Raba Kistner Infrastructure hires Fitzgeraldo Sanchez, PE as Project Manager II

RK Infrastructure_cmykRussel Lenz, PE, Senior Vice President and COO of Raba Kistner Infrastructure (RKI), has announced that Fitzgeraldo “Fitz” Sanchez, PE has been hired to serve as Project Manager II with responsibilities for managing the Owner Verification Services on up to one-half of the TxDOT  Energy Sector Road Repair Project. This is a construction project that will rebuild 30 separate segments of roadway in the Eagle Ford Shale region in South Texas.

PortraitMr. Sanchez is working under RKI’s contract with TxDOT with the responsibility to verify the quality of the construction on the project, including construction inspection and material testing operations, to ensure compliance with plans, drawings and specifications.

Before joining RKI, Mr. Sanchez worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) as a permit engineer for Title V air quality operating permits.  He also served as the Webb County Engineer, where he completed the last phases of a $5 million water and wastewater program of projects for the water utilities department, and a $2 million engineering contract for the Border Colonia Access Program for paving projects.  Prior experience included working in three TxDOT districts in various capacities in design, construction and traffic operations.

Mr. Sanchez earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&I University – Kingsville (now Texas A&M University – Kingsville), as well as a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey, Nuevo León.

About Raba Kistner Infrastructure, Inc.
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.  We have created a comprehensive menu of solutions in the development, engineering, financing and management of transportation facilities and our services are tailored to help each client achieve their mobility goals. We have been and are currently involved in planning, design and construction projects worth more than $8 billion.

Weaver named to INSIDE Public Accounting’s ‘Best of the Best Firms for 2014’

180x150-WeaverWeaver, the largest independent accounting firm in the Southwest, announces that the firm received INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) magazine’s 2014 Best of the Best firms recognition.

“We are very proud to be among those named an IPA Best of the Best firm,” said Tommy D. Lawler, Weaver’s managing partner and CEO. “Our employees work very hard, and this is truly a firm-wide success.”

This recognition honors 50 firms that demonstrate long-term consistency and exceptional performance, as well as operational excellence. More than 540 firms from all over
the country participated in the 24th IPA Annual Survey and Analysis of Firms. The IPA 2014 Best of the Best firms stand out as well-managed and well-executed examples of how to succeed. Firms receiving this recognition range in size from 20 people to more than 2,000 people.

best of the best firms“The IPA Best of the Best firms represent the pinnacle of high-performing firms in the United States. Each firm demonstrates the right combination of vision, planning, training and execution to deliver superior performance,” said Michael Platt, principal of the Platt Group and publisher of the accounting trade publication, INSIDE Public Accounting. “We congratulate this year’s Best of the Best and welcome them to this exclusive group of high-performing firms.”

“The success of the Best of the Best firms is a tribute to their leadership and staff,” said Kelly Platt, publisher of INSIDE Public Accounting. “These firms’ enviable performance provides a model to others to better understand and implement winning strategies to run a more successful firm. We salute all Best of the Best firms and are proud to bestow this honor upon them from INSIDE Public Accounting.”

The special section titled, “The 2014 IPA Best of the Best Firms” that lists the top 50 firms in alphabetical order, published in the September 2014 issue of INSIDE Public Accounting.

About Weaver
Originally founded in 1950, Weaver currently has approximately 500 employees and Texas offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Midland, Odessa and San Antonio. The firm also operates in Denver, Colo., and Stamford, Conn. Weaver is ranked the largest independent accounting firm in the Southwest by Accounting Today magazine. The firm is also ranked the 38th largest firm in the United States by INSIDE Public Accounting.

Weaver serves a broad range of clients including public and private national and international companies, nonprofit organizations and governmental entities. In addition to traditional assurance and tax services, Weaver also provides numerous advisory services, including energy compliance and consulting; risk advisory; transaction advisory; IT advisory; forensic and litigation support; international tax; property tax; state and local tax; and wealth strategies services. Learn more at www.weaver.com.


Hiring? Get the word out with North SA Chamber Job Bank

Job-SearchThe North SA Chamber is continuing to meet the needs of businesses for a readied workforce. The Job Bank is a no-cost tool to for member businesses to access a larger pool of applicants, and the online search tool is a free community resource to job seekers.

