BioBridge Global has been making a world of difference for 40 years

BioBridgeGlobal_colorIn 1974, a group of forward-thinking doctors, with the support of the Bexar County Medical Society, recognized the need for the establishment of a blood collection center dedicated to serving area hospitals.

They created the South Texas Regional Blood Bank. In its first year, the new enterprise drew 25,000 blood components used by local and regional medical providers for the patients they served.

By 1976, larger accommodations were required. After two more moves, the blood bank settled in 1994 into its current space at 6211 Interstate 10 and renamed itself, due to expanded capabilities, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center. Nearly 40 years’ worth of growth led the nonprofit organization to change its name in 2013 to BioBridge Global (BBG). BBG now is the umbrella company for the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center;  QualTex Laboratories, which tests blood and plasma products for clients worldwide (including STBTC); GenCure, which procures and processes donated human tissue, cells and umbilical cord blood; and The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for BBG’s work.

Linda Myers 2014.5“Our journey in 40 years from being a regional blood bank to becoming a multifaceted biomedical organization with international clientele has been really incredible,” said Linda Myers, CEO of BioBridge Global. “Every entity we’ve partnered with along the way, especially those in San Antonio, has helped us get where we are today. I’m optimistic about our position as we head into the future of new and exciting medical frontiers.”

BBG is becoming an international player in biosciences and the relatively new field of regenerative medicine, evidenced by it being asked to be a co-organizing partner of the World Stem Cell Summit. The 10th annual summit is taking place in San Antonio on Dec. 3-5, and BBG will be hosting an exclusive pre-conference lunch and tour for conference registrants along with the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Southwest Research Institute.

Acting as host city for the summit that brings together the largest contingent of international stem cell and regenerative medicine experts and stakeholders is truly a coup for our city. A delegation of San Antonio’s top bioscience participants, including BioBridge Global, as well as city and county leaders such as then-Mayor Julián Castro and Henry Cisneros convinced WSCS organizers to locate in San Antonio, snatching the conference away from much larger cities.

For his work as a champion of San Antonio’s bioscience industry and as chairman of BioMed SA, Cisneros will be a Stem Cell Action Award honoree for leadership at the event. There’s still time to register at

This fall, employees of BioBridge Global and its subsidiaries – including a laboratory in Atlanta – are celebrating the organization’s 40-year legacy as well as a promising future as a leader in regenerative medicine.

“We will continue moving forward to make a difference in the lives of those in our San Antonio community as well as around the world,” Myers said. “With a history of service and advancement behind us, along with the support of our local business partners, I have no doubt that we’re in for another successful 40 years and more.”

Security Service Federal Credit Union to offer Apple Pay

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) has officially signed on to provide Apple Pay to its more than 900,000 members.  The announcement comes as Apple Pay and MasterCard officially launch the service world-wide.

“Apple is the master of generating user excitement,” says Jim Laffoon, President and CEO of Security Service Federal Credit Union.  “This technology has the ability to rapidly re-define consumer behavior and we want to make sure our members are armed with the proper tools to navigate the changes to the mobile services landscape.”

SSFCU is currently working with MasterCard® and Apple to activate the Apple Pay service for its members.  Once activated, members will have the ability to use their Security Service Power Debit and Credit MasterCards® on iPhone 6, Apple Watch, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 to shop at more than 220,000 merchants.

“This is just now beginning to roll out with merchants and Security Service will be one of the first credit unions in the country to offer this service,” said Laffoon. “We fully expect Apple Pay to be available to our members by early 2015.”

SSFCU will notify members electronically, through social media and at once this service is available.

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 or call 1-800-52-SSFCU.

She’s back! Yogini makes a triumphant return to San Antonio

The Museum’s Yogini has returned from her year away where she was the star of the Smithsonian’s exhibition Yoga: The Art of Transformation. The exhibition originated at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. in October 2013 Yogini 1and traveled to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Tracing the history of yoga over 2,000 years, Yoga drew acclaim in The Wall Street Journal; Pubic Radio, PRI; The New York Times; and The New York Review of Books, in which Yogini was frequently called out as a highlight.

“The haunting eleventh century ‘San Antonio Yogini’ sitting atop an owl in this same room was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable works in the exhibition, and among the finest examples of medieval Indian sculpture in the West,” wrote Siddhartha V. Shah in Orientations, September 2014.

Yogini 2Yogini, a female spiritual adept, is a beautifully carved sculpture and the most important work of Indian art in the Museum’s collection. She has four arms. Her outer arms hold a sword and shield, which display her martial nature. Her inner hands are held in the unusual gesture of whistling. The figure is remarkable for the crisp and energetic carving that includes many fine details such as the wrinkled lip. Such yogini figures were usually placed on the exterior boundary of temple complexes and may have served a protective function. These distinctive yogini images originated in Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh in present-day central and eastern India.

