Generations FCU presents October business workshop lineup

generations fcu logoWhether it is the ins-and-outs of SBA funding, the art of the elevator pitch or how customer service can make your business stand apart, we have you covered this October. 

B2B Business 2 Better Series: The Ace In Your Pocket: SBA Funding
October 8 | 6 – 7:30 p.m. | Northwest Branch
The SBA has established several programs to help businesses get the money they need at terms they can handle. Learn about opportunities available and how to get the best loan through the SBA’s 7(a) and 504 programs.

Sip & Social: Master Your Elevator Pitch
October 16 | 6 – 7:30 p.m. | Downtown Branch
How do you articulate why someone should do business with you in just 5-15 seconds? Take the ordinary to the extraordinary in this 45-minute workshop on how to deliver the perfect elevator pitch. Plus, sample fine wines and cheese from around the world while networking with other business owners.

SCORE: Service With a Smile
October 24 | 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.| Downtown Branch
Creating lasting relationships with your clients begins with customer service. Discover how to take your service to the next level in this workshop to help build a repeat client base. 

North San Antonio Chamber endorses Proposition 6 – Vote “Yes” on November 5

Prop6 fact sheetFollowing a presentation and discussion on Proposition 6 at the September 24th North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce board meeting, the North SA Chamber Board of Directors voted to endorse Proposition 6. The North Chamber encourages its members and the community to vote “Yes” in the November 5, 2013 General Election to support Proposition 6, the proposed constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.

Learn more at the H204Texas website

Download Proposition 6 Fact Sheet

North San Antonio Chamber endorses Proposition 3 – Vote “Yes” on November 5

Prop3 fact sheetFollowing a presentation and discussion on Proposition 3 at the September 24th North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce board meeting, the North SA Chamber Board of Directors voted to endorse Proposition 3. The North Chamber encourages its members and the community to vote “Yes” in the November 5, 2013 General Election to support Proposition 3, the proposed constitutional amendment to increase the number of days a business inventory, such as aircraft parts, may be warehoused in Texas without being subject to the property tax. Texas is one of only 11 states to levy a property tax on inventory.

Learn more at the Texas Association of Manufacturers’ website

Download Proposition 3 Fact Sheet

Rosemary’s Catering offering 30 minutes of complimentary hors d’oeuvres when you book your holiday event at Sunset Station

The RK Group’s Rosemary’s Catering wants to help you make the holidays spectacular with the historic Sunset Station as the venue for your holiday party.

sunset stationHistoric Sunset Station is brimming with history and charm. Originally constructed in 1902 as a train station, the venue still features much of the original design – making it an interesting and unique location for your holiday party! Choose from three completely customizable “depots,” all with their own look and feel. 

Depot 1 welcomes guests into a grandiose space once meant to act as the main station for travelers. The venue boasts a grand staircase, two levels, built-in bars and other historic elements. Guests will relish in the history and elegance that they depot still exudes. The unique canvas will allow you to decorate in a traditional style, theme or a bit more modern. Depot 1 is ideal for large groups.

Depot 3  boasts an eclectic atmosphere with decorative flooring and bold, festive colors. More intimate than Depot 1, this space is ideal medium sized groups. Two built-in bars sit at each end of the room and the original arched doorways frame the space with a touch of history. 

Depot 4  is a contemporary space featuring exposed brick walls, large wooden doors which slide to separate two spaces, exposed ceiling beams and the original teller windows from it’s historic days as a train station bank for travelers. Make this space contemporary or traditional – the blank canvas lends itself well to any style. 

The Spire was constructed in 1884 as the original stone structure of St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church.  From its picturesque entryway to its stately windows, The Spire is the perfect environment for successful social gatherings, productive meeting and unique events. With its flexible space for up to 300, the possibilities are endless.

Rosemary’s Catering will work closely with you to build the perfect menu for your holiday party at Historic Sunset Station. Whether you’re looking for heavy hors d’oeuvres, an elegant seated meal or interactive food stations – Rosemary’s can help.

Special OFFER: When you book with Historic Sunset Station, you will enjoy 30 minutes of complimentary Chef’s choice of hors d’oeuvres. What a holiday treat! 



Raba Kistner announces appointment of Robert R. Costigan, PhD, PE to lead Facilities Group

180x150-RabaKistnerThe Board of Directors of Raba Kistner, Inc. has announced that Robert R. Costigan, PhD, PE, PMP, CFM, LEED GA, has accepted the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Raba Kistner Facilities, Inc. Dr. Costigan has more than 40 years of world-wide facility engineering experience, including roles as a project engineer, project manager, and program manager.

Dr. Costigan has been with Raba Kistner Consultants, Inc., since 2006, serving as President and COO of that company until tapped for his current role with Raba Kistner Facilities.

