|this edition's featured article. . .|
By Rebecca Ryan
|chamber news and events. . .|
Your Opinion Counts!
Last edition's Poll Question:
What will happen to healthcare reform now?
38% said the issue was dead for now.
33% said they felt it would be placed back on the "A" list in very short order again.
24% said congress would start over on a bi-partisan basis.
5% said the health care debate would not start up again until the unenployment question gets better.
Thanks for taking this poll. Last edition's poll is now closed.
For the fifth year in a row, Workforce Solutions of Central Texas has been named one of the top employers in the state.
Workforce Solutions of Central Texas connects skilled employs with local businesses that are hiring in its seven-county area. Its services involve employee-employer matching; employ recruitment and prescreening, funding for job-seeker skills training, child care and transportation; online job and resume posting; online job and employee database search; business startup and expansion; labor market and wage data; and customized services for businesses.
We're a government-funded organization that functions as a business. We were recognized as the Large Employer of the Year by the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, the recipient of the Texas Award for Performance Excellence for Baldrige-based role models, and proud of our job security through managed budgets that have ensured no layoffs.
It's become a highlight of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce calendar, and this year's annual Mardi Gras Third Thursday Mixer, sponsored by Texas Partner's Federal Credit Union, is certain to be no exception.
This year's mixer will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 18 at Texas Partners' Killeen branch, located at 1011 Wales, just off of Willow Springs Road.
Featuring great Mardi Gras fun, outstanding Cajun and traditional Mardi Gras foods and, of course, the famous "Hurricanes," this mixer is one you won't want to miss.
And just to make everything a little more interesting, the Killeen Green Jackpot, in which every chamber member is entered, but where you must be present to win, remains at a cool $500 in Mardi Gras fun cash this month.
The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce Would Like to Welcome Its Newest Members!
New Chamber Members who have joined January 27 through February 11
The semi-annual Hood Howdy allows GKCC members the opportunity to market to one of the most important segments of our local community. For free!
The event, slated for February 25, 2010, will take place at Club Hood from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To participate in this event, chamber members are encouraged to supply the chamber with promotional items (i.e. pens, flyers, and pencils, key chains.) to be distributed in welcome bags at Hood Howdy. This event is targeted to Fort Hood newcomers. There will be a total of 500 bags distributed, so a total of 500 "items" will be required to fill the available bags. There is no charge for this service.
The deadline for promotional items, is Friday, February 12, 2010 by 4:30 pm. You must be a member of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce to participate in the chamber's free program for this event.
Volunteers are welcome on Friday February 19th for a bag stuffing party beginning at 9 a.m.. There is absolutely no charge for chamber members to participate in this event. Again, you must be a chamber member to participate.
This is the perfect opportunity to say "Welcome" to new soldiers and their family members. Please contact Tammy Sanchez at 254-526-9551 if you wish to have items included in the Hood Howdy bags.
If you would like your own table at Hood Howdy, please contact the MWR at 254-532-5481.
Killeen residents have one other leisure activity to help them get some exercise and some quality time outside on Killeen's new disc golf course, just opened at Killeen's Conder Park.
The new golf course, which is a shared project with the city and the Kiwanis Club of Killeen, is the first disc golf course in Killeen. It is free to the public.
Located at 810 Conder at Veterans Memorial Blvd., the course has all the amenities that has made this up-and-coming sport become so popular.
Because of the participation of the Kiwanis Club, the course was built without any additional tax monies, according to city officials.
Business Resource Center Offers Variety of Valuable Business Programs
How's Your Businesses' Customer Service? CTC's Students In Free Enterprise Mystery Shopper Program Can Help You Find Out
How is your customer service? Is it really as good as you think?
How can you tell if your service is good or bad? Answer: By having an objective person - a mystery shopper - shop your business and evaluate the service.
The Central Texas College Business Department's Students In Free Enterprise competition team has developed a Mystery Shopper program to help businesses answer the customer service quality question.
There is no charge for the program.
BRC to Hold Monthly Social Media Breakfast in Killeen
The Central Texas Business Resource Center will host a Social Media Breakfast at Jason’s Deli in Killeen. The group meets the first Wednesday of each month from 7:30am-8:30am.
Social Media Breakfasts bring together people who are interested in teaching, sharing, and learning about trends, case studies, and best practices in social media. This educational focus is critical for moving the social media industry forward. Anyone interested in social media are invited to attend. The program information is different each meeting, and information can be found at www.twitter.com/centexbrc
This new monthly
event is free to attend, but attendees will have to pay for
their own food and drink. Advance registration is required.
us for the March Power
Hour on March 5th; Register Here!
