Greater Waco Business - Summer 2019

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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 Wrench Media

As competition for talent grows, and marketing efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the Greater Waco Chamber is your partner for talent attraction. This issue focuses on our commitment to having a thriving and welleducated workforce. We are honored to highlight Bridget and Michael Heins, a Waco couple dedicated to serving our future workforce.

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 | SUMMER 2019platforms, at its sole discretion. 4

The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce undertakes a robust Business Retention and Expansion program as part of its economic development work. Each year, your Chamber calls on more than one-hundred area employers to learn about their challenges, needs, and opportunities. Oftentimes, we pivot to our economic development partners to join with us to help these companies. Additionally, the information we gather by way of these visits continually informs our economic development strategic plan and leads to the establishment of important new relationships and initiatives. During these visits, it is common to hear company representatives discuss their workforce and talent needs. So common, in fact, that it is typically the number one issue voiced by our hosts. This is not surprising; employers throughout the nation are facing the same challenge – how to recruit, retain, and train the talent they need to ensure their business continues to innovate and vigorously compete within its marketplace. This edition of Greater Waco Business showcases an important new initiative launched by your Chamber – the talent portal. The WacoTXJobs. com talent portal was created based on feedback we received through our Business Retention and Expansion visits, and from our area human resource professionals. The portal has three sections – Explore Jobs, Find Talent, and Find Your Waco. We intend to market the availability of this portal within targeted markets, to help potential workers better understand the attractiveness of living and working in Waco, and to connect these people with our area employers. The portal is simple yet effective – job seekers can post a resume, companies can post available positions and opt to place expanded information about their company on the site, and people interested in working, living, and prospering in the Waco area can learn about our community through the “Find Your Waco” link. Soldiers retiring or separating from Fort Hood offer our area employers access to another great source of talent. On the following pages, Mary Thompson of Neighborly writes about the significance of veterans as a source of workers and leaders. Your Chamber understands this, as well. We work with the Fort Hood Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program (TAPS) by sharing this information with employers on every Business Retention and Expansion visit we conduct. We also encourage our employers to register as Veteran Friendly organizations. In 2018, we introduced the Manufacturing Institute of America’s “Heroes Make America” program to our employers, and there is an ongoing partnership between the program and ten area employers. We participate in Fort Hood’s Mega Career Fairs and brought a group of Fort Hood soldiers to last year’s inaugural Find Your Waco event. This quarter’s Greater Waco Business contains additional articles designed to help you find the talent you need for your organization, and train your incumbent workforce, to help lift your business to a new level of performance. Please read on. As always, thank you for your support of your Chamber of Commerce. Sincerely,

Matthew T. Meadors President & CEO


































by Kris Collins, Senior Vice President Economic Development, Greater Waco Chamber

Talent. It is the top need of

employers across the country, and Texas and Waco are no exceptions to this experience. However, the state’s economic success and population growth could be the saving grace for employers. The

“Texas Miracle” has spurred a migration of new residents to the state, adding not only to the population but also to the labor force. Texas’ population grows by 1,000 people per day – half of the growth is attributed to in-state births and the balance is a combination of domestic migration from other states (22 percent) and international migration (28 percent), flipping a decade’s long trend of growth from within the U.S. 8 | SUMMER 2019

As the “baby boomer” generation continues to age and exit the workforce, states and communities with increasing populations coupled with a pipeline of skilled individuals will be at a competitive advantage for growth. Positioned between four of the fastest growing metros within the U.S., Greater Waco and its urban core are certainly seeing an influx of newcomers, particularly over the last three years with both city and county growth exceeding 2017 American Community Survey projections by 4.7 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.

Age is a Factor Not only are we growing, we’re young. Nearly 60 percent of the Greater Waco 250,000+ population is under 40, compared to the U.S. at 52 percent. In addition, Greater Waco adds in the military factor. Located 45 minutes southwest of

Waco is Fort Hood, the largest military base in the U.S. with 40,000 soldiers on post. Each month, 700-800 soldiers retire or separate from Fort Hood. Surveys of these individuals indicate that more than half desire to stay in the Central Texas region providing an additional pipeline of young, well-trained, highly motivated individuals eager to enter the workforce. Those factors combined with five higher education institutions representing more than 30,000 college students are setting the region apart from others.

Connecting the Dots Waco is rich with education and talent resources. The community’s corporate business portfolio is diverse and balanced between Fortune 500 name brands and a swarm of regional and local companies, making their own names and quickly rising amongst the ranks of their industries as leaders. Yet, the challenging disconnection between these companies and resources has persisted, creating a new opportunity for the community. Businesses want access to the best talent available, both experienced individuals and those who will be entering the workforce. Colleges want to expose students to

experiential learning, getting them out of the classroom and into real-world work environments, ultimately leading better-qualified individuals and gainful employment for their graduates. This is not a situation unique to this community; however, Greater Waco is tackling this challenge head-on through collaboration and partnerships. A prime example of this partnership is Baylor University’s Employer Relations Specialist. Jointly funded between the City of Waco and Baylor, the position is designed to bridge the gap between education and industry by connecting local employers with all five area college campuses, further strengthening relationships and creating opportunities for student internships and post-graduation employment. Working together with the Greater Waco Chamber’s economic development team through the Business Retention and Expansion program, our organizations can provide a united approach for employer engagement and support to address the operation and workforce needs of industry.

Expanding the Reach Regularly, individuals reach out to the Greater Waco Chamber seeking connection to local employers. More often than ever before, these are individuals relocating to the community. They share resumés with the staff, which are then disseminated to a group of 400 employers through a weekly email. At the same time, an increasing number of graduates from area colleges are seeking employment opportunities that will allow them to stay in Waco, which were also shared with the group. The system, though simple, proved effective. WACOCHAMBER.COM


However, the audience was limited, and Chamber staff realized an online presence could expand opportunities to reach a much broader group of potential employers. The recently launched talent portal ( is the direct result of combining multiple levels of input into a single source solution. More than a job board, this dynamic website offers information and access to multiple audiences.

Explore Jobs Greater Waco is increasingly attractive to potential workers and internship seekers. For those unfamiliar with the community, connecting to local employers can seem daunting, until now. Through the Explore Jobs section of, candidates can access employment and internship opportunities with local businesses in a centralized location. Users can scan through any posting or search through keywords to identify specific, narrowed results. The site also provides employers with an opportunity for an enhanced presence on the site through the Featured Businesses section located on the site’s home page, providing additional exposure for the business and direct connectivity to the company’s website for the user.

Find Talent Answering the call of industry to provide better access to talent, the Find Your Talent section of the website offers employers a chance to peruse the resumés of job and internship seekers based upon their specific needs. As with the Explore Jobs page, employers can scan through 10 | SUMMER 2019

the resumés of candidates or conduct narrowed searches using keywords relating to skillsets or experience.

Find Your Waco Simultaneously easing the burden of human resource professionals and newcomers, is providing a centralized location for community information. While the site continues to evolve and grow in its offerings, online explorers can “Find Your Tribe” linking to local organizations, volunteer opportunities and gathering points, offering more ways to connect within the local community. Need a place to live? Explore the “Find Your Space” section, which provides connections to area housing specialists. Maybe you’re a foodie looking to plug into the area’s growing culinary scene; then “Find Your Flavor” is worth a visit. The list goes on with ways to connect and will continue to grow with new offerings reflective of the area’s increasing number of new and unique businesses and experiences. Economic development has transformed beyond the traditional transactions of business recruitment to a holistic approach that encompasses the entire community as a consideration in the decision-making process. The same is true for talent. It’s no longer just about the job; the community is as much a part of the consideration as the position. is encompassing this multipronged approach to assist corporate citizens, current residents and future Wacoans connect for success. For more information or to explore the talent portal, visit n


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by Mary Thompson, Neighborly


usiness is booming in Waco. We may still consider ourselves a “small Texas town,” but according to a 2018 Forbes report, we are among the top 200 cities in the United States recognized as the “Best Places for Business and Careers.” Our central location attracts commuters from numerous surrounding communities with an interest in joining our local workforce. An important subset of this growing workforce is one that I am especially fond of: the local veteran population.

The ideal applicant Upon completing their service, local veterans return to Central Texas communities ready to transition back into civilian life and find jobs. If you are familiar with the United States military, you know that these men and women already have a deep respect for and understanding of the importance of discipline and hard work. From a business perspective, that’s an incredible talent pool of potential employees. The state of our current workforce in Waco may be successful, but there’s always room for improvement. I speak from experience when I say that making a point to ensure veterans have ample employment opportunities available to them here is one of the most effective routes we can take to continuing to grow and enhance our local economy.

An officer and an executive Today, I serve as the Chief Operating Officer for Wacobased Neighborly, the world’s largest franchisor of home services. Before that, I went from independent franchisee to brand president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing to COO of the 14 | SUMMER 2019

parent company. The real start to my professional career, and the experience that shaped me as a leader today, was my service in United States Marine Corps. I joined the Marine Corps in 1985 as a logistics officer. Over the course of eight years, I served in California, North Carolina, Japan, and Korea. As I look back on the experiences I had as a Marine, they closely parallel my current role as a franchising executive in several ways. The leadership and systems training I received helped me understand the importance of systems in running a franchise business. The time I spent in recruiting for the Marines gave me a strong background in sales and marketing. Leading a unit that ran the airfield in Pohang, Korea alongside a Korean counterpart helped me master the arts of influence and collaboration. And being one of the few women in the Corps who qualified to parachute jump helped me understand the value of blazing trails for others to follow.

