Raba Kistner Environment announces hire of Kristi Nichols, MA, Archaeologist

RK Environmental_colorSan Antonio. Steve Jones, CHCM, Senior Vice President and COO of Raba Kistner Environmental, has announced that Raba Kistner has hired Kristi Nichols, MA to serve as an archaeologist. Ms. Nichols has more than 16 years of experience in Texas archaeology, with a particular expertise in the Spanish Colonial era.

PortraitMs. Nichols was at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) for 16 years before coming to Raba Kistner. During her tenure with CAR, she provided archeology services for the National Parks Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the City of San Antonio, among many others.  While her specialty is Spanish Colonial archaeology, Ms. Nichols has worked on projects dating back to 10,400 years ago, through to current standing structures to determine their historic eligibility.  She has investigated all of the San Antonio Missions, including excavating and discovering 27 previously undiscovered graves at Mission San Juan, and has conducted a field level school at the Alamo.  In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate level students on archaeological best practices, she also aided in the development of summer programs and workshops for at-risk students as a part of the Legacy Outreach program, allowing students from Title 1 schools to participate in archeology activities.

She received her master’s degree from the University of Texas – San Antonio in Anthropology, and bachelor’s in Anthropology from the University of San Diego in San Diego California. Ms. Nichols is an active member of the Council of Texas Archaeologists.

About Raba Kistner, Inc.
Founded in 1968, Raba Kistner, Inc., parent company to Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc., is an Engineering News-Record “Top 500 Firm,” operating in eleven different markets in Texas, Utah, and México. Raba Kistner Environmental is recognized as one of the Southwest’s leading firms offering environmental consulting services. Our technical team consists of archeologists, biologists, engineers, environmental specialists, geologists, GIS analysts, and planners.

Free Digital Summit for business owners

SA Express News logoThe San Antonio Express-News and Hearst Media Services offer FREE hour-long seminars to help teach business owners how to build their brand, target consumers and acquire new customers through multimedia advertising.

Our team of digital and print experts work with attendees to understand their customers, recommend ways to reach them and explain the products and services that work best for their industries.

Seminars are held at the San Antonio Express-News, first-floor conference room, 301 Ave. E.

Future topics include:

  • Nov. 20 – “Search Engine Advertising (SEM/SEO) Fundamentals”
  • Dec. 11 – “The Power of Social Media: Building a Relationship With Your Customers”
  • Jan. 22 – “Offline and Online Media Combined: Balancing Your Media Spend to Gain Maximum Exposure”

Registration is available at mySA.com/DigitalSummit.

Tux ‘N Tennies presented by SWBC and Lone Star Auto Group to be held on January 8, 2015

silver black give back Logo_Horizontal_Alternate180x150-SWBCSilver & Black Give Back, the nonprofit partner of Spurs Sports & Entertainment’s family of teams, will hold its annual Tux ‘N Tennies fundraiser presented by SWBC and Lone Star Auto Group on Thursday, January 8, 2015. Hosted by the San Antonio Spurs, the premier fundraiser for Silver & Black Give Back’s youth programs is a unique opportunity to join the entire Spurs Family for live entertainment, a festive feast, and one-of-a-kind silent and live auctions.

Held at the AT&T Center, the annual fundraising event features franchise players, coaches and executives in tuxedoes, gowns and tennis shoes enjoying an unparalleled evening of celebration. Back by popular demand, this year’s event has a Spurs Night Live theme and will feature lively libations and special entertainment to conclude the festivities. To see photos of last year’s event, click here.

Silver & Black Give Back is a 501(c)(3) public charity that invests in the community in partnership with the entire Spurs Sports & Entertainment family of teams.  Since 1988 our players, coaches and staff have focused on fostering young talent and enriching the community by encouraging local youth to become responsible adults and give back through programs like Spurs Youth Basketball League and Team Up Challenge. More information on Silver and Black Give Back can be found at www.sbgb.org.

For information on reserving a table for the 2015 Tux ‘N Tennies fundraiser, please contact Loretta Kerner at lkerner@attcenter.com or 210-444-5861.

Media Contact: Meredith Collier, mcollier@attcenter.com or 210-444-5608

SSFCU launches no annual fee, high rewards power products

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) introduced a new credit card with an ultra-low variable APR of 6.49% and no annual fees Tuesday. It’s one of the credit union’s new Power products, which include a new checking account solution and two additional credit cards that feature rewards of up to three points for every $1 spent on gas, travel and dining; no annual or cash advance fees; and some of the lowest APRs in the market for rewards cards.

