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Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Oncor Electric Delivery


Hal Whitaker

Loren Schwartz

Rick Tullis

Capstone Mechanical


Jennifer Manning Patillo Brown & Hill, LLP


Michael Baldwin


Englander DzignPak PCA

PRESIDENT & CEO Matt Meadors

Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce

Rachel Alston Jessica Attas Samantha Baker Lexy Bishop Jennifer Branch Kris Collins Gabriella Colurciello Ellen Gradel Nancy Gupton Amanda Haygood

Brittany Knight Keith Kusler Rachel Martinez Debbie McCutchen Matt Meadors Seth Morris Autumn Outlaw Jason Powers Felicia Taylor Michelle Williams



Autumn Outlaw

Samantha Baker


For advertising, contact Autumn Outlaw (254) 757-5603 •


Photo by Samuel Scott Photography

The Greater Waco Chamber strives to expand support for entrepreneurs with infrastructure and networked relationships needed to create and scale new enterprises. This issue focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in Waco. We are honored to celebrate the innovation and dedication that Virginia DuPuy has poured into Waco over the last 60 years.

Greater Waco Business is published and distributed to Chamber members and economic development prospects. Digital copies are available online at

This publication is printed on FSC-certified paper. © 2019 Greater Waco Chamber 101 S. Third St. Waco TX 76701 • (254) 757-5600 The Greater Waco Chamber reserves the right to reject editorial or advertising content in the Greater Waco Business publication, and via the organization’s full range of communications | SPRING 2019 platforms, at its sole discretion. 4

Your Chamber’s recently-conducted Annual Membership Celebration was a wonderful evening. The 2018 Board Chairman Hal Whitaker reviewed the work and impacts of your Chamber over the past year, and 2019 Board Chairwoman Loren Schwartz provided the nearly 500 attendees with a look ahead at the organization’s areas of focus for the new year. I want to express my warmest thanks to Hal for his mentorship and tireless dedication to the Greater Waco Chamber during his time as our leader, and my sincere appreciation to Loren for her willingness to accept the reins of leadership of your Chamber into the future. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of your Chamber’s 2019 Legacy Award to Virginia DuPuy. The purpose of the Legacy Award is to recognize an individual for his or her work to strengthen and grow the Waco economy and make our community a better place to live. Important considerations include leadership, impact, sustained investment of time and talent, innovative thinking, and collaborative approaches to addressing community needs, challenges, and opportunities. Virginia’s leadership, longstanding commitment to her fellow citizens, and tireless work to improve the Waco community serve as a shining example for all of us. This edition of Greater Waco Business highlights Virginia’s public service and prolific community-building through the years. I want to express my warmest congratulations to Virginia on her well-deserved recognition. She is indeed an inspiration. The focus of this edition of Greater Waco Business is on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is an important component of your Chamber’s Build Greater Waco economic development strategic plan. As we work to strengthen, grow, and diversify our economy, the importance of efforts to identify, encourage, and support our innovators and entrepreneurial-minded individuals cannot be overstated. The following pages explore the formation of our community’s Start Up Waco initiative, and the unveiling of our impressive co-working space – Hustle. Start Up Waco and Hustle will be critical to our community’s work to “stand up” our region’s entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as our efforts to attract talented, thoughtful risk-takers to our community. Start Up Waco and Hustle are great examples of what happens when organizations and driven individuals come together and commit to working collaboratively to address a community need. There are too many individuals to name in this letter. Suffice it to say that all have my deep appreciation for their vision and sustained hard work. Like Virginia DuPuy, they are an inspiration. As always, thank you for your support of your chamber of commerce. With appreciation,

Matthew T. Meadors President & CEO































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hat defines a person’s legacy? Is it a passionate, lifelong dedication to a career? Is it growing a large and happy family? Is it a lifetime of giving back to a community? The word evokes a deep sense of honor and respect and is reserved for only very special people. One of those very special people is Mrs. Virginia DuPuy, who was recently presented with the Greater Waco Chamber Legacy Award and who is most deserving of the word “legacy.�

by Samantha Baker, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Greater Waco Chamber

The primary purpose of the Legacy Award is for the Chamber and the business community to honor citizens for their volunteer leadership, their impact and their sustained investment of time, talent, innovation and collaboration to addressing the needs, challenges and opportunities of their community. The Chamber created this award to recognize a leader in our community for a lifetime of service, not only to the Chamber but the entirety of Greater Waco. WACOCHAMBER.COM


Virginia was born and grew up in Houston, attending college at the University of Houston. She soon transferred to Baylor University, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in drama. She had planned to study business but discovered and cultivated a passion for writing, designing, and directing in the theatre. During her time in the master’s program, Virginia was an instructor and business manager for the Baylor Theatre Department. It was during her time at Baylor that Virginia met Leslie DuPuy, the man who would become her husband. Virginia has a very diverse artistic background. She began working with Luanne Klaras on a “Youth in Motion” program. They worked together with a diverse group of children, writing scripts and teaching them the art of drama. The group began performing their plays locally and eventually took their plays to Austin and San Antonio. This work inspired Virginia to take on a number of commitments in the following years, including the development of an arts and drama program at St. Paul’s Episcopal School, and bringing artists together to display their work in public spaces like the Art Center, Waco Regional Airport, and the Waco Convention Center. Ultimately, she decided to open and run her very own Virginia DuPuy Studio. In early 1983, Leslie asked Virginia to come into the family business that he started in 1954 and had grown from one to three Central Texas locations. After a few weeks working with Leslie, she realized that she was very passionate about the business so she closed her Design studio and by the end of 1983, was working full-time at DuPuy Oxygen. Within two years, Leslie was then able to retire and their sons Cary and Carr soon joined the business following their Texas A&M graduations and other job experiences. Virginia took on banking relationships, finances, and human resource development. Cary handled purchasing and inventory management while 10 | SPRING 2019

Carr focused on growing the new Temple store and served as technical support for all three locations. To grow the businesses, Virginia bought and remodeled a building in Corsicana, then bought property in Temple and built a store for Temple Welding. All three DuPuys then took on adding another building behind their Loop 340 store and expanded pumping operations to service Waco and their branches. Thereafter, Carr and Cary bought land and built the buildings for the additional stores in Killeen, Ennis, Round Rock and finally Cleburne. With the Waco store having outgrown their Loop 340 location, Carr and Cary bought an existing structure in 2007 on Imperial Drive and “striped it to the bones.” Carr then built the current facility affording their operations significant expansion, housing the Waco store, Corporate offices, Cylinder Fill and Transport Operations, and Welding Machine Repair Service. Over the years, the DuPuys have grown the company from three to an impressive seven locations in seven counties, employing over 75 people. In 1990, Virginia joined the Board of Directors at the Greater Waco Chamber, which kicked off an 11-year run of executive service to the Chamber. In 2000, Virginia became the first female Board Chair that the Chamber had ever had in its then 83-year history. She went on to become the first female president of the Waco Business League in 2004. In an effort to have a stronger presence of business professionals on City Council, she was asked to consider running in District 3, and was elected. In 2005, current mayor Dr. Mae Jackson, a good friend of Virginia’s, passed away unexpectedly, leaving the mayor’s seat unfilled. Virginia saw a big opportunity and a step that made sense for her. All of her life, the work she had done in and for the community and the many ways she served and gave back,

it all led up to this moment. Virginia became Mayor of Waco in 2005 and served in that capacity until 2010, and her leadership during that time is possibly the brightest star in her legacy. Virginia helped set a standard of conduct for future Councils, a standard that is still in place today. Her good friend Bill Clifton presented her with the Legacy Award at the Chamber’s annual Member Celebration Reception, and during his presentation, he reflected on what made Virginia a truly outstanding leader during her time on City Council and serving as mayor.“Virginia is an excellent listener,” he said. “She was a mayor for all of our citizens, and she worked diligently to understand what was important to each council member and the citizens they represented… Tough issues were resolved and actions turned into realities — in short, things got done.”


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After her service as mayor, Virginia was not done building her legacy. She decided to center her focus on education in the community and founded the Education Alliance, which worked to improve educational opportunities at all levels for all citizens. In 2014, Virginia helped morph her Education Alliance into the organization known today as Prosper Waco, whose mission is to build an environment in which ALL members of the Waco community are able to measurably improve their education, health, and financial security. Virginia lost her husband Leslie in 2018, but lives in Waco and is surrounded by her beautiful family, including her sons Carr and Cary, their wives LaRaine and Mandi, and her four grandchildren Riley, Scott, Paige and Neal. Virginia’s face lights up any time she gets the opportunity to tell people about her family, and it is clear that they truly represent the legacy that Virginia has spent her life building. Her son Cary gave Bill Clifton a statement to

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use during the presentation of the Legacy Award in which Cary best sums up what makes his mother special: “I can’t very well gauge the worth of Mom’s accomplishments to civilization’s steady march forward, but I can recognize a crucial contribution and the contribution for which I laud her the most. It’s something every child should experience: the security, comfort, and confidence afforded by the unceasing and unconditional caring, love, and affection from a mother who receives failures and shortcomings with acceptance and encouragement to persevere; who finds numerous openings for exploring and developing her child’s creative skills; who habitually sees the world through hopeful eyes and a generous spirit — all while holding gratitude for her children’s own capacity, humble acknowledgement of their limitations, and appreciation for the greatness of others.” n

The Greater Waco Chamber is proud to have the opportunity to honor and recognize Virginia DuPuy as the 2019 Legacy Award recipient. The number of civic activities, committees, organizations and people that have benefited from Virginia’s service is too high to imagine, but here are some of the highlights of her career and community service:

Work History:

1957–1961: Baylor Theater Drama Department, Business Manager, Instructor Theater Business, Playwriting, Directing

1962–1965: Children’s Theater, Co-Founder-Director, “Youth in Motion,” Private Children’s Creative Arts

1969–1973: St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Developed Arts-Drama program

1973–1974: PTA President J.H. Hines Elementary to serve Teacher/Students

1972–1973: Waco Art Center, Student-Parent Workshops

1975–1980: Art in Public Spaces Organizer

1974–1983: Virginia DuPuy Studio

1983: Began working at DuPuy Oxygen, President 1984–Present Serving Central Texas businesses in seven locations since 1954


1988–1991: TSTC Foundation Board

1988–1994: YMCA Board member

1990–1992: YMCA President (During merger of YM & YW to build Waco Family Y)

1994–1998: Regional Director, Southwest Zone Vice-President, National Welding Supply Association,

