Business in Fort Bend April 2017
CLEMENTS TEACHER SELECTED LOCAL PHYSTEC TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Clements High School physics teacher Geoffrey Hart was recently named University of Houston’s Local PhysTEC Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes Hart as an exemplary teacher in his field, and as a proud graduate of the PhysTEC institution.
“I am very honored to receive the award. I am glad my professors at UH are still considering me as their nominee and really have no words I can convey to express my gratitude,” Hart said.
According to Monica Plisch, PhyTEC’s Principal Investigator and Beth A. Cunningham, PhyTEC’s Co-Principal Investigator, Hart’s contributions to physics education are significant and impactful on his students, colleagues, school district and state at a time when the nation is in need of highly qualified STEM educators.
“Teaching is certainly something I have always considered ever since I took my own high school physics course,” said Hart.
Hart is a proud graduate of the University of Houston and started teaching at Clements after graduation in December 2013. In college, Hart was a mathematics major with a physics minor, but he always found his passion in teaching physics over math.
GREG HARALSON TO LEAD MEMORIAL HERMANN SOUTHWEST AND SUGAR LAND HOSPITALS
Memorial Hermann is pleased to announce Greg Haralson as the new Senior Vice President (SVP) and CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, in addition to his current role as SVP and CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. Haralson will succeed Gary Kerr, SVP and CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest, who recently announced his intent to retire.
Kerr will remain with Memorial Hermann and assist in the leadership transition until his retirement takes effect in July.
Haralson has more than 17 years of experience in healthcare and has served as the CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land since joining Memorial Hermann in 2012. Under Haralson’s leadership, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land recently became the first Houston area healthcare organization and only the 21st in the country to be awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for performance excellence.
Haralson has also overseen tremendous growth on the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land campus including the recent opening of a new six-story, 155,000 square-foot patient tower. The hospital has been named among the top 100 hospitals by Truven Health Analytics three times as well as being listed among the “100 great community hospitals,” according the Becker’s Hospital Review.
Haralson is active in the community serving on several local boards including Child Advocates of Fort Bend and the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Corporation. He also serves at the state level as a member of the Texas Hospital Association’s political action committee (HOSPAC) Board and the Council on Policy Development and is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He resides in Sugar Land with his wife and two children.
CITY INSTALLS PUBLIC ART AT SUGAR LAND REGIONAL AIRPORT
Sugar Land recently installed public art sculptures at Sugar Land Regional Airport (SLRA). The “Airport Gateway Project” is part of four new short-term projects included in City Council’s approval of the City’s first Public Art Plan. Located prominently at the State Highway 6 entrance to SLRA, the artwork is expected to welcome travelers and serve as an iconic landmark.
The artwork is called VorTEX and includes seven wind sculptures designed and hand-fabricated at the artist’s studio with heights ranging from approximately 15 to 30 feet high. The artist adds that the kinetic nature of the exhibit “creates ongoing intrigue.”
The project was selected by a panel of citizens that included art, design and aviation professionals. After a review of proposals from various artists and with the concurrence of the City’s PARCS Board, the panel selected Lyman Whitaker of Whitaker Studio to create a dynamic, kinetic sculpture at SLRA’s entrance. Funding for the project was approved by the Sugar Land 4B Corporation, an entity created to fund economic development and quality of life projects through restricted sales tax revenue.
“As one of Sugar Land’s first commissioned installations, this is a milestone for our Public Art Program and will always hold a special place in the future development of our plan,” said Sugar Land Cultural Arts Manager Lindsay Davis. “Other commissioned artworks have been representational and of traditional bronze. This installation merges traditional components of sculptures with semi-abstract forms. It harmonizes with the architecture of Sugar Land Regional Airport and the adjacent Imperial development. Furthermore, it is conducive with the natural landscape and tree canopy in the area. The organic forms of VorTEX provide intrigue yet make it feel at home as part of the landscape.”
FBISD POLICE DEPARTMENT NAMED “RECOGNIZED LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY”
The Fort Bend ISD Police Department has received the “Recognized Law Enforcement Agency” award from the Texas Police Chiefs Association Law Enforcement Recognition Program. The FBISD Police Department becomes the fifth school district police department and the 133rd agency overall in the state to be recognized with this distinction. The department will be recognized at the Texas Police Chiefs Association annual conference in April.
