meet the brewer, to ask me questions if you so choose or ignore me if you so choose. That’s a really valuable aspect of going to the brewery.” Obviously Harl’s hard work and long hours come with the territory. Things may have been different had he, being armed with impressive college degrees, opted for a different career path. But with Harl there are no regrets. “Parts about the business I don’t like so much, but I knew going in this would be hard,” Harl said. “It’s what I wanted to do. As far as if I would have done it again if given the choice, the answer is ‘absolutely’.”

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2018 ELECTION GUIDE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 2: Todd Litton (D) BIO:  Todd Litton is the former director of education non-profits who worked to expand pre-school education for all Harris County children and provide new opportunities to keep students engaged outside the classroom. He is a native Houstonian and independent Democrat running to work with both parties to solve problems. Todd met his wife Jennifer, a breast cancer doctor and researcher, at Duke University. They live in the Rice/Medical Center area with their three children, and are members of St. Anne Catholic Church. www.toddlitton.com

Dan Crenshaw (R) BIO:  Dan Crenshaw was raised in a Houston energy family, living all over the world in his early years. From a young age he knew he wanted to be a U.S. Navy SEAL, a goal he achieved after graduating from Tufts University. Dan was injured on his third deployment, losing his right eye in an IED blast. He deployed twice more – back to the Middle East and then Korea - before being retired and pursuing a master’s degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Dan lives in Houston with his wife, Tara, and their two dogs.

Todd Litton (D)

2.  What would be your specific solutions for helping businesses recover from natural disasters?

3. Businesses are telling us that providing insurance for their employees is crippling their ability to hire additional employees and stay competitive? What are your solutions for fixing this problem?

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 2:

Dan Crenshaw (R)

1. Why are you running and what distinguishes you from your opponent?

I entered this race over one year ago because I believe Washington is broken. Both sides seem more intent on scoring cheap political points then getting anything done. Congress is not passing legislation or fulfilling its constitutional role as a check and balance on the president. We need a change. I’ve lived most of my life in Houston. We’re about getting things done. I’ve worked in investments, practiced law, and led nonprofit efforts. I will be an independent voice voting to represent the people of TX02, and not a rubber stamp vote for this, or any, president.

Approximately 40-60% of small businesses never re-open after a disaster. That’s far too many. With disasters increasing in number and severity, Congress should create a permanent disaster recovery fund that is accessible to small businesses immediately after a president declares a disaster. Businesses shouldn’t have to wait a month or more for Congress to act. Every day counts, and they should be able to access emergency loans immediately after a disaster is declared. I’d also expand national service and Senior Corps RSVP to provide services that help small businesses recover and develop and implement business continuity plans for future disasters.

The healthcare industry in the U.S. is over 17% of our GDP, and healthcare prices continue to rise significantly. In other developed nations its closer to 8-10% of GDP. We need to drive healthcare costs down for individuals, businesses and the government. President Trump actually ran on an idea I would be happy to work with him to pass. We should allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. U.S. citizens pay 60% more for prescription drugs than citizens of the other G-7 countries which allow their governments to negotiate drug prices. We need common sense solutions to reduce health costs.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 2:

www.crenshawforcongress.com

I am running to continue serving my community, advocate for responsible governance, and support pro-growth policies that make our country stronger. I know what it means to lead, fight, and serve. Most of my adult life has been spent in service, and my preparation as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy SEALs, as a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Masters of Public Administration, and my experience as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill make me uniquely qualified to serve the citizens of Texas’ Second Congressional District.

While recovery is crucial, I believe a large part of helping the business community comes from preparation and mitigation of future catastrophes. By investing in the infrastructure and projects necessary to address the results of flooding, we provide a greater sense of confidence and stability to the community, lessen the human and economic impact of future flooding events, and shorten the post disaster recovery period, allowing people, and businesses, to return to normalcy quicker.

The best way to address this issue is to get government out of mandating such requirements. We should detach insurance from employment and put doctors back in charge of healthcare. We do this by removing unnecessary regulations that are well-intentioned but end up suffocating the entire healthcare market. The economy is booming, and there are more available jobs than available workers. If businesses choose to provide health insurance as a part of their compensation package it provides them with a greater competitive advantage and attracts better employment candidates.

14 | Lake Houston Business Matters


O

ne of the primary goals of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce is to civically engage local community members and businesses with local, state and federal elections. The election for many local, state and federal officials takes place on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. The chamber recently contacted the candidates for Congressional District 2, Harris County Judge and Harris County Commissioners for Precinct 2 and 4 to get their stance on issues important to businesses in our area. The Lake Houston Area Chamber Public Affairs Program committee selected three questions for the candidates. Each question had a 100-word limit, and answers have not been edited for content, grammar or spelling.

