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7766 Ewing Blvd, Suite 200, Florence, KY 41042 800-933-3909 • 800-488-3101 (fax)


Scott Robertson Executive Vice President



Welcome to Victoria, Texas.

Todd Patton Senior Operations Manager


38 OUTDOOR ADVENTURE It’s a thrill a minute at this one-of-a-kind race.

Building for the future.


Get ready to have a great time.

34  HEALTH CARE Delivering top-notch treatment to all.

On the cover: Alvaro De La Cruz, president of the UHV Student Government Association; Vic Morgan, president of the University of HoustonVictoria; and Ashley Yaws, vice president of the UHV Student Government Association Behind them is UHV’s new University Commons, set to open in fall 2018. University Commons house a learning commons, or modern library; and the university’s first student center.

Index of Advertisers American Bank - Victoria��������������������������45 Armstrong Warehouse

De Tar Healthcare/

The Club at Colony Creek��������������������������40

Scoppechio Advertising����������������Back Cover

University of Houston-Victoria�������������������5

and Transfer Company����������������������������21

Efficiency Air���������������������������������������������44

VCS Companies�����������������������������������������20

Citizens Medical Center����Inside Front Cover

First Community Bank������������������������������27

Victoria College���������������� Inside Back Cover

City Mortgage Group����������������������������������3

Gulf Bend MHMR Center����������������������������6

Victoria Electric Cooperative���������������������48

City of Victoria CVB��������������������������������������9

Higginbotham Insurance��������������������������36

Victoria Independent

Coldwell Banker - Ron Brown Group�������48

Hospice of South Texas������������������������������13

Community Bank of Victoria���������������������49

On the Edge Photography������������������������14

Courtyard by Marriott - Victoria�� 26 and 41

ReMax Land & Home������������������� 32 and 33

Crossroads Title Company�������������������������48

TAG Management Services, Inc.�����������������7



Darren Hinerman Publisher

10 CHAMBER CONNECTION The Chamber helps businesses deliver 42 STAGE & CANVAS top customer service. Dance the night away at this historic hall. 1 6 THE 411 Important community information. 46 THINGS TO SEE & DO Indoor and outdoor adventures await. 1 8 SPOTLIGHT ON EDUCATION

Philip Hageman CEO

School District����������������������������������������13

Sarah Lancaster Production Manager

Kathryn Ingall Editorial Coordinator

Samantha McHenry Graphic Designer

Jessica Hill Graphic Designer

On The Edge Photography Contributing Photographer

Cathy Cuthbertson Contributing Writer

Dava Stewart Contributing Writer

Gennie Taylor Contributing Writer

Danny Vivian Contributing Writer

Steve Anderson Project Sales Director

Donna Eslinger Project Sales Director Tom O’Sullivan Project Sales Director Jerry Starnes Project Sales Director Nick Yankosky Project Sales Director

For more information about this publication and/or advertising rates, call (800) 364-2034. SouthComm Publishing Company, Inc. also produces community magazines, chamber membership directories, industrial brochures and business marketing materials. This publication was produced exclusively for the Victoria Chamber of Commerce by SouthComm Publishing Company, Inc. Copyright 2018. Reproduction, in whole or part, of this publication without expressed or written consent of the publisher is prohibited. Violators of this copyright notice will be prosecuted. All claims, materials and photos furnished or used are, to the publisher’s knowledge, true and correct. Hence, liability cannot be assumed by the publisher for errors or omissions. Advertisements and editorial information published in this, or any other publication produced by SouthComm Publishing Company, Inc., are subject to the unrestricted right to edit of and by, our editors/publisher. 2/2018


Photo courtesy of Outalw Pass


TO VICTORIA The 2018 Chamber Board of Directors is excited to welcome its members into a new year. If you are not currently a member of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce please consider this an invitation to expand your network. The Victoria Chamber’s mission is to lead, empower and unite our business community. And, we’d like for you to be a part of it. The Victoria Chamber promotes business by providing a variety of events, conferences, training opportunities, luncheons and the advocacy that businesses need to succeed. We coordinate networking events, ribbon cuttings, social mixers and newcomers’ gatherings, along with professional development activities. Some of our flagship opportunities include: Victoria Certified Friendly Program, South Texas Transportation Conference and



Leadership Victoria. We continue to strive to expand our membership and its programs to better serve them. Randy Vivian, the president, and the staff have many years of experience and knowledge. Call or stop by the Chamber office at the Victoria College Emerging Technology Center, or visit our website at for more information. Welcome to Victoria!

Sincerely, Clay Kolle 2018 Chairman of the Board The First State Bank, Victoria – Senior Vice President



The Victoria Chamber of Commerce staff, pictured here, works with members to ensure that all have access to community resources. Standing from left are Randy Vivian, president/CEO; Sylver Serrato, office manager; and sitting, Christine Blain, vice president.



Delivering Exceptional Customer Service When it comes to serving the needs of the community, there is not a greater resource than the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s mission is to lead, empower and unite the business community, and they do that every day through programs and events. So, when they heard that Victoria businesses needed customer service training, they stepped up and made it a reality.

