Business in Fort Bend January 2017
FBISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES NAMES NEW PRINCIPAL FOR LAKE OLYMPIA MIDDLE SCHOOL
The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees has approved Janis Longmire as principal of Lake Olympia Middle School. She will replace Deirdre Holloway, who was appointed FBISD’s Director of State and Federal Programs. Longmire has served as Associate Principal of Austin High School since 2014. With 10 years of experience in education, Longmire brings strong leadership skills to Lake Olympia Middle School. Her dedication to the students and staff of FBISD has allowed her to build relationships and create a positive learning environment. “I believe all students can succeed. As the proud daughter of a severely disabled Vietnam Veteran, it is my core belief that no obstacle is too big to overcome,” Longmire shared. “We are all born to be GREAT, and while each one of us may venture down a unique pathway, the journey is what equips us to enjoy our final destination.” She began her career with FBISD in 2006 as a special education teacher for four years, then as a campus improvement specialist. She then served as assistant principal from 2012 to 2014. Her entire tenure with FBISD has been at Austin High School. Longmire holds a Master’s of Education and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University.
FBISD RETIREMENT AND HIRING OF CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER
The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees named Veronica Sopher, an experienced communications leader, as the new chief communications officer (CCO) for FBISD. In February, Sopher will replace Nancy Porter, who is retiring from the District. Porter served six years as FBISD CCO. Sopher is currently assistant superintendent of community and governmental relations, a position she has held for the past seven years in Leander ISD. While there, she led an award-winning team that successfully launched innovative social media campaigns, grassroots community and parent engagement campaigns, and image and branding campaigns.
“I am thrilled to be joining such an innovative, diverse and accomplished school district where learning and student growth is at the core of everyone’s focus,” said Sopher. “ It is a privilege to support teachers and staff, administrators and the community to make Fort Bend ISD a premier school district that inspires future leaders.” Sopher will report directly to Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre and serve on the Executive Leadership Team.
Sopher will oversee 12 employees in the Communications Division who are responsible for media and external relations, internal relations, graphics design and brand management, campus zone communications, bond communications printing/graphics services, video storytelling, and other communications to support students and teachers. Sopher is bilingual and has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism/public relations with minors in English and Spanish from the University of North Texas. She also attended the Institute of Political Journalism at Georgetown University. CCO Porter is retiring at the end of the school year in June, after serving in the FBISD communications office for 17 years. As part of the District’s succession plan, she will be changing from her current role in February to serve as a senior public affairs advisor. Porter oversees the Communications Division and is responsible for providing leadership, direction and execution of major district communication programs, events and activities.
CLEMENTS TEACHER SELECTED AS OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR
Clements High School teacher William Chan was selected as a recipient of the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award, after being nominated by a former FBISD student. Each year the University invites first-year students to nominate an educator who has influenced them, challenged them, or helped them along the path of intellectual growth. Chan was selected out of hundreds of letters that were submitted. Chan, who’s been teaching since 2008, teaches AP Environmental Science at Clements. “I am extremely fortunate and lucky to have the opportunity to make an impact on my students’ lives,” said Chan. “It provides great encouragement to boost my passion and continue to achieve excellence in my career.”
OAKBEND MEDICAL GROUP ADDS NEW CARDIOLOGIST
OakBend Medical Group is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Long Cao as the newest doctor to join the OakBend Medical Group family of physicians. Born in Vietnam and raised in Houston, Cao joins the team of cardiologists in the OakBend Medical Group. He is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and vascular interpretation. Dr. Cao graduated magna cum laude at Baylor University and is a medical graduate of the University of Texas. Cao completed his residency training at Baylor College of Medicine and his Cardiology Fellowship in North Carolina. “When I was growing up, my strict parents only gave me the option of being a doctor, a lawyer or a Catholic priest,” said Cao. “The two things I was most drawn to were science and caring for people. This led me to medicine. No other profession combines the two.” Long’s parents were his early supporters and encouraged his goals. “Both my parents were 100 percent supportive of anything that had to do with helping people and making the most of the American dream,” commented Cao. “Now I have my wife and my nine-month-old daughter as my cheerleaders.” Dr. Cao speaks English, Vietnamese and Spanish. His office is located at 1601 Main Street, Suite 502, Richmond.
HOUSTON METHODIST SUGAR LAND HOSPITAL EARNS SIXTH “A” GRADE FOR PATIENT SAFETY
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital received its sixth consecutive “A” for patient safety in the Fall 2016 Hospital Safety Score ratings program. The Hospital Safety Score is an elite designation from The Leapfrog Group that sets the highest standards for patient safety in the United States.
Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses performance measures from a broad range of government and industry organizations, including the American Hospital Association, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others. More than 2,600 U.S. hospitals are rated twice each year on 30 measures of publicly available safety data. Surveyed hospitals receive a letter grade based on how well they protect patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infections while in the hospital. Grades are calculated by top patient safety experts, are peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.
Houston Methodist Sugar Land was one of 844 hospitals nationwide — less than one-third of those surveyed — to earn an “A” grade in the Fall 2016 survey results.
“Protecting patients from harm is the most important charge for any hospital,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We recognize and appreciate ‘A’ hospitals’ vigilance and continued dedication to keeping their patients safe.”
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s ongoing patient safety efforts include the development of detailed protocols and best practices focusing on a wide-range of safety risks, along with in-depth training, ongoing communication and regularly scheduled audits, to ensure that staff members are aware of — and are following — proper safety processes.
“Patient safety is central to our mission, and we are proud of our results,” said Chris Siebenaler, CEO at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “Our success depends on the daily actions of our physicians, nurses, technicians and other staff members, and our ‘A’ grade from the Hospital Safety Score survey shows that we are making a significant difference in keeping our patients safe while under our care.”
For more information about the hospital, visit houstonmethodist.org/sugarland or call 281-274-7500 for a physician referral. Visit their Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news and events.
CENTRAL FORT BEND CHAMBER’S YOUNG PROFESSIONALS COMMITTEE KICKS OFF AN AMERICANA HOLIDAY
On Nov. 17, Central Fort Bend Chamber’s Young Professionals Committee hosted “Kick-off to an Americana Holiday,” a networking event sponsored by Gallery Furniture. Over 40 young professionals attended to kick-off the start of the holiday season while getting to know one another and the services their businesses provide in the community.
Gallery Furniture, Grand Parkway location, and adjoining Brick & Mortar Kitchen provided the appetizers and beverages. Best in Texas DJs supplied easy-going music. The entire ensemble delivered great ambiance for the young professionals.
Michaela Filla, Young Professionals Chair-Elect, Fort Bend Country Club, addressed the crowd to explain the committees’ purpose and encouraging everyone to bring creative and fresh ideas in the new year ahead.
Filla and Jeff Cannon, LJA Engineering, Inc., announced the winners of the door prizes that were donated for the evening by Sterling McCall Lexus, Brandi Anderson Photography and Fort Bend Cares.
Mike Martin of Gallery Furniture and Stephen Clifton of Brick & Mortar Kitchen spoke to the group and professed their continued support of the Chamber. Martin said, “We are excited about working with Central Fort Bend Chamber on this event and on future events”.
The evening ended with Jeff Haley from Si Environmental thanking the sponsors and attendees for making the event a success.
FORT BEND ISD ANNOUNCES PRINCIPALS FOR THREE FUTURE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Fort Bend ISD recently named new leaders for its three future elementary campuses: Joy Schwinger, Elementary School 48; Lori Hoeffken, Elementary School 49; and Kari Bruhn, Elementary School 50. All three schools are funded through the 2014 Bond Program, and will open in August of 2017.
Schwinger, currently principal of Walker Station Elementary, was chosen to lead Elementary School 48 in the Sienna Plantation community. She has worked in education for more than 20 years, beginning in Alief ISD as a classroom teacher and an English as a Second Language (ESL) specialist and reading specialist. She then transitioned to Fort Bend ISD where she became assistant principal and then principal of Oyster Creek Elementary before assuming the role of Walker Station Elementary principal.
Schwinger received a Bachelor of Arts
in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston and a Master of Educational Leadership from Stephen F. Austin University.
Hoeffken, currently principal at Oakland Elementary, was chosen to lead Elementary School 49 in the Harvest Green Community. Hoeffken has more than 20 years of experience in education, and has been the principal of Oakland for more than five years. Previously, she served as an assistant principal and teacher at Oakland, a teacher at Lakeview Elementary and a teacher in Alief ISD.
Hoeffken earned her Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Houston and Masters of Education in education administration from Grand Canyon University.
Bruhn, current principal of Mission Glen Elementary, was chosen to lead Elementary School 50 in the Grand Vista community. Bruhn has 15 years of educational experience, all in Fort Bend ISD. Bruhn has served the District as a teacher, campus improvement specialist, assistant principal and principal. Bruhn started her teaching career at Mission Bend Elementary as a fifth-grade teacher and later served as an assistant principal at Dulles Middle School for three years before she became principal at Mission Glen Elementary four years ago.