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE: Ed Emmett (R) BIO:  Ed Emmett is a native Texan and Harris County resident since 1966. He has been Harris County Judge since 2007. Emmett was a member of the Texas House of Representatives representing the Lake Houston area. In 1989, appointed by President George H. W. Bush to the Interstate Commerce Commission. He is a graduate of Rice University and has a Master’s from the University of Texas at Austin. Judge Emmett is chairman of the Conference of Urban Counties Policy Committee and Vice Chairman of Large Urban Counties Caucus. Married to Gwen for 43 years, 4 children, 13 grandchildren. www.edemmett.com

Lina Hidalgo (D) BIO:  Lina Hidalgo was born in Colombia and immigrated to Harris County as a child. She is a product of public schools and graduated from Stanford University. Lina has dedicated her career to ensuring government works for people. She has worked in international development, helped low-income patients in our community access healthcare, and worked with governments and academics to design smarter criminal justice policies. In the 2018 primary, she earned 10,000 more votes than the 10-year incumbent. She is ahead in the polls. Lina is committed to serve as a County Judge that represents all of Harris County through proactive leadership.

2. Outside of the August 25 bond election, what can your office do to make our Lake Houston Area Community more resilient?

3. O  nce elected, what would you do to support transportation and infrastructure initiatives in the Lake Houston Area?

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE:

Ed Emmett (R) Lina Hidalgo (D)

1. Why are you running and what distinguishes you from your opponent?

County Judge is more a job than a political office. I seek reelection because there is work to be done. As Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, I have developed an internationally recognized Office of Emergency Management. Voters just gave us the job of preventing future flooding. Working with legislators, I have developed a mental health jail diversion program that needs to be expanded. County finances are sound and transparent, but need continued conservative management. Rapid growth challenges Harris County in many ways, so experience working with city, state and federal officials is important.

Since Harvey, resilience is top priority. Beyond championing county bond projects, I have worked with the state and surrounding counties to develop regional approaches. Cooperating with the City of Houston and Corps of Engineers, we will focus continuously on Lake Houston and both forks of the San Jacinto River. Local development rules, building codes, state environmental regulations, and floodplain designations will be coordinated. As a participant in the Global Resilience Research Network, I will bring worldwide ideas and technology to Harris County and the Lake Houston area.

As former state representative for the Lake Houston area, I have a personal understanding of its needs. My family lived there and many friends and neighbors are still there. Working with county commissioners, I work to focus county resources in the area. As a member of the H-GAC Transportation Policy Council, I can influence the allocation of transportation funds for a fast growing area that is part city and part unincorporated. Strong working relationships with federal, state and local officials make me part of a team to address infrastructure needs for the Lake Houston area.

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE:

www.linahidalgo.com

I’m running because I know we can do better than what we’ve seen in Harris County. I will be proactive, rather than reactive. It shouldn’t have taken a hurricane, three 500-year floods, and $100 billion in losses, to decide flood control was urgent. The County Judge is not a judge. They help control the budget for our county - the size of Colorado of population. I will ensure budgetary priorities align with the community’s priorities. Public transportation instead of paving over areas inside the floodplain, early childhood education instead of growing the juvenile detention center, flood control before it floods.

This office can and must lead proactively. I will: 1. Stop worsening the problem. I will adopt adequate drainage and planning regulations, direct our attorneys to enforce them, and update long-obsolete floodplain maps. 2. Take responsibility and proactively implement solutions - from a smart, coordinated evacuation and shelter plan for the event of a mass disaster, to coastal protection for our industry and funds for buyouts. 3. Be transparent with key information like which areas are in a flood zone, whether dams are at risk of catastrophic failure, and a clear vision for our flood future.

I believe the best decisions are made with the community. I will partner with community leaders and hold town halls outside of just election season, so we can - together- identify and work to fund the top priorities in the region. I will prioritize a state-of-the-art public transportation system, to put us in line with world-class communities. We lost the Amazon HQ bid because of a lack of public transit. I will ensure we are being smart in how Lake Conroe and Lake Houston water is managed to prevent property damage and loss of life.

Fall 2018 | 15


HARRIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 2 Jack Morman (R) BIO:  I am a Deer Park native and graduate of Deer Park High School. After law school, I returned to Deer Park to practice until I was elected Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner in November 2010. Pct. 2 is my lifelong home. I met my beautiful wife, Andi, while attending Deer Park schools and we’re raising our two children in Shore Acres. My family has also owned a tire business in LaPorte for 35 years. So, from family to education to business, I am committed to Pct. 2. www.jackmormancampaign.com

Adrian Garcia (D)

Jack Morman (R) Adrian Garcia (D)

HARRIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 2

HARRIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 2

BIO:  I am running for because no one at the county is helping us — and we need someone on our side for a change. I’ve served as a police officer, city councilmember and sheriff. I’ve helped reduce crime, saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and helped small, local businesses thrive. My focus will be on education, jobs and healthy families. I’ll start by reinstating after-school programs cut by the current commissioner and promoting early childhood education. I’ll add job skills programs to prepare students and adults for good-paying jobs. And I’ll stand up to polluters to keep our families healthy. www.AdrianGarcia.com

1. Why are you running and what distinguishes you from your opponent?

2. Outside of the August 25 bond election, what can your office do to make our Lake Houston Area Community more resilient?