"Power Hour Rubs Me The RIGHT Way"
- Rick Miller -, -- Licensed Massage Therapist - -
Join us for the March Power
Hour on March 5th; Register Here!
American Free Enterprise.
|economic development. . .|
The Fire Boys Had The Fight Of Their Lives
Just as the business houses were about to close at the six o’clock hour Wednesday evening, the alarm of fire was spread over our little city and it was soon known that the light plant was afire. Dense columns of black smoke mixed with blazes of red almost hid the building from view as our people hastened to the scene. Conveying the idea to many that there was but little hope of the brave fighters winning.
But soon they had two streams of water, ably handled, playing on the blaze which was kept up for thirty minutes, though many times the smoke and gases from burning oil almost made it impossible for the hose to be effectively handled. As the fire was principally confined to the waste oil about the oil engine, water had but little effect on it. And likely another story would be to tell had a number of fire extinguishers not been put into use. Just what the damage is hard to tell until a further investigation is made. The machinery was overhauled and put in operation yesterday afternoon at five o’clock.
Too much credit cannot be given the fighters for their faithful labors. While they had nothing at stake themselves, in a money way, they did not let comfort, danger or good clothes keep them from going the full limit in their efforts to save the property of a friend and fellow townsman.
One man who has resided in San Antonio and has seen their fighters at work, remarked that he had never seen better work. Mr. Rancier puts it: “There is no better in the world."
by William Lutz
The Texas Association of Business has in the last few years made public education improvement a signature issue.
That trend was clearly evident at the employer-oriented organization’s annual conference in Austin Jan. 27-28. Most of the conference was devoted to public education at all levels and the need to promote an educated workforce. TAB President Bill Hammond has insisted in season and out that Texas’ prosperity depends on educational improvements that guarantee more skilled, more competent workers than those now being prepared for jobs.
During the conference, businesspeople learned about current trends in education and were encouraged to get involved with local schools and colleges to demand relevant curriculum, real accountability, and meaningful standards.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the program was the panel’s discussion on higher education. Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes, discussing the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s work between legislative sessions, said the board was looking at trying to change the funding formulas so that universities only get paid when students complete a course. (Under current law, universities are funded for any student enrolled in a class on the 12th class day.)
One Paredes proposal that received TAB backing calls for adding a merit component to the existing TEXAS Grant program, a state financial aid program that provides subsidies for low-and moderate-income students trying to go to college.
Under current law, any student with financial need who graduates under the recommended high school program is eligible for a TEXAS Grant.
But the state has not been able fully to fund the program since the 2003 budget crisis. In 2003, the Legislature allowed universities to raise tuition substantially, increasing the cost of the program. So new students seeking TEXAS Grants are currently ranked according to financial need until the appropriated funds are exhausted. Paredes proposed giving priority for grants to students who show academic merit and are likely to get a college diploma. Paredes would give priority to students who meet at least two of the following four criteria: graduate in the top third of their high school class, graduate with a 3.0 (“B”) average, graduate under the distinguished achievement diploma, and achieve college-ready scores on the ACT Assessment or the SAT.
He said three of the proposed criteria are specific to a student’s high school and do not require competing against students from other, possibly more affluent, areas. Hammond applauded the proposal and encouraged lawmakers to adopt a merit component to the financial aid programs.
But Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), vice chairman of the higher education committee, expressed concerns about the effect such a proposal could have on access to higher education. Castro said that if the Legislature fully funded TEXAS Grants, he would look favorably upon a merit-based scholarship program in addition to the current program.
Former University of Texas Regent Woody Hunt of El Paso discussed trends in the state’s developmental education system. Hunt warned that most of the students needing remedial education at Texas community colleges are adults returning to school.
Hunt also noted that improving the percentage of Texans earning college degrees is an imperative to promote the state’s future prosperity. He noted that Texas attracts a significant number of new residents with college degrees to the state, but that getting more graduates of Texas high schools to earn degrees is still important.
House Higher Education Committee chairman Dan Branch (R-Dallas) noted that, while other states are cutting higher education budgets, Texas is increasing them. He noted the state added more than $1 billion in student financial aid in the 2009 budget.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Texas has put more than $6 billion additional state dollars into state universities since 2003.
Castro wants to focus on improving the higher education experience for the student. He said that Texas needs to do a better job of identifying students who are likely to require developmental classes, and remediate them early.
