Lake Houston Business Matters Magazine Spring 2016

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

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table of

contents 04

Innovations in Employee Healthcare

Provider and prevention options are growing to meet ever-changing healthcare needs


Finding a Medical Home


Home Grown

18 22

Memorial Hermann will open a second Convenient Care Center in 2017

Dougherty’s Pharmacy and Campbell Chiropractic Wellness Center have served the LHA for decades

Follow the Leader

These three community members inspire through involvement

Behind the Business

See the personal side of Humble Mayor Merle Aaron

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

contact inFormation

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

cHamBer leadersHiP

Chair of the Board Robert Sitton Edward Jones - Financial Advisor Chair-Elect Rev. Jerry Martin Light of the World Christian Fellowship President & CEO Jenna Armstrong, IOM Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

editorial staFF

Contributing Writers Jenna Armstrong – Tom Broad – Kelli White – Graphic Designer Jen Weber – Photographers Lynn Cheney –


24 26

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Transportation challenges continue to be high priority

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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 281-446-2128. No article may be reproduced without permission of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce. Spring 2016 | 3


IN EMPLOYEE HEALTHCARE Options in providers and prevention are growing in hopes of meeting the ever-changing needs in the healthcare industry By Kelli wHite | PHotos By HoPe PHotoGraPHy

IT`S NO SECRET that the healthcare field in the United States






continues to undergo changes and face

providers could provide quality care to

challenges. Due to rising costs across the

underserved areas at a fraction of the cost. The

spectrum that aect employers, employees

future of wellness, prevention and aordable

and providers, tele-medicine and tele-wellness

medical care may begin to look brighter in the

programs have become viable options. The

light of these programs and possibilities. - continUed on PaGe 6

4 | lake Houston Business Matters

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paired with real-time technology, often the physician has better diagnosing capabilities than in person. This program has zero start-up cost for employers and results in zero cost to employees. “Medicine at Work provides employees access to immediate quality care. It gets more people care they may otherwise avoid due to cost and time,” said Jay Donnella, sales manager for Medicine at Work. Donnella explained the criteria for companies to become Medicine at Work clients are simple: Provide an empty office at least 10 feet x 10 feet in size with no windows, a locked door for privacy purposes and have a minimum of 300 employees. No claims are filed, so there is no need to comply with insurance. Companies pay a monthly fee per employee. “This option is a low-cost, preventative measure in healthcare designed to save time and increase productivity,” Donnella said.

Medicine At Work paramedics connect patients to physicians through virtual healthcare

VIRTUAL HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS On-site health clinics at corporations have been around for decades, but for nearly all companies, having an in-

VIRTUAL WELLNESS PROGRAMS Accessibility to employee health and wellness programs is increasing. Connectivity with your health at places of employment has reached a new level of ease and is more supportive than ever.

house physician is just not feasible — for reasons beyond

The national tele-wellness company, Health As We Age,

cost. However, because of technological innovations, hav-

Inc. (HAWA), provides an easy-to-use virtual health pro-

ing a physician in sight, yet not onsite, has become reality.

gram that consolidates an individual’s health data all in

One company making strides in tele-medicine and offering

one place. Described as the bridge between wellness and

creative solutions in employee healthcare is Medicine at

healthcare, HAWA brings social and personal connectivity,

Work, a division of NuPhysicia. Using a model unique to

incentives and results to employers, employees and their

Medicine at Work, companies with as few as 300 employ-

family members.

ees can have a full-time paramedic on the premises who has virtual access to qualified physicians.

Marilyn Crawford, CEO of HAWA, said the program addresses five keys to health responsibility: a proactive ap-

This model is not limited to tele-conferencing; rather,

proach to healthcare, a fit body and mind; nutrition; main-

Medicine at Work uses tele-medicine technology to connect

taining, managing or improving chronic health conditions;

to a physician network and uses state-of-the-art diagnostic

and incentivizing for success with goals, accountability and

scopes allowing that physician to see real time on a moni-


tor large enough to convey a better view than if the patient

The HAWA Virtual Healthcare System is a cost-effec-

were seeing the doctor in person. With the larger screen

tive, cloud-based platform that provides participants a re-

6 | lake Houston Business Matters


offsite at a local laboratory. Their check-up results, records


of all sizes and employer benefits include participant ac-

lationship between healthcare and their own health. Participants log in to a user-friendly online platform and personal baseline data is gathered from a questionnaire and provider check-up. Health coordinators reach out to participants and health stats are monitored and recorded throughout the year-long program. Along the way, educational resources, group challenges and employer incentives support participants in their health goals. “This program integrates healthcare and wellness,” Crawford said. “Members can schedule their check-up online, to be serviced onsite at their place of employment or

