Business in Fort Bend April 2015
LAMAR CISD’S RANDLE HONORED
Lamar CISD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Randle received the 2015 Houston Area Alliance of Black School Educators (HAABSE) Presidential Award for his outstanding leadership in education in the Houston area.
He was recognized at the 28th Annual HAABSE Outstanding Teacher Awards and Recognition Ceremony, Feb. 25 at the Houston Westchase Marriott.
“It is always humbling to be recognized by one’s peers,” Randle said, “and it is a special honor to be recognized by this group. These educators are doing so much for the children of our area and I am honored to be among their members.”
The evening consisted of recognition of outstanding teachers across the Houston area, culminating with the awarding of the HAABSE Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year, the recognition of high school scholarship recipients and the recognition of Dr. Randle.
The Houston Area Alliance of Black School Educators’ primary mission is to enhance education of all students and to provide leadership in offering valuable professional services and strategies to institutions, agencies and communities engaged in creating an environment for students, especially African-American students, to achieve academic excellence.
TONI SCOTT NAMED TO LEAD MCNEILL ELEMENTARY
At its regular February meeting, Lamar CISD’s Board of Trustees approved Toni Scott to be the next principal at McNeill Elementary School.
Scott has been an assistant principal in two Lamar CISD schools. She served as the assistant principal at Seguin Elementary from 2005-20011. She became assistant principal at McNeill in 2011. Prior to coming to Lamar CISD, she taught in the Houston and Alief school districts and served as an instructional aide in Houston and Fort Bend schools. A graduate of Texas Southern University, Scott also has her master’s from Texas Southern.
GRACIA ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AS ROSENBERG CITY MANAGER
Rosenberg City Manager and former Chief of Police, Robert Gracia, has announced his retirement effective May 31, 2016. Gracia’s announcement follows City Council’s unanimous decision on Jan. 20 to extend his contract through May 2016, allowing ample time for City Council to conduct an extensive search for the City’s new top executive.
“I have been with this organization for 35 years, and I have enjoyed every moment of it,” said Gracia. “I believe that I have made the right decision at the appropriate time, and I hope the team atmosphere I have worked so hard to build remains the same after my departure.”
Gracia has proudly served his hometown, Rosenberg, since 1980 when he began his service to the City as a Police Dispatcher. He rose through departmental ranks, earning the rank of Chief of Police in 1988. He was appointed Assistant City Manager for Public Safety in 2003. Gracia served as Interim City Manager three different times, before being appointed City Manager in November 2013.
“We are grateful for the leadership Robert has exhibited over his years of service, and especially in his most recent role as City Manager. He’s laid the groundwork for staff to perform at the top of their abilities, and has opened doorways and avenues we never thought possible through his persistent commitment to excellence,” said Rosenberg Mayor Vincent M. Morales, Jr.
“I want to emphasize that I will forever be grateful to the City for having given me one of the greatest opportunities of my life, and for allowing me to be a part of the accomplishments and the great times we’ve had over the years,” concluded Gracia. “My retirement will provide someone an opportunity to lead this organization to even greater heights, and me the chance to take myself to greater personal heights.”
FIRST EVER ROSENBERG MAIN STREET MANAGER BEGINS WORK
The City of Rosenberg welcomed its first ever Main Street Manager on Monday, Feb. 23, when Dan Kelleher joined the City team to lead the newly established Rosenberg Main Street Program. Mr. Kelleher comes to Rosenberg from the City of Vernon, Texas, where he served as their Director of Tourism and Main Street Services.
“We are excited to welcome Dan to Rosenberg,” said Economic Development Director Randall Malik. “His background includes a demonstrated history of innovative and effective leadership across a wide variety of economic and community-development roles, and we’re ready to utilize his experience in facilitating more wonderful projects and development in our historic downtown.”
“I’m excited to join local community leaders and downtown stakeholders in our joint effort to revitalize the downtown district,” said Mr. Kelleher. “We’ll start meeting right away; we’re going to get going promptly to identify and achieve some downtown enhancement goals; and it’s going to be fun!”
Rosenberg was named one of two new 2015 Main Street cities by the Texas Historical Commission, in January of this year. Rosenberg now joins 88 other active Main Street cities across the state, in the program designed to assist with downtown revitalization through organization, design, promotion, and economic restructuring.