“We will promote the Job Bank heavily in 2014 to veterans, transitioning
professionals, college students and recent grads,” says North Chamber chairman of the board, Annie Turner, Wells Fargo.

Only members have the exclusive ability to post job openings and there is no additional charge outside annual membership dues. Go to northsachamber.com, click on Member Login and select Post Job Openings to begin posting. All job listings will be reviewed and approved for publishing by the North Chamber database administrator, but job openings should be live within 24 to 48 hours (often the same day). Listings remain online for 30 days – or until a member removes the post, or if a member sets a closing date before the 30 day limit.

Job Bank listings will be visible to any visitor to the North Chamber website under the Job Bank tab at the top right of the site.

Click here for directions on how to post a job opening.

Click here to view the Job Bank listings.

Raba Kistner Environmental announces hire of Dr. Steve A. Tomka, Senior Archaeologist

PortraitsSteve Jones, CHCM, Senior Vice President and COO of Raba Kistner Environmental, has announced that Raba Kistner has hired Steve A. Tomka, Ph.D. to develop and manage Cultural Resources projects for the firm. As the Senior Archaeologist, Dr. Tomka is working closely with Prehistoric and Historic Project Archaeologists and Field and Laboratory Technicians at Raba Kistner Environmental on several new and exciting projects in the San Antonio area and around Texas.

Dr. Tomka has over 30 years of experience in Texas archeology.  In San Antonio and its immediate vicinity, Dr. Tomka has accumulated over 18 years of experience and knowledge working on archaeological projects.  His particular areas of expertise include Archival Research, Historic and Prehistoric Archaeology, NRHP Eligibility Testing and Data Recovery Excavations.

He has worked on prehistoric archaeological sites dating to 10,800 years before the present (BP), as well as 18th and 19th century Spanish Colonial missions and 20th century residential complexes in downtown San Antonio.

“We are very excited that Dr. Tomka is joining our Environmental group,” said Jones. “His very distinguished career, including serving in a voluntary capacity with many historical oversight groups, brings relationships and a level of knowledge about Texas archaeology that is unmatched in our industry.”

Dr. Tomka maintains a strong working relationship with all clients including architectural and engineering firms and City, County, and State agencies.  He has served on the State Board of Review for National Register of Historic Places nominations, and was the Chair of the Antiquities Committee of the Texas Historical Commission, where he served as Commissioner.   In these capacities, he acquired in-depth knowledge of the Antiquities Code of Texas as well as the processes and procedures associated with Section 106 compliance of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Dr. Tomka served as Director, Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, for 12 years before coming to Raba Kistner. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas in Austin in 1994, and his M.A. from there in 1985. He received his BA in Anthropology from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1980.

Dr. Tomka is pre-certified to conduct TxDOT archeological surveys (2.10.01) and has served as a Principal Investigator on multiple TxDOT statewide general services contracts.

About Raba Kistner
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.

Padgett, Stratemann & Co.: Why winning unemployment claims really does matter

Padgett Stratemann & Co.PS&Co. Cynthia Mergele



By Cynthia Mergele
Padgett Stratemann & Co., SPHR,PI

On the face of it, responding to an unemployment claim seems simple enough — answer a few questions and provide the reason why the person is no longer employed by your company.  However, many employers are frustrated by the lack of success they experience in “winning” claims, and this level of frustration is heightened at year-end when they receive the new increased unemployment tax rate for the coming calendar year.

It’s critical that employers realize there are two different types of notices that have unemployment tax implications — “Employer Notice of Unemployment Claim” or “Notice of Maximum Potential Chargeback.”  The unemployment claim is sent to the employer who is indicated as the former employee’s (“claimant”) last employer.  The chargeback notice is sent to all employers who are showing wages during the base period (the period of time used to determine benefits).   Employers frequently ignore chargeback notices, not understanding that while their response will not affect whether or not the former employee receives benefits, a “successful” response could prevent the employer for being charged for any unemployment benefits attributed to their respective chargeback period.

The most important facts to consider regarding unemployment claims are the basis for what determines an applicant’s disqualification for benefits.  Individuals that are out of work through no fault of their own (layoff, reduction in force, etc.) are considered qualified for benefits.  Employees who quit voluntary would be considered disqualified.  But a word of warning — offering the employee the opportunity to quit to avoid being fired is not voluntary!  Discharge for misconduct related to work is also cause for disqualification, but employers have to be clear that misconduct occurred — in very simple terms, the employee did something wrong that they knew was wrong and (in most cases) was warned and given the opportunity to correct the issue.  An employee’s inability or lack of skill in performing their work is not misconduct.

