North San Antonio Chamber, State Farm and UTSA launch Student Memberships

North Chamber logo 4c stackedThrough the generosity of a grant by State Farm, the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has added college student membership to its community offerings, and the first 10 student members will be selected from the UTSA College of Business.

State Farm LogoCOSOne of the North SA Chamber’s strategic goals for 2014 is to meet the needs of the business community with a readied workforce. The North SA Chamber 2014 Chairman of the Board, Annie Turner, Vice President and Business Banking Manager for Wells Fargo, is focused on engaging millennial workers by building a bridge between education and the workforce.

“So many business owners and organizations are looking for qualified people. If you have a qualified workforce, then that just improves the community overall,” says Turner. “Thousands of baby boomers are retiring from the workforce each day, and we’re facing an enormous leadership gap. The North SA Chamber can help veterans, millennial workers and just about every professional in any interest area to access resources to sharpen their professional skills and build relationships through our various instructional and networking events and volunteer opportunities,” she adds.

The college student membership is $75 per student and is a two-year, non-renewing membership. Students must be 18 years or older, enrolled in a four-year university or college, and enrolled in their senior year of coursework. Through membership with the North SA Chamber, college students will be afforded the opportunity to meet professional members, get involved in committees, learn about community initiatives, share information, gain personal visibility and develop personal, professional and leadership skills through their involvement. Additionally, student members will be promoted through the Chamber’s online membership directory under the categories of “Student” and “Job Seeker.”

North SA Chamber member Jake Jacobson, Sales Leader of the West Sales Territory for State Farm, was seeking ways to increase the insurance company’s involvement within the North SA Chamber and recognized the student membership offering as an ideal opportunity to support emerging leaders. “State Farm engages in ongoing efforts to recruit the best qualified talent,” says Jacobson. “Getting college students involved in real-world interaction with the business community struck us as a practical way to help grow the local talent pool,” he adds.

Jacobson, who works closely with the UTSA College of Business, identified UTSA as the sponsoring university to select the inaugural 10 student members.

Dr. Lisa Montoya is Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in UTSA’s College of Business. She will work with Jacobson to identify eligible students and the State Farm Team will select the grantees. The 10 student members will be identified and their memberships activated by August 1.

“At UTSA, we’re doing our part to educate our future business leaders and provide them with the skills they will need to compete in the business world,” says Dr. Montoya. “We’re excited that the North Chamber is providing college students a forum for relationship building with business leaders in a real-world environment. Experience makes all the difference when it comes job seeking and candidate selection. We’re grateful to the North Chamber and State Farm for creating this opportunity,” Dr. Montoya adds.

State Farm will identify five local agents who each will mentor two college students through their early months of membership with the North SA Chamber. “The business community is a big place. We want to help shepherd the college students through to help them network and build confidence,” says Jacobson. “But we trust this first class of students will leverage their membership, and hope to see each of them placed with local employers as they build relationships and build their resume,” says Jacobson.

Businesses interested in sponsoring college student members, or students interested in joining individually may learn more by visiting and clicking on the Join Now tab or calling (210) 344-4848.

About State Farm®
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit®.

About UTSA
The University of Texas at San Antonio is an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 29,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. The UTSA College of Business offers a comprehensive curriculum at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level that expands the boundaries of a traditional business education. Nationally ranked and internationally recognized, the college is home to 5,100 business students and features traditional degrees in areas such as accounting, finance and marketing as well as specialized programming in entrepreneurship, information security and real estate finance and development.

About North SA Chamber
The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has been keeping member businesses and San Antonio strong for 40 years by advocating on behalf of member businesses large and small; delivering exceptional, business-to-business networking opportunities; honoring leaders at every age and career stage; and cultivating the workforce through leadership and professional development training. For more information, visit us online at


Become a sustaining member of Guide Dogs of Texas and help us change lives!

Guide Dogs_sustainer logoGuide Dogs of Texas (GDTX) is a nonprofit organization which promotes freedom, mobility, and independence to visually impaired Texans by providing “the Best Dogs in Sight.”

