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Business in Fort Bend February 2016

‹ Mike SemmlerSemmler to Lead Lehman Junior High – Mike Semmler will be the first principal at Lehman Junior High.

Lehman JH will open in August 2016 located next to Fulshear High School. The junior high school will begin with grades 6-8. Voters have approved funding for a middle school, which will house only sixth graders, but that campus won’t be built until necessary.

Semmler has been the principal at Briscoe Junior High School since 2005. Prior to taking the helm at Briscoe, he served as an assistant principal at Foster High School and Briscoe JH. He was an instructional technologist for Lamar CISD and began his career in Lamar CISD as a science teacher at Wessendorff Middle School.

Semmler has his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota.


Susan Edionwe, M.D.

‹OakBend Medical Center Adds ENT Physician

OakBend Medical Group is proud to announce the addition of Dr. Susan Edionwe as the newest doctor to join the OakBend Medical Group family of physicians.

Edionwe is an otolaryngologist trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose and throat (ENT).

Edionwe did her undergraduate and medical graduate training in the University of Texas system where she obtained her bachelors of science degree at UT Pan American and received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She completed five years of residency training in otolaryngology at the same institution. She has completed her fellowship training in skull-base surgery and advanced rhinology at McGill University in Montreal.

Edionwe specializes not only in rhinology (sinus and allergy disease) and skull-base surgery, but she also practices general otolaryngology and cancers involving the head and neck region. She is interested in innovative otolaryngologic procedures such as balloon sinuplasty, in-office sinus and laser procedures, new techniques in endoscopic sinus and orbital surgery, and endoscopic middle-ear surgery.

According to Edionwe, “I believe that practicing medicine is a privilege that should be done with compassion and respect for each patient and it is my goal to help everyone aware of the importance of taking care of themselves.”


‹Jim RiceJim Rice Announces Re-Election Campaign for Fort Bend ISD Trustee Position 3

Jim Rice announced he will seek re-election as Fort Bend Independent School District Board of Trustee, Position 3 in the May 7 election. Rice currently serves as the FBISD Trustee, Position 3.

“I am proud of my service on the Board for Fort Bend ISD. During my tenure I have served as Board Secretary and twice as Board President. My goals continue to be to provide a quality education for all students, support our teachers, engage the community, and to maintain a balanced budget. I am very passionate about education and have been actively involved in education leadership positions throughout the community,” said Rice.

Rice is a business owner, president and founder of Rice & Gardner Consultants, Inc. and understands what it takes to make payroll, pay taxes and maintain a balanced budget. Rice believes education plays a vital role in providing a competitive advantage to Fort Bend County, the community, and nation.

Rice is a 34-year resident of Sugar Land. His three grown sons are all FBISD high school graduates, and all three are Eagle Scouts. Rice has been married to his wife Mary for over 35 years. He is actively involved in the community having served or currently serving on the boards of Fort Bend Cares, Fort Bend Literacy Council, Fort Bend P 16 Regional Council, Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council, the Thunder Wolf District Boy Scouts of America and the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of Christ United Methodist Church.

Rice has also served on the Texas Association of School Boards and the Board of Directors for the Gulf Coast Area Association of School Boards. He is the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce Education Division chair.

“I sought election as a trustee because I believe I have the leadership and management skills to help the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees govern well in order to provide an outstanding education for all students,” Rice said. “I am seeking re-election to continue to work with the teachers, administration and the community to make responsible decisions that benefit all of our students.” For additional information, visit jimricefbisd.com.


Imperial Sugar Land continues wave of new home activity.

Imperial Sugar Land continues wave of new home activity.

‹Meritage Homes Begins Pre­sales of New Homes in Imperial

Meritage Homes has initiated presales of new homes in Imperial Sugar Land where the five-time Texas Builder of the Year will add new homes on 60- and 70-foot homesites for move-up, luxury and active adult buyers.

Meritage Homes also will open four new model homes in Imperial, the premier Fort Bend master-planned community at Highway 6 and Highway 90A. Opening in February and March, the fully furnished, expertly decorated models will range from an open-concept, one-story plan to a spacious, two-story, four-bedroom family home with upstairs media and game rooms and three-car tandem garage.

Starting from the $450s, Meritage’s three- and four-bedroom plans feature gourmet island kitchens, spacious dining and families rooms, impressive master suites, studies, pocket offices and generous outdoor entertaining spaces. Plus, homebuyers can choose options of a fifth bedroom, teen room, third bath, hobby room, double-sided fireplace and extended master closet among other upgrades.

