March Word from the Chairman

Turner_Annie-Chairmans-photo-PRAs we welcome spring and this time of renewal in our surroundings, it is also a time of change and regeneration here at the North San Antonio Chamber. Over the last several weeks, the North Chamber has realigned personnel and duties as we have said farewell to longtime staff and welcomed new team members.

After 13 years of service to our business community as Vice President of Leadership Programs and Lead SA, Yolanda Crittenden has retired. For all of you who have worked with Yolanda over the years through our government affairs programs, Lead SA, the Small Business Leaders Awards, the Enterprising Women’s Conference and other programs – I know you will join me in thanking and congratulating her and wishing Yolanda all the best in her future endeavors.

Additionally, with Yolanda’s retirement, some staff duties have been realigned. Wendy Thomas is now Program Manager and will be your point of contact for programs including Lead SA Employment Law Update, Lead SA Sustainability, CFO Forum events and the On the Horizon luncheon.

Moreover, our director of marketing and membership, Renée Crittenden-Garcia, is now Vice President of Marketing, Public Affairs & Lead SA, and she will assume the executive director role for the North Chamber’s 501c3 organization, Lead SA, and its Salute to Excellence, as well as take a more active role in supporting our government affairs programs including State of the County and Mayor’s Vision. Renée will provide increased support to our President/CEO for various special and collaborative programs as they relate to our advocacy efforts, while still overseeing membership and chamber marketing programs.

Last but not least, we are pleased to welcome Susan Deitiker, Manager of Special Events, and Whitney Lewis, Manager of Marketing & Special Events. Susan is already working with our Ambassadors and leading program management for events including Networking Breakfast, the new Power Lunch, Golf Tournament, How 2 Series, Small Business Leaders Awards and the Enterprising Women’s Conference.

Whitney is our new website and e-newsletter editor and will share member news across our social and digital platforms, while also providing special event marketing communications, committee and registration support for a number of programs.

Membership, Recognition, Veterans
Over the last several months, our membership staff and committee have been studying our dues structure and identifying ways to increase value to our membership. After a recent task force meeting led by our Membership Council Chair, Aaron Seaman of SWBC, the North SA Chamber is proud to announce that we will extend a 15% discount to Veteran-owned businesses as a way to assist veterans transitioning from the military to civilian workforce. The discount is effective immediately for veteran-owned businesses who are new members joining the chamber.

Additionally, we are actively seeking nominations for the Small Business Leaders Awards (SBLA) program, and the deadline to submit completed applications is Friday, April 11, by 5 p.m. Awards will be presented in categories including: Small Business Leader of the Year, Small Business Advocate of the Year, Career Achievement, Community Service, Business Achievement, Business Innovation, Employee Relations, New Business and new this year – Nonprofit and Veteran-Owned. Please consider nominating a deserving employer, customer or colleague; and encourage him or her to complete the nomination application and submit by deadline.

While we’re proud to support and recognize our veterans in every way, we’re equally pleased that we have worked to bolster our small business members by maintaining dues rates for more than 15 years. As a small organization operating on the sole support of our dues-paying members, we strive to be fiscally conservative in our stewardship of the investment members make in the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. As the cost of doing business increases, we sent a call to action to members to participate in a voluntary dues increase. To date, 67% of members who renewed their membership with us elected to provide added financial support. On behalf of the board and staff, thank you for your incredible support of the North Chamber.

Leadership, Networking
We’re also busy building business and leaders across San Antonio. Recently, the participants of the 2014 Leadership Lab Class completed a week-end long retreat in which students learned about their individual personality styles and how those traits can be strengths and challenges in their personal and professional relationships.

It was my pleasure to join the class during their retreat and encourage them on their leadership journey. The diversity of companies represented in the class is remarkable, and I’m excited to see how this year’s class will engage and apply their Lab experiences to their workplaces.

Finally, no matter what time of day is best for you, the North SA Chamber now has a venue for you to connect with others while gaining insight on various timely professional topics. The Networking Breakfast is held the second Tuesday of every month at the Petroleum Club at 7:15 a.m., and the new Power Lunch will be held the fourth Thursday of the month at 11:30 a.m. at rotating locations. Please check the calendar of events regularly and register online.