and personal health data are consolidated on the platform. One’s entire health life is in one place. Employers can set incentives for employees based on results and/or participation.” HAWA’s tele-wellness system is available to companies countability, reduction in healthcare costs and employee comradery. “Specific success cases show prevention in diabetes, increased fitness levels and weight loss, reduction of at-risk patients, and increased personal accountability,” Crawford said. “Employers are seeing increased population health of their greatest asset, their employees.” Lori Wilson, Director of Employer Relations for HCAGulf Coast Division, said Kingwood Medical Center has partnered with HAWA. Wilson has seen many different wellness programs and said that “often employees find greater sat- continUed on PaGe 8

Spring 2016 | 7

- continUed From PaGe 7

isfaction with an employer based on the wellness program

law, could be doing even more to help patients and reduce

because it benefits them in their personal lives as well.”

healthcare industry costs.

As with any personal endeavor, accountability is key for success, which is addressed in HAWA’s virtual program.

Trained to manage patients’ health, pharmacists complete a four-year post graduate, doctorate-level education

The value on investment of tele-wellness programs like

program; yet, current legal regulations prohibit pharma-

that of HAWA is measured in reduced absenteeism, re-

cists from doing all they are capable of when it comes to

cruitment and retention, organization engagement, and

being a healthcare provider. The rapidly growing aging

increased productivity.

population paired with a shortage in primary care provid-

“HAWA’s advanced technology and consolidated format is paired with communicative support that allows greater penetration in the population to achieve greater success,” Crawford said.

ers has created a large gap in the healthcare industry, one that legalities are widening. Carole Hardin-Oliver is a pharmacist and Healthcare Supervisor for Walgreens. Her responsibilities include regulation and legislative work.


“Pharmacists are the final voice in a health conversation,” Hardin-Oliver said. “Yet we could benefit patients

We all have them — our friendly neighborhood pharma-

in more ways. Perfectly trained pharmacists could provide

cists. Terry Vaughn, District Manager of Walgreens, said

services in areas where doctors are not available. If allowed,

pharmacists are considered one of the most successful and

we could be key providers for a medically underserved

helpful providers in the healthcare field and are ranked sec-

community. We need to have pharmacists more involved in

ond as most trusted health professional. Pharmacists are

healthcare in the United States.”

highly trained, knowledgeable providers that, if allowed by 8 | lake Houston Business Matters

- continUed on PaGe 10

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Hardin-Oliver said this is a national problem and that bills currently reside with Congress that, if passed, would al-

different times. Now, pharmacists cannot legally synchronize prescriptions or change the amount without a doctor’s authorization. This causes patients to skip their medication as they tend to wait until other medications run out before refilling their prescriptions. This is just another way pharmacists could step in to save time, money and patients’ health according to Hardin-Oliver. “If pharmacists were free to help more, it would be a tremendous benefit to individuals, to the healthcare system and to the entire nation,” Hardin-Oliver said. Pharmacy clinics staffed with physician assistants and nurse practitioners are beneficial for employers because of timeliness in care and cost of treatment.

low pharmacists to perform additional healthcare services

“Pharmacists continue to forge relationships with

that they are trained to do. For example, at the state level, one

nurse practitioners and offer neighborhood health clin-

change that has helped alleviate costs and increase conveni-

ics,” Vaughn said. “We hope to continue with innovations

ence is the allowance of flu shots at pharmacies.

in reducing healthcare costs and increasing ease of obtain-

“In addition to flu shots, many immunizations now can be given at pharmacies,” Hardin-Oliver said. “But what if we could change that further? What if we could change regulations in Texas and all immunizations could be done at pharmacies?” According to Hardin-Oliver, obtaining immunizations from a doctor in an ER is costly, and even in a doctor’s office the expense is high. If patients could get vaccinated at a pharmacy, it would reduce costs significantly — including costs to an employer’s healthcare plan. Hardin-Oliver posed additional rhetorical questions: “What if an emergency epinephrine shot could be administered to a patient in anaphylactic shock, or if a naloxone injection could be given to stop an opioid reaction? These would be life-saving changes.” Medicine synchronization is also an issue in the growing population of elderly patients and those with chronic conditions. Hardin-Oliver explained that members of this population take 1326 continual prescriptions and they run out at Right: Lori Wilson, Director of Employer Relations for HCA Gulf Coast Division 10 | lake Houston Business Matters

ing quality care.”