He also wants to focus on the high school counseling system. He wants more counselors in Texas schools and wants better training for counselors so they can help students make informed career and higher education decisions.
Public Education Accountability
During the past four years, Hammond has devoted substantial time and energy toward encouraging local chambers of commerce and other business leaders to become “critical friends” of the public school system, holding administrators accountable for the district’s results.
It was altogether unsurprising, therefore, that TAB’s annual conference should include a session on educational accountability.
Educational consultant Sandy Kress slammed the idea of giving 60 percent of schools high ratings such as “exemplary” or “recognized.” Kress called on the Texas Education Agency to ensure that high ratings actually mean something. He praised lawmakers for tying the state’s academic testing system to college and career readiness.
TEA’s Criss Cloudt noted that the Legislature’s rewrite of the accountability system — HB 3 – gave the agency little discretion as to setting passing standards, with lawmakers directing the agency to conduct studies that tie them to college readiness. She predicted the debate would soon shift to how quickly to phase in the new standards.
The public education panel also had a detailed discussion of dropout reporting and how to make it more accurate. The chairmen of the two education committees, Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) and Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) also discussed their efforts to improve public school accountability in Texas.
|governmental affairs. . .|
Representative Aycock's office has received numerous questions regarding energy billing and in particular the possible relationship between new metering systems and higher than anticipated electric bills. We have been in extensive conversations with Oncor representatives regarding this matter. While there is no apparent simple solution, there are avenues that we encourage constituents to pursue.
First, become informed. There will be meetings with Oncor Wednesday, February 10th and Friday, February 12th at the Killeen Senior Citizen center. Second, accumulate any relevant documents including electric bills for the past few months and if available the bills from the same months in the preceding year. Third, if after reviewing your billing you believe there have been errors in your usage calculations, you should contact an Oncor representative. It is our understanding that Oncor representatives will be available in the community to meet with customers. Several hundred of these meetings have already occurred and are still ongoing.
Representative Aycock plans to attend the February 10th meeting in Killeen to observe the interaction between Oncor and their customers.
Representative Aycock's Austin office is located in the Capitol extension: E2.506. He can be reached at 512-463-0684 or at P.O. Box 2910, Austin, Texas 78768. His district office can be reached by calling 254-690-1752 or at 2916 Illinois Ave. Killeen, TX 76543
Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce members are invited to the first Governmental Affairs meeting of 2010 as Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is set to address the chamber at a luncheon meeting on February 18.
The meeting will take place at the Grand Ballroom of the Shilo Inns Suites Hotel from 11:30 - 1:00 p.m., and advance reservations are required.
Staples has an outstanding and well-respected record of getting things done. Whether helping his family start a nursery and landscape business, serving on his hometown’s city council or being part of local economic development, Staples has proven to be a strong advocate for Texas.
While serving first in the Texas House of Representatives and later as a state senator, he was a recognized leader on such critical issues as worker’s compensation reform, private property owners’ rights, natural resources, school finance and education just to name a few.
As Agriculture Commissioner since 2007, the Palestine native continues to pursue policies that enable economic strength, youth development, healthy lifestyles and consumer protection. He is charting a course to bring job creation to rural Texas, further the promotion of Texas products around the world, and help farmers and ranchers face tomorrow’s challenges and increase profit margins through the use of new technologies and value-added processing.
The cost of this event, including lunch, will be $18.00. Reservations are due prior to February 12, and can be made by contacting Tammy Sanchez at the chamber at 254-526-9551.
|digest. . .|
Sedona Staffing and KWTX Seek “Boss of the Month” Nominations
Sedona Staffing Services, in partnership with KWTX television, is asking for nominations for “Boss of the Month”. This is a great opportunity for employees and employers to recognize their outstanding supervisors or bosses. Please visit this link for complete details.
Here Are Some Of The Things Happening Around TAMU-CT This Week
Veterans Land Board to Host Benefits Fair
On Saturday, March 13, the Texas Veterans Land Board will host a very large Veterans Benefits Fair at the Killeen Plaza Hotel from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m..
The Veterans benefits fairs will feature information on the Veterans Land Board loan programs and state veterans homes and cemeteries. Representatives from the Texas Veterans Commission and U.S. Veterans Affairs (VA) will be present with information about employment, education and V.A. claims. Representatives from local lending institutions, professional real estate offices, Social Security Administration and national and state veterans organizations will also be available.
As a special attraction there will also be a classic car show on the west side of the Plaza Hotel parking lot.
Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.,
in conjunction with
Warner Cable, is hosting its first
Central Texas Black Expo on Saturday, February 20th at
the Killeen Civic & Conference Center from 8:00am to 8:00pm.
Activities, Programs Abound at Central Texas College
Central Texas College has a number of special activities and programs set for the upcoming weeks.
For more information on each of these programs, activities and announcements, please click the links below.
Texell Announces Plans for Killeen Branch
Texell Federal Credit Union, Bell County’s largest member-owned, not-for-profit credit union, has announced plans to open a full- service branch in Killeen. The Killeen Office will be Texell’s fifth location.
"We have strong demand for an office in the Killeen market," stated Tony Hale, Texell CEO. “We are happy to be able to offer our members in the Killeen area an office to meet their financial needs,” Hale continued.
Texell’s Killeen office will be located at 2208 Sunny Lane, just off North W.S. Young Drive. The existing 2,100 square foot building will be completely renovated and will allow Killeen residents access to a full range of financial services, six days a week. The new office will employ six staff members.
Extensive renovations have already begun on the building, and Texell will host a grand opening celebration in April. For more information on Texell Federal Credit Union, please visit www.texell.org
About Texell, Your Credit Union
Texell Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative serving more than 26,000 members throughout Central Texas. Texell was founded in 1948 and offers a wide range of financial services to its members. Texell has three locations in Temple, one in Belton and soon one in Killeen. Further information about Texell is available at Texell.org or by calling (254) 773-1604.
Staples Makes Goal Setting Easy for Small Businesses in 2010
Setting New Year’s resolutions for the office is easier said than done. Once clients start calling and deadlines loom, those wishful goals soon get lost in the daily grind of completing the tasks at hand. Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS), is now making it easy for small businesses to set, track and achieve professional goals. Teaming with the goal-setting experts at stickK.com, Staples is launching the Staples stickK to It! Business Challenge, a unique program to help small businesses prioritize and achieve their objectives for the New Year. Whether it’s one simple goal like organizing a desk or tackling larger challenges such as overhauling a business plan, Staples encourages professionals to sign up for the Staples stickK to It! Business Challenge to commit to improving their businesses today.
The goals small businesses set in 2010, and their success in achieving them, are crucial to the nation’s economic recovery. According to the 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey, more than 80 percent of small-business owners admit they don’t monitor their goal-setting or enlist the proper “coaches” and advisors to help them achieve their goals. As the economy turns around in 2010, small businesses will be eager to return to growth and jumpstart projects put on hold during the recession. Staples wants to make it easy for them to prioritize their objectives, and with the Staples stickK to it! Business Challenge, Staples is setting its own goal of changing the lives of one million small businesses by giving them a platform for success.
How It Works
Now - April 12, small-business professionals will be able to log on to www.staples.com/goals to sign-up for free to be part of the Staples stickK to It! Business Challenge. To help achieve goals, users create a Commitment Contract, a promise by a user to reach a goal. The Commitment Contract concept, based on incentives and accountability, was invented by stickK.com after years of research in behavioral economics.
“We’ve found that everyone starts off wanting to achieve their goal, but most of the time there is nothing out there to make them stickK to their word,” said Ian Ayers, co-founder of stickK.com. “By entering into a commitment contract, backing out becomes harder – ‘commitment’ and ‘contract’ are two words that resonate with people and keep them committed to achieving their goals.”
Participants choose from five different goal setting focus areas on www.staples.com/goals: 1) Get Organized/Increase Productivity; 2) Professional Development; 3) Maximize Your Bottom Line; 4) Green Your Office; and 5) Improve Working Environment. Once they select a focus area, participants select specific commitments and personalize them to best fit their needs and objectives. Next, they choose someone to be their referee- a colleague or friend who will monitor their progress and support them along the way. Then, users will start earning EasyPoints as they make progress and report on their goals and can then redeem the EasyPoints for Staples products and services. The last step is achieving success. If users follow the Commitment Contract framework, as the stickK.com model has found, they will be well on their way to accomplishing their goals.
Staples, the world’s largest office
products company, is committed to making it easy for
customers to buy a wide range of office products, including
office supplies, technology, furniture, and business
services. With 2008 sales of $23 billion and 91,000
associates worldwide, Staples serves businesses of all sizes
and consumers in 27 countries throughout North and South
America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In July 2008, Staples
acquired Corporate Express, one of the world’s leading
suppliers of office products to businesses and institutions.
Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and
is headquartered outside Boston. More information about
Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com.
No waiting in lines, no driving out of town to fight traffic, no hurried meals, and most of all no rush and fuss!