Claimants who are paid wages in lieu of notice will be disqualified for benefits for the period of time in which they continue to receive these wages.  Also, claimants who are receiving workers’ compensation or a retirement pension would be disqualified for benefits.

Success in winning claims is in the documentation and facts provided.  The easiest way to prove employees are aware of the rules is to show evidence of a written policy and the employee’s receipt of the policy — a signed acknowledgement of receipt of an employee handbook and a copy of the policy from the handbook which shows the policy violated.  Evidence of counseling of earlier violations is also critical to include statements provided to employees that communicate the consequences of future violations to include termination.  Providing information regarding witnesses is imperative. Employers should avoid “muddying the waters” with issues that are not related to the reason for the termination.  And while last, but not certainly not least important, try to avoid delays of time between the final violation and the termination.  If there is a delay in time between the date of the final offense and the termination, show a good business reason for the delay — whether it was time needed to conduct an investigation, or the fact that the supervisor was away.  Not providing valid reasons for these types of delays can have detrimental impact on employers successfully defending claims.

Unemployment claims can be costly.  For 2014, the highest unemployment tax rate is 7.41% and the average rate is 1.66%.  For a company with 100 employees, the difference in rates represents an additional tax of $51,750!

Employers need to be deliberate, diligent, and timely in responding to unemployment claims and chargeback notices.  They should also consider seeking the support of legal counsel if they have concerns with litigation, as information provided on unemployment claims is subject to discovery.

Broadway Bank Promotes Carlos Torres to Human Resources Director

Broadway Bank logoCarlos Torres was named executive vice president and human resources director at Broadway Bank where he has served as senior vice president and human resources manager since 2008. Torres has worked in the human resources arena for 23 years in various capacities, including talent acquisition, employee relations, compensation and benefits design, strategic management, and employee and leadership development.

“I am excited that Carlos has taken on this new leadership role with Broadway Bank. It is a great opportunity for him to lead us in the various strategic initiatives that strengthen our culture, recruit the best bankers and retain a workforce that is dedicated to the Broadway experience,” said Jim Goudge, Broadway Bank chairman and chief executive officer.

While at Broadway Bank, Torres has developed leadership competencies and programs to educate and develop leaders. He also has managed the bank’s recruitment program, creating a comprehensive compensation and job description review for the organization. He revised and implemented new human resources policies to support organizational strategies including the nicotine-free hiring policy. In addition, Torres spearheaded the development of the “Managing Employee Performance within the Broadway Culture” leadership class. His Wellness@Broadway Bank initiative gained the bank recognition as a local Fit-Friendly Company from the American Heart Association and from the Mayor’s Fitness Council as a healthy workplace, along with accolades from several other organizations.

“I am honored to assume the role of human resources director for Broadway Bank,” said Torres. “Our philosophy of employee first defines our commitment to a great place to work. I am humbled to be a part of such a great company which is committed to its employees, customers and the community,” he added.

A San Antonio native, Torres graduated from Central Catholic High School. He has a bachelor’s degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin. He is the 2014-2015 chairman of the American Diabetes Association Leadership Board, co-chairman for the 2014 KLRN Wine Festival and the 2013-2014 chairman of the “My Heart. My Life” committee for the American Heart Association, among others.

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 for more information.

Capital Group associates help millions prepare for retirement … and invest in their own future

Capital Group_vertical_Color_Large_600Capital Group, one of the world’s largest investment firms with more than $1 trillion in assets under management, helps millions of people around the world invest through pensions and retirement plan accounts.

So, how do associates, whose job is helping others invest, plan for retirement? Capital associates likely have more in their nest egg than the general population. According to Aon Hewitt, the average Capital associate’s retirement account held nearly $300,000 at the end of 2012—compared to a national average of $81,000.*

“Something about working in the industry makes us keenly aware of the need to prepare for retirement,” shares Erika Ivanyi, Co-General Manager of Capital’s San Antonio office. “We’re also fortunate to have a very generous company-sponsored retirement plan.”

The firm contributes 15% of total annual compensation (up to regulatory limits) into each associate’s retirement plan.

