Nominate a Business for Top Workplaces 2014

SA Express News logoFor the fifth year, the San Antonio Express-News will team up with Workplace Dynamics to recognize the best places to work in the San Antonio area. Winning employers are chosen through employee surveys.

The Top Workplaces program was set up to recognize companies that have a great workplace and to encourage all organizations to improve the quality of their workplace. Becoming a Top Workplace is a great way to attract and retain the best talent.

Companies must employ at least 35 workers to participate in the survey. The top finishers in the categories of large organization (with 500 or more employees), midsize companies (150-499) and small businesses (fewer than 150) will be profiled in an Express-News Top Workplaces special section publishing in October and will receive an online profile on www.mySA.com/topworkplaces. Winners will be announced at an event prior to publication of the special section.

Businesses can use the Top Workplaces logo on company materials and websites to help spread the word about its work environment. The Top Workplaces evaluation is done on the basis of a 22-question employee survey. The surveys can be taken online or on paper, and can be completed in five minutes. All online surveys are conducted free of charge. There is a $1.75 fee for paper surveys to cover processing costs.

Anyone can nominate a company operating in Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina or Wilson counties. To nominate a company, call (210) 348-3758 or go to www.mySA.com/topworkplaces. Deadline for nominations is May 23.

Companies will be informed if they are named as a Top Workplace in early July and will receive a summary report of survey results and have the option to purchase more detailed feedback.

San Antonio Express-News
Founded in 1865, the San Antonio Express-News is a division of the Hearst Newspapers Partnership, L.P. The Express-News is San Antonio’s daily newspaper, which also produces a variety of diverse publications reaching broad audiences throughout San Antonio and its surrounding areas. With its fast-growing web audience, the Express-News also reaches the community with San Antonio’s home page – www.mySA.com.

North SA Chamber Board of Directors Endorses 2014 NISD School Bond

North Chamber logo 4c stackedThe North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce board of directors met on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 and heard a presentation from Northside ISD Superintendent Dr. Brian T. Woods and NISD School Board member Katie Reed on the merits of the proposed $648.34 million bond package that addresses the need for new schools to manage continuing growth and the need to improve existing schools. The North SA Chamber board voted to endorse the NISD bond proposition and encourages its members and the community to vote “yes” on the bond package in the May 10 election.

Basis for Endorsement of 2014 NISD Bond Package:

  • Northside enrollment has continued to grow by over 2,000 students every year.
  • Half of all new homes built in Bexar County are located in Northside.
  • Northside is the largest school district in the San Antonio metro area and the 4th largest school district in Texas.
  • More than half of Northside schools are older than 20 years; and some were originally built as early as the 1950s.
  • In the fall of 2013, a 250-member Citizens’ Bond Committee, made up of parents from all NISD schools, senior citizens, business representatives, other community citizens, and teachers looked at enrollment projections, analyzed the needs of the district, and recommended that the School Board call for a bond election.
  • The NISD Board of Trustees approved a bond proposal that asks the voters for $648.34 million to build 409 new classrooms and make other major improvements and renovations to most Northside Schools.
  • Improvements Include:
      • major renovations of libraries, cafeterias and science labs at older schools and replace entire buildings;
      • make necessary upgrades to infrastructure systems like roofing, heating and air-conditioning; and
      • update students’ and teachers’ technology and add “interactive white boards” at elementary schools.

Bond package details, source: http://nisd.net/bond/2014/

The North San Antonio Chamber has been keeping member businesses and San Antonio strong for 40 years by advocating on behalf of member businesses large and small; delivering exceptional, business-to-business networking opportunities; honoring leaders at every age and career stage; and cultivating the workforce through leadership and professional development training. Through Lead SA, our 501 (c) (3) entity, we assist member small businesses and non-profit organizations with access to career development and advance higher education through scholarship gifts to area colleges and universities. northsachamber.comleadsa.org

Local residents riding to stop diabetes at the Annual Valero Tour de Cure

Valero tour de cureThis year, nearly 1,000 area cyclists will come together to be part of the Stop Diabetes® movement at the Valero Tour de Cure San Antonio on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The American Diabetes Association’s Valero Tour de Cure San Antonio showcases a one day ride from Retama Park throughout the beautiful Texas countryside. Riders secure funds in advance of the event all proceeds go toward the fight to STOP diabetes. All riders will enjoy a safe and well-marked route, superior SAG (support and gear), medical support, and outstanding volunteer support.