FBISD ANNOUNCES PRINCIPALS FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 46 AND 47
Fort Bend ISD recently named two District principals for new elementary schools that will be opening in the fall of 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Pamela Brown, current principal of Rita Drabek Elementary (RDE), was chosen to lead Elementary School 46, which will open in the Aliana community in August. Brown has been the principal at RDE for the past four years and served as assistant principal at the school for two years prior. She has more than 25 years experience as a classroom teacher, as well as a reading and curriculum specialist.
Her honors include being named a 2006 Top Five Teachers in Texas Finalist for Teacher of the Year for HEB Excellence in Education Award; 2007 Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club State of Texas Teacher of the Year; and 2010’s Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) Assistant Principal of the Year for Region 4.
Brown received her Master of Education degree from Prairie View A&M University and her Bachelor of Science in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Donna Whisonant, current principal of Austin Parkway Elementary (APE), will lead Elementary School 47 when the school opens in the Riverstone community in August 2016. She has been the principal at APE for the past nine years after serving as assistant principal for five years.
Whisonant, who has 27 years of experience in Fort Bend ISD, began her career as a fourth-grade teacher. She has also served as an English Language Arts Department Chair at the middle school level and was named a 1999 Campus Teacher of the Year.
Whisonant received her Master of Education degree from the University of Houston and her Bachelor of Arts in Teaching from Sam Houston State University.
RIVERSTONE NAMES TOP 2014 REALTORS
With more than 700 new homes sold in Riverstone last year, the Realtors who had the most sales in the Fort Bend development all saw double-digit sales by the close of 2014.
Kunal Seth with RE/MAX Fine Properties was the top-selling Realtor in Riverstone in 2014, selling 25 new homes throughout the year. Following close behind was JoJo Tharayil with Excel Realty Co., who posted 21 sales in Riverstone during 2014. Stanley Mani of Stanley John, LLC, sold 20 new homes in Riverstone last year and Babu Joseph with Philip Abraham and Company was the development’s fourth-ranked Realtor, with 17 new-home sales in 2014.
“Realtors understand the perfect package that Riverstone offers buyers, with a prime Fort Bend location, elegant homes, top schools and impressive amenities,” said Trey Reichert, vice president and general manager of Riverstone. “Realtors were involved with more than 80 percent of the new-home sales in Riverstone last year and are an integral part of our record-breaking success.”
Riverstone is the top-selling master-planned community in Texas for a second consecutive year. In addition, the development is ranked No. 4 among the nation’s top-selling communities by two independent research firms.
“Riverstone is the best community in Texas,” said Seth. “The excellent amenities, great schools and cultural diversity make this community feel engaged, functional and beautiful. These are just some of the reasons why our clients love to live in Riverstone.”
SUGAR LAND POLICE DEPARTMENT NAMES POLICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR
The Sugar Land Police Department recently named Sgt. Matt Levan as the 2014 Officer of the Year. The award recognizes a police officer who made an outstanding contribution to the department and the community. Levan was selected from a pool of nominations by police department employees. “Sgt. Levan is committed to making the department, City and the lives of countless children and their families better every day through his work,” said Lt. Wayne Coleman.
Levan started his service with SLPD 19 years ago. His commitment to his job as a supervisor makes him an exceptional instructor, mentor and investigator. As a member of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, Levan was valuable in the apprehension of several child predators. He proactively investigated 30 cases of offenders sharing child pornography over the Internet in the Fort Bend Country area which led to 20 felony arrests. It is Levan’s personal mission to protect the children in the community.
Levan conducts Internet safety classes to educate parents about online dangers such as cyber bullying. He coordinates the flag football team for the annual Fort Bend Holiday Bowl, a charity event benefiting the Fort Bend County Deputy Sheriff’s Association’s “Santa Behind the Badge” program, the Sugar Land Police Officers Association and Toys for Tots-Fort Bend. Levan also helps organize softball teams and tournaments to create camaraderie among the City departments. He is the instructor for the criminal investigations class for the Citizen’s Police Academy.
“Sergeant Levan is a prime example of the type of police officer all of us should strive to be,” said Lt. Todd Zettlemoyer.
HOUSTON METHODIST SUGAR LAND HOSPITAL UPHOLDS NATIONAL CHEST PAIN CENTER ACCREDITATION
As the leader of heart care in Fort Bend County, Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital continues to uphold its Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). This designation is reserved for hospitals across the country that demonstrate the highest level of expertise in treating heart attack patients.
