Security Service Federal Credit Union Reaches $7 Billion in Assets

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) officials today announced the credit union has reached $7 billion in assets. Headquartered in San Antonio, SSFCU officials attribute the credit union’s success to its conservative business principles, sound lending and controlled growth over the last several years, its quality service to members along with competitive products and services, and its convenient service delivery channels.

“Security Service is fortunate to be in such a positive position,” says Jim Laffoon, SSFCU president. “The trust and loyalty we have received from our members over the years and the service our employees provide them have played key roles in our credit union’s success.”

Security Service is the eighth largest credit union in the nation and is also the largest credit union in Texas, Colorado and Utah where it operates 70 locations.

Callahan & Associates, Inc. has named SSFCU for more than 10 consecutive years the number one indirect auto lender among credit unions in the nation.

“We plan tomove forward at full speed focusing on building new capabilities and addingproduct offerings that will be relevant to our current members and those that will become Security Service members,” adds Laffoon.  “We have a vision to become America’s best credit union – we are working toward that goal by becoming a little better everyday with a new attitude and a genuine desire to win.”

Laffoon assumed the role as president of Security Service in December of 2012.

He plans to move the credit union forward with goals to improve workforce advocacy, innovation, and competitiveness in the financial services industry.

Established in 1956 in San Antonio at Kelly Air Force Base with eight members and $25 in deposits, Security Service Federal Credit Union reached its first $1 billion in assets in 1995.

About Security Service Federal Credit Union
Security Service Federal Credit Union offers competitive, affordable financial products and services designed to meet the needs of its members. Security Service is an industry-leading financial institution, serving members in Texas, Colorado, Utah, and around the world. The credit union is among the top 10 credit unions in the nation and is the largest in San Antonio where it is headquartered. Security Service strives to be America’s best credit union and provides its members the true benefits of credit union membership with financial services of the highest quality and value. Learn more at or call 1-888-415-7878.

Worthington Promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief Communications Officer at Security Service Federal Credit Union

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSan Antonio communications veteran John Worthington has been promoted to executive vice president/chief communications officer for Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU), responsible for leading the credit union’s programs for legislative affairs; community service; public relations; and industry, civic and trade association participation.

John Worthington-038-F-5x7Prior to joining SSFCU in 1994 as vice president of marketing, Worthington served for 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, holding key public affairs positions including assignments in the Pentagon with the Air Force Office of Public Affairs and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He also served as Commander of the Air Force Broadcasting Service, directing Air Force broadcast activities around the world.

Worthington is active in the community and legislative affairs, serving as a board member of the Bexar County Arts and Cultural Fund and the North San Antonio Chamber’s 501c3 “Lead SA”  charitable organization and as a member of the Texas Credit Union League Governmental Affairs Committee. He holds a masters in public relations from American University, is a life member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and sings with the award-winning barbershop harmony Heart of Texas Chorus.

Security Service Federal Credit Union offers competitive, affordable financial products and services designed to meet the needs of its members. Security Service is an industry-leading financial institution with more than $7 billion in assets and more than 900,000 members in Texas, Colorado, Utah and around the world. Headquartered in San Antonio, the credit union is among the top 10 credit unions in the nation and is the largest in San Antonio. Security Service strives to be America’s best credit union and provides the true benefits of credit union membership with financial services of the highest quality and value. Learn more at or call 1-888-415-7878.

Free Trade Alliance Recognizes Students that Compete and Collaborate Globally

free trade alliance foundationThe Free Trade Alliance Education Foundation will host the awards ceremony luncheon for its 4th annual International Business Plan Program on Saturday, April 13th within the Rackspace Corporate Headquarters. Students from 23 countries and 30 universities will come together at that event to learn how their international business plan measured up in a field of over 140 globally minded students. Winners will receive their share of the over $20,000 prize fund. The four finalist teams from the graduate and undergraduate categories will present to high level executives just before the luncheon. These tough and experienced celebrity finalist judges include: Preston Atkinson (Whataburger), Kirstin Silberschlag (Valero Companies), Jane Macon (Fulbright & Jaworski) Maria Lulu Sobrino (Lulu’s Dessert Corp.), Aracely Garcia-Granados (MATT Foundation) and Paul Duran (GreenStar LED Products, Inc.).