3. O  nce elected, what would you do to support transportation and infrastructure initiatives in the Lake Houston Area?

For almost 8 years it has been my privilege to represent the more than 1 million citizens in Pct. 2. During that time, I have worked to foster job creation and economic growth, and improve the quality of life for my constituents by maintaining and improving 50 parks; 17 community centers (which provide programs for thousands of residents) and over 1,300 miles of roads and bridges. Working together, I’m proud of what we’ve done so far and am looking forward to accomplishing even greater things in the future.

I voted to place the bond issue on the ballot and worked tirelessly to see that it was passed. Thanks to the voters, it was approved overwhelmingly and now we will have the resources we need to help fight flooding and protect our families and businesses. Helping to alleviate flooding is still the most important thing we can do to keep our community resilient. The voters said yes and now it’s time to go get the job done.

Since elected, I am proud to have completed several critical infrastructure projects in the Lake Houston area and am excited about ongoing projects and more improvements in the coming months and years. We all know that no community prospers without proper infrastructure and transportation so I will keep working hard to build, maintain and improve our roads, signals and intersections so that the Lake Houston area will continue to grow and thrive.

I have nearly 35 years of public service experience in a range of law enforcement, governance and legislation of the fourth largest city in America, and as an executive of the third largest Sheriff’s department in the country and largest in Texas. I believe in serving the public, especially individual communities and their residents. I enjoy representing the public in the give and take of public policy development. I’ve worked through a wide variety of government issues and developed skill in bringing together people with opposing views to find common ground, workable solutions and pass important legislation.

Add floodgates to Lake Houston dam. Advance responsible San Jacinto River dredging and detention basin projects. Protect remaining open space as greenways and parks for recreation and flood control. Explore using Golf Courses as flood control/ green areas. (Walden park). Partner with County Public Health and Built Environment Program for area Health Impact Assessment for social/health resilience. Re-establish Assistant Director of Safety Emergency Preparedness position Partner with Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department and ESD 46 to enhance community resilience. Partner with MUDs/water districts in Atascocita to improve drainage, roads and water conveyance. Advocate release Rainy Day Funds for recovery and resilience.

Coordinate with TXDOT on the FM 1960 expansion to improve County Roads connecting to 1960. Conduct a Traffic Study to assess congestion and possible improvements to the Atascocita Town Center interchange between Atascocita Road, FM 1960, and West Lake Houston Parkway. Improve roads and drainage in Atascocita. Provide support for road infrastructure (new and upgraded) to advance multimodal transportation across the Lake Houston communities to key transportation centers. Improve METRO park & ride service and explore opportunities for commuter rail.

16 | Lake Houston Business Matters


HARRIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 4 R. Jack Cagle (R) BIO:  I have spent over 30 years working with and serving my community. Before being elected your County Commissioner of Precinct 4, I served 11 years as the Judge of Harris County Civil Court-atLaw, No. 1. I also currently serve as a representative on the board of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, and on the Board of Directors of the statewide Public Power Pool. I’m a graduate of Rice University with triple majors in economics, history, and managerial studies, as well as a graduate of Baylor Law School. www.commissionerjackcagle.com

Penny Shaw (D) BIO:  Penny Shaw is a native Texan. Her father served in the U.S. Air Force & worked locally at IBM for 35 yrs. Penny herself is a mother of 4, a business owner, U.S. congressional advocate & Attorney of 18+ yrs. The Houston Chronicle endorsed Penny & she won by 75%. Penny wants to innovate & improve the administration of county business & to change the no-women panel of Commissioners. Penny cares about economic development & good jobs; reducing traffic; transparent & efficient spending; flood protection; environmental quality; strong & fair judicial & law enforcement systems; & robust community services.

R. Jack Cagle (R) Penny Shaw (D)

HARRIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 4

HARRIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 4

votepennyshaw.com

1. Why are you running and what distinguishes you from your opponent?

2. Outside of the August 25 bond election, what can your office do to make our Lake Houston Area Community more resilient?

3. O  nce elected, what would you do to support transportation and infrastructure initiatives in the Lake Houston Area?

I have enjoyed serving the constituents of Harris County precinct 4 for the last six years, and look forward to serving them for four more. As your Commissioner, my office has started and completed many major road construction projects, much needed bridge construction and repair, as well as initiated Park renovations and additions. I have worked diligently with my counterparts on the Commissioners Court to make sure that Precinct 4 has the resources that it needs to maintain infrastructure, and make our community a safe place to live and work.

