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The Spirit of Brazoria County

A photographic study of Brazoria County, Texas, paired with the histories of local companies, institutions, organizations, and families that have made the region great.

A photographic study of Brazoria County, Texas, paired with the histories of local companies, institutions, organizations, and families that have made the region great.

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THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

Photography by Amy Clinton<br />

Narrative by Susan Avera Holt<br />

A publication <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> Economic Development Alliance for <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>


Thank you for your interest in this HPNbooks publication. For more information about other<br />

HPNbooks publications, or information about producing your own book with us, please visit www.hpnbooks.com.


THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

Photography by Amy Clinton<br />

Narrative by Susan Avera Holt<br />

A publication <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Economic Development Alliance for <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

HPNbooks<br />

A division <strong>of</strong> Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas


Phantom, a longhorn on Battle Island<br />

Ranch, outside <strong>of</strong> West Columbia.<br />

First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2018 HPNbooks<br />

All rights reserved. No part <strong>of</strong> this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including<br />

photocopying, without permission in writing from the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to HPNbooks, 11535 Galm<br />

Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790, www.hpnbooks.com.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-944891-54-1<br />

Library <strong>of</strong> Congress Card Catalog Number: 2018953129<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

photographer: Amy Clinton<br />

writer: Susan Avera Holt<br />

contributing writer for “Sharing the Heritage”: Rebecca Sankey<br />

HPNbooks<br />

chairman and chief executive <strong>of</strong>ficer: Jean-Claude Tenday<br />

publisher and chief creative <strong>of</strong>ficer: Bernard O’Connor<br />

president and chief revenue <strong>of</strong>ficer: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Curtis Courtney<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata, Melissa G. Quinn<br />

Lori K. Smith, Kristin G. Williamson<br />

book sales: Joe Neely<br />

production: Colin Hart, Evelyn Hart,<br />

Glenda Tarazon Krouse, Tim Lippard<br />

Craig Mitchell, Tony Quinn<br />

Chris Sturdevant<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

2


Legacy Sponsors..................................................................4<br />

Introduction .........................................................................5<br />

Foreword by Nolan Ryan.....................................................6<br />

Chapter 1 - <strong>The</strong> <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> the Past .......................................7<br />

Chapter 2 - <strong>The</strong> <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> a Dynamic Economy .................19<br />

Chapter 3 - <strong>The</strong> <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> Fascinating Places.....................37<br />

Chapter 4 - <strong>The</strong> <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> a Unique Lifestyle .....................53<br />

Chapter 5 - <strong>The</strong> <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> a People United.........................59<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Partners..................................................72<br />

Sponsors..........................................................................125<br />

About the Photographer..................................................126<br />

About the Writer..............................................................127<br />

CONTENTS<br />

3


Legacy<br />

Sponsors<br />

<strong>The</strong>se companies have made a major contribution to the book as part <strong>of</strong> our Legacy<br />

Program. We could not have made this book possible without their leadership and<br />

participation. <strong>The</strong>se are our top contributors and we thank them for their support.<br />

Brazosport College<br />

500 College Drive • Lake Jackson, Texas 77566<br />

979-230-3000 • www.brazosport.edu<br />

City <strong>of</strong> West Columbia<br />

PO Box 487 • West Columbia, Texas 77486<br />

979-345-3123 • www.westcolumbiatx.org<br />

NALCO Champion<br />

2322 <strong>County</strong> Road 229, Freeport, Texas 77541<br />

979-239-5800<br />

www.ecolab.com/nalco-champion/<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Historical Museum, in<br />

Angleton, brings history to life each<br />

November during Austin Town, an 1832<br />

Texas history experience. For twenty years,<br />

Austin Town has shown today’s Texans what<br />

the pioneers endured when they arrived<br />

here in an untamed wilderness thick with<br />

mosquitoes and Karankawa Indians. Austin<br />

Town has a permanent location on FM 521<br />

near Angleton and includes log cabins where<br />

costumed interpreters demonstrate life on<br />

the frontier including blacksmithing and<br />

how butter was made. Children get to meet<br />

the Mother <strong>of</strong> Texas, Jane Long, at her<br />

tavern. <strong>The</strong>y also sample traditional food<br />

served in a Mexican jacale.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

4


INTRODUCTION<br />

BRAZORIA<br />

<strong>The</strong> name was coined by the Father <strong>of</strong> Texas, Stephen F. Austin. Austin called home the land<br />

that would one day become <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, and he christened his hometown, hacked out <strong>of</strong> the<br />

wilderness, “Brassoria” because he wrote:<br />

“I know none like it in all the world.”<br />

Texas conjures visions <strong>of</strong> cowboys and longhorns, sandy beaches and huge oaks, oil fields,<br />

cotton fields and prosperity, and <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> has them all.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is the cradle <strong>of</strong> Texas, the sweet land <strong>of</strong> sprawling oaks, rivers and beaches that<br />

the Father <strong>of</strong> Texas, Stephen F. Austin, called home.<br />

Surfside Beach.<br />

INTRODUCTION<br />

5


FOREWORD<br />

B Y N OLAN R YAN<br />

Growing up in Alvin, in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, was<br />

very typical <strong>of</strong> small-town life. Baseball filled our<br />

summers on any vacant lot available. Together<br />

with friends and family, we played America’s<br />

favorite pastime. <strong>The</strong> small-town environment<br />

influenced my values and work ethic.<br />

I was drafted by the New York Mets coming out<br />

<strong>of</strong> Alvin High School and was fortunate enough to<br />

have a career in baseball that led me to New York,<br />

California and other states. I signed a free-agent<br />

contract with the Houston Astros which resulted<br />

in playing for nine years in Houston. I then signed<br />

as a free agent with the Texas Rangers and played<br />

an additional five years, retiring in 1993. I was<br />

blessed to be able to grow up and then live in the<br />

birthplace <strong>of</strong> the spirit <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is the cradle <strong>of</strong> Texas, the<br />

great land <strong>of</strong> majestic oaks, the Brazos River and<br />

miles <strong>of</strong> beaches that the Father <strong>of</strong> Texas,<br />

Stephen F. Austin, called home.<br />

That history is exciting but even more exciting<br />

has been watching this historic county transform<br />

from a rural, small town Texas into a wealthy<br />

industrial region, with great opportunities for<br />

its residents.<br />

I salute the Economic Development Alliance<br />

for <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> and the local chambers <strong>of</strong> commerce for the community building work they<br />

do and for making this beautiful book possible.<br />

I’m privileged to have lived in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> for 55 years. And even though my residence is<br />

no longer within its boundaries, <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Texas will always be home to me.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

6


Chapter 1<br />

<strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> the Past<br />

<strong>The</strong> eight-inch Howitzer canon, on<br />

Quintana Island, is on loan to the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Parks Department. <strong>The</strong> Howitzer<br />

sits atop one <strong>of</strong> two gun emplacements from<br />

World War II.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

7


Right: Today Jones Creek is a peaceful place<br />

where the sound <strong>of</strong> owls and armadillos<br />

rooting around at night are the only things<br />

to be heard. In 1824, however, Karankawa<br />

Indians found themselves attacked by part<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Texan army. <strong>The</strong> Battle <strong>of</strong> Jones<br />

Creek broke out after several Indian raids<br />

killed settlers. <strong>The</strong>n the Karankawas<br />

demanded to purchase ammunition and<br />

were denied. <strong>The</strong> army raided the Indians’<br />

camp, killed twenty-three <strong>of</strong> them and the<br />

rest fled across the San Bernard River.<br />

Bottom, left: For a brief moment in the late<br />

1870s, Austin’s colony counted 46<br />

plantations. Among those was Ellerslie in<br />

Jones Creek. At the time, Ellerslie was<br />

considered one <strong>of</strong> the most lavish. <strong>The</strong> home<br />

was made <strong>of</strong> brick, had two stories and 21<br />

rooms. Carpets covered the floors, hearths<br />

and mantels were made <strong>of</strong> marble. <strong>The</strong><br />

home’s original owner was John Greenville<br />

McNeel who came to Texas in 1822 as one<br />

<strong>of</strong> Austin’s Old Three Hundred. Nothing<br />

remains today.<br />

Bottom, right: <strong>The</strong> empty tomb <strong>of</strong> Stephen F.<br />

Austin resides in Gulf Prairie Cemetery in<br />

Jones Creek. In 1910, his remains were<br />

reinterred in the State Cemetery in Austin<br />

and a statue erected over top.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

8


Unassuming Jones Creek, a quiet village <strong>of</strong> 2,000 people, is home to 13 State <strong>of</strong> Texas historical<br />

markers including the empty tomb <strong>of</strong> the Father <strong>of</strong> Texas, Stephen F. Austin.<br />

In the early 1820s, Austin led the first settlers to the mouth <strong>of</strong> the Brazos River to colonize the<br />

region under Mexican land grants. Those first families, “<strong>The</strong> Old Three Hundred”, braved<br />

Karankawa Indians, mosquitoes, malaria and yellow fever, floods, hurricanes and finally a<br />

revolutionary war.<br />

Austin’s sister, Emily Austin Bryan Perry, followed her brother to Texas and he considered her<br />

home, Peach Point Plantation, to be his as well. Although he traveled a great deal, he always<br />

returned to Peach Point, and when he died in 1836, he was interred at nearby Gulf Prairie<br />

Cemetery. Many pioneer descendants are buried at Gulf Prairie. Austin’s remains, however, were<br />

reinterred in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin in 1910.<br />

Top, left: Old Oakland Plantation historical<br />

marker commemorates Henry William<br />

Munson who bought property from Stephen<br />

F. Austin that adjoined Peach Point<br />

Plantation, Austin’s home.<br />

Top, right: Two historical markers<br />

commemorate Stephen F. Austin’s sister<br />

Emily, and her last husband James Perry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Perrys built the house at Austin’s Peach<br />

Point Plantation that he considered home.<br />

Below: Many markers dot the historic Gulf<br />

Prairie Cemetery. <strong>The</strong> pioneers’ final resting<br />

place was originally part <strong>of</strong> Stephen F.<br />

Austin’s Peach Point Plantation. <strong>The</strong><br />

cemetery is still in use.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

9


<strong>The</strong> Old Three Hundred were not the first people to see the shores <strong>of</strong> the birthplace <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

Fierce Karankawa Indians roamed the beaches and bays in constant search <strong>of</strong> food.<br />

In 1528, the first European, a Spanish explorer by the name Cabeza de Vaca, landed on Isla<br />

de Mal Hado “<strong>The</strong> Island <strong>of</strong> Bad Luck”. Historians consider Mal Hado to be San Luis Island, which<br />

no longer exists. More than 100 years ago, the sandy spit joined the mainland after Cold Pass filled<br />

with silt.<br />

De Vaca and his men battled the Karankawas for survival and Austin’s settler’s battled the<br />

Indians for sovereignty over the land.<br />

<strong>The</strong> pioneers’ efforts produced homes and plantations, schools, churches, towns, a county seat.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y produced sugar, cotton, cattle and finally oil and the petrochemical industry.<br />

Most importantly, Austin’s settlers and those who came after began the settlement <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

Stephen F. Austin worked tirelessly for his<br />

beloved Texas, from its conception to his<br />

death, at age 43, on December 27, 1836, in<br />

Columbia, now West Columbia. That date is<br />

honored each year by a local chapter <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Masons. <strong>The</strong> St. John’s Masonic Lodge #5<br />

AF and AM re-enact Austin’s burial<br />

ceremony, beginning at the replica <strong>of</strong> the<br />

First Capitol <strong>of</strong> Texas in West Columbia.<br />

Volunteers in period dress use a horse and<br />

wagon to take the c<strong>of</strong>fin to Gulf Prairie<br />

Cemetery in Jones Creek where Masonic<br />

rituals are performed. Direct descendants <strong>of</strong><br />

Austin attend the event. <strong>The</strong> ceremony<br />

concludes with six period cannons firing 23<br />

shots for the 23 counties in the Texas<br />

Republic at the time <strong>of</strong> Austin’s death.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

10


THE GOLDEN DECADE<br />

PLANTATION LIFE<br />

As Austin’s Old Three Hundred pioneers worked the land and improved<br />

transportation, log cabins were replaced by plantations.<br />

Between 1850-1860, <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> reveled in a “Golden Decade” characterized by<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>its and plenty. Sugar and cotton made plantation owners some <strong>of</strong> the wealthiest<br />

people in Austin’s Colony.<br />

Historians count 46 plantations in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> during the Golden Decade.<br />

Those estates included Peach Point which Austin called home. Not much <strong>of</strong> the old<br />

plantations are visible today. Ruins <strong>of</strong> sugar mills built with handmade bricks dot the<br />

countryside. However, several sites are being resurrected, and Varner-Hogg Plantation<br />

just outside West Columbia is the crown jewel.<br />

Today, the plantation is run by the Texas Historical Commission, but in 1824, the land<br />

was granted to a Virginian, Martin Varner. Ten years later, he sold the property to<br />

Columbus R. Patton <strong>of</strong> Kentucky. Patton brought his family and between 40 and 60 slaves<br />

to work the land. <strong>The</strong> slaves made bricks and built the house, smokehouse, sugar mill and<br />

their own dwellings. Patton made a success <strong>of</strong> his sugarcane operation, but his open<br />

relationship with his slave Rachel didn’t sit well with his neighbors. In 1854, his family<br />

had him declared insane and sent him to an asylum in South Carolina. <strong>The</strong> home changed<br />

hands numerous times until 1910, when former Texas Governor James Hogg bought the<br />

land and began drilling for oil. Not a drop was found in his lifetime, but his children lived<br />

to benefit from the black gold which gushed from the land in which Hogg saw promise.<br />

Today, visitors can walk through the home and tour the grounds which include barns<br />

and other outbuildings, ruins <strong>of</strong> the sugar mill, the governor’s outdoor bathtub fed by<br />

an artesian well, the Pattons’ cemetery and the pecan orchards. Most recently, two <strong>of</strong> the<br />

outbuildings were made available for overnight rentals.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

11


EAST COLUMBIA<br />

NATIONAL HISTORIC DISTRICT<br />

<strong>The</strong> beauty <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> begins in its history and the reverence people show that history. <strong>The</strong> biggest example <strong>of</strong> pride in our<br />

beginnings is the East Columbia National Historic District. <strong>The</strong>re are 13 primary structures in all, little changed from their early 19th<br />

century construction.<br />

East Columbia was platted in 1823 by Josiah H. Bell, an original Old Three Hundred colonist. <strong>The</strong> settlement was originally a landing<br />

on the Brazos River for riverboats carrying supplies. <strong>The</strong> spot was called Bell’s Landing then. Eventually the area was populated by<br />

merchants, a physician and a gun factory.<br />

<strong>The</strong> district includes the Weems House, circa 1847, which was the home <strong>of</strong> Dr. Mason Locke Weems II, the first <strong>of</strong> several physicians<br />

to live here. Texas pioneer Ammon Underwood’s 50-year residence is here also. Underwood served as the town’s postmaster from 1836-<br />

1845. He also ran a boarding house and eventually operated two large cotton plantations. He was elected to the 19th Texas Legislature in<br />

1884 and served on many committees.<br />

Adjoining the Ammon Underwood home is a small, nondescript log cabin. This is the Sweeny-Waddy cabin, circa 1850. Originally, the<br />

one-room building was the home <strong>of</strong> Mark and Larkin Waddy who were slaves on the John Sweeny plantation about 9 miles away. <strong>The</strong><br />

cabin was moved to East Columbia as part <strong>of</strong> a museum preservation effort.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Aldridge-Dance-Smith House, circa 1840, is one <strong>of</strong> the more famous <strong>of</strong> the homes in East Columbia because it belonged to the<br />

Dance family. <strong>The</strong> Dance family was best known as the manufacturer <strong>of</strong> guns and pistols at the Dance Gun Shop. Across Main Street from<br />

the house are the scant remains <strong>of</strong> the gun shop including the original factory forge consisting <strong>of</strong> handmade bricks, iron skirting and<br />

hinges. Many buildings, including two that stood on this site, were destroyed in the 1900 hurricane.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

12


Below: Although not the original building,<br />

the Bethel Presbyterian Church is one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

oldest in Texas, organized June 13, 1840,<br />

on land given by Mrs. Josiah H. Bell. This<br />

new church was acquired in 1932.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

13


BATTLE ISLAND RANCH<br />

Battle Island Ranch. <strong>The</strong> name is romantic, and so is the story <strong>of</strong> its long history<br />

embroidered with historic events and people.<br />

<strong>The</strong> “island” was actually a motte <strong>of</strong> oak trees which still stands on the ranch today<br />

outside <strong>of</strong> West Columbia. <strong>The</strong> ranch takes its name from an 1834 duel fought on the<br />

Phillip’s ranch “island” between William T. Austin and John Wharton. <strong>The</strong> two men<br />

are prominent in Texas’ battle for independence; Austin may be distantly related to<br />

Stephen F. Austin. Wharton suffered a severe wound in his right arm. Newspaper<br />

accounts and legends grew up around the duel, each more fanciful than the last.<br />

John G. Phillips moved to the ranch in 1872, living in a small house and running<br />

a large ranch. His son John “Jack” Phillips, Jr., ran the ranch until his death in 1994.<br />

Jack was a gifted cattleman. He spotted the immense potential in longhorns and was<br />

the owner <strong>of</strong> the most famous longhorn, Texas Ranger J.P. or “Tex” as he is better<br />

known. Tex had 48-inch horns. Jack loaned him to a breeder, and Tex became sire to<br />

some <strong>of</strong> the most famous longhorns in Texas. <strong>The</strong> Phillip’s longhorn legacy doesn’t<br />

end there. A bronze statue at the Fort Worth Stockyards commemorates the seven<br />

families who saved the longhorn breed, the Phillips being the oldest family.<br />

John Phillips III leads a cattle drive at his<br />

family-owned Battle Island Ranch. <strong>The</strong><br />

ranch has been in the family for<br />

generations. Living at the ranch today are<br />

John and his wife Larkad and John’s sister<br />

Linda Carol and her husband Don Holt.<br />

John and Larkad live in the original ranch<br />

house, more than 100 years old. Linda<br />

Carol and Don live in the newer house her<br />

dad Jack Phillips built. Both houses are full<br />

<strong>of</strong> ranching memorabilia.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

14


After the capital <strong>of</strong> Texas was moved from West Columbia to<br />

Houston, the town quieted down for a while. A post <strong>of</strong>fice was<br />

established in 1905, but it wasn’t until 1918 that the boomtown broke<br />

out. Wildcatters discovered a 26-square mile oilfield in and around<br />

West Columbia. <strong>The</strong> population exploded with folks looking to cash<br />

in. <strong>The</strong> Texas Company (later Texaco) drilled several dry holes in West<br />

Columbia, but in July 1920, the company discovered oil at the Abrams<br />

No. 1 well which produced 26,500 barrels a day for six weeks.<br />

<strong>The</strong> discovery <strong>of</strong> the Abrams gusher also meant that land values shot<br />

up. Previously valued at 10 cents an acre, now brought $96,000 an acre<br />

for mineral rights. <strong>The</strong> influx <strong>of</strong> rowdy roughnecks and wildcatters<br />

brought wild nights, muddy streets, board sidewalks and oilfield shacks<br />

covered with tarpaper ro<strong>of</strong>s, anything to provide cheap shelter.<br />

<strong>The</strong> boom didn’t last long. By 1922, production fell steeply, but in<br />

1940, another field was discovered that produced 15.7 million barrels<br />

<strong>of</strong> oil. Eventually, most <strong>of</strong> the wells ran dry. A few pumpjacks are still<br />

working today, but the boomtown is gone.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Confederate veterans <strong>of</strong> John A. Wharton Camp and members<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Lamar Fontaine Chapter <strong>of</strong> the United Daughters <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Confederacy initiated the development <strong>of</strong> the Confederate Cemetery<br />

in Alvin. <strong>The</strong> first 2 acres were purchased in June 1898, more was<br />

purchased in 1903 and 1927. <strong>The</strong> final piece, bought more recently,<br />

brought the total area to about 20 acres.<br />

On May 9, 1924, the Lamar Fontaine Chapter <strong>of</strong> the UDC unveiled<br />

the granite monument in the center <strong>of</strong> the cemetery listing the<br />

members <strong>of</strong> the Wharton Camp. In 1969, a brick entrance to the<br />

cemetery was erected and a Texas State Historical Marker was placed.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are three known graves <strong>of</strong> Union soldiers in the cemetery, and<br />

it is believed that there are 36 graves <strong>of</strong> Confederate veterans,<br />

including that <strong>of</strong> Alvin Morgan, the man for whom the city is named.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alvin Museum Society sponsored the placement <strong>of</strong> a marker by<br />

Morgan’s tombstone at a dedication ceremony in 1986.<br />

Alvin was the site <strong>of</strong> a WWII Prisoner <strong>of</strong> War Camp at 1910<br />

Rosharon Road and FM 1462. <strong>The</strong> camp housed German POWs who<br />

filled the labor shortage by working in the rice fields, raising<br />

vegetables and working in a canning factory. <strong>The</strong> camp closed Dec.<br />

13, 1945. <strong>The</strong> site <strong>of</strong> the camp is now Brighton Place Subdivision.<br />