This accreditation demonstrates the hospital’s investments in staffing, training and equipment, as well as its collaborative relationships with physicians and emergency medical services (EMS) and public education efforts on the signs and symptoms of acute coronary syndromes.
The rigorous evaluation by SCPC included an on-site visit and thorough review of hospital policies, standards and patient data. The evaluation focused on the hospital’s adherence to strict criteria that: Reduces the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment; treats patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved; and monitors patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure they are not sent home too quickly, or needlessly admitted to the hospital.
“Treating patients who present with chest pain quickly and effectively requires a true team effort, with coordination among EMS, our physicians and staff from the Emergency Department, Cath Lab, Chest Pain Center, Laboratory and Radiology,” said Scott Stover, Director of Emergency Services and Chest Pain Center Coordinator at Houston Methodist Sugar Land. “This accreditation is validation that our commitment to providing outstanding cardiac care is making a difference in the lives of our patients.”
A key component of the hospital’s accreditation is the speed in which heart attack patients are treated with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a procedure that unblocks narrowed coronary arteries in order to treat certain heart symptoms. From arrival in the emergency room to the procedure, Houston Methodist Sugar Land is averaging about 63 minutes – well below the national standard of 90 minutes. “That’s a testament to the stringent protocols we’ve put in place and the coordination between departments to ensure that our patients are being treated promptly and appropriately,” says Scott Rivenes, M.D., Medical Director of the Emergency Department.
“PCI is critical to opening up the blocked artery and re-establishing blood flow,” says B. Keith Ellis, M.D., Medical Director of the Chest Pain Center. “The quicker that we can identify patients who are having heart attacks, transport them to the Cath Lab, and begin the PCI, the better chance we have of saving lives – and improving the quality of life post-procedure by saving valuable heart tissue. I encourage people to call 911 immediately. By doing so, you will receive treatment sooner and thus limit the chances of damage to the heart — time is muscle.”
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Center offers the most advanced cardiac care program in the area – making it possible for residents to receive advanced, sophisticated care close to home. Houston Methodist Sugar Land is the only institution in the area to have 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week coverage. The center’s heart team is prepared to respond immediately to provide the proper care any time of day or night. Visit houstonmethodist.org/sugarland to learn more.
NEW LUXURY BROWNSTONES IN IMPERIAL SUGAR LAND
Sugar Land’s newest Brownstones are coming to Imperial where Gracepoint Homes will build 35 three-story luxury homes as the exclusive builder in the master-planned community’s newest neighborhood, The Point.
The elevator-ready luxury lifestyle homes, ranging from 3,350 – 4,000 square feet, will be designed to reflect a 19th century, east coast charm with steps leading to an impressive first-floor entry. Covered balconies on the second and third floors add to the Brownstone appeal. A first-floor entry is accessible from an alley-served, three-car garage.
“The design makes for a more attractive streetscape,” notes Brooks Valls, vice president sales and marketing for Gracepoint Homes, the exclusive builder in Imperial’s The Point. “The covered porch and balconies certainly add to the Brownstone look and feel.”
Each of the Brownstone plans will offer second-floor, open-concept living and entertaining spaces with raised ceilings where families and guests can enjoy a spacious gourmet kitchen, family room and dining room. A second-floor powder room also is included in all plans.
Third floors feature generous master suites and secondary bedrooms with en suite baths, while the home’s first floor includes a private guest suite, bath and mud room.
SUGAR LAND FIRE DEPARTMENT NAMES FIRST FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR
The Sugar Land Fire Department and Sugar Land Citizen’s Fire Academy Alumni Association recently presented Victor Peschke with the first ever Firefighter of the Year award.
The award recognizes outstanding Sugar Land firefighters who best represent the Fire Department through exceptional attitude, service and leadership characteristics. The recipient is chosen by nominations from peers and department staff. “Victor could easily be considered the epitome of a Sugar Land firefighter,” said Lieutenant Dave Brown. “He is selfless, hardworking and dedicated.”