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Spring 2016 | 11

FindinG a medical Home Lake Houston residents soon will have two “medical homes� to choose from By tom Broad

12 | lake Houston Business Matters


he Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in that these innovative facilities meet a public need for more the heart of Kingwood is expected to be completed in access points to expert healthcare,” said Rushing. “Providing early 2017 and will join Memorial Hermann Northeast convenient access to quality medical care throughout the Lake Hospital in Humble and the Memorial Hermann Summer Creek Houston area is our top priority.” Convenient Care Center in serving the greater Lake Houston area. The Convenient Care Centers prove one-stop, highly-coordiWhat is a “medical home” and why nated access to adult and pediatric primary care, specialty physiis it important? cians, sports medicine and rehabilitation, outpatient imaging and “A medical home is an established lab services plus a 24-hour emergency room. relationship with a primary care proLike its sister facilities, the 45,000 sq. ft. Kingwood CCC will vider,” said Jim Brown, Senior Viceoffer routine, primary and emergency care. Routine and primary President and Chief Executive Officer care includes check-ups, screenings, immunizations, follow-up of Memorial Hermann Ambulatory visits and diagnosis and treatment of acute illnesses and someServices. “This health care model intimes chronic conditions. The primary care offices will operate creases the likelihood of creating that during normal business hours but emergency care will operate Jim Brown relationship due to proximity.” around the clock. “Of growing importance to consumers is finding the right “Convenient Care Centers offer an array of services and a level of health care at the right time in the right setting. This is direct channel to the entire Memorial Hermann Health System important first and foremost in order to have a person’s health spectrum of sub-specialists and high-level resources, should care needs accurately addressed,” Brown said. there be a need for it,” Rushing said. When looking for healthcare services for ourselves and CCC patients who need a higher level of care would be transour families, Brown said each of us must ask if we require ferred to Memorial Hermann Northeast, Memorial Hermannthe acute services of a hospital or are we in relatively good Texas Medical Center or Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. health and requiring only preventative care? And what about “If there is a need for elevated or more specialized care, we convenience and cost? have an outstanding network of resources,” Brown said. “Is it necessary for someone from Kingwood to travel 10 miles The two-story Kingwood Convenient Care Center will be or more when they can get the same quality service and appro- located at Kingwood Drive and West Lake Houston Parkway priate level of care at a facility two miles in the Main Street Kingwood Shopping Center. Developed by away,” Brown asked. “And are they pay- Lovett Commercial, the 33-acre site will also include an H-Eing for care they don’t need?” B grocery store with fuel station and car wash, as well as retail The Convenient Care Center concept businesses and restaurants. addresses these issues. The Kingwood CCC will be a first for Kingwood and Me“Our research shows that there was morial Hermann Northeast will be the first hospital in the a need for a Convenient Care Center in Memorial Hermann System to serve as an anchor for two Kingwood,” said Heath Rushing, Sr. Convenient Care Centers. Vice President and CEO at Memorial “Our Convenient Care Centers are meeting a growing deHeatH rUsHinG Hermann Northeast. “We will be able mand for more access points to quality health care,” said to meet that need. The residents of Kingwood and the sur- Brown. “Lake Houston residents shouldn’t have to travel far rounding area will have access to comprehensive, round-the- for great health care. Kingwood residents, like residents in clock medical care.” Summer Creek and the seven other CCC locations will be able The Kingwood Convenient Care Center (CCC) is modeled after to receive comparable services at our Kingwood CCC that they sister facilities that operate in five locations throughout Houston would get at an acute care hospital both from a primary care – Summer Creek, Pearland, Sienna Plantation, South Katy and and emergency care perspective.” LH Cypress. Additional CCCs are under construction at Memorial Hermann’s Great the residents of Kingwood and the surrounding area will have Heights, Spring and League City sites. Lake Houston, in fact, was the pilot loaccess to comprehensive, round-the-clock medical care. cation for the very first CCC, at Summer - Heath Rushing Creek which is located directly in front of Summer Creek High School on Beltway 8. At Summer Creek, Memorial Hermann pioneered the concept of taking the stress out of scheduling appointments Tom Broad, recently retired from for routine health needs by offering families options such as Memorial Hermann Northeast walk-in access, extended evening and weekend hours and, if Hospital, is a contributing writer needed, fully-operative, around-the-clock emergency departfor The Tribune and volunteer ments that can handle life-threatening emergencies that reextraordinaire for the Lake Houston quire immediate care. Area Chamber of Commerce. “We know from the overwhelming success of Memorial Hermann’s first Convenient Care Center at Summer Creek Spring 2016 | 13