“We spent a great deal of time re-designing our new products around the feedback we received from our members,” said Jim Laffoon, president and chief executive officer of SSFCU. “They told us they wanted lower fees and better rewards. We delivered.”

In addition to 6.49% low APR card, SSFCU launched a reward card with no annual, balance transfer or cash advance fees; one point for every dollar spent and a low APR (starting at 12.75%). A second reward card is a high-end travelers card offering three points for every dollar spent on gas, travel and dining; one point per dollar on any other purchases; an additional annual points bonus of 10 percent on points earned; no annual, cash advance or balance transfer fees, 0% APR for the first six months and points bonuses for opening the account and using it. “It’s one of the strongest travel reward cards on the market right now,” added Laffoon.

With the new Power Checking and Power Youth Checking accounts, members can choose to get ten cents cash back on every debit card swipe or rewards points for signature-based transactions. The accounts feature no hidden fees, no minimum balance and an interest rate that grows with deposits. If members also hold a rewards-based credit card and they choose reward points on their checking account, SSFCU will automatically combine debit and credit card points, helping members rack up rewards even faster.

In an effort to combat fraud and increase security sooner rather than later, all newly-issued SSFCU Power credit cards will be EMV chip equipped starting in October 2014, with EMV-chipped Power debit cards rolled out in 2015.

“We wanted to offer our members in Texas, Colorado and Utah the choice of highly competitive financial products,” said Laffoon. “These new no annual fee options are great for members who are actively looking to lower costs and build rewards.” Earlier this year, SSFCU also rolled out a new Power Mortgage with no closing costs up to $5,000, no origination fee and low interest rates on both home purchases and refinances

Individuals must qualify for membership, but there are more than 2,600 different ways to join SSFCU. For more information, and for details on ways to qualify for membership, visit www.ssfcu.org or call 1-800-52-SSFCU.

Membership eligibility required. “Swipes” do not include ATM transactions, returns, any checks that access your account, or overdraft advances. The term “interest” refers to dividends. Security Service Power Checking is a Blended Rate Tier account, which means the dividend rate will only be paid on the portion of your daily balance within each Balance Tier. Rate is variable and may change after the account is opened. For complete rate and tier information, visit ssfcu.org. Visit a branch or ssfcu.org for details. Federally insured by NCUA.

APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Other rates may apply based on credit worthiness.
Power Travel Rewards Credit Card subject to credit approval and income requirements. Receive 10% annual point bonus on the points earned in one year with the Power Travel Rewards Credit Card. Annual bonus is calculated on anniversary date of account enrollment and credited to the account within 30 days. Annual bonus does not apply to transferred points, combined points from a Power Checking account, or rollover points from previous year. Please refer to the Security Service Federal Credit Union Rewards Program agreement for complete details. Introductory 2,500 bonus points offer applies when $500 is spent on card within the first 90 days of account opening. Upon meeting this requirement, bonus points will be automatically deposited into your account. The introductory 0% APR is only available on transactions performed within the fi rst 6 months of the account being opened. The 6-month 0% APR period for each category (i.e. purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances) begins on the date of the first transaction for that category and continues until the end of the 6th billing cycle of the fi rst transaction for that category. Restrictions apply. Please refer to the Credit Card Rate Agreement for current balance transfer rates and complete details.

Power Mortgage offer does not cover mortgage insurance, seller paid closing costs, discount points, or pre-paids & reserves. The program is not valid for FHA or VA loans. If loan is closed or paid off within first 36 months of the term, member may be required to reimburse all or some of the closing costs paid by Security Service. Financing available for properties in Texas, Colorado, or Utah only.

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 $7.9 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 1-800-52-SSFCU.


Ranch Hand proud sponsor of the 44th Annual Witte Museum Game Dinner

EPS metallic backgroundThe 44th Witte Museum Game Dinner on October 20, 2014 was another fabulous success. Ranch Hand was honored be to a part of the night’s activities as a sponsor, including their donation to the live auction.

“Ranch Hand is committed to backing the arts and the valuable year-round work and programs of the Witte Museum,” commented Mavis Arambula-Medellin, Director of Marketing and Communication. “We congratulate all those who, like Ranch Hand, took the opportunity to support our community in which the Witte Museum continues to be a major force for our area’s cultural and economic well being.”

RH_WitteRanch Hand’s donation to the live auction from Ranch Hand Truck Accessories was the Legend Front End Replacement along with a 900-pound protein feeder and a custom camo GameGuard pattern Igloo Yukon 50 quart cooler, which raised $2,100 for the Witte Museum.