Peschke, currently assigned to Fire Station 6, began his service as a firefighter six years ago and joined the Sugar Land Fire Department in 2011. During the implementation of the Sugar Land EMS program, Peschke willingly took his crew’s roving responsibilities to allow them to study for the paramedics class together. Roving requires firefighters to move three different types of uniforms, fire gear, toiletries, bedding and food from one fire station to another. Throughout this process, Peschke maintained a positive attitude and continued to lead by example.
He constantly looks for ways to improve fire station conditions from cleaning to making household repairs. Peschke’s approachable and confident personality makes him a valuable member of the fire department and the community.
“The most important hero who deserves to be most recognized, is one who is admired by their peers for their consistent exercise of good judgment, work ethic, selflessness and dedication,” said Battalion Chief Curtis LeGrotte. “Victor is this type of hero.”
SKEETERS ANNOUNCE ADDITIONS TO 2015 ROSTER
The Sugar Land Skeeters announced that the club has added several players to its 2015 roster and welcome back C/1B Travis Scott, along with left-handed pitcher Daniel Meadows, catcher Todd Jennings and familiar-face infielder Amadeo Zazueta. The Skeeters also introduce pitcher Cory VanAllen, shortstop Beamer Weems and left-handed pitcher Matt Maloney to Constellation Field.
Scott, 29, returns to the Skeeters for a third-straight season. Last year, Scott was one of Sugar Land’s most versatile players spending time as catcher, at first base and as a designated hitter. After being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2005, Scott spent four seasons (2006-2010) in their system making a California League All-Star Game appearance in 2009 with the High Desert Mavericks. Scott owns a career .259 average with 84 home runs and 431 RBI over nine seasons in professional baseball.
Meadows, 27, made 21 appearances for the Skeeters last season with a 3.77 ERA and 47 strikeouts. Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, Meadows ascended through their minor league system, spending time with the Brevard County Manatees (2010, 2013), Nashville Sounds (2011, 2012), Huntsville Stars (2011, 2012, 2013). In 2011, with AA Huntsville, the southpaw picked up six wins and had an ERA of 1.51 in 21 appearances. A Texas native, Meadows graduated locally from Cinco Ranch High School.
VanAllen, 30, a Clements High School graduate, posted a 2-0 record with 44 appearances and a 2.11 ERA for Sugar Land last year. Prior to joining the Skeeters, the lefty was drafted out of Baylor University in 2006 and spent eight seasons in the Washington Nationals organization and collecting 23 wins and an ERA of just over 4.
Jennings, 34, returns to Sugar Land after making 21 appearances for the team last season. Originally drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2003 Draft out of California State University San Bernardino, Jennings spent six seasons in their minor league system. Before heading to Sugar Land, Jennings had stints with three other Atlantic League teams in 2010 with the Long Island Ducks, Bridgeport Bluefish and the Newark Bears.
Zazueta, 29, makes his return to the Skeeters after making 31 appearances for the team during the inaugural season in 2012. Since then, Zazueta spent time with the Dunedin Blue Jays (2012), Tucson Padres (2012), New Hampshire Fisher Cats (2013) and two other Atlantic League teams including the Camden Riversharks (2014) and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (2014). In his 10 seasons of professional baseball, Zazueta owns a career .262 average with 249 RBI and 36 homeruns.
Weems, 28, was drafted in 2008 by the San Diego Padres out of Baylor University and spent five seasons in their minor league system. Most recently, Weems has spent time with the AA Missions (2010, 2011) and the AAA Padres (2012). Over five seasons in the Padres minor league system, Weems owns a .236 average with 132 RBI and 250 hits.
Maloney, 31, was acquired via trade with the Somerset Patriots for future considerations. Last season, the lefty started 22 games for the Somerset Patriots with a 3.40 ERA and 10-8 record. Maloney spent four years in the Majors with the Cincinnati Reds (2009-2011) and the Minnesota Twins (2012) collecting a 5-9 record, making 11 starts with the Reds and a 5.74 ERA. Maloney was originally drafted by the Phillies in the third round of the 2005 Draft out of the University of Mississippi.
In 2014, the Sugar Land Skeeters announced a ground-breaking, minor league baseball agreement with ESPN, for the exclusive rights to place games on its digital and television networks. All 2015 home games will be produced live and may be accessible online at WatchESPN.com and SugarLandSkeeters.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
When the Skeeters are on the road, fans can listen live with KBRZ Sports Radio on Spreaker.com.