One of the most highly anticipated Chamber events takes place on January 30 and that is the Economic Forecast Luncheon. The presentation features Dr. Bill Gilmer, Director of Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston’s Bauer Commerce. Dr. Gilmer’s forecast and projections provide a guide for planning and business operations in 2020.
His analyses factor in the Global and National economic outlooks and how the implications of those will impact the regional and Houston economies. Dr. Gilmer’s insights have been enjoyed and applied to business strategies by Chamber members for many years. Today’s local economic climate continues to be affected by energy companies, oil prices and employment trends. He will address the implications within the region of the ramping down on new and expanded chemical plant investments that have been completed along the Houston Ship Channel. Those completions will have a direct bearing on employment.
Citing national economic trends, Dr. Gilmer recently said in the Houston Chronicle: “The U.S. economy is still strong, which is helping the local economy continue to expand. However, with the global outlook souring amid trade tensions, growth is likely to moderate in the coming years as the U.S.- China trade war continues to takes its toll on business investments at the same time as a slowing global economy. “
It appears that many forces are at work that will impact the region and Houston’s economic outlook for 2020. Make your plans to hear Dr. Gilmer address these significant developments at the Chamber’s annual Economic Forecast Luncheon.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here.
The Chamber’s Education Committee, chaired by Cindy Reibenstein with co-chair Willie Diefenbach-Jones, has created a very successful union involving Chamber members and leaders from area schools. Monthly meetings bring out diverse groups whose collective emphasis is to assist, support, and provide much needed aid in multiple activity areas for school leaders, students, families and the Heights area community.
Recent and on-going activities for the Chamber are dedicated to providing food, clothing and home goods for those in need. Many Chamber members have stepped up to the plate and donated, participated and given, or offered freely of their time as volunteers or coordinators. Just to name a few, they are: Houston Highway Credit Union, Keller Williams (Natalie Murgia), American Legion Post 560 (Naro Mak), and Signature Care. There remains an urgent need for others to provide assistance with being a school partner which may also include coaching or being informational resources for student parents. School activities such as festivals, printing needs, portable building leads, holiday productions, child-care and many others operational areas represent just a few of the current chief concerns.
The latest developments involving the Houston Food Bank has necessitated dropping food distribution days to twice a month and that can bring hardships. Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays represent acute needs for food to be given to needy families. Volunteers are needed to help with distribution. Thanks, are given to the Waltrip Imperial Guard Alumnae and Business Network International (BNI) for clothing and food deliveries.
The Education Committee continues to reach out to members and businesses that are interested in becoming a partner for one or more schools. By creating a partnership, there is an immediate gratification of helping students in their academic and social learning process, providing valuable essentials to disadvantaged families, and contributing to the betterment of our community.
Thank you to the following schools in attendance at the November committee meeting:
Garden Oaks Montessori, Waltrip High School, Heights High School, Northside High School, Clifton Middle School, Booker T. Washington, Helms Elementary, All Saints Catholic, Sinclair Elementary and Katherine Smith Elementary.
Our appreciation to these supporting businesses:
HEB, Send Out Cards, EEPB, Serenity and Space, HITS, Houston Highway Credit Union, Natalie Murgia of Keller Williams, Naro Mak of American Legion Post 560, BNI, Signature Care and the Imperial Guard Alumnae of Waltrip.
The Education Committee will meet on December 18 at 10:30 at Baptist Temple located at 230 West 20th Street. If you would like to be involved and become a member, please contact Cindy Reibenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, we know the turkey and pumpkin pie are memories, so many individuals have and will be turning their thoughts to gift buying. So, in the spirit of helping, we ask that you keep the local merchants in mind when shopping for products or services. The Chamber’s “Buy Local First” initiative promotes businesses many of whom are owned by Chamber members and others who live in our community. These merchants are more interested in the community and often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling. Personal service and taking time to get to know customers is a hallmark of local businesses. Your patronage for area merchants helps in maintaining the uniqueness of the Greater Heights area businesses, strengthening the local economic base, enhancing employment opportunities and creating a climate of growth that contributes to building stronger community cohesiveness.