“It’s Victoria Friendly, a certified customer service training program for front-line employees that is enhancing business and building customer relations all across the city,” says Greg Bonewald, assistant superintendent of human resources at Victoria Independent School District (VISD). “We’re very proud of of this effort. It’s just begun, but already, it’s having a big impact on the business climate.” Successful business relies on fair and accurate pricing, competitive practices and good products, but nothing matters more than excellent customer service. Chamber leaders understand that nothing builds business faster and better than making customers feel valued and appreciated. That’s the goal of Victoria Friendly. “We knew that we had a need for better customer service, and Victoria Friendly is helping to close that gap,” says Bonewald. “Businesses can train their staff—office and sales personnel, counter staff, the first person someone meets when they walk into a business—to provide more positive and friendly experiences, and in turn, generate repeat business and new business. After the training, a



Karoyn Scogin and Christine Blain enjoy the Victoria Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet.

business or organization earns certification as a Victoria Friendly business. They’ll receive a logo decal that they can use on the door to indicate their customer-friendly status.” With input from partners like the VISD, the curriculum is managed and developed by experts. “One of our partners, the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center, are really the ones providing the curriculum and the professionals who do the training,” says Bonewald. “Training hinges on three most important principles of customer service. The Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated; The Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they want to be treated; And third, the Double Platinum Rule. I’m not sure I want to hint at the meaning of that one too much, but after employees go through the training, knowing about this third rule and practicing it will do amazing things for a business. They need to sign up and learn what it means.” Attention is given to building awareness of the ways staff interacts with customers too. “There is a lot of focus on the five positive habits of customer service,” says Bonewald. “When a customer walks in the front door, what’s the first thing he sees? What messages



MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS “Membership of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce has benefited Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. (ABC), Texas Mid Coast Chapter by offering opportunities to build business relationships. The emails and monthly lunch meetings are educational and keep members informed about what is going on in our community.  The professional development programs, mixers and events are fantastic for networking and establishing new relationships. Getting involved and being an active member of the Victoria Chamber offers credibility to ABC and marketing opportunities that are hard to beat.”

— Kristi Stevenson, President/CEO, Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc., Texas Mid Coast Chapter

The late Justin Unruh was named Member of the Year for contributions to the city. From left are Clay Kolle, Christine Blain, Rep. Geanie Morrison, Tom Curtis and William Hill.

are we presenting? And there is training for phone etiquette and discussion of active listening and rules for email. Another important component is learning how to de-escalate an unhappy customer.” By the end of December 2017, there were already more than 25 businesses certified as Victoria Friendly. “The feedback has been extremely positive and sessions are filling up rapidly as it takes off and builds momentum,” says Bonewald. “The program brings great value to Victoria and has great potential. The future is indeed looking very bright.” n By Cathy Cuthbertson

WELL-DESERVED RECOGNITION Congratulate These Outstanding Members

Empowering and uniting the business community, the Victoria Chamber of Commerce takes time at its annual awards luncheon to honor members that have gone above and beyond to serve Victoria.



Scherer Kubota was honored as Small Business Partner of the Year. From left are Clay Kolle, Rena Scherer, Calvin Scherer, Christine Blain and Tom Curtis.

“It’s always very important to recognize those who have done great work for our community,” says Randy Vivian, Chamber president/CEO. “We take this opportunity to present awards

to Member of the Year, Small Business Partner of the Year and Corporate Partner(s) of the Year, for those who have stepped up and done not just good work, but amazing work.”

Victoria Electric Cooperative was bestowed the Corporate Partner of the Year award. From left are Blaine Warzecha, Clay Kolle, Christine Blain, John Beck, Nina Campos, Jeri Alvarez, William Hill and Tom Curtis.

The Chamber’s Member of the Year in 2017 is Justin B. Unruh, former chief of staff for Texas state Rep. Geanie W. Morrison. Unruh passed away in 2016 at the age of 41. “He was one of those people who did more for Victoria and the state of Texas than anyone will ever truly know,” says Vivian. “He did so much behind the scenes. His contributions to the community are enormous and felt every single day.” The Chamber honored Scherer Kubota as its Small Business Partner of the Year. The business began in the late 1940s by Henry Sandhop and has remained a steady fixture in Victoria. Over the years, the company has continued to grow. Scherer Kubota sells farm-sized tractors, lawn mowers, tractor attachments, RTV vehicles and more. The Corporate Partner of the Year was bestowed upon Victoria Electric Cooperative (VEC). The member-owned electric cooperative has served the community for more than 75 years. VEC is one of the lowest-cost providers in Texas and its distribution system has weathered many storms, ensuring that customers have power, no matter the conditions. These outstanding leaders are involved in Chamber activities and the community, positively impacting where they live, work and play. Be sure to give them a round of applause. n By Cathy Cuthbertson

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS “Is there a value in belonging to the Chamber? Absolutely!  We have been members of the Chamber for our 32+ years as a business and believe it to be a great way to identify ourselves with our peers and our community.  The Chamber provides many opportunities for networking, sharing information, making new friends and exposing our VCS teams in this market.  We have a very active presence in the Chamber Ambassadors with our own Lynda Parma, and often fill a table at the luncheon opportunities to learn more about other businesses, important issues at hand, legislative news and more.  I believe membership in the Chamber is a part of being in business.  We are blessed to be lifetime members of this great community, and our Chamber is an integral part of that.”

– Jennifer Rode Hartman, Owner, VCS Companies

Photo courtesy of Victoria Farmers’ Market

The CLIMATE AND GEOGRAPHICAL FACTS Average Annual Rainfall .......... 41.22 inches Average Annual Temperature ............. 70.1˚F Source:

EMERGENCY / MEDICAL In case of emergency, dial 911.