As your Commissioner, my office represents 1.2 million residents, manages a staff of 469 employees, and oversees a budget of $245 million. We do our best to be good stewards of your tax dollars and to provide services that truly enhance our communities. One way we achieve this is through the Precinct 4 Community Centers. From seasonal celebrations and festivals to special recognition ceremonies for volunteers and veterans, there is always something for our residents to be involved in. The Community Centers additionally offer year-round classes for people of all ages as well as summer programs for children.

I have always been an advocate of effective transportation and infrastructure projects in Precinct 4, and will continue to be so. Between my staff and I, we attend as many HOA meetings, neighborhood association meeting, and any other public forums as possible to keep a pulse on what the community needs and desires. We take the feedback we receive seriously, and represent those interests on the Court.

I am running to innovate and improve the administration of county business; to change the No-Women panel of Commissioners Court (to ensure that women continue to be included in Harris County Commissioners Court); and to serve and respond to the people and businesses of Harris County with cooperation, transparency and accountability. My background as a female Entrepreneur, public Attorney and Mother; my drive to build a strong and sustainable county-wide community based on public input; and my record of public service, including 25 years of advocacy and community service, locally and in Washington D.C., distinguish me from the opponent.

Work with LHA economic development planners to ensure local government concerted efforts to optimize resilience and growth, including future flood safety and prevention. Survey LHA business and residential communities to understand and provide, with experts, a comprehensive plan to protect investments and ensure future sustainable growth in the LH community. Account for surrounding watersheds that affect the LHA and invest in safeguards. Adopt comprehensive resiliency plans and commit to support such projects. Procure greater state and federal resources. Work with colleagues, partnerships, stakeholders, entities and nonprofits to ensure every measure of resilience and safety in tandem with LHA’s rapid growth.

Audit current projects, study projected growth models to determine priority expansion needs in the LHA. Most of the Harris County growth (over 60%) is taking place outside of Houston, and efficient mobility and infrastructure building must keep up with that demand. With the current growth in LHA in health, energy, retail, manufacturing, and education, solid infrastructure and transportation modalities are a necessary investment. As Commissioner, I will work with LHA economic development planners and experts to invest in safe and sustainable growth to keep LHA one of the most desirable areas in Harris County for new businesses and family living.

Fall 2018 | 17


THE ROAD TO RESILIENCY This time line represents the combined accomplishments of Lake Houston Area Leaders after Hurricane Harvey

December 2017

August 2017 • Harvey makes landfall on August 25, 2017 • Humble and Kingwood notified from SJRA that Lake Conroe is releasing a record amount of water downstream on August 28, 2017 • Chamber partners with Insperity on August 29, 2017 to create Lake Houston Area Relief Fund and begins accepting donations to the Lake Houston Area Relief Fund on Facebook. HAAM and Somebody Cares Humble join partnership September 7, 2017. Fund raised a total of $1.8 million for residents and businesses.

• RecoverLakeHouston.org site is launched to house all community recovery news and advocacy campaigns • “Plea For Three Lake Houston” community letter writing campaign is officially launched on December 1, 2017 requesting the governor and state officials take action on three items: representation, remediation and reduction.

January 2018 • Recovery Task Force representatives meet with Jace Houston, Executive Director of the San Jacinto River Authority • Chamber CEO and EDP President met with Governor Abbott and discussed Plea For Three initiatives on January 25, 2018 at LiftFund press conference in Houston.

February 2018 • Governor Abbott appoints two Kingwood residents to the San Jacinto River Authority Board • Governor Abbott tweets regarding the announcement of SJRA board appointees stating "I have heard your Plea for 3" and "more will be announced soon to help you with remediation"

October 2017 • Jenna Armstrong, Chamber President visits elected officials in Washington D.C. to discuss relief efforts on October 5, 2017 • Chamber and EDP partner with LiftFund to launch disaster recovery loans for Lake Houston Area businesses • First Task Force Meeting is held on October 31, 2017

Aug-17

Sep-17

Oct-17

September 2017 • LHA Chamber requests help from other chambers for small businesses after Harvey flooding and begins supply drive and donations to the Lake Houston Area Relief Fund on Facebook • Mark Mitchell, President of LHEDP attends GHP Hurricane Harvey strategic planning meeting with regional EDC, state and Federal officials • Insperity announces funding plan to support Hurricane Harvey recovery, including a $1 million matching donation. Sets goal at $2 million for the Lake Houston Area Relief Fund on September 12, 2017. • Lake Houston Area Chamber Board approves proposal to create the Long Term Recovery Task Force, Chamber Board Chair Jerry Martin appoints Dr. Guy Sconzo to Chair the Task Force on September 20, 2017 • On September 25, 2017 HR 3823 Disaster Relief legislation signed into law. Congressman Brady sponsored this bill.