Join us at the Plaza Hotel for the 5th Annual Sweetheart Ball for an elegant evening with style and class on Friday, 12 Feb from 6 p.m. until midnight. Dinner will be served promptly at 7pm. Enjoy a gourmet meal served at your seat, a professional photographer with no sitting fees, lots of door prizes, open bar, and a live DJ all night long. All proceeds go to support Central Texas charities and non-profit organization in Killeen, Harker Heights, and Copperas Cove. A special contribution will be made this year to the Haiti recovery efforts as well.
Tickets are $25 per person which includes your meal choice.
Killeen Chamber Members are welcome to advertise at this event for free. Contact Shanan Worley above for details.
For more information on the sponsoring organization go to the Christian Freedom Ministries’ website.
Color Visual Concepts, Inc. Opens New Line of Business
Indoorbillboardsusa.com, a division of Color Visual Concepts, Inc., publisher of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce annual magazine, is proud to announce that they will be placing their new touch screen information system in the Texas Ranger Stadium /Arlington Convention and Visitor Bureau areas of Arlington Texas.
Hundreds of thousands of people will
have access to our 21st Century information system which is
being custom built for this installation in Germany and will
be installed in March 2010.
Centex Technologies, an information technology consulting company serving Central Texas, announced today that they have started an IT Advisory Service for Central Texas. Mr. Abdul Subhani – Managing Partner of Centex Technologies - will be the author of this blog. He is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist, Certified E-Commerce Consultant, Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Fraud Examiner, Virtual Instructor and a Speaker on IT Security, Networking, Small Business Architect, & SEO Internet Marketing.
The blog can be found at http://www.TheCentralTexasITGuy.com.
This blog will provide news updates on technology gadgets, network implementation and support, viruses, security, privacy, trouble shooting, internet marketing, internet regulations and governance, IT industry competition policy, and other information technology news updates.
About Centex Technologies
Centex Technologies is a computer consulting company serving in Central Texas area which can assist your business by providing technical support when you need it for a specific problem or project. Our full service consultants provide an entire range of services needed to advise, install, service, configure, maintain, and teach Information Technology requirements. Centex Technologies can also assist your company with logo, website, and software design and development.
Florence Chamber To Hold Annual Banquet on March 6
The Florence Chamber of Commerce Banquet & Dinner will be held on March 6th at 7:00 pm at The Florence High School. The guest speaker will be Commander Stephen McCraw of the Department of Public Service.
Dinner will include Chicken Supreme with garlic mashed potatoes, a green salad and cake for desert.
Tickets are $20.00 per person and can be purchased starting on Friday, Feb. 12th at Union State Bank, Gerald Nunn Electric and The Vineyard at Florence.
Please call Shawna Platt at (254) 793-3363 if you have any questions.
We hope to see you all there on March 6th.
Standards for Submitting Items for the Hot Links! "Digest"
The first requirement is that all sponsoring or associated entities of events or programs submitted must be members in good standing of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce. Items for chamber non-members will not be considered. What can we say? - it's a perk of chamber membership, and we apply this across the board.
All items to be submitted must be in the form of a MS Word or text document. They must be written in news style so they may be pasted into Hot Links! in the format you see throughout the e-newsletter. We are glad to edit for style and grammar; what we simply can't do is take your flyer and write the Hot Links! story for you.
If you have one piece of art to submit with the story, please submit that in a .jpg format.
If you have registration forms, entry blanks, flyers, etc. that go with a news story, please submit them as either Word, Publisher or Adobe Acrobat files. They will be converted to Adobe Acrobat documents and linked to the news story.
Staff members of the chamber are on many business and organizational mailing lists. Please do not assume that just because you sent us notification of a news item or event because we are "on your list" that we will automatically include it in Hot Links! Please submit anything you would like included in Hot Links! in an e-mail specifically marked for publication in the newsletter.
Any items not submitted in accordance with these guidelines will not be considered for inclusion. All items must be submitted via e-mail to Thad Byars at the chamber.
|people. . .|
Latest Pictures of GKCC "People On The Go"
|links. . .|
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Hot Links! Copyright 2010, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce
Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, One Santa Fe Plaza, P.O. Box 548, Killeen, TX 76540 (254)- 526-9551 Fax: (254) 526-6090
For questions of comments about this newsletter, please contact Thad Byars at email@example.com Please note that, properly formatted, the name of the GKCC newsletter is Hot Links!, with an upper case "H" and "L", followed by an exclamation point.