We breed, raise and train quality Guide Dogs for blind Texans. We clear a path to greater independence by offering one-on-one training for people with visual impairments anywhere in Texas. We are committed to each Guide Dog and handler for the life of the team.

Guide Dogs of Texas has provided Guide Dog Services to Texans since 1998. With the monthly support of donors like you, we can help more people without sight travel safely and participate fully in our communities.

Our Canine Programs

Breeding: Our dogs are carefully bred to ensure the best temperament and health of each puppy. The first eight weeks of the litter’s life is filled with gentle exposures to various sights, sounds, smells, and textures.

Puppy Raising:  From the age of 8 weeks to about 16 months, our puppies are raised by volunteer Puppy Raisers who teach obedience, as well as socializing the puppies and familiarizing them with various environments.

Advanced Training: After graduating the puppy raising program, the dogs receive 6 months of formal training with our Guide Dog Mobility Instructors to learn all their technical skills.

Class:  Once a Guide Dog learns all his skills, he is carefully matched with a blind handler. They spend four weeks training together under the guidance of a certified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. After graduation, teams are visited at least once a year to provide support and assistance.

Steve Cardenas “I have never driven a sports car, but my Guide Dog Cody is fast and smooth and that’s as close as I’ll get!”.

Dexter 3Reasons to Give
The cost of a guide dog to our clients is simply $1. GDTX receives no funding from government or insurance agencies. It is the support of donors like you that truly impact our mission.

A gift of just $10 a month adds to significant annual support. Furthermore, due to lower fundraising costs –and more stable income –with Sustaining Members’ gifts, your contributions have an even greater impact.

Increasing numbers of blind Texans request dogs each year. Your continuous financial support ensures that trained dogs will be plentiful and ready to change lives!

All members will be invited to an annual open house, receive exciting Guide Dogs of Texas Newsletters, and also will be mailed an auto decal to let the world know about your invaluable support for this great organization.

Remember every dollar we receive paves the way to transform the life of a blind Texan.  Call our office today and see how easy it is to sign up and join our sustainer club of monthly giving. 210.366.4081

July Word from the Chairman


New Exclusive Member Benefit
As you may know, the North SA Chamber has endeavored to help you amplify your involvement with additional benefits including enhanced digital and online resources and exclusive member programming like special rates for employee benefits. In fact, many of you may have participated in the prior discounted group medical program that was discontinued earlier this year in accordance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Throughout the economic recovery and phased implementation of ACA, we have educated members on the law’s impact on business operations, and now it’s quite satisfying to be able to offer our members access to rich supplemental benefits and rates that comply with ACA law.

Introducing – 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 competitive group rates for life, dental, disability and vision coverage. The North SA Chamber Member Benefit Solutions program by MetLife provides our small business members with less than 10 employees access to plans that they would not have been able to obtain on their own, while also expanding the benefit offering to organizations with up to 999 employees – and the product suite is available through any area insurance agent or broker.

I want to recognize and thank board member and Membership Council Chair, Aaron Seaman with SWBC, for working to bring this new supplemental coverage program to North SA Chamber members.It was through Aaron’s leadership and a willingness by MetLife to serve customers through the association marketplace that the plan was conceptualized over several months and brought to fruition. I want to commend MetLife for tailoring their approach to offer insurance products to fit the specific needs of the North SA Chamber membership.

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.

North SA Chamber Member Benefit Solutions program by MetLife
The program offers competitive group rates for North SA Chamber members with 2 to 999 employees, featuring 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*

Now is an exciting time for the North SA Chamber, our members and our growing city. We welcome you and your employees to participate and hope you’ll be able to take advantage of this exclusive member benefit.

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.

*   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.

March Word from the Chairman

Turner_Annie-Chairmans-photo-PRAs we welcome spring and this time of renewal in our surroundings, it is also a time of change and regeneration here at the North San Antonio Chamber. Over the last several weeks, the North Chamber has realigned personnel and duties as we have said farewell to longtime staff and welcomed new team members.