Citizens Medical Center.........361-573-9181 2701 Hospital Drive, Victoria, TX 77901 DeTar Healthcare System (Navarro)................................361-575-7441 506 E. San Antonio, Victoria, TX 77901 DeTar Healthcare System (North)...................................361-573-6100 101 Medical Drive, Victoria, TX 77901


Victoria Fire Department (Administration)......................361-485-3450 1703 E. Airline, Victoria, TX 779011


Victoria Police Department (Administration, Patrol and Investigations)........................361-573-3221 306 S. Bridge St., Victoria, TX 779011




Department of Child Protective Services – Houston ...............713-692-3236 1425 E. 40th St., Houston, TX 77022


U.S. Senators John Cornyn ..........................202-224-2934 517 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 Ted Cruz ...............................202-224-5922 404 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 2051 U.S. Representatives District 27 Blake Farenthold....................202-225-7742 331 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 205155


Senators District 18 Lois Kolkhorst .......................512-463-0118 P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711 Representatives District 30 Geanie Morrison ...................512-463-0456 Room 3S.2, Austin, TX 78766



Mayor Paul Polasek...........................361-485-3030 P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902 City Council Mayor Pro-Tem/District 3 Jeff Bauknight District 1 Rafael DeLaGarza, III District 2 Josephine E. Soliz District 4 Jan Scott Super District 5 Dr. Andrew Young Super District 6 Tom Halepaska County Commissioners County Judge Ben Zeller .............................361-575-4558 Precinct 1 Danny Garcia.........................361-575-8711

Precinct 2 Kevin Janak ...........................361-575-7932 Precinct 3 Gary Burns ............................361-578-8212 Precinct 4 Clint Ives ...............................361-575-5221 Courthouse Victoria City Municipal Court.....................361-485-3050 107 W. Juan Linn St., Victoria, TX 77901

LIBRARY Victoria Public Library...........361-485-3302 302 N. Main, Victoria, TX 77901


Drivers License Victoria Driver License Office...... 361-578-3450 8802 N. Navarro St., Victoria, TX 77904 License Plates and Registration Victoria County Registration and Titling..............................361-576-3671 205 N. Bridge St., Room 101 Victoria, TX 77901

PETS Animal Control Victoria County Animal Control......................361-578-3564 122 Perimeter Road, Victoria, TX 77904 Animal Shelter Dorothy H. O’Connor Pet Adoption Center ....................361-575-8573 135 Progress Drive, Victoria, TX 77905


City of Victoria ......................361-485-3230 Waste Management of SE Texas – Victoria..................361-578-3666


City of Victoria.......................361-485-3400



Dish Network.........................830-282-1635 Suddenlink Communications....................888-822-5151


Victoria Electric Cooperative...............361-573-2428


Victoria Communication Services........361-575-7417



Public Schools Victoria Independent School District........................361-576-3131 102 Profit Drive, Victoria, TX 77901 Private Schools Faith Academy.......................361-572-4568 PO Box 4824, Victoria, TX 779031 Nazareth Academy Catholic School......................361-573-6651 206 W. Convent, Victoria, TX 77901 Trinity Episcopal School ........361-573-3220 1504 N. Moody, Victoria, TX 77901

7403 Lone Tree Road, Suite 211 Victoria, TX 77901 • 361-573-5277

87 463

Victoria Country Club



Riverside Golf Course

The Club at Colony Creek


St. Joseph High School ..........361-573-2446 110 E. Red River, Victoria, TX 77901 Colleges/Higher Education University of Houston-Victoria....................361-570-4848 3007 N. Ben Wilson St., Victoria, TX 77901 Victoria College.....................361-573-3291 2200 E. Red River St., Victoria, TX 77901


87 Austin San Antonio Corpus Christi





Photos courtesy of Sande Bilton, M. Arthur Gensler Jr. and Associates and on the Edge Photography.



Building for the Future Information in this article was provided by UHV and Sarah Lancaster

From pre-K to college, students in Victoria obtain the skills they need for success, no matter the career path.

From kindergarten to college, students of all ages and abilities find that Victoria has all the resources they need for success. VICTORIA INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT With more than 14,000 students, the Victoria Independent School District (VISD) boasts 17 elementary and 9 secondary campuses. VISD offers advanced academics to its scholars, including preadvanced placement courses, dual credit classes, gifted and talented classes, AVID and more. Recently, VISD became one of the first school districts in the state to be designated as a “District of Innovation.” This distinction allows VISD to build on community partnerships in order to educate students for the 21st century workforce. Victoria’s dedication to making these opportunities available to every VISD student is illustrated through community partnerships that span business, higher education, civic organizations, parents and individuals. Upper level students are positioned for entering the workforce or college, thanks to career and college centers located at Victoria East and Victoria West high schools. Each center has an adviser available to help students with preparing for their careers after graduation. VISD’s collaboration with Victoria College, the University of Houston-Victoria and other higher education institutions allows high school students to earn college credits while also pursuing their diploma. Balancing a rigorous class schedule, students also have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities, such as basketball, golf, volleyball, football, power lifting, wrestling and cheerleading, to name a few. Likewise, pupils can nurture their creativity through the fine arts, which includes theater, orchestra, choir, band, dance, mariachi, ballet, art and guitar. Each school also offers a variety of clubs and organizations that encourage student involvement.

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON-VICTORIA The University of Houston-Victoria campus continues to grow with construction underway on

the university’s first student center set to open in 2018. The building, which will be called University Commons, also will include a learning commons, or modern library, that Victoria College and UHV students will share. “It’s an exciting time at UHV as we continue to grow to meet the needs of our students,” says UHV President Vic Morgan. University visitors and students soon will notice an attractive entryway to the university after Victoria City Council members unanimously voted in favor of a project to allow UHV to enhance Ben Wilson Street in front of the campus. The project will allow students to safely cross the street to get to the new University Commons, a new residence hall and other future buildings. In addition, UHV has purchased 132,000 square feet of the former Town Plaza Mall in Victoria and received a $1 million matching federal grant that will be used to renovate the area of the building that will house regional and community business development activities. These will include the UHV Small Business Development Center and the university’s Regional Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship. The building also will house classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, labs and storage. UHV is continuing its planning for a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics building and residence hall for its growing, on-campus student population. Both buildings are set to open in 2019. In addition to new construction, the university has added new degree programs. The School of Arts & Sciences now offers a Specialist in School Psychology degree, the first specialist degree in the university’s 44-year history and the highest degree now offered by UHV. A new honors track in the school allows high-performing students an