“The Fort Bend ISD Police Department has always considered itself to be one of the best in the state,” said FBISD Police Chief David Rider. “This process provided for an independent review of the department’s operations and should assure our students, staff, parents and community that your school district police department is conforming to the current best practices in law enforcement.”
Begun in 2006, the Recognition Program evaluates a police department’s compliance with over 166 Best Business Practices for Texas Law Enforcement. These Best Practices cover all aspects of law enforcement operations including use of force, protection of citizen rights, vehicle pursuits, property and evidence management, training, and patrol and investigative operations. Additionally, proof of compliance with these best practices must be submitted on a yearly basis to show the police department’s ongoing commitment to this program and style of conducting business.
This voluntary process required the Fort Bend ISD Police Department to conduct a critical self-review of the agency’s policies, procedures, facilities and operations. Beginning in February 2016, the department began the lengthy process to become a “Recognized Law Enforcement Agency.” Upon completion of the internal review, an outside audit and review was conducted for two days in November 2016 by trained Police Chiefs from other areas around the state. The result of this review was then sent to the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s Recognition Committee for final analysis and decision to award “Recognized” status.
For more information and a description of the program, visit texaspolicechiefs.org.
NEW SUGAR LAND CITY ORDINANCE ADDRESSES DISTRACTED DRIVING
Sugar Land City Council has approved an ordinance that prohibits the use of portable electronic devices while driving a vehicle in Sugar Land unless the device is in hands-free mode or being used for an emergency.
Portable electronic devices include mobile phones, personal digital assistants, MP3s or other hand-held music players, electronic reading devices, laptop computers, pagers, electronic game devices and more. “Wireless Communication Devices” are defined in Texas Transportation Code section 545.425.
Sugar Land’s new ordinance will take effect March 20; however, drivers will be issued only warnings during the first 90 days. Following the grace period, any person found guilty of violating the ordinance will be fined up to $500 for each offense. Community awareness activities will include media releases, social media, print materials, community meetings, signage and events.
Council’s recent action was the result of an extensive education campaign and public review process.
The public was presented with the following three options: Drivers may not text and drive, but phones may be held while driving to make phone calls; The operator of a motor vehicle may not use a portable electronic device while the vehicle is in motion – unless the device is in a hands free mode; No ordinance.
Citizens overwhelmingly chose the second option.
The Texas Legislature is currently considering a number of bills related to the use of portable electronic devices while driving. The proposals prohibit texting and driving and allow cities to enact ordinances containing regulations more stringent than those proposed in the bills. Sugar Land’s new ordinance is consistent with those being considered by legislators.
FORT BEND COUNTY HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES RECOGNIZED FOR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
The Fort Bend County Health and Human Services’ Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies.
Fort Bend County’s Health and Human Services Department received this honor by meeting 305 comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This recognition confirms that Fort Bend County has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place as well as the staff training required to protect the health of the community during an emergency.
CENTRAL FORT BEND CHAMBER HOSTS WORKING LUNCH SERIES
Central Fort Bend Chamber hosted its Working Lunch Series on Digital Marketing Strategies at Fort Bend Country Club in February bringing 29 local business owners and employers together to learn how to better utilize the internet to grow their business.
Glenn Smith of Glenn Smith Executive Coaching presented topics focused on lead generation, Google analytics, in-bound marketing, digital marketing statistics, reasons to be mobile-ready, goal setting, search engine optimization, the five types of websites, setting calls to action, benefits to blog posting, and more. “Ninety-seven percent of consumers will check you out online before they do business with you. Having the right strategies in place is essential to your digital success”, says Smith. The presentation was followed with Q&A to address specific circumstances.
Smith specializes in helping business owners and executives improve their businesses and their lives. He is a Google Trusted Agent and provides consulting and training on how to leverage Google products to grow business. For more than 15 years, Smith has been coaching business and organizational leaders and has been a keynote speaker/trainer for several Franchise Companies.