1990–1994: Greater Waco Chamber Board member

1997–2001: Greater Waco Chamber Executive Committee

2000: Greater Waco Chamber Board Chair 2001–2004: Greater Waco Chamber Water Quality Task Force Chair 1996: FastTrac Advisory Board, Baylor Institute for Family Businesses

1996–2004: CORD Communication Board, CORD Marketing

1998–2001: Waco Foundation Board

1998–2001: MCC Foundation Board

2001–Present: Cooper Foundation Board 2002–Present: Providence Foundation

2001–2005: Heart of Texas Workforce Development Board

2003–2005: Heart of Texas Workforce Board Chair

2001–Present: Waco Business League

2004: Waco Business League President

2004–2005: City of Waco, Council Seat III

2005–2010: Mayor of City of Waco

2010–2014: Education Alliance

2014–Present: Prosper Waco Co-Founder and Board Member 2014–Present: Baylor Waco Sports Authority Board


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by Vicky Kendig, contributing writer

Waco’s movers and shakers are predicting exciting times for entrepreneurs in the city and in McLennan County. Representatives of the Greater Waco Chamber recently said that the area has experienced 82 consecutive months of economic growth, with the county well above the national average in labor-force growth. This is great news not only for established companies but also for individual entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. To help accommodate the local economic boom, the nonprofit organization Start Up Waco opened a new, flexible coworking and program-focused entrepreneurship center called Hustle on December 7, 2018. Located at 605 Austin Ave. in the Woolworth Suites building in downtown Waco, Hustle aims to encourage, train, mentor, and offer space for entrepreneurs who might not have the capital to afford their own offices and who may need help in starting up or scaling up a business.

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The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, Waco Foundation and Baylor University, as well as the city of Waco and McLennan County, spearheaded the formation of Start Up Waco and are actively involved in its operation. Prices at Hustle start at $50 a month for a virtual membership that includes four one-day passes to the physical space, members-only events, access

to a printer/copier, conference room, and mentorship. For $150 per month, members receive all of that plus high-speed wi-fi, coffee and snacks, and a business address. Dedicated desks at Hustle start at $275 a month and include all of the amenities plus locker storage, filing cabinet, a dedicated desk, and 24/7 access to the physical space.


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At the wheel of this innovative work and collaboration space is the board of Start Up Waco, a nonprofit baby itself at a mere 18 months old. Start Up Waco board Chair and Waco Foundation Executive Director Ashley Allison said, “Waco is looking at some very big growth and development in the future. It’s wonderful and positive, but you have to make sure you’re considering every part of the community when those explosions happen – making sure everyone is there with a voice.” The board has an important role to play. “We all realize we’re in the middle of a renaissance,” Allison said. “I hope Start Up Waco will be a driver of the future.” Waco Foundation has been a key player in forming the Start Up Waco board as well as sending local entrepreneurs to training around the country – something it did even before Start Up Waco came on the scene. The Foundation as an entity will not be taking part in Hustle’s mentorship program, but Allison sees the Foundation’s role as a “neutral convener” in fostering collaboration and inclusion and in providing staff time and training support for Hustle. The Greater Waco Chamber also played a pivotal role in the development of Start Up Waco and was the first organization to provide significant funding for the project. The Chamber also served as a temporary “home base” for the initial Start Up Waco employees, providing desks and meeting space while Hustle Co-Working was under construction. Inspiration for Hustle came in 2016 during the Greater Waco Chamber’s annual InterCity Visit, where several community leaders visited Nashville and the entrepreneur center there. The attendees from McLennan County had explored other entrepreneurship centers around the country, but Nashville was “the pilot light that ignited the flame,” said Start Up Waco board member Mark Reynolds, who was on the trip.


Allison said that many people caught the vision during that visit, but she and Tate Christiansen could not stop talking about it. During a cab ride to the Nashville airport, their animated conversation centered on their experience. “We had just seen this amazing entrepreneurship center,” she said. “It was an electric atmosphere. You could tell things were happening in there. There was no reason we couldn’t have it in Waco.” They decided then and there that “we’ve got to make this happen in Waco. And we won’t shut up about it!” Allison said. Kris Collins, vice president of economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber, agrees with Allison’s assessment of the area’s phenomenal business growth. She’s on the board of Start Up Waco and is an enthusiastic proponent of Hustle and its potential to advance entrepreneurship in this area. Collins describes Hustle as a central physical place for business idea-makers – a “gathering space with a front door for people to go through” to get the help they need. It is a road map to collaborative service providers within the greater Waco community. Many entrepreneurs work out of the home, a coffee

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shop or other geographically scattered spaces. Hustle gives them a place to collaborate and hold meetings, to access resources, to learn, and to build “more legitimacy for business,” Collins said. Quickbooks 101 was the topic of a recent free class offered to members. Hustle also provides opportunities to break up the work day with yoga sessions, small concerts, and weekly entrepreneurship presentations by 1 Million Cups Waco. Soon to be added is a mentorship program to connect business leaders with new entrepreneurs just starting out, as well as those who have been in business for a while but want to scale up and take their companies to the next level. Thirty local leaders from business and industry are ready to mentor paying members of Hustle when the program is fully instituted. Others in the community who are not members may also sign up for a free one-hour mentoring session.

diversity and inclusion are certainly objectives as well. “Start Up Waco is supposed to be a very diverse and inclusive organization,” Collins said. “It’s about providing resources and access for all, not just in Waco, but all across McLennan County.” The board’s 14 members are ethnically diverse. Collins said, “The make-up of the board is reflective of the desire to have that diverse group of inputs into the organization as well.”

Though Hustle is open to all entrepreneurs of the area, it is “particularly helpful for newer businesses,” Collins said. If collaboration is a main facet of Start Up Waco and Hustle,


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Board member and founder of Arroyo Consulting and Education Strategies Fernando Arroyo, who was president of the Sanger Heights Neighborhood Association, has seen the struggles of entrepreneurs in his area. After attending a Waco Foundation-funded trip for training on how communities collaborate to foster economic development and community empowerment, he came back to Waco with a new sense of focus on assets already available in neighborhoods. “One of the things that struck me was the drive, the risk and the hope that many local entrepreneurs in my neighborhood, who were primarily Spanish-speaking, had. The dreams that fell apart and the new dreams that emerged from those ashes were incredible,” he said. Those experiences helped spur him to join Start Up Waco. He said that the educational institutions in Waco – Baylor University, McLennan Community College, University Center at MCC and Texas State Technical College – as well as other organizations, are remarkable assets, “more than any of us individually can imagine.” 20 | SPRING 2019

Entrepreneurship among Hispanics is “in the DNA of Waco,” Arroyo said. “Food trucks are kind of hip nowadays. Little start-ups are kind of hip nowadays. But those are things that have been pioneered by the Hispanic community for a long time, not because it’s hip but because of necessity to feed mouths.” The entrepreneurship bug bit him when he was a child. Arroyo watched his uncles and aunts start their own businesses. His mother is an entrepreneur who started a cake shop in Waco and sold her goods solely through word of mouth. The business made enough to support and educate her children and helped Arroyo become the first in his family to graduate high school and obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees in college.


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Another Start Up Waco board member and retired plant manager, Sherman Ayres, became involved partially because he liked the comprehensive nature of the organization. He said, “Waco is in the process of developing new solutions to address long-standing challenges, including how to engage and support the entire community… as an AfricanAmerican professional, I am encouraged by the intentionality of this organization to be truly inclusive from the start. The board of directors is a well-balanced group of males and females and people of color.” As for its potential impact on the area, he said the organization is “poised to create significant opportunities for our entire community, and, for me, that possibility is very exciting.” Jeremy Vickers, Baylor’s associate vice president for external affairs since last June and a Start Up Waco board member, serves a key role for Hustle. He brings a wealth of entrepreneurial experience and knowledge to Waco, having been the executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas Dallas and also co-founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. He was quick to point out that he was not involved in the early years of the local project but arrived in the midst of the roll-out of Hustle. “I showed up in the middle of this, so it’s almost unfair for me to pretend I’ve played a big role. I jumped on a fast-moving train. Now I’m throwing coal on the fire with a group of other people,”

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he said with a laugh. Other board members differ with that assessment and instead look to Vickers as a guide through the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The very successful center in Dallas under Vickers’s leadership experienced some important missteps in its early years that taught him a lot. “Failure is learning. We want to share those failures, and we want to show what it’s like to run one of the spaces, like Hustle,” he said. Vickers expects that Start Up Waco will increase the quality and quantity of entrepreneurship in the local community. “We want to be an inclusive environment where no one is left behind, where anyone who strives can succeed,” he said. Gradual growth in past years put Waco in place to take advantage of a unique opportunity. “When Magnolia exploded, when it came on the scene, Waco was ready, not the other way around,” Vickers said. “Because of that, Magnolia thrust Waco even further into its rapid growth.” He describes the current local economic climate as a “window of opportunity” where entrepreneurship can really expand. A major goal of Start Up Waco is to create an environment where anyone will feel welcome and comfortable and to partner with those who haven’t been adequately served in the past. Educating entrepreneurs and equipping them with the necessary skills is a key objective of Hustle. “The average person starting a business needs to know how to do


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40 or 50 things to be a successful entrepreneur,” Vickers said. “Our training and experience typically only provide four or five things that we’re really good at.” Hustle draws on the emerging gig economy movement, a cultural phenomenon that Vickers believes Waco is following. It is based on the Uber business model that allows people to follow their passion in their work and the idea that they may do three or four jobs at once. By providing a space for the gig economy, leaders hope that the bright, talented graduates from the five local institutions of higher learning will choose to remain in Waco and establish businesses here. “We want to help people who have a dream,” Vickers said. Alfred Solano, executive director of the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a Start Up Waco board member, agrees. “Entrepreneurs face many challenges, and I am confident that Start Up Waco will be able to play a role in addressing those challenges,” he said. “When we talk about entrepreneurs, I think a lot of us have a mental picture of an individual with the next million-dollar idea in need of financial capital. My guess is that such a person could come out of the Hustle space, and I hope many do. However, I am as excited about the economic impact that will come from the photographer, party planner, baker, and restaurateur that will benefit from Start Up Waco.” Mark Reynolds, north regional president of Extraco Banks and the secretary/treasurer of the Start Up Waco board, is leading the current efforts to raise $1.5 million to help fund Start Up Waco for the future. The Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corporation provided $750,000 to renovate the Hustle space downtown. Greg Leman from Baylor was the interim executive director who saw that project through. Reynolds said the initial gift from the city and county was “the first step in really making this viable. We’re now in the phase of bringing the rest of the community together. We are challenging the business community to raise $1.5 million to fund operations for the first five years.” Though Reynolds and his 15-20 fundraiser counselors are not ready to officially announce who it is, a major donor has just signed on to the project. Early donors and major sponsors are Extraco Banks, First National Bank of Central Texas and American Bank. “Kudos to their management teams for supporting our efforts,” Reynolds said. “We also have a broad range of individuals who are starting to step forward.” The campaign is about two-thirds of the way complete and is right on schedule, but Reynolds says quite a bit of work still remains. The next phase is to finish the fundraising and find a permanent executive director. The search committee for that position has met and is conducting a nationwide search to find the right person for the job. Reynolds said, “We’re challenging ourselves to really look for high quality candidates.” Start Up Waco and Hustle will help the overall economy of the area, but they are not give-away programs. “This is about building a can-do mindset and giving people tools,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to get people equipped to be able to create the businesses that are going to power our economy going forward. This is a time when we can provide opportunities for all Wacoans to succeed. You have to be willing to work and have ideas.” n