Anniversaries are very special and the Chamber takes pride in recognizing an important date for our members. Whether it is your first or twenty-fifth, it signifies members that consistently value the benefits of being in a progressive organization. Your Chamber provides opportunity. The opportunity to build recognition among a network of fellow businesses that can use your services or products. In addition, your fellow members provide referrals to your business. Our appreciation goes to these members celebrating anniversaries:
|Circle Saw Builders Supply, Inc.|
|Alpha Electric Co.|
|Opera In The Heights|
|BNI Heights of Professionalism|
|Culturally Creative Travel|
|Salon in the Heights|
|The Duplifund Group|
|Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T)|
|Mildred Holeman Realty|
|Karbach Brewing Company|
|Space & Serenity|
|re:store Construction Company|
|Cogi Logistic Solutions LLC|
|Dentini Pediatric Dentistry|
|All Saints Early Childhood Center|
|Northside Columbus Club|
|IV Bars of Houston Heights|
For students to succeed in life, basics must be met and our area schools have identified a serious need for food and household items. Many of the area HISD schools are classified as Title 1. This means that the students come from low-income family at poverty levels. A school with a Title 1 designation requires that 35 percent of students residing within the school’s boundaries qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Many of our Chamber area schools have 100 percent of students meeting these criteria.
The need is urgent and we must be persistent to help give these students a foundation for success! The Chamber is beginning a food and supply drive to help alleviate this shortfall and give students a positive learning environment. Helping this noteworthy cause is easy and will be greatly appreciated. The following items represent foods that students can cook, open as well as clothing. Please consider collecting the following items:
Easy-Mac, fruit cups, apple sauce, peanut butter and jelly, granola and protein bars, cereal, oatmeal, baby formula and wipes, winter coats and jackets. There is also a need for warm clothing, gently used is good or new, all sizes from new born to 18. Another way to help is to make a donation to the Chamber’s Community Fund; it is tax deductible as the Community Fund is a 501c3. This is the Chamber’s charitable arm to help our community. Donations of all types can be delivered to the Chamber offices or brought to events.
Although single donations are greatly appreciated, consistency is essential to make a difference. If you have a desire to partner with a specific school all you have to do is ask and the Chamber’s Education Committee will set it up. Our students need your help, and donors can reach out to Cindy Reibenstein at rcreibenstein@aol or Willie Diefenbach-Jones at Willie_Diefenbach@yahoo.com. This program will provide benefits to Title 1 elementary, middle, and high schools. Our chamber is known for our community outreach and with your donation we can make a difference in our students and schools.
The annual printed directory of members is a prime way to keep your advertising message before not only Chamber members, but the community as well. Published for more than 17 years, this pocket-sized directory is a reference guide for products and services offered by Chamber members. The directory has a 365-day life, so your ad is always there. For new businesses this is a low-cost way to reach members and present your capabilities. Placing an ad featuring your photo is an effective way to enhance your recognition among members. The directory features a membership roster section that enables users to quickly locate the name of a member contact and their business. The alphabetical business directory section contains category listings making it an easy and well-organized way to find the member provided products or services you are seeking.
Directory copies are sent to every member, distributed at Chamber events, and placed periodically at community locations so usage and readership can occur almost anywhere. A variety of ad sizes are available, beginning with a 1/8 page, a ¼ page, ½ page and full page. Your print ad in the 2020 Membership Directory automatically appears in our online directory at no extra cost. Full page ads are $900* , ½ page ads are $600* , ¼ page ads are $375* and 1/8 page ads are only $250*.
*Prices listed are discounted for payments received before Oct. 31. Prices increase to: Full page $1150 , ½ page ads are $720 , ¼ page ads are $450 and 1/8 page ads are only $290 after November 1st.
For information or to contract for print advertising space or website online advertising please contact Jill Johnston at the Chamber, or go to email@example.com.
Reliving the “Disco” days was readily on display at the Chamber’s Gala celebrating Dee Farino’s two years of service as Chairman. With a theme of “Chamber 54,” members and guests dressed in vintage disco costumes enjoyed cocktails during the opening reception and took opportunities to view an array of exclusive silent auction items. Bidding was vigorous as attendees hoped their bid would win gifts such as an antique white gold & diamond ring, a Home and Garden Apple 4K TV, ballet tickets, and even a private Penguin Tour Encounter at Moody Gardens. An enticing wine raffle brought the opportunity to buy chances for desirable wine baskets containing 12 bottles.
Disco music played in keeping with the theme and preceded dinner that was served in the Junior League’s elegant ballroom. MaryBeth Wegner was the Master of Ceremonies and presided over a brief program where in-coming Board Chair Teresa Nicolas-Briggs expressed the Chamber’s appreciation for Dee’s service and presented her with a floral bouquet.
