Join us as we celebrate the Opening of the new offices of the American Red Cross located at 1501 E. Red River, Suite A-1. Ribbon Cutting at 4 pm with an Open House until 6 pm on May 30th. For more information call (361) 573-5277.
Join us for a Business After Hours at VCS Security System at 3202 N. Navarro on May 16th starting at 5:30 pm. Come network and learn about this great Chamber member and business. For more information call (361) 573-5277.
Join us for the next installment of our quarterly series Building Better Businesses. This quarter Alan Bligh with the Better Business Bureau will be presenting “Outsmarting Investment Fraud”. Presentation will be on May 28th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the UHV -Small Business Development Center’s Training Room located at 3402 N. Ben Wilson. Cost of the presentation is FREE for Chamber Members and $100 for Non-Chamber members. For more information call (361) 573-5277.
March 6th marked the Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s Victoria Day at the Capitol. The Chamber’s day of bringing information to the Texas Legislature. One day during the legislative session the Chamber takes community leaders to Austin to let our elected officials know what is important to the citizens of Victoria. Sixty-five members went to Austin this year to participate in Victoria Day.
Members participated in recognition of Victoria Day in both the House and the Senate Chambers. Rep. Geanie Morrison read a proclaimation calling March 6th as Victoria Day at the Capitol. She also recognized Milton Chapman, President of the Board of the Victoria Chamber, Mayor Will Armstrong, Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi and Randy Vivian, President/CEO of the Victoria Chamber, on the floor of the House. Sen Glenn Hegar, recognized the Victoria Delegation in the Senate.
The Victoria Delegation had the opportunity to get breifings from and ask questions of Jerry Strickland, Communications Director for the Texas Attorney General, Phil Wilson, Executive Director of TxDOT, MacGregor Stephenson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Gevernor rick Perry, Rep. Geanie Morrison, and Sen. Glenn Hegar.
At the end of the evening, the Victoria Chamber of Commerce hosted a Legislative Reception at Scholz Garten many of the the Texas Legislature and their staffs. This reception offered those that attended to build relationships with members of the legislature in a relaxed atmosphere.
Victoria Day was sponsored by AEP, AT&T, Coleto Creek Power, First Victoria Bank, TAG Management, and Booth, Ahrens, & Werkenthin, PC.
Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Services Committee Meeting
Victoria College, CEC Room 205
February 1, 2013
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Sherri Pall, Randy Pollard, Bret Baldwin, Kevin Mutschler, Tommy Schulte, John McMillian, Dick Dunn
Committee continued with the discussion of survey results and how best the Chamber can support small businesses. Suggestions that will be made to Randy Vivian and Milton Chapman include:
- 1. Many small businesses cannot take time away from their business to attend the Chamber lunches. The Committee feels that a breakfast meeting would be a better time for the majority of businesses. Suggestion is to begin alternating between breakfast and lunch meetings.
- 2. The Committee would like to provide luncheon and breakfast speaker suggestions and actively participate in securing the speakers. First suggestion is to invite Texas Workforce Commission to discuss their Skills for Small Business program.
- 3. Record luncheons/breakfast and put on website with secure login (will need to secure speaker release).
PARTNER WITH VISD
The Committee discussed the new website and how businesses, both large and small, would use it as a reference tool to help search out communities with strong / pro-business activities for their future and possible expansion locations. This involves and includes Chambers of Commerce to pro-actively help facilitate the partnering of business and education – working together to add value by helping train the area workforce and future workforce.
Brett Baldwin shared our successful chamber activity whereby we reached out to over 150 new teachers welcoming them to our community this past August with our welcoming presence at their opening meeting. It was very well received and appreciated. Brett suggested that we follow-up to see how these new teachers of VISD were now finding Victoria and our business community, particularly for the purpose of helping our small business members identify gaps, and opportunities for improvement. We discussed the need to be more pro-active for our membership to not only identify those gaps and opportunities expressed by our educators, but also for helping frame the bigger picture which is to better position our members’ businesses for these new and future VISD residents, which VISD is still one of the largest employers in the area.
Brett will follow up with Dr. Robert Jaklich, to share our proposal for partnering with VISD and their new teachers on this small project – mainly because Brett knows Dr. Jaklich is very much in favor of such a partnership between education and businesses / the Chamber.
Update as of 2-18-13
Bret met with Dr. Jaklich on February 18 to discuss the above. He was so positive and excited, that he challenged himself and us to see how we can come up with a “WOW” activity to engage a few selected new teachers to sit down with us and provide us our desired feedback sometime during the week of March 4th. Brett shared the news with Sherri Pall and she scheduled the Corporate Training Room at the College for the early evening of March 4th. Brett will follow up with Dr. Jaklich and let him know our proposed date and re-confirm our agenda with him.
- 4. Ideas were discussed on how to drive Chamber members to the new website. Some of the suggestions are:
- a. Add a Business Spotlight on the home page and change out each month. The business would be chosen at random from the businesses who have already updated their information on the website.
- b. Submit a press release to the Victoria Advocate announcing the new website and encourage members to update their business information.