Bruhn received her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the University of Wyoming and Master of Education degree from the University of Houston.
THREE TOTAL JOINT REPLACEMENTS DONE ON OUTPATIENT BASIS AT OAKBEND HEALTH SYSTEM
Dr. Alan Rechter has successfully completed three, first of a kind, outpatient total joint replacement surgeries at OakBend Health System’s Metro Ortho and Spine Surgery Center.
Until fairly recently, outpatient total joint replacements were rare. Now, because of advances in anesthesia, pain control and surgical techniques, outpatient total joint replacements are becoming a viable option for many patients. Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) offer the same surgical team, anesthesia and implants as found in a more traditional hospital setting; however, an ASC provides a more intimate setting with an environment designed to optimize personalized care, attention and efficiency.
While outpatient total joint replacement may not be an option for all patients, for the right patient it can result in better outcomes, less risk of complications and infection, and a quicker road to recovery. Instead of being in the hospital for four to five days, the patients in an outpatient setting are in the ASC for less than 24 hours.
“We have been at work on this initiative for over a year, and we are thrilled with the results seen today. We have already booked several more patients for either a total knee or total shoulder replacement surgery and based on these outcomes, we will continue to do so indefinitely,” stated Rechter
CITY OF SUGAR LAND WELCOMES FORTUNE 500 COMPANY ABM
The Sugar Land Development Corporation recently approved an agreement with ABM as the Company relocates its corporate shared services operations to the City of Sugar Land. ABM, a Fortune 500 company and a leading provider of facility solutions, has been serving Texas since 1945 and currently has more than 10,000 employees maintaining over 4,500 buildings throughout the state.
“ABM is excited to join the Sugar Land corporate community,” said ABM Industries Incorporated Chief Financial Officer D. Anthony Scaglione. “The City is a compelling business environment and a prime residential location.”
ABM will bring approximately 390 jobs to the City of Sugar Land over the next two years as the company occupies approximately 62,000 square feet within the Sugar Creek on the Lake office building at 14141 Southwest Freeway.
“Sugar Land’s pro-business attitude continues to attract businesses, bringing with them high quality jobs,” said City Manager Allen Bogard. “We are proud ABM will call Sugar Land home.”
An incentive package was created by the City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) and approved by the Sugar Land Development Corporation. The OED worked with the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) to relocate ABM Shared Services division.
JOHNSON DEVELOPMENT LANDS SIX PROJECTS ON MOST ACTIVE LIST
Houston-based Johnson Development Corp. is the area’s busiest, with more projects on a recently released list of most active communities than any other developer.
Johnson Development had six communities on the list, released by the Houston Business Journal, including the No. 1 development, Riverstone. Other Johnson communities listed are Sienna Plantation, No. 2; Woodforest, No. 4; Cross Creek Ranch, No. 6; Harvest Green, No. 8; and Harmony, No. 11. Projects were ranked according to their annual new home starts for the 12-month period ending in September.
“Builders have confidence in Johnson Development, as evidenced by the more than 2,100 homes they started in the six communities on the most-active list,” said Doug Goff, company COO. “We have a long history of creating desirable communities that offer a prime location, top schools and impressive amenities that combine for a vibrant development where people really want to live.”
Projects of Johnson Development are often ranked among the nation’s top-selling. Most recently, four developments were listed among the best-selling communities in the United States, according to a mid-year report released this summer by Robert Charles Lesser & Co. Johnson Development was the only developer to have that many communities ranked among the 30 top-selling developments.
Johnson Development has 14 communities under active development in Houston. The company is also developing Viridian and Trinity Falls in Dallas-Fort Worth and Lake Arrowhead in Atlanta. Learn more at johnsondevelopment.com.
TEAM INDUSTRIAL SERVICES INC. TO EXPAND CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS IN SUGAR LAND
Team Industrial Services Inc. has announced plans to expand their current corporate headquarters in the city of Sugar Land as part of its recent acquisition of the Furmanite Corporation.
An incentive package was created by the city’s Office of Economic Development and was approved by the Sugar Land Development Corporation (SLDC) to secure the retention of 100 jobs and expansion of an additional 113 jobs in Sugar Land.