Yogini staff SA museumThe Museum will celebrate Yogini’s return at Art Party November 14, with KRTU Jazz and Esquire Tavern cocktails. Gallery talks about Yogini at 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. Music and cocktails from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Art Party is free with Museum admission and free to members.

The San Antonio Museum of Art is housed in the historic Lone Star Brewery on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk.  The collection contains more than 25,000 works representing 5,000 years of history and cultures from around the world.

Image Credit:
Yogini, Northern Indian, Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh, 10th–11th century
Buff sandstone, h. 34 in. (86.4 cm); w. 17 1/4 in. (43.8 cm); d. 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm)
Purchased with the John and Karen McFarlin Fund and the Asian Art Challenge Fund, 90.92

Medicare Advantage Plus offer options that original Medicare doesn’t

Humana green logoMedicare’s Annual Election Period starts on October 15, so for people who have Medicare or care for someone who does, now is a good time to explore the available options.

Most people with Medicare go with either Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage health plan. Both cover essentials like check-ups, hospitalizations and emergency care. Medicare Advantage plans are worth a close look because of the more comprehensive array of options they offer. Many Medicare Advantage plans, for instance, include coverage for prescription drugs. (However, for those who do go with Original Medicare, another option is to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan – also called a Medigap plan – and/or a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan to help cover the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover.)

What is making Medicare Advantage increasingly popular for people with Medicare? With these plans, you get all the benefits of Original Medicare … and more. For instance, some Medicare Advantage plans offer:

  • Choice of a primary care physician in the plan network;
  • Affordable monthly plan premium;
  • Prescription drug coverage equal to or better than the standard requirement for a Medicare Part D plan;
  • Affordable copayments for doctor visits and annual routine physicals;
  • Emergency coverage anywhere in the world;
  • Coverage for most annual screenings at no charge; and
  • Extra benefits on some plans such as dental, vision, a nurse-advice line, and health and wellness programs – a gym membership, for instance.

A 2013 survey by North Star Opinion indicated that among the 15 million people enrolled in Medicare Advantage, 90 percent or more are satisfied with their plan and with their quality of care from network doctors.

The truth is that with Medicare Advantage, you’re partnering with a private insurer whose resources are there to help you. At Humana, for example, we provide our members with guidance and support through programs like Humana At Home care coordination. We also offer the Humana SmartSummary, which details members’ individual medical and prescription drug spending, which helps them track overall health care spending.

In order to choose the right plan, you might want to review your records to see how much you’ve spent on health care during the past year. (Be sure to include hospital expenses, pharmacy costs and doctor bills.) Determine if the past year is typical and try to give your best estimate for the year ahead.

Remember that whatever plan you choose will likely be yours for all of 2015. So I encourage you to do your research and choose carefully. Find a company you can trust to be a reliable health partner. The Medicare Annual Election Period runs from October 15 to December 7.

For additional information, please visit

Article by Dan Tufto, Regional President of Senior Products Humana of Texas

About Dan Tufto
Dan Tufto, Regional President of Senior Products for Humana, is responsible for the overall operations, management and strategic planning for Humana’s Medicare Advantage and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans in Texas with offices in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, El Paso, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Houston.

Juan Ortiz, Kathryn Buffington, Michelle Garza, Damon Nolan III, Diana Serna, Luke Guillemette and Luis Maldonado join BKD

180x150-BKDJon M. McDowell, managing partner of BKD, LLP’s San Antonio office, is pleased to announce the addition of  Juan Ortiz III, Kathryn Buffington, Michelle Garza, Damon Nolan III and Diana Serna (Associates – audit) and Luke Guillemette and Luis Maldonado (Associates-tax) in BKD’s San Antonio office.

Eddie OrtizOrtiz is a 2013 graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting.  He obtained a Master of Accountancy from Our Lady of the Lake University in 2014.  Ortiz previously worked with BKD San Antonio as an audit intern (2013).

Katie BuffingtonBuffington is a 2014 graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Master of Accountancy.  Buffington passed the CPA exam and is awaiting her Texas license.


Michelle Garza

Garza is a 2012 graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting.  She obtained her Master of Accountancy from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2014.  Garza previously worked with BKD San Antonio as an audit intern (2014).

Damon Nolan

Nolan is a 2014 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Professional Accountancy.  Nolan previously worked with BKD San Antonio as an audit intern (2013).

Diana Serna


Serna is a 2014 graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy.