+Home Grown

dougherty’s Pharmacy This friendly pharmacy has become a state-wide name with hometown appeal By Kelli wHite | PHotos By HoPe PHotoGraPHy


beloved institution since 1929, Dougherty’s

know our customers’ names.”

Pharmacy is a recognized full-service phar-

Mielke said the Lake Houston Area is home to many

macy serving customers across the state.

pharmacies but several things set Dougherty’s apart —

Founded at the start of the Great Depression in the Dal-

starting with its name.

las neighborhood of Oak Cliff, Dougherty knew his cus-

“Dougherty’s presence is very well known in Dallas.

tomers like his own neighbors and he compounded their

The long-standing history and the name are beneficial

medications by hand. More than 85 years later, Dough-

for business,” Mielke said.

erty’s neighborhood has grown across Texas. The Hum-

Dougherty’s is a compounding pharmacy, which

ble location opened in 1978 and still practices Dough-

is truly a niche. Pharmacists and lab technicians must

erty’s customer-focused philosophy today.

go through special training for compounding, which is

Terry Mielke has managed Dougherty’s Pharmacy in Humble for 14 years and said their number-one priority remains personal service. “We have all the benefits of a full-service pharmacy with small town feel,” Mielke said. “We try our best to 14 | lake Houston Business Matters

making medicine from raw ingredients, each medicine customized for individual patients. “It’s like making a cake from scratch,” Mielke explained. For example, if a patient has an allergy to an ingredi-

ent in a commercially available medicine, compounding could be necessary. Compounding is used in other cases, too, like creating bioidentical hormones. Fewer than 160 compounding pharmacies in the United States meet the stringent and comprehensive standards set by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB). The PCAB accredited seal assures that Dougherty’s adheres to the profession’s highest standards, increasing quality, reducing errors and improving safety. Dougherty’s meets needs beyond compounding like providing commercial products, serving elderly care homes and administering flu shots. Dougherty’s also has a Certified Nutritional and Wellness Consultant on staff, Karen Britten, who loves empowering people to become healthier. “My love for health and wellness resulted when I was 40 and triggered into asthma,” Britten said. “I began getting sicker and weaker. I decided to get back to the basics and heal my body with whole foods and whole supplements.” Britten started to feel better and developed her passion for nutrition that she can now share with others in her role at Dougherty’s. The pharmacy has a section dedicated to educational literature for those interested in therapeutic lifestyle changes. A Lake Houston Area staple, Dougherty’s continues to offer progressive care in a community that continues to grow beyond the neighborhood corner pharmacy. LH Middle Right – Terry Mielke has called the Lake Houston Area home since 1995 and has been at Dougherty’s since 2001. Bottom right – Nutritional Consultant, Karen Britten.

Spring 2016 | 15

+Home Grown

Campbell Chiropractic Wellness Center From the oil fields to the healing arts, Dr. Charles Campbell is no stranger to transformation By Kelli White | Photo by Hope photography

More than two decades ago at the age of 40, long-time Kingwood resident, Dr. Charles Campbell took a leap of faith. As a businessman in the oil industry for 15 years, Campbell chose to reevaluate his life when he noticed his dissatisfaction with his work but didn’t know why. That, paired with witnessing a family member’s severe illness awakened his desire to help people. So, with two kids at home, he quit his corporate job and went back to school full time. He opened his chiropractic center at the age of 44. And now, 23 years later, he still loves helping people. In 1977, Campbell was living in Houston when a friend from Kingwood invited him to visit. Campbell immediately found the community to be a hidden gem. “I didn’t even know Kingwood existed until that dinner at my friend’s house, but two weeks after visiting, I bought a house,” Campbell said. “I love the trees, lake and trails, the winding roads, great schools, diverse people and home values.” He also loves that the community offers college courses and opportunities for people like him, looking to go back to school and change their career. 16 | Lake Houston Business Matters