I appreciate your membership, participation and volunteerism with the North San Antonio Chamber and invite you to join a committee, attend an event or just follow us in our social media communities. We’re a vibrant business network thanks to you, your membership and all that you do keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong.

BBVA Compass appoints two new members to its San Antonio advisory board

Logo BBVA Compass.Fh11Former Zachry Holdings Inc. senior vice president Kenneth Oleson and retired cardiac surgeon Dr. Alfonso Chiscano have joined BBVA Compass’ San Antonio advisory board.

BBVA Compass_ChiscanoAlfonso_suitA native of the Canary Islands, Chiscano earned his medical degree in Spain before moving to the United States in the 1960s to practice medicine in several hospitals. He ran his own private practice as a cardiac surgeon in San Antonio from 1972 until 2007. He is a senior member of the American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association and the Bexar County Medical Society.

BBVACompass_Ken_Oleson_Oleson was a senior vice president at San Antonio-based Zachry, where he led negotiations for the company involving project finance arrangements and was active in acquisitions. Before joining Zachry, he worked as an executive with leading energy firms. Oleson has served on several local boards and is now the finance committee chair of the Briscoe Western Art Museum’s board.

“I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Chiscano and Mr. Oleson to our growing board,” said Andrea Smith, BBVA Compass’ San Antonio city president. “They both know the city well and will provide key insights for us as we focus on providing the best service and products for our customers.”

Oleson and Chiscano join other distinguished community leaders on the board, including: Clark Boddy, a real estate advisor; James Pfirrmann of BlueBonnet Capital Mortgage and Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Bradfield Properties; Jason Reyes of Reyes Automotive Group; Jonathan Starr of Rosenthal Pauerstein Sandoloski Agather LLP; and Jack Stein of Hanke, Green & Stein.

About BBVA Compass
BBVA Compass is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 685 branches, including 350 in Texas, 90 in Alabama, 78 in Arizona, 64 in California, 45 in Florida, 38 in Colorado and 20 in New Mexico. BBVA Compass ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (5th). BBVA Compass has been recognized as one of the leading small business lenders by the Small Business Administration and was recently awarded the 2013 Celent Model Bank Award for its new core banking platform. Additional information about BBVA Compass can be found at www.bbvacompass.com.

Two changes in Security Service Federal Credit Union mortgage department

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) is pleased to announce that Michael Manley has been promoted to assistant vice president of mortgage operations responsible for underwriting/closing/post-closing and secondary marketing functions of the SSFCU mortgage services department. He was previously assistant vice president of mortgage services.

SSFCU_MikeManleyManley joined SSFCU in 1992 as a senior loan officer after serving as a contract specialist with the Resolution Trust Corporation/Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. In his new position, he will be able to direct his team to operate more efficiently and effectively to enhance each member’s experience. He holds a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from the University of Houston and is a candidate for the Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) designation awarded by the National Mortgage Bankers Association. He also serves on the board of directors for the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association.

SSFCU_SluzevichIn addition, Aaron Sluzevich has joined Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) as the credit union’s new assistant vice president of mortgage originations, responsible for cultivating the growth of the mortgage originations platform, offering competitive mortgage related products while streamlining the process to enhance member service.

With 13 years experience in mortgage lending, Sluzevich was the mortgage originations supervisor at Florida-based VyStar Credit Union prior to joining SSFCU.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Colorado State University and is a member of Sigma Chi – Beta Tau Chapter.

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 $7.5 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 www.ssfcu.org or call 1-888-415-7878.

Humana opens health & well-being centers

Humana green logoAttaining good health has become much more convenient for San Antonio-area residents with the opening of a Humana Health & Well-Being Center at two San Antonio Walmart locations – one at 1200 S.E. Military Drive and the other at 6703 Leslie Road.

