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The Woodlands Business Aug 2015


BriarCliff Media Holdings LLC has announced that Holly Price has been hired to be the general manager of its digital media properties in The Woodlands. She was most recently affiliated with Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation as its events manager.

Price brings more than 15 years worth of experience in building client relationships, providing solutions and support to local businesses and participating in local nonprofits.

She will be in charge of all day-to-day operations for the digital media outlets in The Woodlands focusing on client development and fulfillment.

“We are thrilled to have Holly on our team. Her passion for the local community is fully in line with our mission statement ‘when it is good in the community so is it good with you and me.’ Her enthusiasm and expertise will help local businesses in Montgomery County grow their profits and help non-profits accomplish their objectives,” said Jay Wachs, chief executive officer.

Contact Price at 832-764-3350 or email her at holly.price@briarcliffmedia.com.


Gordy Bunch

Gordy Bunch


Richard “Gordy” Bunch, founder, president and CEO of The Woodlands Financial Group, was named EY “Entrepreneur of the Year 2015” in the products and services category for the Gulf Coast area at a gala event in June. The Gulf Coast awards cover Houston, South Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Bunch founded TWFG in The Woodlands in 2001 with his life-savings of $10,000. Today, it is ranked as the number eight independent insurance services agency, out of 38,000 in the nation, for property and casualty coverage and is number one in Texas for personal lines. TWFG reports $320 million in premiums, generated by more than 300 branches in 21 states with more than 3,000 additional agents affiliated with TWFG nationally. TWFG writes policies in 49 states from its headquarters in The Woodlands.

The 2015 EY entrepreneur of the year gala season is now underway with more than 14,000 CEOs and executives gathering in 25 U.S. cities to celebrate entrepreneurship. Bunch and nine other category winners from the Gulf Coast region are eligible to be named National Entrepreneur of the Year at the EY Strategic Growth Forum, attended by some of the nation’s top corporate officers and multiple celebrities in California this November.


Lisa Baeckel

Lisa Baeckel


Interfaith of The Woodlands is pleased to announce Lisa Baeckel has been promoted to development manager for the organization. Lisa brings more than 15 years of non profit experience to her new position where she will oversee all aspects of the development department including special events, corporate donations, foundation and individual giving.

“Lisa is an asset to Interfaith, and I know she will effectively lead the development department as our events and the generosity of the community continues to grow. I know she will be excellent in her new role as development manager,” shared Dr. Ann Snyder, president and CEO of Interfaith of the Woodlands.

Lisa holds a B.A. in public relations from the University of Oregon, and prior to joining Interfaith, she served as the major gifts director for the American Cancer Society. Lisa also enjoys volunteering throughout the community and is active with Executive Women’s Alliance, The Woodlands High School, Lady Highlander Soccer, Texas Rush and The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce.

Interfaith of The Woodlands is a nonprofit social service agency providing numerous programs and services to meet the needs of The Woodlands and the surrounding area. For more information on Interfaith’s programs and services or to become a volunteer, call 281-367-1230 or visit woodlandsinterfaith.org.


Jenny Taylor

Jenny Taylor


Market Street, the premier shopping and entertainment destination in The Woodlands, has named Jenny Taylor general manager.

Taylor brings more than 15 years of sales, marketing and management experience and will oversee all aspects of day-to-day operations, maintenance, budgeting and business development, along with maintaining community, tenant and public relations.

“Jenny has been an asset to Market Street for a decade and her leadership and knowledge of the property will undoubtedly be an asset,” said Steve Sumell, senior vice president of property management at Trademark Property.

Taylor joined the Market Street team as a marketing director in 2005 and most recently served as the property’s assistant general manager, where she managed property operations, tenant relations, and created marketing and activities to support the shopping, dining and entertainment destination’s brand strategy.

In 2011, Jenny was credentialed as a certified marketing director by the International Council of Shopping Center, presented to those who achieve the highest standards in shopping center marketing.