Following the program, the lively, fast-talking auctioneer took the stage to begin the bidding process for highly anticipated live packages and items that included: a sports lovers swag package, a 5 day and 4 night beach vacation at the Disney “Aluani Resort” in Hawaii, a night on the brew package, a comprehensive chef’s package for kitchen aficionados, and an Igloo cooler containing bottles of spirits ranging from bourbons to vodkas. Everyone welcomed the opening of the gambling tables and trusted their luck and or skills at poker, roulette or craps. Disco dancing rounded out the evening. It was truly a memorable and fun evening and photos of the event are displayed on the Chamber website in the “Events Photos” section under “Calendar & Events.”
With special gratitude the Chamber recognizes the generous support and work of our members, donors and volunteers. We proudly recognize the Gala Committee members: Craig Atkinson, Teresa Nicolas-Briggs, Dee Farino, Vicki Fleeger, Jessica Leone, Cindy Reibenstein, Robert Rodriguez, Belinda Rossiter, April Petronella, MaryBeth Wegner and Donna Torres.
The Chamber is grateful for these terrific sponsors:
Platinum Sponsors – Houston Highway Credit Union, Members Trust of the Southwest Federal Credit Union, PrimeWay Federal Credit Union, and Memorial Hermann Greater Heights.
Gold Sponsors – Adams Insurance Service, Allegiance Bank, CenterPoint Energy, Harris County Constable Jack Cagle, Hancock Whitney Bank, Kelly Simon Properties, Reynolds & Associates and Vickers Property Group-Kelly Simon Properties.
Silver Sponsors – BNI Heights Professionalism, BMI Energy, Disco Kings & Queens, Dr. Lindsey Pollock, Greater Heights Business Solutions, HTX Fight Camp LLC, Pinspiration, Reibenstein & Associates, MaryBeth Wegner of Send Out Cards, Taylor Woodard of Raymond James, Dee Farino, Third Coast Impressions and White Oak Medical Associates/Dr. Terah Issacson Campaign.
No there won’t be fireworks, but “Chamber54” is the exciting theme for this year’s Gala. Members and guests are encouraged to bring the theme to life with fun clothing and accessories that take us back to the “Disco” days of the 70’s! By the late 1970’s, most major U.S. cities had thriving disco club scenes and one of the most famous was the renowned Studio 54 in New York City. Extravagant and sexy fashions were the popular choice of celebrities as they danced to music by the Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, the Village People, Michael Jackson and more.
The evening of September 20 at the Junior League Building brings a revival of those days as the Chairman’s Gala takes place that evening. Be sure to be there for all the fun, the drama in spirited silent and live auction bidding; placing your bets at the casino tables for a chance to win impressive prizes; and of course, a sumptuous dinner and entertainment. Be sure to purchase your $20 ticket for the wine raffle because that will give you a chance to win one of the 4 baskets filled with 12 desirable wines and other items. The complimentary reception beginning at 6:30, and ending at 7:30, offers plenty of time to review the silent auction treasures and enjoy cocktails with your fellow members
An impressive array of silent auction items awaits your bid. Just to name a few, there are:
An antique white gold & diamond ring (donated by Houghton’s Jewelers), a private Penguin Tour Encounter for four at Moody Gardens (from Moody Gardens and Houston Highway Credit Union), a Home and Garden Apple 4K TV (donated by Houston Highway Credit Union), two orchestra tickets to Houston Ballet’s: Forged in Houston (donated by the Houston Ballet Foundation), Happy Hour at Harold’s for six (provided by Harold’s in the Heights), an Island Paddle Experience for 5 (provided by Island Paddle, LLC), a Camrose & Kross replica of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Howlite Necklace and Bracelet (donated by Jessica Leone). More awaits you so plan on winning your item during the silent auction.
Get ready for even more exciting prizes that will be auctioned off live by the auctioneer. There is sure to be one that you want because this year’s items include:
Comprehensive Chefs Package for Your Kitchen
Where to begin? This array of kitchen aids is one-of-a-kind beginning with a KitchenAid Artisan Design, Pearl Silver Mixer and stand. Complimentary items included are various attachments of all types, bakeware sets, stainless steel and glass bowls, oven mitts, kitchen towels, baking mats and KitchenAid recipe binders, best recipes book plus a useful 17-gallon hot dipped steel tub to hold party beverages. Package generously donated by Matt Kelly of Memorial Hermann, Brian Gilbert of Members Trust of the SW Federal Credit Union and Ricky Hurst of CenterPoint Energy.