Visitors to the centers can take advantage of a variety of health education resources. To help people continue to learn, the Humana Health & Well-Being Centers feature seminars and educational sessions that aim to keep brains and bodies fit, regardless of age. Community members can learn tips on monitoring diabetes, the importance of eye health, how to keep allergies under control and other topics that provide tools and information to make effective decisions about health and well-being.  Seminars run the gamut from healthy food and nutrition to lifestyle topics, such as how to keep the kitchen organized or how to use a tablet computer. A calendar of daily demonstrations is available free at each of the center locations.

The Health and Well-Being Centers offer adults of all ages a place to socialize and learn about ways to achieve lifelong well-being. Socially-connected adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health. Additional research supports that people with a strong social network have less stress and typically feel a greater sense of self-esteem. As a result, they take better care of themselves by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Among various activities available to local residents, the centers host live social events such as crafting for a cause, crafts for kids, planting 101, family fun, home budgeting and organization.

Walking programs provide the opportunity to join instructor-led groups to learn proper walking and stretching techniques while socializing with each other. The centers host a group of walkers, every Tuesday and Thursday, at 9 a.m. at Military Dr. and every Monday and Friday at 9 a.m. at Leslie Road, who walk inside the store. Participants even receive pedometers after they complete their first walk, helping them track their steps and calories burned.

Humana members can even speak in private with a customer service representative live through video chat via a computer. As an added bonus, some associates are bilingual in English and Spanish, allowing the centers to efficiently serve residents of Hispanic and Latino origin, who make up roughly two-thirds of the San Antonio population.

In addition, “The doctor will see you now” takes on a new, high-tech meaning at the Humana Health & Well-Being Center with its telemedicine suite. Patients who visit the center use the latest audio and video technology to speak directly to a Concentra physician who evaluates, diagnoses and treats their medical condition (prescriptions can be phoned in to the pharmacy at the Walmart location or to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice). Patients are assisted by an on-site medical professional during their visit. Telemedicine has been touted as a way to improve access to health care and is currently used in 34 percent of U.S. health centers.

Consults available include nurse visits such as health screenings and immunizations and urgent care services for such health issues as ear/eye infections, sore throats and sinus infections, allergies, stomach ailments, rashes and pain such as to a knee or lower back. Point of care tests for flu, strep or mono, administration of steroid, allergy or antibiotic shots and specimen collection and interpretation of tests sent to a laboratory can also be accomplished.

Visits would not include treating trauma beyond minor sprains and strains, conducting physical examinations or evaluating wound care or medical procedures of any kind (elective, excisions, foreign body removal, etc.).

These facilities serve as an excellent alternative for San Antonio residents – as well as all adults – to connect with each other and improve their overall health and well-being.

AT&T Texas posts a “Help Wanted” sign

att logoThe Texas job market continues to blaze new trails. In January, Texas-based AT&T announced that it is hiring for more than 1,000 jobs—providing the latest testament to the positive impact that the state’s pro-business climate is having on job creation, including right here in San Antonio.

The AT&T positions – more than 400 here in San Antonio alone – include technicians, customer service representatives and retail sales associates. Nearly half of the jobs are newly created and all will play an important role in the continued development of communications infrastructure across the state.

“These jobs and our continued investment in our home state are, in large part, a result of the smart, forward-looking regulatory environment created by Governor Rick Perry and Texas legislators,” said Dave Nichols, President of AT&T-Texas. “Lawmakers have done a masterful job building a regulatory environment that fosters job creation and innovation, and that encourages companies like AT&T to continue investing in Texas.”

AT&T employs more than 35,000 Texans (including more than 3,600 in the greater San Antonio area), with a payroll of more than $2.9 billion in 2012. As of March 2013, AT&T operated 215 company-owned retail locations in the state.

In San Antonio, AT&T invests in and gives back in a myriad of ways, contributing to the local economy, jobs and an improved quality of life. Notably, AT&T, its employees and retirees have made an impact on San Antonio:

  • AT&T has invested more than $450 million from 2011 to 2013 in its San Antonio area network to enhance speed, reliability and performance for customers;
  • Between 2010 and 2012, combined AT&T Foundation and corporate giving was more than $16 million; and
  • Deeply committed to their local community, AT&T Pioneers, employees and retirees volunteered more than 2 million hours of personal time for San Antonio area community outreach in 2012.