A resident of the Creekside community in The Woodlands, Jenny has served on The Woodlands Chamber board of directors, The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau marketing committee, The Woodlands CrawPHish Festival committee, the South Montgomery County 4th of July committee and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night advisory team.


Cathy Nash

Cathy Nash


Robert E. Marling, chairman and chief executive officer of Woodforest Financial Group, Inc., is pleased to announce the board of directors of Woodforest National Bank has named Cathleen (Cathy) Nash as the bank’s president and chief executive officer..

“Cathy’s leadership abilities and strategic vision will be a great addition to our company as we continue to cultivate the needs of our customers in each of the communities we serve,” said Marling. “In my role as chairman of the bank’s board and CEO of the holding company, I look forward to supporting Cathy as the new president and CEO of our bank.”

Nash brings 30 years of banking experience to Woodforest with a strong and successful background in retail and commercial banking, having most recently served as President and CEO of Citizens Republic Bancorp based in Michigan. Nash is an active voice in the banking industry and formerly served on the board of directors for the Consumer Bankers Association and as a member of ABA’s American Bankers Council. She and her husband, Macauley, reside in The Woodlands.

Nash states, “I’m excited to join this great group of bankers and look forward to continuing the bank’s legacy of success and community involvement.”


John H> (JJ) Hollie II

John H> (JJ) Hollie II


John H. (JJ) Hollie II has been chosen as the new President & CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce. The change will be effective on Sept. 1 following the retirement of current CEO Karen Hoylman.

“The Board and Staff of The Chamber are very pleased to have this highly qualified, outstanding individual join our team, and look forward to a new exciting era of growth for our organization” said The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Danny Schroder.

Hoylman has been CEO of The Chamber since 1996. “It has been such fun and so rewarding to work with this community as it has grown from the 24,000 people when I arrived, to well over 100,000 today. I have enjoyed working with the business community and am proud of all we have accomplished,” she said.

Hollie was born in Dallas and was raised by a military family. He attended grade school in Holland and Japan where his father was stationed. He graduated from high school in Alaska and earned a political science degree in 1991 from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.

After an internship in Washington, D.C., Hollie served as staff assistant to Congressman Charlie Wilson in the District Office in Lufkin, Texas from 1991 to 1996. In 1994, Hollie joined the Army National Guard and went to basic training and Airborne school in Fort Benning, Georgia. He served until 2000 as a paratrooper and was in the field artillery. In 1998, Hollie began his career with Consolidated Communications in business sales and is currently the National Consumer Data Manager. Hollie moved to Montgomery County in 2007 and has been an active role model in the community.

Hollie, his wife Amy and son Trey are in the process of moving to The Woodlands from Conroe where the family attends The Ark Church. He enjoys fitness activities in his spare time that include swimming, road biking, mountain biking, running and adventure races. In 2014 he completed the Ironman Texas Triathlon in The Woodlands.

Formed in 1978, The Chamber represents over 2,000 member companies and is frequently ranked as the # 2 Chamber in the Houston region in Houston Business Journal’s Book of Lists.


(Front row): Rev. Jason Burnham, Karla Connor and Kirk Moul; (back row, l-r): Stephen Greenwade, Executive Pastor Vivian Kinnear.

(Front row): Rev. Jason Burnham, Karla Connor and Kirk Moul; (back row, l-r): Stephen Greenwade, Executive Pastor Vivian Kinnear.


Covenant United Methodist Church, one of the newest churches in The Woodlands, has purchased five acres of land from The Woodlands Development Company on the southeast corner of Kuykendahl and Creekside Green. The church intends to build on the property within a three-year timeframe.

“This is a prime location for Covenant,” said Jason Burnham, founding pastor of Covenant. “It is at the southern entrance to The Woodlands – with maximum visibility in an area that is experiencing tremendous growth. We are thrilled with our new site.” The purchase was funded by church member contributions and a grant from the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Short-term financing was provided by Woodforest National Bank.