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The Waco Young Professionals (YPs) are a diverse, vibrant group of young adults that meets on a regular basis to foster and prepare an exceptional group of confident, competent and well-rounded YPs who are empowered to promote, engage and create value within the Waco business community. The Waco YPs regularly meet for Lunch Connections, Industry Tours, Leadership Luncheons, After Hours networking events, and actively participate in community outreach. For more information about how to get involved, contact Lexy Bishop at

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by Chris Dyer, President/CEO, Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute

Downtown Waco looks vastly different now than it did when

I left Baylor in 1998 with my undergraduate degree. From my vantage point at that time, there was not much going on. This clearly wasn’t the case – I’ve come to realize that Waco has always had a rich history of entrepreneurship and innovation. Two decades later, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to lead one of the original attractions in downtown Waco – the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute – and thoroughly enjoy the thriving and creative entrepreneurial environment that the community offers. I greatly appreciate the sweat equity that forward-thinking Wacoans invested in downtown so many years ago and look forward to building on that strong foundation. The Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute opened to the public in May 1991 and has welcomed close to two million visitors since then. The Museum is home of the nation’s oldest major soft drink, Dr Pepper, a product that exemplifies innovation and entrepreneurship. From the beginning, the Waco Chamber of Commerce and the City of Waco hoped the Museum would be a catalyst for renewed energy and growth in the area, with the potential for restaurants and shops in the old warehouses nearby to create a destination like the West End Historic District in Dallas. In the early 1990s, the Museum hosted 35,000 visitors a year, which was a much-needed jolt for downtown Waco at that time. Today, with the addition of the Magnolia Market at the Silos and the many restaurants, tourist attractions and businesses, downtown Waco is expected to see well over two million visitors from all over the world in 2019. 28 | SPRING 2019

The free enterprise economic system is a driving force behind everything that the Museum does. The Museum bases much of our work and educational programming around the creation and success of Dr Pepper, as well as the personal free enterprise story of the founder of the Free Enterprise Institute, W.W. “Foots” Clements. Growing up, Foots had a variety of jobs, including digging ditches. He drove a delivery truck for Dr Pepper while in college and through hard work, creativity and love for the product, eventually became the board chairman of Dr Pepper. This smalltown Alabama native and youngest of nine children helped grow Dr Pepper from a regional Texas-based company into a global brand. His is the ultimate free enterprise success story. At first glance, having “Free Enterprise Institute” in the name of the Museum may seem odd to some, but we embrace the title. What is “Free Enterprise?” Simply stated, it is the American economic system in which private businesses operate in competition and largely free of control. If not for the free enterprise system and the competition, product options, customers, innovators and opportunities that it creates, there would be no Dr Pepper – or Dr Pepper Museum – or the current downtown Waco revival that we are enjoying. Paraphrasing a recent speech by Dr Pepper Museum Board Chair Dr. Blaine McCormick, “Once we lose the right to choose which products go into our shopping cart or the freedom to change jobs when we want, it’s not long until we begin to lose our freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. The work the Museum does to preserve our free enterprise economic system simultaneously preserves and strengthens our Constitutional rights. Dr Pepper would not exist without the free enterprise system. While we celebrate Dr Pepper and free enterprise, let’s remember why the two go together. We could not have one without the other.” McCormick included a quote from the late Foots Clements stating, “Let’s make sure all Americans understand the very solid fact that if free enterprise disappears, freedom will disappear with it.” The abundance of entrepreneurs in downtown Waco provides evidence that free enterprise is alive and well.

W.W. “Foots” Clements

The Museum’s youth program offerings include The Business of Bubbles; Create a Soft Drink; Advertising and Marketing: Kids Style; Liquid Lab; and outreach focused on youth financial literacy. Through these programs, we encourage Waco and the youth of McLennan County to be creative thinkers, problemsolvers and innovators that understand how the economy and personal finance works. It is truly amazing what kids can do when mentored and given an outlet for creativity. WACOCHAMBER.COM

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Photos provided by Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute

Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store Waco was an early haven for proponents of the free enterprise system. Throughout history, people passing through the area have realized the significance of the geographic positioning of Waco, which sits on old cattle trails and strategic commerce routes, railroad lines and present-day Interstate 35. The sheer volume of people who have passed through Waco throughout history is staggering, which has resulted in a confluence of individuals with a wide variety of experiences, ideas and backgrounds. This is one of the many keys to a thriving and creative economy. Today, approximately 140,000 cars pass through Waco daily on Interstate 35 – what a location, and what an opportunity! Dr Pepper’s story is representative of what was going on in Waco in the 1880s as well as what is happening downtown today. Dr Pepper originated at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in downtown Waco. Charles Alderton, an innovative pharmacist working at Morrison’s store, was the inventor of Dr Pepper. Alderton spent most of his time mixing medicine for Waco residents, but in his spare time he enjoyed making carbonated drinks at the store soda fountain. After numerous experiments, Alderton created a mixture of syrups that he liked. To test his new drink, he first offered it to store owner Morrison, who also found it to his liking. After vigorous sample testing by the two and much trial and error, Alderton began offering his new concoction to fountain customers. Other patrons at Morrison’s soda fountain soon learned of Alderton’s new drink and began ordering it by asking him to shoot them a “Waco.” The product became so popular that they could no longer produce enough at their 30 | SPRING 2019

fountain to supply the growing demand. Robert S. Lazenby, a young beverage chemist and Robert S. Lazenby entrepreneur, had also tasted the new drink and was impressed. Alderton suggested that Morrison and Lazenby develop the product further. In 1891, Morrison and Lazenby formed a new firm, the Artesian Manufacturing & Bottling Company which later became Dr Pepper Company. The rest is history. Free markets and entrepreneurship are driven by creating and serving customers and earning success. Both W.W. “Foots” Clements and Charles Alderton experienced great success because of their work ethic and innovation, a point that the Museum focuses on with our youth educational programming. This is the kind of success that the American free enterprise system fosters. Throughout the process, it was clear that Alderton and Foots truly enjoyed and were passionate about their craft, always placed the customer in the forefront, worked hard, embraced competition and were not solely focused on dollar signs – these are all extremely important concepts that Waco’s current and emerging entrepreneurs should take to heart. n

Charles Alderton


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Baylor Expands Research Visibility and Impact by Linda Livingstone, President, Baylor University

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Can a university achieve preeminence in academics and research while remaining unambiguously Christian? From her earliest remarks upon coming to Baylor, President Linda Livingstone has affirmed that not only is that vision achievable, but doing so is vital. And no one is better positioned to become an influential Christian research university than Baylor. Illuminate, Baylor’s academic strategic plan, provides the roadmap. Through the expansion of research funding, additional PhD and professional programs, purposeful hiring of top Christian professors and an emphasis on scholarship addressing top global problems, the realization of Illuminate positions Baylor for greater influence. These aspirations are berthed not merely for the sake of prestige or accolades, but because the world needs a Tier 1 university serving as that Christian voice in society’s most meaningful conversations. On recent episodes of the radio program and podcast Baylor Connections, President Livingstone addressed key questions about Baylor’s future direction, and how its historic foundation of faith will shape that vision going forward.

What does Tier 1 status, or becoming an R-1 research university, mean?

A: Livingstone: Being a Tier 1 or a Research 1 university—Research 1 is a national classification of institutions awarded by the Carnegie Foundation — involves the kind of research your faculty are doing, the dollars that are being directed towards research and whether it’s your own internal dollars or research that is funded by external sources such as governmental agencies, research foundations and the like.

The classification also has to do with Ph.D. programs you are providing and the number of doctoral graduates you are producing across a wide array of areas. Achievement of Tier 1 status matters for us because it gives us more influence and credibility in the academic world, in the business world and in the policy world. And it gives us the ability to have influence in ways we couldn’t otherwise. As one of the few universities in the country positioned to be able to be that Christian voice, we feel a responsibility to pursue that goal.


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How does an enhanced focus on research impact the student experience at Baylor?

Engaging undergraduates in research with top-quality faculty and exceptional graduate students is one of the ways we know can enrich the undergraduate educational experience in significant ways. The more research our faculty are doing, the more graduate students we have doing research that involves undergraduates—whether it’s in the classroom, outside the classroom, in labs—it makes the undergraduate experience more significant. We know from our recruitment staff that top students around the country are asking about the chance to do research as undergraduates, and not just waiting until they’re graduate students. We remain committed to outstanding teaching and mentorship. This is expanding that view of what undergraduate education is all about, and what it means to have a high-quality undergraduate experience.

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Photos provided by Baylor University

A: A core part of Illuminate is to grow our research function and enhance the reputation and quality of the entire student experience. We believe that in order to provide a high-quality undergraduate education, students need to be deeply engaged.

What role does Baylor’s historic faith foundation play in the future of the University?

A: We are having those same conversations with Illuminate, ensuring that our foundational pillar is our Christian mission—that everything we do ties back to that, informs that or is informed by that, and then really builds on it and enhances that Christian mission. To maintain the integrity of your Christian mission you must be intentional about it. Part of the reason Baylor has been so successful in remaining focused on this is because we have been intentional over the years. As we know, many of the great research universities in this country were founded as Christian universities and over time let that part of their history fall away for a variety of reasons. There’s certainly a view among some that the Christian faith is anti-intellectual. I don’t agree with that and I believe very strongly that we have a strong intellectual Christian tradition. But there is that perspective that pulls some universities away. At Baylor, we have top faculty and students who specifically want to come because we’re a Christian university. Whereas other institutions chose to go a different path, we have chosen to leverage that as a strength and to make it something that differentiates us as a unique and special place in higher education.