“We have several significant projects in our Facilities group right now,” said Dr. Costigan, “including the San Antonio Housing Authority Physical Needs Assessment, Alamo Colleges roof consulting and the Texas A&M Kyle Field Redevelopment. Another current effort is the transition process involved with the recent acquisition of Project Control of Texas. It’s an exciting time for our group with lots of opportunities for challenging work and professional development. I’m happy to be in this role with Raba Kistner Facilities.”

Dr. Costigan has more than 40 years of managerial and technical leadership on projects involving multi-disciplines for public and private sector clients nationwide, encompassing facility and infrastructure planning, design, repair and restoration.

Dr. Costigan received a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri, and his bachelor’s degree from the Virginia Military Institute – all in civil engineering.  Dr. Costigan is a registered professional engineer in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arizona, and holds certifications as a Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute, as a Certified Facility Manager (CFM) from the International Facility Management Association, and as a LEED Green Associate from the U.S. Green Building Council.

About the Company
Founded in 1968, Raba Kistner, Inc. is an Engineering News-Record “Top 500 Firm,” operating in ten different markets in Texas, Utah, New York and México. Raba Kistner Facilities, a wholly-owned division of Raba Kistner, Inc., provides program management services, facilities planning, building envelope consulting and engineering, facility condition assessments and building commissioning.

SSFCU wins Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service FCU (SSFCU) has received the Cornerstone Credit Union League Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award for credit unions with more than $500 million in assets category for its work with Family Services Association in improving the financial literacy of hundreds of teens and their parents.

With funding from the city of San Antonio, Family Services Association offers a six-week, paid summer internship program for youth ages 14 to 16 years. As part of the program, the teens receive leadership development training and money management education. This year, SSFCU provided four financial education presentations for the 200 plus students and their parents, covering a range of subjects including money basics, using credit wisely, budgeting and taxes. As part of their internship, all the students were required to open a savings account and save at least 10 percent of their earnings. SSFCU provided free savings and checking accounts to those who did not already have accounts set up.

“Helping young people secure jobs and financial skills is key to their future success,” says Letha Harrelson, SSFCU’s business development manager. “And when they succeed, the entire community succeeds.”

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. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Security Service is an industry-leading financial institution with $7 billion in assets and 70 locations in Texas, Colorado and Utah. The credit union is among the top 10 credit unions in the nation. 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.

Valero demonstrates generosity to community through United Way, Valero Texas Open/Benefit for Children Charity Award Breakfast

Valero logoIn recent weeks, Valero Energy Corporation has hosted two major events that have showcased the generosity of the company and its employees, as well as Valero’s commitment to the communities where it does business.

The first event, on Thursday, Aug. 29, was the culmination of Valero’s annual United Way campaign. Every year, Valero employees make pledges to support the United Way through donations or ongoing payroll deductions. Valero frequently achieves 100 percent employee participation in its campaigns, as well as some of the highest per-capita giving levels among San Antonio employers. In this year’s campaign, Valero employees surpassed their goal of $2.5 million in just the first 2 minutes and 49 seconds of the campaign. For surpassing their goal so quickly, Valero employees earned the right to wear jeans to work on Fridays.

In the meantime, they also earned the right to have fun at the Givers Celebration and Talent Show Finale, which was set for the 29th. Celebrity judges watched over the proceedings as teams of Valero employees went head-to-head in the Valero’s Got Talent competition, and a silent auction at the event raised an additional $47,480 to donate to the United Way.

The second event was the Valero Texas Open/Benefit for Children Charity Award Breakfast on Thursday, Sept.5. Officials from 98 children’s charities in the San Antonio area received funds totaling $2.7 million as part of the distribution of money raised during the 2013 Valero Texas Open and Benefit for Children Golf Classic during a breakfast celebration at Valero’s headquarters.

The golf tournament raises money each year for children’s charities in the areas where Valero has major operations, and then makes distributions in each of those areas to children’s charities that Valero employees nominate. The $2.7 million share that San Antonio charities received was part of the overall $10 million that the tournament raised. Distributions to charities continue at other locations where Valero has refineries and ethanol plants.

Since Valero took over the title sponsorship of the Texas Open in 2002, more than $81.5 million has been distributed to children’s charities, including $32 million in the San Antonio area alone. With the support of our Birdies for Charity program, our Valero Texas Open is currently the most charitable tournament on the PGA Tour.

This effort has always been extremely volunteer-driven. The Valero Texas Open and Benefit for Children Golf Classic is Valero’s biggest volunteer effort of the year – requiring nearly 1,000 volunteers over five days, who contributed over 9,000 volunteer hours during the tournament.

The best part about both of these events is that they aren’t one-time happenings. Valero is already planning next year’s Valero Texas Open and its United Way campaign.