Nov-17

Dec-17

Feb-18

November 2017

March 2018

• EDP Hosts first LiftFund workshop offering 0% loans to businesses • Chamber President Jenna Armstrong speaks in D.C. to U.S. Chamber Board of Directors annual foundation meeting regarding small business recovery challenges on November 9, 2017 • At the request of Houston City Council Member Dave Martin, Chamber Board approves the Recovery Task Force executing a communitywide letter writing campaign to the governor

• After less than two inches of rain causes mild flooding the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston, tensions and anxiety increases among residents and businesses • “Plea To See” Campaign is launched requesting the Governor, Lt. Governor and GLO Commissioner tour the sandclogged waterways of the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston • 1,000 emails were sent in less than one week • Governor Abbott is the first to visit the Lake Houston Area on March 15. □ A press conference is held where he announced the following: □ Using Hazard Mitigation Funds, the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) has authorized $3 million to jumpstart the engineering and permitting process to determine where dredging should on the San Jacinto River. □ Using Hazard Mitigation Funds, TDEM has authorized $2 million for a regional study focused on the San Jacinto River watershed to prevent future flooding.  continued on next page

Go to RecoverLakeHouston.com for more information 18 | Lake Houston Business Matters

Jan-18


June 2018 • City of Houston and SJRA receive approval from TCEQ to seasonally lower Lake Conroe • Jenna Armstrong and Mark Mitchell meet with Commissioner Morman, Matt Zeve and Jeremy Phillips to discuss projects on the bond proposal. Following the meeting, Zeve adds additional projects to the list including funding for Atascoctia, allocation for gates, and rewords the detention projects in Little Cypress Watershed, Spring Creek Watershed and Cypress Creek Watershed to reflect detention areas will also be sediment basins to help mitigate sand and silt from traveling downstream into our area

April 2018 • Lt. Governor Dan Patrick tours the Lake Houston Area on April 4 – Plea To See Campaign wraps up sucessfully • SJRA announces Chuck Gilman as their new Director of Flood Management • Governor Abbott announces emergency dredging to begin in May or June • SJRA proposed lowering of Lake Conroe by 2 ft on a season basis • Army Corps of Engineers announces they will handle the emergency dredging project • Grant program from Chamber of Commerce/EDP/Humble Area Economic Development Fund announces more than $220K of grant funds available to Lake Houston area businesses affected by Harvey on April 27, 2018.

May 2018 • On May 7, 2018 Harris Co. Commissioners approve multi-billion flood control bond referendum for Flood mitigation projects to be voted on August 25, 2018, one year after hurricane struck.

-18

Mar-18

Apr-18

From page 18 □ Using Hazard Mitigation Funds, FEMA has approved over 900 voluntary buyouts in Harris County including 134 in Kingwood and nearby Forest Cove. The county flood control district said the buyouts would cost about $180 million. □ Instructing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to investigate and take action against sand mining operations violating regulations. □ Directing the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) to immediately identify what can be done to prevent flood events along the West Fork of the river. □ Directing the SJRA to implement immediate and long-term solutions to protect lives and property of Texans living in the watershed. □ Directing the SJRA to identify funding to implement a long-term plan that better protects areas downstream of Lake Conroe. • GLO Commissioner Bush tours the Lake Houston Area on March 22

May-18

August 2018 • On August 1 SJRA began gradually reducing the level of Lake Conroe with a goal of reaching 200’ msl (one foot below normal pool) by Aug. 15 • Final list of Harris County Flood Bond projects were presented and passed at Commissioner’s Court. List included projects to help the San Jacinto Watershed with Dredging, Detention and Gates. • Chamber Board endorses the Harris County Flood Bond and launches #VoteYesLakeHouston campaign. • On the first day of early voting for the Harris County Flood Bond Chamber/EDP hosts Facebook Live with Commissioner Morman to inform the Lake Houston Area about the bond and the importance of it passing • Chamber attends meetings with Senators Cruz and Cornyn's staff to discuss extending emergency dredging operations to include the "mouthbar" sandbar • Army Corps of Engineers commence emergency dredging operations in the San Jacinto River • Early voting results for the Harris County Flood Control Bond show that Kingwood Community Center had the largest turnout of voters. • Facebook Live “Get Out The Vote” hosted Friday, August 24 - and Saturday, August 25. The combined reach of all the Facebook Live videos was 20,800 (number of times the event showed up on someone’s Facebook feed), and the videos were viewed 5,626 times. • August 25, 2018 the Harris County Flood Control Bond passes with 86% in favor, Kingwood voters “political force” of bond voting, with over 17% voter turnout, which is more than triple of county average.