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As you envision that day in which Baylor is recognized as a Tier 1 research institution, what impact does that have on the broader Waco and Central Texas community?

A: Baylor and Waco/Central Texas have a symbiotic relationship. Anything we do as a university that grows the quality, impact, visibility and reputation of Baylor, does the same things for the City of Waco and vice versa. (Waco Mayor) Kyle Deaver and I meet regularly and talk about how we can collaborate and work together to continue to advance this region of Texas and to enhance the health and success of all institutions. Obviously, as we build out our strategic plan and grow our academic reputation and impact, it’s going to help the City of Waco. I also believe growth in our research will yield results that can be commercialized and ideas that can grow into businesses and help spur entrepreneurial activity within the city. You’re also growing an educated workforce that is equipped to do high quality work and serve the community in significant ways. As you grow the quality of your educational institutions, it creates an intellectual vibrancy in your community and an excitement and enthusiasm which is healthy for everyone involved.

What does a distinct Baylor education grounded in faith and informed by a growing pursuit of world-class research mean to the broader educational community and world?

A: Here’s a specific example: we had a PhD student in chemistry who graduated about a year ago. He tells the story about how, at Baylor, he reignited his faith because of the influence of an undergraduate student he was working with in a lab . And that through that reigniting of his faith, he really understood the purpose of his research in chemistry. He now has a greater purpose in doing that research. It is really about honoring God and representing Christ through the work that he does. That PhD student is now going to go out and be a faculty member who teaches in other universities and over time influences thousands of students and scholars that he works with. And it’s because he got connected more deeply with his faith here at Baylor and understood the role that faith plays in his life – a role that not only matters personally, but also professionally. This freedom to recognize the role of faith and scholarship and the pursuit of solutions to big problems in our world is a huge part of the influence that we have. We’re helping students really get outside of themselves and think about the greater impact they can have in the work that they’re doing. At Baylor, we have faculty who are helping our students think about how to live out their faith and live it through any type of work. They can actually make the world a better place and make life better for others. n 36 | SPRING 2019


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by John Fletcher, Fletcher Consulting

The photo next to “innovator” in the dictionary should be of the Hobbs Bonded Fibers production facility as a testament to the company’s relentless dedication to innovation in a variety of fields, from automotive and quilting to aviation, defense, furniture, bedding and industrial applications. 38 | SPRING 2019

The Science Channel’s “How It’s Made” Program The Science Channel’s “How It’s Made” TV program has showcased and will continue to feature Waco-based Hobbs Bonded Fibers for its production of a very unique item: Bison Fiber – or Bison Fibre, as identified by the Montrealbased production house. The program premiered on January 31, and will now slot into the rotation of reruns. The episode, which also featured a DeLorean restoration, shuffleboard tables and frictionforged knives, was number 12 in the show’s 31st season. In all those seasons, no product has been repeated, so each season features a completely new lineup of products and processes. Episodes have featured everything from wood slat baskets and clay targets to saxophones, gyroscopic stabilizers and, of course, Bison Fiber. The Science Channel producers scour the world for products, having shot intriguing processes throughout North America, Asia and Europe. “How It’s Made” producers were intrigued by the uniqueness of Bison Fiber. According to the site selection production coordinator, selection criteria include the feasibility of showcasing a product’s manufacturing from start to finish and whether or not its production process will be visually compelling to viewers. Locations are scouted and selected months in advance, according to Larry Hobbs, who became CEO of Hobbs Bonded Fibers in 2015 after 24 years with the company. “We were in discussions with the Discovery Channel, which produces the show for the Science Channel, for 18 months. It was a huge thrill to see the filming take place inside our manufacturing plant. The process we use for Bison Fiber has some of the same steps we employ for our quilt batting

lines, which we sell under the Hobbs Heirloom and Hobbs Tuscany Collection names.” Hobbs created Bison Fiber as a superior cold-resistant padding for United by Blue, a Philadelphia-based manufacturer/retailer. The American-made Bison B100 Collection consists of men’s and women’s cold weather apparel that ranges from the Bison Puffer Vest at $188 to the high-end Ultimate American Jacket for $498. Additional B100 items include thermal socks, gloves and blankets. The environmentally focused United by Blue (UBB) sought out Hobbs Bonded Fibers because of Hobbs’ reputation for meeting hard-to-match needs for customers. Hobbs’ image as a boutique manufacturer attracted UBB because of the exacting requirements demanded by the B100’s production process. “We needed a supplier that had experience producing quality thermal insulation, and could particularly encapsulate the distinct attributes of bison,” says United by Blue founder and CEO Brian Linton.

Hobbs CEO Larry Hobbs (center) with How It’s Made production crew


“Call of Last Resort” Custom solutions are nothing new to Hobbs Bonded Fibers, which has earned the status of being the “call of last resort” for many of its customers. “More than a few of our customers were won after they came to us when their normal suppliers failed to meet their very precise needs,” said Larry Hobbs. “Once we solve that initial issue, these customers tend to stick around for life.” Hobbs is a premier supplier of acoustical and thermal nonwoven products to the automotive industry, and most of the top-selling vehicles throughout North America feature Hobbs-engineered nonwoven products. Your car or SUV is likely to have Hobbs-produced components in its door panels and side trim, in the trunk or floor areas, under the dash, in the glove box, and covering various engine parts under the hood.

KWTX-TV’s Brady Putz and Chelsea Edwards wearing the United by Blue’s Bison Sport Jackets made with B100 Bison Fiber Linton was also impressed with Hobbs’ robust natural fibers program that includes its industry-leading Heirloom 80/20 cotton quilt batting made from 100% American cotton and its cutting-edge RamTect® batting made from 100% American wool that is also featured in cold weather outerwear. Bison is the term for the North American animals generically known as buffalo. While the two species belong to the same animal family, buffalo tend to live in warmer climates. Bison possess a thicker and coarser fur, which is the quality that makes Bison Fiber superior to other insulations. Hobbs described the B100 project as an ideal match. “We already had much of the process they needed in place because we deploy the identical machinery to produce our quilt batting line. Danny Natividad, our Director of Technology/R&D, developed a process that would require very specific modifications for us to create the B100 product.” “We have so many products that we manufacture, and Bison Fiber is one of our most interesting. We take bales of raw fiber harvested from bison and blend synthetic materials to create mats of fiber durable enough for extreme weather jackets.” So, what is the difference between “woven” and “nonwoven”? Polypropylene plastic threads are woven together in a traditional manufacturing process to create a durable product. Nonwoven plastic fibers, on the other hand, are bonded together rather than woven. Thus, the name of Hobbs Bonded Fibers.

Hobbs’ reputation for innovation was recognized in 2015 by Ernst & Young, which named the company a finalist for its prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southwest Region. Judges recognized the company for developing patents in diverse markets, maximizing their market positions and, in many occasions, selling those divisions of the company at the peak of their product life curve.

Innovation Through Patents, Trademarks and Strategic Partnerships Hobbs Bonded Fibers owns or has owned patents in a variety of diverse industries, which reveal the wide-ranging expertise of the company’s executive management and R&D team:

Patents: • Carpet underlay, which became the industry standard

in such large venues as hotels, conference centers and casinos • Lightweight wool insulation (RamTect®), which has captured strong sales and attention in the apparel industry • B100 Bison Fiber • Flash-spun sheet material • Thermal packaging • Filtration – air and liquid • Hydroponic plant cultivating apparatus

Trademarks: • Heirloom® (Quilt batting) • Tuscany® (Quilt batting) • PrimaLoft® synthetic microfiber thermal insulation for apparel

Licensing: • Fibertect®, an exclusive licensing agreement to

manufacture and market a decontamination product for the military

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Spraying line in production process of B100 Bison Fiber In addition, Hobbs has been engaged in a coconut fiber research project in conjunction with Baylor University to explore the possibilities of using coconut fibers for applications in the automotive industry.

Innovators from the start With a background in felt and synthetic manufacturing and experience as a Marine pilot, Carey Hobbs co-founded Hobbs Bonded Fibers with his father-in-law in 1972 with a 79,000 squarefoot manufacturing plant in Groesbeck.

Larry Hobbs and Taylor Hobbs examining an automotive piece know Hobbs is the home of innovation in a variety of industries. Hobbs Bonded Fibers is the dominant manufacturer in the home quilting business across the United States and in 22 foreign countries with its two highest-rated quilting lines: the Hobbs Heirloom Collection and the Hobbs Tuscany Collection. Combined, these two product lines are the preferred choice of the vast majority of award-winning quilters. Never satisfied with being the best, CEO Larry Hobbs’ team is developing a next generation higher-end quilting product line that will deliver additional market penetration. Hobbs meets three distinct needs for the military by manufacturing nonwoven Nomex® insulation in-flight apparel, dispersion vacuum filters for the F-22 and X-35 fighter jets, and Fibertect® military grade decontamination wipes.