Photo courtesy of Victoria College

opportunity to work one-on-one with professors and take on special projects. The School of Business Administration continues to offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees with concentrations in accounting, finance, marketing, management, human resource management and other areas. The school is accredited by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business—which gives this mark of excellence to less than 5 percent of business schools worldwide. Students can take several new degree concentrations in the School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development. These include exercise and sports science, pre-allied health and sports management concentrations as part of the Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and a concentration in English as a Second Language/Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages as part of the Master of Education in curriculum and instruction. The first group of students in the school’s Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduated in fall 2017. The master’s programs in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Students like Juan Zamudio at Victoria College get the hands-on training they need for the careers they want.

VICTORIA COLLEGE Since 1925, Victoria College (VC) has provided an affordable and high-quality education, as well as career and technical training, to its student body. Students can pursue associate degrees, certificates and industry-recognized credentials, or transfer to a four-year institution to continue their educational endeavors. Local employees can also receive the workforce training they need to stay atop trends in the marketplace or to brush up on an already well-established skill set. Thanks to VC’s dedication to working with community partners, training programs meet the specific needs of the local workforce.



Photo courtesy of Erick Calderon

Members of the University of Houston System Board of Regents; University of Houston-Victoria administrators, staff and students; UHV mascot jaX the Jaguar; and Victoria community members participate April 25 in a groundbreaking ceremony for the university’s new student center and modern library.

For those who are looking to earn their GED or are preparing for college, VC’s Adult Education Center provides the resources needed to meet their goals. The college also offers services for nonnative speakers, who can learn to speak English more effectively. Another vital tool for up-and-coming college students is VC’s dual enrollment offerings. Here, high school students can begin earning college credits while working toward their diplomas.

Lastly, VC’s Emerging Technology Complex boasts a state-ofthe-art Conference & Education Center equipped with meeting space, classrooms and more. Its Industrial Training Center is outfitted with six classrooms and six high bays that are useful for a wide range of training and workshops. Whether in preschool or attending college, or somewhere in between, there is a program to meet the needs and abilities of all, no matter the grade level. n



Photo courtesy of Sande Bilton

Parents looking to give their children an alternative to public school have private institutions, such as Faith Academy, from which to choose.

LEARNING FOR LIFE Classes and Extracurriculars Appeal to Students

With a goal to develop students as leaders, faith-minded individuals and scholars, opportunities for alternative learning abound in Victoria. “We want students to discover their talents and value, and the

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS “The Victoria Chamber of Commerce keeps its members informed on many facets of the community including transportation, legislative, education and other pertinent areas. I enjoy being a member of the Chamber and participating in activities because the Chamber does an excellent job of promoting businesses within the community while encouraging and supporting new business development.”

—Connie Hermes, Executive Vice President, Cal-Com Federal Credit Union



plans they have for their lives,” says Larry Long, superintendent of Faith Academy. “We want to disciple and help them understand they are both the light and salt of the earth.” Faith Academy builds exceptionally strong bonds and student relationships that last a lifetime. “It’s a seamless program, preschool through 12th grade,” says Long. “Our teachers stay for a long time and they’re all degreed teachers. We’re also a dually accredited institution, recognized by two different organizations that are qualified according to the guidelines acknowledged and recognized by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).” Our Lady of Victory Catholic School instills enthusiasm for lifelong learning and promotes student growth in the commitment to serve God, one another, the Catholic Church and the community. On the academic side, students in pre-K through eighth grade take classes in English, math, science, history, handwriting, spelling and more. Electives are also part of seventhand eighth-grade instruction. Our Lady of Victory Catholic School also offers extracurriculars, encouraging students’ physical and social well-being through choir and sports, such as volleyball, football and basketball. Nazareth Academy is the fourth oldest Catholic school in the state and the oldest educational institution in Victoria. Serving pre-K through eighth grades, the academy prepares students for future careers in many ways, including a focus on technology. Courses include religion, math, language arts, science, health, social studies, physical education, music, computer literacy and Spanish, with electives offered to upper grade levels.

Photo courtesy of Daphne Martin

Photo courtesy of Melissa Rivera

With the benefit of a 25-station computer lab in the K4 to eighth grade classrooms, students use the labs year-round, learning keyboarding skills, Microsoft Office applications, internet safety and how to conduct academic research and compose papers using proper MLA formatting. Smartboards are also used in class. Serving Victoria since 1868, St. Joseph High School is a Catholic high school that is Victoria’s only nationally accredited, exemplary high school. Cultivating a peaceful, challenging and loving atmosphere that fosters spiritual growth, the school is known for academic excellence and its Teachers at Our Lady of Victory Catholic School incorporate technology into the classroom. focus on building the Catholic teaching methods while realizing there is an intellectually curious educational community. learner within every child. Trinity encourages students to discover Rigorous classes are designed to prepare St. Joseph students the power of their own minds to think critically, seek answers and for admission into the best colleges and universities in the nation, solve problems. as well as develop them into well-rounded citizens. On top of that, The school maintains several campuses, including the Early pupils have a variety of athletic pursuits in which to participate. Learning Center (K3-K4), Lower School (K5-fifth grade) and Middle Founded in 1954, Trinity Episcopal School’s mission is to School (sixth through eighth grades). n introduce students to innovative, creative and time honored

Children learn to work together and have fun learning at Nazareth Academy.




