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Business News from Scott Kabrich at UTSA
Scott Kabrich

January, 2011


 3 S.A. companies make Fortune's “best” list - Three San Antonio-based companies are ranked among the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2011 in the Feb. 7 issue of Fortune magazine, which will hit the newsstands Monday and appeared online Thursday.  USAA is the top San Antonio-based company on the list at No. 17. NuStar Energy L.P. is No. 30, and Rackspace Hosting landed at No. 92.   Read more:

Texas MedClinic to open 11th S.A. clinic - Texas MedClinic plans to open an urgent-care clinic this fall at 323 N. 1604 West in the Stone Oak area.   The 11,034-square-foot clinic will be staffed by as many as four physicians and at least 14 staff members. Located on a 3.2-acre site, the clinic will have room for future expansion.  The clinic will be Texas MedClinic's 11th in San Antonio and 14th overall. It has a clinic in New Braunfels and two in Austin.  

James Avery opens 60th store - A Kerrville-based jeweler will open its 60th store as it expands in the southeastern United States.  The new James Avery store will open in Little Rock, Ark., this February, the company announced.   Most James Avery shops are in Texas, but in recent years, the family-owned company has opened locations in Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia.   Founded in 1954, James Avery operates 59 stores across Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.   

Whitacre is playing it cool — for now - The modest office of Edward E. Whitacre Jr., the man the White House tapped to lead General Motors out of a crisis in 2009, lies behind an unmarked door in a high-rise on U.S. 281. And Whitacre, who long ago earned his leadership stripes for building AT&T Corp. into a corporate colossus before his GM stint, likes the privacy.  “Don't write much,” he jokingly commanded in an interview this week. “I'm a pretty average guy and want to keep a low profile. I don't want the world necessarily to know about me.” Whitacre is back home in San Antonio full-time after resigning as GM's chairman Dec. 31, a post to which he was appointed in July 2009. He was named CEO six months later, but he resigned that job in September, shocking the company and analysts.   Back in his hometown, everybody's wondering: What's next?   Whitacre — renowned as an executive who's made risky and audacious moves over his long career — isn't saying.  Read more:

Platinum Wealth Solutions opens in S.A. - Financial services firm Platinum Wealth Solutions of Texas LLC, a member of the John Hancock Financial Network, has opened in San Antonio.  Platinum Wealth Solutions was founded by Nick Valenti, managing partner of Michigan Financial Cos., one of the largest member companies of the John Hancock Financial Network. Operations of the San Antonio office, at 8000 Interstate 10 West, Suite 1507, are overseen by Vice President Elizabeth Valenti.

Hispanic chamber names chief operations officer - Octavio A. Hinojosa Mier has been appointed chief operations officer of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Hinojosa previously was executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute in Washington. Hinojosa will oversee the chamber's day-to-day internal operations and external initiatives.

Comerica gets S.A. presence with Sterling purchase - Comerica's $1 billion stock deal for Houston-based Sterling Bancshares Inc. will give the Dallas financial services company a presence in San Antonio.  The sale, which was announced Tuesday, also would create a more profitable bank in one of the country's healthiest economic regions and could mark the beginning of a busy year of mergers and acquisitions in the industry nationwide, insiders and observers said.  Comerica's branch network in Texas will expand to 152 from 95 with the deal, pending approval by shareholders and federal regulators.  Comerica said it will have 13 branches in San Antonio, 65 in Houston, 63 in Dallas-Fort Worth and 11 in Austin.  Comerica also has branches in Michigan, Florida, Arizona and California. Sterling's Texas operations would add $3 billion in loans and $4 billion in deposits to the combined company.

SwRI inks deal with Indian research group  - Southwest Research Institute has signed a three-year strategic alliance agreement with India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The agreement, which also involves CSIR’s Indian Institute of Petroleum Laboratory (IIP), will focus the organizations’ efforts on fuel and engine research and development projects. Additionally, the SwRI and CSIR will work together to create joint proposals for organizing seminars in India and the United States. SwRI established an office in Delhi in 2010, with Dr. G.K. Sharma as director of India Business Development.