“We are excited to welcome Covenant United Methodist Church to the Village of Creekside Park,” said Alex Sutton, co-president of The Woodlands Development Company. “Creekside Park offers residents many amenities including places of worship, education, shopping and dining at Creekside Park Village Green, a focal point of the village center, along with nature and recreation.”

When fully developed, the Covenant complex is projected to include a 700-seat sanctuary, children’s ministry space, youth and adult meeting space, a community hall, administration offices and on-site parking. The facility is being designed to serve 1,200-1,500 worshippers each weekend.

The church currently worships at 10 a.m. at Timber Creek Elementary School (8455 Creekside Green Drive), which is located next door to the purchase site.


The Rev. Brent Parker

The Rev. Brent Parker


The Woodlands United Methodist Church has appointed the Rev. Brent Parker as pastor of the new satellite campus opening in Woodforest.

Parker most recently served as associate pastor of youth, young families and evangelism at First Christian Church in Longview. He will assemble and lead a volunteer team to begin worship gatherings in Woodforest this fall. A permanent church facility will begin construction after a sustained worshipping community is established in approximately three to four years, said Dr. Ed Robb, senior pastor of The Woodlands United Methodist Church.

Earlier this year, the church purchased a 12.8-acre tract of land in the development from The Johnson Development Corp. at the southwest corner of Woodforest Parkway Northwest and Fish Creek Thoroughfare. The Woodlands UMC will provide initial staffing and operational support to the new facility, which will ultimately become a self-supporting congregation with a full scope of services, Robb said.

“We are excited to welcome Rev. Parker and his family to the Woodforest community, not only as a minister, but also as residents,” said Virgil Yoakum, general manager of Woodforest. “Having worship services held in Woodforest just solidifies our community as a true hometown for our residents.”

Parker says he is ready to establish a congregation in Woodforest. “Our family is beyond excited to be joining The Woodlands UMC family as the lead pastor of the Woodforest campus,” he said. “We look forward to meeting our new faith community and to begin working together to make Christ known and to uncover the kingdom of God that is emerging all around us.”

Parker holds a master of divinity degree from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University and a certificate in youth and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He and wife Kori have three sons, Caedmon, 12; Kai, 9; and Kingston, four months.



The Strykers have announced the signing of new head coach James Dillard. Dillard, who played college baseball locally at Sam Houston State in Huntsville is no stranger to the Texas Collegiate League, as he previously guided the Denton Outlaws to the TCL Championship in 2006 as the assistant pitching coach. Dillard also helped the Outlaws reach the championship series in 2005 and the playoffs again in 2006. He has previously coached in the New York Collegiate League for the Plattsburg Thunder as well as the University of Texas-Dallas, and has held numerous high school coaching positions around Texas, most recently guiding the Magnolia West Mustangs to an 8-6 record in Division 19-5A standings in 2015.

Dillard holds a career record of 141-88 and has won numerous awards, including District Coach of the Year in both 2007 and 2011 while at O’Donnell High School and Rusk High School, respectively.

Dillard also won the State Championship in 2006 while coaching for the Waco Reicher High School Cougars in North Texas. Owner and General Manager Ramiro Lozano had this to say about Coach John Villarreal’s departure and the addition of Coach Dillard stating, “I have known John for many years and he has agreed to step down as head coach and will continue to assist in the front office. We are looking forward to Coach Dillard taking the reins to help steer our Woodlands Strykers in the right direction. The Strykers still have an opportunity to make the playoffs by coming in first or second place in the second half of the season, and Coach Dillard is the guy who is going to take us there.”

The Strykers will resume play on Thursday after the Texas Collegiate League All-Star Game in Victoria. For more information, visit woodlandsstrykers.com. All games are played at Strykers Stadium on the campus of The Woodlands Christian Academy on College Park Drive.



Franchise Foundry, a multi-faceted, full service international franchise development company based in The Woodlands, has been recognized by The Woodlands Award Program for “The 2015 Best of The Woodlands Award.” Franchise Foundry was honored in the franchise category.