The Meritage Homes collection of one- and two-story plans include several new to the Houston area. Once completed, its 335 new homes in Imperial will represent about half the single-family homes planned for the community.

In addition to new, single-family homes by Meritage, Imperial features high-end, one- and two-story townhomes by Trendmaker Homes, luxury elevator-ready Brownstones by Gracepoint Homes and single-story patio homes with garden yards by Sitterle Homes, Partners in Building and Darling Homes.


(L-R): Karl Nazareth, M.D., patient Brenda Murray and Michelle Shen, M.D.

(L-R): Karl Nazareth, M.D., patient Brenda Murray and Michelle Shen, M.D.

‹Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Performs First PECS II

Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital recently performed Fort Bend’s first PECS II block, a procedure to minimize the pain of breast cancer surgery.

PECS II is a relatively new pre-surgery approach to pain management. Using ultrasound technology, the anesthesiologist identifies the exact location of two major pectoral nerves and “blocks” them from pain with injections of a local anesthetic and a steroid. The procedure requires the anesthesiologist to place the medications at the precise depth between the layers of thoracic wall muscles to ensure the block is successful. Working together, the two medications numb the surgical area for 24 to 36 hours, reducing the patient’s discomfort during the most difficult part of recovery.

The procedure was performed on Brenda Murray of Missouri City by anesthesiologist Karl Nazareth, M.D., prior to a partial mastectomy and lymph node dissection/biopsy performed by Michelle Shen, M.D., and reconstructive work by Melissa Crosby, M.D. Murray was pain-free long after the surgery thanks to the new technique. “I read that some patients have a lot of pain after their mastectomy surgery, especially when lymph nodes are involved,” says Murray. “But I didn’t have any pain at all, and I was back to my old self in no time. I even went to the grocery store three days after my surgery!”

Breast cancer surgery can be extremely painful, requiring a recovery period of days or even weeks when patients must rely on powerful opioids for pain management. With the PECS II pain procedure, however, patients typically require minimal pain medication and are much more comfortable in the days immediately following their procedure. Murray did not take any pain medication following her surgery.

“Reducing or eliminating the use of narcotic or opioid pain medications is important because they often have side effects,” says Nazareth. “Some of those side effects can be quite serious, such as respiratory depression. Others – such as extreme drowsiness or constipation – can inhibit the healing process or add to the patient’s discomfort. With PECS II blocks, many patients need smaller doses of pain medication, if any at all, and they may get up and move about with less discomfort much sooner.”

Nazareth said the use of PECS II may reduce the need for an overnight hospital stay following some forms of breast cancer surgery. “One of the main reasons patients stay overnight postoperatively is to ensure that we can control their pain,” he said “The goal of the PECS II block is to keep patients comfortable enough to return home.”



Award-winning movie theater signs lease at highly anticipated Imperial Market.

Award-winning movie theater signs lease at highly anticipated Imperial Market.

‹Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Announces New Location in Sugar Land

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a movie theater that provides patrons with a combination of top-of-the-line cinema and cuisine, has announced its newest Houston-area location in the highly anticipated Imperial Market development, an 850,000-square-foot mixed-use lifestyle center slated to open in the summer 2017 in Sugar Land.

The development is located at the historic home of the original Imperial Sugar Company Refinery and will retain a number of the iconic architectural features of this historic piece of real estate, which dates back to 1843. Imperial Market, and all of its tenants, will significantly enhance the neighborhood and surrounding areas while attracting Houstonians from near and far.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will break ground in 2016 as part of a newly constructed, two-story retail building. The cinema will feature nine movie screens. As with all Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations, it will offer a full-service beverage and dining experience, featuring a wide variety of local beers on tap, cocktails and an expansive food menu, most of which is made from scratch. The Imperial Market location will feature the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema special event programming, curated pre-show entertainment and zero tolerance no-talking and no-texting policy for which the Alamo is known.

“We are excited about the growth of our Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations in the Houston market,” said Neil Billingsley-Michaelsen, president and CEO of Triple Tap Ventures LLC, the owner and operator of the Houston Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations.


Full aerial view of the Riverstone development.

Full aerial view of the Riverstone development.

‹Johnson Development Ranked Houston’s Most Active Developer

The Johnson Development Corp. is Houston’s most active developer, with four projects on a list of the area’s busiest residential communities, the most of any developer.