After 13 years of service to our business community as Vice President of Leadership Programs and Lead SA, Yolanda Crittenden has retired. For all of you who have worked with Yolanda over the years through our government affairs programs, Lead SA, the Small Business Leaders Awards, the Enterprising Women’s Conference and other programs – I know you will join me in thanking and congratulating her and wishing Yolanda all the best in her future endeavors.

Additionally, with Yolanda’s retirement, some staff duties have been realigned. Wendy Thomas is now Program Manager and will be your point of contact for programs including Lead SA Employment Law Update, Lead SA Sustainability, CFO Forum events and the On the Horizon luncheon.

Moreover, our director of marketing and membership, Renée Crittenden-Garcia, is now Vice President of Marketing, Public Affairs & Lead SA, and she will assume the executive director role for the North Chamber’s 501c3 organization, Lead SA, and its Salute to Excellence, as well as take a more active role in supporting our government affairs programs including State of the County and Mayor’s Vision. Renée will provide increased support to our President/CEO for various special and collaborative programs as they relate to our advocacy efforts, while still overseeing membership and chamber marketing programs.

Last but not least, we are pleased to welcome Susan Deitiker, Manager of Special Events, and Whitney Lewis, Manager of Marketing & Special Events. Susan is already working with our Ambassadors and leading program management for events including Networking Breakfast, the new Power Lunch, Golf Tournament, How 2 Series, Small Business Leaders Awards and the Enterprising Women’s Conference.

Whitney is our new website and e-newsletter editor and will share member news across our social and digital platforms, while also providing special event marketing communications, committee and registration support for a number of programs.

Membership, Recognition, Veterans
Over the last several months, our membership staff and committee have been studying our dues structure and identifying ways to increase value to our membership. After a recent task force meeting led by our Membership Council Chair, Aaron Seaman of SWBC, the North SA Chamber is proud to announce that we will extend a 15% discount to Veteran-owned businesses as a way to assist veterans transitioning from the military to civilian workforce. The discount is effective immediately for veteran-owned businesses who are new members joining the chamber.

Additionally, we are actively seeking nominations for the Small Business Leaders Awards (SBLA) program, and the deadline to submit completed applications is Friday, April 11, by 5 p.m. Awards will be presented in categories including: Small Business Leader of the Year, Small Business Advocate of the Year, Career Achievement, Community Service, Business Achievement, Business Innovation, Employee Relations, New Business and new this year – Nonprofit and Veteran-Owned. Please consider nominating a deserving employer, customer or colleague; and encourage him or her to complete the nomination application and submit by deadline.

While we’re proud to support and recognize our veterans in every way, we’re equally pleased that we have worked to bolster our small business members by maintaining dues rates for more than 15 years. As a small organization operating on the sole support of our dues-paying members, we strive to be fiscally conservative in our stewardship of the investment members make in the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. As the cost of doing business increases, we sent a call to action to members to participate in a voluntary dues increase. To date, 67% of members who renewed their membership with us elected to provide added financial support. On behalf of the board and staff, thank you for your incredible support of the North Chamber.

Leadership, Networking
We’re also busy building business and leaders across San Antonio. Recently, the participants of the 2014 Leadership Lab Class completed a week-end long retreat in which students learned about their individual personality styles and how those traits can be strengths and challenges in their personal and professional relationships.

It was my pleasure to join the class during their retreat and encourage them on their leadership journey. The diversity of companies represented in the class is remarkable, and I’m excited to see how this year’s class will engage and apply their Lab experiences to their workplaces.

Finally, no matter what time of day is best for you, the North SA Chamber now has a venue for you to connect with others while gaining insight on various timely professional topics. The Networking Breakfast is held the second Tuesday of every month at the Petroleum Club at 7:15 a.m., and the new Power Lunch will be held the fourth Thursday of the month at 11:30 a.m. at rotating locations. Please check the calendar of events regularly and register online.

I appreciate your membership, participation and volunteerism with the North San Antonio Chamber and invite you to join a committee, attend an event or just follow us in our social media communities. We’re a vibrant business network thanks to you, your membership and all that you do keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong.