Valero logoToday, there are nearly 26 million Americans—including 14% of the San Antonio population—who have diabetes. While an estimated 18.8 million have been diagnosed, unfortunately, 7 million people are unaware that they have the disease. If current trends continue, one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050. The Valero Tour de Cure San Antonio not only provides funding for research projects to help end diabetes and improve the lives of those affected by diabetes, but also provides an outlet to help South Texans live healthier through developing an affinity for cycling and incorporating physical activity into their daily lives.

This event offers routes for all levels of cycling experience. The Tour is a one day event featuring fully-supported and safe, family-friendly routes that showcase the most scenic and peaceful areas of this prominent Texas region. There are several route choices from 1 mile to 100 miles, ensuring that everyone from the family with children to the avid cyclist will find something to love about this community event.

Registration is only $25 with a fundraising minimum of $200 for adults and $50 for children 14 and under. Each rider raises the required $200 minimum to fund diabetes research, education, and advocacy, and will receive the 2014 Tour de Cure commemorative t-shirt. Additional incentives are available for riders who raise even more.

Register today or sign up on site at the event to become part of the movement to Stop Diabetes. To register or for more information, visit www.diabetes.org/sanantoniotour or call 1-888-DIABETES.

The Tour de Cure is a series of fundraising cycling events held in 44 states nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The Tour is a ride, not a race, with routes designed for everyone from the occasional rider to the experienced cyclist. Each Tour de Cure event has its own character and style—from unique starting points to gorgeous scenery and more! No matter where you ride you’ll enjoy a fun day on your bike for a great cause. In 2011, more than 55,000 cyclists in 80 events raised more than $18 million to support the mission of the American Diabetes Association: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. National sponsors include Gold’s Gym and Clif Bar; local sponsors include Valero, Argo Group, and Zachry.

About American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

April Word from the Chairman

Turner_Annie-Chairmans-photo-PRAt the beginning of this year, I made a commitment to guide the North SA Chamber to focus on veterans, workforce development, small business advancement, the millennial workforce and community collaboration to promote our mission to strengthen member businesses and the community through the delivery of advocacy, networking, recognition, leadership and professional development programs.

Veterans
To date, the North SA Chamber has approved and extended 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 just completed the call for nominations for the Small Business Leaders Awards (SBLA) program, and new this year – we’ll be recognizing a Veteran-Owned business leader and a Non-Profit organization, as well as present awards in the following categories: Small Business Leader of the Year, Small Business Advocate of the Year, Career Achievement, Community Service, Business Achievement, Business Innovation, Employee Relations and New Business. Stay tuned to learn who the finalists will be.

Workforce Development, Small Business Advancement
Through our programming, the North SA Chamber strives to meet the needs of businesses for a readied workforce and ongoing professional development. We know you’re looking for quality continuing education for your team and qualified applicants.

Recognizing the growing time scarcity among busy professionals, the North SA Chamber has explored online training offerings to provide a more vast range of course topics and to accommodate members’ busy schedules. We’re excited to announce, through a partnership with online training provider Coggno, the delivery of a comprehensive Training Online Shop featuring thousands of courses covering a range of subjects from human resources and safety to business and sales. As part of the launch, the North SA Chamber is offering each member company one free online class, as well as a webinar on Tuesday, May 6, at 11:30 a.m. to learn more about utilizing the Training Online Shop. For more details, please see the complete article in the Special Alert section of this issue of the eNews.

Additionally, at no additional cost – member businesses may post job openings to the online Job Bank, and the online search tool is a free community resource to job seekers. We have been promoting the Job Bank this year to veterans, transitioning professionals, college students and recent grads through the North SA Chamber website, eNews and social media, as well as at trade shows throughout the year to assist you in accessing a larger pool of applicants. Remember – the online tool is as valuable as the content in it, so please post career opportunities at your company. Click here for member login access and instructions for posting jobs.

Moreover, we want to help veterans, millennial workers and just about every professional in any interest area to access resources to sharpen their professional skills and build relationships through our various instructional and networking events and volunteer opportunities. I encourage each of you to review the various North SA Chamber Participation Opportunities and find a committee on which you can serve and make an impact.

Community Collaboration
The North SA Chamber has been working with members and community partners to develop, present and review issues that affect our members’ profitability and overall quality of life.