Jun-18

Jul-18

Aug-18

July 2018 • In preparation for the upcoming Harris County Flood Bond, the “Plea For DDG” Campaign is launched urging “Dredging, Detention, and Gates” be included in the bond package for the San Jacinto Watershed. To Advocate for DDG projects, the campaign asks residents to: 1) Fill in comments online requesting DDG projects for the San Jacinto watershed; 2) Show up to the Bond Meeting in Kingwood on July 10 and request DDG projects; 3) Send a letter to their County Commissioner and County Judge Emmett requesting they approve a bond program that has our requested DDG projects included. • San Jacinto Watershed Community Meeting held at Kingwood Park High School had record attendance of 710 people, highest attendance in county • July 30 Houston Water, San Jacinto River Authority & Coastal Water Authority release Joint Reservoir Operations Plan to lower water levels to prevent flooding

This time line represents the work of the Lake Houston Recovery Task Force and elected officials that the Lake Houston Area community went through one year following Hurricane Harvey. This time line also represents how much was accomplished in such a short amount of time with each entity, municipality, county, city and state, all with the common goal of a more resilient community. For more information on the projects listed in this time line, go to www. RecoverLakeHouston.org. Fall 2018 | 19


THE RIGHT RECIPE Humble shows it has what it takes to attract commercial development BY STEVE HALE | PHOTOS COURTESY OF PARK AIR 59

I

f a winning recipe exists for attracting commercial development to a city, by all accounts the proper ingredients come together at the corner of Interstate 69 and Will Clayton Parkway in Humble. Now it’s time for the city to get cooking. The potential for commercial development to the east and south of George Bush Intercontinental Airport has really never been in doubt, but changing economics and the repercussions of hurricane-related flooding tend to put opportunities in a 20 | Lake Houston Business Matters

different perspective. Any chance for the City of Humble to diversify its tax base is cause for heightened attention. Jason Stuebe, Humble city manager, admits commercial development has been slow to evolve along the I-69 corridor in Humble, generally extending north from Rankin Road to FM 1960. He points to the area having direct access to the east entrance of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, being easily accessible via a network of efficient thoroughfares and also located within a short distance to the Port of Houston via Beltway 8.


Two additional favorable economic development components make the area attractive for commercial development: one of the lowest property tax rates in Harris County and the amount of developable property that’s not in the flood plain. “Everybody is looking for property that was high and dry post-Harvey,” said Stuebe. “This area certainly was. That’s a worry not on the table.” Stuebe said evidence the conditions are right is apparent when considering what’s happening at the northeast corner of I-69 and Will Clayton. He is referring specifically to Park Air 59, a 111-acre, mixed-use property being developed by Archway Properties of Houston. This summer, Park Air 59 secured plat approval of a massive, 685,000square-foot warehouse/distribution center. Developers say this is the first speculative warehouse in the Greater Houston area with 40-foot clear height capable of accommodating automated e-commerce picking and packing systems. The announcement comes on the heels of last summer’s opening of a Rooms To Go furniture outlet store on a five-acre tract at Air Park 59 and construction getting underway for a 65,000-squarefoot Vital Heart & Vein clinic. “Humble is down to the last couple thousand acres of developable raw land before total build-out,” said Stuebe. “When this development takes off, I’m operating under the assumption it’s going to be the catalyst for all the other dominoes to start falling.” The managing partner at Archway Properties, Don Dennis, shares such optimism. Dennis said the Park Air 59 development is positioned to attract a mix of distribution-centric companies, national-brand retailers comparable to Rooms To Go and smaller retailers and restaurants catering to those who work in the park. He said one key advantage of the Humble location is reliable, convenient access to supply chains and the ability to quickly deliver products to the likes of downtown Houston and to population centers throughout the metro. “Even traditional retailers are fulfilling a lot more orders online,” said Dennis. “Even if they’re not shipping directly to a customer like an Amazon, they may be shipping directly to their stores. Having a central warehouse allows them to stock more and have same-day delivery or even delivery in a couple hours.”