Alvin is also home to Camp Mohawk, on Hwy 35 near CR 2917.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Karankawa Indians were probably the first to use the site. Many<br />

arrowheads, pottery shards and several large piles <strong>of</strong> buried oyster<br />

shells and animal bones are evidence <strong>of</strong> the Indians’ presence. In 1861,<br />

when Texas joined the Confederacy, the area was used as a Confederate<br />

Army Camp for training <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> recruits. Today, the area is<br />

under the umbrella <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Parks Department.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

15


LEGACY OF LEARNING<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> Heritage Foundation is<br />

restoring a schoolhouse <strong>of</strong> its own. <strong>The</strong> oneroom<br />

Hinkle’s Ferry school (below) was<br />

built no later than 1883 by J. V. Hinkle, a<br />

local merchant and ferry operator on the<br />

San Bernard River. At the time it became<br />

operational, the school had one teacher and<br />

11 students. An artifact in the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Historical Museum lists the<br />

teacher’s contract in 1916 with Effie Watts.<br />

Her pay was $90 a month for eight months.<br />

Like the Rosenwald School in West<br />

Columbia (above), this one was found in a<br />

pasture. Currently the building has received<br />

a new ro<strong>of</strong>, period windows, floor and paint.<br />

Today the building sits behind the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

Heritage Foundation and Museum in the<br />

middle <strong>of</strong> town.<br />

West Columbia may be a sleepy town today, but it is steeped in history. West Columbia is known<br />

for being the first capitol <strong>of</strong> the republic <strong>of</strong> Texas, for two oil booms and a Rosenwald School.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Rosenwald School was part <strong>of</strong> the Rosenwald School Building Program begun in 1912 by<br />

Julius Rosenwald, president <strong>of</strong> the Sears, Roebuck and Co. Booker T. Washington suggested to<br />

Rosenwald an idea for a foundation to construct more than 5,300 buildings in 15 states, including<br />

shops, teacher’s houses and schools—built by and for African Americans.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Columbia Rosenwald School is located behind the Columbia Historical Museum in<br />

downtown. <strong>The</strong> school was built in 1921 and served as the center <strong>of</strong> African American education<br />

and community for more than 30 years. <strong>The</strong> school was built about 5 feet <strong>of</strong>f the ground because<br />

it originally was near the Brazos River. After it closed, the building was sold, moved to a pasture<br />

and used as a hay barn—waiting for the moment it would be brought back to life. In 2002, the<br />

wheels were set in motion, literally, and the building was moved into town behind the museum.<br />

In December 2007, the museum received a Texas Historical Commission marker.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

16


PIECES OF THE PAST<br />

Left: <strong>The</strong> first thing visitors do when they<br />

walk through the front doors <strong>of</strong> the Lake<br />

Jackson Historical Museum is look up.<br />

Suspended above them is a Windecker Eagle<br />

airplane, the first all-composite aircraft to<br />

receive FAA certification. <strong>The</strong> Windecker<br />

was the creation <strong>of</strong> Dr. Leo Windecker and<br />

Dr. Fairfax Windecker who worked with the<br />

Dow Chemical Co. to develop lightweight,<br />

Fiberglass, reinforced plastic structures for<br />

aviation use. Only six were ever made.<br />

Bottom, left: <strong>The</strong> museum’s timeline covers<br />

prehistory, Lake Jackson’s plantation era<br />

and the founding <strong>of</strong> the city in the 1940s.<br />

<strong>The</strong> museum has a few animatronics that<br />

explain Lake Jackson’s history, including<br />

why streets in downtown are named “This<br />

Way” and “That Way”.<br />

Bottom, right: <strong>The</strong> late singer Selena<br />

“Queen <strong>of</strong> Tejano Music” is remembered.<br />

Selena was born in April 1971 in Lake<br />

Jackson. She became an award-winning<br />

Latina recording artist, but was murdered<br />

by the founder <strong>of</strong> her fan club after Selena<br />

learned she was embezzling.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

17


MAMMOTH<br />

LAKE<br />

Texas’ newest and largest dive lake has its<br />

roots in the past. Mammoth Lake began as a<br />

sand pit in Clute. Vernor Material and<br />

Equipment purchased the property in 1986<br />

and excavated sand and clay from the pit<br />

until 2006. However, in 2003, bones were<br />

uncovered. Vernor invited archeologists in to<br />

study them and conduct a dig. <strong>The</strong>y found<br />

a partial mammoth skeleton. <strong>The</strong> animal<br />

was determined to be about 14 feet high to<br />

its shoulders and up to 17 feet long.<br />

Archeologists also uncovered pottery shards<br />

and a wooden bowl. By 2006, Vernor began<br />

converting the pit into a lake for scuba diving.<br />

Today, Mammoth Lake <strong>of</strong>fers 55 acres <strong>of</strong> clear<br />

water with a range <strong>of</strong> objects to see including<br />

an F-5 jet, wrecked boats, a submarine and a<br />

Columbian mammoth replica. Lakeside<br />

dining is available at Asiel’s restaurant, which<br />

took its name from the name <strong>of</strong> the<br />

mammoth. Asiel’s tusks were cast and are on<br />

display in the restaurant.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Brazos Historical Society is proud to<br />

show <strong>of</strong>f its biggest accomplishment—the<br />

restoration <strong>of</strong> the Schuster house. <strong>The</strong><br />

house, at 1130 W. Second Street, was built<br />

in 1917 by the Schuster family. <strong>The</strong><br />

Schusters owned a shipbuilding business,<br />

and knew how to weather storms. <strong>The</strong> wood<br />

was installed diagonally to minimize<br />

hurricane wind damage. <strong>The</strong> Schuster<br />

family still owns the home, but the historical<br />

society has it in trust and spent more than<br />

10 years renovating it. <strong>The</strong> house is<br />

outfitted with antique furniture and<br />

documents including old newspapers;<br />

yearbooks and the original plat <strong>of</strong> Freeport;<br />

an 1880s piano; an electric refrigerator, one<br />

<strong>of</strong> the first in Freeport, and so much more.<br />

<strong>The</strong> home is open the first Saturday <strong>of</strong> each<br />

month to visitors.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

18


Chapter 2<br />

<strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> a<br />

Dynamic Economy<br />

Port Freeport.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />

19


Above: Kelsey-Seybold Pearland has many<br />

specialties including cardiology, ob/gyn,<br />

orthopedics, sports medicine, pulmonology<br />

and many more.<br />

Below: Pearland Town Center.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s economy is booming, affecting transportation, housing, retail—in fact, all<br />

facets <strong>of</strong> life in this coastal county are impacted by the major influx <strong>of</strong> workers here to build and<br />

expand. Dow, BASF, Phillips 66, Freeport LNG are just a few <strong>of</strong> the big name employers that are<br />

expanding operations.<br />

Dow Chemical Co. came to Freeport in 1940 building a plant to extract magnesium from seawater.<br />

Today, Dow sits at the center <strong>of</strong> the world’s largest chemical manufacturing complex. Some <strong>of</strong> the<br />

county’s top employers are: Dow, Fluor Corp., Zachry Group, the Infinity Group, Brock Group,<br />

Phillips 66, BASF, Schlumberger, Mammoet, Trinity Turbine, and Excel.<br />

Industry is supported by 28 tank truck lines, 10 motor freight carriers, and seven local terminals<br />

as well as an air freight/package service.<br />

Pearland was once a sleepy suburb just southwest <strong>of</strong> Houston. Today, it is one <strong>of</strong> the fastestgrowing<br />

cities in the country and the fastest growing city in the Houston region.<br />

Since 2000, Pearland’s population increased by 142 percent. Every day it seems more awards<br />

are heaped on this city <strong>of</strong> more than 117,000 and growing. <strong>The</strong> Pearland Economic Development<br />

Corp. boasts that Pearland is one <strong>of</strong> the top 10 safest cities in Texas. <strong>The</strong> Parks and Recreation<br />

Department earned an administration/management excellence award. <strong>The</strong> city won the Voice <strong>of</strong> the<br />

People award in 2017 for transformation in community engagement—the city that best listens to<br />

and acts for the benefit <strong>of</strong> their community.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

20


FROM AGRIBUSINESS TO OIL TO TECHNOLOGY<br />

Ranches and farms have been a vital part <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> from before its inception. Cattle and crops were the mainstays <strong>of</strong> yesterday’s<br />

and today’s farmers. Chief among crops are rice, cotton, corn, sorghum and soy beans. Besides family-owned businesses, RiceTec is a major<br />

agribusiness employer. This Alvin-based company has been developing rice products since 1988 and exporting its unique products and<br />

techniques to the world. RiceTec was the first company to commercialize hybrid rice seed in North and South America.<br />

Experiments to determine how to harvest pond-bred shrimp were first carried out in Angleton in 1969 with the help <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Mosquito Control District. Texas A&M University’s Sea Grant College program initiated this new endeavor which has spread to<br />

other locations and redefined shrimp farming.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is home to one <strong>of</strong> the Gulf's largest commercial shrimp trawler fleets with more than 500 boats.<br />

FREEPORT SULPHUR COMPANY<br />

<strong>The</strong> endless prairies and beaches <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> are a photographer’s dream providing beautiful backdrops to stunning sunsets.<br />

<strong>The</strong> flat land <strong>of</strong>fers endless vistas and so when a “hill” was discovered, it warranted investigation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hill was actually a salt dome containing sulfur. In 1912 the hill took on the name Bryan Mound and the Freeport Sulphur Company<br />

began mining. <strong>The</strong> town <strong>of</strong> Freeport derived its name from the company.<br />

Freeport Sulphur opened a second dome in 1922 at Hoskins Mound, which is now within the confines <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Brazoria</strong> National Wildlife<br />

Refuge. Eventually another dome was discovered at Stratton Ridge.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Freeport Sulphur Company employed 800 workers at Bryan and Hoskins Mounds in 1930 and produced two thousand tons <strong>of</strong><br />

sulfur daily. Before Bryan Mound closed in 1935, more than 5 million tons <strong>of</strong> sulfur was produced.<br />

Today, Bryan Mound is used by the United States as one <strong>of</strong> the country’s two main strategic petroleum reserves.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />

21


THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

22


BLACK<br />

GOLD<br />

UNDER<br />

THE<br />

PRAIRIES<br />

West Columbia’s early days were filled with history-making events. <strong>The</strong> fledgling city was the first capitol <strong>of</strong> the republic <strong>of</strong> Texas. In<br />

the early 1800s, legendary Texans, including Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston, walked its streets, planning the future <strong>of</strong> the new<br />

republic. Roughly a hundred years later, excitement about West Columbia reached across state lines when oil was discovered in 1920. <strong>The</strong><br />

Abrams No. 1 oil well was drilled by the Texas Company (later Texaco) on a 1,650-acre field. That discovery qualified West Columbia as<br />

a major oil field, eventually producing up to thirty thousand barrels daily <strong>of</strong> crude oil.<br />

Today, the oil fields are relatively quiet. About twelve hundred pumpjacks plunge into the pastures around West Columbia, and the<br />

Abrams lease is still one <strong>of</strong> the most productive in the county.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />

23


Below: Dow Chemical Co. executive, Dr.<br />

A.P. Beutel, is depicted here in an exhibit at<br />

the Lake Jackson Historical Museum. Dr.<br />

Beutel was instrumental in building Dow<br />

Freeport from its humble beginnings in the<br />

1940s. His <strong>of</strong>fice contained a reddish-brown<br />

and yellow desk shaped similar to an<br />

hourglass. <strong>The</strong> desk was designed to Dr.<br />

Beutel’s specifications by Alden B. Dow so<br />

that everyone sitting around it at<br />

conferences could see everyone else.<br />

DOW<br />

CHEMICAL<br />

COMPANY<br />

DOW CHEMICAL<br />

FREEPORT TIMELINE<br />

• In 1961, President John F. Kennedy pushed the button to start up the first<br />

seawater conversion plant. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson also attended<br />

the event.<br />

• In 2012, Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris announced Dow’s Freeport<br />

site had been chosen as the home for a new world-scale ethylene cracker.<br />

• In 2015, Dow Texas Operations celebrated its 75th anniversary.<br />

• In 2015, Dow opened its Innovation Center in Lake Jackson. <strong>The</strong> complex<br />

includes nearly 900,000 square feet <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice and laboratory space in five<br />

structures. <strong>The</strong> A.P. Beutel administrative building accommodates about 1,000<br />

employees from manufacturing and engineering.<br />

• In 2016, the Dow Diamond Center opened in January and features a 400-seat<br />

café, the Dow Family Health Center and the Dow Wellness Center.<br />

• In 2017, the Herbert H. Dow Building and the Edgar C. Britton Building were<br />

dedicated to research and development.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is the cradle <strong>of</strong> Texas,<br />

nurturing industry and a robust economy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> county is perhaps best known as being<br />

the site <strong>of</strong> Dow Chemical Company’s Texas<br />

Operations. Dow developed a process to<br />

“mine” ore from sea water and create<br />

magnesium. Freeport was chosen as the site for<br />

this new venture in 1940, and from then on<br />

Dow Chemical Company began to change the<br />

face <strong>of</strong> the county.<br />

Within a year, about 14,000 construction<br />

and operations workers moved into the<br />

Freeport area. Housing was an immediate<br />

concern so “Camp Chemical” was erected as a<br />

temporary solution, but permanent plans<br />

were in the works.<br />

In 1941, Dr. A.P. Beutel, who was the general<br />

manager <strong>of</strong> Dow’s Texas Division, suggested<br />

building a new town for Dow employees. That<br />

town would be known as Lake Jackson.<br />

By 1944, Lake Jackson incorporated. Dow<br />

gave the fledgling city streets, parks, water<br />

and sewer systems, fire equipment and more.<br />

Today, Lake Jackson consistently earns<br />

Keep America Beautiful awards for its<br />

commitment to trees and beautification.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

24


BASF<br />

BASF chose to partner with Dow Chemical in 1958 to build its first manufacturing plant outside <strong>of</strong> Germany since World War II. That<br />

original $7 million plant in Freeport was called Dow Badische Chemical Company and its goal was to produce basic chemicals and<br />

preliminary fiber products. Dow sold its shares to BASF in 1978.<br />

Today, BASF employs about 850 people and almost that many contractors. <strong>The</strong> facility produces 24 products in 25 plants. BASF<br />

continues to invest in Freeport. In July 2015 the company broke ground on an ammonia plant, a joint partnership with Yara International.<br />

<strong>The</strong> plant is expected to be operational in 2018.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />

25


PHILLIPS LEGACY<br />

David Erfert is the manager <strong>of</strong> the refining<br />

business improvement and special projects<br />

at Phillips 66 at the Sweeny Refinery.<br />

Phillips Petroleum, now Phillips 66, is another early powerhouse in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. <strong>The</strong><br />

company got its start in 1947 when it purchased a government carbon black plant and facilities for<br />

making aviation gasoline. This plant, near Sweeny, was the basis for a refinery, natural gas liquids<br />

center and petrochemicals complex with pipelines to markets east <strong>of</strong> the Mississippi.<br />

Today, the Sweeny Refinery, in Old Ocean, processes mainly heavy, high-sulfur crude oil as well<br />

as some light, low-sulfur crude oil. <strong>The</strong> site is about 14,000 acres, and the company employs more<br />

than 1,200 including contractors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> refinery facilities include two fluid catalytic cracking units, delayed coking, alkylation, a<br />

naphtha reformer and hydrodesulfurization units. It operates nearby terminals and storage<br />

facilities in Freeport, Jones Creek and on the San Bernard River, along with pipelines that connect<br />

these facilities to the refinery.<br />

<strong>The</strong> refinery produces a high percentage <strong>of</strong> gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels. Other products<br />

include petrochemical feedstocks, home heating oil and fuel-grade petroleum coke. Refined<br />

products are distributed throughout the Midwest and southeastern United States by pipeline, barge<br />

and railcar.<br />

Most recently, Chevron Phillips invested $6 billion at the Sweeny refinery by building two<br />

polyethylene units. Feedstocks will be provided via a pipeline and storage system that was<br />

expanded for this project. In addition, the company purchased almost 3,000 rail cars and<br />

constructed a state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art rail facility to ship the polyethylene pellets to customers around<br />

the world.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

26


RUNWAY TO SUCCESS<br />

<strong>The</strong> Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport (LBX) is the first face <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> for many<br />

visitors and investors and after a recent renovation project, is looking better than ever.<br />

<strong>The</strong> airport is a FAR Part 139 certified and general aviation reliever airfield providing enhanced<br />

general aviation services to the community as well as private and corporate visitors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> general aviation reliever airfield is owned and operated by <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. <strong>The</strong> airport has a<br />

7,000 foot runway with all-weather approaches, a new public terminal, full FBO service and is currently<br />

home to 75 single-engine planes, five multi-engine planes, three jet planes and six helicopters.<br />

<strong>The</strong> airport provides excellent road access to State Highway 288, a direct route to Houston, and<br />

has Foreign Trade Zone areas.<br />

Airport amenities include on-airport rental cars including limos, a restaurant that caters, pilot<br />

lounge, temporary aircraft storage and much more.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />

27


BILLION DOLLAR IMPACT<br />

Port Freeport has the distinction <strong>of</strong> being the first deepwater port on the Texas coast. That effort<br />

was more than 125 years ago dating to December 1891. Today, Port Freeport is the fastest growing<br />

port on the Texas coast.<br />

<strong>The</strong> port has a $46.2 billion impact on the county’s economy with more than 800 vessels calling<br />

annually. <strong>The</strong> current depth <strong>of</strong> the harbor channel is 45 feet, but plans are to deepen that to 55<br />

feet. Tenants include: Riviana Foods, MSC/Chiquita Brands, Inc., Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Freeport<br />

LNG, G&H Towing Co., Horizon Terminal Services, Mammoet, Ports America, Tenaris and U.S.<br />

Customs and Border Protection. Five companies have private terminals including Dow, Freeport<br />

LNG, BASF, Enterprise, and Phillips 66.<br />

<strong>The</strong> port’s capabilities include a seamless transportation system <strong>of</strong> rail, highway, vessel and barge<br />

with access to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Brazos River Diversion Channel, state highways,<br />

Union Pacific Railroad and the added benefits <strong>of</strong> its Foreign Trade Zone.<br />

In September 2016, the first Neo-Panamax vessel called at Port Freeport. <strong>The</strong> Motor Vessel<br />

Hoegh Target was successfully piloted into Port Freeport on the evening <strong>of</strong> September 14. <strong>The</strong> MV<br />

Hoegh Target is the world’s largest Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) with a carrying capacity <strong>of</strong><br />

8,500 car equivalent units and capacity to take cargo weighing up to 375 tons.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

28


General Motors exports vehicles<br />

manufactured in Texas on the worldwide<br />

Ro/Ro carrier Hoegh Autoliners. General<br />

Motors also utilizes newly established<br />

vehicle processing and storage facilities at<br />

Port Freeport. <strong>The</strong>se facilities are operated<br />

by Horizon Terminal Services.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />

29


FREEPORT LNG<br />

Freeport LNG is a relative newcomer to <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. In 2014 the company began construction <strong>of</strong> a natural gas liquefaction and<br />

liquefied natural gas export facility on Quintana Island.<br />

<strong>The</strong> enormous shale gas field discoveries in west Texas in the late 2000s, created a new business opportunity for Freeport LNG. <strong>The</strong><br />

company transformed an import terminal into a natural gas liquefaction and liquefied natural gas export facility. <strong>The</strong> company is<br />

constructing a $12.5 billion facility on the island and is well on the way to becoming one <strong>of</strong> the largest U.S. exporters <strong>of</strong> LNG.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company built three production units, or trains, and recently secured financing to build a fourth. At peak construction, the project<br />

will generate more than 5,000 jobs, and, once the facility is operational, almost 300 full-time employees will clock into work.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

30


UNIQUE COMPANIES CALL<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY “HOME”<br />

Buc-ee’s convenience stores are destinations in Texas. <strong>The</strong> chain is known for their clean restrooms,<br />

great food on the go, luxurious car washes and their signature mascot, Buc-ee the Beaver.<br />

<strong>The</strong> successful business got its start in 1982 when co-founders Arch “Beaver” Aplin and Don<br />

Wasek opened their first store on Oyster Creek Drive in Lake Jackson. <strong>The</strong> store is still in operation<br />

today. Since that first station, Buc-ee’s has spread across Texas and across state lines. A lot has<br />

changed, advancements have been made, but Buc-ee’s signature is still clean restrooms.<br />

Mammoet is quite literally the biggest company in the heavy lifting and transportation business.<br />

Mammoet is headquartered in <strong>The</strong> Netherlands, and its U.S. headquarters is in Rosharon.<br />