“The City of Sugar Land is proud to be the home of Team Industrial’s corporate headquarters,” said SLDC President Steve Porter. “Sugar Land continues to be an economic powerhouse in the region thanks to our pro-business climate and family-oriented quality of life. We look forward to a continued partnership with Team.”
As part of the project, Team will occupy 59,000 square feet of office space at 13131 Dairy Ashford in Sugar Land, expanding its corporate headquarters.
CENTRAL FORT BEND CHAMBER WELCOMES FIRST COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION WITH RIBBON CUTTING
The Central Fort Bend Chamber welcomed First Community Credit Union with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Aliana Branch, 10161 W. Grand Parkway, Richmond.
Business owners, Chamber Ambassadors and friends welcomed the new member and joined in on ribbon cutting photos and great food, and also enjoyed a visit from the Houston Texans Cheerleaders. Nancy Trennel, Senior Vice President of Marketing for First Community Credit Union said, “It is a great opportunity not only to have a great team to work with, but also to be a part of a great bank like First Community Credit Union. We want to provide our clients with the help to achieve financial goals.”
Alex Samoilov, branch manager added, “We are so very excited to be here and appreciate the Aliana community and are glad to be a part of the Central Fort Bend County area.
For more information, visit fccu.org.
CITY OF RICHMOND AWARDED COMMUNITY OF THE YEAR BY THE TEXAS CHAPTER APA
The City of Richmond has been moving through strategic steps in adopting planning tools readying for growth, and doing it with unprecedented speed. It is the volume of planning tools implemented in such a short time period, which has Richmond being recognized by the American Planning Association – Texas Chapter, with the most esteemed award they present: Community of the Year. The Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) presented the award at their annual Awards conference Nov. 4 in San Antonio.
City Planner, Jessica Duet, recently received a call to inform her the APA had chosen Richmond as the community they would be recognizing even though the City didn’t apply. Richmond applied in this category last year, but did not receive the recognition. However, the Texas Chapter of the APA was so impressed with Richmond’s planning efforts they decided to award the City without formal application.
The Texas APA recognizes organizations, communities and even individuals for exemplary contributions to planning through their annual Awards Program, which features 12 categories each year. These awards may be based on plans, projects, or programs across these various categories. The specific criteria the committee reviews are Innovation, Transferability, Quality, Implementation and Comprehensiveness. Awarding Richmond this prestigous Community Award, without having applied for this category is recognition within the industry that the City has stayed true to a vision of growing strategically and following the planning process.
SUGAR LAND APPROVES ANNEXATION OF NEW TERRITORY AND GREATWOOD BY DECEMBER 2017
The city of Sugar Land is set to annex Greatwood and New Territory on Dec. 12, 2017. When finalized, Sugar Land will grow by more than 30 percent, from a current population of 87, 367 to more than 117,000 residents. At its Nov. 15 meeting, Sugar Land City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to annex the Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) in both areas.
City Council also voted to amend the City’s fiscal year 2017 budget to begin the pre-annexation work necessary to provide new residents with City services beginning Dec. 12. The pre-annexation costs are funded by New Territory and Greatwood residents with money set aside during the last 10 years for this purpose.
The process for the annexation of the Greatwood and New Territory MUDs began in 2007 and is the result of years of thoughtful, deliberate planning; public input; and a strong partnership between the City and elected officials in the communities.
Strategic Partnership Agreements (SPAs) between the City and the Greatwood and New Territory MUDs provided contractual commitments for annexation and the provision of services to these non-City residents. The agreements included a surcharge to Greatwood and New Territory residents for City-provided services that has been deposited into a fund to pay for annexation costs, including the retirement of remaining MUD debt.
Upon annexation, residents of New Territory and Greatwood will receive the same high-quality services as provided to existing Sugar Land residents, and most will experience an overall annual savings and increased services in areas such as public safety, zoning, traffic control, regulatory oversight, street/sidewalk repair and comprehensive planning. Annexation will not increase costs, taxes or impact City services for current city residents.
MONEY MAGAZINE NAMES SUGAR LAND “BEST PLACE TO RETIRE” IN THE SOUTH
Top-notch services, plenty to do and a tax-friendly climate recently earned Sugar Land recognition by Money Magazine as the “Best Place to Retire” in the South.
“One critical factor to consider: how much of a bite local taxes will take out of your nest egg,” wrote Sarah Max of Money Magazine. “This year we went in search of the tax-friendliest small cities in the country — places big enough to have the amenities that retirees prize, such as access to great health care and recreation, but still affordable and compact enough to be manageable.”