Dennis also notes being near the entrance to Bush Intercontinental Airport will help attract commercial development to Humble for reasons beyond the positive aspects of shipping and receiving. “Any company with any type of training component, who has a business-to-business showroom, who has engineers or technical people come in, what better place than right there by the airport?” said Dennis. “It’s a five-minute drive to look at a property or equipment or to take part in a training session.” Mark Mitchell, president of the Lake Houston Area Economic Development Partnership, believes another plus is the area’s proximity to Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. He points to the pending opening of the Vital Heart & Vein clinic at Park Air 59 as an indicator of the potential to attract healthcare-related entities to the busy-yet-accessible I-69 corridor. “Memorial Hermann Northeast having added two new towers will increase this corridor’s ability to attract a variety of medical facilities,” Mitchell said. “Healthcare has been a main focus of our recruitment efforts.” The City of Humble’s active recruitment of commercial development comes with encouragement from Mayor Merle Aaron and members of the city council. Stuebe expects the efforts will gain more targeted direction as the result of an upcoming strategic planning retreat where the elected officials can determine priorities, implement zoning and codify commercial development objectives. “There is recognition we need to diversify our portfolio,” said Stuebe while acknowledging the city has historically relied heavily on sales tax revenues as the foundation of its budget. “We came to the painful realization, especially after Harvey and even when coming off of the 2008-2009 recession, it’s nice to be able to say you have one of the lowest tax rates, but is that really good for long-term fiscal health?” Stuebe said. “We had to dip into our reserves the last couple years at a rate that, quite frankly, is just not sustainable. We have got to strengthen our property tax ratio if we’re going to continue holding ourselves to providing the highest level of service we can.” From Dennis’ perspective as a developer, the City of Humble is already doing good things on the economic development front. He said the city’s low tax rate is a major incentive for companies looking at bring operations to the Houston area. So, too, is a can-do attitude not often seen at the municipal level. Stuebe said the city’s approach to commercial development is not by accident. “In our heart of hearts we’re still a small town. Everybody here has a get-it-done type mentality. We’re able to provide personalized customer service in a way you’re not going to find in larger communities.” Is that a winning recipe? Stuebe says yes. He’s “pretty optimistic” commercial development in Humble is just getting rolling. “We’re headed in a good direction.”

Fall 2018 | 21


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We are a collection of photographers and would-be photographers from the Lake Houston area near Houston, Texas. We are of different ages, demographics, and abilities, but share one common theme; we love photography as an art and wish to share that love with our neighbors. Kingwood Photo Club c/o Kingwood United Methodist Church 1799 Woodland Hills Dr. Kingwood, Tx 77339 admin@kwphotoclub.com Monthly meetings every Third Tuesday 6:30 pm -8:30pm First Baptist Church 3500 Woodland Hills Dr. www.kwphotoclub.com

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SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY Resilient small businesses ready to kick off holiday shopping BY STEVE HALE

T

he catchy and memorable “Shop Small” slogan for the nationwide movement to support small businesses somehow doesn’t quite measure up in the Lake Houston Area. There’s nothing “small” when considering the depth of resolve, resilience and heart demonstrated by thousands of local retailers, service providers and restaurants in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. “What Harvey taught us is how important small businesses are to the community,” said Jan Koenig, adviser for the Lone Star College Small Business Development Center. “The loss of so many small businesses, either temporarily or permanently, in the Lake Houston Area caused a great deal of suffering.” Area consumers are encouraged to support their neighboring smaller businesses every day, but especially on Small Business Saturday, which falls on November 24 this year. Small Business Saturday was initiated eight years ago by credit card giant American Express to encourage holiday shoppers to patronize smaller brick-and-mortar businesses in their communities on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Dutiful promotion by American Express and the collective adoption by business organizations and community leaders across the county have given enduring recognition of Small Business Saturday. The resulting ravages of Harvey in 2017 notwithstanding, Small Business Saturday has been embraced annually by the Lake Houston community with encouragement from the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce. From his vantage point at the Small Business Development Center, Koenig sees this year’s edition of Small Business Saturday in Lake Houston as akin to an “independence day” where area residents have an opportunity to support businesses who managed to come back to life after the hurricane. “It’s only been a little more than a year since Harvey,” 24 | Lake Houston Business Matters

Koenig noted. “This shows the independence and the resilience of the business community in Lake Houston. Small Business Saturday has almost become a celebration of small business. People take pride in shopping in small businesses all of the time and even more so on this special day.” Nikole Davis shares such sentiment. Her Kings Harbor clothing and accessories boutique, Pretty Little Things, was wiped out by five feet of Harvey flooding. She reopened her shop within three weeks in a temporary location but it took seven months to rebuild and eventually move back to her original storefront. The key word for Lake Houston businesses large and small dealing with postHarvey recovery, according to Davis, was “determination.” “It was so exhausting and financially draining to get back what you already had,” Davis said. “You’d just wake up every day and tell yourself to keep going.” A supporter and past participant in Small Business Saturday, Davis agrees this year’s observance will bring with it a sense of pride for having survived. She considers the day “an opportunity to have a party.” Throughout the day, Pretty Little Things will give away gift cards to other small retailers who persevered as door prizes. “Determination outweighed the trauma,” Davis said. “Shoppers will be able to acknowledge what these businesses experienced.” Koenig said the Chamber deserves much credit for its hands-on role in helping small businesses rebound from Harvey. Without the Chamber, he surmised, the upcoming Small Business Saturday would likely be less meaningful. “The hard work the Chamber has done to help businesses recover has really paid off in seeing the community rebound,” said Koenig. “Had the Chamber not been as involved in supporting the businesses affected by Harvey, this whole area would be in a much different place today.”