Companies like H-E-B and AEP came together after Hurricane Harvey to help Victoria deal with the storm’s devastation. Pictured above from H-E-B are Doug Wallace and Michael Green.



Businesses Band Together to Comfort Community In times of need, Texans help Texans. When Hurricane Harvey rolled ashore in late August 2017, the landscape changed overnight. What didn’t change, but grew stronger than ever, was the close-knit Victoria community. From first responders to local businesses, everyone went above and beyond to help each other out.

“In 40 years, we’d never seen anything like this,” says Vee Strauss, AEP Texas external affairs manager. “The storm downed more than 5,700 distribution poles and 300 transmission structures in our entire service territory, but we were prepared. We started mobilizing and reinforcing support crews the Thursday before the storm. After the storm, our first priority was looking at the whole scenario and focusing on our first responders and emergency locations in the city.” Crews worked late into the night the week following the storm, and all told, it was a cooperative team effort that led to fast and successful restoration of power to more than 220,000 customer meter outages. By Sept. 8, up to 98 percent of businesses and residents had power again. “We couldn’t have done any of it without the help of the city, county, emergency management groups and first responders,” says Strauss. “We had linemen, servicemen, tree trimmers, the whole gamut,” says Strauss. “In Victoria, the school district was phenomenal. We used their football stadium as a staging area for vehicles and material, and we fed personnel too.” As skilled personnel restored power in a timely fashion, the community cheered them on. “I can’t tell you how many times we heard great stories from our linemen and workers who had come in from other areas about the hospitality of our residents. One business posted a sign outside that said ‘Not all heroes wear capes.’ Another one put a sign out that said ‘Thank God for AEP and sweet tea’. We are grateful for all the residents and personnel for their great work,” says Strauss. “Our community stepped up and got to work. They are strong and resourceful.”



Members of AEP, from left to right, Randy Morales, Line Crew Leader; Jeremy Voigt, Line Mechanic; Earl McConnell, Service Crew Leader; and Todd Sneed, Line Crew Leader.



Businesses expressed heart-felt gratitude too. Another hero in Hurricane Harvey’s wake was H-E-B—one of the largest independent food retailers in the nation. The company donated $100,000 to relief efforts and created a tear pad campaign, enabling its customers to provide donations that could be added to their grocery bill, making a difference in the lives of thousands. H-E-B’s Mobile Kitchens and Disaster Relief Units fed communities in need, all along the Texas Gulf Coast. “In just a matter of a few days our mobile kitchens delivered 8,000 meals,” says Doug Wallace, general manager of H-E-B plus! in Victoria. “We also supplied trailers of ice and water at no charge. We always ascribe to the philosophy that we want to be the last door closed and the first one to open during any natural disaster. We recognize how important it is for families who need staples—bread, milk, other supplies and formula for babies. It’s who we are as a It was Victoria’s inspiring sense of community that helped residents and businesses recover from Harvey. company.” n By Cathy Cuthbertson



Families find Victoria’s unmatched quality of life to be one of the reasons to settle down along the Golden Crescent. 28




Ready, Set, Play! Victoria is a family friendly city just brimming with destinations where parents and children can share good times and grow together, making fun and wholesome memories that last a lifetime. The Barbara Bauer Briggs Family YMCA is one of those places, and it’s getting bigger and better all the time thanks to a recent $6.5 million renovation investment.

“Every single square foot, every inch and room, including landscaping is being renovated,” says Chris Seilkop, CEO of the YMCA of the Golden Crescent. “For $6.5 million, the community is really getting a $12-million facility.” Along with renovations, there are new additions too. “We built a brand new, zero-entry swimming pool with a splashpad attached to it,” says Seilkop. “It opened last spring, and over the summer we had 10,000 visits to the pool. The old pool was closed down—it was built in 1964—and we turned that area into a wellness center, offer personal fitness training classes, weight training for anyone over 12 and diabetes prevention classes. There’s a lot to do here, and families grow strong here, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually, too.” The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Golden Crescent provides interactive educational opportunities and engaging family experiences for children, residents and visitors. Sparking fun and learning in a bright engaging setting, kids are encouraged to develop critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills. Science, technology, engineering, art and math, with a focus on literacy, can be found in exhibits and programs throughout the museum. For a little H2O fun, kids can hop into their swimsuits and cool off at the Community Park Splashpad. When not splashing around, covered tables are available nearby. The young and young at heart will love Outlaw Pass Family Fun Center,



The Barbara Bauer Briggs Family YMCA is a great place to spend a few hours for kids and adults.

the Crossroad’s premier family entertainment center where kids are king. Outlaw Pass offers a host of adventures in one location, including a thrilling 900 linear-foot go-kart track, a unique adventure 18-hole golf course, a rock wall and much, much more.



At Laser World, little ones can play laser tag to their heart’s content or step into the world of adventure inside the 4-D theater. A state-of-the-art arcade features games for players of all skill levels. When the games are over, drop into the Elements Café to refuel.

Photo courtesy of Outlaw Pass

Victoria is home to attractions like Outlaw Pass, which are great for families.

Kids will have a blast and get plenty of exercise as they bounce, romp and play at the Hang Time Trampoline Park, featuring 14,000 square feet of indoor fun. Play dodge ball on a trampoline, or try the Slam Dunk trampoline courts. Younger children have their own special area with smaller trampolines. Whether inside or outside, there are plenty of places to unwind, make memories and enjoy being a family. n By Cathy Cuthbertson

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS “The Chamber is an invaluable resource. They let us know what’s going on, when new businesses are opening up, and are great stewards of the community. They are a great team to work with.” 