The four projects – Riverstone, Wood­forest, Cross Creek Ranch and Sienna Plan­tation – account for 24 percent of the 7,812 homes started within the 25 developments named on the list. Three Johnson communities are among the top 10. Published by the Houston Business Journal on Nov. 19, the list ranks projects by the number of annual starts as of the second quarter of 2015.

“Johnson Development communities offer the ideal mix of state-of-the-art homes, unique amenities, access to quality schools, and prime locations,” said Doug Goff, Johnson Development’s COO. “Buyers continue to seek out our developments and builders are responding with a high number of home starts to keep up with demand.”

Riverstone in Fort Bend County is ranked No. 1 on the list, with 703 starts. The development also has been recognized as the most active community in the state of Texas and is ranked No. 4 in the nation for new home sales. Woodforest, located in South Montgomery County, is listed No. 3 on this year’s tally, with 482 home starts. Fulshear’s Cross Creek Ranch is ranked No. 6 with 408 homes started as of the second quarter of this year. Sienna Plantation, also in Fort Bend County, is ranked No. 12 on this year’s list with 287 home stats between the third quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015.

The Johnson Development Corp. is celebrating 40 years as one of the nation’s preeminent land developers. It has 13 active projects in the Houston area, and recently announced the purchase of 590 acres in Richmond for a seventh Fort Bend community. In October, the company won Houston’s Best PRISM Grand Award-Developer for 2015 in a ceremony hosted by the Greater Houston Builders Association.


‹Jay Miller Named President Of Sugar Land Skeeters

The Sugar Land Skeeters welcome Jay Miller as its new president. The former Round Rock Express president and Texas Rangers executive brings 34 years of front office baseball experience to the Skeeters organization.

“We’re extremely excited that Jay has joined our team.” Skeeters owner Bob Zlotnik said. “He brings a wealth of experience and baseball knowledge to our organization. Jay’s focus on customer service and enhancing the overall experience for patrons and sponsors is unparalleled in the industry. “

Miller, during two separate stints, served more than a decade with the Round Rock Express as inaugural general manager, team president and COO of Ryan Sanders Baseball. Between stints in Round Rock, Miller served four years with the Texas Rangers as executive vice president focused on customer experience.

Throughout his career, Miller has received a variety of awards and his teams set numerous attendance records. In 2005, he was awarded Baseball America Executive of the Year after breaking the Texas League attendance record for the fourth consecutive season. This season in Round Rock, Miller led the Express to the sixth highest attendance total in all of minor league baseball, averaging over 8,500 people per game. Miller has long been credited for his focus on the fans and employee morale.

“I am fired up to work with the Skeeters and the Zlotnik family.” Miller said. “This is a family whose first priority is the fan and that is what I am all about! I love the fans and I look forward to a long lasting relationship. Sugar Land is a beautiful city and Constellation Field is a great venue!”

Season tickets for the 2016 campaign, along with special eight game mini plans are on sale now. Visit SugarLandSkeeters.com and follow @SL_Skeeters on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for all the latest news on the team.



‹Fort Bend Pets Alive!

Fort Bend Pets Alive!, a Sugar Land-based nonprofit organziation focused on transitioning Fort Bend County animal shelter to a “no-kill” operation, met with Fort Bend County Precinct Two Commissioner Grady Presatage to support several budget initiatives to be included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Animal Control Services Budget.

For Bend Pets Alive! discussed with Prestage four budget items that resulted directly from a previous meeting held with Fort Bend Animal Control Services director Rene Vazquez and assistant director Rodney Garcia. Vazquez and Garcia expressed the need for operating funds to hire an onsite veterinarian and veterinary technician and establish a streamlined fostering program. Additionally, they raised the need for capital budget funds to purchase a moblie spay and neuter van and retrofit the veterinary room, which is currently unused.

Prestage extended his support for the FBPA! core mission to make Fort Bend a no-kill community but recognizes it takes time and resources. He also encouraged FBPA! to participate in the 2017 budget planning process and continue to work with Vazquez as a team to put together the budget for the four items he was presented.


(L-R): Joe Freudenberger, CEO OakBend Medical Center; Dr. Ed Uthman; and Barry Beard, president, OakBend Medical Center Board of Directors.

(L-R): Joe Freudenberger, CEO OakBend Medical Center; Dr. Ed Uthman; and Barry Beard, president, OakBend Medical Center Board of Directors.