<strong>The</strong> biggest thing Mammoet moves is time, but in 2011, the company also moved its Rosharon<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices into a spacious, contemporary structure full <strong>of</strong> glass and exposed beams. <strong>The</strong> 32,000<br />

square-foot, two-story building was actually constructed about a quarter mile away from its final<br />

destination, for safety issues. Moving their headquarters was a non-issue for the company that lifts<br />

the heaviest things in the world.<br />

Rosharon is also home to Schlumberger’s Reservoir Completions Center which focuses on subsea<br />

engineering and sustaining products, including testing in a specially constructed hyperbaric<br />

chamber where pressures can be created to match subsea conditions.<br />

Other major employers in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, including Zachry, Fluor and INEOS among many<br />

others, find a hospitable business environment with up-to-date infrastructure, an educated workforce<br />

and friendly tax abatement process.<br />

<strong>The</strong> main artery to and from Houston, State Highway 288, is undergoing a huge renovation<br />

project, the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Expressway. <strong>The</strong> $97 billion expressway will construct four toll lanes<br />

from the county line to CR 58 and is expected to be complete by July 2019.<br />

CHAPTER 2<br />

31


WORKFORCE EDUCATION<br />

BRAZOSPORT COLLEGE<br />

A skilled and educated workforce is one <strong>of</strong> the top priorities <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

businesses and industry. Education is supported through grants, one-on-one tutoring by<br />

employees, summer internships and science camps and so much more.<br />

Brazosport College, in Lake Jackson, is a shining example <strong>of</strong> a powerhouse<br />

partnership with business and industry. <strong>The</strong> college <strong>of</strong>fers two four-year degree<br />

programs in Industrial Management and Health Services Management. Numerous<br />

two-year degrees and certificate options are available in a variety <strong>of</strong> careers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> college’s physical footprint has expanded with beautiful additions including the<br />

BASF Center for Process Technology, the Dow Academic Center, the Byron & Sandra<br />

Sadler Health Pr<strong>of</strong>essions/Science Complex, the Freeport LNG Crafts Academy and, most<br />

recently, the BCPC Welding Technologies Laboratory.<br />

Brazosport College’s Corporate Learning Center is home to the Center for Business<br />

& Industry Training, which provides a large range <strong>of</strong> consulting and educational<br />

services to area businesses. <strong>The</strong> Corporate Learning Center also hosts the Small<br />

Business Development Center.<br />

Several plum awards were given to the college. In 2013 and 2015, Brazosport<br />

College was named one <strong>of</strong> the “top 10 community colleges in the nation” by the<br />

Aspen Institute.<br />

ALVIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE<br />

<strong>The</strong> Aspen Institute named Alvin Community College (ACC) a top community<br />

college in the nation in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Some <strong>of</strong> the qualifications for winning<br />

the honor include first-year retention rates, three-year graduation and transfer rates<br />

as well as the number <strong>of</strong> certificates and degrees awarded.<br />

ACC uniquely <strong>of</strong>fers associates degrees in a variety <strong>of</strong> health fields including<br />

diagnostic sonography, pharmacy technician, respiratory care, nursing and more.<br />

Other programs include communications, court reporting, culinary arts, industrial<br />

design technology and paralegal.<br />

UHCL PEARLAND<br />

<strong>The</strong> most recent higher education system in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is the University <strong>of</strong><br />

Houston-Clear Lake Pearland Campus. Since 2010, UHCL Pearland has <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

undergraduate and graduate degrees in education, criminology, healthcare<br />

administration, accounting and many more. Undergraduates with more than 60<br />

credit hours can complete a bachelor’s degree in eight programs. Graduate students<br />

can earn master’s degrees in six programs.<br />

Above: <strong>The</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Houston-Clear Lake Pearland campus.<br />

Right: Brazosport College, in Lake Jackson, was named Safest College Campus in Texas, as well as a Top 10<br />

Beautiful Yet Affordable College Campus in the nation.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

32


CHAPTER 2<br />

33


BURGEONING INDUSTRY<br />

OF SERVICES<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>of</strong>fers residents strong, diverse healthcare services. Every corner <strong>of</strong><br />

the county has a wealth <strong>of</strong> medical pr<strong>of</strong>essionals to handle any emergency.<br />

Sweeny, in far west <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, is breaking ground for a 90,000-square-foot<br />

hospital to replace its current building. Sweeny Community Hospital has been providing<br />

health care for 50 years. Services have grown to include a Level IV Trauma Center and<br />

surgical suite.<br />

In Lake Jackson, Brazosport Memorial Hospital recently merged with CHI St. Luke’s<br />

to become CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport. <strong>The</strong> 154-bed center has Level III trauma<br />

services, advanced cardiac care and a multidisciplinary cancer center. Lake Jackson is<br />

also home to the Southwest SIDS Research Institute. <strong>The</strong> Institute provides medical,<br />

education, support and research to families and caretakers <strong>of</strong> babies at risk <strong>of</strong> Sudden<br />

Infant Death Syndrome.<br />

A few miles up the road in Angleton is UTMB Health Angleton Danbury Campus, an<br />

acute care hospital with services for wellness, rehabilitation, imaging, outpatient surgery<br />

and much more.<br />

Pearland boasts a wealth <strong>of</strong> health care options including the Memorial Hermann<br />

Pearland Hospital and Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation. More big<br />

names in healthcare are represented in Pearland including HealthSouth Rehabilitation<br />

Hospital, Houston Methodist Primary Care Group, Texas Children’s Pediatrics Shadow<br />

Creek Ranch and Kelsey-Seybold Pearland.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

34


CHAPTER 2<br />

35


Above: CHI St. Luke’s Health–Brazosport Cancer Center, Lake Jackson, provides radiation and chemotherapy services with cutting edge radiation technology, an infusion suite and a private<br />

lab for quick results.<br />

Below: CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

36


Chapter 3<br />

<strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

Fascinating Places<br />

Sunrise on the beach.<br />

CHAPTER 3<br />

37


THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

38


GET OUTDOORS<br />

Prairies, bottomland, woods, bays and beaches. At 1,407 square miles, <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>of</strong>fers endless opportunities. <strong>The</strong> county boasts a<br />

diverse range <strong>of</strong> communities and includes major attractions, including twenty-three miles <strong>of</strong> Gulf beaches and countless ways to relax.<br />

Like to be outdoors? <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> averages 204 sunny days a year. Unique activities abound. Skydive in Rosharon. Drive more than 100<br />

mph in Angleton. Ride a marsh buggy in <strong>Brazoria</strong>.<br />

Bird life is abundant. <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is in the Central Flyway for migrating birds. Every spring, usually in April, thousands <strong>of</strong> bright-winged<br />

visitors land on the shores and in the oak trees to rest after traveling from Central and South America. <strong>The</strong> Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, in Lake<br />

Jackson, sends volunteers for the month <strong>of</strong> April to Quintana Island’s Neotropical Bird Sanctuary to help bird watchers locate new species. In<br />

the fall, sandhill cranes, and occasionally the endangered whooping crane, takes up residence for the winter at one <strong>of</strong> two wildlife refuges in<br />

the county—the <strong>Brazoria</strong> National Wildlife Refuge near Angleton and the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge south <strong>of</strong> Sweeny and <strong>Brazoria</strong>.<br />

Each April, the San Bernard refuge hosts the Migration Celebration, a birding festival with activities for the whole family including a birds <strong>of</strong><br />

prey program, kayaking and a marsh buggy ride.<br />

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<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is blessed with 23 miles <strong>of</strong><br />

sandy beaches, most with vehicle access.<br />

Jetties at Surfside Beach and Quintana Island<br />

are excellent locations to fish. Try fishing in<br />

the surf or go <strong>of</strong>fshore. Surfside Beach has<br />

two marinas, five charter fishing guides and<br />

twenty-three businesses that rent vacation<br />

homes. While you’re at Surfside, you can ride<br />

horses on the beach, rent surf and boogie<br />

boards, learn to Jet Ski, watch for dolphins<br />

and so much more.<br />

Freeport is one <strong>of</strong> the closest launch sites<br />

for divers going 70 miles <strong>of</strong>fshore to visit the<br />

National Marine Sanctuary Flower Garden<br />

Banks—the only sanctuary in the Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexico. <strong>The</strong> Flower Garden Banks was discovered<br />

by snapper and grouper fishermen in<br />

the early 1900s. <strong>The</strong> corals sit atop salt<br />

domes. Fishermen named the banks after the<br />

brightly colored sponges, plants, and other<br />

marine life they could see on the colorful<br />

reefs below their boats.<br />

Charter boats and fishing guides take fishermen<br />

<strong>of</strong>fshore and into the bays in search <strong>of</strong><br />

redfish, trout, snapper and more.<br />

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Left: <strong>The</strong> Mystery shrimp boat greets<br />

visitors to Freeport Municipal Park.<br />

Below: Visitors to the San Bernard<br />

National Wildlife Refuge get a guided<br />

tour through the woods in the search for<br />

migrant songbirds.<br />

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SEA CENTER<br />

Sea Center Texas, in Lake Jackson, is a marine aquarium, fish hatchery and education center operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife<br />

Department in partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association, Dow Chemical Co. and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sportfish<br />

Restoration funds. Sea Center’s visitor center gives up close looks at some marine animals that live in the waters <strong>of</strong> the Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico.<br />

Aquariums are the prime attraction. One recreates a salt marsh. Another shows the complex inner workings <strong>of</strong> a Texas bay system.<br />

Redfish, black drum and flounder weave in and out <strong>of</strong> oyster reefs. Another visitor favorite is the coral reef aquarium with colorful sea<br />

stars, sea cucumbers and corals. Eel, enormous grouper, snapper and jacks cruise by a miniature <strong>of</strong>fshore oil and gas production platform.<br />

<strong>The</strong> star <strong>of</strong> the show is the Offshore Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico Aquarium. At 50,000 gallons, visitors are dwarfed by the bonnethead sharks, large<br />

red drum, gray snapper, Atlantic spadefish, green moray eel and tarpon.<br />

A 20-foot touch tank allows small visitors to<br />

experience marine animals like blue crabs,<br />

snails and anemones.<br />

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FREEPORT HISTORICAL<br />

MUSEUM<br />

<strong>The</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Freeport opened the doors to its Historical Museum<br />

in 2009. Inside is a model <strong>of</strong> the old swing bridge and the light house<br />

that was located in old Velasco. Currently, the 3,000-square-foot<br />

building has a media room and a conference/meeting room in addition<br />

to the main room with pictures <strong>of</strong> local history. <strong>The</strong> Dow<br />

Heritage House, Children's Museum and the temporary exhibit hall<br />

are all available for rental. Rotating exhibits include Birds <strong>of</strong><br />

Freeport, World War II, Dinosaur George, Shaking Hands with Other<br />

Lands and Oval Office.<br />

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MOTOR SPEEDWAY RESORT<br />

MSR Houston, Motor Speedway Resort, sits on 383 acres outside Angleton and<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers a karting track and 180,000 square feet <strong>of</strong> paddock space. A 2.38 mile road<br />

track with 17 turns gives thrill seekers a combination <strong>of</strong> slow, medium and highspeed<br />

corners. <strong>The</strong> facility was sanctioned as a test site for Champ Car World Series,<br />

Atlantic Championship and Formula BMW Series.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ¾ mile karting track has 17 turns and is configured to run clockwise and<br />

counter-clockwise. MSR has Italian-made karts that reach speeds <strong>of</strong> 45 mph.<br />

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CENTER FOR<br />

THE ARTS &<br />

SCIENCES<br />

Founded in 1976, the Center for Arts &<br />

Sciences is a wonder <strong>of</strong> volunteers and<br />

diverse talent. Located in Clute, the center<br />

sports dedicated space to five partner groups:<br />

the Art League, Center Stages <strong>The</strong>ater,<br />

Brazosport Museum <strong>of</strong> Natural Science, the<br />

Brazosport Planetarium and the Brazosport<br />

Symphony Orchestra.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Art League has more than 170 members<br />

and artists who showcase their talent during 10<br />

annual shows in the Center’s Gallery.<br />

Workshops, demonstrations and life drawing<br />

classes meet regularly, and children are<br />

encouraged to attend with classes,<br />

competitions and scholarships.<br />

Center Stages is the oldest continuously<br />

operating community theatre on the Gulf Coast<br />

<strong>of</strong> Texas. <strong>The</strong> all-volunteer group puts on highquality<br />

entertainment with a chance to learn<br />

from veteran performers, designers, producers<br />

and technicians.<br />

<strong>The</strong> museum exhibits one <strong>of</strong> the largest sea<br />

shell collections on the coast along with<br />

dinosaurs, fossils, mammoth bones, a<br />

Megaladon jaw, rock, minerals and more.<br />

<strong>The</strong> planetarium features a 30-foot dome<br />

equipped combined with a Spitz Star Ball<br />

projector produces the night sky as it appears<br />

to the naked eye. Together with a large variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> high-tech equipment, the show gives patrons<br />

a close-up feel for things like comets, exploding<br />

stars, and black holes. <strong>The</strong> planetarium sports<br />

a special show for Christmas and public star<br />

gazing parties.<br />

<strong>The</strong> quality <strong>of</strong> symphony performances<br />

rivals those in more metropolitan areas. <strong>The</strong><br />

symphony members are all volunteers and they<br />

encourage community involvement. Several<br />

well-known soloists have performed with the<br />

group, including outside pr<strong>of</strong>essionals.<br />

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47


<strong>The</strong> 600-seat Clarion hall features a lobby<br />

showcasing a specially commissioned bronze<br />

sculpture <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> Music.<br />

THE CLARION<br />

<strong>The</strong> Clarion at Brazosport College, in Lake Jackson, is an extraordinary performance hall. <strong>The</strong><br />

highest acoustical standards produce beautiful music for local performers and pr<strong>of</strong>essionals, including,<br />

most recently, Leann Rimes; Delfeayo Marsalis and Jackie Evancho.<br />

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Above: Downtown Lake Jackson was<br />

revitalized recently with designer street<br />

lighting, updated signage and greenery. <strong>The</strong><br />

area comes alive at dusk. Here, a local band<br />

performs at a downtown restaurant.<br />

Right: <strong>The</strong> bridge over the Brazos at<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> was completed in 1939 by<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> in partnership with the<br />

Works Progress Administration. <strong>The</strong> bridge<br />

is listed on the National Register <strong>of</strong><br />

Historic Places.<br />

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Top: <strong>The</strong> Alvin Historic Depot Centre is<br />

more than 100 years old. <strong>The</strong> former hub<br />

for business and agriculture served the<br />

Santa Fe Line. Now the structure is<br />

available to rent for special events.<br />

Middle: <strong>The</strong> Angleton Recreation Center<br />

features an indoor pool with plenty <strong>of</strong><br />

entertaining water features including a mini<br />

slide, lazy river, tipping buckets and<br />

water blasters.<br />

Bottom left: <strong>The</strong> Wilderness Golf Course in<br />

Lake Jackson was built in 2004, is open to<br />

the public and is available year round. <strong>The</strong><br />

course was listed by Golf Advisor as one <strong>of</strong><br />

the top courses in Texas in 2014, 2015,<br />

and 2016.<br />

Bottom, right: A baby croc smiles for the<br />

children during a field trip at Crocodile<br />

Encounter near Angleton. Crocodile<br />

Encounter maintains 14 species <strong>of</strong><br />

crocodilians. <strong>The</strong> facility has the largest<br />

group <strong>of</strong> Nile crocodiles in the nation.<br />

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Entertainment venues are varied in <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Football lights up <strong>The</strong> Rig, in<br />

Pearland, on Friday nights in the fall.<br />

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Chapter 4<br />

<strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> a<br />

Unique Lifestyle<br />

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53


UPSCALE SHOPPING<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> residents enjoy two malls—one indoor and one outdoor—on either<br />

end <strong>of</strong> the county.<br />

Pearland Town Center is an open-air, walker’s pleasure center. Anchor stores include<br />

Dillard’s, Macy’s and Barnes & Noble with a wide selection <strong>of</strong> smaller stores between.<br />

H&M recently opened. Shoppers will also find Chico’s, francesca’s Collections and<br />

Torrid. Restaurants include la Madeleine, BJ’s, Fish City Grill and more.<br />

A 110-room, four-story Courtyard by Marriot Hotel is located on the property. In<br />

addition there are multi-family residential spaces above the retail outlets, a twenty-fiveacre<br />

lake and miles <strong>of</strong> walking paths and parks.<br />

Shoppers who want an indoor experience can visit Brazos Mall in Lake Jackson which<br />

recently received a makeover and its facelift is a fresh, contemporary look. Victoria’s<br />

Secret, Pink and Bath and Body Works expanded their spaces, and new stores are<br />

arriving including Ulta, T.J. Maxx and Home Goods. Anchor stores are Dillard’s,<br />

JCPenney and a 14-sceen AMC Starplex Cinema. A food court as well as El Chico and<br />

Texas Roadhouse <strong>of</strong>fer shoppers tempting meals. On property, a new-from-the-groundup<br />

hotel, <strong>The</strong> Courtyard by Marriot, opened in late 2017.<br />

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ANTIQUE TREASURE HUNT<br />

Walk into the past in the abundance <strong>of</strong> antique shops throughout <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. Alvin and West Columbia are antique meccas, each<br />

featuring quirky curiosity shops. You may wander into the Alvin Antique Center and Marketplace which houses many antique vendors or pop<br />

over to Roadside Antiques which repurposes antiques to create one-<strong>of</strong>-a-kind finds.<br />

In West Columbia, walkers will find treat after treat along Brazos Avenue. Side-by-side with the history, shoppers can visit the Capitol <strong>of</strong><br />

Texas Park, a walk through the history <strong>of</strong> the birth <strong>of</strong> Texas. Across the street are places like Chesney’s Jewelry, in business since 1924. Next<br />

door is the Carta Valley Market, which is a new store, but specializes in vintage. Further down the street are more old stores, antique shops and<br />

boutiques and places to rest with a delicious lunch and a cold iced tea.<br />

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FARM TO TABLE<br />

Children learn where their food comes from when they pick it themselves at Froberg’s Farm and<br />

Country Store in Alvin. Strawberries are ripe for the picking from January to May, depending on the<br />

weather. In the fall, kids can wander the corn maze and check out the indoor pumpkin patch. <strong>The</strong><br />

country store <strong>of</strong>fers aisle after aisle <strong>of</strong> the freshest vegetables and fruits. Froberg’s also has a bakery with<br />

homemade fried pies, preserves, kettle and caramel corn.<br />

Left: Local produce is also available at the<br />

open-air Peach Street Farmers Market in<br />

Angleton. Nearby farms <strong>of</strong>fer up goodies like<br />

unfiltered honey, home grown chickens and<br />

eggs, jams and jellies, pestos, sauces,<br />

vinegars. Pick up goat’s milk soaps, salves<br />

and even wine.<br />

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SYMPHONY OF SOUND<br />

Music is one <strong>of</strong> the favorite pastimes in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>—either playing it or listening. Numerous<br />

volunteer orchestras and symphonies can be heard any time <strong>of</strong> year in venues as diverse as churches,<br />

festivals, restaurants and the concert stage. A recent cultural concert series featured Step Rideau and<br />

Sunny Sauceda with their Zydeco sounds. <strong>The</strong> Bluewater Highway Band takes its name from the road<br />

that run along the beach from Surfside to Galveston. <strong>The</strong> band got its start here at home and now tours<br />

across the United States. Big name country singer Cole Degges is a hometown Lake Jackson product.<br />

He’s performed with the likes <strong>of</strong> Kenny Chesney and Tracy Byrd, but he also can be found singing to<br />

his <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> friends and family.<br />

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Chapter 5<br />

<strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> a<br />

People United<br />

Festival-goers enjoy Fourth <strong>of</strong> July fireworks<br />

at Freeport Municipal Park over the old<br />

Brazos River in Freeport.<br />

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FESTIVALS,<br />

FOOD & FUN<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is its people. <strong>The</strong>y create<br />

the character <strong>of</strong> the county with a diverse<br />

range <strong>of</strong> cultures with a strong emphasis on<br />

the arts, the environment, historical<br />

preservation and fitness.<br />

Together <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> has created<br />

strong communities and a positive atmosphere<br />

for growth.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> has a knack for turning<br />

a negative into a positive. Even public<br />

enemy number 1, the mosquito, has earned<br />

itself a festival—right in the middle <strong>of</strong> the<br />

heat <strong>of</strong> summer.<br />

Willie Manchew can be seen waving to the<br />

crowds every July at the Mosquito Festival in<br />

Clute. Big name entertainment takes the stage<br />

each night for the multi-day event. Cook <strong>of</strong>fs,<br />

games, a carnival and a 5K Mosquito Chase.<br />

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Above: <strong>The</strong> Mosquito Festival, in Clute,<br />

features a variety <strong>of</strong> entertainment. Pleasing<br />

the crowd here is the Spazmatics, the<br />

ultimate new wave 80s show.<br />

Left: <strong>The</strong> Mosquito Festival’s barbecue<br />

and fajita cook-<strong>of</strong>fs draw serious<br />

competitors like the Pit Meisters. <strong>The</strong><br />

event is sanctioned by the International<br />

Barbeque Cookers Association.<br />

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<strong>The</strong> Giddy Up Cookers participated in a<br />

barbecue cook<strong>of</strong>f challenge: Make<br />

something tasty with random ingredients<br />

they were given.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> celebrates all manner <strong>of</strong> things. <strong>The</strong>re are several food truck festivals, crawfish<br />

festivals, birds, history and heritage, autumn, and Christmas. <strong>The</strong>re’s a biker bash at the Freeport<br />