Sam’s Club opens two clubs on same day in San Antonio

Sams ClubSam’s Club will open its two newest club locations in San Antonio at 2530 Marshall Road and 3239 Goliad Road following 8 a.m. Grand Opening ceremonies at each location Thursday, Feb. 27, adding jobs and a quality shopping experience to the region. The membership warehouse club will give residents and small business owners the opportunity to access incredible savings on quality products, including products made in Texas.

The new Sam’s Club locations will be the sixth and seventh in San Antonio, having served San Antonio since first opening at 3150 SW Military Drive in 1985. Thursday will be the first time Sam’s Club has opened two new warehouse clubs in the same city on the same day.

Grand Opening ceremony features local officials, special events
Local dignitaries will speak at Thursday’s Grand Opening ceremony at the Marshall Road club. Additionally, members of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce will be participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Goliad Road club. Students from Highland High School will present the colors and provide a drum line while the Lighthouse for the Blind Choir will sing the national anthem. The Highland High School Dance Team will also attend Thursday’s event.

Sam’s Club will showcase a variety of special events inside the clubs during the Grand Opening celebrations. At the new Marshall Road Sam’s Club, San Antonio legend George “Iceman” Gervin will meet members. Zilks, an Austin-based all natural food company, as well as San Antonio Packing Company will be on site with a variety of tasty treats. The Goliad Road Sam’s Club will host Bulletproof Energy Drinks and EcoVet Furniture, handmade furniture by America’s Heroes. Actor Jonathan Joss will also be available to meet and speak with members.

Local favorites NFL player Charles Haley and NBA player Robert Horry will provide special appearances at both club locations to celebrate the Grand Opening. In addition, immunizations will be offered Opening Day and free health screenings will also be given to assess cholesterol, blood pressure, vision, hearing and a variety of other wellness areas.

Quality products help small businesses and busy families
Sam’s Club is bringing a unique, shopper-friendly experience to San Antonio. Busy families can rely on fresh produce, quality meats and home meal solutions, while office supplies, vending machine snacks and paper goods prepare small business members for success. Additional benefits for small business owners include early shopping hours, personal shopping through Click ‘n’ Pull, truck-load savings, and access to quality items most often used by foodservice businesses, restaurant owners and caterers.

Each measuring approximately 136,000 square feet, the clubs will feature a variety of amenities, including a fresh bakery, a tire and battery center, a café and a fuel station.

A number of health and wellness services are also available. The Sam’s Club Pharmacy, open to both members and the public, features many $4 and $10 generic prescriptions, as well as savings on branded prescriptions. The Optical Center offers $40 off each additional pair of regularly priced prescription eyeglasses with the purchase of a complete pair of eyeglasses at regular price. Lastly, at the Hearing Aid Center, Sam’s Club offers premium technology in hearing aids and personal listening devices with free hearing tests and services administered by a licensed hearing aid fitter and dispenser.

New clubs brings 350 new jobs to community, local giving
To staff the new San Antonio Sam’s Club locations, Sam’s Club has hired 350 new associates. Sam’s Club currently employs more than 11,000 people in Texas, including more than 1,000 in San Antonio.

“I began my career with Sam’s Club as a part time cashier 25 years ago and I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to work in numerous roles,” said Eloisa Herrera, club manager of the Goliad Road Sam’s Club. “It brings me joy to grow our Sam’s Club family.”

Sam’s Club also has a commitment to give back to the communities it serves. Several local non-profit organizations will benefit from special grants from Sam’s Club Giving as part of the Grand Opening celebration, including Lighthouse for the Blind, Highland Park Elementary, San Antonio Junior Achievement and Brooks Academy.

Sam’s Club will also present a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program to the San Antonio Food Bank in celebration of the Grand Openings.

“The support we receive will help us to collect and distribute food to 58,000 people each week throughout 16 counties here in Southwest Texas,” said Eric Cooper, President and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank. “As the need has grown through the years, we have been able to gain more donations through our retail route program with all grocery retailers. Walmart and Sam’s Clubs are a big part of that.”