Nichols said AT&T looks forward to expanding its employee base in Texas, noting, “We understand that the backbone of our service is our people—the men and women who work to ensure that Texans enjoy a great wireless communications experience.”

To view a full list of AT&T jobs available across Texas, click here

Global data center services provider CyrusOne to host ground breaking ceremony for second data center in San Antonio

Cyrus One logoGlobal data center services provider CyrusOne (NASDAQ: CONE) has scheduled a ground-breaking ceremony on Feb. 13 from 11 a.m. to noon CST for its second data center in San Antonio. The new site, located at 9500 Westover Hills Blvd., is expected to have 180,000 square feet of raised floor space along with 22,000 square feet of Class A office space that customers can use.

“Our new data center in San Antonio will be capable of delivering 36 megawatts of critical power capacity and be an integral part of the CyrusOne National Internet Exchange (National IX), which delivers interconnection between metro-enabled sites within the CyrusOne facility footprint and beyond,” said Kevin Timmons, chief technology officer of CyrusOne. “It’s located on 22 acres of land in the Westover Hills area, just a few miles away from our first San Antonio data center, and has easy access to major highways, the airport, hotels, and restaurants. We’re excited to begin construction and would like to thank local officials and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation for the collaborative and business-friendly climate they have created in San Antonio.”

CyrusOne Greenfield - View from WestoverHills_01.020.2014

CyrusOne’s San Antonio footprint increases to more than 300,000 square feet upon full completion of the new facility, which is being built using the company’s innovative Massively Modular® design engineering approach. Massively Modular optimizes materials sourcing and enables delivery of industry-leading energy optimization and just-in-time data hall inventory to meet customer demand. CyrusOne expects the first phase of the new site to be completed during the third quarter.

CyrusOne opened San Antonio’s first enterprise-class multi-tenant data center in 2012, and strong customer demand has driven the need to construct a second CyrusOne facility. San Antonio is located in central Texas, away from natural-disaster zones and offers a robust power-grid infrastructure.

Delivering Best-in-Class Enterprise Facilities, Connectivity, and Open-IX Certification
CyrusOne specializes in highly reliable enterprise data center services and colocation solutions, and engineers its facilities to include the power-density infrastructure required to deliver excellent availability, including an available highest possible power redundancy (2N) architecture.

Customers have access to the CyrusOne National IX, which marries low-cost robust connectivity with the massively scaled data centers that the company is known for by creating the first-ever data center platform that virtually links a dozen of CyrusOne’s enterprise facilities in multiple metropolitan markets.

The CyrusOne National IX, coupled with the company’s multiple dispersed locations and available 100 percent uptime, enables Fortune 500 enterprises to implement cost-effective, multi-location data center platforms that can help manage their internal disaster recovery requirements and applicable regulatory or industry-specific requirements such as Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA, and PCI.

CyrusOne was also recently the first to receive multi-site data center certification from the Open-IX (OIX) Association. This certification highlights that CyrusOne facilities have achieved the highest quality for power, cooling, security, and, most importantly, for carrier neutral connectivity. The OIX Association has a mandate to promote resilient interconnection in hub cities to facilitate a more resilient Internet.

With 25 carrier-neutral data center facilities across the United States, Europe, and Asia, CyrusOne provides customers with the flexibility and scale to match their specific growth needs. The company is renowned for exceptional service and for building enduring customer relationships and high customer satisfaction levels. Customers include nine of the Fortune 20 companies and more than 125 of the Fortune 1000.

For more information about CyrusOne, call 1-866-CYRUSONE (1-866-297-8766) or visit www.cyrusone.com. Connect with us on Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

About CyrusOne
CyrusOne (NASDAQ: CONE) specializes in highly reliable enterprise-class, carrier-neutral data center properties. The company provides mission-critical data center facilities that protect and ensure the continued operation of IT infrastructure for more than 600 customers, including nine of the Fortune 20 and more than 125 of the Fortune 1000 companies.

