October, 2010Biglari Holdings modifies incentive agreement for CEO - Steak n Shake parent company Biglari Holdings Inc. of San Antonio has altered the proposed incentive bonus agreement for Chairman and CEO Sardar Biglari following criticism that he was enriching himself at shareholders' expense. Biglari stood to receive 25 percent of the annual gain in the company's book value over 5 percent. Following suggestions from shareholders, the company made two adjustments to the incentive agreement. First, it raised the performance hurdle relating to the growth in book value to 6 percent. Second, it capped at $10 million the amount Biglari can earn annually in incentive payments. The agreement also has been modified to require shareholder approval of any future changes that would increase benefits to Biglari. Biglari Holdings has scheduled a special shareholders meeting for Nov. 5 to approve the incentive agreement. It had been scheduled for Aug. 24 but was delayed so the company could “correct misinformation” about the proposed incentive agreement.
West Corp. hiring 500 in Universal City - Call center operator West Corp. plans to hire more than 500 full-time workers for its facility in Universal City. The hiring is prompted by a new client, a large pharmaceutical company that West didn't identify. The customer service positions pay $10 an hour, plus benefits, West said in a statement. West is hosting job fairs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at its Universal City office at 2103 Universal City Blvd. Candidates also can apply online at westemployment.com.
S.A. wooing West Coast companies – San Antonio officials just back from a recruiting trip confirmed that the city is in the running to land at least one San Diego-based company by the end of the year. San Antonio also is expected to see three or four more corporate expansions before 2011. Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, would not divulge details of the discussions or exactly who he and other economic development officials talked to in San Diego on Monday and Tuesday. But he told a Wednesday luncheon meeting of the San Antonio Business & Economic Society that he felt good that one of the two companies officials focused on could expand into San Antonio. The newest California targets were thought to be biotechnology firms, but Hernandez said the company giving San Antonio a hard look works in another sector. Secrecy always has been a component of economic development activities. This year, fewer companies have been looking to move or expand, and cities on the hunt for new jobs have been more reluctant to divulge plans early for fear of losing their edge.
3 firms coming to InCube in S.A. - Companies aiming to produce three cutting-edge biotechnology devices — implants detecting heart failure and another detecting and preventing epileptic seizures, plus a skin patch for women with iron deficiencies — will be the first three moving to San Antonio's biotech business incubator, Gov. Rick Perry and InCube Laboratories Inc. Chairman Mir Imran announced Tuesday. The trio of early-stage companies from San Jose, Calif., will begin operations in InCube's incubator, called the San Antonio Innovation Center, opening in November. Perry announced to a packed City Hall room that the Texas Emerging Technology Fund will invest a total of $9.2 million in the incubator's initial three companies. Noticeably absent from the event was Mayor Julián Castro. Imran said Castro was leading a San Antonio delegation to San Diego to recruit yet another, still unidentified, California biotechnology company to come to San Antonio. The three initial InCube companies are Corhythm Inc. with the heart failure device, Neurolink Inc. with the epilepsy device and Fe3 Medical Inc. with the iron patch. The products of these companies, if approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are expected to reach millions of patients around the world and create hundreds of biotechnology jobs in San Antonio. http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/3_incube_labs_cos_announced_103969159.html
Cancer research fund created in Montfords' name - The $600,000 John T. and Debbie Montford Cancer Research Fund has been established at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. The fund is named in honor of the former state senator, who is now in charge of General Motors' government relations, and his wife. He served as president of the Health Science Center Development Board from 2007 to 2010. The Montford fund is part of $5.6 million that was raised at the Health Science Center's fourth gala, held Saturday at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio.
