August Word from the Chairman

Turner_Annie-Chairmans-photo-PRAdvocacy Alert: Storm Water Fee “Postponed Indefinitely” by Mayor, City Manager
Your North San Antonio Chamber has been hard at work for you as we attended stakeholder meetings for the proposed City of San Antonio Storm Water Fee changes. Over the last several weeks, we reviewed and provided comments on the proposed Storm Water Fee rate and methodology restructuring. While we recognize the need to fund critical drainage programs across the City, we did not agree with the proposed methodology and rates that were proposed to take effect in FY15 and FY16, respectively. We took the issue to the North SA Chamber board, which voted at the July board meeting to oppose the fee changes. After an advocacy campaign that included a letter to City staff and elected officials, an email alert to members, media interviews and social media posts, we were pleased to learn from Mayor Ivy R. Taylor at this month’s sold-out Mayor’s Vision for San Antonio event that she was recommending to the City Manager that the proposed Storm Water Fee changes be “postponed indefinitely.”

We couldn’t be happier with Mayor Taylor’s decision and Manager Sheryl Sculley’s willingness to revisit the Storm Water Fee methodology, while also removing it from the FY15 budget. We will continue to work in partnership with City staff and officials to identify a reasonable methodology and rate structure that will not impede business expansion, retention or recruitment, while still allowing the City to secure the funding it requires for the important drainage infrastructure maintenance and capital improvement projects our districts need.

You can read and watch coverage from Mayor’s Vision for San Antonio here:

Rivard Report, WOAI 4, KENS 5, KSAT 12, KABB 29

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. The current State budget results in a $1.1 billion shortfall in transportation construction funding and that shortfall will increase to $3.5 billion in the next biennium based on current revenue projections.

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 road rolls (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. 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!

Announcing – North SA Chamber Member Benefit Solutions program by MetLife

We’re proud to announce that we have teamed up with MetLife to present the North SA Chamber Member Benefit Solutions program that offers members with 2 to 999 employees competitive group rates for life, dental, disability and vision coverage. The program features a product suite including:

  • Basic Term Life Insurance including Supplemental Term Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)
  • Group Dental Benefits that include Pediatric Dental Essential Health Benefits (EHB), where appropriate
  • Employer-Sponsored Short- & Long-term Disability
  • Voluntary Short-term Disability (VSTD)
  • VisionAccess Program*

*   The MetLife VisionAccess program is a discount program and not an insured benefit. It is provided through Vision Service Plan (VSP), Rancho Cordova, CA. VSP is not affiliated with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company or its affiliates.

Learn more about Member Benefit Solutions program by MetLife

To learn more about how MetLife can benefit you, we encourage you to contact your agent or broker or search the FIND A MEMBER online directory to find a North SA Chamber member agent or broker.

Like most group insurance policies, MetLife group policies contain certain exclusions, exceptions, waiting periods, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. Eligibility varies by product based on the number of eligible versus participating employees. Ask your MetLife group representative for costs and complete details.



Proposition 1

SAMCo_logoIn an effort to keep up with the San Antonio region’s growing congestion and transportation funding challenges, the San Antonio Mobility Coalition would like you to consider voting in favor of Proposition 1. The Texas general election ballot takes place on November 4, 2014.

What is Prop. 1

Proposition 1 would authorize annual disbursements from the State’s oil and gas production tax collections to the State Highway Fund. An estimated $1.4 billion would be transferred into the State Highway Fund in the first year alone, as a first step in addressing a projected $4 billion annual funding shortfall for TxDOT.


Please view this AGC produced video featuring Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel.

View SAMCo’s video that takes a fresh look at the current congestion in San Antonio and the need for additional funding for the region.

David White, Raba Kistner Consultants, Inc., earns rare designation for Building Envelope Services

raba kistner logoPortraitsPaul Lampe,  Executive Vice President of Raba Kistner Consultants (RKCI), has announced that David White, RRC, RRO, CDT, CEI, CIT, RWC,  Senior Roofing Consultant and Manager of Building  Envelope Services for the firm, has earned the title REGISTERED WATERPROOFING CONSULTANT (RWC) from RCI, Inc.*  White qualified for this designation by meeting the requirements of a rigorous two-part program based on verifiable levels of education, ethics and experience, and successfully completing a challenging examination.