The Alliance began the International Business Plan Program as a way to help students develop the skills to compete and collaborate globally, develop their global network, and foster international relationships and understanding. Kyle Burns, Free Trade Alliance President & CEO, stated that “Through the program, students work on cross cultural teams of 4-5 students with an executive level mentor in writing a 10-12 page business plan. This is the only program of its kind that brings students from around the world together on a cross-cultural team. Adding to its relevance and importance in today’s global economy, many of the students and mentors never meet in person, simulating a multi-national work environment.”

Many of the projects are for companies that intend to implement the project, adding to the real world education the students receive. Each team has been mentored and judged by executives from companies such as Boeing, HEB, Port San Antonio, Holt Cat, Dixie Flag Mfg. Co, Rackspace and many more. “This program is a perfect example of bringing education and business together to develop future global leaders and prepare students for a multi-cultural workforce” said Peter Albarian, Director of the Education Foundation. “These students are learning well beyond the book and have gained tremendous practical experience in solving real business issues and communicating across cultures and time zones.” The success of the program has led it to grow in size and diversity for each of its four years. “Programs like this and others we provide continue and grow, thanks in part to support and sponsorship from companies like H-E-B and Rackspace.” said Albarian.

Program sponsors include H-E-B, Rackspace, and NuStar Energy among many others.

CommuniCare Lottery Winners, One Year Later

Communicare_logo side in colorOne year ago this week, ten employees of CommuniCare Health Centers bought a group of lottery tickets together. Little did they know that by the end of that week, they would be discussing how to split their $16 million prize. A year later, simply because of the love of their jobs, nine of the ten women are still working at CommuniCare and contributing to their community (one of them has since retired).

When the group learned of their winnings, there were many mixed feelings. “Aside from the excitement and happiness of winning the lottery, the weeks and months that followed were also a stressful and scary time of uncertainty and a certain amount of pressure and obligation and even guilt was felt by all of us,” said one of the winners.

communicare center picDespite the prize, they pledged not to leave CommuniCare. Continuing to work together allowed them to maintain a bond that helped each of them move forward, and make smart decisions. The winner added, “We leaned on each other for support, and encouraged each other to make smart decisions with our money. We shared our feelings and experiences, we all celebrated accomplishments like finally being able to move out of an apartment and own a home for the first time, the pride of being able to send a son to college, the ability to care for elderly, ailing parents, finally being able to own a car that isn’t always breaking down.” Many of the winners have also made charitable contributions to the community and also to CommuniCare.

The winners have maintained their privacy throughout the year to protect themselves and their families. They were happy to see things calm down during the months that followed. “Life has essentially returned to normal for all of us, but the ten of us share a special bond that will be there for the rest of our lives.”

Now that a year has passed, the winners have continued to enjoy the great organization they work for, “For the ten lucky ladies of CommuniCare, our worry load is a little lighter these days, but for the most part we are back to doing what we do best, serving our community as part of the premier primary health care system of choice.”

About CommuniCare Health Centers:
CommuniCare Health Centers (CCHC) having served San Antonio for over 40 years now, is a full-service primary healthcare system offering Family Medicine, Pediatric Care, Women’s Health and OB/GYN care, Podiatry, Dental and Behavioral Health Services and After Hours Urgent Care to residents in Bexar and Hays counties. In 2012, CCHC delivered more than 150,000 visits at two health centers in San Antonio and two in Hays County. In the fall of 2012, CCHC opened its newest health care facility on the Northwest side of San Antonio. As a non-profit community health center, it serves those with Medicaid, Medicare, Private Insurance and those that do not have insurance, charging on a sliding-fee scale based on annual household income and family size.  For more information on CommuniCare Health Centers please visit

Comerica presents Small Business Series: Health Care Reform and the Small Business Owner

180x150-ComericaBankComerica Bank presents a Small Business Series and announces a session on “The Impact of Health Care Reform on Business Owners,” on Thursday, March 28, 2013 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Hosted by Novella Allen and Comerica Bank, the topic will be presented by S. Lee Stevenson Jr. of Stevenson and Ricker Attorney at Law. Stevenson has practiced law for 34 years and represented individuals, small, medium and large businesses as well as large national corporate clients.