Whitacre to get chamber award - General Motors Co. Chairman Ed Whitacre has been chosen to receive the third annual Pathfinder Award from the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Whitacre, who stepped down Sept. 1 as GM's CEO, will be presented the award during an Oct. 13 luncheon at the AT&T Center. More than 400 people are expected to attend. “The Pathfinder Award is the pinnacle award the chamber gives out,” said chamber President and CEO Richard Perez. “We wanted to reach out to people who contribute to the business climate and the community. When the question came up about who would be ideal, Ed Whitacre's name shot to the top. It was straightforward and easy for us to pick.” http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/whitacre_will_get_chambers_pathfinder_award_103886374.html
San Antonio practices make Best Lawyers list - Some San Antonio-based law practices appear in the top tier in national rankings by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. Among the locally based practices appearing in the national ranking are Bracewell & Giuliani LLP's labor law and employment law practices. Cox Smith Matthews Inc. had six San Antonio-based practices earn a spot in the top tier: banking and finance, bankruptcy, employee-benefits, real estate, tax, and trusts and estates law. Haynes and Boone LLP's bankruptcy, energy and general-commercial litigation practices in San Antonio also ranked in the top tier.
S.A.'s Genesis Networks' growth recognized - San Antonio-based Genesis Networks landed the No. 3 spot on the Everything Channel's CRN 2010 Fast Growth 100 list. The list covers IT solution providers with growth rates of more than 26 percent, average revenue growth over two years of 110 percent and average annual sales of products and services that reach $120.8 million. Genesis Networks' growth rate from 2007 to 2009 was 663 percent, according to a news release from the company. The awards will be presented Oct. 21 in Boston.
Urban Taco will debut in San Antonio in October - Mexican restaurant chain Urban Taco is set to open its first location in the San Antonio area. Urban Taco will open a new restaurant on Oct. 28 in the Quarry Village shopping center near Alamo Heights. The company’s other four restaurants are located in the Dallas area. The Mexican dining concept is owned by Del Sur Restaurant Group in Dallas. Urban Taco first debuted in Dallas in 2007. Company officials say their menu was inspired by the flavors of Acapulco and Mexico City. The restaurant sells 13 different varieties of tacos as well as a wide selection of main dishes. Cooks and servers at every Urban Taco restaurant makes salsas, sauces, marinades, spices and rubs from scratch. The restaurant also sells a variety of frozen margarita frappes, tequilas, Mexican beers and sangrias. “We are excited to bring Urban Taco to San Antonio,” said Markus Pineyro, co-founder of Del Sur Restaurant Group. “Our menu is carefully created to emulate the food of my native Mexico. Our goal is to share true Mexican cuisine by showcasing the diversity of ingredients and translating classic dishes in a modern way.”
Leap Wireless and Pocket Communications Complete Formation of Joint Venture – Leap Wireless and Pocket Communications, today announced they have formed a Leap-controlled and managed joint venture that provides enhanced mobile communications through Leap's Cricket(R) brand to customers in the South Texas region, from San Antonio to Laredo and in the Rio Grande Valley covering more than 4.4 million potential customers. The joint venture has acquired substantially all of Pocket Communications' and Cricket's wireless licenses and operating assets for the South Texas region. Leap now owns approximately 76 percent of the joint venture and Pocket Communications owns approximately 24 percent. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/leap-wireless-and-pocket-communications-complete-formation-of-joint-venture-to-provide-expanded-south-texas-region-mobile-communications-services-2010-10-01?reflink=MW_news_stmp
Lee left his mark on San Antonio - Milton Lee came to the end of an eight-year journey this week as CEO of CPS Energy. It's probably a bittersweet time for him. As with any high-profile position, his leaving elicits comments of “good-bye and good riddance” from many CPS critics. After all, they still can't understand how he escaped the public chastisement and head rolling that came in the wake of CPS executives not revealing the true cost of the utility's share in the South Texas Project; others believe he was the architect of CPS' “keep it secret” culture. However, throughout his tenure as CPS' leading man, Lee enjoyed the support of the business community and his board, and he did the job that ratepayers want most, keeping their energy costs among the lowest in Texas. As its leader, Lee owned the utility's failures and its successes because he set the tone for what occurred there….. Lee's most visible legacy may be the Milton B. Lee Academy of Science and Engineering. The public charter high school, which snared “recognized” status from the Texas Education Agency, nurtures young people's interest in science and technology. Speaking at this year's Juneteenth Freedom Dinner, where he received the Frederick Douglass Emancipator Award for his leadership in helping people advance to the next level, Lee made it clear that his next “job” would be helping the school produce top-caliber graduates. http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/columnists/kathy_clay-little/lee_left_his_mark_on_san_antonio_104111104.html?showFullArticle=y