What began with 20 employees and a mid-sized Founder Carey Hobbs on left with CEO Larry Hobbs manufacturing plant expanded to Mexia and then moved to Waco in 1994. The Fibertect® advancement is a direct result of Larry Hobbs has now become an industry leader with over 300 Hobbs, a Texas Tech University graduate, being privy to a employees spread across three facilities – two in Waco and biomedical development created by a doctoral candidate one in Trenton, Tennessee, with over 675,000 square feet at the university’s Institute of Environmental and Human of manufacturing and warehousing. The company also Health. Larry researched the project and signed an exclusive expanded into the state of Virginia in 2016. sales and marketing agreement with Texas Tech and the Hobbs is an ISO 2001-1988 certified enterprise that developer. develops and manufactures specialty nonwovens and Hobbs also negotiated an exclusive marketing and earns industry leadership positions. The company’s R&D manufacturing agreement with DuPont on a potential department is recognized across multiple industries as a application for canned beverages that would keep the center of innovation excellence. product cold for a longer period of time. Through a groundbreaking design process in 1995, Hobbs Hobbs Bonded Fibers has developed several successful designed and constructed a number of interchangeable product lines only to sell them later, profiting as each manufacturing lines that could be retooled in a brief approached its peak value. Two such examples are synthetic transition process to make multiple products. carpet underlay and filtration media. A wide range of consultants, engineers and new product Hobbs created the first synthetic carpet underlay that development leaders contact Hobbs to discover answers the FHA approved in 1975, thus establishing an industry that other suppliers have failed to ascertain because they standard. This underlay became the premier synthetic WACOCHAMBER.COM

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FRONT ROW: Norman Conner, Executive VP of Administration Bob Weinrich, Chief Financial Officer Danny Natividad, Director of Technology/R&D

BACK ROW: Larry Hobbs, CEO J.R. Baccus, Director of Customer Service Karl Van Becelaere, Chief Operating Officer Jason Pack, Maintenance Director Taylor Hobbs, Director of Automotive Division

carpet padding for high-density traffic in convention centers, hotels and major casinos, and the company later sold the division. Next, the company designed and produced a dramatic innovation in air filtration for home and commercial HVAC systems in the 1970s. By reducing the thickness and price of HVAC filters by 25 percent for home and commercial use without sacrificing performance, Hobbs became the leading manufacturer for filter media in North America. Management ended up selling this division to Hollinee Holding Group. Three key words associated with innovators and entrepreneurs are “resilient,” “resourceful” and “insightful.” As product life cycles have matured, Hobbs has reinvented itself four times to create new markets. In one such instance, Hobbs was for many years the exclusive manufacturer of thermal insulation for ski jackets made by then market leader Walls Industries but had to pivot after learning their customer was considering an offshore move for their manufacturing to take advantage of inexpensive labor. Demonstrating the company’s adaptability to change, Hobbs conducted exhaustive research into which industries could benefit from the company’s expertise. The study led to the formation of the company’s automotive division, which is now Hobbs’ largest business driver. Today, Hobbs continues its pursuit to become the number one fiber company serving the dynamic and pro-innovation automobile manufacturing business. Hobbs recognized another promising opportunity in 1978. While the company was private-labeling quilt batting with bonded polyester for a customer, that customer decided to abandon the market. Recognizing the potential of this emerging category, then-CEO Carey Hobbs realized that the company’s packaging bonded polyester products were overpriced because of inefficient production capabilities. He worked with his brother Terry to develop a streamlined production process, and today this crafts division of quilt batting and supplies represents over 20 percent of the company’s business. As mentioned earlier, innovators are resourceful. Hobbs goes to market in person with its crafts division, with large booths and displays at the best-attended quilting festivals (consumer events) and quilting trade shows (wholesaler and retailer events). The company researched and discovered a matching marketing fund program through the Texas 42 | SPRING 2019

Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program and leveraged over $80,000 in marketing and promotional funds to expand booth size in major trade shows, advertise with greater frequency in existing quilting magazines and even become a major sponsor of a highly viewed quilting video website. Hobbs’ resourcefulness has led the company to stretch beyond polyester and cotton. Bison Fiber and RamTect® wool have been mentioned previously, and the company has extended its quilting lines with the exquisite texture and softness of silk by making it one of the Tuscany Collection offerings. “We also innovate from a personnel perspective,” adds Hobbs. “We are proud to be a second-chance employer, meaning we consciously hire team members who have made mistakes in their past. We are intentional about wanting to give them a positive break in their lives.” “We have found these members of our team to be among our most loyal and appreciative for allowing them a chance to prove themselves and work toward a more promising future. This decision has led us to foster and enjoy a culture of trust and respect. Our team has bonded to become what we consider to be the finest employees in the world.” n

Bison Fiber line production team

Award-Winning Hobbs Bonded Fibers has captured the attention of local, regional and national entities: • 1998 Small Business Person of the Year, Dallas District – U.S. Department of Commerce Industry Sector Advisory Committee • 2003 Small Business of the Year Award – Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce • 2010 Heritage Award – Institute for Family Business at Baylor University • 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Southwest Region – Ernst & Young • 2018 Employer of Excellence – Texas Workforce Commission • Spirit of Partnership – Owens Corning • Award of Excellence – DuPont WACOCHAMBER.COM

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Building Our Local Economy One Business at a Time by Samantha Baker, Small Business Development Center


The idea of starting a business and working for yourself can make anyone feel intimidated, even fearful. But because of the many advantages of working for yourself, small businesses and entrepreneur-owned operations have been the driving force in the local and U.S. economies, and countless people continue to be pulled into small business ownership thanks to its appeal. The question then becomes: Where can those business owners look for help? The McLennan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been hosted by McLennan Community College (MCC) since its inception in 1988. Our goal is simple: connect small businesses and entrepreneurs with the ideas, people, services and resources needed to succeed. We provide expert business counseling, valuable added information and 44 | SPRING 2019

referrals, and share meaningful knowledge and networking events at no cost to the entrepreneur. Our mission is to have a measurable impact on our local economy by increasing the viability and profitability of its small businesses. Our highly skilled professionals, along with partnerships with area colleges and universities, local chambers of commerce, regional

economic development councils, county and municipal governments, community entrepreneurship and workforce initiatives, and business accelerators, as well as relationship with the SBA make us a unique asset to regional economic development. Our group serves a seven-county area including McLennan, Falls, Bell, Coryell, Bosque, Hill, and Johnson counties, and our main office is located at the MCC Community Services Center on campus. The McLennan SBDC team of advisors have deep entrepreneurial knowledge and decades of experience working with a diverse range of businesses. Who are they? Steve Surguy graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a BBA in Finance. He has over 35 years of experience in the wholesale distribution industry, primarily in the Grocery and Pharmaceutical industries. His areas of concentration include procurement, including State and Federal purchasing, logistics,

warehousing, strategic planning, budgeting, employee relations and accounting. He has worked with both independent and chain retail establishments and has owned and operated his own small business. Jane Herndon has spent her career working with some of the most innovative people and companies in the world and has grown to love and appreciate the uniqueness of the place she calls home. In her role as an SBDC mentor, she supports the local entrepreneurial ecosystem by sharing her expansive knowledge about business strategy, entrepreneurship and technology. Tim Holtkamp has a BBA in Finance from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He started Holtkamp Land & Mortgage as well as several other businesses. Tim is a charter board member of both Waco Community Development and Faith Works. Jason Ehler obtained his BBA in Management from the University of Texas at Tyler. He has over 20 years of experience in the consumer service industry with 14 years of management and performance delivery experience within the medical, technology and financial industries. He is accomplished at lending, strategic planning, client development, sales, marketing, coaching, and organizational development. Jason is a graduate of Leadership Waco and is a current Temple Chamber of Commerce member. Ken Byrd is a 48-year banking veteran who attended Texas Tech University and graduated with honors from the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU. Ken has been active in the DFW lending market for 42 years including serving as president of two community banks. His 43 years of commercial lending includes expertise of 25 years in SBA/small business financing with a focus on business acquisitions and expansions.

the McLennan SBDC, he opened Bear Surface Blasting, LLC in Waco and offers auto restoration, graffiti removal and more. The McLennan SBDC worked with him to assist in creating the business plan and projections and advised him on establishing his LLC as a military veteran. All our services are free of charge. He was approved for his loan and purchased the machinery and started the business in October of 2017. The staff at McLennan Small Business Development Center are happy to assist you any way they can. For more information, please visit our website at or contact Steve Surguy at or 254-299-8141. n

The McLennan SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, McLennan Community College and the North Texas SBDC. “The McLennan SBDC is a business consulting and training center of the North Texas SBDC. The North Texas SBDC Network serves 49 counties in North Texas.�

How has our community benefited from all the amazing resources the SBDC has to offer? During the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the McLennan SBDC counseled 411 clients, resulting in 46 new businesses opened and the creation of 254 new jobs! One of these successful businesses belongs to Cornell Dixon. With assistance from WACOCHAMBER.COM

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by Teresa Schiller, Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC


aco businesses employ a sizeable workforce – our economy has more than 56,000 employees. During 2016 and 2017, Waco’s employment rate exceeded the national unemployment rate, meaning that the amount of unused human resources is relatively low. What can businesses do to manage these human resources effectively? One tool that may be useful is the employee handbook.

An employee handbook can benefit a business in several ways: • Improve employee morale due to predictability

• Communicate values and strategies for employee and customer relationships • Guide managers and other leaders’ decision-making • Reduce the risk that informal practices become formal policies • Help defend the legality of employment actions Along with these benefits come certain responsibilities. For example, a business should be sure that its handbook policies are lawful and that it agrees with and is prepared to enforce the policies fully and consistently. Although there is no “one size fits all” handbook, here are some general guidelines. 1. Describe the nature of employment, as well as discipline and termination. A handbook should state that the nature of employment generally is “at will,” and that the employer may terminate employment with or without notice, and with or without cause. It should describe employment categories – full-time, part-time, and/or temporary employment – and the distinctive nature of an independent contractor relationship. Any probationary period for new employees should be explained. The handbook also should outline a performance review process. It should identify possible disciplinary actions and alert employees that investigations and searches may be conducted. The handbook also can 46 | SPRING 2019

describe any grievance or dispute resolution process. Finally, it should provide information about termination of employment – both voluntary and involuntary. 2. Demonstrate the business’s commitment to complying with the law. A handbook should reflect compliance with the law. A business needs to be knowledgeable about applicable legal requirements based on factors such as location and industry. Certain laws also apply based on the number of employees a business has. And, of course, laws change from time to time. In general, a business’s compliance with the following may need to be covered in a handbook: (1) equal employment opportunity; (2) anti-discrimination/ harassment/retaliation; (3) wage-and-hour law compliance; (4) safety; (5) privacy and confidentiality; (6) protected leave; and (7) verification of employees’ immigration status. Employees should understand after reading the handbook what is and is not allowed and how to report a problem to management. 3. Describe workday procedures and standards of conduct. Every business has daily operating procedures and expectations about employee conduct. A handbook can help communicate this information. Basics – such as business hours, work schedules, mealtimes, and breaks – can be stated. Conduct-related issues such as the following also can be covered: (1) fitness for duty; (2) attendance and punctuality; (3) personal appearance; (4) courtesy and respect; (5) use of technology; and (6) examples of unacceptable conduct. 4. Cover employee pay and benefits. A handbook should describe what a business provides to an employee in exchange for his or her service. For example, the pay schedule, method of payment and deductions from pay should be covered. Applicable salary classifications – exempt and/or non-exempt – should be described, along with related overtime and timekeeping requirements. Any benefit available to employees, such as paid time off, should be explained in a way that makes it clear when, or if, an employee is eligible.