The Legend Front End Replacement is an icon of vehicle protection. It is recognized for quality, style and durability that is unmatched in our industry. Whether you’re driving your family to the Witte Museum, going on a cross-country road trip or hauling your horse trailer to the rodeo, “Be on the Safe Side and choose Ranch Hand.”

Be sure to stop by a Ranch Hand Truckfitters store and browse around. They’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.  For more information or how to find a Ranch Hand dealer near you, contact 800.366.9712 or visit us at www.ranchhand.com.

Silver & Black Give Back awards $50,000 to Team Up Challenge semifinalists

silver black give back Logo_Horizontal_AlternateSilver & Black Give Back today announced 20 student-led groups as the 2014-15 Team Up Challenge semifinalists. Each group will receive $2,500 to begin their service-learning projects. The 20 semifinalists were selected based on proposals submitted for projects to improve their communities. The semifinalists were announced in a surprise ceremony presented by SWBC at the AT&T Center, with help from Spurs forward Jeff Ayres, Stars head coach Dan Hughes, Rampage forward Quinton Howden, the Silver Dancers, Ice Girls, T-Bone, Team Energy and DJ Quake.

This year, semifinalist projects serve a wide range of community needs with many focusing on health and fitness, peer leadership, caring for the homeless and improving the environment. The 20 semifinalists represent four different local school districts: Alamo Heights ISD, North East ISD, Northside ISD and San Antonio ISD. In April, five groups will be selected as Champions based on their work within the community and each group will be presented with a check for $20,000 to continue their service-learning projects.

2014 – 2015 Team Up Challenge Semifinalists:
This year’s Team Up Challenge semifinalists: Alamo Heights Junior High School (Helping our Friends & Family), Briscoe Middle School (National Junior Honor Society), Carvajal Early Childhood Education Center/Lanier High School (Grandes y Pequeños), Colonial Hills Elementary School (Colonial Hills Giving Back), Construction Careers Academy (Parade of Homes), Estrada Achievement Center (Garden to Table), Franklin Elementary (The Connection Group), Graebner Elementary (Griffin Garden), Highland Park Elementary (Running Club), Highlands High School (Voices for Animals Club), International School of the Americas (Social Entrepreneurship), Lowell Middle School (S.O.L.E. Mates), MacArthur High School (JROTC), Mead Elementary School (Mead Student Council), Page Middle School (Stampede to Health Club), The Playhouse/Bonham Academy (The Playhouse Conservatory), Reagan High School (The Reagan Garden Project), Rogers Elementary (PALS), Smith Elementary (Team Tiger), Stevens High School (Transformers…the Fit Falcons).

The Team Up Challenge encourages students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world, bringing education alive in powerful ways. Students create projects that address needs that will help improve their community in one of five categories: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Health & Wellness or Uniformed Services.  As a premier initiative of Silver & Black Give Back, Spurs and Rampage players have worked alongside the students to help bring their vision to life. Visit TeamUpChallenge.com for more information.

About Silver & Black Give Back
Silver & Black Give Back is a 501(c)(3) public charity that invests in the community in partnership with the entire Spurs Sports & Entertainment family of teams.  Since 1988 our players, coaches and staff have focused on fostering young talent and enriching the community by encouraging local youth to become responsible adults and give back through programs like Spurs Youth Basketball League and Team Up Challenge. More information on Silver & Black Give Back can be found at www.sbgb.org.

Raba Kistner announces new Chief Operating Officer of Infrastructure: Russel W. Lenz, P.E.

raba kistner logoLenz, Russel 8-21-14Raba Kistner, Inc. is pleased to announce that Russel W. Lenz, P.E. has joined the firm as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Raba Kistner Infrastructure, Inc. (RKI).  Russel has over 34 years of experience in the development, design, construction, maintenance and operation of transportation projects. He has served in executive level leadership positions within TxDOT as the Director of the Construction Division, Corpus Christi District Engineer, Abilene District Engineer, Waco Deputy District Engineer and South Travis/Hays County Area Engineer.  In 2013, he served as the Director of Heavy, Municipal and Utilities Divisions for the Associated General Contractors of Texas. Having expertise in managing activities associated with transportation planning, operations, right-of-way, design, construction, inspection, maintenance, safety, environmental, ferry operations and administrative support functions adds significantly to the body of knowledge within RKI.