CyrusOne’s data center offerings provide the flexibility, reliability, and security that enterprise customers require and are delivered through a tailored, customer service-focused platform designed to foster long-term relationships. CyrusOne’s National IX platform provides robust connectivity options to drive revenue, reduce expenses, and improve service quality for enterprises, content, and telecommunications companies. CyrusOne is committed to full transparency in communication, management, and service delivery throughout its 25 data centers worldwide.

Ed Whitacre stresses embracing risk and change in keynote address to CPS Energy employees

By Tracy Idell Hamilton and Sam Taylor

cps energy logoUtility worker Juventino Gonzalez’s willingness to take on different jobs within his department in the 13 years he’s worked for CPS Energy is exactly the kind of attitude that will continue to make him a successful and valued employee.

He started by installing pipes in new neighborhoods, and then moved on to connecting lines to electric meters. In his current role, he helps his crew excavate bare electric lines in the city’s oldest neighborhoods to retrofit them with pipe.

As he listened to CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby and then former AT&T and GM chief Ed Whitacre talk about embracing change, he nodded.

CPS Ed Whitacre“If the company wants us to embrace change, then we should embrace it,” he said.

Gonzalez was sitting at the Pearl Stable on Tuesday, along with about 175 of his colleagues, participating in CPS Energy’s 2nd annual EmpowerU event.

Launched last year, the idea was to offer a new and different kind of talent development opportunity to employees, who have consistently ranked opportunities for growth and development as a top priority.

Last year’s event focused on CPS Energy’s strategy, offering employees a high-level overview from Beneby along with industry experts who placed the company vision into greater context.

CEO Doyle Beneby talked about making lateral and even downward moves in his career in order to gain new skill sets that ultimately positioned him to lead the largest municipally owned gas and electric utility in the nation.

CEO Doyle Beneby talked about making lateral and even downward moves in his career in order to gain new skill sets that ultimately positioned him to lead the largest municipally owned gas and electric utility in the nation.

This year, the focus turned toward human capital, and Beneby kicked off the event by urging CPS Energy employees to position themselves not just to survive the changes facing the industry, but develop and thrive within it.

“Change is happening everywhere. Our company is no different,” said Beneby. “The idea is not to just adapt to change and survive, but thrive.”

Beneby has worked as a change agent since his arrival in 2009, trying to prepare the company and its roughly 3,300 employees for the disruptive changes facing the industry, from an uncertain and changing regulatory environment to the creation of an Internet-enabled electrical grid.

Safety, as anyone who has listened to Beneby for any amount of time has heard, is his absolute number one priority. But a close second, he believes, is talent development.

Toward that end, CPS Energy has rolled out a number of new initiatives under his watch, including EmpowerU, CPS Energy University, talent development teams, and a revamped job rotation program.

Beneby used his own career trajectory as an example, noting that he’d made lateral and sometimes even downward moves within the companies he’s worked for in order to learn every aspect of the business–moves that ultimately positioned him to lead the nation’s largest publicly owned gas and electric utility.

Employees in attendance — some chosen by lottery, others who’d earned a spot on merit, also heard from Nancy Giordano, founder of Play Big Inc., a “brand futurist” who helps companies across the globe “build transformative, future-forward long-term growth strategies.”

Big Play Inc. founder Nancy Giordano talks to CPS Energy employees while Vice President of Human Resources Les Real looks on.

Big Play Inc. founder Nancy Giordano talks to CPS Energy employees while Vice President of Human Resources Les Real looks on.

The changes facing companies and employees today are unlike the changes of yesteryear, Giordano told the crowd. As technology takes over more of today’s jobs, tomorrow’s workers must be nimble and creative, she said.

The highlight of the event was keynote speaker Ed Whitacre, who led AT&T for 17 years before coming out of retirement to successfully lead General Motors out of bankruptcy. Whitacre’s book, American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA, was published earlier this month.

He, too, urged the crowd to take risks.

“If you don’t take risks, you lose,” he said. “If you’re always in defensive mode, you lose.”

Whitacre began his career began as a lineman for Southwestern Bell Communications. He ultimately navigated AT&T through sweeping changes in the industry, from phones hardwired to walls to wireless phones, then from flip cell phones to smart phones.