A look at veterans in franchising Recognizing how my military training prepared me for a professional career has made me passionate about advocating for other veterans to find the same opportunities for success that I did, particularly through franchising. Eventually, this led to me serving a tenure as the chair of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, which is an initiative geared toward both training veterans to become business owners through franchising as well as providing financial incentives for them to invest in such opportunities. What you may not know is this veteran support program has a strong connection to the city of Waco: the late Don Dwyer Sr., who founded Neighborly

(formerly Dwyer Group) in Waco, was also responsible for the creation of the VetFran program in 1991. As a result, Neighborly’s brands were the first to offer discounts to veterans interested in owning a franchise as they entered the civilian workforce. To date, Neighborly has awarded more than $2.5 million in discounts to military veterans toward the purchase of their own franchises. Now supported by the International Franchise Association, more than 600 franchisors participate in the program. And while veterans make up 7 percent of the U.S. population today, their presence in the franchising industry is significant, as 14 percent of franchisees behind the nearly 800,000 franchise establishments across the country are veterans.

and sacrificed for our county and have earned these opportunities. They understand commitment, have usually been given great responsibility and are eager to settle their families down in great communities like Waco. both our brand locations and our home office here in Waco. While I cannot speak to the stats of every other business in our local community, I know Neighborly is not alone in its efforts to ensure that veterans have work opportunities available to them here in Waco. But let’s not rest here; we owe our veterans the power to prosper. They served

Business owners of Waco, if it is not a common practice for you already, I urge you to proactively seek out veterans as candidates for potential positions within your companies. This can be done by coordinating with local veteran outreach programs to promote whenever you have a job opening and allowing veteran applicants to show you the ways their military experiences can translate into successful employment. You will not regret it. n

Veteran employment is on the rise Of course, franchising is not the only industry that benefits from veteran contributions. As of April 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a veteran unemployment rate of just 2.3 percent, which is a full 1.6 percent lower than was reported in April 2018. Clearly, employers are catching on to the fact that veterans bring a lot to the table as contributing members of the modern workforce. I am proud that Waco is one of the many cities across the country that has played an integral role in lessening the veteran unemployment rate over time. Specifically, at Neighborly, we have a significant veteran presence among the associates, franchise owners, and franchise employees that make up WACOCHAMBER.COM

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by Fiona Bond, Executive Director, Creative Waco

When you think of workforce development, the cultural arts may not pop into your mind immediately. However, there are many great examples of arts-based workforce development with far-reaching impact beyond the creative sector. For Creative Waco, there are two strands to this work. The first, and perhaps most direct, is professional development and skills-based training that helps artists, performers and creative professionals carve out a successful career trajectory. We want our creatives NOT to be starving artists. We want to equip them to be savvy, successful 16 | SUMMER 2019

entrepreneurs. In Waco, we are benefitting from the expertise of Luann Jennings, who has been developing expertise in this field for decades and has recently launched a Waco-specific curriculum of professional development for artists and creative professionals. Why is this important? Because successful creative entrepreneurs and a vibrant arts and cultural scene have been shown across the globe to be one of the essential ingredients for building a thriving, sustainable and locally distinctive economy that attracts a broader ecosystem of entrepreneurship.

The second strand is less obvious, but just as impactful. The arts are a fantastic training ground for creative (and fun!) problem solving for any field of work. Last year, Creative Waco launched ARTPrenticeship, an apprenticeship program for high school students through which they learn how to manage a creative project from concept to completion. Apprentices worked alongside professional artists to paint a stunning new mural (see the first one, “1000 Hopes for Waco,” at University Parks and Jackson). Apprentices learn the skills needed to become a successful “Creative Professional” in a real-world context. This includes skills such as:

• Project management • Designing a client brief • Managing client relationships • Community consultation • Presenting and revising designs

• Budgeting, financial management and cash flow (including calculation of materials needed) • Managing uncertainty and risk • Safety on a work site • Basic surveying knowledge

• Legal basics (contracts and intellectual property) • Working as part of a creative team • Media communication

No matter what profession the students ultimately want to excel in, these highly transferable skills equip them for success and provide a visible reminder of the impact their work can have in the world.


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Professional Development

I developed an interest in entrepreneurship and business for artists while living in New York City. The artists whose careers moved forward were masters of two skills – being proactive and being entrepreneurial. As an arts entrepreneur myself, I had the opportunity to start several arts programs and businesses, learning through trial and error the “business” of the arts. One of the driving forces that brought my husband (jazz guitarist Chuck Jennings) and me to Waco in 2016 was the opportunity to help build a thriving local arts scene. To better assist local creatives in owning and running successful creative businesses, The Work of Artists was developed by combining the most applicable aspects of several nationally-known training programs tailored toward Waco’s needs. Waco is ripe for entrepreneurship in the arts, so what artists here need most is to be able to cast a vision and learn how to move it forward. We don’t need what a city with a large number of mid-career artists would need. Many of our local artists are at early career stage, juggling families and other jobs; their challenge is to figure out how to juggle and prioritize. The Work of Artists course guides creatives by narrowing down the mission of their business in three steps: (1) Build a Base, (2) Connect with the Community, and (3) Manage 18 | SUMMER 2019

the Money. At the end of the first session, participants leave with a foundational business plan and an in-depth understanding of what they as creative professionals are selling and what makes their product unique. By the end of the third session, participants know how to manage money, keep the IRS happy and grow profit margins.

STEFANIE WHEAT-JOHNSON, ARTPrenticeship Program Manager While it may provide beauty for our city, the backbone of the ARTPrenticeship program is in its marriage of workforce training and the development of creative talent in our city. As such, it provides an environment full of opportunity and challenges that I’m thankful to say has proven stimulating for all parties involved. After an exciting pilot project last summer, our team has been pleased to mark the successes of the artists and young creatives we employed in our program. Providing a mixture of studio work, professional enrichment, and the hands-on hard labor of painting an outdoor mural gave everyone the chance to dig deep and grow. We’ve seen our apprentices from last year graduate with honors and go forward with confidence into their chosen fields and have had the great pleasure of watching the artists who taught for us continue to grow their businesses and deepen their craft.

Pairing high standards with the right people in a positive and nurturing environment produced more than a beautiful mural. By connecting our young people, hired from within Waco ISD, to challenges that we knew they were up to, they were able to find satisfaction in a success that was well-earned. Our teaching artists and assistants cultivate this atmosphere, and it was deeply satisfying to be able to provide each of our participants with feedback on their growth and abilities at the end of the summer. We’re looking forward to doing the same this year, with a special focus on connecting more closely with local organizations, businesses and community programs. Gaining skills in how to do great work while getting to know your home town on a deeper level has rewards that will only grow with time as these young creatives contribute to their community! The arts foster a kind of learning that can be applied to almost any Executive Director, workforce context, and several of our Creative Waco Waco arts organizations can offer workshops and retreats for businesses built around creative problem-solving. Do you need to build confident communication among your sales team? Try an improv theatre workshop. Do you need your quality control staff to spot issues more easily? Try a visual coaching session at an art exhibition.


The arts have “superpowers” when it comes to creative problem solving, understanding a complex issue, multivalent communication or team building. One of my favorite Texas examples is Austin Energy, who turned to dance when they wanted to build staff morale and trust among workers who often have to depend on one another in dangerous situations, and who wanted to cultivate public understanding and appreciation of their heroic work. They partnered with Forklift Danceworks to produce PowerUp, a unique dance using forklifts. Six thousand people attended the live performance and it was made into a PBS Documentary. We’d love to hear from Waco businesses curious about how to unleash the superpowers of the arts for their own workforce development. n WACOCHAMBER.COM

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

Michael Heins is the Regional Director of Productivity for H-E-B. Born and raised in Gonzales, Texas, Michael moved to Waco in 1989 at the age of 18 to attend Texas State Technical Institute (TSTI), now TSTC Waco, to study mechanical design and computer-aided drafting. Looking for work to pay his way through school, he was hired on at H-E-B to bag groceries. After graduating from TSTI two years later, Michael was still working at H-E-B when he was called to help a young lady in the parking lot who had left her car lights on and had a dead car battery. He went out to assist the woman, Bridget DeLeon, who would eventually become Michael’s wife. Michael and Bridget were married the next year, and the young couple moved to Austin. Michael looked for work in his field of study, thinking he would quickly find work in Austin’s growing economy, but at the time the only jobs he could really find were in Houston. The idea of moving to Houston and spending his time drafting wasn’t appealing to Michael, so he continued to learn and grow with H-E-B at a store in Austin.

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Bridget Heins is the Director of Community Relations at Rapoport Academy Public School. Bridget was born to a single teen mother at Hillcrest Hospital in Waco. She described her early years as chaotic but she always found stability at school. She notes particular educators who made an impact on her, including Mr. Barksdale at Lake Waco Elementary, Mr. Bables at G. L. Wiley, or Coach Love at Waco High School, Bridget always had influences in her life who made sure that the gaps were filled. “Along the journey of growing up in chaos, there was the steady that was school,” said Bridget. “I literally followed my heroes into my profession, which is education.” When she was a senior in high school, Bridget received a scholarship from the League of United Latino American Citizens, or LULAC, to attend McLennan Community College (MCC). “That scholarship was literally the difference between going and not going to college,” said Bridget. From MCC, Bridget transferred to Baylor University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree and became a student teacher at Waco Baptist Academy where she was eventually hired on as a teacher. Bridget laughs at the memory of her first meeting Michael in the parking lot at H-E-B. “It’s so embarrassing,” she said. “Dead battery in broad daylight.”