Raba Kistner would also like to announce that Robert L. Wilson, P.E. will be stepping down from the COO role of Raba Kistner Infrastructure as of September 30, 2014.  Robert was the second employee hired to join Raba Kistner Infrastructure in 2002 and has been instrumental in its growth and national recognition in the transportation Design/Build industry.  He has served as Project Manager on over $5B of design/build quality programs across the U.S. and has served as COO of the firm since 2013.  Robert will remain an employee of RKI, assisting with project pursuits, project development and project management.

About Raba Kistner, Inc.
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. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Raba Kistner provides program management, building enclosures rehabilitation, environmental engineering and consulting, geotechnical engineering and testing, construction materials engineering and testing, and pavement consulting, in addition to transportation consulting.

Raba Kistner Infrastructure, Inc. (RKI), the leader in Quality Management Programs, is heavily impacting how tomorrow’s transportation needs will be addressed.  We specialize in providing unique approaches that successfully deliver roadway, rail and transit projects. RKI has industry-leading program managers, project delivery specialists, consultants and construction managers on staff.  RKI has created a comprehensive menu of solutions in the development, engineering, financing and management of transportation facilities and its services are tailored to help each client achieve their mobility goals. RKI has been and is currently involved in planning, design and construction projects worth more than $8 billion.

Generations FCU to host ‘Facebook for your Business’ webinar

180x150-generationsGenerations Federal Credit Union will continue its Small Business Workshop series with a free webinar, Facebook For Your Business, which will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 30. Hosted by social media expert, Ajay Tejawani, the webinar will cover such topics as how Facebook can help your business, how to build a business page that attracts buyers and how to create an effective content strategy. The webinar is free and participants must pre-register by visiting the Generations website.

Tejawani brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing and is a recognized author and international speaker on Digital Internet Marketing. He is the founder of Digital Marketing Sapiens which combines traditional marketing skills, experience, technical knowledge as well as creative new marketing approaches with an emphasis on mobile and social media marketing.

The Generations Small Business Workshop series presents topics that are relevant to today’s small business owners and reinforce the skills they need to be successful. Upcoming classes in the series include Money Management and Tax Responsibilities for Business Owners. The series includes in-person classes as well as sip and socials.

Security Service FCU named San Antonio’s Healthiest Employer

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) has been named the healthiest employer in San Antonio by the San Antonio Business Journal. The credit union topped the list for large employers in the annual survey that showcases those employers who proactively shape the health and wellness of their employees.

This year’s awards event took place at the Historic Pearl Development in downtown San Antonio and included a one-mile fitness walk and a health fair.

SABJ Healthiest 2014Back Row: SSFCU Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer John Worthington; SSFCU Employee Wellbeing Advisor Karyn Draeger; SSFCU Senior Vice President of Performance & Planning Tom Martin; SSFCU Assistant Vice President of Human Resources Gerry Smith; and SSFCU Benefits and Compensation Manager Amanda Kassler Front Row: SSFCU Vice President of Consumer Lending Michelle Scott; SSFCU Benefits Specialist Flori Espinosa; SSFCU Assistant Vice President of Benefits & Compensation Anne Hoeffner

“We believe when employees feel their workplace has a strong culture of health, they are happier, less stressed and more likely to improve their well-being,” says Jim Laffoon president and chief executive officer of SSFCU. “That benefits them, their families, the workplace and our members.”

Conceived and promoted by Laffoon to help employees and their families achieve a good life-work balance and strong financial footing, the credit union earlier this year rolled out its Total Wellbeing program to its more than 1,700 employees. It offers employees and their families an individualized comprehensive life balance program at no cost that takes into account their physical, emotional and financial health.  Benefits include tools, resources and rewards to help them achieve their physical goals; reduced rates and fees on select financial products; confidential advising for help navigating personal challenges; concierge services and legal and financial help.

In cities where SSFCU branches are located, employees are encouraged to participate in local community events, like the Blacklight Run in San Antonio, Dragon Boat Races in Denver and Iron Will Games in Salt Lake City. “We pay for our employees to participate in these events, many of which are fundraisers for nonprofits…it’s a win-win all the way around,” adds Laffoon.

The credit union also received accolades for it’s wellness program in Denver, coming in second place in the 2014 Metro Denver Healthiest Employers category for small companies. It is the third year the credit union has made the top five.

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 $8 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 <http://www.ssfcu.org> or call 1-800-52-SSFCU.


October Word from the Chairman

Turner_Annie-Chairmans-photo-PRAs a member of the North San Antonio Chamber, I’m excited to share with you that our chamber will soon offer new resources to help you manage your chamber membership, market your business on the web and monitor online traffic to your content on northsachamber.com.