5. Require employees to sign acknowledgements. A handbook should include an acknowledgement page for each employee to sign and return following training or time for review. The acknowledgement should state, at a minimum, that the employee has received the handbook, reviewed it, and agrees to comply with it. The acknowledgement also could include provisions relating, for example, to garnishment and return of property. 6. Review the handbook periodically. Business leaders should review the handbook periodically to determine whether it should be updated and redistributed to employees. Are the provisions in the handbook consistent with existing business practices? Are additional policies or clarifications needed? Are there any updates in the law that should be incorporated? The more frequently a handbook is reviewed and updated, the less effort is needed each time. In sum, a handbook literally can help a business to ensure that its employees are “on the same page.” With a handbook in place, business leaders may be able to spend less time answering employees’ questions and resolving disputes, and more time focusing on profitability, productivity, and other day-to-day challenges. n

Teresa Schiller is a business and employment lawyer at Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC in Waco and Dallas. She assists clients with employee handbooks. Teresa can be reached at WACOCHAMBER.COM

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mall businesses are the engine of our economy in the Greater Waco community — more than 70 percent of our membership is considered “small business.” We love introducing small businesses and their owners in our “Small Business Spotlight.” This allows us to showcase some of our local small business owners and hear from them what it’s like owning a small business in Waco and how the Chamber has helped their business. Valley Mills Vineyards established its first vineyard in 2006 and opened its first winery in 2010 and has been an active presence in the community since. Owned and operated by John and Kandi Bagnasco, Valley Mills Vineyards proudly produces highquality wine made from Texas-grown grapes on their 12.5-acre vineyard located just outside of town in Valley Mills. The Bagnascos recently relocated to a new Estate Winery on their vineyard in Valley Mills where the public can sample and purchase wines paired with a bite to eat from their daily menu. For this quarter’s Small Business Q & A, we visited with Joey Bagnasco, son of John and Kandi, who is anticipating some day taking over the family business but currently serves as the General Manager of the vineyard.

3. Living in Waco for the last two years, what do you think about the growth and changes that have happened in Waco?

7. What does the future look like for your business?

I think that it’s all for the better. I look forward to Waco continuing to develop.

4. Why did you decide to join the Waco Chamber?

We like to feel connected to the business community here in Waco.

5. How has your Chamber membership benefited your business so far?

Chamber members drink wine too...

6. What’s your favorite thing about owning a business in Greater Waco?

The market is still very open to new concepts and ideas. Our reasonably low cost of living and cost of doing business makes it easy to move fast and make things happen.

Our goal is to be considered one of the finest wineries in Texas, but we don’t want to be one of the biggest. We will grow as we have demand from our Wine Club members, while always keeping the focus on making the best wines we can from locally grown grapes.

8. What’s your top piece of advice for other small business owners in Waco?

Prove your concept on a small scale before jumping in too deep.

9. On the weekends or in your free time, what are some of your favorite things to do in Waco?

I honestly work seven days a week, but on my rare day off I enjoy road biking and running downtown. n

1. Why did you decide to expand your business in Greater Waco?

We wanted our guests to experience the romance of the grape growing process that we have been involved in for over a decade. Relocating to our Estate Vineyard in Valley Mills allows us to show off the beauty of our land, and our new winery will allow us to make more wine than ever!

2. How did you decide what kind of business you wanted to open?

My father John decided to see if it was possible to grow grapes for the production of fine wines in our area and he gave me a summer job helping out in the vineyard twelve years ago. That passion project keeps growing...

Leading Waco Women was created to celebrate, empower and develop women 2018 ATHENA® Leadership Award Recipient leaders in the Waco community with Jill McCall, Compassion Ministries professional development opportunities through half-day conferences, keynote PRESENTING SPONSOR speakers, panel discussions and networking. Join us in November at the Fall Summit for the presentation of the second ATHENA Leadership Award.


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514 Austin Ave, Waco, Texas 76701 Specifications: • Redevelopment of the iconic downtown Bank of America building • Up to 50,000 sqft of Executive office lease space in the heart of downtown Waco • Walking distance to McLennan County Courthouse, City Hall, Convention Center

For additional information, please contact:

• Will develop to suit tenant/flexible floor plan

Mike Meadows

• Rental rate dependent on configuration and finish out (254) 717-7234 Colt Kelly (817) 991-0182


514 Austin Ave. (5 Mi Radius) Value Population


# of Households


Median Age

31.7 years

Average Household Income


Degrees Conferred (2017-2018)


Associate Degrees


Bachelor Degrees


Masters Degrees


PhD / Doctoral Degrees Top Industry Types (5 Mile Radius)

307 #

% of Total

Retail, Trade & Transportation



Leisure and Hospitality



Professional & Business Services



Education & Health Care



Source: Info USA, February 2018

For more information on available properties, including demographic reports and surrounding businesses in Greater Waco, visit or call (254) 757-5627 SPRING 2019 2018 50 | WINTER


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New Downtown Businesses Opened!

Greater Downtown Waco is booming! With more than $600 million invested in recent years and more than 2.5 million visitors, annually, Waco has become a destination city. Through implementation of a strategic vision, Waco is attracting great companies, talented people and continued interest to our distinct community. Since 2009, more than $1.4 billion in new private development activity has been announced in enterprise zones throughout Waco.

Restaurants/Eateries/Retail ModPizza 1015 S. N. Jack Kultgen Expy. This build-your-own artisian-style pizza and salad experience from Seattle is sure to spice up your lunch breaks! All of their products are made fresh on demand.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe 922 S. 10th St., Ste. 200 A healthy, fresh new concept with a Caribbean flair, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is bringing smoothies, wraps, and bowls to the downtown Waco area.

Harvest on 25th 112 N. 25th St. A new kind of dining experience: where nutrition and flavor come together to feed body and soul.

Hustle Waco 605 Austin Ave. Hustle is Waco’s newest co-working space that provides resources and a hub for entrepreneurs to see their business thrive.

SPRING 2019 2018 52 | WINTER


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Numbers are Year-to-Date

Retail Spending


2018 2.7% change


Single-Family Residence Permits



Existing Home Sales



18.4% change

Source: Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER)

SPRING 2019 2018 54 | WINTER



Payroll Employment 120,765 122,090 Unemployment Rate 3.9% 3.6%

8.8% change 6.9% change

Economic Outlook U.S. Average Composite: 100 WACO COST OF LIVING Fourth Quarter 2018


$3,552,549,079 $3,648,185,251 $51,791,7000

Hotel Motel Spending


Waco Composite: 90.7





Chattanooga, TN:




Albuquerque, NM:




Greenville, SC:




Richmond, VA:


Health Care:


Colorado Springs, CO:


Misc. Goods & Services:


Charlotte, NC :



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Ellen Gradel joined the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce team in January of this year as the Director of Membership & Investor Relations. Although not born in Texas, Gradel considers herself a Texan as she has lived in the Waco area since the age of five. She attended the University of North Texas, GRADEL where she received a Fashion Merchandising degree and put her skills to work as a buyer for Cox’s Department Store. She later moved to San Antonio, where she lived for over 20 years and raised her two kids, Jessica and Jacob. Upon returning to Waco in 2011, she and her husband Mark started their own magazine called Bite of Wisdom, a restaurant guide for the Waco area. She continued her sales career with FASTSIGNS and Qti Promotion & Apparel prior to coming to the Chamber. Gradel sits on the Caritas Feast of Caring Soup Cookoff committee and in her spare time enjoys cooking, traveling and seeking out new restaurants and wineries. n


Brittany Knight joined the Chamber staff in January as a Special Events Coordinator. She previously interned with the Chamber’s Marketing and Communications team before becoming a full-time staff member. During her internship, she specialized in website design and helped develop the new Greater Waco Chamber KNIGHT Website. Knight was raised in Oklahoma but has since become a true Texan after moving to Waco to attend Baylor University. Knight graduated from Baylor with a bachelor’s degree in communications with a double minor in religion and nonprofit marketing in May 2018. Knight and her husband Stephen reside in the Waco area where they are both eager to see the growth and potential Waco has to offer. Knight is excited to be a part of making Waco a better place to live and visit through her work at the Chamber. n


The Greater Waco Chamber hosted its annual Member Celebration Reception at the end of February. This event is an opportunity for the Chamber to show appreciation for its members, volunteers and community partners with an evening of music, food and fellowship.

Emcee Dan Ingham kicked off the event with a welcome and introduced 2018 board chair Hal Whitaker, who passed his title on to the 2019 board chair Loren Schwartz, who then presented Whitaker with a plaque and gavel commemorating his service to the Chamber. Schwartz then expressed her excitement for the year to come and shared her vision for her tenure as board chair. William L. Clifton, Jr. presented the Chamber’s annual Legacy Award to Virginia DuPuy, a Central Texas business owner, longtime Chamber advocate, and community builder. DuPuy has been an influential community and civic leader in Waco for over 60 years. Boasting an impressive resume, she has received countless awards and honors throughout her lifetime. Presenting sponsorship of the Member Celebration Reception was provided by Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat and TFNB Your Bank for Life. n

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On March 16, the Greater Waco Chamber hosted the fifth annual Texas Food Truck Showdown; with more than 25,000 people and nearly 40 food trucks in attendance, this was the best event yet! Special thanks to presenting sponsor Jeff Hunter Toyota. In addition to the food truck festivities, the Showdown featured children’s activities including a petting zoo, a reptile show, face painting and more. Attendees were also able to enjoy a pop-up market with a variety of vendors and live music provided by local musicians. If you missed out this year, we hope to see you next year. Information will be available throughout the year at: n

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2019 AWARD WINNERS: • Churros’ Time Waco, Grand Champion • Five Boys Ranch, Best Between Buns • The Ice Cream Kartel, Best Dessert • Catered Delights, Best BBQ Dish • SouthernXposures, Most Unique Dish • Holy Frijole, Best International Dish • Cajun on da Geaux, People’s Choice

58 | SPRING 2019

The Greater Waco Chamber is pleased to recognize the amazing celebrity judges who sampled and scored each dish this year.

Lilian Halabi Owner and baker of Lily’s Cakes

Mark Schneider, President of the Texas Chefs Association

Thanh Le Owner and operator of Clay Pot

Doug Renfro President of Renfro Foods

Charlie Morrison Chairman and CEO of Wingstop Inc.