“David is one of about 70 Registered Waterproofing Consultants in the U.S. and Canada who have this certification,” said Lampe. “We are pleased to be able to offer this level of experience, training and confidence to our building envelope clients.”

David has been with Raba Kistner since 2011. As Senior Roofing Consultant, Mr. White is responsible for Raba-Kistner’s Roofing Inspection, Surveys, Design and Consulting capabilities. His primary duties consist of facilities project management with emphasis on scope development, budget estimates, roofing inspection reports, surveys, roofing redesigns, and engineering solutions with attendant specifications.

David graduated from Southwest Texas University in 2001.

About Raba Kistner Consultants, Inc.
Founded in 1968, Raba Kistner Consultants Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raba Kistner, Inc., and is Engineering News-Record “Top 500 Firm,” operating in eleven different markets in Texas, Utah, and México. Raba Kistner Consultants provides Geotechnical Engineering, Testing, Pavement and Foundations Design, as well as Construction Materials Engineering, Testing and Construction Inspections. Raba Kistner also provides program management and project management services, environmental engineering and consulting, building envelope and infrastructure services.

The RWC registration is administered by RCI from its international headquarters in Raleigh, NC and is rapidly gaining recognition throughout North America as a key element preferred by building owners, public and private, when retaining the services of a waterproofing consultant. RCI was founded in 1983 as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization and its professional members offer unbiased design, repair planning, quality assurance, legal testimony and general roofing, waterproofing, and exterior wall services. RCI’s waterproofing consultants adhere to a strict code of ethics that offers unprejudiced professional services without affiliation with any product or manufacturer.

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.


Raba Kistner Environmental hires Melissa L. Karlin as Environmental Planner

RK Environmental_cmykSteven E. Jones, Senior Vice President and COO of Raba Kistner Environmental (RKEI), has announced that Melissa L. Karlin, Ph.D. has been hired as an Environmental Planner, with responsibilities to include preparing environmental documents such as Environmental Impact Statements and Environmental Assessments, and others. Additionally, Melissa will be supporting RKEI’s environmental projects with GIS data management.

PortraitsIn this position, Karlin will be applying her knowledge of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Texas Antiquities Code.

Karlin’s most recent experience includes working as an Aviation Environmental Compliance Specialist in Fort Lauderdale Florida, as a Research Biologist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; and as an Environmental Scientist in Hobe Sound, Florida.

Karlin’s received her Ph.D. in Infrastructure and Environmental Systems from the University of North Carolina in 2011. She received her M.S. in Biological Sciences in 2005, and her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University in 2002.

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.

Raba Kistner, Inc. appoints new Vice President – Joe A. Irizarry, Corporate Development

raba kistner logoSan Antonio. Raba Kistner’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the promotion of Joe Irizarry to the position of Vice President, Corporate Development. Joe has been with Raba Kistner in Corporate Development for more than nine years, serving as an Associate for the last five years.

Joe IJoe is responsible for managing the Corporate Development Department: leading the firm’s business development efforts; establishing and managing client relationships; developing and facilitating training and coaching; coordinating annual planning and facilitating departmental growth planning.

Previous to working with Raba Kistner, Joe spent most of career in sales, sales management and internal consulting with Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) and its successor, Allied Waste. As a divisional sales manager, he oversaw the management, hiring and training of five sales managers and over 30 sales representatives selling multiple services in Central and South Texas with over $125M in annual revenue.

Joe is very involved in professional organizations, including serving on the Board of the Associated General Contractors (AGC); as Past President of the Council of Education Facilities Planners International (CEFPI)/ South Texas Chapter; Second Vice President of CEFPI/ Southern Region; and the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS)/Program Committee.

About Raba Kistner
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, infrastructure engineering, geotechnical engineering and testing, construction materials engineering and testing, and pavement consulting.