Riverstone Ups Its Texas Energy Investment - A New York firm upped its investment in an Austin energy company and acquired more properties in the Permian Basin.  The Riverstone/Carlyle Global Energy and Power Funds, a group of energy-focused private equity funds managed by Riverstone Holdings LLC made an additional investment  Three Rivers Natural Resource Holdings LLC, a private upstream oil & gas company based in Austin.  Three Rivers is a private, upstream oil and gas company headquartered in Austin.  The company is focused on the acquisition, development and exploitation of oil and natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin in West Texas and Southeast New Mexico.

Amazon sues Texas, demands tax documents - Four months after Texas officials told Inc. that it owes $269 million in uncollected sales taxes, the online retail giant has filed a lawsuit demanding that the comptroller's office release the audit information it used in arriving at that amount.  The lawsuit, filed Jan. 14 in Travis County District Court, argues that the documents must be made public under the Texas Public Information Act and seeks a court order forcing their release. The suit also seeks recovery of attorneys' fees and other legal costs.

Texas Business Alliance Announces 2011 Board Chairman and Officers - The Texas Business Alliance (TBA), a nonprofit, membership-driven leader of small business advocacy, has announced the newly elected 2011 Chairman of the Board and officers.   Leading the Board is Chairman Brian Tippens, Director of Global Supplier Diversity, Development and Sustainability for Hewlett Packard (HP).  The office holders are: Vice Chairman: Byron Carter, CEO, Pretty Quick Delivery; Secretary: Debra Johnson, director of procurement, NASA Johnson Space Center; Treasurer: Zawadi Bryant, COO and co-founder, NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care; Parliamentarian: Lisa Ta, VP, business banker, Capital One Bank; and TBA CEO and Founder Jeffrey L. Boney. In addition, Jeffery K. Malonson, partner, Vinson & Elkins LLP will again serve as General Counsel for TBA.

Chinese business delegation visits Texas - A business delegation headed by China's deputy minister of commerce visited Texas Sunday, on a mission to seek opportunities in the U.S.  The Chinese Trade & Investment Promotion Delegation's current visit was aimed at promoting imports from the United States while encouraging Chinese companies to invest in the U.S., Deputy Minister of Commerce Wang Chao said during a meeting with Sheila Jackson Lee, the U.S. representative for Texas' 18th congressional district.  The delegation includes over 300 entrepreneurs from more than 200 companies in such sectors as energy, electronics, the environment, agriculture and banking.

Fluor gets $3.5B contract for natural gas project - Fluor says it has been awarded a $3.5 billion engineering and construction contract by Santos Ltd. for a liquefied natural gas project in Australia.  The Irving, Texas company said Tuesday it will build upstream facilities for the project that will extract and liquefy gas from coal deposits for export. It booked the contract in the fourth quarter.

Gov. Perry Appoints 10 to Texas Emerging Technology Fund Advisory Committee - Gov. Rick Perry has appointed 10 members to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Advisory Committee. The committee recommends proposals eligible for funding under the Emerging Technology Fund to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House, who then must unanimously approve funding for projects. C. Mauli Agrawal of San Antonio is dean of the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Engineering. He is a board member of the San Antonio Medical Foundation, United Way’s Masters Leadership Program, San Antonio Clean Tech Forum, FIRST Robotics Texas and Keystone School, and a trustee of the Southwest Research Institute. He is also past president of the Society for Biomaterials, and a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Orthopedic Research Society, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and Tissue Engineering Society. Agrawal received a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in engineering from Clemson University, and a doctorate degree in engineering from Duke University. He is reappointed for a term to expire Aug. 31, 2012…..


Google co-founder Page to replace Schmidt as CEO - Eric Schmidt, a technology veteran brought in as Google Inc.'s "adult supervision" a decade ago, is relinquishing the CEO job to Larry Page, one of the prodigies who co-founded the company behind the Internet's dominant gateway.  The surprise shake-up announced Thursday appears to be driven by Schmidt's desire to tackle other challenges as much as Page's personal ambition.