Already this year, we participated in the SA Conversations series in collaboration with the San Antonio, South and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce to host special guests U.S. Representative Paul Ryan and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio along with moderator Evan Smith, Editor in Chief of the Texas Tribune.

SA Conversations is a series of discussions for the business community to hear from elected officials – beyond the Texas Delegation – who serve in critical roles in commerce, transportation, entrepreneurship and other areas for the purpose of addressing the critical issues that affect enterprise.

We’re very excited to partner with these organizations once again to host a very special guest – the U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner on Monday, May 12, at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information or to register.

Recognition
One of the most rewarding aspects of my Chamber service is the recognition of what small business owners – particularly women business owners – have done in our community. We are now seeking applications for the ATHENA Leadership Awards® Program.

The North SA Chamber is an ATHENA International Founding Lifetime Memberandthe exclusive, local host organization – in partnership with the National ATHENA Foundation, for the presentation of the prestigious ATHENA Leadership Awards® Program which honors rising stars, seasoned professionals and model organizations with the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, ATHENA Leadership Award and ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award.

Nominations are solicited and an ATHENA sculpture is awarded to local leaders and a business/organization who meet specific criteria at the annual Enterprising Women’s Conference – this year scheduled for Friday, September 26. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Awards® Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

Please help us to recognize local leaders by nominating a deserving individual or organization and encourage him/her to submit a completed application by Friday, June 6. Download nomination forms here.

40 Years of Keeping Bexar County Strong
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 40-year-strong, vibrant business network thanks to you, your membership and all that you do keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong.

New and innovative services develop over last five years at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital

Methodist stone oak hospitalSince opening in March 2009, Methodist Stone Oak Hospital has grown significantly to carry out its mission of serving humanity to honor God by providing exceptional and cost-effective health care accessible to all. Methodist Stone Oak Hospital celebrated its five-year anniversary with a day-long celebration with its outstanding team of physicians, nurses and support staff. The hospital was designed as a “hospital of the future,” offering the community a wide range of medical services that are both high-tech and high-touch.

Patients and guests will immediately recognize many special features upon arriving at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital. All patients and guests can receive free valet parking and the hospital has 140 private rooms. The facility features many modern amenities including a program that allows patients to make their own meal choices from a restaurant-style menu.

The emergency department features a quick check-in process for patients. A computerized kiosk allows patients to check-in efficiently, scan their identification and insurance cards and provide basic information about the type of symptoms they are experiencing. In addition, the hospital has partnered with Methodist Children’s Hospital, a campus of Methodist Hospital, to provide pediatric emergency services to better serve families in the Stone Oak area.

Methodist Stone OakDSC_8491 SIn 2013, Methodist Stone Oak Hospital had a record year for delivering the most babies in its five-year history. The obstetrical team welcomed more than 1,400 newborns into the world. The Methodist Stone Oak Fertility Surgery Center opened this year to help families grow. One in eight couples will struggle with infertility issues and the new center is dedicated to helping couples overcome medical issues that may prevent successful pregnancies. Call 210-575-0355 for a free physician referral and find a doctor specializing in fertility treatment.

The hospital’s surgical team has established an outstanding reputation for services including neurosurgery, orthopedics, heart surgery, robotic and many other minimally invasive procedures. Methodist Stone Oak Hospital recently expanded to add a Hybrid Operating Room that allows surgeons to perform highly complex cardiovascular procedures in a single room. The hospital’s robotic surgery program is a member of the Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery, which requires high quality standards and outcomes among the surgical team.

The hospital has established an outpatient infusion center in early 2013 to provide patients undergoing cancer treatment with a convenient treatment facility closer to home. In addition, a dedicated inpatient oncology unit opened last year with a highly experienced team of oncology certified registered nurses. In addition, the hospital has added a Breast Health Navigator to the oncology team. The navigator is a registered nurse who assists patients diagnosed with breast cancer to find resources, overcome barriers and coordinate care. To reach the nurse navigator at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital, please send an email to Laura.Lopez4@mhshealth.com.

Methodist Stone Oak Hospital received the Women’s Choice Award for being named a “Best Hospital for Patient Experience in Heart Care” in 2013. This past February, the hospital began hosting a WomenHeart support group focused on providing inspiration to women living with heart disease and those seeking ways to improve their heart health. The group meets at the hospital at 1139 E. Sonterra Blvd., Classroom One on the first floor, from 6-7 p.m. Upcoming meetings and topics include:

May 29                        Link Between High Blood Pressure and Stroke

June 26                        Get Your Heart Pumping: Exercise – Yoga to Cardio!