For more information, go to CFBCA.org or call the Chamber at 281-342-5464.
WAYFINDING TRAFFIC SIGNS COMING TO CITY OF RICHMOND
Richmond will soon see Wayfinding Signs guiding traffic through the City to destination areas such as the Historic District. Richmond’s City Commission approved a recommendation for sign design to move to the next step with vendor partner National Signs Plazas, which was awarded this project late summer 2016.
The need for wayfinding signs was recognized after the adoption of the City’s Comprehensive Master Plan. Wayfinding is the practice of orienting people within their environment – guiding them where to go in communities through signage. The need may be driven by tourism, history or economic development. Whatever the driver, the reality is wayfinding programs have become necessary in today’s mobile society. The next step for this project is the site plan which will involve stakeholders from the City’s boards and commissions, and once approved, will move to the next phase –– fabrication of signs by April 2017.
Wayfinding systems operate at three different levels – directional, informative and interactive – and the community will be involved in all planning levels of this project. National Signs Plaza shares that the civic branding delivered through an appropriate signage program addresses the emotions and feelings that individuals own and connect with a physical space. This can have a significant effect on how people interact with their environment. Creating a sense of place is a core component of Richmond’s development plans, and the wayfinding signs will assist in establishing that.
FORT BEND ISD TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT AND THE AHA TEAM UP TO GET HEART HEALTHY
The FBISD Transportation Department and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently joined together to help increase awareness about heart health, and to encourage bus drivers to join the program, called Check.Change.Control. This program provides information and resources to check and monitor blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack, stroke and heart failure, according to the AHA.
The LiveWell team members were on hand at the Hodges Bend and Lake Olympia bus terminals to teach the drivers how to check their blood pressure and to sign up for the free, online tracker from the American Heart Association. With this tool, managing heart health is easy and convenient. All bus drivers who took part in the program were given a chance to win prizes. To enroll, go to cccbptracker.com.
To learn more about heart disease and prevention, visit heart.org.
OFFICE OF FORT BEND COUNTY CLERK HONORED WITH FIVE STAR SERVICE AWARD FROM STATE OF TEXAS
The office of Fort Bend County Clerk Vital Records Division has earned the 2016 “Five Star Service Award” from the State of Texas Vital Statistics Unit. This prestigious honor is awarded for diligence in timely and accurate registration of birth and death records which has a profound impact on Texas citizens. The award recognizes those that go above and beyond the duties of birth and death registration by attending trainings and keeping up with the latest legislation and trends.The Vital Records Division, under the leadership of Fort Bend County Clerk Laura Richard, has earned the award each year of her tenure.
“I am proud of my staff and honored that the State of Texas has recognized the diligence and perseverance that goes towards achieving this award,” said Richard.
Out of 254 Texas counties, only 76 won this award in 2016. For more information, visit fortbendcountytx.gov.
CITY CONTINUES STRONG COMMITMENT TO SUGAR LAND HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Sugar Land City Council recently approved an agreement with the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation for the operation of a museum at the soon to be constructed Sugar Land Heritage Museum and Visitor Center.
The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation is a 501c3 organization dedicated to preserving the history of Sugar Land and its historical structures, records and artifacts. The City’s financial contributions to the foundation for the preservation of the City’s heritage follow: The City has contributed $525,000 for operations since the foundation was created in 2008; has approved a $75,000 commitment to create an exhibit; has funded approximately $600,000 in capital to build-out the facility, which is being provided under the Imperial Redevelopment Agreement; and will provide basic operating costs for the facility, including visitor center staffing, utilities and maintenance for the space.
The museum and visitor center will be located on the second floor of the container warehouse, a historical structure that was once part of refinery operations and is currently part of a mixed-used, destination center in The Imperial Market.
The transformation of the historic 26-acre Imperial refinery into Imperial Market provides a destination center that will include shops, offices, restaurants, a boutique hotel and a cinema – as well as the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center, a popular amenity that already attracts large numbers of families on a weekly basis.
The location of the visitor center is consistent with recommendations from a 2014 feasibility study that targeted high visibility with nearby attractions that attract visitors. The design of the museum and visitor center is complete, and construction is anticipated in the near future.