Michael and Bridget had lived in Austin for a short stint when they decided to have their first child, their daughter Rebecca. Shortly before Rebecca was born in 1994, the Heins decided to move back to Waco to start their family. The flexibility of working for H-E-B gave Michael opportunities to transfer to different stores in different cities, which made the transition back to Waco easier. Michael started working overnights at the Wooded Acres H-E-B and soon he and Bridget welcomed Rebecca to their family. In 1999, Michael and Bridget welcomed their second child, their son Michael (or Mikey, as he prefers to be called). Soon after, Michael was accepted into a department management training program at H-E-B and continued to be developed and molded into a leader by his company. “Everywhere along the way, when opportunities from what I had studied in school came along, there was always someone at H-E-B who said, ‘Well, we would really like for you to do this,’” said Michael. “I always had the benefit of getting a better opportunity from within H-E-B than I was finding outside of H-E-B.” Through his career at H-E-B, Michael managed multiple departments in multiple stores around Central Texas and continued to raise a family and become very involved in the Waco community. Michael eventually was put on track to have his own H-E-B store, which was a big personal victory for him. His store was located in Marlin, a small store in a small community that he loved being a part of. After Marlin, Michael made the move to the store on South Valley Mills, where he was in charge for eight years.

After graduating from Baylor, Bridget student-taught and eventually became a full-time fifth-grade teacher at Waco Baptist Academy where she taught for 15 years, taking off time here and there to raise her children and be a mom. She is passionate about teaching middle school because she remembers how difficult middle school was for her personally and the difference that different teachers and community organizations made in her life. “During middle school years, I was actually living at the Methodist Children’s Home,” Bridget said. “The Methodist Home, as an organization, was pivotal for me, because it was only at that point that I began to have structure outside of school - the structures of chores, of having a plan in place for doing homework, the expectations, the discipline. Learning in that environment was difficult for me because I’d never really experienced structure, but it really set patterns into place that helped me when I was on my own.”


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Bridget was hired at Rapoport Academy Public School five years ago as a fifthgrade teacher. Her job now is more marketing and community relations-focused, which she says is thanks to her superintendent believing in her and giving her an opportunity to grow into a new role. “Basically I’m in a support role when it comes to community events, things like Freedom Ball and LEAD, where scholarships are given and students benefit. We make sure we’re giving back and that our students and teachers and parents have opportunities to give back to the greater Waco community,” she said.

During his tenure at the South Valley Mills store, Michael got more involved with the community through H-E-B’s Diversity Council, the United Way, the Greater Waco Chamber, and other opportunities that H-E-B allowed him to be involved with. He and Bridget became more involved in their church, hosting local college students for a home-cooked dinner once a week and providing leadership and mentorship. “That’s always been important to us, to serve,” said Michael. “We’re both servants, my wife and I. That’s been a big part of what we’ve done and what H-E-B has allowed me to because of the serving nature of what H-E-B does.” Bridget says that her servant’s heart was fostered by the organizations that helped raise her. “The giveback part of me really does come from the fact that, if you can name an organization in Waco, they somehow or another helped me,” she said, “whether it was through school or through community events or just even giving us books at Christmas. The Junior League of Waco was a group I saw, I remember seeing the name over and over again, not knowing what it was. As an adult, I became a member of the Junior League. That desire to be involved with the community stems from the fact that this community was there for me and provided the path that otherwise, I don’t know where I would be right now.”

Michael’s current job is regional, so he works in both Waco and Austin, traveling about once a week to his Austin office. His job is innovative and analytic, finding, testing and implementing processes that are most efficient and costeffective for the company. “The biggest piece, what I’ve always loved most about my job is the ability to help, mentor and train people and see them become successful,” said Michael. “I have a lot of people who I mentor or who reach out to me for help or with questions, so that’s very rewarding. I also get to see a lot of the new things that we do from a technology standpoint, or behind-the-scenes things that are coming to better serve our customers and partners [employees] -those are all exciting to me that I get to be a small part of and help roll out.” When it comes to living in Waco, Michael and Bridget say there’s nowhere else they would rather live and work. “Having lived and worked in Austin, the biggest thing that really keeps us here is our small group of friends and the small-town feel,” Michael said. “I’m able to live and serve both the community and work at H-E-B.” Bridget has always been rooted in Waco and has deep connections to a community that she says basically raised her. “When I was a student at G.L. Wiley, our teachers would take us periodically to Paul Quinn College, which is where Rapoport Academy is now,” she said. “So I’ve actually been on the campus when it was Paul Quinn College, and all of those people I named, the heroes that I followed into the teaching profession, went to Paul Quinn College. When I look at what we’re able to do for students, I see a lot of myself in them. That’s why I continue to love my job, because I see the difference-maker that a quality education can be to a child, I am a life that is changed.”

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Both Michael and Bridget work to build leaders and prepare them for the workforce. At H-E-B, Michael says there is often internal promotion and strong family culture. “H-E-B is a privately-owned family business that’s been around since 1905. The culture of H-E-B is all about people, it’s always been that way. You will be taken care of by your team and by your company, and that’s really hard to find,” said Michael. “The other benefit is that we have so many opportunities at H-E-B that are available for you, whether it be manufacturing, logistics, information systems, human resources, and more, anything you could possibly want to do.”

college, career and life,” said Bridget. “We would like for them to stay in the Waco community, and we have events that are geared toward showing students what’s available in Waco. We hold our STEM Pathways event in the fall, and we invite local industries along with all of the colleges - MCC, TSTC, the University Center, and Baylor - so that students and parents can learn about industry needs and college degree programs providing a local pathway from education to career.”

Rapoport Academy Public School, a public charter school, was founded 20 years ago by Dr. Nancy Grayson with the intent that all students, no matter where they lived, deserved to have a quality education that prepared them for post-secondary, for college, career and life. Rapoport Academy has the same accountability as traditional public schools, and each charter school has a unique look, feel, and focus. Bridget said, “We don’t have a onesize-fits-all for every student -- we have a specific degree plan for each student.” Rapoport Academy focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, entrepreneurship and providing students the opportunity for tuition-free access to college. “The work that’s being done in our district is with that focus of getting students ready for


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With kids grown and moved out of the house and careers that allow for a flexible work-life balance, Michael and Bridget enjoy spending their free time with their closeknit circle of friends or on their family farm in Gonzales. “We have a small place that Bridget and I go to on the weekends where there’s nothing but cows and pastures,” said Michael. “It gets us out of the ‘rat race,’ so to speak.” The two are also actively involved in organizations around town, including the Greater Waco Chamber. They attend as many events as they can to network professionally and give back to the community. “I try to make every Chamber event that I can,” Bridget said. “The benefit for me coming to these events is getting to be in front of people that normally I wouldn’t encounter, people who are valuable resources for my students. I’m always in the mindset of ‘how do I get resources to my students?’ And the Chamber allows me to do that.” Michael and Bridget particularly enjoy being involved in Freedom Ball and the LEAD Program. Michael currently serves on the Chamber’s Board of Directors representing H-E-B. “Getting to connect more with community members and provide input on things going on in Waco are both benefits of being involved with the Chamber,” he said. “The most fun thing is the TRC Campaign. Not only do you get to meet new people and connect, you get to have fun doing it.”

Bridget and Michael exemplify what it means to love one’s community. They give back to Waco in so many capacities, both personally and professionally, and continually seek out opportunities and avenues through which they can connect, serve and grow. During his career, Michael has learned three pieces of advice for professionals working to grow in their careers: 1. Treat people right. 2. Follow the process. 3. Have fun. “If you don’t have fun and just enjoy what you’re doing and treat your people right, it can be really overwhelming,” he said. “Those are the things that are core for me. Follow the processes — since 1905, H-E-B has put steps and processes in place because they work. So to me, if you follow those things, it’s not a job, it’s just what you get to do.” n 24 | SUMMER 2019


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Staying Relevant in Today’s Workforce

by John Hutchens, Corporate Training Coordinator, McLennan Community College

Do you and your employees have the skills and mindset to adapt in an ever-changing workforce? If you want to revolutionize and motivate yourself or your workforce, become an indispensable part of an organization, or simply learn new skills for a better job opportunity, the Corporate Training program at McLennan Community College (MCC) is a great resource. Corporations have been flocking to Texas for its business-friendly environment, location and community. New businesses and growing corporations have created a demand for skilled workers willing to take the initiative and learn new ways to handle and manage a changing workforce. MCC’s Corporate Training will equip you with essential tools you need to succeed and take your business or career to the next level. MCC offers several opportunities for the community. Students and employers can pick up a catalog or go online to explore the variety of public courses offered on campus. Customized training is provided to meet the individual needs of your business or organization. The most popular courses are in management skills, industrial training and healthcare, but the training needs of a variety of industries have been met in many different training areas. 26 | SUMMER 2019

Workforce training topics include: • Industrial & Technical Training • Leadership/Supervisor Training • Computer Applications • Communications • Teamwork • Workplace Spanish • Customer Service • Sales & Marketing • Quality Improvement Management • Project Management • Workplace Safety • Healthcare The most exciting training opportunities available to businesses in the community are the Skills grants offered by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Skills for Small Business Through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Skills for Small Business program, up to $2 million from the Skills Development Fund is dedicated to the backbone of Texas’ business community: small businesses. Small businesses can apply to TWC for training offered by MCC. TWC processes the applications and works with the college to fund the specific courses selected by businesses for their employees. This exceptional opportunity supports businesses with fewer than 100 employees and emphasizes training for new workers and incumbent workers. Skills for Small Business grants offer up $1,800 in training dollars to new employees of area small businesses and $900 for an incumbent. The training courses from our area community college or technical college catalogs includes online credit and continuing education courses.