Membership Information
Whether buying for a household or a business, a Sam’s Club membership offers exclusive savings on merchandise and outstanding member benefits. With access to Cash Rewards, additional Instant Savings and early shopping hours, Sam’s Plus memberships offer even more with premium service options. See the club for details. Sam’s Savings and Sam’s Business memberships are $45 annually, and Sam’s Plus memberships are $100. Special savings for college students and military families are also available. For more information, visit

About Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club®, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), is the nation’s eighth largest retailer and a leading membership warehouse club offering superior products and services in more than 630 clubs across the U.S., as well as in Brazil, China and Mexico. To learn more about Savings Made Simple®, visit the Sam’s Club Newsroom, shop at, and interact with Sam’s Club on Twitter and Facebook.

February 2014 Word from the Chairman


Annie Turner, Wells Fargo
2014 Chairman of the Board

Well the North San Antonio Chamber’s 40th Anniversary year is off to a wonderful start, and I want to thank all of our members, supporters and friends who joined us to mark the milestone at the 40th Annual Gala: Bailando España on February 1 at the JW Marriott. It was indeed a night of recognition, camaraderie and entertainment as I laid out the North Chamber’s goals to include a focus on veterans, workforce development, small business advancement, the millennial workforce and community collaboration. View the Chairman’s Vision for 2014

First, I’d like to thank our outgoing Chairman of the Board, Brad Rollins, President of Dahill, for his incredible leadership and years of support and stewardship of the North SA Chamber. Brad worked throughout 2013 to: encourage members to do business with one another; advance our leadership academy, Leadership Lab; promote social and digital marketing to elevate member visibility; and to advocate on behalf of our member businesses. View the Chairman’s Reflection on 2013

Moreover, programs like the Gala don’t just happen without our wonderful staff, volunteers and corporate support. I offer my thanks to North Chamber staff liaisons Chris Bugg and Wendy Thomas, and the entire Creative and Sales Teams for their attention to every detail. I know you’ll join me in thanking our top sponsors at Corporate Travel Planners, Dahill, eESI, Frost, Kaufman & Killen, Inc., Network Alliance, Security Service Federal Credit Union and Wells Fargo for their legacy of support.

Additionally, the Gala program included the presentation of the San Antonian Award to Security Service Chief Executive Officer, David Reynolds. Reynolds accepted the 2014 San Antonian Award, which is reserved for individuals whose business achievements, charitable and civic contributions transcend his or her industry, career and immediate community. The San Antonian honoree is the preeminent example of personal contribution of time, talent and treasure to one’s community.

Reynolds was recognized for his transformational leadership of the credit union and accomplishments including: a continued commitment to military service members; credit union expansion to include a diverse membership throughout the southwestern United States; record capital growth; and fostering a spirit of service across credit union employees in Texas, Colorado and Utah. Additionally, through Reynolds’ service on a number of industry and community boards, he has worked to improve the industry, quality of life in San Antonio and to advance higher education. I wish him well upon his retirement from the credit union in March, 2014. View the San Antonian Award Honoree video

Focus Issues & Volunteer Leadership
Furthermore, we inducted the 50-member 2014 North Chamber Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and the 24-member 2014 Lead SA Board of Directors. Directors offer financial oversight, programming strategy and monitor policy affecting your businesses, as well as financial leadership for our various events and programs. I want to recognize and thank the 2015 Chair-elect, Rob Killen of Kaufman & Killen, and all of the directors for assuming the responsibility of governance. I look forward to working with each of them.

Also, the North Chamber is proud to have the service of more than 20 event chairs and hundreds of volunteers who work on a number of event planning committees. You can learn more about each of our Focus Issue and Volunteers Leaders on the North SA Chamber website and how you can get involved on a committee that meets your interest area. Participation Opportunities

Be a part of it.
Over the last 40 years, the North SA Chamber has endeavored to keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong by advocating for business and education, recognizing deserving leaders, providing professional development and delivering opportunities to make results-oriented business-to-business connections.