Summertime Blues festival. Alvin hosts a music festival. <strong>The</strong> SPCA holds its biggest and glitziest<br />

fund-raiser <strong>of</strong> the year at its New Year’s Eve gala.<br />

Sweeny celebrates its city with Pride Day each May. <strong>Brazoria</strong> puts the No Name Festival on its<br />

calendar each June.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are dozens more—something to fill every weekend <strong>of</strong> the calendar.<br />

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FITNESS WITH A TWIST<br />

With all the sunshine and warm temperatures, the outdoors beckons fitness buffs. Every fitness genre is represented—tai chi, yoga,<br />

Zumba, CrossFit, obstacle course workouts, and martial arts.<br />

Even 5K runs get twisted with costumes like Lake Jackson’s Monster Dash and the Zombie Fest. <strong>The</strong>re’s a run with your dog, Lake Jackson<br />

Doggy Dash. You can Run for the Arts, do the Gator Gallop at Brazosport College. Do the Diva Dash and Lil’ Princess Girls Run in Pearland.<br />

Of course, there are wildly popular color runs.<br />

<strong>The</strong> county has several golf courses, numerous bike and walking paths, indoor pools, outdoor pools, gyms, and, <strong>of</strong> course, the beach.<br />

Run a half marathon at Surfside Beach, surf or take part in the pole vault competition in the sand.<br />

Fitness classes for every age and fitness level are available. Pearland Parks and Recreation <strong>of</strong>fers adaptive recreation to people with<br />

physical or developmental disabilities.<br />

You’ll find leagues for T-ball, s<strong>of</strong>tball, baseball, soccer, basketball for youth and adults. Try Archery Tag, disc golf or FootGolf.<br />

Even if you just want to walk around your neighborhood, cities have put a priority on building sidewalks. So get out there and enjoy<br />

the weather!<br />

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A marina at Freeport.<br />

SAND & SEA<br />

Fun is limitless at the beaches, bays and deep-sea fishing and diving. One <strong>of</strong> the biggest<br />

attractions at the water during the summer is the Freeport Hosted Lions Club Fishin’ Fiesta. Dating<br />

back 70 years, the multi-day tournament <strong>of</strong>fers tournaments for inshore and <strong>of</strong>fshore fish, food, live<br />

music, beer gardens, a carnival and more.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Surside Kite Flyers Club attends the Treasures by the Sea festival at Surfside Beach. <strong>The</strong> kite<br />

flyers demonstrate their skills and unique kites. <strong>The</strong> Old Guys Surf Reunion in May draws long-time<br />

surfers to Surfside’s Stahlman Park.<br />

Quintana hosts the Quintana Beach Vault which draws pole vaulters <strong>of</strong> all skill levels.<br />

Whatever the weather, whatever the season, beach and bay enthusiasts get the most out <strong>of</strong> their<br />

backyard treasures.<br />

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BRAZORIA COUNTY FAIR<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair is the largest county fair in Texas. More than 500 volunteers are required to pull <strong>of</strong>f this 9-day event that starts<br />

with a parade through downtown Angleton. Local school clubs, bands and community groups dress up, line up and march a well-trodden<br />

route to kick <strong>of</strong>f the fair festivities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 120-acre fair grounds are covered with permanent buildings including stalls for livestock exhibitions, concessions, an auditorium<br />

and a rodeo arena.<br />

Today’s fair <strong>of</strong>fers <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> residents a friendly place to gather to compete in agricultural and homemaking pursuits.<br />

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THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

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COWBOYS &<br />

COWGIRLS<br />

Get close to the action at the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Fair Rodeo Arena. <strong>The</strong> open air venue<br />

was the site <strong>of</strong> the twenty-fifth annual<br />

Cowboy’s Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Rodeo Association<br />

finals in 2017. <strong>The</strong> audience was treated to<br />

bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, calf<br />

roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling<br />

and team roping events. Bigger kids are able to<br />

take part in the 4H/FFA calf scramble, and the<br />

littlest ones go mutton bustin’—similar to bull<br />

riding but with sheep.<br />

Tradition and family values are at the<br />

core <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair. <strong>The</strong> fair<br />

has long been billed as an event for the<br />

whole family.<br />

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THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

70


TROUBLED<br />

WATERS,<br />

HEALING<br />

HEARTS<br />

Flood waters and hurricanes have been a<br />

part <strong>of</strong> life for folks in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> since<br />

Stephen F. Austin brought the Old Three<br />

Hundred to settle here. So when meteorologists<br />

forecasted Hurricane Harvey in August<br />

2017, cars were gassed up, cash withdrawn<br />

from the bank and everyone watched the<br />

weather forecasts.<br />

Still, the predictions <strong>of</strong> rainfall totals were<br />

simply unbelievable. Historic flooding? Yes, historic<br />

flooding. Just a little more than a year after<br />

the Memorial Day flood <strong>of</strong> 2016, <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> was inundated with rainfall, as were our<br />

neighbors to the north. <strong>The</strong>ir rainfall became<br />

our river flooding, and the Brazos left its banks,<br />

in company with creeks and bayous.<br />

Thousands were left homeless.<br />

How would they all recover? Sure FEMA<br />

and the Red Cross arrived, but <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> is strong and neighbors helped neighbors.<br />

Strangers volunteered.<br />

Heather Lynn lost the first floor <strong>of</strong> her<br />

house. Where would she and her family live?<br />

Acquaintances from church opened their home<br />

to the Lynn family. <strong>The</strong>y lived there more than<br />

four months. Neighbor Doug Whipple, from<br />

Sugar Mill, the subdivision where she lives, put<br />

together a team that worked for two weeks<br />

straight tearing out the Sheetrock from her<br />

flooded first story. A friend from school, who<br />

Heather hadn’t seen in years, messaged her<br />

through FaceBook and <strong>of</strong>fered her a trailer to<br />

put on her property while they rebuild.<br />

That’s the ultimate <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Right: Heather Lynn and Danny Hickey show <strong>of</strong>f a “We<br />

Survived Harvey Sugar Mill 2017” T-shirt Hickey made at his<br />

Blueline Print Shop and gave to neighbors.<br />

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<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Partners<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>iles <strong>of</strong> businesses, organizations and families<br />

that have contributed to the development and<br />

economic base <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Brazosport College ...............................................................................................................74<br />

City <strong>of</strong> West Columbia ..........................................................................................................78<br />

Ascend Performance Materials................................................................................................81<br />

NALCO Champion ................................................................................................................82<br />

Candlewood Suites ® Lake Jackson............................................................................................84<br />

Staybridge Suites ® Lake Jackson .............................................................................................85<br />

G.B. Industry Co., L.P...........................................................................................................86<br />

Rollac Shutters <strong>of</strong> Texas, Inc..................................................................................................88<br />

Architecture Etc*<br />

Raymond L. Burroughs, AIA..............................................................................................90<br />

BASF..................................................................................................................................92<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic..............................................................................................................94<br />

Dow Texas Operations ..........................................................................................................96<br />

<strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc. ...........................................................................................................98<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> Heritage Foundation ..............................................................................................100<br />

Sandy Point, Texas .............................................................................................................101<br />

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, LP.................................................................................102<br />

HomeTown Bank, N.A..........................................................................................................103<br />

Commissioner Ryan Cade.....................................................................................................104<br />

Smile Avenue Family Dental.................................................................................................105<br />

Gulf Coast Water Authority .................................................................................................106<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Government ...............................................................................................107<br />

SI Group, Inc.....................................................................................................................108<br />

Port Freeport.....................................................................................................................109<br />

Jaco Ro<strong>of</strong>ing & Construction, Inc. .........................................................................................110<br />

Greater Angleton Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce ................................................................................111<br />

Phillips 66 Sweeny Refinery .................................................................................................112<br />

Brazosport Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce..................................................................................113<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce............................................................................................114<br />

COMPOSURElife Portrait Design ..........................................................................................115<br />

Kimco Services, Inc. ...........................................................................................................116<br />

Fagioli, Inc. ......................................................................................................................117<br />

West Columbia Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce....................................................................................118<br />

Robert H. Sipple ................................................................................................................119<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Constable Precinct 3 ...................................................................................120<br />

Sweeny Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce..............................................................................................121<br />

Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce ..............................................................................121<br />

Pearland Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce............................................................................................122<br />

Lammert, Inc. dba HPNbooks and HPN Custom Media & Publishing ..........................................123<br />

<strong>The</strong> Economic Development Alliance <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> ...........................................................124<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

73


BRAZOSPORT<br />

COLLEGE<br />

Above: An overhead view <strong>of</strong> the Brazosport<br />

College campus in 1975.<br />

Bottom: Brazosport College’s administration<br />

wing in 1985.<br />

Brazosport College has been the College <strong>of</strong><br />

Choice for southern <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> for fifty<br />

years now.<br />

From its humble beginnings in 1967 and<br />

an initial graduating class <strong>of</strong> twenty-five<br />

students in 1970, to being named one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

top community colleges in the nation with<br />

more than 1,000 graduates in 2016,<br />

Brazosport College has seen tremendous<br />

growth. However, the primary goal has always<br />

remained the same: Brazosport College is<br />

focused on student success.<br />

Located in Lake Jackson, Texas, Brazosport<br />

College has enriched the lives <strong>of</strong> its students<br />

with affordable and efficient educational<br />

opportunities including certifications, associate<br />

and baccalaureate degree programs, as well<br />

as academic transfers and workforce development.<br />

Students planning to pursue a bachelor’s<br />

degree may enroll in academic classes, as<br />

well as courses in major fields <strong>of</strong> study that<br />

will transfer to four-year institutions.<br />

Recognized twice by the Aspen Institute as<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the nation’s top ten community colleges,<br />

Brazosport College <strong>of</strong>fers more than<br />

seventy-five degree and certificate programs.<br />

Currently, Brazosport College is one <strong>of</strong> four<br />

schools in Texas to <strong>of</strong>fer a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Applied<br />

Technology degree.<br />

Brazosport College is considered by<br />

many to be among the best community colleges<br />

in the nation, and that accolade is not<br />

something the college takes lightly. Brazosport<br />

College has taken pride in being the first<br />

choice for students since it opened its doors<br />

fifty years ago.<br />

<strong>The</strong> college was founded after voters<br />

authorized a tax to support the maintenance<br />

<strong>of</strong> the college in 1967. <strong>The</strong> board <strong>of</strong> trustees <strong>of</strong><br />

the Brazosport Independent School District<br />

divested itself <strong>of</strong> the college’s management,<br />

control and operation. <strong>The</strong> board <strong>of</strong> regents<br />

for the college district was installed in August<br />

<strong>of</strong> 1967.<br />

In 1968, Dr. J. R. Jackson became the<br />

first president <strong>of</strong> Brazosport Junior College.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first semester <strong>of</strong> classes began in the fall<br />

<strong>of</strong> 1968 with an enrollment <strong>of</strong> 879 students.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first class graduated in 1970 with twentyfive<br />

students.<br />

In its fifty-year history, Brazosport College<br />

has had four presidents, including Dr. J. R.<br />

Jackson, 1968-1978; Dr. W. A. Bass, 1978-<br />

1988; Dr. John R. Grable, 1988-1996; and Dr.<br />

Millicent Valek, 1996-present.<br />

In October <strong>of</strong> 1970, the college’s name was<br />

changed to Brazosport College to reflect its<br />

broader purpose. After the turn <strong>of</strong> the century,<br />

Brazosport College underwent many changes,<br />

from building additions and improvements to<br />

adding innovative new programs.<br />

First <strong>of</strong> all, in 2002, the Corporate<br />

Learning Center and the Children’s Center<br />

(later renamed the Bill & Julia May Children’s<br />

Center) were built. A few years later, in 2004,<br />

Brazosport College received accreditation<br />

approval from the Southern Association <strong>of</strong><br />

Colleges and Schools as a baccalaureatelevel<br />

institution.<br />

“When we received the authority to <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

baccalaureate degrees, there were fifty community<br />

colleges in Texas. Three colleges received<br />

that authority, and Brazosport College was one<br />

<strong>of</strong> them,” said Dr. Valek. “It took a while to go<br />

through all the steps, such as getting the<br />

authority from the Legislature, but it has had a<br />

huge impact for this community. It would not<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

74


have been possible without the support <strong>of</strong><br />

Representative Dennis Bonnen, who to this<br />

day remains instrumental to our success with<br />

that program.”<br />

Community support has also been an integral<br />

part <strong>of</strong> the growth <strong>of</strong> Brazosport College’s<br />

spacious campus, which today sits on 156<br />

manicured acres. In 2005 the school’s music<br />

venue, <strong>The</strong> Clarion at Brazosport College, was<br />

built, and classes began for a Bachelor <strong>of</strong><br />

Applied Technology degree in Technology<br />

Management program.<br />

In November <strong>of</strong> 2007, the community<br />

approved a $70 million bond referendum that<br />

paved the way for even more additions. In<br />

2011 the Master Plan Project was completed<br />

with the following additions: the BASF Center<br />

for Process Technology, the Byron & Sandra<br />

Sadler Health Pr<strong>of</strong>essions/Science Complex,<br />

the Dow Academic Center, a new Student<br />

Pavilion, and an expansion to the college’s<br />

library. In 2016 the BCPC Welding<br />

Technologies Lab and the Freeport LNG Crafts<br />

Academy were dedicated. <strong>The</strong> college even<br />

added a jogging trail, which is utilized by the<br />

community and students alike, in 2009.<br />

“In the college’s fifty-year<br />

history, we’ve only had two<br />

general obligation bonds,<br />

which colleges generally use<br />

to build their campuses—<br />

once when it was built, and<br />

again in 2007, which was<br />

forty years later,” Dr. Valek<br />

said. “We’ve been able to do a<br />

tremendous amount <strong>of</strong> building<br />

and construction without<br />

having to go back to the voters<br />

numerous times. We’re<br />

very pleased to have tremendous<br />

support for that, and<br />

with that support we’ve been<br />

able to really transform the<br />

campus as it went from one<br />

single building to a complex<br />

<strong>of</strong> buildings.”<br />

Brazosport College has<br />

approximately 4,200 students<br />

enrolled annually in its<br />

certification programs, 4,000<br />

enrolled each year in its noncertification<br />

programs, and 20,000 participants<br />

in its business and industry training.<br />

“One thing that is fantastic about community<br />

colleges is that so many <strong>of</strong> our students<br />

are first-generation college students,” Dr.<br />

Valek said. “<strong>The</strong>re’s a great deal <strong>of</strong> pride<br />

from their family and friends when we have a<br />

graduation ceremony.”<br />

Top: <strong>The</strong> Byron & Sandra Sadler Health<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>essions/Science Complex at Brazosport<br />

College opened in 2011 and supports<br />

programs for health pr<strong>of</strong>essions and<br />

lab sciences.<br />

Left: <strong>The</strong> BCPC Welding Technologies Lab is<br />

one <strong>of</strong> Brazosport College’s newest buildings,<br />

opened in 2016. <strong>The</strong> new welding lab<br />

replaced the College’s old welding lab, which<br />

was more than forty years old.<br />

Bottom: <strong>The</strong> Student Pavilion, pictured<br />

behind the BC Clock Tower,<br />

opened in 2011 and is one <strong>of</strong> many new,<br />

state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art buildings on the Brazosport<br />

College campus.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

75


Top, Left and below: <strong>The</strong> Dow Academic<br />

Center at Brazosport College hosts a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> college and community events, such<br />

as commencement.<br />

Top, Right: <strong>The</strong> process technology program<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered at Brazosport College enables<br />

students to build skills to be successful in<br />

the chemical industry, but also provides<br />

students with skill sets that will broaden<br />

their career opportunities.<br />

This was never more evident than when the<br />

college opened the Dow Academic Center for<br />

commencements. Because <strong>of</strong> the high<br />

demand, commencements went from being a<br />

single ceremony in the school gym to two separate<br />

ceremonies in the much larger building.<br />

As Brazosport College’s campus and student<br />

population have grown, so too has its<br />

reputation. In 2013 and 2015, the Aspen<br />

Institute named the college a Top 10<br />

Community College in the Nation, an award<br />

bestowed biennially to institutions that excel<br />

in the areas <strong>of</strong> student learning, certificate and<br />

degree completion, graduate employment rate<br />

and earnings, and success rates among minority<br />

and low-income students. In 2010,<br />

Brazosport College was named a Leader<br />

College by Achieving the Dream and was<br />

recertified in 2013 and 2016. Also in 2016,<br />

Brazosport College was selected as one <strong>of</strong><br />

twelve Texas community colleges to participate<br />

in the Texas Pathways Project, a statewide<br />

initiative designed to increase credentialed<br />

Texans to sixty percent by 2030.<br />

Dr. Valek said, “Brazosport College is<br />

unique from other community colleges<br />

because <strong>of</strong> the strong synergy that exists<br />

between the college and its industry partners.<br />

“We serve about 20,000 people a year in<br />

business training, which is pretty atypical. We’re<br />

responding to industry requests with a customized<br />

response. <strong>The</strong>y do not have to build up<br />

as robust an internal training department<br />

because they’ve outsourced that to the college.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> first contract the college had was in<br />

the mid 1990s to train 2,000 employees on<br />

how to use a personal computer. We started<br />

with a blank slate and said, ‘What do you<br />

want and how long?’ and we were able to<br />

respond and deliver. One <strong>of</strong> the buildings we<br />

added in our first expansion in 2002 was a<br />

center dedicated to business and industry<br />

training. <strong>The</strong>y’ve been able to support a business<br />

plan that has kept that vibrant for close<br />

to two decades now.”<br />

Expanding even more on Brazosport<br />

College’s involvement with the community it<br />

serves is its Community Education<br />

Department. Through Community Education,<br />

students can register for a variety <strong>of</strong> career<br />

programs in areas such as healthcare, education,<br />

web design and other computer technologies.<br />

In addition to career training, it<br />

also <strong>of</strong>fers personal enrichment programs,<br />

such as painting, ceramics, photography,<br />

sewing, and music. In 2015, Community<br />

Education served more than 4,100 students.<br />

Student success has always been a chief<br />

priority for the community through their support<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Brazosport College Foundation.<br />

Created as a tax-exempt corporation in 1995,<br />

the Brazosport College Foundation raises and<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

76


administers funds for the enhancement <strong>of</strong><br />

educational opportunities at the college.<br />

In the past three years, the Brazosport<br />

College Foundation has raised more than $1<br />

million in scholarships. In 2002 the foundation<br />

raised $5.6 million with its Building a<br />

Legacy campaign. In 2008, it raised $5.5 million<br />

with its Your College Capital Campaign,<br />

and, in 2015, $3 million was collected through<br />

the Crafts Academy Capital campaign.<br />

<strong>The</strong> foundation is comprised <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Brazosport College regents, staff and faculty,<br />

as well as business and community leaders.<br />

Its scholarship programs include WISE,<br />

Sponsor a Scholar, ACE It scholarships, childcare<br />

assistance, and other initiatives. Other<br />

projects include the Excellence Fund, which<br />

provides for the development <strong>of</strong> new degrees,<br />

classes and lab equipment enhancements,<br />

planned gifts, memorial/honorary gifts and<br />

naming opportunities, and the <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> Music<br />

fund, which supports <strong>The</strong> Clarion at<br />

Brazosport College.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> foundation is very focused on<br />

raising scholarship dollars, and this makes it<br />

possible for so many students to attend<br />

Brazosport College and graduate with little to<br />

no student debt.<br />

“Having served as the school <strong>of</strong> choice for<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> students for half a century,<br />