US companies dump billions into China - While U.S. businesses are still reluctant to invest in new plants and jobs in the United States, many are pouring money into China. But not for the reasons you'd think.  Rather than "outsourcing" their operations to China's low-cost environment to produce cheap goods for U.S. consumers, multinational corporations are pouring billions into China to meet demand from the rapidly growing Chinese middle class.  Total investments in China by U.S. multinationals were worth $49 billion as of 2009 -- up 66% from two years earlier, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures. And 2010 is shaping up to be another banner year for the Chinese -- U.S. companies poured an additional $6 billion into China in the first three quarters alone.

4 HP directors step down - Hewlett-Packard announced a major board of directors shuffle Thursday, with four members stepping down and five new directors joining the board. The move comes in the wake of intense criticism and several shareholder lawsuits over how HP   dismissed former CEO Mark Hurd. The five incoming members of HP's board are: Shumeet Banerji, CEO of Booz & Company; Gary Reiner, formerly of General Electric;  Patricia Russo, former CEO of Alcatel-Lucent; Dominique Senequier, CEO of AXA Private Equity; and Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay. Incumbent directors Joel Hyatt, John Joyce, Robert Ryan and Lucille Salhany will step down

Kimco Reports $151.1M in Shopping Center Acquisitions - Kimco Realty Corporation (NYSE:KIM) reported fourth quarter and year-to-date acquisition and disposition activity on Thursday, which included acquiring four shopping centers totaling 982,000 square feet for approximately $151.1 million, including $50.9 million in mortgage debt.  The properties, which are 97 percent occupied, are located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Maryland. Property in Texas:  Las Palmas Marketplace, a 638,000 square foot power center located in El Paso, Texas for approximately $84.8 million, including $50.9 million in mortgage debt by a joint venture in which Kimco holds a 31.7% interest. This property is 98% occupied and anchored by Lowes, Kohl's, Ross Dress for Less and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Gas prices high - and might get higher - Strong worldwide oil demand and lack of supply are to blame for steadily rising gasoline prices in the United States, an oil industry group said Friday. The American Petroleum Institute made no specific price forecast for 2011, but didn't seem to see a drop anytime soon. Gasoline price have risen 12 cents a gallon, or 4%, in just the last month, according to the motorist group AAA. The nationwide average stands around $3.12 a gallon, less than a dollar below the record high.


St. Philip’s students to learn financial literacy from Capital One - St. Philip’s College students will receive access to a new financial education program designed to help stem the tide of rising student loan default rates — thanks to Capital One Financial Corp. and UNCF - the United Negro College Fund.  The Capital One Financial Scholars Program contains a 3D educational gaming component that teaches college students about student loan management, opening a bank account, credit scores, stocks and bonds, credit cards, debt management and taxes. In all, more than 50 historically black colleges and universities have been invited to participate.

Texas San Antonio, Coach Larry Coker Starting From Scratch - When Eric Soza occasionally takes a break from his studies and the film sessions and strolls along the River Walk in downtown San Antonio, people approach him or whisper as he walks by. In most places, only the most knowledgeable of the diehard college football fans would have any idea who he was, but in San Antonio they know. He's their quarterback, and he can barely leave home without somebody telling him how excited they are for his next game.  That next game -- the first in the history of the University of Texas at San Antonio -- is nine months away, but that's just a matter of time to folks there. Soza is going to take snaps for the Roadrunners, their new favorite team, which makes him big man on campus and around town.In San Antonio, deep in the heart of the most football-crazed state in the union, is a growing university and a city that's never had a team of its own. So it's embracing a fledgling start-up program with a quarterback the big programs passed on and a coach that's been to the top, fallen and is determined to climb back up again.  They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes its cities. San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States with a population of 1.4 million, but the NBA's Spurs are essentially the only game in town.  "We were in a major city in south Texas and the kids on this campus had grown up with Friday night football," said UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey, who began exploring the possibility of bringing football to the school in 2000 after she arrived from Texas A&M, where she had served as an assistant AD and women's basketball coach. "Everything in south Texas is football."  The Spurs are beloved, but this is Texas and residents of San Antonio have been itching for big-time football for about as long as they have been remembering the Alamo. The stadium was in place -- the 65,000-seat Alamodome, which UTSA will call home when it begins play next fall -- and it had helped the city bring football at the highest levels to San Antonio, but never permanently……UTSA has also turned heads with its scheduling. The prospect of playing in front of Texas recruits in the Alamodome helped convince several big-time programs to schedule series with the Roadrunners, who will play an FCS schedule their first two seasons before playing Oklahoma State, Arizona, Houston and Virginia on their 2013 non-conference slate.   Kansas State, Baylor, Arizona State and Colorado State have also agreed to play UTSA in future seasons, and every one of them will play at least one game in San Antonio.  If UTSA is following the South Florida model, it's trying to do it in fast forward. The Roadrunners will spend as little time as required as an FCS independent before jumping to the FBS and the Western Athletic Conference. South Florida was able to find a spot in a BCS conference when the ACC began expanding and forced a shakeup.   The Roadrunners are entering their football playing days in a similar climate, and don't think people in San Antonio haven't been dreaming of their team winding up in a major conference as well. The hope is that success in a new-look WAC and perhaps an upset or two of the big boys could help make UTSA attractive.