Northwood Tower sold, buyers eying other properties in Alamo City - An investment group based in Mexico City has closed on the purchase of its first office building in the U.S.: Northwood Tower in Northeast San Antonio. Located at 1777 NE Loop 410, Northwood Tower spans 257,000 square feet and is currently 88 percent occupied. The Mexico City investors will own Northwood Tower under the entity name Eljoan Inc., according to the most recent information on file with the Bexar County Appraisal District. Tony Eugenio, a principal in locally based construction/real estate brokerage firm Presidio Group, represented the investment firm in the Northwood Tower deal. He has also taken over leasing and property management duties for the building. Eugenio adds that the Mexico City group plans to invest in more office properties in the U.S., including San Antonio. In fact, two more local buildings that are presently on the sales block have caught the group’s attention: North Central office building One International Centre; and the START Center for Cancer Care. http://sanantonio.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2010/10/04/story3.html
UTB-TSC president receives award for Hispanic women - Juliet V. García, president of the University of Texas Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, received a 2010 Latina Leader Award from the Imagen Foundation at a Sept. 28 reception, dinner and ceremony at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington D.C. The award recognizes Hispanic women who have made differences in all areas of society. García was nominated by U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, whose District 15 includes a portion of Cameron County. Hinojosa is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which worked with the Imagen Foundation and the Dolores Huerta Foundation to solicit for award nominations. García, a Brownsville native, became president of Texas Southmost College in 1986 and of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College in 1992. Time Magazine named her among the nation’s Top 10 Best College Presidents in 2009.
Boerne ISD Hall of Honor has been created - As a way to recognize past athletic excellence in the district, a Boerne ISD Hall of Honor has been created. Boerne ISD Athletic Director Stan Leech said Boerne resident Jonathan Cluck approached him last summer with the idea of doing something to honor past athletic achievements in the district, and after mulling it over, Leech thought it would be a good thing. "It was time to do something," Leech said. "This is about bringing the community together and letting everyone know about our present and past. We have some good people that have done some good things past and present." Kerrville and Seguin also have a hall of honor and Leech visited with athletic directors from those schools last summer, along with contacting Lubbock ISD, to get ideas on the best way to proceed. http://boernestar.com/sports/article_d908bc60-cd7a-11df-b2e4-001cc4c002e0.html
University Center opens in Fredericksburg - Faculty and donors celebrated the opening of the Hill Country University Center (HCUC) on Sep. 23 in Fredericksburg. The HCUC program began at Fredericksburg high school in 2003 in portable trailers. Since then, the program has expanded due to the support of HEB, Texas Tech, Austin Community College, Concordia, and Angelo State. The center was founded by the Hill Country Foundation in 2003 to cater to the needs of traditional, non-traditional, and economically challenged students who might not be able to afford to go study elsewhere at a four year institution. Stationed on a 68 acre campus on the outskirts of Fredericksburg, the facility features six classrooms, two lecture halls, a science lab, a computer lab, bookstore, and support space for both students and the nine staff members that are currently employed in the Hill Country. The academic structure of the HCUC is a noncompetitive course schedule, meaning that no institution offers the same major. Students who do not have transferable credit may begin by taking ACC core curriculum classes that are applicable to the 4 year university of their choice, and when the prerequisite classes for transfer are complete, they can be advised on a transfer. After the process of advising, students have an opportunity to choose a major. The end goal is to attain a four year university diploma in a smaller, community oriented environment. Elizabeth Olvera, a business major at the HCUC, grew up in a small town 15 miles outside of Fredericksburg. She graduated from a class of 37 students and attended University of Texas at San Antonio for her first year of college, but said that because of the class size she felt like she didn't even want to go to class. "I was not used to the class size and it was intimidating," Olvera said. After hearing about the HCUC facility, she immediately enrolled because it reminded her of her home environment. http://www.theaccent.org/university-center-opens-in-fredericksburg-1.1660451
Texas Grants News This Week
Sociologist Awarded Grant to Study Generosity - University of Texas at Austin sociologist Pamela Paxton has been awarded a $148,000 grant from the Science of Generosity Initiative at the University of Notre Dame to study how social, economic and political structures affect individuals' generosity toward one another. Paxton's study is one of 13 research projects to receive funding from the initiative, which promotes research on generosity, altruism, philanthropy and related issues and shares those findings with corporate, civic, religious and philanthropic communities.