Why integrity is more important than ever

Marvin RickabaughBy Marvin Rickabaugh
San Antonio Region President, Frost Bank

Frost BankThese days, you hear a lot of people talking about the virtue of integrity. I just wish we could see more of it in the world.

Granted, there are plenty of individuals and businesses that embrace strong principles—trust, honesty, loyalty—and won’t let money, power, influence or anything else keep them from doing the right thing.

Trouble is, they don’t get the press that some others get when they cut ethical corners, promise one thing and do another, or throw their values out the window to get through tough times or to gain an advantage over others. How many times have we seen a major corporation caught in the glare of the public eye for cheating its shareholders and customers? Or, a deceitful local tradesperson captured on camera callously taking advantage of a trusting customer’s goodwill?

I often wonder why so many struggle—often so publicly—with the notion of integrity these days.

Maybe it’s because the word has been thrown around too carelessly or misused so often that it either means nothing anymore or it’s deeply misunderstood. Maybe it’s because some have forgotten that integrity is tightly woven into strong and healthy personal relationships and provides the essential foundation for productive and successful business dealings.

Sticking to the code
Whatever the reason, it’s worth looking back at the word’s origins for clues to understanding what integrity could look like, should look like in real life. The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer which means whole or complete. In our context, integrity is an inner sense of wholeness coming from qualities such as honesty, loyalty, trust and consistency of character. So we might consider that others “have integrity” if they act according to the values, beliefs and principles—the moral code—they claim to hold.

By its very definition, integrity suggests an either-or quality. You can’t have partial, sometimes, sort of integrity. You either stick to the code and you have integrity—or you don’t. It’s just that simple.

At Frost, we talk a lot about what it means to act in ways that demonstrate our integrity as we interact with our customers, our communities and each other. In fact, our little black book aptly named What We Believe, a brief but memorable collection of our company’s beliefs, includes what I think is a strong working definition of integrity: “We believe in doing what’s right, even when no one is looking.” There’s that idea of sticking to the code again.

Putting integrity into action
We can define it, analyze it and look at it from every angle, but in the end what matters is putting integrity into action. I think that boils down to two simple steps.

The first is to establish what your code of ethics is. If you have a mission statement for your organization and have stated values that you believe in to support it, that’s a good place to begin. If you have employees, talk to them about your organization’s values. Make sure everyone understands what those are and how they translate to everyday actions—even when it might be easier, faster, cheaper or more interesting to do something else.

And the second step? Once you’ve established and communicated the code, don’t just put it on a shelf—embrace it and abide by it.

I’m not saying this is always easy. There are almost certainly going to be instances when it’s more painful to tell the truth than to cover it up and fix things later, when it’s harder to walk away from a lucrative but questionable business deal than to bend your principles “just this once,” when it costs more to stay loyal to good clients than to take advantage of them.

It takes work and dedication. As with any good business plan, integrity is all about the execution. You don’t just wake up one day and have integrity. It’s something you have to focus on every day. You might stumble and make mistakes, but you’ll also get better as you learn from your missteps. This is about leading by word and example.

One thing is certain: integrity pays off in the end. It enables your business to build an enviable reputation that shines among the rest, makes employees proud to work for your company, keeps customers—who will certainly notice the difference between you and your less-principled competitors—confident and happy to be doing business with you, loyal to your brand and willing to sing your praises to others.

What I know about integrity these days is this: With so much dishonesty, deceit, and outright wrongdoing in the world today, we all yearn for integrity in human relationships, business transactions and government dealings.

Is there anything that is really more important than your integrity? I can’t think of it.

H-E-B lives “Helping Here” motto

HEB helping here logoSeptember has certainly seen H-E-B living up to its motto of “Helping Here” in the San Antonio community. Between the generosity of H-E-B customers and Partners, San Antonio has been injected with the H-E-B spirit of giving in the month of September through multiple state-wide company initiatives. At the beginning of the month, donations totaling over $540,000 were made to over 20 food banks across the state to “Help End Hunger”. H-E-B’s “Help End Hunger” campaign is unique because it is completely driven by the generosity of H-E-B and Central Market customers. The campaign encouraged customers to tear off a $1, $3, or $5 coupon to add to their final grocery bill at the check stand to benefit local food banks. In San Antonio alone, $67,000 was donated to the San Antonio food bank, all thanks to H-E-B customers that cared at the end of their trip to the grocery store.