Luke Guillemette


Guillemette is a 2012 graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting.  He obtained his Master of Accountancy from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2014.

Louie Maldonado


Maldonado is a 2012 graduate of St. Mary’s University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting.  He obtained his Master of Science in Accounting from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2014.


About BKD
BKD is the top-tier U.S. CPA and advisory firm that delivers its experience and service with a deep understanding of your business, your needs and what it takes to improve your business performance.  BKD’s approximately 2,000 personnel, including approximately 250 partners, are based in 32 offices serving clients in 50 states.  To learn more, visit

Praxity, AISBL, a global alliance of independent firms, enhances BKD’s ability to serve the dynamic needs of multinational clients. Praxity™ provides the gateway to tax, assurance and consulting services delivered by alliance firms committed to the highest standards required in international business.

SeaWorld celebrates the Holiday’s with real snow and millions of lights

PrintBeginning Nov. 22 through Dec. 31, SeaWorld® San Antonio will be transformed into a wintery, watery wonderland where families of all ages can enjoy stunning live shows, sip hot cocoa and stroll through a sea of millions of twinkling lights during its annual Christmas Celebration®, a magical holiday program offered on scheduled operating days.

A returning favorite to SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, SnowWorld presented by Coca-Cola®, families can play in real snow, right here in Central Texas! Guests will feel like they’re in a winter wonderland while sledding, playing and dashing through the snow. Plus, families will get the opportunity to capture their memorable day at SeaWorld with a unique family photo inside of a larger-than-life snow globe. This 12-foot-tall snow globe in SnowWorld Market is sure to get families into the holiday spirit as they pose for their exclusive Christmas portrait in this unique setting.

Guests will also be taken on a wonderful voyage into the heart of the holidays as they experience the power and beauty of Shamu Christmas Miracles. They’ll be immersed in a festive atmosphere of sight and sound, where thrilling holiday music soars as Shamu helps tell a story of reflection, understanding, peace, friendship and the everyday miracles that surround us.

During Elmo’s Christmas Wish in the heart of the park’s charming Sesame Street® Bay of Play®, guests will be inspired watching Rosita, Grover, Zoe and Cookie Monster all work together to help Elmo find his Christmas wish.

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration_ShamuOther elements to SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration are Joy to the World Walk, an area of the park featuring trumpeting angel statues, a beautiful nativity scene and carolers telling the story of Christmas through song. Christmas Cove will make guests feel like they’ve stepped into the 50’s. This 1950’s inspired area of the park will feature themed prizes at our game stations and plenty of photo opportunities.  Christmas Market will be transformed into a South Texas Christmas like no other. FM 1225 will feature chili peppers, cowboy boots and wreaths made of cactus. It will be the only place in the park to pose with a 12-foot-tall Cowboy Boot Tree, enjoy Texas-inspired decorations with family and visit with Santa Claus. Guests won’t want to miss the Ho Ho Hoedown to see Santa parade in the park on his way to his workshop. In Candy Cane Forest, guests can sip hot cocoa while experiencing more than 100,000 red and white striped lights. With 8-foot-tall candy canes, Candy Cane Forest will leave guests craving a peppermint or two!

Retuning Christmas shows include: A Dolphin Christmas, O Christmas Tree and Reflections, as well as the many traveling musicians, carolers and photo opportunities, each with their own unique Christmas flare. Plus, there will be a festive train ride for young guests aboard the SeaWorld Express located near the park’s Nautilus Amphitheater.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is a tradition the whole family will enjoy. For deals on tickets and passes, visit

Padgett Stratemann ranked as the 106th Largest CPA Firm in the US for 2014

Padgett Stratemann & Co.Padgett Stratemann & Co., L.L.P. (PS&Co.), one of Texas’ premier CPA and business advisory firms, has been named the 106th Largest Accounting Firm in the United States by INSIDE Public Accounting Magazine’s (IPA) Annual Survey and Analysis of the country’s Top 200 Firms.

Top 200 firms2014 marks the fifth time PS&Co. has been ranked in Top 200 listing. The IPA survey is open to all accounting firms in North America and the results are compiled in the IPA National Benchmarking Report, which is one of the most complete, independent, and up-to-date sets of economic and management statistics available.  This year, more than 540 firms participated.

Since its inception in 1994, IPA’s Survey and Analysis of Firms has served as the barometer of the overall health, challenges, and opportunities of the accounting profession and is used as its gold standard. Annually, more than 500 accounting firms across North America complete the in-depth financial and operations survey.

For more than 25 years, trends have been uncovered, new firms have joined, and growth and profitability metrics have been highlighted.  PS&Co. is proud to have been chosen again as one of the top ranking firms.