Howdy! We wanted to introduce ourselves to all the waterfront home owners. We are Lake Houston Sports & Recreation Foundation, a 501c3 charity. We use volunteers with local businesses and residents’ help to support Lake Houston wildlife, the nature reserve and recreation ctivities for our community. Accepting volunteers of all ages! If you are interested in helping or want information on events, please email david@texasshoreline.com or contact via the website or Facebook. We need your help!!! Work with Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership to boost ongoing vegetation and habitat program at Lake Houston. The project includes constructing protective enclosures along shorelines, sheltered from prevailing wind, away from development, and populated with four species of plants. These protected “nursery colonies” will be able to populate nearby locations south of the causeway, benefiting the entire Lake.

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HUMBLE ISD CELEBRATES 100 YEARS Concludes with February 16, 2019 celebration BY STEVE HALE | PHOTOS COURTESY OF HUMBLE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT

28 | Lake Houston Business Matters


H

umble Independent School District celebrates its centennial this school year. After 100 years of educating the Lake Houston Area, HISD has come out on top, with awards such as the Large District Award in the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards in 2015 and the best School Board in Texas at the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards in 2018. The Texas legislature created HISD in 1919 when Texas’ newest school district included five schools and 1,435 students. In the 1920s, Humble High School was one of only two schools in Harris County to be accredited by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. This allowed Humble graduates to attend any college in any Southern or Western state without taking an entrance exam. By the 1950s, the construction of Highway 59 and Lake Houston transformed the Humble area into a suburb of one of America’s most vibrant and energetic regions. One hundred years later, HISD exponentially educates more than 40,000 students at 43 schools each year. As Lake Houston evolves into a strong and diverse economy, local businesses, now more than ever, recognize the need for a strong partnership with the school district. Recent research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce clearly shows that the economic growth of a community is directly related to the skills of its workforce, and the skills of the workforce are heavily dependent on schools in the community. Jerri Monbaron, director of community development for HISD and executive director of the Humble ISD Education Foundation sums it up best: “When local businesses and schools partner together, students receive a more enriched education experience that paves the way for a successful future.” The HISD Education Foundation was founded in 1999 with the help of local businesses to support innovative educational programs. Since its founding, local businesses and residents have funded projects and scholarships that the district normally could not support. “Humble ISD is fortunate to have a multitude of local businesses who demonstrate their support by sponsoring Foundation, District and campus events, serving as careerday speakers, mentoring students or providing volunteers for campus and district projects,” Monbaron said. Recently, two very special projects for HISD, the Insperity Observatory, built in 2009 and the Insperity Adaptive Sports Complex, dedicated in 2018, came to fruition because of

relationships and partnerships with Lake Houston Area businesses like Insperity and the YMCA of Greater Houston. These state of the art facilities have set the bar for school districts around the state of Texas and wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of community donors. The Lake Houston Area Chamber has recognized the importance of connecting local businesses with HISD schools by organizing BizCom meetings, a blend of businesses, community organizations, school officials and individuals who meet three to four times a year at area high schools to focus on the unique needs and issues of the Atascocita, Humble, Kingwood and Summer Creek communities. The district supports businesses in its own special way. Their Career and Technical Education program exposes HISD students from seventh grade on to more than 165 different careers including automotive repair, cosmetology, sports medicine, food service, welding and dentistry. “One way Lake Houston Area businesses help prepare students for future success is by welcoming juniors and seniors to learn beside professionals in the field of their choice through Career Tech practicum programs,” said Dr. Roger Brown, HISD deputy superintendent. “For example, students working toward EMT licensing examination receive daily instruction from Emergency Medical Technicians from the Atascocita Fire Department. Memorial Hermann Northeast and Kingwood hospitals have both allowed students to rotate within many of their departments. There are many more businesses partnering with our teachers and students in this way.” The district also supports a transition program that places special needs students for employment in more than 40 local businesses. “Businesses get the workforce they need, and our students learn we call the soft skills – people skills, social skills, communication skills – that they’ll need to become productive and useful citizens,” said Geralyn Sullivan, instructional specialist for the district’s special education department. The founders of HISD may not have been able to envision the way the Lake Houston community would grow and change, Humble Historian Dr. Robert Meaux writes, but the founders’ spirit of rising to any challenge remains alive today in the families and especially businesses who support HISD. To view the annual calendar of events to celebrate the district and to learn more about the history of HISD, go to www.humbleisd.net/history. Fall 2018 | 29


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Lake Houston Business Matters Fall 2018  
Lake Houston Business Matters Fall 2018  
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