Campbell took his pre-requisites locally before attending chiropractic school. Campbell and his colleague, Dr. Scott Pagano, deliver approximately 800 treatments each month. Campbell is trained

"That’s what chiropractors do — first, we treat the symptom to reduce

in nutritional therapies as well and enjoys teaching patients

pain, then we explain what caused it

about functional wellness and offering lifestyle advice.

and how to prevent it in the future.”

Chiropractic care differs from conventional medicine, which, Campbell explained, focuses on attempting to treat disease once it occurs. Campbell Chiropractic Well-

pain is still there. That’s what chiropractors do — first, we

ness Center emphasizes improving health in an effort to

treat the symptom to reduce pain, then we explain what

reduce the risk of pain and to prevent illness. Patients

caused it and how to prevent it in the future.”

of Campbell Chiropractic Wellness Center receive a cus-

Campbell’s long-term career choice has proven success-

tomized wellness program using the least invasive, yet

ful despite self-doubt. Back then, he asked himself if he

highly-effective techniques and services that go beyond

could go back to school and start over at the age of 40.

chiropractic care. The center offers corrective exercises,

“One of my favorite lines is from the book, ‘Who

nutritional counseling, physiotherapy, spinal screenings,

Moved My Cheese?’ that says, ‘If you weren’t afraid,

massage therapy and more.

what would you do?’”

“Most of our patients’ complaints involve pain,” Camp-

Little fear and a lot of faith has led Campbell to living

bell said. “Many have been through traditional medical

his passion and has provided the Lake Houston Area with

treatment and the pain is not resolved. Medicine eases pain

a chiropractor center that has delivered quality care to resi-

and inflammation but the underlying issue and cause of the

dents for more than two decades. LH

Drs. Charles Campbell and Scott Pagano

Spring 2016 | 17

Tim Baker Executive Vice President at Independent Bank


aker lives his life

Board Member of Kingwood Place Community Association.

with the attitude

Of Baker’s volunteer roles, past and present, he is most

that it’s a privilege,

passionate about his service as a Board Trustee on the

not a right. And that positive

Northeast Hospital Board of Authority.

outlook has proven to be just

“I believe providing first class healthcare locally is vital

right for him, his family and

to meeting the medical needs of the local residents. Ensur-

the Lake Houston Area com-

ing the community as a whole stays healthy and continues


to prosper and meeting the medical needs of its residents is

Tim Baker grew up in

the cornerstone to any successful community,” Baker said.

Dayton, Ohio, and moved to the Lake Houston Area in 1980. He has been married to his wife Debbie for 30 years and has three daughters, a son-in-law and a one-year-old granddaughter. His family enjoys the closeness of the community, the great schools, churches and available healthcare while being close to the big city. “We also love the climate and getting to call Texas our

"ensuring the community as a whole stays healthy and continues to prosper and meeting the medical needs of its residents is the cornerstone to any successful community."

home,” he said. Baker has been in the banking industry since 1986 and

Of his past volunteer experiences, one result that re-

in his current role as a commercial lender, he establishes

mains memorable is the memorial dedicated to East Mont-

business relationships for Independent Bank.

gomery County veterans that the Rotary Club designed and

Currently Baker serves on the Lake Houston Area

constructed during Baker’s tenure as Rotary President. The

Chamber Board of Directors and on the Northeast Hospital

memorial is located between the East Montgomery County

Board of Authority and is President of the Northeast Hospi-

Improvement District and the County Library, adjacent to

tal Foundation. Past volunteer roles include Board Member

the flag poles.

of the Lake Houston Area YMCA; President of Rotary Club

“Getting involved in your community is a privilege,”

of East Montgomery County; inaugural class and past Pres-

Baker said. “Having the chance to give back to your neigh-

ident of Leadership North Houston; Executive Committee

bors and help make your community a better place to live

Member of the Humble Area Chamber of Commerce; and

and work in is very rewarding.”