PS&Co. is one of Texas’ largest locally-owned CPA and business advisory firms. In business since 1945, PS&Co. has offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. The firm is dedicated to professional excellence, integrity and community service. PS&Co. provides a range of sophisticated accounting, audit, tax, and other business advisory services for both publicly-traded and private companies. Its experienced professionals serve clients in various industries, including banking, construction, government-based, non-profit, healthcare, life sciences, professional services, manufacturing, retail, distribution, technology, insurance, oil and gas, and real estate. PS&Co. is a member of the McGladrey Alliance, the premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms in the nation. To learn more about our services, visit

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

Be a Spur for the day at the Spurs Family Fantasy Event!

TicketAdvantageJoin us to be a Spur for the day! Through the Spurs Family Fantasy Event, you and your family or kids from your favorite nonprofit organization can join the entire San Antonio Spurs squad for an exclusive experience. Kids ages 5-18 will learn DSC_2146from, interact with and play with the Spurs players, get scouted by the coaching staff, and leave with incredible memories.

Participants will have unprecedented access to the Spurs Practice Facility where they will have the opportunity to learn from the reigning NBA Champions.  Food, drinks and treats will be provided throughout the day, and photographers will be on hand to capture the memories as you focus on the experience. In addition to running drills with Spurs players and coaches, you will take a tour of the facility and the weight room, take a photo with all five NBA Championship trophies, receive a signed contract from Spurs General Manager RC Buford, and get interviewed by studio host and sideline reporter Andrew Monaco.

DSC_2117This year’s Spurs Family Fantasy event is set for Sunday, Nov. 2 at the Spurs Practice Facility and costs $5,000 for a family four pack. All proceeds benefit Silver & Black Give Back youth sports programs like the Spurs Youth Basketball DSC_2158League, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season.

For footage of last year’s event, go to or click here. All participants are required to be accompanied by a chaperone. Only one chaperone is required for groups or families. To register for the 2014 Spurs Family Fantasy Event or for more information, please contact Loretta Kerner at

About Spurs Youth Basketball League The Spurs Youth Basketball League (formerly the Spurs Drug-Free League) was founded by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Kids Sports Network president/founder Frank Martin as a way of promoting recreational youth basketball and teaching students to make positive choices and have respect for all.  The SYBL is a recipient of President George H. W. Bush’s Point of Light Award for its innovative programming and anti-drug efforts.

Over the past two-and-a-half decades, more than 275,000 children and coaches have benefited from the SYBL.  The league offers 12,000 young people the opportunity to play basketball and improve their athletic skills while learning teamwork, cooperation and discipline in a positive and safe environment.

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. For more than 25 years 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. Together, our community has the power to empower and create lasting change throughout San Antonio. More information on Silver & Black Give Back can be found at Fantasy - SYBL

Oh, Deer! (A timely warning to drivers on rural roads this fall)

EPS metallic background

Ranch Hand Truckfitters has a motto for promoting our truck accessories: “Be on the Safe Side with Ranch Hand.” We say that because safety, strength and durability are built into all of our products for maximum benefit to our truck customers.

This fall, that motto, “Be on the Safe Side,” is also an appropriate warning to drivers on rural roads during the height of deer season — particularly during October through December when deer and other large wildlife collisions are most prevalent.

Consider these facts:

  • The odds that drivers will hit a deer “doubles” during the Oct.-Dec. period.
  • For the eighth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where a collision is most likely, with odds of 1 in 39, nearly a 5% increase over 2013.
  • Ten percent of the country’s deer collisions occur in Pennsylvania, 123,941.
  • Periods of daily high-deer movement around dawn and dusk plus seasonal behavior patterns (such as the Oct.-Dec. breeding season) increase the risk for auto-deer collisions.
  • In 2012, 175 deaths resulted from collisions with animals, with deer being the animal most often struck.

Consider these tips for drivers in deer country:

  • Always wear your seatbelt.
    At night, when there’s no oncoming traffic, use your high beams.
  • Avoid swerving when you see a deer. Of course, you could always lower your odds of hitting a deer by moving to Hawaii, where there’s just 1 chance in 10,281 of colliding with Bambi!However, if you’d rather stay put, then Ranch Hand advises you to be extra cautious and extra aware of what might be just ahead or just around that next turn on rural roads. It’s better to be on the safe side, instead of having to suddenly shout, “watch out!” — “Oh, Deer!!!”

Our thanks for the information supplied in this article go to Kevin Jones of Hard Working Trucks; the Insurance Information Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; and Ron Regan, Executive Director for the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

By Mavis Arambula-Medellin