Skills Development Fund The Skills Development Fund is Texas’ premier job-training program providing local customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages of the Texas workforce. TWC administers funding for the program and success is achieved through collaboration among businesses, public community and technical colleges, Workforce Development Boards and economic development partners. The Skills Development Fund program assists businesses and trade unions by financing the design and implementation of customized jobtraining projects. This fund successfully merges business needs and local customized training opportunities into a winning formula to increase the skills levels and wages of the Texas workforce. MCC has been doing Skills Development Fund grants in McLennan and Falls counties since 1997 with TWC approving over $13.6 million helping improve the training of over 16,000 workers in the community. To find out more about the Corporate Training program at MCC, visit www. or call 254-299-8888. n WACOCHAMBER.COM

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The Skills Development Fund is Texas’ premier job-training program providing local customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages of the Texas workforce. The Texas Workforce Commission administers funding for the program. Success is achieved

through collaboration among businesses, public community and technical colleges, Workforce Development Boards and economic development partners. In Waco, both Texas State Technical College and McLennan Community College are resources for training with the use of these funds.


Represented in photo are people representing grant consortium – Trane, Vossloh, Aramark, Marathon-Norco, TWC and MCC president (Johnette McKown).

“Thank you to McLennan Community College for allowing us to participate in the Skills Development Fund Grant Training Program through the Texas Workforce Commission. It helped tremendously by allowing us to streamline our production processes, which was a big challenge for our organization. The training that McLennan Community College provides is very well organized and a big benefit for our employees and our company as a whole. We received excellent feedback from our employees who participated in the training. With all the training our team received, we nearly doubled our production output by stabilizing our production processes. Our employees have improved their skills, and we will be participating in additional workforce development training with McLennan Community College in the near future.”

“We are certainly appreciative for the grant provided by the Skills Development Fund from the Texas Workforce Commission. TSTC was very supportive in helping us secure the grant and they were instrumental in helping us make connections with the educators that helped with our training. Our emphasis was on safety and efficiency. While we are still improving in all areas, safety continues to be our top priority. A large portion of our grant went towards a Safestart program. In the very first year that we implemented our Safestart program, we had ZERO safety incidents and no lost time. Thanks to everyone who assisted us with this program, and we know it will continue to be a great source for all of Central Texas.” Hal Whitaker – General Manager, Englander dZignPak/PCA 28 | SUMMER 2019

Vossloh Fastening Systems

Represented in photo are Englander dZignPak (now Englander dZignPak/PCA) leadership and Texas State Technical College staff and provost (Adam Hutchinson).


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exas State Technical College (TSTC) separates itself from the rest of higher education by making sure its students are more than just job-ready. The college works to make sure graduates have a job by the time they get a degree, and leadership puts a lot of resources into making that happen. “It’s part of our funding formula. We don’t get paid until our students get paid at their jobs. It’s incentive for us to do our best to get our students hired,” explained Provost Adam Hutchison. To ensure a successful job placement rate, the college’s Industry Relations and Talent Management office implements numerous strategies.

Employer Spotlights Among these strategies is the Employer Spotlights, where a company representative visits a designated campus to talk to students about job opportunities and benefits. Industry partners that have visited the Waco campus in recent months include SpaceX, Evans Enterprises Inc., Waco Transit System, Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries and Big Creek Construction. Big Creek Construction is a heavy-highway contractor working on Texas Department of Transportation road and bridge projects. Wade Miller, Big Creek’s assistant director, has hired TSTC graduates, including recent hire Mariano Perez, 19. “We are excited to have Mariano coming aboard,” Miller said. “He’s a very impressive young man, and we expect him to do well at our company.” Miller said TxDOT’s increase in spending on projects due to state propositions being passed by voters means more road and bridge improvements will be made in the next decade. “This equates to roughly 70,000 employees needed to build this work,” Miller said. “The workforce across our industry and 30 | SUMMER 2019

state is aging. We are running out of people to do this work. For this reason, programs by TSTC make sense to contractors like us.”

Interview Practicums Perhaps one of the most engaging strategies TSTC offers its students is the interview practicum, an event hosted at campuses across the state consisting of mock job interviews. Director of TSTC’s Industry Relations and Talent Management office Viviana Espinoza said that students prepare by attending workshops on writing resumés, writing cover letters and researching companies. “Our goal is to help every student who participates gain the confidence needed to have a successful interview,” said Espinoza. Volunteers are recruited from the local business community and TSTC to coach and lead mock interviews for participating students, many of whom will soon be graduating. Fastenal General Manager Gilbert Garcia, who hires TSTC graduates, recently participated as a volunteer interview coach. “For me, helping students succeed is a team effort and I’m looking forward to being a part of this process,” said Garcia. “TSTC has helped us a lot by sending us great graduates who are eager to learn and have a great work ethic. This is my way of giving back.” The students participate in three rounds of interviews, each 30 minutes long, and are provided with constructive feedback from their coaches on how to improve their résumés and interview skills. “For some of our students, this will be their very first interview,” said Espinoza. “It’s important they practice talking about themselves and their skills because that is one of the hardest things to do.”

TSTC has helped us a lot by sending us great graduates who are eager to learn and have a great work ethic. Internships TSTC also works to prepare students for jobs through internships. During the Spring 2019 semester, four TSTC students worked as interns at St. Paul’s Episcopal School on Columbus Avenue to guarantee that its teachers and students had the fastest and most secure software and hardware. “They are our Information Technology department,” said Head of School M’Lissa Howen. “They keep us going so the kids can learn.” Technology is a vital part of education today. But if the system goes down, it can bring a halt to education. “They do everything from installing the new server to moving the computer lab for us and helping us troubleshoot daily problems,” said Deborah Bennett, assistant head of St. Paul’s Episcopal School. “The other day they even caught a security breach and fixed it quickly,” TSTC and St. Paul’s have worked together for the past five years. The internship is unpaid but provides students an opportunity to earn real-world experience. “It’s amazing for these students to have practical, real-world training before they graduate. They can learn these skills in labs, but out there, you’ve got the teachers and students relying on you to do your job. It gives them a new sense of priority and urgency,” said John Washington, an associate professor in TSTC’s Computer Networking and Systems Administration program. The interns work a minimum of 15 hours a week and serve as representatives for the IT department during school board meetings.

Job Fairs

Texas. Held at the Murray Watson Jr. Student Recreation Center, students had the opportunity to interview with more than 100 companies looking to fill jobs for diesel equipment mechanics, industrial maintenance workers, instrumentation employees, electricians, plumbers and welders. Boeing was among the industry leaders at the event, with representatives seeking aviation mechanics, industrial maintenance workers and electrical employees. “We really like how we are getting students that are matched to what we are looking for,” said Chris Rustik, a Boeing equipment maintenance manager. “The students are eager to find out information, so we appreciate that.” Some TSTC alumni are often among the job recruiters. Joseph Jacobs, a support services manager for the Waco Independent School District, graduated in 2000 from TSTC with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration. He said the school district, one of Waco’s largest employers, looks for more than just teachers. Jacobs said computer networking is one of the fields that workers are sought for. Cesar Vazquez, 19, of Red Oak is studying in the Diesel Equipment Technology program. He talked to a few companies and felt good about his job prospects. “I’m here to get a job in the diesel industry because I like working on diesels and have since I was a little boy,” Vazquez said. “My first truck was a diesel, and I just like working on them.” For more information on TSTC and its program offerings, visit n

At a recent TSTC Industry Job Fair, almost 900 TSTC students met potential employers from throughout the nation and WACOCHAMBER.COM

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by Jessica Attas, Vice President Public Policy, Greater Waco Chamber

Workforce, talent and economic development go hand in hand. As the entity responsible for promoting the economic growth and

development of the Greater Waco area, strengthening the workforce pipeline and ensuring that Waco can develop, retain and attract talent are key components of our economic development strategic plan. As such, the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce is actively involved in helping promote policies and programs to support workforce development and economic growth. While economic growth has been steadfast in Texas - the Texas economy is currently the tenth largest economy in the world and just became the number one state in which to do business - access to talent is never far from the mind of area 32 | SUMMER 2019

employers. We recognize it is imperative to have a robust public education system and that those graduates go on to fulfill some level of post-secondary training to be ready to step into the jobs being created. It is projected that by 2020, more than 60 percent of the jobs in Texas will require a post-secondary certificate or degree. However, less than 30 percent of high school graduates in our state will complete a certificate or degree within six years of high school graduation. The impact of this plays out as a “jobs versus skills” mismatch: currently, there are 300,000 unfilled jobs in Texas, and 544,000 unemployed Texans. The jobs are there, but people don’t have the skills to step into them. The longterm economic impact of this skills gap for our state could be grave if left unaddressed. The State has recognized the gravity of this situation and exhibited exceptional leadership in crafting a strategic plan called 60x30TX designed to address the growing skills gap. The primary, overarching goal is to see 60 percent of Texans,

age 25-34, complete a certificate or degree by the year 2030. The plan brings together the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and Texas Workforce Commission and asks for bold and intentional action by all three - and stakeholders across the state - to meet four articulated goals. Meeting each of these goals requires strategic action by multiple stakeholders: business and industry leaders and education and community partners. As you read on, consider how you or your business might engage to help achieve these worthy goals. The overarching goal of 60 percent of Texans age 25-34 holding a certificate or degree is an indicator for the economic competitiveness and future of the state. Having the education and skills for meaningful employment boosts earnings, develops competent and resourceful employees, and creates a workforce that is dynamic, talented, and high-quality. Our economic growth will be limited if our workforce and talent don’t have the skills for a 21st-century economy. The second goal is completion: by 2030, at least 550,000 students will complete a certificate, associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree from an institution of higher education. To reach this goal, we need to target groups who historically have lower levels of post-secondary attainment. Our percentage of economically disadvantaged is growing, but their educational attainment is not. We need those students and English-language learners and students of all ethnicities to succeed in post-secondary completion. The third goal of 60x30TX is that all graduates of Texas public institutions of higher education will have completed programs with marketable skills. This goal requires industry professionals and employers to communicate with institutions of higher education and make sure they know what skills employees must possess to be successful. This can include partnerships that encourage and support internships and apprenticeships. Students who understand how the skills they are learning will benefit their future employers are more likely to complete certificates or degrees. Lastly, 60x30TX aspires to see that by 2030, student loan debt will not exceed 60 percent of first-year wages for