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The Rapoport Foundation has presented Meals on Wheels Waco with a $50,000 challenge grant in honor of Melody McDermitt upon her retirement after 38 years with the agency. Executive Director, Tom Stanton had received a copy of McDermitt’s end-of-the-year fundraising letter in which she expressed her desire to eliminate a wait list for elderly persons requesting meals. McDermitt has been with Meals on Wheels for 38 years, 36 years as executive director. She is retiring at the end of December. Last year, MOW delivered more than 207,000 meals to 1,700 clients and provided 17,720 trips through its Transportation Division. Since its inception in 1986, the Rapoport Foundation has focused on its mission that can be summarized as “let’s help those who can’t help themselves.” n


Current Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) President/CEO Tim Brown announced his plan to retire at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2019. Brown has led the Waco-based childcare organization since 2010 but has served in a variety of roles with the agency for 36 years. MCH serves more than 5,000 individuals annually through residential BROWN programs for children ages 11-18 on the Waco campus and MCH Boys Ranch, transition living programs for alumni ages 18-26, and foster care and in-home services through 13 MCH Family Outreach offices across Texas and New Mexico. The Board of Directors of MCH has launched a national search for the next leader of the 129-year-old social service ministry. n


In January, Whisky Magazine announced its Icons of Whisky America winners for 2019. Jared Himstedt with Waco-based Balcones Whiskey won Master Distiller / Blender of the Year. The Icons of Whisky Awards America were presented as part of the Whisky Magazine Awards New York, held at New York’s Brandy Library, alongside two new inductees into the magazine’s Hall of Fame and the American winners of the global World Whiskies Awards. n 62 | SPRING 2019


SpaceX has become a vital part of the industrial and social fabric of central Texas. This new exhibit at the Mayborn Museum features a rocket model and thruster engine, projection video, vibrant scale representation of our solar system, and some history of the rocket development and test facility in the local community of McGregor, TX. Because, as we like to say: To go to Mars, you have to go through McGregor. This exhibit was made possible through generous support and collaboration from SpaceX, and will be on display through fall 2019. n


Shane Turner and Todd Behringer announced on March 1 they have created Turner Behringer Holdings. They are partners in several downtown Waco ventures, have developed more than 200,000 square feet of commercial and residential space, including Tinsley Square, Altura Luxury Lofts, The Lofts at Franklin Square and more. They also plan to expand to Temple, and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas. It will serve as the parent company to Turner Behringer Real Estate, Turner Behringer Property Management and Turner Behringer Development, according to a press release. Their headquarters will be the newly renovated former First Federal Savings & Loan building at 1224 Austin Ave. n WACOCHAMBER.COM

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NEW MEMBERS Advanced Carpet & Interiors 6805 Woodway Dr. Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 772-1717 Andy’s Sprinkler, Drainage, & Lighting 2000 W. Loop 340, Ste. 203 Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 829-3800 Anytime Fitness Waco 4700 Bosque Blvd., Ste. G Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 655-7100 waco-tx-76710

PRESENTED BY Small Business - Silver City of McGregor 302 S. Madison McGregor, TX 76657 • (254) 840-2806 Compleo Physical Therapy & Wellness 6704 Woodway Dr. Woodway, TX 76712 • (254) 892-4957 Connect Hearing 4300 W. Waco Dr., Ste. A2 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 399-0405

Apricot Lane Boutique 2444 W. Loop 340, Ste. 14 Waco, TX 76711 • (817) 798-2972

Cooper Custom Homes 200 W. Hwy. 6, Ste. 419 Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 214-1924

Small Business - Silver Aspriring Future Leaders Academy, LLC 119 N. Hewitt Dr. Hewitt, TX 76643 • (254) 224-6704

Craft Brewing Shop 1116 New Dallas Hwy. Bellmead, TX 76705 • (254) 307-1927

B&E Remodeling, LLC Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 661-8516 Backyard Saloon 500 Austin Ave. Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 300-5300 BancCard Waco, TX 76705 • (254) 715-4197 Bebrick Collision Care Center 1515 La Salle Ave. Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 754-2301 Benchmark Mortgage 5525 Speegleville Rd., Ste. 104 Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 870-0370 Black Bear Village 115 Garden Dr. Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 405-2094 Blessed Spa 123 Topeka Dr., Ste. H Woodway, TX 76712 • (254) 405-1019 Caliente Home & Apparel 1002 Austin Ave. Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 732-5271 Capital Business Solutions Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 644-5594 Carpenter Bus Sales 6400 Old Dallas Rd. Elm Mott, TX 76640 • (254) 799-3000 Cash Store 5301 Bosque Blvd., Ste. 110 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 776-7373 Small Business - Gold Christi’s 1023 Austin Ave. Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 235-1047

64 | SPRING 2019

Small Business - Silver Douglass Subaru 4717 W. Waco Dr. Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 752-2886 Empereon-Constar 1205 N. Loop 340 Lacy Lakeview, TX 76705 • (254) 655-5300 ERGOS Technology Partners 600 Columbus Ave., Ste. 106 Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 523-4872 Small Business - Silver Exchange Events Center 300 S. Jefferson Ave. McGregor, TX 76657 • (254) 339-7316 Favor Delivery 1705 Guadalupe St., Ste. 300 Austin, TX 78701 • (281) 703-5495 FFO Home 5526 Bosque Blvd. Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 826-8551 Financial Additions 7215 Bosque Blvd., Ste. 127 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 644-3959 Fusion AV of Texas 1620 La Salle Ave., Ste. B Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 342-0400 Guerra Brothers Moving Service 1805 Clay Ave. Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 754-0022 Guess Family Barbecue, LLC 324 S. Sixth St. Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 313-3436 Helberg Barbecue P.O. Box 92 Crawford, TX 76638 • (713) 569-4166

Hey Sugar Candy Store LLC 808 Austin Ave. Waco, TX 76701 • (817) 807-2557 Ideal MRI 2816 Marketplace Dr., Ste. 120 Waco, TX 76711 • (833) 433-2567 InsurSolutions 7215 Bosque Blvd., Ste. 106 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 447-0818 Irene’s Flowers & Gifts 201 S. Main McGregor, TX 76657 • (254) 840-3772 Jackalope Entertainment 1813 Speight Ave. (Azbell Electronics) Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 420-3498 Jassen tha Plumber 133 N. First St., Ste. 106 Hewitt, TX 76643 • (254) 235-2457 Small Business - Gold John Wiley & Sons - Waco 510 N. Valley Mills Dr., Ste. 600 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 751-1644 J-Petal 315 S. University Parks Dr., Ste. 120 Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 230-2244 Kingsview Asset Mgmt./Rollo Insurance Group 1101 Wooded Acres Dr., Ste. 103 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 242-3090 Kirk Townsend Waco, TX 76703 • (713) 823-1330 Small Business - Gold Koetter Fire Protection of Austin, LLC Waco, TX 76701 • (512) 251-7888 Small Business - Silver La Quinta Inn & Suites Waco Downtown-Baylor 911 S. 10th St. Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 756-2929 LINK Staffing 801 Washington Ave., Ste. 602 Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 655-5465 Little Land Play Gym - Waco 1201 Hewitt Dr., Ste. 107 Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 572-8890 Living Earth 2508 Marlin Hwy. (Hwy. 6) Waco, TX 76705 • (254) 340-2500 Lloyd Trailer Co. 5250 I-35 N. Waco, TX 76705 • (254) 799-8898

Longhorn Charter Bus Waco Downtown Waco Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 206-3194

Pinewood Coffee Bar 2223 Austin Ave., Ste. A Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 224-6189

Mach-1 Solutions, Inc. P.O. Box 73 Abbott, TX 76621 • (254) 537-3040

Planet Fitness 300 N. Valley Mills Dr. Waco, TX 76710 • (888) 237-9005

Mary Kay Cosmetics Waco, TX 76701 • (925) 998-3537

Ponton Health & Safety Services Woodway, TX 76712 • (254) 633-9740

Melody Ranch 2315 Robinson Dr. Robinson, TX 76706 • (254) 744-5794

Small Business - Silver Primrose School of Waco at Woodway 118 Burnett Ct. Woodway, TX 76712 • (210) 940-7494

Leadership Investor - Silver Merrick Engineering, Inc. 7325 Imperial Dr. Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 741-6330

Social Media Cowboys Waco, TX 76702 • (254) 495-2786 Board of Advisors - Bronze Southern Careers Institute 3700 S. I-35 Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 265-9705 Spross Insurance Agency/Germania Austin T. Martel 125 Topeka Dr., Ste. E Woodway, TX 76712 • (254) 772-8518 Start Up Waco 605 Austin Ave. Waco, TX 76701 •

Pro Star Rental 2308 Robinson Dr. Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 754-2359

Texas Farm Bureau Insurance - Tanner Pierce 320 W. Hwy. 6 Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 772-8090

Metal Dynamic Worx 3205 S. Old Robinson Rd. Lorena, TX 76655 • (254) 644-7590

Project Group Consulting, LLC 6600 N. Hwy. 6, Ste. A Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 221-9908

Texell Credit Union P.O. Box 983 Temple, TX 76503 • (254) 774-5113

Small Business - Silver Mid-Tex Testing 1301 New Dallas Hwy. Waco, TX 76705 • (254) 732-0175

ProSource Power LLC McKinney, TX 75071 • (972) 369-7255

The Mane Event 3900 W. Waco Dr. Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 776-9100

Small Business - Gold Milo All Day, LLC 1020 Franklin Ave. Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 235-1243 Nail Bar 1107 N. Valley Mills Dr., Bldg. 2 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 732-0703 NorthPointe Bank 519 N. Hewitt Dr. Hewitt, TX 76643 • (888) 672-5626 Small Business - Gold Orschlen Farm & Home LLC 2701 S. Jack Kultgen Expy. Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 752-1941 Patricia Meadows, Graceland Real Estate 6270 Old Lorena Rd. Lorena, TX 76655 • (254) 772-7788 Peachwave Waco 1605 Hewitt Dr., Ste. 105 Waco, TX 76712 • (254) 644-1793 Small Business - Silver Pearson Paint Shop Inc. 1801 Wood Ave. Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 753-1199 Small Business - Gold Performance Drywall, LLC 221 S. 19th St., Ste. C Waco, TX 76701 • (281) 301-5881 Performance Resources, Inc. Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 979-2811

ProStar Energy Services 1 AT&T Way Arlington, TX 76011 • (940) 395-9510 Quinn Campus, Inc. 1020 Elm St. Waco, TX 76704 • (254) 296-2867 Raymond Consulting Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 723-8324 RDO Equipment 215 Enterprise Blvd. Hewitt, TX 76643 • (254) 666-3900 Richey Aspects Woodway, TX 76712 • (209) 595-3704 RinBo Properties Waco, TX 76712