The move to smart phones seems obvious now, he said, but at the time it was seen as a risk for AT&T. Whitacre recounted meeting with Steve Jobs in a hotel to take a closer look at an iPhone.

“We took a gamble,” he said with a smile. “It was a smart gamble and it worked out pretty good.”

Pressed to take on the bankruptcy at GM, Whitacre led the beleaguered auto manufacturer back to solvency in a single year.

When he arrived, executives told him they did everything right and were just victims of the economy. Whitacre said he quickly learned that GM had a people problem when the union president told him he was the first executive to come on to the manufacturing floor, let alone speak to him face-to-face.

The power of people is vital to any company’s success, he said. “You have to get people involved in your business. If you don’t have people working together, you fail. The vast majority of people want to. They like to participate in the success.”

In between speakers, employees talked to one another at tables around the room. Each had a mix, from executives to field crews, engineers to customer service reps.

Michael Ward, a program/project manager in the Energy Management department, said sitting with colleagues from different work areas and getting a chance to talk to a vice president was enlightening: “It helps me appreciate the decisions our executive leaders are challenged to make.”

Ward, who has worked at the company 22 years, has seen his fair share of resistance to change. “It’s so important that the whole company works together as an organization instead of working in units,” he said.

Breaking out of the silo mentality was one of the driving forces behind the creation of CPS Energy University. Created last August after studying best practices at other companies, the goal was to ensure training across the company was better integrated, relied on best practices and aligned with the company’s overall strategy and business plan.

CPS Energy University was developed after studying best practices at some of the nation’s top companies.

CPS Energy University was developed after studying best practices at some of the nation’s top companies.

“In the past, we had ten different training areas, and they were all very siloed,” said David Hagen, director of organizational change and development. “Also, training was just one more thing management had to do, and they often weren’t trained specifically in the best way to train others.”

Now, he said, through the university model, which has been successfully used by giants like FedEx and Motorola, “there are very clear, measurably processes, they align with company-wide goals, and they help close performance gaps.”

Vincent McDonald, CPS Energy’s longtime staff photographer, was recently promoted to a supervisory position, overseeing a team within the communications department. He’s in the inaugural supervisory development program at CPS Energy University, learning both the nuts and bolts of how to apply company rules and procedures to how to transition from a contributor to a leader.

The training program has been incredibly helpful, McDonald said. Because he’s part of a group of new supervisors from across the company, he’s getting a fresh perspective on the company, while at the same time learning that many of the challenges they each face are similar.

Such training, as well as events like EmpowerU, he said, “are investments in our employees. Most companies say employees are their most valuable resource, so it’s encouraging to see CPS Energy investing in and developing its workforce.

Also last year, CPS Energy launched the first of its talent development teams, giving employees the opportunity to apply to work with employees from other companies, such as Rackspace, OCI Solar Power and H-E-B.

The teams generally work on mutually beneficial projects together, allowing employees to learn about the other companies’ culture and processes.

“The idea is to help expand employees’ perspectives,” said Hagen. “They might be really good at what they do here, but CPS Energy might also be their only experience, so they haven’t been exposed to other ways of doing things.”

Jose Berrios, a nationally recognized expert on workforce diversity and former chairman of the Society for Human Resource Management, said investing in talent development is crucial for retaining and attracting workers.

“Companies often pay lip service to the idea, but it’s often looked upon as an expense rather than an investment,” he said. “I’m glad to hear CPS Energy is focusing on this critical issue. Creating a culture of continual learning allows people to feel valued, and that really drives the success of an organization.”

As he wrapped up the event, Beneby emphasized the idea of continual learning, urging attendees to think broadly about their future within the company.

“This is not just a job, but a career,” he said. “We need all of you to pick up skill sets that are valuable in different areas.”

New North and South Sam’s Club locations serve members

Sams ClubSam’s Club opened its two newest club locations in San Antonio at 2530 Marshall Road and 3239 Goliad Road following 8 a.m. Grand Opening ceremonies at each location Thursday, Feb. 27, adding jobs and a quality shopping experience to the region. The membership warehouse club provides residents and small business owners the opportunity to access incredible savings on quality products, including products made in Texas.