I invite each of you to be a part of our 40-year legacy and join us in our efforts. We need your involvement more than ever. Thank you to our board, volunteers and members for all you do, and I look forward to working with you. View the 40th Annual Gala photo gallery

Membership Committee Chair: Scott Kopecky, Akin, Doherty, Klein & Feuge, P.C.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAABOUT THE COMPANY: Akin, Doherty, Klein & Feuge, P.C. was founded in 1991 with four professionals and a dedication to personal service to their clients. Today, the firm employs more than 40 professionals, and they believe that tremendous growth is largely the result of each partner being directly engaged with their clients. The partners and staff of Akin, Doherty, Klein & Feuge, P.C. are committed to maintaining current knowledge of their clients’ business and personal needs by being available throughout the year to discuss and review matters. Scott joined the firm in 1997 with specialties in estate, gift and closely held businesses, as well as experience in individual and estate taxation and planning.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM: Membership Committee volunteers address the issues of new member engagement and involvement, as well as retention by welcoming and orienting new members by phone/email and greeting/hosting new members at monthly Networking Breakfasts.

PERSONALLY SPEAKING: Scott says, “The North Chamber has been a great resource for us to network with other business professionals in the San Antonio area. The Chamber is also invaluable in the information it provides its members on current events and issues facing business owners in the San Antonio area.”

When personal service counts: SSFCU remodels multiple branches at member request

Security Services Federal Credit UnionThe trend in banking these days is self-service…more kiosks, Internet banking, mobile apps. But Security Service Federal Credit Union members are speaking loud and clear. They want on-site, personal service, not necessarily the integration of bricks and clicks.

Before video tellers were all the rage…

When remote teller systems were first introduced by SSFCU more than 13 years ago (1999), they became a prototype for other credit unions across the country. The remote tellers offered increase security, reduced expenses and optimized efficiency, while bridging the gap between full-service and self-serve transactions, providing an alternative to more traditional teller lines.

But as technology improves through more accessible self-service options, SSFCU members made it clear they didn’t need or want the bridge anymore. They wanted personal service onsite with self-service options off site.

So, it’s a refocus on personal service and relationships…


Listening, SSFCU recently completed renovating several branches, getting rid of remote tellers and going back to face-to-face, one-on-one banking. So far, in the San Antonio area, three branches are complete.

With a matching focus on the digital side…

Juxtaposing this move to more personal, relational service in its branches, SSFCU also recently launched its new online and mobile versions of myBranch digital banking services.

“The credit union just hit $7 billion in assets,” says president Jim Laffoon  “While we continue to grow, we never want to lose site of the most important part of our work – serving our members.”

May 2013 Word from the Chairman

Rollins_Brad-ChairmanOn behalf of the board of directors, thank you for your membership and involvement with the North SA Chamber. Since the beginning of the year we have welcomed more than 80 new members and refocused our energies on orienting new members and facilitating participation across the organization. In doing so, we have initiated a personalized welcome for all new members at monthly Networking Breakfasts, personal calls from Membership Committee members, an email series detailing visibility opportunities, and most recently, we have added a new staff member to help navigate new members into involvement that best matches individual focus areas. Christabel Cook is the North SA Chamber’s new Marketing & Membership Services Coordinator and she is available to help connect you to chamber resources.

Government Affairs
On May 1st, the North SA Chamber was honored to host U.S. Senator Ted Cruz for a Small Business Roundtable discussion at the chamber office. A dozen business owners had the opportunity to ask their Senator direct questions and express their concerns over topics including tax reform, government contracting availability for small businesses and health care reform – among many others. We thank Sen. Cruz for asking the North SA Chamber to host the discussion and we were pleased to provide our members the opportunity to have their voices heard before their elected official.

More recently, our Government Affairs committee gained insight on the issues of higher education funding, downtown development, health care and justice.

UTSA Director of External Affairs Albert Carrisalez reviewed the State’s changing role in higher education funding. He explained that up until the 1970s, public universities relied heavily on the legislature for funding. Today, State funds are only about 17% of UTSA’s budget. UTSA been a responsible steward and has been successful in raising private funds from the community for many of their capital building and research funding needs. The university is now seeking approximately $46M from the State to build a new science building to replace their existing 37 year-old obsolete building. The university asks for your support before the legislature to support SB 16 for revenue bonds.