Brazosport College will continue to do what it<br />

does best as it looks toward the future: support<br />

industrial and skilled trades, grow its<br />

medical programs and prepare its students for<br />

transfer to other institutions or successful<br />

careers after college. A governing board that<br />

remains singularly focused on the college’s<br />

mission, a beautiful campus, state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art<br />

labs, and strong community and business relationships<br />

provide all the integral pieces for an<br />

excellent foundation <strong>of</strong> education and training,<br />

she added.” Dr. Valek said.<br />

Having served at the helm <strong>of</strong> Brazosport<br />

College for more than two decades—three<br />

times the average college president’s tenure—<br />

Dr. Valek is one <strong>of</strong> several staff and faculty<br />

members who have remained loyal to the<br />

institution and its goals.<br />

“Be it faculty, staff, students—and myself,<br />

loyalty runs high here at Brazosport College,”<br />

she said. “This really is the College <strong>of</strong> Choice<br />

for all <strong>of</strong> us.”<br />

Brazosport College is located at 500<br />

College Drive, Lake Jackson, Texas 77566. To<br />

learn more, visit the college website at<br />

www.brazosport.edu or call 979-230-3000.<br />

Top: Brazosport College’s administration<br />

wing today.<br />

Below: Dr. Millicent Valek has served as<br />

Brazosport College’s president<br />

since 1996.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

77


CITY OF WEST<br />

COLUMBIA<br />

Strategically located at the<br />

intersection <strong>of</strong> State Highways 35<br />

and 36, West Columbia emphasizes<br />

its unique place in Texas history<br />

with an eye for the future.<br />

Established in 1824 by Stephen F.<br />

Austin’s land agent and friend,<br />

Josiah Bell, West Columbia, then<br />

known as Columbia, served as the<br />

first capital <strong>of</strong> the Republic <strong>of</strong><br />

Texas. <strong>The</strong> first Congress <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Republic convened in Columbia<br />

on October 3, 1836. Sam Houston<br />

took the oath <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice as president <strong>of</strong> the new<br />

republic on October 22, 1836, on the steps <strong>of</strong><br />

the House <strong>of</strong> Representatives building.<br />

Although none <strong>of</strong> the original buildings that<br />

housed the Congress are still standing, a replica<br />

<strong>of</strong> the House <strong>of</strong> Representatives stands near<br />

city hall. In addition, an historical park occupies<br />

the site <strong>of</strong> the original buildings and<br />

includes the sites’ original cistern. This park<br />

features twenty-two historic stations that<br />

chronicle the town’s early history from founding<br />

to Texas’ annexation to the United States.<br />

Other historic sites to visit include the<br />

Columbia Historical Museum, which emphasizes<br />

the families that helped develop early<br />

Texas; the Columbia Rosenwald School, one<br />

<strong>of</strong> few surviving schools built in fifteen southern<br />

states to educate African American children<br />

in rural areas; the old Columbia<br />

Cemetery, the resting place <strong>of</strong> many early<br />

Texans and Texas Revolutionary heroes; and<br />

Varner Hogg Plantation State Historic Site, the<br />

plantation home <strong>of</strong> the state’s first native governor,<br />

James S. Hogg. <strong>The</strong> plantation site was<br />

given to the state in 1958 by Governor Hogg’s<br />

only daughter and surviving child, Ima. It is<br />

currently operated by the Texas Historical<br />

Commission and open to the public. Docents<br />

share the property’s transition through three<br />

owners: Martin Varner, who received 4,428 as<br />

one <strong>of</strong> Stephen F. Austin’s original 297<br />

colonists; Columbus Patton, who operated a<br />

sugarcane enterprise with the<br />

help <strong>of</strong> forty to sixty slaves;<br />

and purchased by Governor<br />

James Stephen Hogg in 1901.<br />

Although Governor Hogg<br />

died five years later, his will<br />

stipulated his heirs could not<br />

sell the mineral rights to the<br />

property for fifteen years.<br />

During this period, oil was<br />

discovered on the property,<br />

and the Hogg heirs became<br />

very wealthy philanthropists.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Veterans Memorial Park,<br />

a project <strong>of</strong> the American<br />

Legion Mattson Ringgold Post<br />

503, honors the men and<br />

women <strong>of</strong> our area who have<br />

served our nation in the military.<br />

Ceremonies are held in<br />

the park each Veterans and<br />

Memorial Day.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

78


Boasting a population <strong>of</strong> just over 3,900 in<br />

the 2010 census, West Columbia enjoys a<br />

small-town atmosphere with larger city convenience.<br />

Most businesses in West Columbia<br />

are locally owned and operated. Some stores<br />

have been in existence for generations, such as<br />

Chesney’s Jewelry (1924), Bob Barta Lumber<br />

Company (1945) and Jenn’s Furniture (1946).<br />

Additionally, stores such as Walmart,<br />

Walgreens, HEB, and Dollar General have<br />

found their place in West Columbia. <strong>The</strong><br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce serves these businesses’<br />

needs and encourages residents to shop<br />

local. If shopping, entertainment or medical<br />

needs are not met locally, the growing City <strong>of</strong><br />

Lake Jackson can be reached in twenty minutes<br />

and Houston, with its world-class medical<br />

facilities, museums, sports teams and<br />

entertainment, is only an hour away.<br />

Galveston, also an hour’s distance, is a popular<br />

day trip or weekend destination.<br />

<strong>The</strong> West Columbia Police, Volunteer Fire<br />

Department and Central Emergency Medical<br />

Services ensure our citizens health and safety.<br />

Columbia-<strong>Brazoria</strong> Independent School<br />

District recruits the finest <strong>of</strong> teachers and<br />

administration and prepares our younger citizens<br />

for higher education and the competitive<br />

job market. <strong>The</strong> school district recently<br />

invested in two new campuses, West<br />

Columbia Elementary and West Brazos Junior<br />

High, and completed renovations to the<br />

Columbia High School campus. Sports facilities<br />

are second to none in the area. In addition,<br />

the school district has partnered with<br />

nearby Brazosport College to <strong>of</strong>fer dual credit<br />

courses on the high school campus.<br />

Older citizens’ needs are met through<br />

the Senior Citizens Center, which also <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

a Meals on Wheels for those homebound<br />

Top: Varner Hogg Plantation.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

79


Above: Smokin’ R BBQ on Broad Street.<br />

seniors. Senior Moments, a special program<br />

through the police department, ensures a<br />

weekly home visit.<br />

Located between the San Bernard River<br />

and the Brazos River, outdoor activities<br />

abound in and around West Columbia. Fresh<br />

water fishing is available in numerous locations<br />

including the city’s own stocked pond at<br />

First Capitol Park. If saltwater fishing is your<br />

game, the Texas Gulf Coast has abundant<br />

locations available within an hour or less. Bay<br />

fishing and <strong>of</strong>f shore fishing by boat can be<br />

enjoyed, and charter boats are available for a<br />

memorable fishing experience.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, located along the Great<br />

Texas Coastal Birding Trail, has become a<br />

popular birding destination. <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

also boasts several well-maintained county<br />

parks, including its newest addition, the<br />

Stephen F. Austin statue. Texas Parks and<br />

Wildlife oversees the Brazos Bend State Park,<br />

approximately twenty minutes from West<br />

Columbia. This park encompasses some<br />

5,000 acres <strong>of</strong> wildness. Popular activities<br />

include camping, picnics, hiking, biking,<br />

horseback riding, and fishing in any one <strong>of</strong><br />

the six lakes.<br />

In addition to numerous neighborhood<br />

parks within the city, First Capitol Park <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

a stocked fishing lake, half-mile walking trail,<br />

RV hookups and a s<strong>of</strong>tball complex and<br />

swimming pool. Columbia Lakes Resort in<br />

West Columbia <strong>of</strong>fers an eighteen-hole championship<br />

golf course.<br />

Mayor Laurie Kincannon encourages residents<br />

and visitors to explore the town’s historic<br />

sites and recreational opportunities.<br />

“Quite simply, West Columbia is the perfect<br />

place to live,” says Kincannon. “Our beautiful<br />

oak and pecan trees bear witness to our<br />

unique place in Texas history. Our central<br />

location allows our residents to work in the<br />

chemical plants and refineries that surround<br />

us and play in the numerous choices that<br />

Houston and Galveston <strong>of</strong>fer, yet return home<br />

to idyllic West Columbia.”<br />

For more information on the City <strong>of</strong><br />

West Columbia, please visit the website is<br />

www.westcolumbiatx.org.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

80


Ascend Performance Materials was founded<br />

in 2009 when executives from SK Capital<br />

Partners, a group <strong>of</strong> global chemical and materials<br />

executives, purchased nylon, chemical, and<br />

fiber plants throughout the southeast United<br />

States. Ascend, the world’s largest fully integrated<br />

producer <strong>of</strong> PA66 resin, produces materials<br />

that go into thousands <strong>of</strong> everyday essential<br />

items from automotive parts and sports equipment<br />

to cable ties and textiles. With annual revenues<br />

exceeding $2 billion, Ascend has earned<br />

its place as a world-class provider.<br />

Ascend’s Chocolate Bayou plant began operating<br />

in 1962 and is now the largest acrylonitrile-producing<br />

facility in the world. Ascend uses<br />

acrylonitrile as part <strong>of</strong> the nylon creation<br />

process, but the chemical is used by other industries<br />

to make hundreds <strong>of</strong> everyday products,<br />

including acrylic fiber for clothing, blankets, and<br />

textiles; acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS)<br />

plastics for automotive components, electronics,<br />

appliances, and toys; acrylamide for wastewater<br />

treatment and oil and gas production; nitrile<br />

rubber for medical gloves; carbon fibers used in<br />

clean-power industries as well as aeronautics,<br />

automotive, and sporting equipment; specialty<br />

amines used as surfactants for personal<br />

care products; polyester polyols for<br />

polyurethanes; and latex polymers for<br />

paper coatings and other applications.<br />

Chocolate Bayou also produces products<br />

used for herbicides, soaps, animal<br />

feed supplements, enhanced oil recovery,<br />

heat transfer fluids, and gold mining.<br />

<strong>The</strong> plant also hosts operations on behalf<br />

<strong>of</strong> guest companies on its 2,500-acre<br />

site, which is well-connected to intercoastal<br />

waterways, rail, road, and<br />

cross-country pipelines<br />

that handle billions <strong>of</strong><br />

pounds <strong>of</strong> chemicals.<br />

Chocolate Bayou has<br />

been an OSHA VPP<br />

Star site, recognized for<br />

its outstanding safety<br />

focus, since 1995.<br />

In addition to the<br />

Chocolate Bayou site,<br />

Ascend operates facilities<br />

in Pensacola,<br />

Florida; Foley and<br />

Decatur, Alabama; and Greenwood, South<br />

Carolina; as well as sales <strong>of</strong>fices in Europe and<br />

Asia. <strong>The</strong> company employs about 2,400 people<br />

across these locations, including about<br />

650 at Chocolate Bayou.<br />

Ascend strongly supports the volunteer efforts<br />

<strong>of</strong> these employees in their respective communities.<br />

Team members give back at food banks,<br />

schools, Habitat for Humanity projects, the<br />

United Way, and a number <strong>of</strong> other nonpr<strong>of</strong>it<br />

organizations. Recent projects include back-toschool<br />

supply drives, student mentoring activities,<br />

and Habitat builds on Ascend’s facilities.<br />

Additionally, the Ascend Cares Foundation<br />

is a unique partnership <strong>of</strong> Ascend employees,<br />

resident contractors, and vendors that support<br />

Ascend families in times <strong>of</strong> need, provides<br />

inspiring opportunities for community<br />

engagement and facilitating community leadership.<br />

A 501(c)(3), Ascend Cares is funded<br />

entirely by donations, which Ascend matches,<br />

and every dollar donated supports the work <strong>of</strong><br />

the foundation.<br />

For more information on Ascend<br />

Performance Materials, visit the company’s<br />

website at www.ascendmaterials.com.<br />

ASCEND<br />

PERFORMANCE<br />

MATERIALS<br />

Left: Aerial view <strong>of</strong> Ascend’s Chocolate<br />

Bayou Plant.<br />

Below: <strong>The</strong> Chocolate Bayou Plant is now<br />

the largest acrylonitrile-producing facility in<br />

the world.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

81


NALCO<br />

CHAMPION<br />

AN ECOLAB<br />

COMPANY<br />

Top: Aerial view <strong>of</strong> the Freeport site.<br />

Below: Sunset over the Freeport site.<br />

Every single day, NALCO<br />

Champion–an Ecolab Company<br />

strives to make the world cleaner,<br />

safer, and healthier while protecting<br />

the earth’s people and precious<br />

resources. NALCO produces chemicals<br />

used in all facets <strong>of</strong> oil generation,<br />

from production and refining<br />

to water treatment chemicals.<br />

Ecolab, NALCO’s parent company,<br />

is a global leader in water, hygiene<br />

and energy technologies and services,<br />

providing and protecting what is<br />

vital: clean water, safe food, abundant energy,<br />

and a healthy environment. <strong>The</strong> companies<br />

are guided by a shared set <strong>of</strong> values that define<br />

how they make a difference.<br />

NALCO was founded in 1928 with the<br />

merger <strong>of</strong> Aluminum Company <strong>of</strong> America<br />

(ALCOA), Chicago Chemical Company and<br />

Aluminate Sales Corporation. <strong>The</strong>se three<br />

companies held similar ideals when it came to<br />

meeting the needs <strong>of</strong> the water treatment<br />

industry. In April 1959 stockholders approved<br />

the name change to NALCO Chemical<br />

Company. Once a small business focused on<br />

the sale <strong>of</strong> sodium aluminate, NALCO<br />

emerged as a leading supplier <strong>of</strong> specialized<br />

chemicals and technology with annual sales<br />

approaching $50 million.<br />

NALCO Champion’s Freeport facility on<br />

<strong>County</strong> Road 229 is a vital part <strong>of</strong> the Energy<br />

Services division <strong>of</strong> Ecolab. This site produced<br />

lead additives for gasoline in the 1960s. In<br />

1962, capital spending reached a record level,<br />

with some addition or improvement influencing<br />

nearly every facility. Even with new plants<br />

erected by subsidiaries in Europe and Mexico,<br />

the largest portion <strong>of</strong> the record capital investment<br />

in 1962 went into a new manufacturing<br />

operation at Freeport, Texas, for the production<br />

<strong>of</strong> lead antiknock compounds for gasoline. <strong>The</strong><br />

plant employed a new electrolytic process<br />

developed by Dr. David G. Braithwaite.<br />

NALCO sales soared during the 1960s. By<br />

1969, sales neared $160 million, and the company<br />

set another record year for capital expansion.<br />

In 1970, NALCO’s name appeared for the<br />

first time in Fortune magazine’s “Directory <strong>of</strong> the<br />

500 Largest U.S. Industrial Corporations,” ranking<br />

495th. At the end <strong>of</strong> the 1970s, the Federal<br />

EPA announced plans to severely restrict the<br />

allowable lead content in gasoline by 1985;<br />

these plans would impact NALCO as it entered<br />

the new decade.<br />

Concerns relating to the safety and welfare<br />

<strong>of</strong> customers, employees, and neighboring<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

82


communities went hand-in-hand with NALCO’s<br />

growth in the 1980s. As lead additives would no<br />

longer be used, NALCO Chemical’s Freeport<br />

facility was leveled in the 1980s to pave the way<br />

for the construction <strong>of</strong> NALCO Company, an<br />

oxyalkylation plant, with its initial operations<br />

producing their first product in 1992. <strong>The</strong> safe<br />

handling and disposal <strong>of</strong> drums—generally the<br />

fifty-five-gallon variety, widely used for chemical<br />

shipments—emerged in the 1980s. In addition<br />

to the cost <strong>of</strong> handling drums, their disposal<br />

became a major environmental concern.<br />

In 1984, NALCO introduced an alternative<br />

to drums: the PORTA-FEED program features<br />

stainless-steel units in several sizes that are<br />

drainable, stackable, and easily re-used. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

units are portable bulk containers requiring<br />

less space, as they are connected to create a<br />

continuous supply <strong>of</strong> chemical. By 1989, nearly<br />

18,000 PORTA-FEED units were in circulation<br />

worldwide and continue to be used today.<br />

<strong>The</strong> same year, teamwork and quality consciousness<br />

helped NALCO cross the threshold<br />

<strong>of</strong> $1 billion in annual sales. Earnings and dividends<br />

also reached record levels.<br />

In the decades that followed, NALCO experienced<br />

tremendous growth worldwide, as<br />

they continued to produce oxylated chemicals<br />

for the oil and gas industry. <strong>The</strong>re have also<br />

been several name changes at the Freeport site<br />

in the past fifty-plus years. In NALCO’s early<br />

days, visionaries Herbert Kern and Wilson<br />

Evans shared a focus <strong>of</strong> inspiring creativity and<br />

teamwork among their employees. <strong>The</strong>ir<br />

vision can be seen today with NALCO’s parent<br />

company, Ecolab, which purchased it and<br />

Champion Technologies in 2012, forming the<br />

brand-recognized name <strong>of</strong> NALCO Champion.<br />

NALCO Champion’s Freeport facility is a<br />

founding member <strong>of</strong> the local Brazosport<br />

CAER, (Community Awareness and Emergency<br />

Response) organization, which uses educational<br />

programs and emergency drills to prepare<br />

emergency responders for emergencies. In<br />

addition, they are one <strong>of</strong> seven sponsor companies<br />

on the Freeport Community Advisory<br />

Panel, also known as CAP. <strong>The</strong> CAP is an advisory<br />

group that provides a forum for dialogue<br />

between community interests and the sponsor<br />

companies. <strong>The</strong> Freeport site is also an active<br />

member <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Petrochemical<br />

Council (BCPC), an organization dedicated to<br />

coordinating efforts and maintaining communications<br />

between local petrochemical plants<br />

and the community. <strong>The</strong> site also sponsors and<br />

participates in local community institutions<br />

and organizations, such as Brazosport College,<br />

Brazosport Health Foundation, <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Dream Center, <strong>The</strong> Center for the Arts<br />

& Sciences, Brazosport Rotary Club, Junior<br />

Achievement <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, and United<br />

Way <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, just to name a few.<br />

In 1998 the Freeport site had forty-three<br />

employees; it now has seventy-eight total<br />

employees, including nested contractors. Since<br />

acquiring NALCO Company and Champion<br />

Technologies, Ecolab (ECL) provides services to<br />

1.3 million customers and operates in<br />

more than 170 countries worldwide.<br />

With 2016 sales <strong>of</strong> $13 billion and 48,000<br />

associates, Ecolab has the ambitious goal<br />

<strong>of</strong> reaching $20 billion by 2020.<br />

Ecolab is headquartered in St. Paul,<br />

Minnesota. Corporate headquarters for<br />

Energy Services is in Sugarland, Texas.<br />

For more information on NALCO<br />

Champion–an Ecolab Company, visit the<br />

company’s website at www.ecolab.com.<br />

Above: Fleet Tanker Truck in front <strong>of</strong> Nalco<br />

Champion’s Freeport site.<br />

Bottom: Scenic view <strong>of</strong> the firewater ponds<br />

with the Reactor Structure in the<br />

background.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

83


CANDLEWOOD<br />

SUITES ®<br />

LAKE JACKSON<br />

Candlewood Suites Lake Jackson-<br />

Clute, one hour south <strong>of</strong> Houston, with<br />

a multi-lingual friendly staff <strong>of</strong>fers 86<br />

guest suites and 6 accessible suites on 3<br />

spacious floors with a plethora <strong>of</strong> signature<br />

amenities. Rooms include a<br />

complete kitchen, flat-screen television<br />

with cable and satellite, a DVD player,<br />

stereo/radio, and workspace. <strong>The</strong>re is<br />

wireless internet in each room, in the<br />

hotel’s suites, and public areas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> business center is open twentyfour<br />

hours a day and <strong>of</strong>fers printing,<br />

copying, and <strong>of</strong>fice supplies. <strong>The</strong> meeting<br />

room can accommodate up to thirty people.<br />

Candlewood’s on-site fitness center, available<br />

twenty-four hours a day, is complementary<br />

to all guests. <strong>The</strong> fitness center <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

exercise equipment including two treadmills,<br />

an elliptical, multi-station weight machine,<br />

and a reclining bike. Guests have the opportunity<br />

to watch television while they work out.<br />

An <strong>of</strong>f-site fitness center is also available for a<br />

fee <strong>of</strong> $10.<br />

Candlewood Suites’ guests are invited to<br />

stop by the Candlewood Cupboard for a meal,<br />

snack, or refreshing beverage. Self-serve laundry<br />

facilities are available, along with laundry<br />

and same-day dry-cleaning pickup. Full<br />

housekeeping is done once a week. In<br />

between house-keeping days, clean towels<br />

and linen are available twenty-four hours a<br />

day at the front desk.<br />

Guests with a little downtime may enjoy<br />

the hotel’s outdoor pool, open 10 a.m. to 10<br />

p.m. daily. An evening reception with complementary<br />

s<strong>of</strong>t drinks and hors d’oeuvres is<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.<br />