South Club Ribbon Cutting

North Club Ribbon Cutting

The new Sam’s Club locations are the sixth and seventh in San Antonio, having served San Antonio since first opening at 3150 SW Military Drive in 1985. The openings of these two clubs are the first time Sam’s Club has opened two new warehouse clubs in the same city on the same day.

Sam’s Club offers a unique, shopper-friendly experience to San Antonio. Busy families can rely on fresh produce, quality meats and home meal solutions, while office supplies, vending machine snacks and paper goods prepare small business members for success. Additional benefits for small business owners include early shopping hours, personal shopping through Click ‘n’ Pull, truck-load savings, and access to quality items most often used by foodservice businesses, restaurant owners and caterers.

Each measuring approximately 136,000 square feet, the clubs feature a variety of amenities, including a fresh bakery, a tire and battery center, a café and a fuel station.

A number of health and wellness services are also available. The Sam’s Club Pharmacy, open to both members and the public, features many $4 and $10 generic prescriptions, as well as savings on branded prescriptions. The Optical Center offers $40 off each additional pair of regularly priced prescription eyeglasses with the purchase of a complete pair of eyeglasses at regular price. Lastly, at the Hearing Aid Center, Sam’s Club offers premium technology in hearing aids and personal listening devices with free hearing tests and services administered by a licensed hearing aid fitter and dispenser.

To staff the new San Antonio Sam’s Club locations, Sam’s Club hired 350 new associates. Sam’s Club currently employs more than 11,000 people in Texas, including more than 1,000 in San Antonio.

Whether buying for a household or a business, a Sam’s Club membership offers exclusive savings on merchandise and outstanding member benefits. With access to Cash Rewards, additional Instant Savings and early shopping hours, Sam’s Plus memberships offer even more with premium service options. See the club for details. Sam’s Savings and Sam’s Business memberships are $45 annually, and Sam’s Plus memberships are $100. Special savings for college students and military families are also available. For more information, visit SamsClub.com/membership.

Financial reporting and internal controls for the entrepreneur

PS&Co_stacked_Color

By Bryan Edwards, Manager of PS&Co.’s Accounting Solutions Group

Most small business owners start with a dream of independence that then turns into a vision of how to make money while meeting the needs of others. That need is met with a marketable product or set of skills that typically involves doing something the entrepreneur really enjoys. But along with the passion comes the reality of other things you have to do to ensure you are really doing as well as it seems you are doing. Financial reporting, clear accounting procedures, and internal controls are the keys to distinguishing between perceptions and reality.

If you have bank financing, your banker will require regular financial reporting; and even if you don’t, some basic accounting controls and procedures are necessary. You may hire someone (or several people) to work in your office to keep track of the paperwork while you sell and run your business. There are many good accounting packages out there you can purchase off the shelf at a relatively low cost (QuickBooks works well for many, if not most start-ups).  But simply buying an accounting package, hiring a couple of people, and hoping for the best never works out well.  A systematic approach to accounting, finance, and managing the money that begins even before you open the doors is necessary.

Doing so provides several benefits, namely:

  • Greater organization
  • A common purpose among all workers
  • Cost savings
  • Happier, more productive employees
  • Less risk of fraud and theft
  • Bankers who are more likely to extend additional credit
  • Clarity of results that isolates both problems and opportunities quickly

Internal controls are key. If you only have one employee in your office, be sure another employee works in at least a part-time capacity in the office so that the same person is not handling, reconciling, and accounting for cash, for instance. The person who makes a bank deposit should not prepare checks. Have someone who does not prepare checks or make the bank deposit reconcile the bank account. And the check preparer should not be the sole signer of checks unless it is you, the owner.  Having at least two sets of eyes on each accounting process (e.g., cash receipts and cash disbursements) greatly lessens the likelihood of theft. No employee should effectively authorize his or her own work, particularly when that work involves handling currency, making bank deposits, and preparing checks.  It is recommended that, initially, the entrepreneur take a very active role by signing checks personally and approving all wire transfers so that he or she can guard against any fictitious payees. While there is no perfect set of internal controls, there are a few simple precautions you can take that will lessen the likelihood of fraud and theft.