August 28                    How Does Anger Affect Your Heart? Learn Anger Management Skills

September 25             CPR Skills: How to Save a Life

October 30                  Don’t Let Stress Control You! Learn Stress Management Skills

All are welcome to attend. Please contact cfreemanLoveMuch@gmail.com to learn more.

Another feature the hospital recently introduced is the Patient Portal. Inpatients, outpatients and emergency department patients seen on or after March 27 can securely access information about their medical records, lab test results, allergies, discharge summary and more. This new feature is being piloted at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital and patients are encouraged to access the site from Methodist Stone Oak Hospital’s webpage. To log in, you’ll need a Medical Record Number (MRN) that will be provided to you upon admission and then you can view your health information online. The Patient Portal is just another example of how Methodist Stone Oak Hospital is advancing patient care is unique ways that are both high-tech and high-touch.

Raba Kistner Infrastructure, Inc: Independent Quality Assurance on I-15 Utah County Corridor Expansion (CORE) Project

Raba Kistner_ logoCORE project _ Raba KistnerHonors and accolades rolled in during all of 2013 for the I-15 CORE project in Utah. Dubbed “The Billion Dollar Baby” by Utah Construction & Design, the $1.725 billion I-15 CORE project in Utah finished almost six weeks ahead of time and $260 million under budget, while keeping existing lanes open to traffic for most of construction. No other billion dollar-plus public highway project in the nation has ever been completed in the time it took to build I-15 CORE (less than 36 months).  I-15 CORE included 24 miles of freeway reconstruction and widening, 10 interchanges and 63 bridges. Four of the bridges were constructed off site and moved into place over weekend closures.

Raba Kistner Infrastructure played an important role performing Independent Quality Assurance during both the design and construction phases. We acted as the owner’s (UDOT) representative, inspecting and testing over 4.0 million cu yds of material.

Using Raba Kistner Infrastructure’s proprietary web-based software program called ELVIS – Electronic Laboratory Verification Information System – to track and retain all information related to Quality Assurance kept the project moving quickly.

“Information was entered into ELVIS daily, allowing for almost real time review of the information,” said Clark D. Prothero, P.E., Vice President of Raba Kistner’s Utah office. “This in turn gave all the parties involved the information needed to monitor and close issues in a timely fashion, allowing for a successful, early completion of the project.”

 

Article originally published in Raba Kistner Infrastructure Quality Delivers e-newsletter by Nancy Parker.

 

Returning Veterans to be saluted May 17, Armed Forces Day, at Morgan’s Wonderland

MorgansWonderland_logoMore than 1,000 military veterans and members of their immediate families will be saluted at Welcome Home, an Armed Forces Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Morgan’s Wonderland.

“We look forward to welcoming those who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn,” said Marie Weldon, director of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS), “however any veteran of the U. S. armed forces is invited to participate.”

Morgans WonderlandFor the third consecutive year, STVHCS and Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment, will team up to offer returning veterans a day of fun at the park plus special musical entertainment, food, games and prizes.

Information Fair _ Morgan's WonderlandIn addition to the family fun, veterans will have access to an information fair in the Morgan’s Wonderland Event Center on a wide variety of services available to them.  The 11 o’clock opening ceremonies will include remarks by Dr. Julianne Flynn, STVHCS chief of staff.

Many returning veterans with physical disabilities are taking advantage of STRAPS (South Texas Regional Adaptive and Paralympic Sports) at Morgan’s Wonderland.

Thanks to support from the San Antonio Scorpions pro soccer team and generous gifts from aerospace titan The Boeing Co., and Warm Springs, a leading provider of comprehensive rehabilitation services, STRAPS offers physically challenged athletes competition in sports such as wheelchair soccer, powerchair soccer, goalball (a sport similar to soccer for visually impaired athletes), wheelchair basketball and wheelchair softball.

For more information about Welcome Home, visit www.southtexas.va.gov.  Additional information can be found at www.MorgansWonderland.com and www.STRAPSsoccer.com.

Completely wheelchair-accessible, Morgan’s Wonderland is located at 5223 David Edwards Drive at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive just west of IH 35 in Northeast San Antonio.