Howard College gets 5-year fed grant worth $3.19M - SAN ANGELO, Texas — Howard College, received a five-year grant worth about $3.19 million from the federal Strengthening Institutions-Hispanic Serving Institutions Program to address developmental education. The same program awarded Angelo State University a five-year grant worth almost $3.1 million to address retention efforts, so students who start college will be more likely to graduate.
ASU gets $629968 U.S. grant - SAN ANGELO, Texas — Angelo State University has received a $629,968 grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Strengthening Institutions — Hispanic Serving Institutions Program. The award is the first year of a five-year grant that will, when completed in 2015, total almost $3.15 million under present funding levels.
Texas A&M Researchers Eye Methods For Automating Generation Of Customized, Animated Avatars - A technique for automating the creation of unique, animated avatars to represent distinctive individuals in the virtual world is being developed by two Texas A&M Department of Visualization professors with the help of a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. “Currently, computer users can design the shape, clothing, hairstyle, just about everything, regarding the look of their avatars,” said Tim McLaughlin, head of the Department of Visualization and principal investigator on the three-year project. “What they cannot do is have a similar level of personal control over how their avatars move.” McLaughlin, who is conducting the study with co-principal investigator Ann McNamara, assistant professor of visualization, said, “Our intention is to enable avatar users to represent themselves in ways that combine ‘look’ and ‘motion’ to communicate more effectively.”
College of Liberal Arts Receives Federal Grant for Student Development - The University of Texas System Brownsville issued the following news release: The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College's College of Liberal Arts recently received a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The college's grant application, "Recruiting High Achieving Hispanic Students into Forensics and STEM," will receive funding from 2011 to 2013. The grant will enable 10 students to be DHS Scholars and receive stipends for books, tuition and fees for two years. Applying students must earn an associate degree in forensic investigation and a bachelor's degree in biology.
DOT grants $9.2M to improve transportation safety, sustainability - The U.S. Department of Transportation announced more than $9.2 million in grants to seven University Transportation Centers that are using new technologies and developing innovative approaches to improve transportation systems throughout the country. The Southwest Region University Transportation Center (SWUTC) at Texas A&M University will use a $2,082,800 grant to continue research, education and technology transfer activities at its consortium universities, which include Texas A&M University, Texas Southern University and the University of Texas at Austin. Research efforts focus on supporting economic growth and trade, enhancing mobility and infrastructure efficiency, and promoting safety, environmental stewardship and transportation work force development. Also located at Texas A&M University, the University Transportation Center for Mobility will use a $1.5 million grant to continue conducting an integrated, interdisciplinary, competitive program of research, education and technology transfer in mobility, rural public transportation, congestion management and mitigation, and innovative financing.
UNT welcomes first class of Terry Scholars - DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas welcomed 16 Terry Scholars with the start of the 2010-11 school year. The Terry Foundation, Texas' largest private scholarship program (http://www.terryfoundation.org/) , announced last winter that it would expand to include UNT. The first class of scholars was selected this past spring. The Houston-based Terry Foundation was established by Howard and Nancy Terry in 1986. Since its creation, the foundation has awarded more than $77 million in scholarships. Scholars who are selected demonstrate leadership capabilities, perform well academically, and need financial assistance to achieve their goals in higher education.
Researcher - University Advancement