October 2013 Word from the Chairman

Rollins_Brad-ChairmanAs you know, the North SA Chamber has a long history as an advocate for business-friendly initiatives and legislation, as well as infrastructure improvements. We work to consistently champion a pro-business agenda and endeavor to serve as a collective voice to represent our large and small business members in government policy and legislative issues, especially at the local and state levels.

Our board of directors, government affairs and infrastructure committees monitor and suggest necessary changes and/or improvements on a number of issues including infrastructure. Regularly the North SA Chamber board of directors takes positions of endorsement or opposition of such issues.

At the September 24th North SA Chamber board of directors meeting, board members heard from Cris Eugster, Group EVP at CPS Energy, regarding the CPS Energy proposed rate increase to be voted on and approved by City Council, and from our Government Affairs Council Chair, Rob Killen of Kauffman Killen, regarding the Proposed Texas Constitutional Amendments Nos. 3 and 6, which are on the ballot for the November 5th election. The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce board of directors reviewed, held discussion, voted and endorsed each proposition.

CPS Energy Rate Adjustment
In late September CPS Energy was proposing a 4.75 percent rate increase – the first since 2010, to keep up with an expanding customer base and to upgrade existing infrastructure. The North SA Chamber understands that even with a rate increase CPS Energy’s rates still will be among the lowest in Texas, and our board believes it’s critical for economic development and business retention to provide efficient reliable power to keep our economy strong. Following our board meeting, City Council and the public have expressed concern over the utility’s bonus program, and chief executive Doyle Beneby has since announced a reduction in the proposed rate increase to 4.25 percent as well as a 50 percent reduction in employee bonus plans for years 2015 and 2016, thus making the rate increase more satisfactory to its detractors. City Council will vote on the rate adjustment at the November 7 Council meeting, and if approved, the new rates will take effect February 1, 2014.

Constitutional Amendment Election – November 5, 2013
Additionally, the North SA Chamber encourages our members and the community to vote “Yes” for the proposed Constitutional Amendment, No. 3 on the ballot, “The constitutional amendment to authorize a political subdivision of this state to extend the number of days that aircraft parts that are exempt from ad valorem taxation due to their location in this state for a temporary period may be located in this state for purposes of qualifying for the tax exemption.” Texas is one of only 11 states to levy a property tax on inventory. Learn more at the Texas Association of Manufacturers’ website, or download the Proposition 3 Fact Sheet.

Furthermore, the North SA Chamber encourages our members and the community to vote “Yes” for the proposed Constitutional Amendment, No. 6 on the ballot, “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.” Learn more at the H204Texas website, or download the Proposition 6 Fact Sheet.

Photo Identification
Remember, with the passing of Senate Bill 14, voters are now required to present an approved form of photo identification in order to vote in all Texas Elections. Visit VoteTexas.Gov for more information.

Photo ID Required for Texas Voters
Identificación con Foto se Requiere para Votantes Tejanos

On behalf of the North SA Chamber board of directors, we ask for your thoughtful consideration of these items and encourage you to exercise your civic rights by offering feedback to your City Council member and voting in the November 5th election. Thank you for all you do to keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong.

CPS Energy seeks rate increase

By Tracy Idell Hamilton

cps energy logoCPS Energy will ask the San Antonio City Council to approve a 4.75 percent rate in October.

If approved, the new increase would go into effect Feb. 1 of next year, and boost the average residential customer’s bill by $5.19.

CPS Energy last raised rates in 2010.

Last year, CPS Energy was able to forego a previously planned rate increase by aggressively reducing costs, increasing efficiency and delaying certain infrastructure projects.

It was able to do so while remaining in the top two percent of all credit-rated utilities in the country, a position that keeps borrowing costs low.

To maintain that strong position, however, CPS Energy must now increase revenue.

Because providing affordable, reliable power is CPS Energy’s main mission, the utility will continue to refine its business practices, root out waste and make decisions about its future power supply that hedge against risk and higher costs.

Even with the increase, CPS Energy rates will remain among the lowest in Texas, and the lowest among the top 20 largest cities in the country.

View the rate increase request presentation to the Board of Trustees

San Antonio’s economy is growing, which means CPS Energy is growing. But those new customers don’t completely cover the costs of expansion, nor do they cover the costs of upgrading existing infrastructure.