Stevenson continues to represent banks and other lenders, has handled both litigation and transaction matters and has experience in both state and federal court.

Stevenson has developed a line of legal form document assembly products that are now available to individuals and consumers on his website, and he is the author of a major Texas legal formbook called Stevenson’s Texas Legal Practice Forms 2d. The book is a four volume treatise available to attorneys in print.

Health Care Reform and the Small Business Owner will be held at Comerica Bank N Loop 410 office between San Pedro and Blanco Rd., located at 615 NW Loop 410. Refreshments will be served. Guests may RSVP to Novie Allen at (210) 277-3416 or

Security Service Federal Credit Union promotes Martinez to Senior VP of Military Affairs, Goss Joins Credit Union as Senior VP Lending, Chief Lending Officer

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service Federal Credit Union announced that Mike Martinez has been promoted to senior vice president of military affairs for Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU). A Marine Corps veteran who served during the Vietnam War, Martinez will serve as the primary liaison with military installation commands and will be responsible for building financial literacy programs and expanding and improving all of the credit union’s services to active duty service men, women and their families in ways that meet the unique circumstances military members encounter.

Martinez joined SSFCU in 1997 as a service center manager, serving as senior vice president of member service since 2004. He is a long-time board member and former board chair for the South Texas Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He holds a degree in business from the College of the Desert in Twenty-nine Palms, CA.

Charles Goss 2-26-13Charles Goss has been named senior vice president/chief lending officer, responsible for indirect lending, direct lending, mortgage and asset recovery.

Goss returns to SSFCU after three years as chief lending officer at Golden 1 Credit Union in Sacramento, CA. Prior to heading to the west coast, he served 13 years working through the ranks at SSFCU, eventually rising to vice president of Texas lending. He holds a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in finance from Southwest Texas State University.

Security Service Federal Credit Union offers competitive, affordable financial products and services designed to meet the needs of its members. Security Service is an industry-leading financial institution with more than $7 billion in assets and more than 900,000 members in Texas, Colorado, Utah and around the world. Headquartered in San Antonio, the credit union is among the top 10 credit unions in the nation and is the largest in San Antonio. Security Service strives to be America’s best credit union and provides the true benefits of credit union membership with financial services of the highest quality and value. Learn more at or call 1-888-415-7878.

March 2013 Word from the Chairman

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpring is in the air and with the season comes all things fresh and new. Now is a great time to make a new start and begin re-connecting with your North Chamber. Why not take some time to reflect on why you joined the North Chamber in the first place? Perhaps you wanted to network, build relationships and work on business development … or maybe you’re looking for leadership or professional development opportunities.

Get Connected. Get Involved.
Whatever your motivation for membership with us, we’re excited that you are a part of it. Now it’s time to get connected and get involved. One of the best ways to get connected is to join a committee, where you can work alongside fellow member professionals to plan and implement events, volunteer for events or benefit from informational sessions on a variety of topics from government affairs and technology to social media. Learn more about Participation Opportunities.

If you require more personalized assistance, please reach out to the staff liaison for membership and marketing, Renée Crittenden-Garcia, and she will be happy to help you identify ways that you can make the most of your membership.

Remember, the North Chamber is a membership organization and all that we do depends on the volunteer participation and support of our valued member businesses. It’s your leadership and involvement that helps to keep Bexar County strong.

Social Media
I certainly recognize that your time is precious and there’s only so much you can dedicate to activities outside of your office. If you aren’t able to attend meetings regularly, you can always stay engaged with North Chamber happenings, member and community news through our social media channels.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter, use hash tag #keepSAstrong

Follow us on LinkedIn

Additionally, the North Chamber wants to help you promote your business online. All members are invited to share their company news, which is posted to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Chairman’s Council member news is posted to the North Chamber blog and may be viewed on the North Chamber homepage, in addition to social media channels. Learn How to Submit Member News.

For those members who are working at the business of social media every day, you may want to consider involvement in the new Social Media Committee where volunteers will participate in a users’ group to provide mutual counsel on social media strategy, tactics and trends and plan and implement a social media informational/instructional event. This is the first year for this committee, which is being chaired by Lisa Lewis, CPS Energy. You’re invited to attend the first committee meeting on Monday, March 25, at 11:30 a.m. at the North Chamber office.