18 | lake Houston Business Matters

By Kelli wHite

Pam McNair Vice President at The MINT National Bank


Through her service in Rotaos Angeles, California; McMinnville, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah. Pam McNair is no ry, McNair works with nonprofstranger to moving. But she kept moving east and its such as H.A.A.M, Mission Northeast, Village Learning & for the past decade, has called the Kingwood area home. McNair moved to Kingwood in 2005 and began working Achievement, Society of St. Steat Main Street Bank in 2006. Last year, she transitioned to phens, Family Time and YMCA. One of McNair’s most her current role at The MINT National Bank where she focuses on deposit growth and community relations. McNair memorable volunteer experiloves working in the same area in which she lives. She said ences is from her time menshe especially enjoys “the great Humble ISD school district, toring at Lakeland Elementathe family-friendly area to raise my girls, and the conveni- ry. McNair was partnered with a second grade girl who read at below first grade level, and every Wednesday they would ence to ‘big city’ activities.” McNair has two daughters who were born in Salt Lake work on reading skills, flash cards and spelling. “I became very attached to her, and it became my personal City but have grown up in Kingwood. Taylor is 14 and attends mission to give the gift of literacy to her. KPHS, Tessa is 13 and attends RiverAs the school year moved forward, so wood Middle School. "someone made an did her reading skills and test scores. I “When my girls were small, I became impact on my life as a could see the spark of learning develop more aware of my actions and the need in her the more time we spent together. to set a good example for them. I grew child and i hope that i She has since moved away, but my hope up in poverty, which is why I am so passionate about volunteering in that area. can do the same for a is that she started her new school with a new skill set and passion for learning Someone made an impact on my life as because of the time we spent together,” a child and I hope that I can do the same child somewhere." McNair said. for a child somewhere,” McNair said. As time moves forward, so does McNair’s volunteer efforts. McNair is President Elect of the Humble Rotary Club “Everyone has heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a where she has been a member since 2011. She serves as Treasurer on the Board of Trustees for The Pines Montessori child,’ and I truly believe that,” McNair said. “Our communiSchool. Her past volunteer roles include Humble Rotary Club ty is our village and the more volunteers we have working toTreasurer 2013-2015; Lakeland Elementary mentor program gether, the better our children will be because of it. I see girls 2012-15; Rebuild Houston 2013-2014; Salvation Bell Ringer whom I led in Girl Scouts when they were five or six years old 2013 & 2014; Leadership Lake Houston Class of 2015; Vol- and are now teenagers. I love to see what wonderful young ladies they are today, and I know I had a very small part in leyball coach at YMCA; and Girl Scout Troop Leader. “I am very passionate about helping those less fortunate that. No matter how small the volunteer effort is, it makes a difference for someone, somehow.” in our community,” she said. Spring 2016 | 19

Jennifer Summer Editor of the Observer Newspapers


aised in Kingwood for most of her life, Jennifer

such a giving person and hard worker; that’s where I get my

Summer left Texas to attend Louisiana State

passion to work hard every day,” S said.

University and returned to resume growing her

One of Summer’s favorite things about the Lake Houston

roots in the Lake Houston Area. Summer has worked at

Area is “the kindness and giving-back spirit” of the commu-

the Observer Newspapers since 2007, serving as Editor for


more than year. In her role at the newspaper, she continu-

She is currently a board member for the nonprofit,

ally writes about “issues that affect readers as well as feature

FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center; a volunteer on

stories that can’t be found anywhere else except for in the

the publicity committee

local paper.”

for the Houston Livestock

And for a native, it is fitting that her occupation serves to deepen her roots in the community.

Show & Rodeo’s World’s Championship Bar-B-Que

“It is such an awesome opportunity to share the stories

Contest; and has served

of our communities and the people who live, work and play

on various committees for

here,” Summer said.

luncheons and galas such

When not working, Summer enjoys spending time at lo-

as the Women of Achieve-

cal restaurants and considers herself a “foodie.” Other pas-

ment Gala and In the Pink

times include crafting, home décor and jet skiing on Lake

of Health Luncheon.

Livingston with her mom, who has served as Summer’s role model in all areas of life, especially volunteering.

“FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center truly

“My mom has taught in the Humble ISD for years and

reaches men and women in our community who are victims

her continued, selfless dedication to her job and our com-

of domestic abuse as well as providing counseling services

munity has inspired me to give back as much as I can. She is

for many in our community, which I have seen firsthand help many during tough situations,” Summer said.

"i enjoy being a part of the kindness and giving-back spirit of the lake Houston area community."

20 | lake Houston Business Matters

“I am so thankful to have the opportunity to work and live in the community I grew up in and to be involved in my community gives me valuable insight about what is going on right around me and how I can help different people in different ways,” Summer said. LH


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Spring 2016 | 21

Behind the Business

See the personal side of Merle Aaron, Sr., Mayor of the City of Humble

Merle Aaron, Sr., the middle child in a family of five boys and four girls, grew up in Edinburg, Texas and graduated from Edinburg High School. He moved his family to Humble in the 60s and in 1978, Aaron started his own company, Aaron Mechanical, a familyowned and operated residential and commercial HVAC company. In 2005, Aaron semi-retired and entrusted Aaron Mechanical to his son. Aaron ran for Humble City Council in 2005 and served for 10 years before he was elected to the mayor’s office in 2015. Aaron and his wife Linda have been married for 58 years. Together they have three children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

22 | Lake Houston Business Matters

When you were a boy, what did you want to be when you grew up? I met President Eisenhower when he visited down in the Rio Grande Valley and thought I’d like to be President someday. But I am pretty happy just being mayor [of Humble].

What kind of music do you listen to? Who are your favorite artists? Either country or gospel. Usually anybody over 65 years old.

What are you watching on TV now? Very little. Some news, some sports. Mostly I enjoy reading.

Who has been the most influential person to you? When I was in the 11th grade, I had a math teacher, Mr. Summers, who stood head and shoulders above anyone I’d ever met and I always remembered the influence that he had on me. He believed in young people and I have tried to carry that on to this day.

If you could select your final meal, what would it be? Cheeseburger, fries and a glass of cold milk.

What do you do to unwind? I like to read, but I really enjoy working in the yard as well.

What has been your favorite place to visit? I enjoy going to national parks such as Yellowstone, Glacier National and Big Bend National.

Do you have any hidden talents? I really enjoyed snow skiing – at least when I was younger.

Reflecting over your years as a small business owner, what was your biggest challenge? [My biggest challenge was] keeping up with technology, training employees, staffing the business and the regulations and permits that are required of businesses today. Fortunately, I have been blessed with the greatest

wife in the world, great kids, wonderful grandkids and great-grandkids that keep it all in perspective and who have supported me 100 percent.

As technology has been rapidly evolving, what do you think has been the biggest technological game-changer in your lifetime? Without a doubt it has been the advancement of communication and the emergence of the truly global economy.

When people look back over your years of service to Humble, what do you hope they remember? That we left it a little bit better than how we found it.

In your opinion, what is the most important quality that someone should possess to be effective as mayor of Humble? You need to be able to listen to the people, be firm in what you believe in – but expect and accept changes that inevitably happen. LH Spring 2016 | 23


ransportation and mobility challenges continue to be a top priority for the Chamber as area businesses continue to see the landscape of our community change with the growing population. Several transportation initiatives are in varying phases of development throughout the Lake Houston Area and the Chamber is taking the lead to help inform businesses and advocate for mobility projects. In February the consulting firm Population And Survey Analysts (PASA) presented their study of Humble Independent School District to the HISD Board of Trustees identifying demographic and employment trends as well as housing projections for the next decade.


is projecting 17,262 new housing



Humble ISD during the next 10 years. Based on our area’s average of 2.9 people per household, this equates to approximately 50,000 new residents according to Michael Prats, vice

24 | lake Houston Business Matters

anticipated Growth Focus on transportation By Jenna armstronG

president of economic development for the Lake Houston

(three lanes in each direction with the outside lanes being

Economic Development Partnership.

shared-use lanes) with curb and gutter and a raised median.

As our area highways and roads are already burdened

A grade separation would be constructed at Atascocita Road,

with heavy traffic, mobility improvement projects are crucial

West Lake Houston Parkway and Farmingham Drive. Addi-

to our community and economy as we prepare to accommo-

tionally, 5-foot wide sidewalks are planned for both sides of

date major growth and work to mitigate current congestion.