When contemplating a new business venture one of your first conversations should be with a CPA firm. Eventually you will need to deal with taxes, but even before then, the firm can recommend software, help you set up procedures, and even help you find a bookkeeper. A close working relationship with a CPA firm is typically money well spent. Hire someone you trust and with whom you feel you can communicate candidly about the ups and downs of running a business.

Finally, recognize that you must invest in your accounting and internal control environment. Trying to pinch pennies at the outset generally leads to more costs in the long run, not to mention squandered opportunities because you didn’t see something that clear, concise, and timely financial reporting would have otherwise revealed to you.

For more information on financial reporting or internal controls, please contact Bryan Edwards at (210) 828-6281.

Tips on combating cyber crime

BroadwayBank_Logo_tag

By Jeff Foote, Group Executive Vice President, Director Operations and Technology – Broadway Bank

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is fascinating to witness technology’s influence on our lives and on our society. Technology and society’s interdependence began long ago with the most basic inventions, and today, we fit more computer technology in the palm of our hand than it took to get us to the moon 45 years ago. In today’s financial services industry, making a deposit while relaxing on a white-sand beach can easily substitute for a visit to our favorite bank lobby.

Unfortunately, criminal elements are also a part of our society. Bank robbers in the computer and information age are evolving into cyber criminals, who aim to steal private and confidential information from all kinds of people and organizations—from government agencies and iconic store brands to trusted financial institutions and everyday families and consumers.

The threat of having our information stolen today is very real, and it can occur from thousands of miles away. However, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we can do ourselves a favor and be crime smart. Getting educated and taking a few basic steps may well keep you from becoming a victim of crime and fraud—and save you a great deal of time and trouble. For starters, remember that cyber criminals and thieves usually take the path of least resistance. While most cyber thefts are deliberate, we can prevent many of them by making ourselves more difficult targets. Here are a few tips:

  • Safeguard your purse or wallet everywhere you go. Do not leave such items unattended–in a shopping cart, for example.
  • Do not leave your valuables, or items that look valuable, exposed in your unattended vehicle for thieves to easily see or steal.
  • Remember to account for all your belongings while traveling via cab, bus, train or plane. Leaving behind a laptop loaded with your personal information is a gold mine for thieves!
  • Be mindful when storing financial and other confidential information, like Social Security numbers for example, on portable USB storage drives which can be lost or stolen.
  • Use caution when sending confidential information over email channels. Email can easily be compromised and/or unintentionally forwarded to unauthorized parties.
  • Do not click on web links embedded in emails from senders who are unknown to you. These links may be designed to install malicious software (malware) onto your computer. A new trend of malware known as ransom ware is designed to lock you out of your computer until you pay a criminal to unlock it.
  • Use great care when dealing with telemarketers. Telemarketing fraud is on the rise and criminals are using several tactics via telephone to gain your trust or to sell you a product so that you will disclose key financial information. For example, telemarketing criminals now use fraudulent Caller ID technology to purport to be a legitimate organization such as a bank or utility company in order to fool people into divulging confidential information.
  • Monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly for unusual activity.
  • Shred sensitive financial documents when you dispose of them; never discard them into a trashcan.

We should not underestimate the tenacity of our adversaries. Much like we lock the front doors of our homes to keep unwelcomed strangers at bay, all of us can employ these basic security measures to combat today’s cyber criminals.

About Broadway Bank
Headquartered in San Antonio, Broadway Bank was founded in 1941. It has evolved from a small neighborhood bank into one of the largest independently owned banks in Texas. Today, Broadway Bank continues to function as a family-owned and operated financial institution. Broadway Bank offers a full- range of sophisticated financial services, including personal banking, private banking, military banking, business banking and wealth management. With more than $2.9 billion in total assets, the highly rated Bank operates 38 locations in San Antonio, Austin and the surrounding areas. Visit the Broadway Bank website at broadwaybank.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.