As CPS Energy’s customer base grows, so to do the number of civic improvement projects the utility is asked to do by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County, such as relocating existing electric and gas facilities to support street and drainage improvement projects.

New technology and environmental regulations also require strategic investment to keep up with industry standards and customer expectations. Improvements to the electrical grid, scheduled to begin later this year, will increase efficiency, allowing CPS Energy to see and respond to power outages remotely.

The upgrades will save money and increase reliability in the long run, but require substantial investment today.

Energy efficiency and conservation has been a crucial part of CPS Energy’s overall strategy to keep rates affordable, and it has exceeded those goals by 300 percent.

Those programs benefit customers in two ways – by reducing household utility bills and delaying the need to add more power plants to CPS Energy’s fleet.

To ease the burden on our lowest-income customers, CPS Energy is expanding its Affordability Discount program, which helps qualified customers by reducing their monthly bill by $12.30 monthly for gas and electric customers. That’s more than the amount of the rate increase.

CPS Energy has additional programs to help those in need as well.

In the coming weeks, CPS Energy will communicate clearly and often with customers and elected officials about why a rate increase is needed. That will include lists of specific capital projects and upgrades.

Read the letter from CEO Doyle Beneby.

CPS Energy is hosting a series of Customer Care Fairs in neighborhoods around the city and county to answer questions and promote programs that can help customers save money on their bills.

Infrastructure Committee Chair: Jim Koenig #Jacobs

180x150-JacobsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbout the Company: Jacobs is a multidiscipline architecture/engineering firm with more than 60,000 employees worldwide. The firm’s 65-person San Antonio office provides professional services including Global Building (vertical building), Water Infrastructure Programs (public works projects, environmental services), Transportation Programs (highways, airports, railways), Site Civil (commercial, mixed-use, residential), Urban Design & Planning (master planning, landscape, urban planning), Construction Management and Inspection and Survey.

About the Program: This committee reviews transportation and infrastructure planning, construction and maintenance issues, as well as the political and financial issues relating to these improvements. A guest speaker presents on a related topic followed by a report by each public agency present.

Personally Speaking: Jim has been an active North SA Chamber volunteer for over nine years and has served on the board for six years. Jim says, “The North Chamber is a great venue for business networking and establishing meaningful and long lasting personal business relationship

Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc. announces the hire of Alex Bartos as Environmental Professional/Project Manager

RK Environmental_cmykRaba Kistner Environmental (RKE) has announced the hire of Alex Bartos to serve as Project Manager in the areas of Environmental Site Assessments, hazardous materials evaluations and  subsurface investigations.  Mr. Bartos brings over 12 years of applicable experience and technical expertise in the environmental consulting field.

Mr. Bartos’s experience includes managing environmental assessments and remediation projects for oil and gas, pipeline, utilities, developers and industrial clients. His current responsibilities include planning and directing subsurface soil and groundwater assessments, remedial strategies, and regulatory review, and reporting for projects under the purview of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Rail Road Commission of Texas.

Alex BartosIn addition to providing environmental assessment services, Mr. Bartos has completed spill prevention, control and countermeasure plans (SPCC), storm-water pollution prevention plans (SWPPP), pollution prevention plans (P3), and Tier II reporting for industrial clients’ compliance requirements.

He has directed projects and coordinated activities in the TCEQ Innocent Owner/Operator Program (IOP), Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), Dry Cleaner Remediation Program (DCRP), and the RRC Operator Cleanup Program (OCP).

Mr. Bartos received his BS in Environmental Science (Chemistry) from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2011.

Founded in 1968, Raba Kistner, Inc., is an Engineering News-Record “Top 500 Firm,” operating in ten different markets in Texas, Utah, and México. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Raba Kistner provides project management and oversight services through four-wholly owned subsidiaries, including: environmental engineering and consulting (Raba Kistner Environmental); geotechnical engineering, pavement consulting and construction testing and observation (Raba Kistner Consultants); facilities engineering (Raba Kistner Facilities; ) and project management and QA/QC on transportation projects (Raba Kistner Infrastructure).