“Our selection as the top destination in the South is another indication that using revenue from tourism and commercial sources to reduce property taxes for our homeowners has been a successful strategy,” said City Manager Allen Bogard. “We are proud that Money Magazine has recognized what we already know – Sugar Land is one of the country’s premier destinations to live, work and play.”
Sugar Land’s strong focus on economic development and tourism enables the City to provide quality services while maintaining one of the state’s lowest tax rates. An example cited by the evaluation team was the transformation of the historic 26-acre Imperial refinery into Imperial Market, a redevelopment project that will include shops, offices, restaurants, a boutique hotel and a cinema – as well as the now-open Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center and the future Sugar Land heritage museum and visitor center.
DISTRICT AND CITY OFFICIALS DEDICATE NEW SPARK PARK AT RIDGEMONT ELEMENTARY
SPARK School Park Program made a stop in Fort Bend ISD during its 2016 SPARK Week, dedicating one of its newest parks at Ridgemont Elementary school on Nov.14. This new park marks the first partnership between Fort Bend ISD and SPARK Park, and several elected officials, Fort Bend ISD Board Members and administrators were on hand for the occasion.
At the new SPARK Park, students will be able to play basketball, play soccer on the permanent field, or use the four-square area. The park will also include benches and a walking trail. Each SPARK Park is built to the specific needs of the surrounding community and typically includes playground equipment, benches and a walking trail. SPARK Parks are available for community use after the end of the school day, including after-school programs, and on weekends.
Principal Stephanie Houston welcomed the audience, including State Representative Ron Reynolds, Fort Bend County Commissioner Grady Prestage and City of Houston Council Member Larry V. Green. Clarence Holliday, from the office of Congressman Al Green, presented a United States flag to Principal Houston to mark the occasion.
Financial support for the new SPARK Park at Ridgemont came from all over the county and city, including Council Member Green, Commissioner Prestage, and the Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union. The Ridgemont community’s penny drive raised nearly $3,000 for the park. Two Fort Bend ISD campuses, Scanlan Oaks and Sienna Crossing, also contributed to the project.
FORT BEND COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES RECEIVES GRANT FROM THE TEXAS VETERANS COMMISSION
Fort Bend County Social Services (FBCSS) has received a $150,000 grant from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance to fund Operation Fort Bend Heroes, which provides emergency assistance for the basic needs of veterans across the county.
FBCSS aids eligible residents of Fort Bend County with financial assistance. In fiscal year 2015, FBCSS provided aid to 89 veterans needing assistance with rent, utilities and/or emergency shelter. The number of veterans served during fiscal year 2015 was expected to grow in fiscal year 2016.
“Veterans can be overlooked because many times they personally do not seek assistance for themselves,” said Anna Gonzales, director of FBCSS, “TVC funds are so important in helping to assist the many veterans and their families with basic needs. Veterans have put this country first and as a community we hope to enrich their lives by assisting them in their time of need.”
For more information, visit tvc.texas.gov.
MEMORIAL HERMANN’S SUGAR CREEK PHYSICIANS LACE UP SNEAKERS TO IMPROVE HEALTH
Drs. Heather Hamilton and Benedict Ifedi, both chief residents at Memorial Hermann’s Memorial Family Medicine Residency and PSC, are the embodiment of a new breed of primary care physician who believe impacting the health of their patients beyond the hospital walls is as essential as what they do inside the hospital. As part of a new Walk with a Doc program, instead of just advising their patients to exercise, Hamilton and Ifedi lace up their sneakers and join their patients for a brisk, hour-long walk every week.
“As primary care physicians, we are very passionate about preventative medicine,” said Hamilton, who along with Ifedi launched the Walk with a Doc chapter at PSC. “We’ve realized that much of what we do in the office may only account for 10 or 20 percent of our patients’ health. So, we’re really trying to help them develop healthy lifestyles.”
Ohio cardiologist Dr. David Sabgir launched the program in 2005 after he found that only 5 percent of his patients were getting the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. Frustrated with his patients’ lack of physical activity, Sabgir said, “One day I asked a few patients to meet me and my family in the park to take a walk.”
At the first walk, 101 people showed up. Today the Walk with a Doc program boasts more than 250 chapters across the country.
“We started a Walk with a Doc chapter here,” said Hamilton, “because we don’t just want to tell our patients to exercise; we want to be there with them.”
The free walk takes place Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at Physicians at Sugar Creek, 14023 Southwest Freeway. To participate, all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. For more information, call 281-325-4100.