— David Arnold, President & CEO, D.E. Web Works




Medical professionals make going to the doctor or visiting the hospital as comfortable as possible. VICTORIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


Photo courtesy of Ernesto A. Perez


Treating a Wide Array of Medical Conditions Getting well is made easier in Victoria thanks to health care providers who put patients first. No matter the ailment, individuals receive only the best of care.

Citizens Medical Center

Since 1956, Citizens Medical Center has been seeing to the needs of the South Texas community. The 338-bed acute care facility is recognized for its exemplary cardiology services, which include an accredited Chest Pain Center and an approved STEMI receiving center for patients suffering from a heart attack. The medical center is home to an accredited comprehensive community cancer program by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Its Kathryn O’Connor Regional Cancer Center treats a variety of cancer types, such as breast, cervical, colorectal, pancreatic, ovarian, skin, thyroid and testicular. On top of that, Citizens Medical Center is in discussions with MD Anderson Cancer Center to bring more services to Victoria. The hospital also boasts a 24/7 emergency department with an advanced Level III trauma facility and medical helicopter on-site if transportation is needed. Citizens Medical Center is also a primary stroke center, has imaging and surgery centers, a sleep study center, a women’s pavilion with labor and delivery services, is a center for excellence for bariatric surgery and is the area’s only neonatal transport service, just to name a few of its premier medical services.

DeTar Healthcare System DeTar Healthcare System is comprised of two full-service, acute care hospitals: DeTar Hospital Navarro and DeTar Hospital North. The hospitals have been recognized by the Joint Commission for quality care and offer services to treat a host of medical conditions. Services include a comprehensive cardiac program, an accredited Chest Pain Center, an inpatient rehabilitation facility, Level III and Level IV trauma centers, a designated Primary Stroke Center, a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and more. Aside from its impressive line up of medical services, DeTar Healthcare System is now offering a medical residency program through Texas A&M Health Science Center’s (TAMHSC) College of Medicine. Future physicians can now get the training they need right here in Victoria. The program will accept six residents each year. The




When in need of an operation, highly trained surgeons put patients at ease.

DeTar Family Medicine Center houses patient rooms that allow the family medicine residents and TAMHSC faculty members to treat patients in a comfortable setting. Whether feeling under the weather or looking to help those who are, there is an exceptional health care provider for one and all in Victoria. n By Sarah Lancaster



It’s important to take care of the physical body, but good health encompasses more, especially for senior citizens. In Victoria, there are plenty of ways for seniors to find intellectual stimulation and to address their spiritual health as well. Relaxation and active fun in Victoria even draws snowbirds to the area during the winter months. Victoria’s location, near the Gulf of Mexico and between four major metro areas, makes it ideal for easily accessing entertainment and cultural events. The town’s colorful history, many parks and community events make it a perfect place to enjoy retirement to the fullest. Whether on a visit from out of town or just getting away from the day-to-day grind, Dad’s RV Park offers plenty of amenities for comfort and opportunities to socialize for fun. Rates are available for daily, weekly or monthly stays, and Wi-Fi, cable and full hook-ups are included. In addition to the beautiful shady lots, Dad’s RV Park also features a clubhouse with a barbecue pit, treadmill, television, commercial kitchen and wraparound porches that are perfect for relaxing. For those who are ready for a more permanent move, Vitality Court, part of the Vitality Senior Living family, provides a retirement community, assisted living services and specialized memory care services. In addition to a wellness center and excellent dining, Vitality Court also offers spa services, creative expression activities, recreational events and cultural outings. To make the transition easier, the Vitality Court staff offers the Easy-Move Program, which eases

some of the stress associated with moving. Elmcroft of Victoria provides comfortable, private and shared assisted living facilities. There are common areas for meeting with friends, dining or entertaining. In addition to beautiful facilities, Elmcroft has signature programming designed to help residents stay fit, active and engaged. Brookdale Copperfield Village offers a full slate of events and excellent dining with meals made from scratch. With a resort atmosphere and numerous amenities, Brookdale Copperfield Village residents enjoy a luxurious retirement lifestyle. With specialized fitness programs, group activities, culinary programs and educational opportunities, Brookdale Copperfield Village boasts many ways to stay in good health. The community also offers one- and two-bedroom floor plans that are light-filled and spacious. The Victoria County Senior Association provides support services for seniors in the county. The organization has offered health screenings, recreational events and social meals at two sites since 1979. They also provide meals for homebound seniors and transportation services. The two senior centers schedule a wide variety of activities, including quilting and crafting, numerous games and more. Retirement can be a time of enjoyment, socializing and learning in a place like Victoria. No matter the interests, there is

Retirees enjoy Victoria’s beautiful weather and active senior community.

something for everyone. Book clubs, board games, bingo, card games and movies all allow seniors to congregate and socialize, which is a critical part of good health. Staying active, physically, socially and mentally helps make the senior years a truly golden age. n By Dava Stewart

From book clubs to card games and so much in between, seniors stay active mentally and physically.



The Texas Mile takes place twice a year at Victoria Regional Airport, where motorists test their limits. Pictured here are Mike xxxxxx and Mark Evans. Gleason 38 VICTORIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE



Race Invigorates Adventure Seekers Twice a year, Victoria Regional Airport is transformed into a world-known motorsports event, the Texas Mile, hosting amateur and professional car and motorcycle enthusiasts from around the globe for an ultimate Top Speed Racing experience. It is a man-and-machine challenge. Participants race against the mile-per-hour clock with “No Speed Limit” to capture their top speed at the 1-mile marker.