Candlewood Suites is near attractions, museums,<br />

parks and restaurants. William P. Hobby<br />

Airport is only fifty miles and George Bush<br />

Intercontinental Airport is only seventy-two<br />

miles away. Of course, we cannot forget the<br />

beaches—Quintana Beach and Surfside Beach<br />

are both just fifteen minutes from Lake Jackson.<br />

Candlewood Suites is operated by<br />

InterContinental Hotels Group, which has<br />

more than 744,000 guest rooms throughout<br />

the world and serves more than 150 million<br />

guests annually. IHG operates InterContinental<br />

Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels &<br />

Restaurants, Hualuxe Hotels & Resorts,<br />

Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel<br />

Indigo, Even Hotels, Crowne Plaza Hotels &<br />

Resorts, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday<br />

Inn Resort, and Staybridge Suites. Most hotels<br />

are independently owned and operated.<br />

Check-in is 3 p.m., and check-out<br />

is noon. (Late check-out is available upon<br />

request.) Minimum check-in age is nineteen.<br />

Hotel parking is always free. Candlewood Suites<br />

Lake Jackson-Clute is located at 506 East<br />

Highway 332 in Lake Jackson, Texas. Call 1-<br />

979-297-0011 or visit the hotel’s website at<br />

www.ihg.com/candlewood/hotels/<br />

us/en/lake-jackson/ljntx/hoteldetail or on<br />

Facebook at www.facebook.com/candlewood.<br />

suiteslakejacksonclute.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

84


Staybridge Suites ® hotels in the United<br />

States <strong>of</strong>fer a home-like, upscale extended stay<br />

with a feeling <strong>of</strong> community with free wireless<br />

Internet, suites with more space and a full<br />

kitchen, evening receptions and complementary<br />

hot breakfast. At Staybridge, we know<br />

that being on the road means balancing work,<br />

family and friends, so we go out <strong>of</strong> our<br />

way to make your stays enjoyable<br />

while keeping you connected to what<br />

matters most.<br />

We <strong>of</strong>fer a welcoming fireplace in the<br />

Great Room and residential comforts <strong>of</strong><br />

the spacious suites; every guest has plenty<br />

<strong>of</strong> room to relax, recharge, and be productive.<br />

Travelers can start each day with<br />

our complementary deluxe breakfast<br />

buffet or can pick up something light on<br />

their way out the door at <strong>The</strong> Pantry.<br />

Social spaces and activities create<br />

a comfortable environment for guests<br />

to connect, if, when, and how they<br />

want. For guests who are looking for a<br />

hotel that meets both their physical<br />

and emotional needs <strong>of</strong> comfort, we<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer a twenty-four hour fitness center<br />

with wireless Internet and an outdoor<br />

pool. For guests that just want to relax,<br />

we have you covered as well. You can<br />

wind down at the social receptions with<br />

a free beverage and a light meal. Before turning<br />

in, stop by <strong>The</strong> Pantry for snacks and<br />

sundries. You can rest assured that your every<br />

need is covered.<br />

At Staybridge Suites, we are flexible and<br />

accommodating, and provide the amenities <strong>of</strong><br />

home and hotel to enable guests to personalize<br />

their stay whether for business or pleasure.<br />

We promise travelers the comforts <strong>of</strong> home,<br />

and we are pet friendly. Staybridge Suites Lake<br />

Jackson is no exception, <strong>of</strong>fering all the<br />

amenities necessary for work and play.<br />

Staybridge Suites is ranked highest in guest<br />

satisfaction among upscale extended hotel<br />

chains. For reservations at Staybridge Suites,<br />

visit www.ihg.com on the Internet.<br />

STAYBRIDGE<br />

SUITES ®<br />

LAKE JACKSON<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

85


G.B. INDUSTRY<br />

CO., L.P.<br />

Founder Gert E. Bahlo..<br />

G.B. Industry Co., L.P.,<br />

also doing business as GBI,<br />

is a manufacturer <strong>of</strong><br />

Wellhead & Christmas Tree<br />

Components such as casing<br />

and tubing hangers, bottom<br />

hole test adapters, primary<br />

and secondary seals, back<br />

pressure and two-way<br />

check valves, and BPV and<br />

TWC installation tools<br />

(lubricators.) <strong>The</strong> company<br />

was founded by President<br />

Gert E. Bahlo and Vice<br />

President Marta I. Bahlo on<br />

August 19, 1986.<br />

Gert was born in former<br />

East Germany, and Marta<br />

was born in Hungary. <strong>The</strong> couple married in<br />

1967 and Gert moved to Hungary in 1968<br />

with permission from the East German government;<br />

they escaped together through<br />

Yugoslavia to West Germany. On August 2,<br />

1969, they immigrated to Worcester,<br />

Massachusetts. <strong>The</strong>y arrived with $70, a suitcase,<br />

and lots <strong>of</strong> ambition.<br />

While attending college in Massachusetts,<br />

Gert worked full time as a machinist, and later<br />

as a quality control inspector and a quality<br />

assurance engineer. He received his Associate’s<br />

Degree in mechanical engineering from<br />

Worcester Junior College and his Bachelor’s<br />

Degree in Engineering Management from the<br />

Central New England College <strong>of</strong> Engineering.<br />

He earned his Masters <strong>of</strong> Business<br />

Administration in General Management from<br />

Babson College in 1975. Marta worked as a<br />

social worker and homemaker.<br />

When business began to slow in<br />

Massachusetts, the couple moved to Houston<br />

in 1977. <strong>The</strong>re, he worked for several companies<br />

as plant manager and went on to start a<br />

few business ventures with other partners. In<br />

1986, Gert founded GBI.<br />

In 1978, their first child, Andrea, was<br />

born. <strong>The</strong>y decided they wanted to have<br />

another child, but this time Gert was shooting<br />

for a boy while Marta wanted another girl.<br />

With Gert’s German efficiency, they both got<br />

what they wanted and twins, David and<br />

Gabriela, were born in 1983.<br />

Andrea attended Texas A&M University,<br />

David went to Texas Christian University, and<br />

Gabriela went to the University <strong>of</strong> Houston.<br />

After completing their studies, they returned<br />

to GBI, where they had worked during high<br />

school breaks as full-time employees. David is<br />

Operations Manager while also handling<br />

domestic and international sales; Andrea is<br />

Human Resources Manager and also<br />

handles accounts payable and payroll; and<br />

Gabriela is Purchasing Manager and also<br />

handles marketing.<br />

In the early days, GBI rented <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

space at a machine shop and subcontracted<br />

all <strong>of</strong> their work to the shop. It was a slow<br />

time in the energy industry, and with the<br />

machine shop not being busy, GBI delivered<br />

parts to customers quickly. As business<br />

conditions began to improve, GBI’s supplier<br />

capacity was reallocated to their larger<br />

customers, and lead times for GBI’s subcontracted<br />

parts increased substantially. Gert<br />

learned about an 18,000-square-foot<br />

building on 3.33 acres <strong>of</strong> property in<br />

Pearland, which available due to bankruptcy<br />

<strong>of</strong> the previous owners. A deal was struck<br />

with the National Bank <strong>of</strong> Alvin to rent the<br />

building from the bank with an option<br />

to buy. <strong>The</strong> building was dirty and full <strong>of</strong><br />

junk, but also had many used machine tools.<br />

<strong>The</strong> old machine tools were sold, and the<br />

money was used to pay <strong>of</strong>f the bank. GBI soon<br />

owned the building.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

86


After about two years<br />

in business, Gert and<br />

Marta spent $20,000<br />

(which they did not<br />

have) to rent a booth at<br />

an Oil Tool Show in<br />

Singapore, and they<br />

began receiving orders<br />

from Indonesia, India,<br />

and Scotland—the start<br />

<strong>of</strong> GBI’s international<br />

business. Today, GBI’s<br />

products are sold in<br />

thirty-two countries, as<br />

well as domestically.<br />

GBI purchased a used<br />

NC Lathe and two used<br />

NC machining centers and began to produce<br />

its own parts, but the old machines experienced<br />

continuous breakdowns and caused late<br />

deliveries, and spare parts such as electronic<br />

boards were expensive; cash flow was almost<br />

nonexistent. Fed up with the used machines,<br />

Gert attended a machine tool show at the local<br />

Mazak Dealership, where he witnessed a<br />

Mazak Quickturn doing turning and milling<br />

work in one operation. He suggested to Marta<br />

that they buy one <strong>of</strong> the machines, but when<br />

he mentioned the $230,000 price tag, she<br />

suggested calling the “nice gentlemen in white<br />

jackets” for a chat. Despite top management’s<br />

objections, the first Mazak was purchased,<br />

and GBI began manufacturing high-quality<br />

products with decreased labor cost and lead<br />

time. Cash flow improved, so they purchased<br />

a second Mazak, then a third.<br />

After implementing a quality plan in 1989,<br />

GBI obtained the rights to apply the API<br />

monogram to its products, API License<br />

Number 6A-0248. This continued to increase<br />

business as GBI was now complying with the<br />

standards <strong>of</strong> the American Petroleum<br />

Institute, the largest U.S. trade association for<br />

the oil and natural gas industry. In 2006, a<br />

new 18,400-square-foot building was added,<br />

<strong>of</strong> which 16,000 square-feet are used for environmentally<br />

controlled manufacturing space<br />

and 2,400 square-feet for <strong>of</strong>fice space. <strong>The</strong><br />

building is now filled to capacity with twentytwo<br />

state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art Mazak machines, including<br />

Vertical Machining Centers, Quick Turn,<br />

Multiplex, and Integrex machines. Older<br />

Mazak machines are being replaced with the<br />

new models to increase efficiency.<br />

In 2012, an adjoining 1.66 acres <strong>of</strong> land<br />

was purchased, and preliminary plans for a<br />

24,000-square-foot manufacturing building<br />

are in the works. If the business climate<br />

remains steady and improves, GBI could grow<br />

from its current workforce <strong>of</strong> 46 employees to<br />

70 or 80.<br />

GBI would hereby like to thank all <strong>of</strong><br />

their employees, suppliers, and especially<br />

their customers who stood by them<br />

through good times and bad, making their<br />

success possible.<br />

Top: Children <strong>of</strong> Gert and Marta listed from<br />

left to right: Gabriela, David, and Andrea.<br />

Below: Vice President Marta I. Bahlo.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

87


ROLLAC<br />

SHUTTERS OF<br />

TEXAS, INC.<br />

For thirty-three years, Rollac Shutters <strong>of</strong><br />

Texas, Inc., manufacturers and installers <strong>of</strong><br />

exterior rolling manual and electric shutters,<br />

has operated with an emphasis on quality,<br />

service, and modern technology to produce<br />

the best possible products for legions <strong>of</strong> customers.<br />

That commitment to excellence began<br />

in the 1980s, when Walter Konrad was hired<br />

to manage a German company in the United<br />

States, bought the retail business, and set out<br />

on his own to mold it into a successful multimillion-dollar<br />

corporation.<br />

Konrad’s success was hard-fought. During<br />

the company’s infancy, shutters were not prevalent<br />

in the U.S.; the onus was on Rollac Shutters<br />

to introduce the public to the product and its<br />

benefits. To spread the word, Konrad turned to<br />

advertising in various city phonebooks, which<br />

was difficult from a logistics standpoint, and<br />

newspaper ads, which were expensive.<br />

Konrad and his wife, Eva, have been at the<br />

helm <strong>of</strong> Rollac Shutters, serving as president<br />

and vice president, respectively, since founding<br />

the company in 1982. In 1985, three years<br />

after carving out a niche for their company in<br />

a market that was, at the time, largely unheard<br />

<strong>of</strong>, Rollac Shutters introduced retractable<br />

awnings. Next to shutters, zip shades (also<br />

known as retractable solar screens) remain one<br />

<strong>of</strong> the company’s top-selling products. To this<br />

day, the company concentrates on manufacturing<br />

and selling products that are top-<strong>of</strong>-theline<br />

in quality and design.<br />

Rollac Shutters also aims to achieve Energy<br />

Star compliance for their shutters, which can<br />

be an arduous, time-consuming process. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s emphasis on energy efficiency is<br />

currently being analyzed at the University <strong>of</strong><br />

Berkeley, where researchers are in the process<br />

<strong>of</strong> testing Rollac Shutters’ energy-saving benefits.<br />

But Rollac Shutters’ proudest achievement<br />

to date occurred in 2012, when it<br />

secured a U.S. patent on its single wall aluminum<br />

slat, which was designed in-house.<br />

In 1986, Konrad bought his first building, a<br />

20,000-square-foot building that previously<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

88


housed a roller skating rink. He gradually grew<br />

the business into a wholesale corporation,<br />

increasing its staff from two to forty-five. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s first ever shutter was installed on a<br />

gasoline pump case in downtown Houston.<br />

Rollac Shutters has since broadened its reach,<br />

with dealers throughout the United States,<br />

Canada, and Mexico. Rollac and its dealers<br />

have installed shutters on a NASA building in<br />

Clear Lake, the homes <strong>of</strong> celebrities such as<br />

musician Fats Domino and actress Sharon<br />

Stone, and on the cage <strong>of</strong> Siegfried and Roy’s<br />

tigers. <strong>The</strong> company experienced one <strong>of</strong> its<br />

most exciting years in 2006, after the Category<br />

3 hurricanes hit Florida, and Hurricane Katrina<br />

devastated New Orleans, Louisiana.<br />

Rollac Shutters became the only manufacturer<br />

in the U.S. to utilize highly sophisticated<br />

German roll-forming machines, each about<br />

100 feet long. <strong>The</strong> first machine was bought in<br />

1994 and installed in the warehouse a year<br />

later. Two more machines followed. Eventually,<br />

Rollac Shutters moved from a 1,200-squarefoot<br />

rental warehouse in Houston into a<br />

105,000-square-foot warehouse the company<br />

purchased in Pearland, its current location.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company now employs forty-four employees,<br />

has approximately 200 dealers (fifty <strong>of</strong><br />

which are active throughout the U.S., Canada,<br />

and Mexico) and operates a retail department<br />

tasked with sales and installations in the<br />

greater Houston metropolitan area. Rollac<br />

Shutters has come a long way from its first year,<br />

when sales were $23,000 annually, to now,<br />

with sales approaching $10 million a year.<br />

Rollac Shutters is a member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Pearland Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, a founding<br />

member <strong>of</strong> the Exterior Shade and Shutter<br />

Association (ESSA), and a member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Attachment Energy Rating Council (AERC.)<br />

Rollac Shutters is located at 5331 West<br />

Orange Street in Pearland. For more information<br />

on the company, please visit their website<br />

at www.rollac.com.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

89


Above: Angleton Recreation Center.<br />

Bottom: <strong>The</strong> Clarion Music Performance<br />

Hall at Brazosport College, Lake Jackson,<br />

Texas.<br />

ARCHITECTURE ETC*<br />

RAYMOND L. BURROUGHS, AIA<br />

Architecture Etc* was founded on the<br />

belief that the only good deal is that deal that<br />

is good for everyone involved. Commitment<br />

to excellence, honesty, fairness, and integrity<br />

based on Christian principals are concepts on<br />

which the firm was established, built, and has<br />

operated since 1976. With the foundation <strong>of</strong><br />

a proven past and the promise <strong>of</strong> a proud<br />

future, the firm’s goal is to provide clients<br />

with the best possible pr<strong>of</strong>essional services<br />

available. Caring about the challenges that<br />

confront our clients, Architecture Etc* welcomes<br />

the opportunity to become a part <strong>of</strong><br />

their successful resolution.<br />

Raymond L. Burroughs, AIA, principal and<br />

sole proprietor <strong>of</strong> Architecture Etc*, with his<br />

experienced team and specialized consultants<br />

have provided quality design services to clients<br />

and communities in <strong>Brazoria</strong> and surrounding<br />

counties for over four decades. An award-winning<br />

designer during undergraduate studies at<br />

LSU, (Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Architecture, 1966), graduate<br />

studies at Rice University, (Master <strong>of</strong><br />

Architecture in Urban Design, 1972) and<br />

throughout his pr<strong>of</strong>essional career, Raymond’s<br />

personal commitment to quality and service is<br />

physically documented by almost 400 built<br />

projects <strong>of</strong> every type, size, and function.<br />

Working with the client to verify the<br />

scope, size, positioning, budget, special<br />

requirements and ultimate purpose and goal<br />

<strong>of</strong> the project, Raymond and his highly motivated<br />

and experienced team <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

associates design beautiful, functionally practical,<br />

financially responsible, environmentally<br />

healthy, and sustainable projects <strong>of</strong> timeless<br />

style that add significant value to the communities,<br />

organizations, and individuals,<br />

Architecture Etc* has the privilege to serve.<br />

Numerous projects designed by Architecture<br />

Etc* play an important role in defining the character<br />

and quality <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> communities<br />

as they exist today. Sophisticated repeat<br />

clients, both public and private have provided<br />

extensive opportunities to demonstrate the<br />

firm’s capability, capacity, and commitment to<br />

bringing quality projects to successful fruition<br />

Whether for the municipal complex at<br />

Lake Jackson or Clute; award winning buildings<br />

at Brazosport College; renowned<br />

Recreation Center at Angleton; city halls <strong>of</strong><br />

four major cities in southern <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>; or any <strong>of</strong> the other public, private,<br />

industrial, or residential projects the firm has<br />

helped bring to physical reality; every client<br />

has received dedicated personal and priority<br />

attention to all aspects <strong>of</strong> their projects.<br />

Regardless <strong>of</strong> project type or size,<br />

Architecture Etc* welcomes opportunities<br />

to provide pr<strong>of</strong>essional services that add<br />

value to the quality <strong>of</strong> life <strong>of</strong> those they<br />

serve. <strong>The</strong> firm’s specialty is quality. Quality<br />

programming, quality design and documentation,<br />

and quality service. <strong>The</strong> mission<br />

statement <strong>of</strong> Architecture Etc* is simple:<br />

“Quality…it’s what we do!”<br />

For more information please visit<br />

www.archetc.com or www.brazoscrossing.net.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

90


GOD SMILES<br />

FOR ME<br />

WHY DEATH COULD<br />

NOT HOLD ME<br />

By Raymond L. Burroughs<br />

Published in 2009 the book God Smiles<br />

for Me, Why Death Could Not Hold Me has<br />

touched the lives <strong>of</strong> many people in a very<br />

positive way.<br />

God Smiles for Me is a story <strong>of</strong> hope, promise,<br />

commitment, the power <strong>of</strong> prayer, and<br />

the healing grace <strong>of</strong> God. It is a Christian<br />

how-to book, a story <strong>of</strong> life, death, and life<br />

after death; <strong>of</strong> miracles and a heavenly journey;<br />

<strong>of</strong> loss, frustration, pain, survival, recovery<br />

and personal growth. It is also a story <strong>of</strong><br />

love: <strong>of</strong> God, family, community and this<br />

wonderful journey called life.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Author Raymond L.<br />

Burroughs is an Architect, a dreamer, and<br />

an eternal optimist. He is also a Christian. He<br />

believes, and he knows, because he saw<br />

after dying on the operating table, that there<br />

is a beautiful life after this one in a place<br />

called Heaven.<br />

In 1975, at the age <strong>of</strong> thirty-three<br />

Raymond and his young family learned he<br />

had a massive tumor at the base <strong>of</strong> his brain.<br />

On the day he was told he had only six weeks<br />

to live, Raymond promised God that if he survived<br />

he would tell the world <strong>of</strong> God’s miracles<br />

in his life.<br />

<strong>The</strong> questions Raymond and his<br />

family asked over and over during<br />

their life threatening ordeal are the<br />

same ones others <strong>of</strong>ten ask during<br />

times <strong>of</strong> personal trouble. Why me? Why<br />

now? Why is this happening in my life?<br />

And how can I, and the ones I love, possibly<br />

make it through.<br />

It was through faith in God and the<br />

fulfilling <strong>of</strong> the promises in the Bible that<br />

Raymond and his family handled, overcame,<br />

and turned to positive advantage the challenges<br />

they endured.<br />

Whether you have read God Smiles for<br />

Me or only heard <strong>of</strong> this <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

story <strong>of</strong> hope and the miracles <strong>of</strong> God’s<br />

healing grace, Raymond will welcome an<br />

opportunity to speak to your church, social<br />

group, or organization.<br />

To schedule a program or request<br />

information on obtaining s<strong>of</strong>t or hard copies<br />

<strong>of</strong> the book, please contact Raymond L.<br />

Burroughs at God Smiles Network, P. O. Box<br />

1660, Lake Jackson, Texas, 77566 or for more<br />

information visit www.godsmilesnetwork.org.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Kindle version <strong>of</strong> the book is available<br />

at www.amazon.com.<br />

“Becoming the Light”<br />

As I reached to embrace that<br />

heavenly glow and the veil <strong>of</strong><br />

life at last was rent<br />

I no longer heard the eternal<br />

shout <strong>of</strong> loved ones lost and<br />

time unspent<br />

But a voice <strong>of</strong> love in angel’s<br />

song “Come hither mortal lot,<br />

Come smell the roses yet<br />

unborn and share the hour <strong>of</strong><br />

time that’s not.”<br />

Poem from the book God Smiles for Me<br />

Copyright 2009 Raymond L. Burroughs<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

91


BASF<br />

BASF is the world’s largest chemical producer,<br />

and its Freeport, Texas, site manufactures<br />

raw materials essential to everyday<br />

living—from diapers, fertilizers, food packaging<br />

and paints, to carpet, wood finishes, oven<br />

bags, fishing line, and sticky notes.<br />

BASF’s U.S. legacy dates back to 1958,<br />

with the opening <strong>of</strong> its Freeport location, its<br />

first manufacturing site outside Europe. BASF<br />

Freeport manufactures twenty-four products<br />

in twenty-five units and is one <strong>of</strong> the company’s<br />

six Verbund sites; these sites emphasize<br />

efficient use <strong>of</strong> resources, conserve raw material<br />

and energy, and reduce emissions, lower<br />

costs, and utilize synergies. BASF’s original<br />

Verbund site in Ludwigshafen is the world’s<br />

largest integrated chemical center.<br />

BASF was founded in Mannheim, Germany,<br />

by Friedrich Engelhorn in 1865. Engelhorn,<br />

an entrepreneur and goldsmith, created the<br />

company as a coal tar waste recycler. He wanted<br />

the company to produce dyes as well as raw<br />

materials and auxiliaries. To this day, BASF’s<br />

diverse product range includes soda ash and<br />

aniline the original raw materials for dyes.<br />

In 1897, BASF scientists learned <strong>of</strong> mercury’s<br />

key role in the manufacture <strong>of</strong> phthalic<br />

acid, which aided in the production <strong>of</strong> synthetic<br />

indigo. After seventeen years <strong>of</strong> research, the<br />

indigo was sold worldwide as Indigo rein BASF<br />

(Indigo Pure BASF). In the 1960s, indigo<br />

denim jeans with BASF dyes became a<br />

wardrobe staple, a trend that continues today.<br />

In 1969, BASF’s Di<strong>of</strong>an 190D, a flame-retardant<br />

coating, was used on Apollo 11’s electrical<br />

modules systems before its historic launch in<br />

1969, and the flag the shuttle crew ceremoniously<br />

placed on the Moon consisted <strong>of</strong> BASF’s<br />

aquaprint Scarlet LF.<br />

BASF operates 353 production sites worldwide,<br />

has locations in more than eighty countries,<br />

and supplies products to business partners<br />

in nearly every corner <strong>of</strong> the world. <strong>The</strong> BASF<br />

site in Freeport is home to some <strong>of</strong> the largest<br />

plants in the world, including the largest nylon<br />

plant and the largest Hexanediol plant. <strong>The</strong><br />

Freeport site is also home to one <strong>of</strong> the largest<br />

super absorbent polymer plants in the world.<br />

BASF Freeport employs more than 920<br />

people and approximately 820 contractors.<br />

BASF has been recognized by Forbes, Houston<br />

Business Journal and so many more as an<br />

employer <strong>of</strong> choice.<br />

In 2015, BASF Freeport began construction<br />

on an ammonia plant, a partnership between<br />

BASF and Yara International. <strong>The</strong> plant is<br />

expected to have a capacity <strong>of</strong> 750,000 metric<br />

tons annually that will supply ammonia for<br />

caprolactam, an essential ingredient in nylons<br />

production for items such as carpet, textiles,<br />

film, mon<strong>of</strong>ilaments, wire, and cable.<br />

BASF Freeport’s achievements in the areas <strong>of</strong><br />

safety performance, environmental stewardship,<br />

and community outreach have been recognized<br />

with awards on numerous occasions. <strong>The</strong> site<br />

has set numerous records in safety performance,<br />

production, and environmental performance,<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