We were also joined by Director of Center City Development Lori Houston. As a direct result of SA2020 vision planning, Houston’s department was created to facilitate redevelopment of our inner city and downtown core and her team is focused on creating more housing and retail opportunities. Here’s a quick synopsis of our downtown economic impact. Downtown is home to an $11B tourism industry – the city core’s anchor, 65K employees representing $2.4B in wages, and 3.4K households accommodating 18K downtown and surrounding area residents. Overall, this has a $6B economic impact on San Antonio. Additionally, Center City is working to mitigate the regulatory challenges to development in downtown, reviewing and amending the Universal Development Code annually and offering incentivized development. If your business is part of a new development or redevelopment project in downtown or the surrounding area, please seek out Center City Development to help facilitate meetings with city departments.

Finally County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson reviewed the County’s focus areas in transportation, healthcare, neighborhood revitalization, jail population reduction, resource recovery – recycling, and energy consumption reduction. Overall, approximately 62% of County revenue comes from property taxes and the County focuses 80% of their efforts on health and justice. Commissioner Adkisson explained that as property values have increased, the County has been diligent to maintain or lower tax rates. The County works with the State, Texas Workforce Commission and nearly 40 nonprofits to correct offenders re-entering society in an effort to reduce re-offenses and volume in Bexar County jail. On the heath front, Commissioner Adkisson says the University Health System is focused on clinical treatment versus emergency, reactive care. The UHS is moving to a leadership role in diabetes control to lessen the costly care that can result from lack of preventative treatment.

Upcoming Events
We’ve got a full slate of summer programs scheduled and there’s sure to be a topic to meet you interest area. Our first CSO SustainAbility Summit is Wednesday, May 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Hilton San Antonio – Airport. CSO Workshops, presented by the Mission Verde Alliance, precede the Summit from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

I hope you’ll join us to “Get the Bexar Facts” at the Eighth Annual State of the County Address with Judge Nelson Wolff on Friday, May 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade. Judge Wolff will present the County’s priorities and will likely announce a newsworthy initiative or two.

Additionally, the Small Business How 2 Series topic is How 2 Generate Social Media Content: Strategy, Photo, Video and Blog. The seminar is designed for small businesses just launching a social media strategy and will take place Thursday, June 6, from 8 to 11 a.m. at Hilton San Antonio – Airport.

Lastly, the Technology Council presents the Business Technology Series: Accounting Software & Your Business on Wednesday, June 12, from 7:15 to 9 a.m. at the Petroleum Club. Learn more about what considerations should be made before purchasing, upgrading or transitioning programs.

Be a part of it.
I hope you will join us at these and our other upcoming events, enroll on a committee and be a part of it all here at the North SA Chamber. Thank you for all you do to keep Bexar County strong and I hope to see you soon.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kirk Binder, Deltaware – Ambassadors Chair

Kirk Binder


About the Company: DeltaWare Inc. provides technology solutions for Fortune 500 companies, cabling contractors, electrical contractors, small and medium businesses throughout North America. DeltaWare, a minority-owned HUB business, celebrates its 23rd anniversary in 2013. As the Business Development Manager, Kirk’s focus is providing clients with cabling infrastructure, wireless, data, and intelligent green power solutions while ensuring the end result meets the clients’ expectation. Kirk also provides sales-excellence seminars and sales consulting services to small, medium and large organizations.

About the Program: The Ambassadors’ committee is the front line service group that supports member businesses by attending grand openings, relocation, anniversary and other special celebrations. The Ambassadors’ committee offers a prime opportunity to position your business within the community while earning personal recognition and providing good will to member businesses.

Personally Speaking: Kirk joined the North San Antonio Chamber five years ago and has been a featured speaker for the Technology committee and Networking Breakfast. Kirk says, “The North Chamber is a resource for networking, education and leadership training. My business and reputation are better because of my involvement.” As Chair for 2013, Kirk’s focus is to bring more value to members by having professional speakers at Ambassador meetings and increasing business among members.