“This is a community centric event everyone enjoys. We deliver an experience that positively impacts people and businesses,” says Shannon Matus, who started the event in 2003 with her husband, Jay. “Our event caters to enhancing the perspective of our participants and fans. It has a very ‘personal feel’ to it while at the same time is considered a ‘big-time’ racing event. People describe it as a big backyard barbecue where the entertainment is fast cars and motorcycles instead of playing horseshoes.” The Texas Mile has become a tradition for many in the Victoria area. “It truly is a family event,” says Matus. “We have families and friends who bring their cars and try to out-do one another. Mom trying to beat dad’s speed or even her son’s speed.” In 2017, the event moved from Beeville to Victoria to rave reviews, and has only grown since its inception. The Texas Mile originally began with 35 participants. The event now features more than 220 participants and thousands of spectators in attendance. Prior to the relocation to Victoria, the event brought more than $1 million to the local community each year with more than 2,700 hotel room nights booked. This impact has grown in Victoria.

People come from all over the world to race in and watch the Texas Mile.



The Texas Mile is fun for the whole family!

“We have absolutely been pleased with Victoria,” says Matus. “Victoria has welcomed us and enthusiastically coordinated with us

to put on this community-based event. The success is truly a result of the partnering efforts of the community.” n By Gennie Taylor

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS “I am very proud to be a member of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber assisted me with ribbon cuttings for my law firm when it was opened and when it expanded. The monthly luncheons are extremely insightful for community events and information. These monthly meetings usually produce one or two clients for us a month through networking before, during and after the event. For the last several years, I have sent employees through the Chamber Leadership class. My employees find the class helpful and interesting. I find it has positively assisted our business by having better trained employees and with the networking that this several months course provides with other business leaders in the community. The Customer Service class offered by the Chamber most recently was one that I highly recommend as well. These opportunities are provided at great prices (almost nothing!) for members of the Chamber. Being a member of the Chamber has certainly benefited me personally and professionally.”

—Diane Kliem, Attorney/Mediator/CPA, Kliem & Associates Attorneys At Law





Photo courtesy of Danny Vivian

Just 15 miles from Victoria, Beloved Schroeder fictional Hall has characters been the invite locals venue to to be go their for a guest night at outpristine on productions the town for staged decades. byPictured venues like Theatre here is Country Victoria.Fever. 42 VICTORIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE



Dance Hall Keeps Toes Tapping On a scenic country road about 15 miles west of Victoria lies the sleepy little community of Schroeder, Texas. The town itself is sparse, consisting only of a few houses, a volunteer fire station, a weathered mercantile store, which has long been shut down and historic dance hall. When the sun goes down, however, the old hall awakens, transforming into a neon and sound-filled magnet for two-steppers and music fans.

Country tunes pour off the stage and friendly bartenders slide longnecks out to waiting hands, as couples circle the hardwood dance floor in a festive swirl of organized motion. The self-proclaimed “Second Oldest Dance Hall in Texas” draws crowds from the Victoria area and beyond to meet friends, scoot their boots to the best in live music and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Schroeder Hall has been a fixture of entertainment in the Victoria area for generations. Ask around and locals will be happy to tell their “back in the day” stories of nights at the hall when entire families gathered with kids in tow to meet friends, enjoy music and dance. Over the years, legendary performers have graced its stage, including Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Ronnie Milsap, George Jones, Tammy Wynette and many others. More recently, contemporary acts like Cross Canadian Ragweed, Robert Earl Keen, Los Lonely Boys, The Cody Johnson Band and Kevin Fowler have filled the hall to capacity. The historic venue, its roots reaching back to the late 1800s, has survived many highs and lows over the years. At times its future was unsure, but the old hall was recently granted new life when it was purchased by current owner Linda Krause, whose investment in time and money served to restore the place to a fresher version of its nostalgic past. The charm of the old hall is still very evident, but the upgrades are notable and many. In addition to a new roof and barn red walls, Schroeder Hall now boasts a completely rebuilt expanded stage with state-of-the-art lights and sound, large updated restrooms, a beautiful refinished dance floor and a new large outdoor stage in the courtyard for live



Photo courtesy of Danny Vivian

Toe-tapping tunes keep guests dancing the night away. Pictured here is singer Charley Pride.



Photo courtesy of Danny Vivian

Best of all, Schroeder Hall is smoke free.

music under the stars. Two things have not changed, however: The landmark weathered metal sign by the road, and the warm friendly atmosphere that has made Schroeder Hall a haven of pure South Texas charm. The hall is a smoke-free venue, however, smoking is allowed

in the outdoor courtyard. Schroeder Hall’s kitchen offers delicious burgers, sandwiches and other menu items. The bar offers setups and a wide variety of beer and wine. Patrons may bring their own liquor. Schroeder Hall is located at 12516 FM 622, Goliad, Texas. n By Danny Vivian



Photo courtesy of Outlaw Pass


There is no need to leave Victoria for fun and entertainment. There is a little of everything for everyone.


By Rachel Nall

To See & Do

Gallivant Through the Golden Crescent By Cathy Cuthbertson

No matter the season, there is always something going on in Victoria. From community events to bustling attractions, there are numerous ways to play along the Golden Crescent.



Annual Lighted Christmas Parade Making spirits bright, the city of Victoria’s Annual Lighted Christmas Parade is the perfect way to start the holiday season. Taking place in downtown, friends and families gather for the festive occasion in early December, viewing more than 100 fantastic sparkling floats, vehicles and marching bands spreading cheer to one and all.

Photo courtesy of Danny Vivian

Art Car Parade Moving works of art are on display at the Art Car Parade and Festival in April. Held in Victoria, the parade and festival spans three days. Participants can enter their mobile works of art for a chance to win prizes based on creativity.

Bootfest In early October, guests put on their boots and head out to Victoria’s largest, free music festival. The annual Bootfest presents a musical line up of stellar talent, featuring new and old-styled country western, Flamenco, Latin, rock and blues, colorful, traditional Hispanic dance and more. A Kids Corral for ages 3 – 12 is filled with fun inflatable rides for hours of entertainment.