92


and was awarded the Pinnacle Award by Union<br />

Pacific for chemical transportation safety as<br />

well as the Texas Chemical Council’s Excellence<br />

in Caring for Texas. <strong>The</strong> Freeport site has<br />

accumulated several times more than 1 million<br />

man-hours without a recordable incident. BASF<br />

credits these accomplishments to highly skilled<br />

and trained employees who understand the<br />

importance <strong>of</strong> workplace safety and are actively<br />

involved in each process.<br />

BASF embraces a culturally diverse workplace<br />

that fosters understanding and is<br />

representative <strong>of</strong> all genders, races, and backgrounds.<br />

<strong>The</strong> BASF Freeport site hosts eight<br />

employee resource groups: Women in Business,<br />

African American Employee Group, Asian<br />

Business Community, Veterans Employee Team,<br />

Latin American Employee group, Parents at<br />

BASF, ALLchemie and Emerging Pr<strong>of</strong>essionals<br />

and Friends. Each group helps employees connect<br />

and promotes their involvement in the<br />

community.<br />

BASF believes in giving back to the communities<br />

that allow its operation. Its Freeport<br />

site, in particular has invested more than half<br />

a century in the community. <strong>The</strong> site, on average,<br />

participates in more than 150 local events<br />

each year, and its employees have a reputation<br />

for active community involvement, donating<br />

more than a thousand hours <strong>of</strong> their time and<br />

talents to various boards and charities.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se nonpr<strong>of</strong>its include United Way,<br />

Keep Texas Beautiful, American Cancer<br />

Society, Junior Achievement, the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Fair, the <strong>Brazoria</strong> Wildlife Refuges,<br />

American Heart Association, Brazosport<br />

College, Habitat for Humanity, Boy and Girl<br />

Scouts <strong>of</strong> America, Boys and Girls Club <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Hospice Care Team, among<br />

others. BASF Freeport has received the Gold<br />

Employers for Education Excellence Award<br />

and Stand up for Texas Public Schools award<br />

from the Texas State Board <strong>of</strong> Education.<br />

BASF Freeport is located at 602 Copper<br />

Road in Freeport, Texas. For more information,<br />

visit their website at www.basf.com.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

93


ALVIN ANIMAL<br />

CLINIC<br />

Top: Dr. Lori West and Dr.<br />

Amanda H<strong>of</strong>fpauir.<br />

Bottom: <strong>The</strong> Alvin Animal Clinic is<br />

located at 2202 North Gordon Street in<br />

Alvin, Texas.<br />

More than a few things have changed<br />

about Alvin Animal Clinic since Dr. Beryl<br />

Cline first opened the hospital in 1956 to treat<br />

cows and other animals that lived on local<br />

dairy farms. Once comprised <strong>of</strong> just three<br />

rooms and a small barn, the clinic eventually<br />

outgrew its space and expanded its client<br />

base. Under new ownership since 2005, Alvin<br />

Animal Clinic began treating a greater variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> animals, evolved in its diagnostic and treatment<br />

<strong>of</strong>ferings as new technology became<br />

available, and matured into the hospital it is<br />

today. What has not changed in sixty years is<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic’s commitment to providing<br />

superior patient care to each and every<br />

animal that walks through its doors.<br />

Dr. Cline founded Alvin Animal Clinic<br />

after graduating from Texas A&M College <strong>of</strong><br />

Veterinary Medicine. He primarily saw dairy<br />

cows, but also treated dogs, cats, and other<br />

animals that lived on dairy farms in the Alvin<br />

area. In 1958, Dr. Cline hired Dr. Richard<br />

Baker, who later became a partner. Over the<br />

years, small dairies closed down, and farm<br />

animals were slowly replaced by family pets.<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic grew and changed with<br />

the area it served, and eventually became a<br />

small animal veterinary hospital serving<br />

mainly dogs and cats.<br />

In 2005, Dr. Amanda H<strong>of</strong>fpauir purchased<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic from Drs. Cline and<br />

Baker. Dr. H<strong>of</strong>fpauir graduated with her<br />

Doctor <strong>of</strong> Veterinary Medicine degree from<br />

Louisiana State University School <strong>of</strong> Veterinary<br />

Medicine in 2003. When Dr. H<strong>of</strong>fpauir took<br />

over, Alvin Animal Clinic had just over 9,000<br />

clients, each with an average <strong>of</strong> three pets, in<br />

its database. By 2017 the clinic’s database had<br />

burgeoned to more than 23,000 clients, each<br />

with an average <strong>of</strong> three pets.<br />

More space was needed as the clinic flourished.<br />

In 2006, patients were seen in just two<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

94


examination rooms. By 2010, four examination<br />

rooms were needed to examine patients.<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic experiences a growth <strong>of</strong><br />

eleven to thirteen percent each year and is limited<br />

only by its infrastructure. <strong>The</strong> clinic plans<br />

to open a new location in the near future.<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic is a full-service veterinary<br />

hospital that treats cats, dogs, small<br />

mammals including hamsters, rabbits, gerbils,<br />

mice, and guinea pigs, as well as non-venomous<br />

reptiles, goats, sheep, and chickens.<br />

<strong>The</strong> clinic also <strong>of</strong>fers medical boarding, prescription<br />

diets and medications, performs s<strong>of</strong>t<br />

tissue surgeries and dental procedures, digital<br />

dental and whole body X-ray imaging, and<br />

stem cell harvesting and treatment. Other<br />

treatments include photobiomodulation, or<br />

cold laser therapy; PRP, or platelet rich plasma<br />

treatments; and blood transfusions. Alvin<br />

Animal Clinic can also help pet owners manage<br />

complex medical issues in their pets such<br />

as diabetes and renal failure. Regardless <strong>of</strong> the<br />

animal being treated or the condition being<br />

addressed, the clinic strives to provide quality<br />

care. It meets this goal by emphasizing client<br />

education, employee training programs, and<br />

continuing education for its veterinarians.<br />

As its clientele has multiplied, Alvin<br />

Animal Clinic has moved its practice to the<br />

forefront <strong>of</strong> technology, <strong>of</strong>fering cutting-edge<br />

options in terms <strong>of</strong> diagnosis and treatment.<br />

When Dr. Cline graduated from veterinary<br />

school in 1956, there were no microscopes.<br />

Today, Alvin Animal Clinic uses its microscope<br />

at least ten times an hour to help diagnose<br />

conditions in patients. In 2010 the clinic’s<br />

veterinarians, Dr. H<strong>of</strong>fpauir and Dr. Lori<br />

West (who joined the practice in 2007)<br />

became the first veterinarians in <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> to be certified to use stem cells to treat<br />

arthritis and other inflammatory conditions in<br />

dogs. Furthermore, the clinic’s in-hospital<br />

laboratory allows it to provide results for most<br />

tests in fewer than forty-five minutes.<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic employs more than<br />

eighteen full-time staff members and three fulltime<br />

veterinarians. As one <strong>of</strong> the oldest, if not<br />

the oldest, continuously operating veterinary<br />

hospitals in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Alvin Animal<br />

Clinic has greatly impacted the lives and livelihoods<br />

<strong>of</strong> most Alvin area residents and, thus, is<br />

incredibly involved and invested in its community.<br />

Dr. H<strong>of</strong>fpauir is a Rotarian, Cub Scout den<br />

leader, and has served on several committees<br />

for the City <strong>of</strong> Alvin, City <strong>of</strong> Manvel, and Alvin<br />

Independent School District. Alvin Animal<br />

Clinic proudly supports the Alvin Food Pantry,<br />

Alvin ISD Education Foundation, Rotary Club<br />

<strong>of</strong> Alvin, Manvel FFA, Alvin FFA, Alvin<br />

Community College Education Foundation,<br />

and numerous other worthy charities.<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic is located at 2202<br />

North Gordon Street in Alvin, Texas. For more<br />

information on the clinic and its services, visit<br />

its website at www.alvinanimalclinic.com.<br />

Above: Advanced digital x-ray image <strong>of</strong><br />

bladder stones in a dog.<br />

Bottom: Dr. Amanda H<strong>of</strong>fpauir with two <strong>of</strong><br />

her patients.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

95


DOW TEXAS<br />

OPERATIONS<br />

Top: <strong>The</strong> first ingot <strong>of</strong> magnesium ever<br />

mined from seawater is poured at Dow’s<br />

Plant A on January 21, 1941.<br />

Below: <strong>The</strong> Freeport Facts announces that<br />

<strong>The</strong> Dow Chemical Company has agreed to<br />

move to the area and start to build what<br />

would become known as Dow’s Plant A.<br />

Everything is bigger in Texas and<br />

that includes <strong>The</strong> Dow Chemical<br />

Company. Dow is the largest petrochemical<br />

manufacturer in the state<br />

with six manufacturing sites, an<br />

engineering center and state-<strong>of</strong>-theart<br />

R&D facilities.<br />

Dow’s presence in Texas began at<br />

its Freeport site in 1940 with the<br />

world’s first production plant that<br />

could mine the ocean for magnesium,<br />

making the company one <strong>of</strong><br />

the largest suppliers to the Allies in<br />

World War II. <strong>The</strong> first ingot was<br />

poured January 21, 1941. Today,<br />

Dow in Texas employs close to 13,000 people.<br />

Dow’s Freeport site (also known as Texas<br />

Operations) is one <strong>of</strong> the largest integrated<br />

chemical complexes in the world. It employs<br />

more than 7,500 people and has more than<br />

forty manufacturing plants. <strong>The</strong>se plants<br />

work together to produce forty-four percent<br />

<strong>of</strong> Dow’s products sold in the United States<br />

and about twenty-one percent <strong>of</strong> the company’s<br />

products sold globally.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Texas Operations complex is comprised<br />

<strong>of</strong> four locations (Plant A, Plant B,<br />

Oyster Creek and Salt Dome Operations),<br />

which sit on 7,000 acres. <strong>The</strong> site gets fresh<br />

water from the Brazos River and stores it in<br />

two reservoirs covering 4,700 acres. <strong>The</strong> site<br />

has more 3,200 acres <strong>of</strong> internal waterways<br />

and pipeline corridors and more than 1,900<br />

buildings. It also has 6 dock units, including<br />

10 barge berths and 4 deep-water berths.<br />

Texas Operations manufactures thousands<br />

<strong>of</strong> products, which are used in industrial and<br />

consumer applications including food packaging,<br />

healthcare, automobiles, construction<br />

and electronics.<br />

Looking to expand to the U.S. Gulf Coast in<br />

the late 1930s, Dow <strong>of</strong>ficials studied potential<br />

locales from New Orleans to Brownsville<br />

before finally choosing Freeport, a small village<br />

in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Texas, due to its proximity<br />

to natural gas reserves and salt domes, a<br />

large harbor, seawater rich in magnesium and<br />

its location near the Brazos River. Dow bought<br />

800 acres bordering Freeport Harbor on<br />

March 7, 1940, and began building in the area<br />

known today as Plant A on March 22, 1940.<br />

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S.<br />

Government asked Dow to step up its production<br />

<strong>of</strong> magnesium (a key material in the war<br />

effort), so a second magnesium plant was constructed<br />

a few miles north <strong>of</strong> Plant A. <strong>The</strong> first<br />

ingot at Plant B was poured June 26, 1942.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> the reasons Dow chose to build farther<br />

inland was for protection against the possibility<br />

<strong>of</strong> a U-boat attack.<br />

In the early 1940s, the housing market in<br />

the Freeport area was not growing at the same<br />

rate Dow was building plants, forcing some<br />

employees to live in tents or even their cars. To<br />

alleviate this problem, Dow constructed “Camp<br />

Chemical,” a temporary housing area at Plant B.<br />

Designed by Alden B. Dow, it consisted <strong>of</strong> more<br />

than 2,000 one-room cottages, forty-six barracks,<br />

a school, a ballpark, an entertainment<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

96


hall and a police station. At its pinnacle, Camp<br />

Chemical was the largest city in <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> and home to 12,000 people.<br />

As Camp Chemical was being built, Dow<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficials set out to find a location to build a<br />

permanent city after being turned down by<br />

the village <strong>of</strong> Velasco to build homes there.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y found an area not far from Freeport that<br />

had once been a part <strong>of</strong> the Abner Jackson<br />

plantation. Dow bought 6,500 acres for<br />

$400,000 and started building a city from<br />

scratch. A lake on the property was known as<br />

Lake Jackson, so it was decided to give the<br />

new town the same name.<br />

Alden designed Lake Jackson as a home for<br />

5,000 people, giving the city winding streets<br />

with names like “This Way” and “That Way.” <strong>The</strong><br />

first residents moved into Lake Jackson at the<br />

end <strong>of</strong> 1943 and the city incorporated in 1944.<br />

<strong>The</strong> site’s Salt Dome Operations was started<br />

in 1948 for brine mining and hydrocarbons<br />

storage. By the early 1960s, the Freeport<br />

site had grown to 3,000 acres and become the<br />

largest basic chemical facility in the world. In<br />

1967 the Oyster Creek complex started.<br />

Dow is the largest employer in <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> and in 2016, the company’s economic<br />

impact on the area was $1.2 billion (employee<br />

payroll-benefits, retiree pensions, local purchases,<br />

taxes and charitable giving.) Dow also<br />

has a long history <strong>of</strong> charitable giving to organizations<br />

in the surrounding area. In 2016, the<br />

site gave out $1.1 million in donations to local<br />

nonpr<strong>of</strong>its. More than half <strong>of</strong> the site’s employees<br />

live in the Brazosport area with almost<br />

ninety percent living in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Brazosport community and <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> have long been supportive <strong>of</strong> the Texas<br />

Operations sites as they compete for growth<br />

projects. Since 2012, Dow has built a new ethylene<br />

cracker, a new propylene dehydrogenation<br />

(PDH) plant, two new performance plastics<br />

plants and a new Dow AgroSciences plant in<br />

Freeport, creating close to 500 new jobs.<br />

During this time, Dow also opened the<br />

Texas Innovation Center (TXINN) in Lake<br />

Jackson. <strong>The</strong> campus includes two state-<strong>of</strong>the-art<br />

research & development buildings, a<br />

customer interface center and a four-story<br />

administration building. <strong>The</strong> TXINN houses<br />

around 2,000 Dow employees.<br />

Top: Dow’s Freeport site is one <strong>of</strong> the largest<br />

integrated chemical complexes in<br />

the world. It manufactures thousands<br />

<strong>of</strong> products that are used in industrial<br />

and consumer products.<br />

Bottom: Dow’s Texas Innovation Center<br />

campus is located in Lake Jackson. It<br />

includes two state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art research and<br />

development buildings, a customer interface<br />

center and an administration building. circa<br />

February 2016.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

97


THE EYE<br />

CONTACT, INC.<br />

Below: Dr. William Jackson, Optometrist.<br />

Since its founding, <strong>The</strong><br />

Eye Contact, Inc., has operated<br />

with a mission to serve<br />

patients ethically, effectively,<br />

thoroughly, and pr<strong>of</strong>essionally.<br />

Though <strong>The</strong> Eye Contact,<br />

Inc., opened with a primary<br />

goal <strong>of</strong> helping patients who<br />

had difficulty with contact<br />

lens fittings, the practice now<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers complete family eye<br />

healthcare, eye examinations,<br />

cataract and glaucoma testing,<br />

and retinal evaluation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc., utilizes<br />

the latest technology in diagnostics and<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers an onsite optical lab, as well as a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> options in eyeglasses, contact lenses, safety<br />

glasses, and UV-protective sunglasses.<br />

A native <strong>of</strong> Arkansas, Dr. William Jackson,<br />

Jr. graduated with a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Arts degree in<br />

Zoology from the University <strong>of</strong> Arkansas, and<br />

earned a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Science degree in visual<br />

science from Northeastern State University<br />

(NSU) in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and his<br />

Doctor <strong>of</strong> Optometry from NSU College <strong>of</strong><br />

Optometry. Dr. Jackson came to the Lake<br />

Jackson area in 1991 to practice, as his wife<br />

Denese Jackson, a chemical engineer, was<br />

relocated to the area with Dow Chemical.<br />

Denese also has a Master <strong>of</strong> Business<br />

Administration degree and, throughout the<br />

years, has served as a business consultant for<br />

the practice when needed.<br />

Dr. Jackson began practicing optometry with<br />

Primary Eye Care in Texas City and Lake<br />

Jackson in 1991. <strong>The</strong> following<br />

year, Dr. Jackson started practicing<br />

as an independent Optometrist,<br />

William Jackson, Jr. O.D., P.C. He is<br />

a <strong>The</strong>rapeutic Optometrist, licensed<br />

as a Glaucoma Specialist, board certified<br />

by the American Board <strong>of</strong><br />

Optometry, and a member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Beta Sigma Kappa International<br />

Optometric Honor Fraternity.<br />

Dr. Jackson realized his vision<br />

<strong>of</strong> opening a private practice after<br />

five years <strong>of</strong> working as an independent<br />

Optometrist in affiliation<br />

with Sears Optical. <strong>The</strong> Jacksons<br />

spent much <strong>of</strong> the spring <strong>of</strong> 1996 working<br />

with a contractor for the build-out at Brazos<br />

Emporium. Denese was pregnant with the<br />

couple’s first child during this time. <strong>The</strong> Eye<br />

Contact, Inc., opened in August <strong>of</strong> 1996, and<br />

William III was born about a month later. <strong>The</strong><br />

Jacksons tell their son they will always<br />

remember how old the practice is because<br />

they share the same birth year. A few years<br />

later, the Jacksons welcomed daughter<br />

Destiny. As they each became teenagers, both<br />

worked at the <strong>of</strong>fice in various roles during a<br />

couple <strong>of</strong> summers. William III and Destiny<br />

have both expressed interest in pursuing<br />

careers in the healthcare industry.<br />

In 2010 Dr. Jackson completed a business<br />

expansion by purchasing land and building a<br />

stand-alone practice in a new location in Lake<br />

Jackson. In 2011 construction was completed<br />

at 4 West Way Court and <strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc.<br />

opened in its new location. <strong>The</strong> location<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

98


contains more exam rooms, an expanded optical,<br />

lab, and rooms for additional patient<br />

workup and ocular evaluations. <strong>The</strong> Eye<br />

Contact, Inc., was at one point nominated by<br />

the Brazosport Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce as<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the area’s Top Ten fastest-growing small<br />

businesses. Dr. Jackson maintained two practices<br />

for twenty years until the summer <strong>of</strong> 2016<br />

when he merged the William Jackson, Jr. O.D.,<br />

P.C. practice with <strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc., practice.<br />

Denese was instrumental in the merger<br />

and plans for implementation <strong>of</strong> Corporate<br />

Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.<br />

Through the years, <strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc.,<br />

has had numerous loyal staff members, and<br />

the practice has evolved with organizational<br />

structures that meet patients’ needs and practice<br />

growth. Carolyn Warner was on the<br />

ground floor as the first <strong>of</strong>fice manager <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong><br />

Eye Contact, Inc., and although she has since<br />

retired after many years <strong>of</strong> service, she still visits<br />

from time to time.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc., is committed to serving<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> and beyond. Its staff <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

local preschool vision screenings, and Dr.<br />

Jackson speaks during career days at elementary<br />

and junior high schools. <strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc.,<br />

also donates eyewear to local charitable organizations.<br />

For approximately twenty years, Dr.<br />

Jackson served as the doctor liaison and doctor<br />

connect for Cole Vision and Luxottica for the<br />

Houston area and part <strong>of</strong> Louisiana. Dr. Jackson<br />

is a member <strong>of</strong> the Angleton Independent<br />

School District’s Education Foundation,<br />

Angleton ISD District Advisory Council, the<br />

Angleton Better Living Corporation (ABLC), the<br />

Angleton Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, and the<br />

Brazosport Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce.<br />

In looking toward the future, <strong>The</strong> Eye<br />

Contact, Inc., plans to continue to grow its<br />

patient and customer base locally as well as<br />

outside the community. With Dr. Jackson having<br />

been in practice for more than twenty-five<br />

years, <strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc., has a renewed<br />

emphasis on business partnerships, as well as<br />

CSR initiatives. <strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc., will<br />

launch a new CSR partnership in 2018.<br />

For more information on <strong>The</strong> Eye<br />

Contact, Inc., visit the company’s website at<br />

www.theeyecontact.com.<br />

Above: Carolyn Warner, <strong>The</strong> Eye Contact,<br />

Inc.’s first <strong>of</strong>fice manager.<br />

Left: William III and Destiny Jackson with<br />

diagnostic equipment.<br />

Bottom: Dr. William and Denese Jackson.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