Small Business - Gold Titch & Burt’s Mercantile 1025 Austin Ave. Waco, TX 76703 • (254) 732-2837 Tropical Smoothie Cafe 922 S. 10th St., Ste. 200 Waco, TX 76706 • (254) 235-0448 U.S. Air Force Recruiter 8810 Woodway Dr., Ste. 104 Woodway, TX 76712 • (254) 776-1733 U.S. Army Recruiting Waco 5301 Bosque Blvd., Ste. 180 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 776-1546

Shades Custom Tint & Accessories 801 N. Hewitt Dr. Hewitt, TX 76643 • (254) 666-2665

Small Business - Silver Volkswagon of Waco 2301 W. Loop 340 Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 265-6868

Leadership Investor - Bronze Shipley Do-Nut – 19th St. 5102 N. 19th St. Waco, TX 76708 • (254) 732-4107

Waco Carpet Company 4535 W. Waco Dr. Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 772-4720

Leadership Investor - Bronze Shipley Do-Nuts – China Spring Rd. 10300 China Spring Rd., Ste. A Waco, TX 76708 • (254) 836-1596

Waco Motorsports 5100 Franklin Ave., Ste. A Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 756-7800

Leadership Investor - Bronze Shipley Do-Nuts – Valley Mills Dr. 1924 N. Valley Mills Dr. Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 741-0707

Waco Restaurant Supply 5100 Franklin Ave., Ste. A Waco, TX 76710 • (254) 756-7800

Sims Law, PLLC 600 Austin Ave., Ste. 23 Waco, TX 76701 • (254) 304-7161


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Member since Aug. 17, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Nov. 1, 2018



Member since Nov. 6, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Dec. 6, 2018

5525 Speegleville Rd., Ste. 104 • Waco, TX 76712 (254) 870-0370 •

5526 Bosque Blvd. • Waco, TX 76710 (254) 826-8551 •

Adam Goldenberg, Branch Manager

Braden Fouts, Marketing/Event Coordinator

Adam Goldenberg has been involved with lending in Waco and Central Texas for 18 years and has recently partnered with Benchmark Mortgage to bring the best of the mortgage industry to Waco. Benchmark is a full-service mortgage lender based on a defined set of core values: Success, Relationship, Dynamic, Excellence, and Positive Attitude. These values define the people and culture of Benchmark and everything they do is based on these values to bring a first-class experience to each of their clients and partners. Benchmark Mortgage has been in business for over 20 years and is based in Plano, Texas. They look forward to being your home loan strategist and making you a client for life!


Member since Sept. 25, 2009 • Ribbon Cutting Oct. 25, 2018

FFO Home, a top 50 furniture retailer, is proud to announce the opening of the new store in Waco, TX. The 34,715 square-foot store will be FFO Home’s sixty-sixth store company-wide and fourth store in Texas, including the new store in Cleburne that opened in June. The retailer offers outstanding quality furniture and mattresses at the lowest prices in the market. FFO Home’s new store is located at 5526 Bosque Blvd. next to Office Depot.


Member since Oct. 1, 1986 • Ribbon Cutting Dec. 5, 2018

5800 Legend Lake Pkwy. • Waco, TX 76712 (254) 633-4233 •

3637 Alta Vista Dr. • Waco, TX 76706 (254) 296-0449 •

Kari Lalani, Owner

Eloisa Cruz, Program Specialist

Hilton Garden Inn, located in the Legends Crossing mixed-use development, is Waco’s newest hotel. Boasting chic and modern design with a warm Texas touch, the 111-room property is the ideal hotel for all business and leisure travelers. The hotel also features 3,500 square feet of meeting/ballroom space and can meet all catering needs of any group. Hilton Garden Inn is part of Hilton Worldwide and boasts the award winning HHonors Rewards Loyalty Program. Hilton Garden Inn Waco is locally owned and operated by Waco-based Lalani Lodging, Inc.

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INSPIRACIÓN is a nonprofit organization that has partnered with Waco ISD to service families with children 0-4 years of age. The program provides parenting education and early childhood classes that enable families to become active participants in their child’s education. INSPIRACIÓN currently offers services at the Alta Vista campus. By involving parents in the education process, preschool children are more likely to succeed in the classroom and improve standardized test scores. The program services families by providing in-class instruction and Home Visitation.


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Member since Sept. 12, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Oct. 22, 2018


Member since Oct. 4, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Nov. 16, 2018

911 S. 10th St. • Waco, TX 76706 (254) 756-2929 •

3900 W. Waco Dr. • Waco, TX 76710 (254) 776-9100 •

Joshua Pursche, General Manager

Our talented hair stylists are experienced with haircuts for women and men, professional hair color, highlights, perms, and hair extensions. We cater to a diverse clientele, from young and cuttingedge to the boardroom professional. We always strive to match your hair to your lifestyle. It is important that your visit to our salon is an experience that you will enjoy and tell others about. At The Mane Event, all clients receive the individual attention they deserve. They work with one stylist from beginning to end. Our experienced hair stylists are hair color specialists receive advanced training to stay on top of the latest color trends and techniques. Call us to book an appointment or to answer any questions you may have.

One of Waco’s newest hotels, the La Quinta Inn & Suites in downtown Waco, is a beautiful addition to the downtown area. A new prototype for the LQ brand, our La Quinta del Sol design features sleek modern décor, bright colors, and unique features. Privately owned by residents of the city, this property highlights the revitalized atmosphere that Waco boasts: new ideas, local pride and the forefront of Texas tourism. For the business traveler who expects perfection and the leisure guest looking for a clean, comfortable, locally-inspired lodging experience, this hotel will be a positively memorable part of every guest’s trip to Waco.


Member since July 10, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Dec. 11, 2018

Maria Moreno, Owner


Member since July 10, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Dec. 11, 2018

611 Washington Ave. • Waco, TX 76701 (254) 749-2710 •

611 Washington Ave. • Waco, TX 76701 (254) 235-1757 •

Savannah May, Pretty in Pink Flamingo, Owner

Greg and Suzanna May, Z’s at the Curry, Owners

Z’s at the Curry and Pretty in Pink Flamingo Boutique, both located in the former Curry Office Supply Building, recently celebrated their grand openings. Z’s is an upscale lounge bar serving wine, beer, delicious cocktails and light appetizers in an elegant, swanky atmosphere. Z’s is available to rent for special events. Pretty in Pink Flamingo is a unique, chic boutique providing trendy fashion choices for women of all ages. Both businesses offer unique experiences for Waco.

68 | SPRING 2019

Z’s at the Curry and Pretty in Pink Flamingo Boutique, both located in the former Curry Office Supply Building, recently celebrated their grand openings. Z’s is an upscale lounge bar serving wine, beer, delicious cocktails and light appetizers in an elegant, swanky atmosphere. Z’s is available to rent for special events. Pretty in Pink Flamingo is a unique, chic boutique providing trendy fashion choices for women of all ages. Both businesses offer unique experiences for Waco.



Member since Feb. 5, 2019 • Ribbon Cutting Feb. 12, 2019


Member since Aug. 5, 2011 • Ribbon Cutting Feb. 23, 2019

1107 N. Valley Mills Dr., Bldg. 2 • Waco, TX 76710 (254) 732-0703 •

1686 FM 1637 • Valley Mills, TX 76689 (254) 848-4343 •

Tony Nguyen, Owner

John & Kandi Bagnasco, Joey Bagnasco, Owners

One of the newest nail salons in the Waco area, we thank the community for giving us a very warm welcome! We pride ourselves in providing a unique and exquisite experience in manicures, pedicures, and wax treatments. We have highly skilled technicians ready to turn your nail design dreams into reality!

The team behind Valley Mills Vineyards welcomed guests to their new Estate Winery for the very first time on February 23, 2019. This new facility will allow Valley Mills Vineyards to increase their wine production by 300 percent and entertain guests on the same land where the grapes are grown. Open from 12-6 p.m. every day, this family owned and operated winery is the place to be for local wine enthusiasts.


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CHAMBER CALENDAR Want to know what’s coming up at the Chamber? Then visit to view and register for upcoming events. Here are just a few signature events you don’t want to miss: Leading Waco Women Spring Summit THURSDAY, APRIL 4 | 8:30 – 11 A.M.

Join us for the final installation in our three-part Leading Waco Women Summit at the Carleen Bright Arboretum. The Spring Summit will be focused on the “mentoring” piece of Leading Waco Women with a Mindful Leadership workshop.

Waco Day in Austin WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10 | 8 A.M. – 9:30 P.M.

A delegation of Waco leaders and business people will travel together to the state capitol on behalf of Waco’s business community. The day will include introductions in the House and Senate chambers and briefings with legislators and agency heads. The day will conclude with a Legislative Reception on the Capitol grounds.

1000 Friends of Waco Roundtable WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17 | 11 A.M. – 12 P.M.

The community in invited to participate in our monthly roundtable discussion focusing on Greater Downtown Waco. This monthly meeting series includes updates from various stakeholders working in the greater downtown area.

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Allen Samuels Chamber Classic THURSDAY, MAY 2 | 7:30 A.M. – 7:30 P.M.

Join us at one of the top networking golf tournaments in Waco! Held at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course, the Allen Samuels Chamber Classic follows a four-person Florida Scramble format with morning and afternoon rounds. Breakfast and lunch provided.

Washington, D.C. Fly-In MAY 7-10

Our annual Washington, D.C. fly-in provides our partners and members the opportunity to meet with federal elected and agency leadership to discuss legislative policies and advocate for our policy priorities. Registrants are responsible for their own hotel and travel arrangements. Further information is provided upon registration.

Starburst Junior Golf Classic JUNE 17-18 | 7 A.M. - 7 P.M.

For over 20 years, Waco has been home to the Starburst Junior Golf Classic, a family-oriented, two-day competitive junior golf tournament. New this year, we’re excited to partner with North Texas PGA! Starburst Junior Golf Classic is part of the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Performance-Based Entry process.

PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 30 Waco, Texas P.O. Box 1220 Waco TX 76703-1220

Profile for Greater Waco Chamber

Greater Waco Business - Spring 2019  

The Greater Waco Chamber strives to expand support for entrepreneurs with infrastructure and networked relationships needed to create and sc...

Greater Waco Business - Spring 2019  

The Greater Waco Chamber strives to expand support for entrepreneurs with infrastructure and networked relationships needed to create and sc...