The North SA Chamber will be converting to a new member software application, Chamber Master – that will enable the chamber to better manage information, involvement and events – while offering you enhanced benefits.

Starting the first week of December, members will enjoy new website features and benefits that will help you: market your business in the Member Directory; add company social media and website links to your online directory listing; promote an event through the Member Calendar of Events; post RFPs or market your product/service through the MarketSpace online member store; recruit talent through a more robust Job Bank; advertise your product/service through public or member-to-member Hot Deals and much more. Learn more.

ATHENA Leadership Awards
Perhaps one of my favorite events is the Enterprising Women’s Conference – this year celebrating 25 years of leadership and professional development designed just for women and featuring the presentation of the ATHENA Leadership Awards®. About 200 women attended the all-day conference and enjoyed a keynote address by San Antonio’s Poet Laureate Dr. Carmen Tafolla, networking and shopping among 40 exhibitors. More than 400 guests attended the luncheon program. The ATHENA Young Leadership Award® was presented to Irene Maldonado with the University Health System. The ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award® was presented to Stephanie Chandler, Lauren Cimenello, Julia Mann and Elena Villaseñor Sullivan of Jackson Walker LLP. The ATHENA Leadership Award® was presented to Elizabeth Copeland with Strasburger & Price, LLP. Please join me in congratulating each of these deserving organizations, young and seasoned leaders for their professional accomplishment, community service and advancement of leadership opportunity for women.

To all who nominated an organization or an individual – thank you for taking the time to help recognize those who are making a difference in our community. As we plan for awards programs in 2015, please consider a supplier, customer or colleague who is worthy of an award nomination next year and look for nomination forms online later this year.

Leadership Lab Call for Nominations
It’s that time of year again. The North SA Chamber is seeking a diverse group of bright and dedicated individuals to participate in the 2015 Leadership Lab class. Leadership Lab is the North Chamber’s award-winning leadership academy featuring best-in-class testing, training and relationship building. The series includes interviews and selection in January, an orientation in February, a retreat in March and monthly full-day classes through November, culminating in a November graduation ceremony.

As your company is planning for the 2015 training and professional development budget, please consider Leadership Lab as a tool to cultivate your organization’s emerging leaders or to inspire seasoned managers or executives to a higher level of performance and community engagement.

Interested individuals must complete an application and submit it by Monday, December 1, 2014. Applicants will be selected for participation by the Leadership Lab alumni. Leadership Lab Program Brochure / Leadership Lab Application

Annual Gala
On behalf of the board of directors and executive committee, I invite you to join us for the biggest night of the year – the Annual Gala on Saturday, January 24, 2015, from 6 p.m. to midnight at the JW Marriott Resort. This event is a spectacular evening of elevated networking, entertainment and recognition as we welcome our incoming chairman, Rob Killen of Kaufman Killen, the 2015 board of directors, and honor our 2015 San Antonian award recipient, Dr. Ricardo Romo of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Advocacy Alert: Support for Constitutional Amendment for Increased Funding for Transportation
A strong transportation infrastructure is fundamental to Texas’ quality of life and economic vitality, attracting new businesses and generating new jobs. According to the latest report of the 2030 Commission, approximately $6.1 billion per year in construction funding is needed to achieve “worst possible” transportation conditions and $9.5 billion per year is need to achieve “minimally competitive” transportation conditions.

Thus, the North San Antonio Chamber board of directors supports the proposed constitutional amendment to provide for the transfer of certain general revenue to the economic stabilization and state highway funds, and for the dedication of the revenue transferred to the state highway fund to be used only for developing public roads (not toll roads) and that those dedicated funds be allocated by the Texas Department of Transportation in a manner consistent with existing formulas to ensure that the entire state benefits from this additional funding. Whereas the proposed amendment would not fund fully the state’s overall transportation needs, it would be a key step toward securing critical funding for transportation projects in Texas. The proposed amendment will be on the November 4, 2014 ballot and we encourage you to vote in favor of the amendment that increases funding for transportation. Help to keep Texas moving!

Be a part of it.
Your North SA Chamber is hard at work with member volunteers planning and producing top quality professional development programming to help your business. On behalf of our staff and volunteer corps, I invite you to join a committee or attend an event to take advantage of the services your Chamber provides. You can learn more about various Participation Opportunities and upcoming Events online, or call the North SA Chamber at (210) 344-4848.