 Texas, ESPN join forces to start television network - The University of Texas officially joined the New York Yankees and Oprah Winfrey as powerful enough and popular enough to command its own TV network.  Following negotiations that began in June last year after the Longhorns decided to remain in the Big 12, Texas and ESPN announced the official formation of a 24-hour sports network. The cable enterprise is expected to debut by Sept. 1. The 20-year agreement will be worth about $300 million, adding to the bottom line of the most profitable athletic department in the country. The UT athletic department generated a reported $143 million in revenue for 2009-10, the highest total in the nation.

UT turns ESPN deal into gold - The gap between Texas A&M and Texas on a financial and reputational level is capacious. Following the announcement Wednesday of a 20-year, $300 million mega-deal between the University of Texas and ESPN, the chasm has spread to an insurmountable level.   For a thriving athletic department, for that 24-17 Thanksgiving victory over their arch-rivals, A&M received a harsh dose of reality: they are not relevant, they are not Texas, and they made a colossal mistake this summer in staying with the Big 12 — a failing conference built on a faulty foundation. The Big 12 is a conference that is, for all intents and purposes, on life support.

 Texas University Chancellors Brace for Budget Cuts - Here are some numbers that every chancellor of a university system in Texas knows by heart: Out of $1,250,250,767 that Texas cut out of its current, 2010-11 biennial budget, $518,424,781 was drained from higher education. That’s 41.47 percent of the 5 percent total reduction among all state agencies demanded by the state's leadership. Higher ed’s overall share of the state’s budget, meanwhile, is 12.5 percent. The chancellors are adamant that their institutions not be hit disproportionately in the next round of cuts.

UT Chancellor calls proposed state budget devastating - If the proposed higher education cuts go through, the effect will be deep, dramatic and have immediate and devastating consequences, Francisco G. Cigarroa, a physician and University of Texas System chancellor, said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.
He said UT campuses throughout the state already have cut their budgets for the current biennium, and the proposed reductions would force further layoffs for faculty and staff. Cutting financial aid will hurt thousands of students, he said.
  In addition, proposed cuts in Medicaid funding would hurt the hospitals and UT health teaching institutions, detrimentally affecting patients, Cigarroa said.  His statement touched on efficiencies and cutbacks already made at the state's largest university system, which he said saved $1.2 billion over five years.  Cigarroa's voice in joining a chorus of officials who are projecting dire consequences if the budget goes through as revealed this week.

Fifth Circuit Court Upholds University of Texas' Right To Affirmative Action - The University of Texas at Austin's use of affirmative action in its admission policy was deemed legal by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, reports Reuters. Plaintiffs Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz brought a suit against UT after they were denied admission in 2008. They alleged that their civil rights were violated and demanded that the university reconsider their applications through a race-neutral lens. UT reintroduced race into its candidate evaluation process in 2003, following the ruling which allowed the University of Michigan Law School to consider race a plus factor in admissions applications. This marked a negation of a 1996 ruling which condemned the UT from using a race-sensitive policy.

Texas A&M University On The "A-List" - Texas A&M University Corpus Christi is on the "A-list". The island university is one of only 17 nationwide that earned an "A" grade from the website  The site grades colleges and universities on what students will learn, based on seven academic areas, including literature, history, and foreign languages.