graduates of Texas public institutions. This goal primarily requires students to make responsible choices on the debt they incur; two- and four-year colleges to increase efficiencies and limit excessive growth in tuition; and the state to sufficiently invest in higher education. The entire Texas population will feel the repercussions of not meeting this goal. Individuals who saddle large amounts of debt have less to spend on other areas. Further, much of the revenue available to the state comes from taxes; as noted in the 60x30TX report, the greater the discretionary income, the higher the purchasing power, and the greater the state’s potential revenue. Having a robust tax base with an economically healthy population is a crucial part of the economic health of our state. Preparing the workforce of tomorrow is essential for the continued economic strength and growth of our great state. For this reason, the Chamber has jumped into supporting policies and programs that could help remedy this situation. From increasing access to dual-credit and apprenticeships, supporting “earn while you learn” programs, and expanding career and technical education, to informing the education institutions of industry needs, it is imperative that education and industry align if we are to realize the worthy goals of 60x30TX. If you recognize the impact that access to talent has on your ability to grow your business and care about the future of our state, we invite you to work with us: get involved in the regional P-20 Council which evaluates the workforce pipeline “from cradle to career”; host student internships or teacher externships or launch a work-based learning program; partner with an institution of higher education in seeking a Skills Development Grant to further train and develop your workers. Texans are known for their bold spirit, and to ensure our state continues to grow and thrive for generations to come requires bold and visionary action today. We invite you to think about what innovative ways you could partner to help prepare the workforce of tomorrow, today. Together we can help meet the goals of 60x30TX and ensure we have a vibrant state and healthy economy for all. n


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by Christina Helmick, Digital Marketing Specialist, Extraco


he recent growth in Waco has made our hometown a hot spot for young professionals and entrepreneurs to stay or relocate after graduation. This explosive growth has created opportunities for businesses looking to attract a younger workforce and for our community as young professionals move in, start families and search for opportunities to make an impact. Area employers understand the importance of supporting young professionals – in the community, in their employment and when starting a business – for the Waco community to thrive.

Supporting Waco’s Young Professionals One such way Extraco helps support young professionals is through its sponsorship of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals membership group (Waco YPs). The Waco YPs engage with graduates from Baylor University, McLennan Community College, Texas State Technical College, Tarleton State University – Waco, and Texas Tech University – Waco, and other young professionals who move to the Waco area to start their careers. The YPs encourage these young professionals to attend monthly events for members, including happy hours, industry tours and luncheons featuring prominent community leaders who share their perspectives on leadership. 34 | SUMMER 2019

“Our goal,” said the Waco YP Chairman Benjamin Gomez, “is to cultivate individuals through our professional development events and the enormous number of events we have about building confident, competent, well-rounded individuals who can then go out and serve their community.” “We are proud to be sponsors of the Greater Waco Chamber’s Young Professionals group. Here at Extraco, we understand that the lifeblood of any community is fueled by investing in and building up future generations of leaders,” said Mark Reynolds, northern regional president at Extraco Banks. “The YP program allows those who are just starting out in their careers to engage with community leaders from all sectors, learn the types of industries that call Waco home, and network with other young professionals throughout Waco.” Just as young professionals need to build a solid foundation in their chosen field, they also need to build a foundation at their chosen job. Building people – either employees or customers – is part of Extraco’s mission, and something Extraco has been committed to since inception in 1902.

“As a member of the YPs, you’re really building the foundation of your business network that you can rely on later,” Gomez said. “A lot of [YP] events are based on two things: taking applicable skills that you learned from our events and being able to implement them in the first 72 hours and also building relationships with our speakers and asking them to pour into our young professionals.”

Building and Supporting Local Businesses Extraco is also focused on building businesses in Central Texas, including start-ups and small businesses, through developing and implementing initiatives like the Extrapreneur Award Program, the Extraco Big Idea Challenge delivered via the Start Up Waco initiative, and Extraco Bank & Brews Workshops. Created in 2018, the Extrapreneur Award is geared

toward supporting Central Texas small business owners and entrepreneurs. The program provides the winner with the resources for growth and innovation through the awarding of a $25,000 cash prize, along with mentoring and business consultation. There are a host of requirements applicants must meet in order to apply. More information can be found by visiting PALS Home Health was the program’s inaugural winner in 2018. PALS specializes in pediatric home health private duty nursing for children that are medically dependent. Tyler Martin and Natasha James, owners of PALS Home Health, said being awarded this program will positively impact the company’s growth for years to come. “We feel very blessed to be the first winner of Extraco’s Extrapreneur program. As a small business owner the financial resources, business consulting and mentorship that is given to the program’s winner are invaluable,” said Tyler Martin, Chief Executive Officer for PALS Home Health.

PALS Home Health was the program’s inaugural winner in 2018. WACOCHAMBER.COM

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Held monthly, Bank & Brews workshops are created to provide small business owners and entrepreneurs information about key business practices, such as how to retain employees to improve the bottom line, what to include in a business plan, the importance of digital marketing, among others. Each workshop focuses on a specific topic and key stakeholders from across the community serve as expert panelists who share their testimonies to help guide Waco’s future business owners and leaders. In partnership with Start Up Waco, Bank & Brews is designed for and welcomes anyone who is interested in learning more about starting or growing a business! These

36 | SUMMER 2019

monthly events are free and hosted at Hustle Co-Working space. “The Extrapreneur Award Program and monthly Bank & Brews workshops are initiatives Extraco created in response to the community’s needs,” said Libby Cain, senior vice president, mission marketing and strategy for Extraco Banks. “In tandem with other community-wide efforts to support and invest in entrepreneurs and small business owners, these strategic initiatives positively impact workforce talent and economic development in the Central Texas areas.” To learn more about Extraco and its commitment to the Central Texas area, visit n

Waco YP’s with David Hicks, Executive Vice President, American Bank WACOCHAMBER.COM

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This quarterly luncheon event at the Greater Waco Chamber is designed specifically for local business professionals and provides an update on “our economy in one hour�. Recent economic development news and data is also presented that attendees can use in their business. Visit to view details of the next Hour Economy luncheon.


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


aco’s economy continues to grow, according to the Greater Waco Economic Index. For example, record growth in March 2019 stemmed largely from retail spending, automobile spending, hotel/motel revenue, and residential purchases. Businesses in these and other industries rely on contracts in their efforts to develop high-quality goods and services, and to seal deals with satisfied customers. Sometimes, an oral agreement — which relies upon the honor of the parties for fulfillment — is not enough. A written contract (a) helps ensure that a business gets what it needs on time, (b) helps prevent misunderstandings, and (c) may be legally enforceable by a court in the event of a dispute. What questions should a contract answer? Although legal requirements vary, here are six W’s to keep in mind.

1. Who?

Who are the parties to the contract? A contract clearly should identify the businesses and/or individuals bound by it. A business should be in good standing, and the person signing for it should be authorized to do so. An individual should be competent to enter into the contract. The parties may change because some contracts allow parties to assign their rights and obligations to others.

2. What?

What are the rights and obligations of each party? For example, a contract involving the purchase of goods or services may describe one party’s right to receive such goods or services, and the other party’s right to receive payment. It may describe obligations relating to quantity, quality, deadline, method of delivery, price, and form of payment. The contract may further describe obligations to provide “notice” to each other about contractual matters. It also may describe any “condition precedent” – an event that must take place before a party is obligated to perform.

3. When?

When is the contract in force? Language regarding the “term” of the contract may state when the contract starts and when it will end. Some contracts may renew automatically, or with the parties’ consent. 42 | SUMMER 2019

4. Where?

Where would a dispute be resolved? The parties may identify the court(s) that would have jurisdiction over such a dispute. Or they may agree to mediation or arbitration. The parties also may agree that particular law should apply.

5. Why?

Why was the contract created? Some contracts have a “preamble” section, which can help a court to resolve ambiguities in the language. The preamble provides context, such as the following: (a) the relationship between the parties, (b) what brought them to the bargaining table, and (c) their objective.

6. What if?

What if something changes? Contracts often describe the parties’ intent to perform and the surrounding circumstances at the time of signing. But what if a party later becomes unwilling to perform, or wants to terminate the contract? What if a natural disaster or other “act of God” prevents performance? A contract can address potential changes by describing remedies available to a damaged party, termination procedures, and the allocation of certain risks. In conclusion, answers to the six W’s help clarify the parties’ rights and responsibilities, enhance predictability, and ensure enforceability. As a result, business leaders may find it helpful to require such information clearly to be included before signing on the dotted line. 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


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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. For this quarter’s Small Business Q & A, we visited with David Mercer, a local entrepreneur who is reaping the benefits of Waco’s strong economy.