- c. Continue talking about the new website at the next lunch and the need to update. Have a business who has already updated their information get up and tell the audience how easy it was. Get a member business to challenge their competition to update their information. Example: “Realtors…..only 4 of you have updated your information on the website. You are missing sales opportunities if someone goes to the website looking for a realtor!”
- d. Add helpful business links to the website:
- · State Comptroller’s Office
- · Texas Workforce Commission
- · SBDC
- · SBA
- · VISD
- · VEDC (Tuesday morning Partnership meeting information)
By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz
Two key state lawmakers said Thursday that they expect the Legislature to approve a plan to hinge 10 percent of base funding for public universities and community colleges on graduation rates, the number of degrees awarded and other so-called student outcomes.
Sen. Kel Seliger and Rep. Dan Branch also agreed that the Legislature should pay for a major round of construction and renovation projects on campuses, although they differed on how the work should be funded.
Seliger, R-Amarillo, is the chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. Branch, R-Dallas, led the House counterpart last session and is expected to be named chairman this session as well. They were interviewed Thursday at the University of Texas by James Henson, who directs UT’s Texas Politics Project.
Seliger and Branch said they were confident that lawmakers would approve the proposal to link a portion of base, or formula, funding to student outcomes. Ten percent is “a pretty modest step,” Branch said, noting that the proposal has been discussed for several years and seems to enjoy support among lawmakers and college administrators.
The Legislature last approved a major round of construction projects in 2006, when 63 projects received $1.9 billion in bond money. With interest rates at record lows, this seems like an auspicious time for another round of carefully selected projects, Branch said.
“I’m in favor of the expenditure, and I’m opposed to the debt,” Seliger said, explaining that he’d rather see the Legislature pay for the work with cash.
Branch said the Austin flagship would seem to have a compelling case in its request for $95 million in bond money to help pay for a planned engineering building to replace one that is 50 years old with inadequate air conditioning, overflowing cubicles and narrow hallways.
Both lawmakers said they want to tweak a state law that allows UT to limit the number of students entitled to automatic admission by virtue of their high school graduation rank. Under current law, UT could lose that ability if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down its admission program in a case pending before the court.
Branch and Seliger also agreed that higher education institutions need more funding than either the Senate or House base budget bills provide. Seliger said his top priority is to increase funding for Texas Grants, the state’s main financial aid program.
Neither lawmaker described a proposal to allow concealed handguns inside college buildings as a top priority, and Branch said the best approach might be to let administrators deal with the matter “institution by institution.”
Zoom Physical Therapy and Wellness, PLLC
Billy T. Cattan Recovery and Outreach
Gerry’s Kayak, LLC
Dr. Tim Rainey II, DDS
Victoria Corporate Housing
Platinum Pawn & Jewelry
Mosquito Squad of Victoria
Express Employment Professionals
AUSTIN—In the midst of a prolonged statewide drought that has created unprecedented awareness of the importance of water in the lives of Texans, Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, today filed two bills designed to help ensure Texas will meet its future water needs.
House Bills 4 and 11 would make a one-time allocation of $2 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, often referred to as the Rainy Day Fund, to capitalize a new, dedicated revolving fund for use in financing water projects in the State Water Plan. The legislation would also lay the groundwork for that fund’s management and operation.
“Our projections show that $2 billion would fully implement the State Water Plan as it exists today,” said Ritter. “With that one-time capital investment, we could provide adequate, meaningful funding to the plan and achieve the state’s goals of supporting local entities in the implementation of projects.”
“It is vital for the future of Texas that a dedicated source of revenue be established for funding the State Water Plan,” Ritter added. “Our economy depends on it, our communities depend on it, and ultimately, our daily lives depend on it.”
House Speaker Joe Straus has identified water among the most important priorities of the 83rd Legislature. He commended Ritter for his leadership and years of work to raise awareness of the issue.
“Members of the Texas House understand the importance of water to business, agriculture and all Texans,” Straus said. “I am confident that the House will take bold, substantial action to address our water needs this session, and the filing of these bills formally begins that process.”
In addition to traditional water supply projects, the bills would set aside at least 20 percent of the new revolving fund for conservation and reuse efforts. The bills would also allow funds to be used across the various water-financing programs offered by the Water Development Board to ensure that as the state’s water demands and plans change, the funding support can adapt.
The State Water Plan is the result of a regional, “bottom-up” planning process comprised of local stakeholders representing a variety of interests, such as agriculture, industry, the environment, municipalities, water districts and river authorities. The 16 regional groups evaluate their needs over the next 50 years and recommend strategies and projects to meet that demand. Those groups then submit their regional plans to the state, and they are combined every five years to create the State Water Plan.
TAB Statement of Support for House Water Bills
AUSTIN, TX— The following statement may be attributed to Bill Hammond, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.
“Without an adequate water supply our Texas economy will dry up. That is why the Texas Association of Business strongly supports Chairman Allan Ritter’s bills that will put in place a funding mechanism for the statewide water plan. We are grateful that our state leadership, including Governor Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and House Speaker Straus, has made funding our water plan a priority this session. We believe that House Bills 4 and 11 send the message to the rest of the country that Texas is ready to do what is necessary to provide water for future population and economic growth.”