Taxpayers beware of largest IRS phone scam ever

Padgett Stratemann & Co.Thousands of U.S. taxpayers have fallen victim to the largest phone fraud scam – collectively paying over $1 million to scammers impersonating as IRS officials. “This is the largest scam of its kind we have ever seen and has hit nearly every state in the country,” reported Inspector General J. Russell George of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Prying on the fears of taxpayers during tax filing season, the scammers have developed a sophisticated phone scam.  TIGTA warns taxpayers to understand how the scam works and what should be regarded as a red flag the individual on the other end of the phone is not employed by the IRS.

This Is How It Works

  • Caller claims to be from the IRS
  • Victim is told they owe taxes and must make a payment using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer
  • Caller threatens victim they will be arrested, deported, or will lose their business or drivers license if they do not cooperate
  • Fake IRS emails are sent to support the scam
  • Scammers call a second time posing as the police or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

The callers have a tendency to use common names and fake IRS badge numbers and in an effort to make the call seem official will provide the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.  In addition, they alter caller ID information so it displays as coming from the IRS, local police, or DMV.

Red Flags Are Waving
TIGTA stated that understanding how the scam works is the best way taxpayers can protect themselves.  Also, understanding how the IRS contacts taxpayers who do owe money is critical.   George explained that the IRS utilizes mail – not the phone – to make initial contact with a taxpayer.  He also went on to say the IRS does not ask for payment using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer, and the agency never accepts credit card information over the phone – nor does the agency request personal or financial information by email, texting, or social media.

What to Do If You Receive a Fraudulent Call or Email
Should you receive a call or email from a scammer, follow these steps to protect yourself:

  • If you owe taxes or think you owe taxes, hang-up the phone and call the IRS at 800.829.1040. IRS workers can assist with your questions.
  • If you don’t owe taxes, report the incident to TIGTA at 800.366.4484.  You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov – add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.
  • Forward fraudulent emails to phishing@irs.gov.  NEVER click on links found in the email or open an attachment.

We hope you find this alert helpful in keeping you informed about the latest news affecting U.S. taxpayers.  For assistance with your tax needs or questions, contact your tax professional today at 210.828.6281 or 512.476.0717.

SWBC takes bronze in District Advertising Award Competition

180x150-SWBCSWBC is proud to announce that its marketing department took home a Bronze American Advertising Award (formerly known as an Addy®) in the District 10 competition. Its “Operation: Shaken, Not Stirred” invitation advanced after taking Silver in the ‘Special Event Material’ category during the local contest.

“It’s such awesome accomplishment for SWBC to be recognized along with other large, well-known agencies and in-house departments,” said Kristy Moore, Vice President of SWBC Marketing. “Winning a district Bronze is very special to us because we’re going up against entries from agencies and corporate teams from all over Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas.”

The American Advertising Awards represent the largest creative competition in the world with more than 40,000 entries from top agencies and in-house departments from 200 markets coast-to-coast.

About SWBC
Headquartered in San Antonio, SWBC is a diversified financial services company providing a wide range of insurance, mortgage, and investment services to financial institutions, businesses, and individuals. With offices across the country, SWBC is committed to providing quality products, outstanding service, and customized solutions in all 50 states. For more information, visit SWBC’s web site at www.swbc.com.

Volunteer Spotlight – How 2 Series Chair: David Rodriguez, Generations Federal Credit Union

Rodriguez_David_articleDavid Rodriguez
Generations Federal Credit Union

About the Company: For nearly 75 years, Generations FCU has been an advocate of financial growth and development within the community, offering award-winning financial education classes, as well as products and services that truly make a difference.  Generations strives to be a trusted advisor, offering personal attention that provides members with the financial skills they need to be successful.  Their tailored approach to banking enables them to deliver personalized service for both businesses and consumers.

About the Program: The North SA Chamber is committed to small business development and has designed this series specifically to offer big ideas for small businesses. The How 2 Series offers information to help businesses improve every aspect of their business with practical operational knowledge – Check the North SA Chamber Calendar of Events to see the most recent topic for the series.

Personally Speaking:  As the Financial Education Manager for Generations, David oversees the ideation and development of small business workshops that cover critical topics such as human resources, marketing, lending, financials and logistics.  Recently appointed as the How-To-Series Committee Chair, David understands the impact the Chamber and the Series can have for small business owners, enabling them to thrive, succeed and shape our economy.