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1. You own several small businesses in Waco – tell us about your businesses! My main business is Oak Construction & Consulting – we’re a general contracting firm with a focus on single and multi-family residential housing and some light commercial projects. We also offer consulting services on all types of projects at all phases. My latest venture is Unlimited Self Storage over on La Salle Avenue. It’s been quite an experience delving into the self-storage world but it’s been fun and my staff keeps it interesting. Some of my other entities include Five08Blueprint, Fusion AV, and Route 77 Food Park. Five08Blueprint is a print shop that specializes in printing blueprints, but we also do spec books, presentations, posters, and large format scanning. Fusion AV is a partnership I have with some colleagues focusing on installing audio/video equipment, security systems, and home automation devices. Route 77 Food Park is one you may have heard of – it’s a food truck park consisting of five or six food trucks with one indoor and one outdoor pavilion, a craft beer bar inside the air-conditioned pavilion, a children’s playground, and adult yard games. It’s

our take on a year-round tailgate. Lastly, I have several real estate projects in the works, including a subdivision in Midway ISD which currently has lots for sale called Willow Grove; another large, long-term development in Woodway; and several commercial lots for sale or lease along La Salle Avenue which you can find all about at 2. What do you enjoy most about owning businesses in Waco? I enjoy the challenges that come with owning a business in Waco. Having been born and raised here, I feel that I have a good sense of what the market can withstand and what it can’t. 3. You sponsor many Chamber events. What event do you enjoy being a part of the most? My favorite Chamber event to sponsor is the InterCity Leadership Visit. Last year, we went to Boise, Idaho. I didn’t expect much initially but it really opened my eyes to so many new ideas and concepts. It was an amazing trip and I look forward to the next one. 4. What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a new business in Waco? First and foremost, being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle choice. You have to be prepared to fully commit and make more sacrifices than you ever have before. Entrepreneurship has become a trendy word that’s been glamorized on social media and the like. If you can’t stomach the idea of losing it all, then don’t do it. That probably sounds harsh but it’s a reality for most startups. As for businesses specifically in Waco, really vet your business for functioning within this market. Waco is a unique marketplace and the majority of successful businesses work to serve a local need. 5. What does the future look like for your businesses? Big, bright and beautiful! No, I really can’t speak as to what the future holds; all I know is I’m going to keep working and keep pushing until I’ve conquered the world. 6. What resource(s) have made the biggest impact on your business? (Hiring a marketing director? Investing in a CPA? Targeting a certain client?)

great people that strengthen your weaknesses and fit within the company’s culture, but at the end of the day, the buck stops with you. There’s no playbook on how to successfully run a business and/or deal with the unlimited number of issues that can and probably will happen. You’ve got to be able to assess the issue, determine what your options are and decide what course of action you want to take, all the while working to assure that the flow of business is not impacted. 7. How do you enjoy Waco in your free time? All of my free time is devoted to my kiddos. Whatever they’re into, I’m into. If I’m not coaching a soccer or basketball game, we’re at Cameron Park Zoo or one of the local venues in town that allows for kids to run & play in a clean and safe environment. For more information, please visit n

I believe that as the owner of a small business, YOU have to be your best resource. Sure, you want to hire


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University Parks Village in Downtown Waco Specifications: • Retail, restaurant and office space • Located on University Parks Drive, between the Brazos River and future Embassy Suites Hotel • Available 1,100 - 6,000 SF (divisible) • Lease rates from $22 - $28/SF + NNN • Tenant improvement dollars available • Walking distance to Spice Village, River Square Center and the Waco Convention CenterRental rate dependent on configuration and finish out


University Parks Village (3 Mi Radius) Population (Total; 2019) # of Households Median Age Average Household Income Labor Force Employed Unemployment Rate

Value 76,900 26,940 30.1 years $49,418 31,676 29,909 5.36%

Consumer Expenditures (Top 5) Shelter Transportation Food and Beverages Healthcare Entertainment

Demand in $000’s $210,628 $193,838 $156,441 $87,140 $55,663

Retail Potential (Top 5) Gasoline Stations w/ Store Department Stores Limited Service Restaurants Full Service Restaurants Superstores

Demand in $000’s $46,247 $33,891 $23,145 $22,914 $16,070

Source: Info USA, Applied Geographic Solutions 2019

For more information on available properties, including demographic reports and surrounding businesses in Greater Waco, visit or call (254) 757-5627 SUMMER2018 2019 46 | 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 throughout Waco.

Restaurants/Eateries/Retail Waco Tours Mercantile 215 S. University Parks Dr., Ste. 104 The Waco Tours touring company now has a brick and mortar location located along University Parks Drive. Their tours will start here and there are unique Waco gifts for sale inside!

Ceviche del Mar 101 S. University Parks Dr. Ceviche Del Mar is bringing a quality seafood experience to the downtown Waco area. This food truck serves various types of high-quality ceviche in the Chow Town Food Truck park on University Parks!

Putters 320 S. Second St. Putters is bringing new entertainment options to downtown! This indoor mini-golf course offers an arcade and sports bar as well, and is kid-friendly until 8 p.m.

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White Elephant 930 Austin Ave. There’s a new home décor store coming to the Austin Avenue scene. White Elephant offers a collective of hand curated home décor and gifts made right here in Waco.

Market in a Box 420 Dallas St. Products You don’t have to wait for Saturdays to get fresh, local produce from the Waco Downtown Farmers Market! Farmers Market vendors are selling their produce, meat, dairy products and more online for pick up at the Waco Food Hub every Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. Cottontail Jones 1319 Austin Ave. A new children’s boutique opened its brick and mortar on Austin Avenue! Children’s apparel, accessories and gifts are available.


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Numbers are Year-to-Date

Retail Spending


2019 0.1% change


Single-Family Residence Permits



Existing Home Sales



14.5% change

Source: Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER)

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Payroll Employment 119,975 121,925 Unemployment Rate 3.7% 3.4%

4.2% change

14.2% change

Economic Outlook U.S. Average Composite: 100 WACO COST OF LIVING First Quarter 2019


$1,187,995,673 $1,189,412,012 $17,334,875

Hotel Motel Spending


Waco Composite: 89.9





Chattanooga, TN:




Ashville, NC:




Greenville, SC:




Richmond, VA:


Health Care:


Colorado Springs, CO:


Misc. Goods & Services:


Kansas City, KS:



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by Samantha Baker

Waco Day in Austin is a one-day event hosted by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce bi-annually in conjunction with the Texas state legislative session. Waco Day is an opportunity for community and business leaders to travel together to the state capitol to spend time speaking with elected officials about issues that are important to Waco. As a nonpartisan entity, the Chamber must maintain political neutrality regarding the party system; however, our public policy platform is very robust and focuses on issues that affect the Waco community and business climate, regardless of where the issues fall on the political spectrum. Jessica Attas, our vice president of public policy, spends hundreds of hours in Austin during the legislative session, informing herself of the conversations happening and building relationships with not only our locally elected officials but with officials from across the state, sharing with them things that are important to the Waco community and why these issues matter. Waco Day is a culmination of all the hours Jessica spends in the Capitol — local leadership joins together to have a significant presence in Austin on behalf of Waco. The group was split into small teams and the afternoon was spent in appointments with dozens of elected officials or their staff, sharing what Waco is about and how what’s happening in the legislature is affecting our community and our economy. Legislators were impressed by the fact that we had such a strong, cohesive message backed by so many individuals who cared enough about their community to spend a day in Austin. n

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THE D.C. FLY-IN: AN IMPACTFUL TRIP FOR THE WACO BUSINESS COMMUNITY by Taina Maya, KWTX During what is likely the busiest month of the year aside from the holidays, a group of local leaders pressed paused on their lives in May to travel to Washington, D.C. and advocate for the city they love. The annual Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce D.C. Fly-In serves as a time to have conversations with national policymakers on important local issues. The Chamber’s Federal policy priorities this year included transportation and infrastructure, education, economic and workforce development, water and natural resources, and healthcare. U.S. Representative Bill Flores (TX-17) hosted both the Waco and Bryan-College Station chambers and was visible the entire time. Often engaging the group during speakers with his candid style of communication, Flores was an open book for all to thumb through. The diverse group was made up of 25 including Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver, four Waco City Council members, representatives from Baylor University, Texas State Technical College, McLennan Community College, Education Service Center Region 12, the Waco Foundation and the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber, and various business and industry leaders. The majority of the week was planned and organized by the Waco Chamber’s Vice President of Public Policy, Jessica Attas, who kept everyone on their feet, literally, walking up and down Congressional halls. In all, the group met with over 40 elected officials or their staff on what was likely the busiest day of the trip. Legislators on both sides of the aisle made it a point to compliment the delegation on their diverse groupings and cohesive message of the federal policy priorities. As the trip came to an end, introductions turned into bonds that will only benefit the projects already in motion and new ones on the horizon. n

CHAMBER CELEBRATES 11TH YEAR AT SALOME COMMERCE CENTER The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce celebrated its eleventh year in the Salome Commerce Center, America’s first LEEDcertified Chamber facility, this June. Former Greater Waco Chamber President/ CEO James G. Vaugh Jr. said the decision to build a green facility was easy and unattested because it was “the right thing to do - economically and ecologically.” Not only was building a green facility environmentally friendly, but it also encouraged growth in the downtown area and supported the Greater Waco Chamber’s Strategic Economic Development Plan. Many local businesses followed the Chamber’s example by accepting green practices and locating themselves downtown, making it the area’s focal point. Thousands of community members and tourists have been intentional in stopping by the Salome Commerce Center since its commission ceremony on June 6, 2008. The facility is continuously evolving to best fit the needs of the community and has endured several cosmetic and technological improvements. Chamber members freely use the facility’s conference spaces for meetings and seminars. Chamber leaders hope the Solame Commerce Center will continue to symbolize innovation and progress in Waco’s booming economy. n


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We are excited to announce the Leadership Waco Class XXXV graduation was held on May 21, 2019. We are privileged to work with these graduates as they toured various civic, cultural and service organizations throughout Greater Waco. Please join us in congratulating our recent graduating class! n

Standing (left to right): Jordan Hannah, Baylor University Clay Springer, Rapoport Academy Paige Corley, Providence Foundation Joshua Blake, Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home Bobby Tatum Jr, City of Waco Fire Department Nick Brown, Capstone Mechanical Nicole Herring, Providence Healthcare Network Barrett Thomas, Blanchard & Thomas LLP Marissa Davenport, Neighborly