JOHNSON DEVELOPMENT REPORTS FOUR MOST ACTIVE COMMUNITIES
Four projects of premier residential developer Johnson Development Corp. — the most of any developer — have been listed on Houston Business Journal’s tally of the most active master-planned communities in the Houston area.
Johnson Development’s Riverstone community took the No. 1 spot on the annual list, which is based on the number of homes builders started in 2016. Another Johnson Development project — Woodforest in South Montgomery County — landed at No. 2 on the list. Two of Johnson Development’s Fort Bend projects also made the top 10 list — Sienna Plantation at No. 4 and Cross Creek Ranch at No. 6.
“In a Johnson development, homebuyers find a prime location, excellent schools and quality homebuilders, plus a few things that further set us apart — an abundant amenity mix and community lifestyle that isn’t replicated elsewhere,” said Doug Goff, chief operating officer for Johnson Development. “Last year’s impressive number of home starts is simply builders trying to keep up with demand.”
This most recent ranking follows two reports earlier this year that saw the same four Johnson communities included on lists of the nation’s best-selling master-planned communities. Johnson Development again had the most projects on the list than any other developer.
In its 42nd year of development, Johnson Development has 17 active communities — 14 in the Houston area, two in Dallas-Fort Worth and one in Atlanta. For more information, visit johnsondevelopment.com.
LAMAR CISD’S NILSSON NAMED TOP TECHNOLOGY ADMINISTRATOR
Chris Nilsson, Lamar CISD’s Director of Technology Integration, is the Texas Computer Education Association’s (TCEA) Technology Administrator of the Year for 2017. This award is presented to a technology administrator who exhibits exemplary vision and management of technology at the district level. Nilsson received the award at the annual TCEA Convention in Austin.
CULLINAN PARK DEVELOPMENT DONATIONS TOP $1 MILLION
Sugar Land City Council recently approved a contribution of more than $573,700 from the Cullinan Park Conservancy. The contribution builds on $500,000 provided from the Conservancy last year for the future development of Cullinan Park — 754 acres of mostly inaccessible forest and wetlands north of Sugar Land Regional Airport.
The Conservancy will continue fundraising to support conservation and environmental/ education programs at the park. The Conservancy has committed to secure pledges and contributions of at least $5 million within five years and $10 million within 10 years of annexation of the park by the City. More than $1 million has been raised so far.
Sugar Land annexed the park last year after signing historic agreements with the Conservancy, the city of Houston and the Houston Parks Board. Future development of the property has long been targeted by the community and is consistent with the Conservancy’s efforts to preserve the vast nautral resources of the park.
The City is now operating and maintaining the park, which includes enhanced security; trail cleanup; lawn maintenance; and new lighting systems, signage and entry gates.
Future planned improvements include trails and boardwalks that allow greater access to existing lakes and wetlands areas, as well as locations for canoe and kayak launches into Oyster Creek. Site amenities such as picnic pavilions, benches and interpretive signage have also been identified. Planning and design will begin this year with construction to follow. The land is currently owned by the city of Houston and Houston Parks Board and now located within Sugar Land’s city limits.
The Cullinan Park Conservancy was formed as a nonprofit corporation in 2010. It seeks to enhance and protect the natural beauty of Cullinan Park. The Conservancy is focused on a number of efforts that will help enhance the Park’s status as – in the words of its major donor Nina Cullinan – a “place of beauty and peacefulness in the city.” These efforts include mapping the park, surveying its vegetation and birdlife, planning for its trail and bridge renovations, arranging for park cleanups and organizing a photo contest about the park, its wildlife, landscapes and visitors. Learn more at cullinanparkconservancy.org.
DEBBIE MARCELL EARNS BH&G PLATINUM AWARD
Debbie Marcell was honored with the Platinum Award at the Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate “Celebrate the Stars” recognition event held at the Houston Omni Hotel on February 20, and again at the national Fusion Convention held at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas on March 1.
Platinum winners represent the top 3 percent of all the affiliated sales associates and teams in the Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate(r) network.
“I’m very honored and excited to have won this award and am grateful to all of my valued clients who helped make it possible,” said Marcell.