Major step at UH An upgraded rating - The University of Houston's continuing campaign to achieve Tier One status as a major teaching and research institution got a big boost this week when the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded its highest status to the school's flagship campus. While it's just one of the hurdles UH must clear to achieve Tier One, which brings access to additional state dollars from a special fund, the Carnegie ranking is a milestone in UH's campaign to win national and local respect.


Southwestern meets Mabee challenge - A check for nearly $1 million is in hand at Southwestern College after college supporters met the terms of a challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation. The challenge grant provides funding for the key facilities priorities of the college’s Great Performances Campaign capital projects — construction of the Richardson Performing Arts Center and the Richard L. Jantz Stadium.  Donors committed almost $5 million for the two projects, with the capping grant provided by the Tulsa Foundation. Gifts committed for the Great Performances Campaign recently topped $15 million.  Construction of the stadium and renovation of the auditorium coincide with the college’s celebration of its 125th anniversary. Jantz Stadium was dedicated during homecoming in October 2010, and construction on the performing arts center will begin this month with dedication scheduled for Homecoming 2011.

Texas Tech pilot program aims to improve math and science instruction in Texas. - Texas Tech University is looking for a few good men – or women – as long as they are middle school math and science teachers, with a desire to earn a Master of Science degree – for free.  The Middle School Math and Science ( MS² ): Understanding by Design program was funded in December 2008 by a $3 million grant from the Greater Texas Foundation ( GTF ). Two cohorts of students, totaling 52 from around the state, are enrolled in the three-year program after which each will have earned a Master of Science degree in multidisciplinary science.  The program will accept applications through March for its third cohort of students, which will begin coursework in the fall. The plan calls for teachers to enroll in pairs of one math and one science teacher.

Almost $241000 In Grants By Texas A&M's Research Division To Be Shared Faculty members representing four Texas A&M University colleges received 24 grants totaling $240,982 through an initiative sponsored by the University’s Division of Research and Graduate Studies.  Proposals were submitted during the fall semester to the Program to Enhance Scholarly and Creative Activities (PESCA), which provides funding awards for significant research projects, scholarly publications and artistic presentations.

Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Gets $500000 NSF Award - Chris Ellison, chemical engineering assistant professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for integrating polymer research and education.  The prestigious award grants Ellison $500,000 for five years of research and educational initiatives on the motion of polymers, long chain molecules, and implications for their use in nanotechnology applications.

Engineering Professor Awarded $1 Million for Research - A professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering has been awarded a $1 million grant to lead research on graphene, an atom-thick layer of carbon scientists and engineers believe could one day surpass silicon, steel and plastic and thus transform how everything from electronics, cars, airplanes and even buildings are produced.  Dr. Rodney S. Ruoff, a physical chemist who has pioneered research on graphene-based materials for more than 12 years and is a professor in The University of Texas at Austin's Mechanical Engineering Department, will spearhead the three-year research effort funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation.

Chapman University invests in donor's Texas firm -  Chapman University in Orange County has invested $1 million in Texas-based Entech Solar Inc., whose CEO has donated $12 million to Chapman in recent years, the university announced.  David Gelbaum is Entech Solar's CEO as well as chairman of The Quercus Trust and Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund of the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles.  Entech Solar in Fort Worth designs and manufactures photovoltaic solar modules, for which it has proprietary and patented technology, and tubular skylights. It is working with NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense and private companies on the power needs of future space missions.


UNC library faculty earns national grant - Two University of Northern Colorado faculty members have received a grant to help with a library project.  Jay Trask and Kay Lowell received $3,500 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help fund the “Archival Environmental Monitoring for the James A. Michener Library” project.  The grant will help fund the archivial’s environmental monitoring of rare books and special collections.  The project includes the use of humidity and temperature monitors in storage areas to gauge conditions within the library. Approximately 7,000 feet of material including books, newspapers, photographs, negatives, motion picture film, lantern slides, furniture, sports equipment, sculptures and more are affected.   The project, which is part of the “We the People” initiative by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is to encourage and enhance the teaching, study and understanding of American history, culture and democratic principles.

Scott Kabrich

Researcher, UTSA Advancement Services

The University of Texas at San Antonio

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio TX 78249

210-458-4790 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              210-458-4790      end_of_the_skype_highlighting


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