Mark Your Calendar
For those of you who enjoy a little friendly competition and networking with fellow members, I hope you’ll join us for the Annual Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 9, at the beautiful and challenging TPC San Antonio. We’re getting an early start this year with tee time starting at 7:30 a.m. As we anticipate a bright sunny day (and no rain like we encountered last year), you can still register for a foursome or join Dahill in sponsoring the tournament.

Lastly, I hope you’ll continue to Buy Local. Buy North Chamber. If we each commit to purchasing from a fellow North Chamber member – imagine the impact that could have on each of our businesses! Please visit the North Chamber website Find A Member section to assist you as you review your company’s needs and consider suppliers (you can search by business category, alpha by company name or just companies offering a coupon/special offer).

On behalf of our North Chamber staff and board of directors, I thank you for your continued membership, involvement and support. We appreciate all you do and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Brad Rollins
2013 North Chamber Chairman of the Board

Duncan to retire, O’Donnell named CEO of USAA Real Estate Company

usaa logoPat Duncan, CEO of USAA Real Estate Co. (“RealCo”), will retire from the day-to-day activities of the company effective May 1, 2013. Mr. Duncan will remain on several entity-related company boards, including the RealCo board as executive vice chairman. He will also remain on the boards of various RealCo subsidiaries and affiliates.

Len O’Donnell will succeed Pat Duncan as CEO of RealCo.  For the past two years, Mr. O’Donnell has served as RealCo’s president and chief operating officer, overseeing all operations of the company to include acquisitions, global investing, capital markets and portfolio management.

“Pat’s record, especially successfully leading RealCo during the recent economic downturn, is outstanding,” says Joe Robles, USAA president and CEO. “Thanks to Pat’s leadership, USAA Real Estate Company has grown to be a major industrial developer that is highly respected, and Len has proven himself well-qualified to build on that tradition.”

Before he joined USAA, Mr. O’Donnell was a RealCo development partner as he served as principal and chief investment officer for Crimson Real Estate Fund, which specialized in value-added acquisitions and build-to-suit development. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Mr. O’Donnell also served as president and CEO of Crimson Capital Ltd., a diversified real estate investment company offering investment management services, as well as development, property management and leasing.

About USAA Real Estate Company
USAA Real Estate Company, with approximately $12 billion in assets under management, provides co-investment, acquisition, build-to-suit and development services for corporate and institutional investors.  The USAA Real Estate Company portfolio is diversified by product type and location and includes investments in real estate operating companies.  USAA Real Estate Company is a subsidiary of USAA, a leading financial services company, serving military families since 1922.  For more information, visit

About USAA
USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.4 million members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their eligible family members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit

Omni at the Colonnade undergoing major renovations

Omni logo imageOn the heels of it being named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 10 hotels in San Antonio, the Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade is poised for some exciting upgrades and additions in 2013.

Omni room image

The hotel’s 326 guest rooms are undergoing an extensive makeover in the 2nd phase of a of a two-phase $6 million dollar renovation project. The renovations, which will began in February and are slated for completion by May 25, 2013, and will end with luxury guest rooms and corridors ready to be enjoyed by all. The elevator lobbies and corridors will also be undergoing a face lift. The hotel will remain open during the renovations with no disruption in the quality of guest services.

The new look throughout the hotel features a Southwest motif showcasing earth tone textures with pops of warm, bright color and a Texas flare with leather and iron accents. Look closely at the corridor carpeting and you will find an abstract Alamo reference in the design. The casual yet elegant décor, designed to appeal to the sophisticated business traveler.

Omni hotel imageThe hotel is a popular evening dinners and receptions with a 10,000 square foot ballroom and two 3,000 square foot ballrooms. Coupled with additional smaller meeting rooms, Omni at the Colonnade has a total of 23,000 square feet of meeting space.

For families with children, there will soon be an exciting new option for their stay at the Omni: a Sea World-themed kids’ suite. Like the other kids’ fantasy suite at the Omni San Antonio, the children’s space will include kid-friendly furnishings and amenities adjoined with a beautifully appointed “grown up suite” next door.