Sports Lovers Swag Package – Truly designed for the sports fan who loves Houston sports. Beginning with our two-time NBA Champions Houston Rockets, your Toyota Center tickets will let you watch the team and its new player Russell Westbrook embark on its 53rd season. Then going “small ball,” you will watch all the action at the Houston Open Golf Tournament to be held at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble. So, after being inspired by the pros, you will enjoy a series of golf lessons from a professional instructor. Step up to the plate and make the winning bid. Package contributed by Jessica Leone of Frost Bank, MaryBeth Wegner of SendOut Cards and Jason Cantrelle of State Farm.
Disney “Aulani Resort” in Exotic Hawaii
What a way to kick off 2020 with a 5 day and 4 night get-away at the fabulous Disney Aulani Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii. A party of two will depart Houston on February 17th with $1,500 in an airfare allowance ($750 per person), and airport transfers of $100. Besides sunning on the beach, other amenities include two restaurants serving: “The Bounty of the Islands” and Contemporary Island Cooking, 3 lounges, live entertainment by Hawaii’s renowned musicians and storytellers, a fitness center, Laniwai Spa, stargazing, and of course pools, waterslides and more. Enjoy a gift basket getting you ready for the beach where you will find towels, sunscreen, towel clips and a beach bag. Package courtesy of Teresa Briggs and Craig Atkinson of Houston Highway Credit Union, Dee Farino of Third Coast Impressions and Jack Van Pelt of JVP Jewelers & Jewelry.
Night on the Brew Tour Package
Ok party folks, here’s a package for you and your 5 guests. The tour package begins with 3 rooms for 1 night at Sara’s Inn. Leave for the tour on a Saturday afternoon of your choice, and subject to Sara’s Inn room availabilities. Take with you $150 in Uber gift cards and a gift card from The Creek Group for dinner. Uber delivers you to the brewery which can be either Karbach Brewing Company or Eureka Heights Brew Company. Beer tokens and swag from each brewery will accompany the enjoyment of a variety of beers sure to please. Try out the suds as you take this Houston brew tour. Package sponsored by Tony Allman, PrimeWay Federal Credit Union, Taylor Woodard of Raymond James, Amy Ritter of Allegiance Bank and Sara’s Inn, Eureka Heights Brew Company, Gary Mosley of The Creek Group and Karbach brewing Company.
Chamber members, staffers, Yellow Rose Derby Girls and professional models all took part in the Gala Pre-Party held on Tuesday, August 20 at Eureka Brewery. Donning period costumes and clothing from the disco (1970’s era) it truly was a return to that Disco era, complete with bell-bottoms, peace signs, tie-dye, wigs, and capes. It all tied-in nicely with the Chamber’s upcoming Gala themed “Chamber54” which will be held on September 20 at The Junior League.
Clothing and accessories were on hand from Chamber member The Fashion Time Machine and many of those items were on sale and displayed on the runway. Thank you, Mary Keene, for all your assistance. April Petronella, of Petro Fox Education, coordinated the event. Her hard work was clearly evident as the fashion parade entertained a large audience eager to re-visit or learn more about the 1970’s, when Studio 54 in New York City was a popular venue. The club was known for discotheque-goers who often wore expensive and sexy fashions. At the same time the disco music movement was driven by the baby boom generation.
Special thanks to Evan Camp of Eureka Heights Brewery for hosting the event, providing the fashion runway space and offering tasty brews. Jack Case, Jr. of Jason’s Deli brought in ample sandwiches, chips, fruit and vegetables to satisfy a hungry audience and models. It was truly an enjoyable fashion show and set the stage for even more at the Chamber Gala. Please check our website for full details, buy a table, or a ticket. The Gala will feature a sumptuous dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions, gambling, a wine raffle and much more. Attached are photos from the fashion show as a preview of what’s to come.
In accordance with the by-laws, a nominating committee was appointed in June by the Board of Directors. The committee presented nominees for Board approval in July. The slate of nomicees will be presented to the membership at the annual member meeting on September 12th which is the Breakfast Connection. All members are invited to attend.
Board members who are continuing to serve include: Tony Allman, PrimeWay Credit Union, Craig Atkinson, Houston Highway Credit Union, Dee Farino, Third Coast Impressions, Brian Gilbert, Members Trust of the Southwest Federal Credit Union, Jessica Leone, Frost Bank, Jack Van Pelt, JVP Jewelers, Amy Ritter, Allegiance Bank, and Taylor Woodard, Raymond James.
Board members returning to the Board for three year terms are: Teresa Nicolas-Briggs, Houston Highway Credit Union, Matthew Kelly, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, Dr. Lindsey Pollock, Garden Oaks Montessori School, MaryBeth Wegner, SendOut Cards, Jason Cantrelle, State Farm, and Rick Hurst, CenterPoint Energy.