Stephanie Maultsby, McLennan Community College Jordan Gandy, The UPS Store Jenn Felton, Lucra Real Estate/Felton Ranches Michael Holcomb, Extraco Banks Katie Holcomb, ESC Region 12 Shannon Hankhouse, Tarleton State University Grady Crowson Sr., Pattillo, Brown & Hill Travis Louge, Texas First State Bank Jordy Barksdale, Magnolia

Seated (left to right): Justin Pond, Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center Nicole Hogan, Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center Benjamin Gomez, Neighborly Jennifer Branch, Greater Waco Chamber Austin Meek, Waco Business News Alissa Carroll, Community Bank & Trust Ryan Rogers, Pattillo, Brown & Hill, LLP Laura Page, Clayton Boyd State Farm Dustin Coufal, Extraco Events Center Stephanie Schwab, Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee PLLC Not Pictured: Christy DeLeon, TFNB Everett Phipps, Insurors of Texas



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LEAD PROGRAM AWARDS $56,500 IN SCHOLARSHIPS TO 16 LOCAL STUDENTS High school students in the Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) program attended their year-end recognition banquet May 22, where nearly $57,000 in scholarships were awarded to 16 local students. The annual $20,000 Bradley Ray Hulse Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Amaiya DeLeon, a Midway High School senior student who will be attending the University of North Texas to study music education and music performance. This year we were excited to present a new LEAD alumni-sponsored scholarship. Ashley Phillips, a 2008 graduate of LEAD and Waco High School, created the $500 Reaching Back As We Climb scholarship. During the banquet, Phillips presented the Reaching Back As We Climb scholarship to Waco High student Armando Barry. Barry will be attending the University of North Texas to study sports journalism. The remaining $36,000 was awarded to 14 other scholarship recipients. • University High School student Ximena Reynoso • Waco High School student Halee Wise • Waco High School student Evelyn Vallejo • Waco High School student Elena Perez • Waco High School student Tilynncia Grant • Waco High School student Christopher Esqueda • Waco High School student Hannah Clayton • Midway High School student Xavier Abalos • University High School student Nayeli Guerrero • University High School student Lyric McGowan • Midway High School student Jamaine Lopez • Waco High School student Nakarri Vincent • Midway High School student Cashon Lewis • Waco High School student Tira Keseya Evans Since 2010, scholarships totaling $331,500 have been awarded to students. The LEAD program launched in 2005 with one mentor and five students. This year, the program included 90 mentors and 188 students. The Bradley Ray Hulse Memorial Scholarship is sponsored by Central National Bank and First National Bank of Central Texas. Other scholarship Sponsors include the Magnolia Foundation, Brazos Masonry, BKD CPAs & Advisors, Tymco, Workplace Benefits Solutions and Englander dzignpak/PCA. n

56 | SUMMER 2019



Gabriella Colurciello joined the Chamber staff in March as the Events & Marketing Manager. She has lived and worked in Waco for just a few years but is excited to call Waco home and learn more about our community in her role at the Chamber. Gabriella grew up in Lockhart, Texas and attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. She graduated from UMHB with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a minor in psychology in May 2016. She’s excited to be at the Chamber because she can already tell how committed we are to helping grow Waco and making it a great place to be. n



Interns are an asset to any business, and the Chamber is no exception! Meet our summer interns. Holly and Meredith each are vital additions to their respective teams. Be sure to say, “hello!” of you get the chance to meet them! Holly Webb recently joined the Greater Waco Chamber in March as the Total Resource Campaign Intern. She graduated from Baylor University in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Holly hopes to continue helping the Waco community after her internship ends. She is very passionate about nonprofit work specifically focusing on mental health advocacy and the disabled. Holly aims to find a career in volunteer/event coordination and/or human resources and use her passion for others to help build up the community. She is very thankful for the opportunity to serve Waco alongside all her wonderful coworkers at the Chamber. Meredith Palmer recently joined the Greater Waco Chamber as the Marketing and Communications Intern. Meredith is an upcoming senior at the University of Texas at Austin where she is studying Journalism and will graduate in May 2020. She is a native


Wacoan and is a graduate of China Spring High School. Meredith is excited to assist the Chamber’s marketing team, network with the business community and become more actively involved in Waco throughout the summer. n


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In early June, Ascension Providence, Ascension Medical Group Providence and Ascension Living Providence Village hosted an event to celebrate the integration of the Ascension name. This unifies Providence hospitals, clinics, senior living and after hospital care communities across Texas and across the country to Ascension’s 2,500 sites of care in 21 states and Washington, D.C. Ascension Providence, formerly known as Providence Healthcare Network, has served Waco and the surrounding communities for more than 115 years. It now includes a 237-bed hospital, a 48-bed psychiatric care center, 24 clinics and online care, with plans for adding more options to make it easier for people in Waco to get the care they need. n


PALS Home Health, which specializes in pediatric health services, received Extraco Banks’ first Extrapreneur Award and the $25,000 prize that goes with it. PALS accepted the award during ceremonies in April at the new Hustle Co-working at 605 Austin Ave. Chris Kincaid, executive vice president for corporate strategy at Extraco Banks, attended the event with PALS Home Health co-founders Tyler Martin and Natasha James. PALS, headquartered at 3640 W. Waco Drive, provides in-home health services to infants and children. Besides cash, the company will get business mentoring and consultation. n


The Lee Lockwood Library and Museum at 2801 Waco Drive was built in 1969 during Lee Lockwood’s term as Sovereign Grand Inspector General and was created to be the centerpiece of Scottish Rite Masonry in Texas. The home of the Waco Scottish Rite of Freemasonry also hosts a variety of public and private events. It is managed by the Scottish Rite Foundation of Texas. On Sept. 21, the they will celebrate this milestone with the Golden Gala: A Night at the Museum. For more information visit: or call 254-754-3942. n 58 | SUMMER 2019



Trey Oakley was elected president/CEO of Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) in a special called meeting of the MCH Board of Directors in May. Oakley, former vice president for development at MCH, succeeds Tim Brown on July 1, following Brown’s retirement. Brown served as president/CEO of MCH since 2010. In this role Oakley leads a team of professionals who influence the organization in the areas of fundraising, public relations, spiritual development, donor information management, and alumni relations. n


Jim Peevey, founding partner of Reid Peevey Company, has successfully been inducted into the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR). It is a highly respected PEEVEY organization, with only 3,200 members worldwide, spanning 36 countries. To be considered for SIOR membership, nominees must meet very strict requirements in terms of transactions, among other things. Currently, only two Waco-area professionals have been inducted into SIOR. SIOR’s are members of a very strong, well-connected network. Having two locally means expanded interest in the Greater Waco area. n


Lemonade Day 2019 was held on May 4, 2019. Nearly 200 young Waco entrepreneurs had the opportunity to see what it is really like to create and operate a business. Participants were given tools to help them understand important business tactics, such as formulating a budget and serving customers. There were 30 lemonade stands stationed throughout the Waco area including one stand run by Rapoport Academy’s 4th grade STEM class. Nathan Embry, city director of Lemonade Day Waco, said the highest grossing lemonade stand posting results earned $428 with a profit of $339. All participants were encouraged to donate their earnings to local charities or non-profits. Find out how you can get involved next year at n

YOU’VE TAUGHT THEM WELL AND SO CAN WE. Texas has a lot of great jobs available. Problem is, there aren’t enough skilled workers to go around. At TSTC, we’re in the business of training Texans and placing them in great-paying jobs. Learn more at:


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900 Degrees Pizzeria 315 S. University Parks Dr., Ste. 100 Waco, TX 76701 (254) 732-2323

Law Offices of Susan N. Kelly 510 N. Valley Mills Dr., Ste. 406 Waco, TX 76710 (254) 751-1818

Acton Academy Waco 2102 Columbus Ave. Waco, TX 76701 (214) 336-4053

LifeCare Properties, LLC 286 Beauvoir Rd., Ste. 200 Biloxi, MS 39531 (228) 594-3400

Amedisys Hospice 510 N. Valley Mills Dr., Ste. 703 Waco, TX 76710 (254) 246-4397

Mclenco Construction Services 2012 Lake Air Dr., Ste. E Waco, TX 76710 (254) 666-6159

Small Business - Silver Southern Roots Brewing Company 219 N. Eighth St. Waco, TX 76701 (254) 338-2439

Any Lab Test Now 8810 W. Hwy. 84, Ste. 301 Waco, TX 76712 (254) 300-4183

Merck Asset Management 1620 La Salle Ave. Waco, TX 76706 (254) 300-4192

The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare 213A Old Hewitt Rd. Waco, TX 76712 (844) 560-7269

Any Lab Test Now 8810 W. Hwy. 84, Ste. 301 Waco, TX 76712 (254) 300-4183

Nicole Omo, State Farm 1515 Wooded Acres Dr. Waco, TX 76710 (254) 399-6565

The Bear Mountain 4425 W. Waco Dr. Waco, TX 76710 (254) 772-4327

Small Business - Silver Cintas 710 Jewell Dr. Waco, TX 76712 (254) 421-8785

Olive Branch 215 S. Second St. Waco, TX 76701 (254) 757-0885

Tune Up “The Manly Salon” 2316 W. Loop 340, Ste. 100 Waco, TX 76711 (281) 253-7106

Glory Bell Church Waco, TX 76706 (832) 212-7521

R & R Remodeling & Construction 3301 N. Robinson Dr. Robinson, TX 76706 (254) 235-1157

Village Shoppe 111 E. Oak St. West, TX 76691 (254) 826-2066

Heart O’ Texas Coupons LLC P.O. Box 247 Valley Mills, TX 76689 (928) 237-0248

Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids 2440 W. Loop 340, Ste. A8 Waco, TX 76711 (254) 265-6989 Waco-1/texas-waco-2

Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems of Central TX 4200 E. Stan Schlueter Loop, Ste. F Killeen, TX 76542 (254) 236-3049 Julie B. Slipcovers Waco, TX 76710 (281) 770-5856 Keith Sanders Insurance Group 4201 Lake Shore Dr., Ste. F Waco, TX 76710 (254) 235-8185 60 | SUMMER 2019

Small Business - Silver Skate Country 500 N. Loop 340 Bellmead, TX 76705 (254) 799-8899 Small Business - Silver Skate World 401 Towne Oaks Dr. Waco, TX 76710 (254) 772-0042

Slippery Minnow 3201 Over Flow Rd. Waco, TX 76712 (254) 717-7634 Smoothie King 721 S. Fourth St., Ste. 110 Waco, TX 76706 (254) 339-1788

Waco Food Hub 420 Dallas St. Waco, TX 76704 (682) 802-3322 Wrench Media Robinson, TX 76706 (254) 716-0360 Young Primary Care and Internal Medicine 6704 Woodway Dr. Woodway, TX 76712 (254) 280-0375


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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Member since Jan 1, 1940 • Ribbon Cutting Jan 22, 2019



Member since Oct. 30, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Jan. 17, 2019

405 Londonderry Dr, Suite 100 • Waco, TX 76712 (254) 751-4674 •

801 Washington Ave, #602 • Waco, TX 76701 (254) 655-5465 •

Philip Patterson, President/CEO

Zachary Collard, President

At Ascension Providence, healthcare is designed around the patient experience. Providence Foundation, in partnership with Ascension Providence, introduced the most advanced MRI Center in Waco with state-of-the-art equipment and a holistic Center featuring the 1.5T and 3T MRI Scanner, breast MRI, Metal Artifact Reduction Software, Propeller (motion reduction), a Caring Suite, and Silent Scan technology. The Advanced MRI Center will serve as a powerful diagnostic center that will offer clinical insight and will benefit both patients and medical professionals.


Member since Jan 1, 1986 • Ribbon Cutting Feb 15, 2019

LINK Staffing hosted a grand opening at their new location in Waco. This location is part of a rapidly expanding national franchise organization that provides light industrial, skilled trades, administrative and professional talent. Waco is the fourth LINK location that franchisee, Zachary Collard, has opened since 2013. When asked why he chose Waco, Zachary stated, “The Waco area is exceptionally diverse in its people and industries, which makes this community an amazing opportunity for LINK.”


Member since Mar. 28, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Feb. 21, 2019

524 W Waco Dr • Waco, TX 76701 (254) 750-1263 •

6186 IH 35 S • Waco, TX 76706 (254) 420-2990 •

Brooke Davilla, Director

Coy Hammer, General Manager Waco Location

MCH Family Outreach is the community-based program of Methodist Children’s Home, which has been a part of the Waco community since 1890. MCH Family Outreach partners with families to offer parent education and other family preservation classes and services designed to strengthen families and help them provide a safe, stable and healthy home environment which will contribute to a stronger community.

62 | SUMMER 2019

Here at Pineco Tractor & Equipment we pride ourselves on exemplary service, and Quality equipment. We are a family owned business providing everything from Bad Boy Mowers, Mahindra Side X Sides, Mahindra Tractors, Big Tex Trailers, and all types of implements you may need to get any job done. With our large inventory and professional staff, we will provide you everything you need to get the job done. We’ll work with you to get you the high quality, long-lasting equipment that you deserve, and we provide.


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Member since Jul 27, 2017 • Ribbon Cutting Jan 22, 2019


Member since Mar 21, 2019 • Ribbon Cutting Mar 22, 2019

1522 Washington Ave • Waco, TX 76701 (866) 577-3348 •

401 Towne Oaks Dr • Waco, TX 76710 (254) 772-0042 •

Catherine Ballas, Angela Beeler and Emily Field, Owners

Barbara Lucas, Owner

REFIT® is a life-changing group fitness experience that rocks your body, heart, and soul with powerful moves and positive music, to inspire you from the inside out. Powered by community, we turn boring, have-to workouts into a can’t-miss fitness experience! REFIT classes propel students to their best selves through dance, toning, balance and flexibility. Our easy-to-follow format is perfect for both beginners and fitness enthusiasts, with workouts designed for everybody and every body—regardless of age, shape, size or ability.


Member since Jan 30, 2019 • Ribbon Cutting May 21, 2019

Over 25 years and still rolling strong, Skate Waco is the place to go for having fun and making memories. Two convenient locations provide lots of entertainment options including skating, laser tag, and arcade games. Fully stocked concession areas and piping hot pizza keep you fueled at family friendly prices. Legendary teen lock-in’s and skate camps provide holiday fun for all ages. If you’re new to skating, check out weekly classes. Skate Waco provides multiple options for birthday parties, corporate events, and fundraisers making your special occasion a breeze. For more information, a calendar of events and to book a party, visit or call (254) 772-0042.


Member since Oct 12, 2018 • Ribbon Cutting Dec 12, 2018

2000 West Loop 340, #203 • Waco, TX 76712 (254) 829-3800 •

2508 Marlin Hwy • Waco, TX 76705 (254) 340-2500•

Wesley Barnhill, VP of Operations

Cecil Daughtrey, Waco Site Manager

Andy’s Sprinkler, Drainage & Lighting is new to Waco but not to Texas. Andy’s has provided licensed, full-service Sprinkler, outdoor Drainage, and low-voltage Landscape Lighting to homes and businesses since 1987. Wesley Barnhill, a life-long resident of McLennan County, brings over 11 years of experience, and a passion for outstanding customer service through his honesty, integrity, and professionalism, to his home town. Thank you, Waco, for the warm welcome, and we look forward to earning your trust as your preferred Sprinkler, Drainage, and Lighting service provider.

64 | SUMMER 2019

Living Earth is the largest recycler of tree limbs, brush, leaves and grass clippings in Texas and Tennessee. We also process wood chips, wood wastes and sawdust. By partnering with Living Earth, our customers benefit from lower disposal costs, convenience of our facility locations and the satisfaction that they are doing their part to improve the environment.



Member since Feb 6, 2019 • Ribbon Cutting Feb 27, 2019


Member since Feb 4, 2019 • Ribbon Cutting Apr 24, 2019

922 S 10th St, Ste 200• Waco, TX 76706 (254) 235-0448 •

3700 S IH 35 • Waco, TX 76706 (254) 265-9705 •

Chirag Patel, Owner/Manager

Roy Hawkins, Waco Campus Director

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Waco’s menu boasts bold, flavorful smoothies – like the Island Green® and Sunrise Sunset™ – with a healthy appeal, all made-to-order with quality ingredients. We find that real fruits, veggies and juices just taste better. Our toasted flatbreads, wraps, sandwiches, quesadillas and bowls are made to suit your tastes with quality meats, fresh produce and flavorful sauces, all with a bit of tropical fun! Stop by a cafe and enjoy a fun, relaxing atmosphere and unparalleled hospitality.

Providing Career Training Programs in Texas & Online Southern Careers Institute has maintained a tradition of career training for over 50 years. With campuses in Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, San Antonio, Waco, and Online, SCI has made it our mission to provide our students with employer-tailored programs designed to make our graduates the most marketable in the industry.


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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: TriWaco SUNDAY, JULY 14 | 7 A.M.

TriWaco is the Chamber’s annual triathlon held in Indian Spring Park each summer. The race starts with a 1,500-meter open water swim in the Brazos followed by a flat and fast 40K bike ride. The race finishes with a hilly 10K run, finishing on the suspension bridge. Registration is open through July 12 at

Mid-Year Membership Luncheon WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 | 11:30 A.M. – 1 P.M.

Join us for our annual Mid-Year Membership Luncheon as we celebrate our members! This year, we are excited to welcome guest speakers Peter J. Holt, CEO & General Manager at HOLT CAT, and Corinna Holt Richter, President & Chief Administrative Officer at HOLT CAT. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available to purchase online at

2019 Kick Off Luncheon WEDNESDAY, AUG. 21 | 11:30 A.M. - 1 P.M.

The Chamber’s annual Kick Off Luncheon is a precursor to Baylor and high school football season in Waco. This year we’re excited to welcome guest speaker Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available to purchase at

NEW! Waco Under 40 THURSDAY, SEPT. 12 | 11:30 A.M. - 1 P.M.

Waco Under 40 is a new signature event that celebrates dynamic young leaders under the age of 40 in McLennan County. This luncheon is a rare opportunity for the best and brightest from a diverse group of professions to gather and receive much-deserved recognition. Anyone is welcome to attend this event! Learn more and buy tickets online at

George’s Big “O” Cup Golf Tournament THURSDAY, SEPT. 26 | 7 A.M. - 7 P.M.

Mark your calendars! This fun, laid-back scramble-style tournament features larger-than-life golf holes to help you sink your shots. Teams will be divided into morning and afternoon rounds with a shotgun start for both rounds. Registration opens July 25.

InterCity Visit OCTOBER 2 - 4

This year’s InterCity Visit will be held in Louisville, Kentucky! This annual trip is designed to expose leaders in Greater Waco to an innovative community outside of Waco and new economic development ideas, programs, initiatives and best practices that may be adapted and implemented in the Greater Waco area. Attendees also have great opportunities to engage in high-level networking. More information coming soon!

The Waco Chamber works with a wide array of partners to help Greater Waco businesses grow, thrive and maintain operations in our area. For most businesses, these economic development activities boil down to new jobs and new capital investment that strengthen the flow of dollars in our economy. It can also mean new customers for your business. Build your future with us! Visit to find out more.


Retail Price $20 Limit 2 per coupon Available at the Greater Waco Chamber office 101 S. Third St. • Waco, TX EXPIRES OCTOBER 31, 2019

101 S. Third St. • Waco, TX 76701 254.757.5600 • 66 | SUMMER 2019

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

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