HEB food bank pic Sept13 issue 

H-E-B presents $67,000 to the San Antonio Food Bank through the Help End Hunger campaign

Next up to the plate in the San Antonio community were the H-E-B Partners that showed their appreciation for the courageous firefighters in their neighborhood during H-E-B’s ninth annual “Helping Heroes” initiative. In remembrance of the rescue teams that risked their lives during the attacks on the World Trade Center, over 832 H-E-B Partners visited their local fire stations on September 11th to pay tribute to the local Heroes that risk their life every day for their community. A total of 59 stores in the region participated, sending Partners over to their neighborhood station to pamper their local Heroes for the day. H-E-B Partners visiting the fire stations made home-cooked breakfasts and lunches for the fire rescue teams, and cleaned their stations from top to bottom. Anyone passing by fire stations on September 11th could see Partners scrubbing fire trucks, mowing station lawns, sweeping, mopping, and grilling tasty lunches for the local firefighters. Through the H-E-B “Helping Heroes” initiative, Partners were able to show their appreciation for the daily acts of bravery performed by their local fire stations.

HEB firefighters partners pic Sept13 issue

A group of H-E-B Partners adopt a local fire station for the day during Helping Heroes on September 11th

 HEB firefighters partners pic2 Sept13 issue

H-E-B Partners lend a hand to help clean fire trucks during Helping Heroes

The end of this month highlights a special partnership of H-E-B and the community in helping to improve San Antonio children’s literacy. From September 18th to October 1st, H-E-B is hosting its “Read 3” event which includes a school book drive challenge, special reading events in all the stores, and free books given away when certain items are purchased at H-E-B.  Since the program’s inception in 2011, over 1.6 million books have been donated back to Texas communities through literacy non-profits, schools, public libraries, and Feast of Sharing dinners. In October, the H-E-B Family Literacy Workshops will begin their fall session of classes that expose children to early literacy skills and expose parents to information on how to support their children’s academic development. These Family Literacy Workshops are a product of a unique partnership of local school districts, H-E-B Partner volunteers, and local universities; the classes are free to all parent and child participants.  The school districts provide classroom space and lead teachers, as well as recruit families with young children who are not yet in formal schooling. The local universities provide students from the department of education who deliver the lessons to participants and are supervised by the district’s lead teacher. H-E-B provides the curriculum, the necessary school materials, Partners to help at each site, incentives for families that participate, and a graduation ceremony at the end of the sessions. The Read 3 program and Family Literacy Workshops are H-E-B’s way of empowering young children in the community with the gift of literacy and a passion for reading.

HEB reading pic Sept13 issue

Craig Boyan, President and C-E-O of H-E-B, reads to a group of children at a local H-E-B for the Read 3 event in September

CPS Energy seeks rate increase

By Tracy Idell Hamilton

cps energy logoCPS Energy will ask the San Antonio City Council to approve a 4.75 percent rate in October.

If approved, the new increase would go into effect Feb. 1 of next year, and boost the average residential customer’s bill by $5.19.

CPS Energy last raised rates in 2010.

Last year, CPS Energy was able to forego a previously planned rate increase by aggressively reducing costs, increasing efficiency and delaying certain infrastructure projects.

It was able to do so while remaining in the top two percent of all credit-rated utilities in the country, a position that keeps borrowing costs low.

To maintain that strong position, however, CPS Energy must now increase revenue.

Because providing affordable, reliable power is CPS Energy’s main mission, the utility will continue to refine its business practices, root out waste and make decisions about its future power supply that hedge against risk and higher costs.

Even with the increase, CPS Energy rates will remain among the lowest in Texas, and the lowest among the top 20 largest cities in the country.

View the rate increase request presentation to the Board of Trustees

San Antonio’s economy is growing, which means CPS Energy is growing. But those new customers don’t completely cover the costs of expansion, nor do they cover the costs of upgrading existing infrastructure.

As CPS Energy’s customer base grows, so to do the number of civic improvement projects the utility is asked to do by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County, such as relocating existing electric and gas facilities to support street and drainage improvement projects.

New technology and environmental regulations also require strategic investment to keep up with industry standards and customer expectations. Improvements to the electrical grid, scheduled to begin later this year, will increase efficiency, allowing CPS Energy to see and respond to power outages remotely.

The upgrades will save money and increase reliability in the long run, but require substantial investment today.

Energy efficiency and conservation has been a crucial part of CPS Energy’s overall strategy to keep rates affordable, and it has exceeded those goals by 300 percent.

Those programs benefit customers in two ways – by reducing household utility bills and delaying the need to add more power plants to CPS Energy’s fleet.

To ease the burden on our lowest-income customers, CPS Energy is expanding its Affordability Discount program, which helps qualified customers by reducing their monthly bill by $12.30 monthly for gas and electric customers. That’s more than the amount of the rate increase.

CPS Energy has additional programs to help those in need as well.

In the coming weeks, CPS Energy will communicate clearly and often with customers and elected officials about why a rate increase is needed. That will include lists of specific capital projects and upgrades.

Read the letter from CEO Doyle Beneby.

CPS Energy is hosting a series of Customer Care Fairs in neighborhoods around the city and county to answer questions and promote programs that can help customers save money on their bills.