The Woodlands Award Program annually celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses in The Woodlands area. Recognition is given to companies that show the ability to use best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

This year marks the first time that Franchise Foundry has been honored with the award.

CEO Paul Segreto stressed that he won’t take all of the credit for the recent success of his company and instead would focus on his executive team and recent national partnerships. In just the past six months, Franchise Foundry has been able to partner with an additional 10 companies poised to support its future franchise portfolio. The partnerships mainly stem from digital marketing, commercial real estate, web technology and legal services.

Segreto explained that these newly formed partnerships are essential to establishing a solid foundation for the future of Franchise Foundry. “I am proud to serve alongside such remarkable talent in this industry. The contributions of our select partners and our motivated team, along with a diverse portfolio of exclusive brands, have really helped us to position Franchise Foundry as a leading international franchise development company,” said Segreto.

The Woodlands Award program committee analyzed various sources of information to select the winners. The awards focus on quality, not quantity. Winners were determined based on the information gathered by The Woodlands Award Program and data provided by third parties.

Franchise Foundry focuses exclusively on emerging franchise brands, and its team’s capabilities range from strategic planning and operations to franchise marketing and development. Franchise Foundry also oversees complete funnel management, lead generation, qualification, maturation and sales compliance programs, making its business unique to the marketplace.


The coffee at Crave is roasted in small batches, and the beans are ground and brewed to order, one cup at a time.

The coffee at Crave is roasted in small batches, and the beans are ground and brewed to order, one cup at a time.


“There’s a story behind every great cup of coffee; from the field where the beans are grown to the brewing method, every step of the way effects what’s in your cup,” said Brad Dorsey, co-owner of CRAVE Cupcakes in The Woodlands. Dorsey said that more than ever before, today’s coffee lover is looking for freshness and character, and in recent years coffee has entered a “Third Wave” of appreciation, moving beyond the soulless, standard cup of Joe from years gone by and surpassing the same old “coffee of the day” experience found at today’s big coffee chains.

Dorsey said that just as there are tasting notes for a bottle of wine or a craft beer, there are distinct subtleties of flavor among different coffee beans. “We select our coffee beans in small lots from trusted small growers, like our La Olivia coffee from the fields of Costa Rica.”

Dorsey said that CRAVE’s craft coffee program places heavy emphasis on ensuring that every cup is an exceptional experience. “Great coffee has its own nuance and style that reflect the region, the climate and the soil where the beans are grown,” Dorsey said.

The CRAVE location in The Woodlands is at 2501 Research Forest Drive. CRAVE has two other area locations: 1151-06 Uptown Park Blvd., and 5600 Kirby Drive. For more information, call 713-62-CRAVE or visit cravecupcakes.com.



Chesmar Homes and Perry Homes have begun presales in Kinnerly Peak, a new neighborhood in master-planned Woodforest. The two builders are offering designs for a new line of single-family floor plans in Woodforest, expanding the collection of choices available in the master-planned community. Both builders expect to open model homes early this summer.

Chesmar Homes has 10 designs from approximately 1,500 square feet to 2,500 square feet and priced from the $220,000s. The one- and two-story plans offer three and four bedrooms, island kitchens, game rooms and walk-in storage. Perry Homes has nine floor plans priced from the $240,000s and sized from about 1,600 square feet to 2,400 square feet. Highlights of the designs include two-story foyers, upstairs game rooms, formal dining rooms and private offices.

The first section of Kinnerly Peak includes 67 homesites located within walking distance of Stewart Elementary in the community.

“With the nearby school and Kiddie Academy that will open next year just down the road, this is an ideal neighborhood for families with young children,” said Virgil Yoakum, general manager of Woodforest.

Woodforest has been named one of the nation’s 20 top-selling master-planned
communities for a third consecutive year. Pricing is from the $200,000s to the millions and 19 builders have opened 28 model homes in the development.

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