FM 1960, outside of the bicycle shared use lane. The project

Three major factors are at risk if we fail to support improve-

would require approximately 48 acres of new right-of-way

ments: safety of drivers and passengers, access to our busi-

(ROW.) Commercial and residential displacements will oc-

nesses in the community and traffic ow and mobility.

cur and will be further evaluated during the environmental

The Chamber is working to help inform businesses about

review process.

several projects so that we can advance mobility in the most

While the remaining pro-

advantageous way for our businesses and citizens. Projects

jects are at various stages of

we are working with include: widening and improvements

planning and development,

to FM 1960, extending and connecting four lanes of Wood-

the Chamber will continue to

land Hills Drive in Atascocita to Beltway 8, the widening

seek input from businesses on

and reconstruction of Northpark Drive and the widening of

transportation and mobility

Kingwood Drive. At this time, only one of these projects is

initiatives. It is crucial for the

currently in the planning phase – widening and improve-

business community to pro-

ments to FM 1960.

vide input into such projects to ensure that our growth is

FM 1960 Improvements TxDOT is once again considering a major improvement




project for FM 1960 from BF 1960A to Lake Houston. Proposed improvements include widening FM 1960 from four lanes to a six lane, divided roadway with curb and gutter. The project proposes to widen the existing FM 1960 roadway from a four-lane undivided roadway to a six-lane divided roadway

Spring 2016 | 25

7th Annual

laKe HoUston 10k 5k r

egistration is now open for the Lake Houston Area Chamber’s seventh annual Lake Houston 10k 5k, co-presented by Memorial Hermann Northeast and Texas Emergency Care Center. The event will begin at 7 a.m., Saturday, August 20 at Kings Harbor on Lake Houston. Although the race is a highly anticipated community event, approximately 45 percent of registered racers live outside of the Lake Houston Area. This translates into hundreds of people visiting Lake Houston the day of the race, pumping money into our local economy while enjoying our scenic lake community. With each year, the competitive race grows attracting runners from across the United States and around the globe. In past years, the course has seen runners from as far as Kenya and even Jarret LeBlanc, an Olympic trial qualifier. The 10k 5k is a sanctioned race, meaning that the course will be run according to USA Track and Field competition riles, according to Participants will have the opportunity to run, jog or walk along the mostly shaded course while enjoying the picturesque views. The course will begin and end at King’s Harbor in Kingwood.

The entire community is welcome to come and enjoy the beauty of the Lake Houston area. There are ways to get involved if one is not interested in running the race. Others can participate through sponsoring the event, serve as a volunteer on race day, or attend to cheer on the runners. The Lake Houston 10k 5k is co-presented by Memorial Hermann Northeast and Texas Emergency Care Center. Gold Sponsors are El Pollo Loco, K & S Sportswear and Waste Connections. The Fun Zone Sponsor is Skylla Engineering, LLC. Silver Sponsors include Deerbrook Mall, Deerbrook Pharmacy & Medical Boutique and Waste Management. An award ceremony will follow the run with $500 awarded to the overall top male and female runners in the 10k race and $250 awarded to the top overall male and female in the 5k race. Non-cash awards will also be presented to first, second and third place finishers in the following categories: 18 & under, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and over. Register and get more information at LakeHouston10k5k. com. For race questions, contact Chris O’Dell at codell@ Whether you are a participant or spectator for this year’s Lake Houston 10k 5k, we look forward to seeing you on August 20. LH PHotos By colleen merritt

26 | lake Houston Business Matters


During a Stroke, Time Lost is Brain Lost. Kingwood Medical Center

is the ONLY Comprehensive Stroke Program in Northeast Houston. Why is this important to know? Because the chances of recovering from a stroke depend on the time it takes to seek and receive treatment.



Kingwood Medical Center is the recipient of the “Get with the Guidelines – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award,” indicating reduced time for treatment. Symptoms of a stroke include any of these sudden changes: numbness, vision change, trouble speaking, confusion, walking or balance problems, severe headache. If you or someone you love suddenly experience any of these, call 911, or go to Kingwood Medical Center immediately.

Kingwood Medical

Physician referral: 1-800-258-5064

Advanced hospital care close to home.

Kingwood Medical Center | 22999 US Highway 59 North Kingwood, TX 77339 | 281-348-8000 | KMC-16-009_ChamberMagazineAd-Stroke.indd 1

04/11/2016 16:21:26