Omni Delfin OrtizThe unique kid suite design- which calls for a slide in entry sure to wow kids- will be the brainchild of one lucky San Antonio Art Institute student whose winning design was selected from the many proposals submitted by Art Institute students. Omni general manager Delfin Ortiz reached out to the school seeking fun creative ideas for the special space.

The extensive renovations and new kids suite will continue the Omni at the Colonnade’s long standing tradition of providing the best lodging and customer service San Antonio has to offer.

“We offer something for everyone. Whether it is a group, family or the corporate traveler, we will provide a memorable experience,” said Ortiz.

While the new kids’ suite will feed children’s imaginations, the hotel’s chef-driven restaurant, Bolo’s, will provide a feast for the soul for everyone as it unveils a special new dinner menu – focused on what Sous Chef Sam Boisjoly calls “Latin American Soul food.”

“It has been my dream to create the flavors of Latin America in a soulful way,” said Boisjoly.

Bolo’s will continue its popular daily breakfast buffet, “The Art of Breakfast” serving fan favorites including Omelets made to order by the Omelet Chef plus a gluten free section and Starbucks coffee. A new Sunday brunch option is planned for launch this year.

A grand re-opening celebrating the many exciting changes at Omni at the Colonnade is scheduled for Summer, 2013.

For more information, please call (210) 691-8888 or visit


  • Phase 1 (complete) – Flat screen TV / low boys consoles / in-room safe / new mini bars / curved shower rods and additional outlets on all desks / Modernized elevators
  • Phase 2 (underway) – Replacing wall vinyl and painting walls / new carpeting /  new bedding / furniture / lighting package / bathroom amenities / new elevator lobbies and corridors with new artwork
  • When you walk on the floor, it will be like a new hotel. All suites will be renovated with all new furnishings and we will be adding a new kid’s fantasy suite with an Aquatica theme. This will be a joint effort with SeaWorld (the kid’s suite).

San Antonio Educators named Finalists for 2013 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards

Educators to Compete on a Statewide Level for $500,000 in cash prizes 

180x150-HEBEight San Antonio educators have been named finalists for a 2013 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, spotlighting them as some of the best educators in Texas. The eight San Antonio educators were among 40 finalists from all over Texas.

HEB Kimberly Reznicek NISDH-E-B’s Excellence in Education is the largest monetary awards program for educators in Texas, and among the largest in the nation. The honor was kept a surprise from the educators, who learned they were finalists when H-E-B representatives visited their classrooms and schools in March with balloons, cake, and flowers.

Six teachers were presented with a $1,000 check for themselves and a $1,000 check for their schools. The San Antonio teacher finalists are:

  • Kimberly Reznicek, Timberwilde Elementary, Northside ISD (Rising Star Elementary)
  • Kristen Guerra, Frank Tejeda Middle School, North East ISD (Rising Star Secondary)
  • Charlotte Dolat, Woodridge Elementary, Alamo Heights ISD (Leadership Elementary)
  • Steve Davidson, Douglas MacArthur High School, North East ISD (Leadership Secondary)
  • Debbie Dixon, Woodridge Elementary, Alamo Heights ISD (Lifetime Achievement Elementary)
  • Terry Zablocki, Warren High School, Northside ISD (Lifetime Achievement Secondary)

All finalists are invited to Austin on May 1-3, 2013 to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes totaling $585,000. A panel of judges will interview each teacher and principal finalist.

H-E-B launched the Excellence in Education Awards program in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas by spotlighting best practices and celebrating the passion and creativity of Texas educators.

Since its inception, H-E-B has given nearly $6 million, making it the state’s largest monetary award program dedicated to education. In addition to recognizing great teaching and leadership, H-E-B selects 12 campuses to receive a $15,000 Healthy Campus Grant for programs promoting health and wellness. An Early Childhood Award supports public or private schools that prepare children under 5 to enter kindergarten socially and academically ready to learn.

Every year, H-E-B asks customers, Partners (employees) and community members to submit the names of their favorite educators, administrators, districts, campuses and early childhood education providers for a slate of different awards and grants. Each nominee is sent an invitation to complete an application online.

H-E-B Online