‹OakBend Medical Center Announces Physician of the Year

Dr. Ed Uthman, OakBend’s Laboratory Medical Director, has been named OakBend Medical Center’s 2015 Physician of the Year. The presentation was made at the annual physician party held this year at the home of Dr. Amitabh Shukla. The award, OakBend’s highest recognition, is presented annually to one outstanding physician who possesses significant practice experience, compassion, kindness and sincerity that translate not only to his or her patients, but to nurses and other staff members. These physicians look and act professionally at all times and are a role model both professionally and personally.

Uthman is on the board of directors at OakBend Medical Center and is a former two-time chief of staff. He has worked in the health care field since 1968, beginning as an ER nursing assistant at age 16. He received his medical doctor degree from the University of Tennessee-Memphis in 1977. Uthman is currently an adjunct professor of pathology at the University Of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine and participates in the lecture series in the sophomore pathology course, for which he has received an additional three teaching awards. Uthman served as the deputy state commissioner for inspections and accreditations of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) for nine years. He maintains a pathology-related website (web2.airmail.net/uthman) and is the co-owner of PATHO-L, the longest-running online discussion group for pathologists. He is the author of the book Understand­ing Anemia.



Community engagement will continue to be a critical public safety focus to help expand citizen partnerships.

Community engagement will continue to be a critical public safety focus to help expand citizen partnerships.

‹Missouri City Wins Competitive $500,000 Justice Department Grant

Missouri City is one of five Texas municipalities to receive a coveted COPS grant in the sum of $500,000; the new grant will fund the hiring of four new officers in the Missouri City Police Department. The grant win is the result of a joint effort between the Missouri City Police Department and elected officials such as City Council members and U.S. Congress­men Al Green, Pete Olson and John Culberson.

“Missouri City has developed a reputation as one of the safest cities not only in the state but the entire nation. The Department of Justice chose Missouri City to hire new officers for community engagement, a crucial factor maintaining and increasing our levels of safety in the City,” Chief of Police Mike Berezin said. “We are one of only five Texas municipalities to earn this grant, and the only one in the Houston area.”

Awarded by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) COPS Hiring Program (CHP), the grant was part of the more than $107 million in grant funding awarded to nearly 200 law enforcements agencies across the nation aimed at creating, and in some cases protecting, 866 law enforcement positions.

The Missouri City Police Department focus will continue to build and maintain strong relationships with citizens through continued community engagement, specifically through programs such as the department’s youth outreach programs, partnerships with community homeowner’s associations, the Citizen’s Police and Fire Academy, and the bicycle patrol and ride along programs.



(L-R): Dennis Parmer, Rick Miller and Seeju Dupre. photo-Randy Koslovsky

(L-R): Dennis Parmer, Rick Miller and Seeju Dupre. photo-Randy Koslovsky

‹A Tradition for Sugar Land Heritage Foundation

Continuing a tradition he began in 2013, Rick Miller, State Representative District 26, presented to Dennis Parmer, executive director of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation, the 2014 Sugar Land ornament that adorned the Texas State House of Representatives Christmas tree in Austin. He was joined by Sugar Land resident Seeju Dupre, who designed and painted last year’s ornament. Her husband, Charles Dupre, superintendent of the Fort Bend Independent School District, was present for the ceremony. The ornament features the historic Sugar Land Auditorium, the last remaining public building of the original company-owned town of Sugar Land and the only building left from the original Sugar Land Independent School District #17. Miller commissioned an ornament for the 2015 State House of Representatives tree, and said he plans to continue a tradition of presenting the former year’s ornament to the Foundation for its archives.



Fort Bend Chamber members celebrate the ribbon cutting at Black Hawk Country Club.

Fort Bend Chamber members celebrate the ribbon cutting at Black Hawk Country Club.

‹Black Hawk Country Club

The Central Fort Bend Chamber hosted the ribbon cutting ceremony for Black Hawk Country Club on Dec. 10. Black Hawk Country Club offers pool-side dining, lighted tennis courts, group fitness classes, child care and golf. Regional Director, Greg Nielson spoke about the changes that have happened at Black Hawk in the past years. “We’re really excited to be back to the Chamber. We took a bit of a hiatus with a change of ownership. We used to be called the Houstonian Golf and Country Club a few years back and the club is now owned by Escalante Golf, Inc. We own 17 golf properties across the country. We are so excited to share this club with all of you and thank you for coming out,” he said.


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