Cemetery Tours

Bootfest brings singers like Kyle Park to town each October.

Re-enactors play out colorful and lively vignettes as visitors meet the ghostly residents of Evergreen Cemetery. Offered in late October, the torch-lit tour travels back in time through the perspectives of historic figures who all played a pivotal role in Victoria’s rich history.

top-notch fright fest with jaw-dropping excitement. Visitors are invited to wear costumes while visiting the zoo and participate in games, treats and activities as they stroll the Texas Zoo. The Haunted Zoo is open nightly at 8 p.m.

Cinco de Mayo La Celebracion The DeLeon Plaza is the epicenter of excitement at the annual Cinco de Mayo La Celebracion held every May in downtown. Featuring live music, tasty foods, crafts, Aztec dancers, Mariachi and a play area for kids, it’s a great time for all ages. Kicking off a spectacular 26th year of fun in 2018, the celebracion just gets bigger and better every year.

Disc Golf at Riverside Park One of Texas’ most challenging courses bordering the Guadalupe River, Disc Golf at Riverside Park is a blast. Afterwards, explore the grounds, featuring more than 600 acres, 200 picnic areas, a zoo, duck pond and more.

Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art draws on the cultural diversity of South Texas, featuring broad access to works by regional and national artists and creators. Local and national artists are showcased, celebrating the community’s Mexican and European foundations. Admission is free.

Howl-O-Ween Block Party and Haunted Zoo The Howl-O-Ween Block Party and Haunted Zoo is a

JAM Fest JAM Fest, a free music festival, takes place downtown, featuring tunes, food and shopping. It’s a great way to spend an April day. Along with diverse bands and multiple genres of music, JAM Fest features a little something for everyone.

Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts The Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts hosts year-round performances, including theater, dance and concerts, just to name a few. Owned and managed by Victoria College, the center caters to business events too, and is home to resident company Theatre Victoria.

Museum of the Coastal Bend The Museum of the Coastal Bend showcases the rich multicultural heritage of Texas’ mid-coastal region. Through a robust slate of permanent and temporary exhibits, educational programming, public lectures and conservation efforts, the museum enhances the appreciation and enjoyment of the region’s heritage.

The Nutcracker It’s one of the most festive nights of the year, the Victoria Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker” has been wowing crowds since 1985. Come enjoy the sound and colors of the holidays for five public performances. WWW.VICTORIACHAMBER.ORG


Photo courtesy of Victoria CVB

Come out to JAM Fest for music, food, art and more.

Parade of Homes The Parade of Homes is a showcase of Victoria’s newest and most exquisite homes. Sponsored by the



Builders Association of Victoria and corporate anchors, homes are open to the public to tour and view the latest in kitchens, baths, interior decor, craftsmanship,

furnishings and so much more. The parade takes place each May.

Polo at McFaddin Ranch Steeped in tradition, Polo at McFaddin Ranch is the quintessential event of the year. Enjoy tailgating, wine and beer, a live silent auction, live music and Kid’s Corral. The polo match is held in early April as a benefit for the Nave Museum.

South Texas Transportation Conference The South Texas Transportation Conference takes place each September and is a premier educational forum for planners, government officials and economic development representatives. Held at Victoria College Conference and Education Center, the event provides updates and details on transportation projects important to maintaining an excellent quality of life in South Texas.

Victoria Bach Festival Photo courtesy of Nina di Leo

Performing masterworks of classical repertoire and new music, the weeklong Victoria Bach Festival celebrates the beloved work of J.S. Bach and composers of the ages. Audiences find delight in orchestral, choral and chamber works performed by local and nationally acclaimed artists in various venues around Victoria and South Texas. The event is held in early June and enters its 43rd year in 2018.

Enjoy classic tunes during the weeklong Victoria Bach Festival.



Find unique items and locally made goods during Victoria Market Days.

Victoria Farmers Market Grab the grocery list and head to the Pattie Dodson Health Center to find fresh and seasonal items at the open-air farmers market. Tantalizing home-baked goods, local honey, free-range eggs and fresh produce abound. There are also fresh meats, herbs and pickles to take home. Enjoy live music and food trucks as well. The market is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Victoria Generals The Victoria Generals, members of the Texas Collegiate League, play at the historic Riverside Stadium. Come cheer on some of the best professional prospects from colleges around the country.

Victoria Livestock Show Attracting more than 10,000 visitors each year, the Victoria Livestock Show—in its 72nd year—is one of the few remaining livestock shows where 100 percent of the proceeds from each animal sold at the auction is paid to the 4-H/FFA Junior Exhibitors. Pre-show events begin February 23rd and include a barbecue cookoff, parade, carnival, a beauty pageant and more. Livestock exhibits are open March 1st thru 4th and



the auction closes out the festivities on March 5th.

Victoria Market Days Homemade treasures and tasty treats are just a few things that can be found at Victoria Market Days. Farmers and vendors offer garden-fresh produce and vendors provide home-baked goods and all kinds of delicious artisan fare. There are plenty of arts and crafts, food trucks and more.

Warrior’s Weekend Supporting U.S. veterans with an emphasis on those wounded in the Global War on Terrorism, Warrior’s Weekend celebrates vets with an annual fishing event. Grab a line and a pole and come on down to Port O’Connor each May.

Wild About Wine Wine tasting, food pairing, entertainment and music make for a night of fun at the annual Wild About Wine fundraiser for the Texas Zoo in March. The grounds are transformed to a magical venue emphasizing a special theme. A wide variety of select wines are, of course, part of the evening.



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