How well do associates at this investment management firm invest? The median rate of return for Capital associates in 2012 was 15.7%—compared to the industry average of 11.9%*.

For Capital associates, retirement is all in a day’s work.

*Aon Hewitt 2013 ICB Summary

CommuniCare Health Centers Awarded Best Places to Work

Communicare_logo side in colorCommuniCare Health Centers, a non-profit healthcare organization, was recently named by the San Antonio Business Journal as one of the winners of the “Best Places to Work”. This prestigious award recognizes companies with the best workplaces in the San Antonio area (Bexar, Atascosa, Guadalupe, Wilson, Comal, Bandera, Medina and Kendall counties).

The winners were selected based on the results of online confidential surveys completed by CommuniCare Health Centers’ employees. These winners represent the top 51 “Best Places to Work” in the San Antonio area based on an assessment of the online surveys performed by the research firm, Quantum Workplace. CommuniCare came in 8th in the large company category through this extremely competitive awards process with several rounds of consideration.

CommuniCare Health Centers is a full-service primary healthcare system offering pediatric medicine, family medicine, senior care, women’s health, podiatry, dental, behavioral health, optometry, fitness and wellness services in Bexar and Hays counties. CommuniCare has 5 clinic locations utilizing an integrative primary care practice, highly trained healthcare providers, state of the art diagnostic equipment, and electronic health records. CommuniCare has been accredited by the Joint Commission since 1999; Joint Commission accreditation is recognized as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting national safety and quality of care performance standards. In 2012, CommuniCare was designated as a “Primary Care Medical Home” by the Joint Commission.

Padgett Stratemann named One of the Best Places to Work by the San Antonio Business Journal

Padgett Stratemann & Co.For the seventh year, Padgett Stratemann was named one of the Top 51 “Best Places to Work” in the area by the San Antonio Business Journal. Award winners were selected based on the results of confidential online employee surveys completed by the companies’ own employees. The award highlights companies with the best workplaces in Bexar, Atascosa, Guadalupe, Wilson, Comal, Bandera, Medina, and Kendall counties.

More than 200 companies were nominated in 2013, and 90 of those companies successfully completed the nomination process. All 51 companies will be recognized in a special Business Journal publication on June 14, 2013 and at an awards luncheon at the JW Marriot on June 13, 2012.

SABJ best places to work logo

The winning 51 companies will be ranked in categories of Small, Medium, and Large Companies based on the number of employees and the first two finishers in each of those categories will be named top winners. These designations will be announced at the awards luncheon.
The firm wishes to thank its team members for holding fast to the belief that it’s our team that make us great. A team whose talent, dedication, and innovation provide our clients with the excellence they have come to expect. Being named one of San Antonio’s Best Places to Work, alongside so many other outstanding organizations, is an honor of which we are most proud.

Congratulations to all of San Antonio’s Best Places to Work:
• Abacus Solutions Group LLC
• Airrosti Rehab Centers
• Alterman
• Bartlett Cocke General Contractors
• Brighton Center
• Cal-Tex Protective Coatings Inc.
• Carenet Healthcare Services
• Catamount Constructors Inc.
• Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper Realtors
• Coley & Associates Inc.
• CommuniCare Health Centers
• Computer Solutions
• Cox Smith
• Deacon Recruiting
• Documation, LLC
• Endura Advisory Group
• Futurex
• Generations FCU
• GVTC Communications
• Health By Design
• HealthTexas Medical Group
• Hill Electric
• Insperity
• JB Goodwin Realtors
• Jefferson Bank
• Joeris General Contractors, Ltd.
• LeadingEdge Personnel
• MassMutual South Texas
• Miner Fleet Management Group
• Mobius Partners
• Padgett, Stratemann & Co. LLP
• Pax Financial Group
• Peloton Commercial Real Estate
• Peyton Resource Group
• PRMA Plastic Surgery
• Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
• RVK Architects
• San Antonio Orthopaedic Group
• Sente Mortgage
• Service King Paint & Body
• SpawGlass Contractors, Inc.
• Spectrum Association Management
• Stream Realty Partners San Antonio
• Texas Creative
• Texas Physical Therapy Specialists
• The Denim Group
• The Sabinal Group
• The Taurean Corp
• Titleist Asset Management, Ltd.
• Touchstone Communities