99


BRAZORIA<br />

HERITAGE<br />

FOUNDATION<br />

Top: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> Fallen Heroes Memorial<br />

in front <strong>of</strong> the 1933 building.<br />

Bottom: Santa Ana Ball, 2013.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> has a long and rich history <strong>of</strong> providing<br />

education for young people, and the<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> Heritage Foundation was born <strong>of</strong> the<br />

desire <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> Elementary alumni to save<br />

their old school building.<br />

From one-room schoolhouses to the<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> Academy and finally to <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

Elementary, education was always a priority in<br />

the Cradle <strong>of</strong> Texas. When the Columbia-<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> Independent School District decided<br />

to close <strong>Brazoria</strong> Elementary, built in 1933, its<br />

alumni formed a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it, acquired the property<br />

and restored the building. Today the 1933<br />

building is the hub <strong>of</strong> activity for <strong>Brazoria</strong> and<br />

a base for the <strong>Brazoria</strong> Heritage Foundation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> foundation is busy year-round promoting<br />

history and hometown fun and values.<br />

<strong>The</strong> foundation produces two major events<br />

each year including:<br />

• Heritage Celebration—Held the first<br />

Saturday in March, <strong>Brazoria</strong> relives the<br />

hurly burly days <strong>of</strong> the 1940s and 1950s.<br />

Cattle are driven through the main artery <strong>of</strong><br />

town toward the railroad tracks as folks line<br />

the streets to watch. <strong>The</strong> day also features<br />

western games, food, booths and more.<br />

• Santa Ana Ball—This is a recreation <strong>of</strong> a<br />

celebration ball held on July 21, 1832, in<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> after the “Texians” beat Mexican<br />

forces at Fort Velasco in the first battle for<br />

Texas’ independence from Mexico.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> Heritage Foundation Civic<br />

Center now houses:<br />

• <strong>Brazoria</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce;<br />

• <strong>Brazoria</strong> Historical Museum;<br />

• Brazos Valley Railroad Museum;<br />

• <strong>Brazoria</strong> Lions Club;<br />

• <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Cavalry;<br />

• Master Academy <strong>of</strong> Fine Arts; and<br />

• West <strong>of</strong> Brazos WIC and Vaccination Clinics.<br />

<strong>The</strong> foundation is proud <strong>of</strong> the museum<br />

that depicts <strong>Brazoria</strong>’s rich history and features<br />

such things as an Environmental Room, African<br />

American History Room, Dr. S<strong>of</strong>ie Herzog’s<br />

1890-1925 medical <strong>of</strong>fice and Freedman Tree.<br />

<strong>The</strong> foundation furnishes speakers to retell<br />

the area’s history, arranged tours <strong>of</strong> the Cradle<br />

<strong>of</strong> Texas as well as venues that are available<br />

for rent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> foundation has more dreams to bring<br />

history alive in <strong>Brazoria</strong>. A historic park at the<br />

site <strong>of</strong> the 1837 to 1895 county seat is becoming<br />

a reality. <strong>The</strong> foundation was able to secure<br />

a site in Old Town <strong>Brazoria</strong> and plans are<br />

underway to develop this area into a living<br />

history museum. <strong>The</strong> Hinkle one-room<br />

schoolhouse and George E. Badge’s 1950s store<br />

will be moved to the site. Blueprints reveal<br />

plans to rebuild the 1837 courthouse, Dr. S<strong>of</strong>ie<br />

Herzog’s medical <strong>of</strong>fice and Jane Long’s Tavern.<br />

To keep up with the latest in <strong>Brazoria</strong>,<br />

please visit www.brazoriahf.org.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

100


<strong>The</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Sandy Point, Texas is located<br />

on Farm to Market Road 521 near the<br />

north central <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> line. A group<br />

<strong>of</strong> citizens banded together in 2002 and<br />

held an election to incorporate with the support<br />

<strong>of</strong> then <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Judge John<br />

Willy. <strong>The</strong>y filed a lawsuit to fend <strong>of</strong>f an<br />

annexation attempt by the City <strong>of</strong> Missouri<br />

City, and incorporated to preserve their quiet<br />

way <strong>of</strong> life as long as possible while planning<br />

for future development.<br />

Sandy Point is a small general law city that<br />

is rich in history. <strong>The</strong> historically designated<br />

and marked Sandy Point Cemetery contains the<br />

graves <strong>of</strong> two <strong>of</strong> Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three<br />

Hundred colonists (Francis Bingham and John<br />

W. Bradley), along with soldiers from the Texas<br />

Revolution, the Mier Expedition, Terry’s Texas<br />

Rangers, and the Civil War. <strong>The</strong> site is believed<br />

to have been the approximate point at which<br />

General Martín Perfecto de Cos heard the news<br />

<strong>of</strong> the defeat <strong>of</strong> the Mexican army at the Battle<br />

<strong>of</strong> San Jacinto and abandoned his cannon to<br />

retreat across the Brazos River.<br />

<strong>The</strong> city is located on land that was once<br />

part <strong>of</strong> a sugar and cotton plantation. <strong>The</strong><br />

local post <strong>of</strong>fice operated from 1854 until<br />

approximately 1930. In 1859, the Houston<br />

Tap and <strong>Brazoria</strong> Railroad was extended<br />

to Sandy Point. Plantations and farms<br />

began shipping their sugar, molasses,<br />

and cotton. <strong>The</strong>re were two general<br />

stores, several sugar mills, cotton gins,<br />

and a population <strong>of</strong> 250. In 1906, Sandy<br />

Point had 2 black schools, 1 white<br />

school, 3 school teachers and 72 pupils.<br />

<strong>The</strong> schools consolidated with the<br />

Angleton Independent School District in<br />

1948. Rice farms and cattle ranches<br />

eventually replaced the plantations. <strong>The</strong><br />

Darrington Prison Farm was established<br />

in 1917. By the 1930s, the City consisted<br />

<strong>of</strong> dwellings, churches and a school.<br />

Today, Sandy Point is a zoned city and<br />

has purchased a six-acre site on which to<br />

build a City Hall. Mayor Curt Mowery,<br />

Commissioner John “Buck” Caldwell, Jr.,<br />

and Commissioner Kurt Quinn were<br />

elected in the incorporation election <strong>of</strong><br />

2002 and still serve on city council to<br />

date. Sandy Point is home to Medal <strong>of</strong><br />

Honor recipient Clarence Sasser who<br />

was also awarded the Purple Heart, Combat<br />

Medical Badge and Expert Marksmanship<br />

Badge. It maintains a population <strong>of</strong> approximately<br />

200, three churches, and remains primarily<br />

a farming and ranching community<br />

managed by the same families for multiple<br />

generations. <strong>The</strong> Darrington Unit <strong>of</strong> the Texas<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Criminal Justice has the capacity<br />

to house 1,900 inmates and is the largest<br />

employer in Sandy Point with approximately<br />

540 employees.<br />

SANDY POINT,<br />

TEXAS<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

101


CHEVRON<br />

PHILLIPS<br />

CHEMICAL<br />

COMPANY LP<br />

Aerial photo <strong>of</strong> the Chevron Phillips<br />

Chemical Sweeny/Old Ocean Facilities<br />

spread across 1,200 acres.<br />

Bottom: World-scale polyethylene units in<br />

Old Ocean, Texas, that produces 2.2 billion<br />

pounds <strong>of</strong> resin annually.<br />

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP, a<br />

joint venture between Phillips 66 and Chevron<br />

Corporation, is one <strong>of</strong> the world’s top producers<br />

<strong>of</strong> olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier<br />

<strong>of</strong> aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty<br />

chemicals, piping, and proprietary plastics.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se chemicals are essential to the<br />

manufacture <strong>of</strong> more than 70,000 consumer<br />

and industrial products and serve a plethora <strong>of</strong><br />

markets, including adhesives and sealants,<br />

agricultural, appliances, automotive, building<br />

and construction, chemical manufacturing, dry<br />

cleaning, electronics, healthcare and medical,<br />

household, oil and gas, textiles, and more.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Sweeny/Old Ocean Facilities<br />

comprises one <strong>of</strong> the world’s largest single-site<br />

ethylene facilities, capable <strong>of</strong> producing 4.1<br />

billion pounds a year. In addition to ethylene,<br />

it produces 1 billion pounds per year <strong>of</strong><br />

propylene and 135,000 barrels per day <strong>of</strong><br />

natural gas liquids. <strong>The</strong> Old Ocean assets<br />

manufacture a combined 2.2 billion pounds<br />

<strong>of</strong> high- and low-density polyethylene and<br />

linear low-density polyethylene. <strong>The</strong> Old<br />

Ocean Rail Operations support the<br />

polyethylene units with full and empty railcar<br />

storage and staging, railcar maintenance, and<br />

other transportation functions.<br />

A trusted supplier to customers in nearly<br />

140 countries, Chevron Phillips Chemical has<br />

approximately 5,000 employees worldwide.<br />

With its joint venture partners, the company<br />

operates thirty-three manufacturing facilities<br />

located in the United States, Singapore, Saudi<br />

Arabia, Qatar and Belgium. Additionally, it<br />

has $15.5 billion in assets and more than $8.5<br />

billion in annual revenue.<br />

Headquartered in <strong>The</strong> Woodlands, Texas,<br />

Chevron Phillips Chemical has two worldclass<br />

research and technology centers<br />

equipped with the latest processing and<br />

testing technology for molding and extruding<br />

polymer and copolymer resins. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

has approximately 3,200 domestic and<br />

international patents and patent applications;<br />

its MarTECH® loop slurry process for<br />

polyethylene production is one <strong>of</strong> the most<br />

versatile and widely licensed processes in the<br />

world with more than eighty commercial<br />

reactor facilities utilizing this technology.<br />

Chevron Phillips Chemical and its workforce<br />

donate funds, time, and resources to worthy<br />

causes in the areas <strong>of</strong> health, arts, social services,<br />

and education. Since 2000, the company has<br />

given more than $25.7 million to the<br />

communities where its employees live and work<br />

and has provided annual grants to eighteen<br />

colleges and universities totaling $355,000 per<br />

year. Annually, the company spends nearly $1<br />

million to support workforce development.<br />

Specifically, the Sweeny/Old Ocean Facilities<br />

averages $750 million in economic impact,<br />

which includes payroll, taxes, local purchases,<br />

capital projects, and charitable contributions.<br />

For more information on the Chevron<br />

Phillips Chemical Sweeny/Old Ocean<br />

Facilities, visit the company’s website at<br />

www.cpchem.com.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

102


At HomeTown Bank, N.A., our customers<br />

and our community come first. <strong>The</strong> bank has<br />

built lasting relationships with generations <strong>of</strong><br />

its neighbors, and has a stake in the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> economy.<br />

Having “HomeTown” in their name sets<br />

them apart. HomeTown Bank takes its community<br />

banking role seriously, doing everything<br />

possible to help its customers succeed.<br />

Here are some <strong>of</strong> the benefits <strong>of</strong> choosing<br />

HomeTown Bank:<br />

• HomeTown Bank knows you and will<br />

make you feel at home. <strong>The</strong> HomeTown<br />

team takes the effort to learn about your<br />

goals and needs and matches its resources<br />

with your family and business.<br />

• You know HomeTown Bank. Whenever<br />

you need help, you will know whom to<br />

contact. HomeTown bankers are local people<br />

with ties to the same schools and<br />

churches your families attend and takes<br />

part in local civic organizations that serve<br />

the community.<br />

• <strong>The</strong>y know <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. HomeTown<br />

Bank understands what unique opportunities<br />

exist in the area and helps you take full<br />

advantage <strong>of</strong> them.<br />

“Our bankers make decisions right here at<br />

home. <strong>The</strong>re’s no waiting for approval from a<br />

distant <strong>of</strong>fice that doesn’t know <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>,” HomeTown Bank President and CEO<br />

Jimmy Rasmussen said.<br />

“When customers call us, they dial a local<br />

number. Alvin Branch Manager and Senior<br />

Vice President Ray Rusk, Alvin Vice President<br />

Chad Dudley, Pearland Branch Manager and<br />

Vice President Sean Murphy and Pearland<br />

Vice President Donna Rizzo take pride in<br />

helping <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> prosper.”<br />

Lending options include commercial real<br />

estate, construction and business expansion<br />

loans, consumer installment loans (including<br />

automobile loans), residential real estate, second<br />

mortgages, home improvement and home<br />

equity loans.<br />

Deposit accounts include many checking<br />

and interest-bearing options, including savings,<br />

interest-bearing checking, money market,<br />

and certificates <strong>of</strong> deposits.<br />

Those services are augmented by state-<strong>of</strong>the-art<br />

technology like mobile banking, online<br />

banking, including online external transfer,<br />

the personal payment service Popmoney ® , text<br />

message banking, online bill pay, mobile<br />

deposit, and instant issue debit cards.<br />

HomeTown Bank is also a member <strong>of</strong> ATM<br />

networks <strong>of</strong>fering worldwide access. Cash<br />

management for businesses includes commercial<br />

remote deposit capture.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bank’s new SecurLock Equip app<br />

gives customers complete control over<br />

their debit card(s). <strong>The</strong> card(s) can easily be<br />

turned on or <strong>of</strong>f through a mobile smart<br />

phone, and users can even define complete<br />

parameters for the card’s usage by dollar<br />

amount, type <strong>of</strong> merchant and even<br />

geographical location.<br />

Deposits are insured under the<br />

Federal Deposit Insurance Act up to<br />

applicable limits, and HomeTown<br />

Bank is a member <strong>of</strong> the Federal<br />

Reserve System and the Federal<br />

Home Loan Bank.<br />

Want to know what HomeTown<br />

Bank can <strong>of</strong>fer you? Browse to<br />

www.htbna.bank or call (281) 388-<br />

5000 in Alvin or (281) 412-8000<br />

in Pearland.<br />

HOMETOWN<br />

BANK, N.A.<br />

Top: 1050 North Bypass 35, Alvin,<br />

Texas 77511.<br />

Bottom: 2651 Pearland Parkway, Pearland,<br />

Texas 77581.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

103


COMMISSIONER<br />

RYAN CADE<br />

Top: Ryan and Kelli Cade with children:<br />

Reagan, Miller and Logan.<br />

Bottom: Ryan and Kelli Cade.<br />

Commissioner Ryan Cade graduated<br />

from Brazoswood High School in 1995<br />

and is a fourth-generation resident <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. A devoted husband<br />

and father, rancher, active community<br />

volunteer and leader, and accomplished<br />

business owner, Cade has a passion for<br />

bettering <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Cade graduated from the University <strong>of</strong><br />

Louisiana in 2000 and has been an agent<br />

with State Farm Insurance since 2001.<br />

Cade also owns RC Development, where<br />

he has spearheaded a number <strong>of</strong> projects,<br />

including the Velasco Shores Subdivision,<br />

Surfside Beach, Texas; Heritage Court in<br />

Angleton, Texas; and Old Ash Square, also<br />

in Angleton. Cade lives with his wife,<br />

Kelli, and their three children, Reagan,<br />

Miller, and Logan, at their ranch in<br />

Bailey’s Prairie, Texas.<br />

Cade is involved in a number <strong>of</strong> community<br />

organizations. He was named<br />

Volunteer <strong>of</strong> the Year by the Angleton<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce and Young<br />

Philanthropist <strong>of</strong> the Year by the Community<br />

Foundation <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. He has served<br />

on the Board <strong>of</strong> Directors for the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Appraisal District, Angleton Chamber<br />

<strong>of</strong> Commerce, Campus Advisory Council for<br />

Angleton High School, Angleton Police<br />

Departments Training Advisory Committee,<br />

United Way <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Dream Center, and Angleton’s<br />

Downtown Revitalization Group. Cade is a<br />

proud member <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Republican Party, Lions Club <strong>of</strong> Pearland,<br />

Angleton Rotary Club, Alvin-Manvel Area<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, Brazosport and<br />

Pearland Chambers <strong>of</strong> Commerce, Coastal<br />

Conservation Association, Ducks Unlimited,<br />

Delta Waterfowl, the NRA, Texas Wagyu<br />

Breeders Association, American Wagyu<br />

Breeders Association, and Texas &<br />

Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. <strong>The</strong><br />

Cades also support numerous other worthy<br />

charitable organizations in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Of the many hats Cade wears, his roles as<br />

that <strong>of</strong> a Christian, husband, and father are<br />

most important to him. With his responsibilities<br />

as county commissioner, Cade works hard<br />

for his constituents, but still makes his family<br />

his first priority. Having been so abundantly<br />

blessed himself, Cade strives daily to live by<br />

the words in Luke 12:48: “To whom much is<br />

given, much will be required.” Whenever possible,<br />

Cade strives to give back to <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>–the greatest county, in the greatest<br />

state, in the greatest nation in the world.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

104


SMILE AVENUE<br />

FAMILY DENTAL<br />

Dr. Danielle Reed prides herself on gentle<br />

dental care and alleviating dental fears at<br />

Smile Avenue Family Dental. <strong>The</strong>re are a large<br />

number <strong>of</strong> Dr. Reed’s new patients who fear<br />

going to the dentist because <strong>of</strong> past negative<br />

experiences. As business owner, founder, and<br />

dentist, Dr. Reed is determined to change fearful<br />

perceptions, starting with her youngest<br />

patients. “I love developing that good foundation<br />

for the kids so that they enjoy coming to<br />

the dentist,” Dr. Reed said. “That grows with<br />

them and affects the generations after them.”<br />

Dr. Reed, a general dentist, opened Smile<br />

Avenue Family Dental in March <strong>of</strong> 2010. By<br />

July <strong>of</strong> 2010, the <strong>of</strong>fice had mushroomed to a<br />

patient base <strong>of</strong> approximately 400. “That<br />

prompted me to expand,” Dr. Reed explained.<br />

“I had started with only two treatment rooms,<br />

and three months later, was ready for a third<br />

treatment room and hired a dental hygienist to<br />

assist me. By July <strong>of</strong> the following year, we<br />

had grown to almost 1,500 patients, and<br />

we’ve seen over 5,000 patients since opening!”<br />

Dr. Reed has a friendly, relaxed rapport<br />

with her patients. As a female, she said, she<br />

has an innate nurturing approach to patient<br />

care. “We go above and beyond to make<br />

patients comfortable,” she said.<br />

Dr. Reed originally came to Alvin to work<br />

at a federally qualified health center. Once she<br />

became aware <strong>of</strong> the area’s evident growth, she<br />

noticed there was a need for young dentist<br />

who could provide cutting-edge technology.<br />

Need coupled with a welcoming atmosphere<br />

spurred her decision to put down roots and<br />

establish a new private practice.<br />

Smile Avenue Family Dental has immersed<br />

itself in the community, participating in a<br />

number <strong>of</strong> charity events and donating to local<br />

causes. Dr. Reed has volunteered at the Hope<br />

Dental Clinic, which provides free dental services<br />

to the area’s low-income and uninsured<br />

population. She has donated to KidsRStrong2,<br />

the Alvin Library League, sponsored multiple<br />

local sports teams, and held collection drives<br />

for Alvin Meals on Wheels and Star <strong>of</strong> Hope.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice has also participated in events such<br />

as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and<br />

Healthy Kids Day at the Alvin YMCA. Smile<br />

Avenue has also held presentations at local<br />

schools about hygiene and oral health. <strong>The</strong><br />

company has been a member <strong>of</strong> the Alvin<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce since 2010.<br />

Smile Avenue Family Dental is located at<br />

1591 East Highway 6, Suite 109. <strong>The</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

accepts all PPO insurance plans, Medicaid,<br />

and private pay. For more information,<br />

visit www.smileave.com.<br />

Top: Smile Avenue Family Dental is located<br />

at 1591 East Highway 6, Suite 109.<br />

Below: Dr. Danielle Reed.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

105


GULF COAST<br />

WATER<br />

AUTHORITY<br />

Gulf Coast Water Authority works with<br />

industry and agriculture in <strong>Brazoria</strong>, Fort<br />

Bend and Galveston Counties.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Gulf Coast Water Authority’s<br />

mission is to deliver a reliable and<br />

cost-effective quality and quantity <strong>of</strong><br />

water to industries, agriculture, and<br />

municipalities in the counties <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong>, Fort Bend, and Galveston,<br />

the latter <strong>of</strong> which includes more than<br />

185,000 customers. Gulf Coast Water<br />

Authority was created by the Fifty-<br />

Ninth Texas Legislature in 1965, but<br />

its predecessors have been sourcing<br />

water from the Brazos River since<br />

1908. <strong>The</strong> water authority holds senior<br />

water rights for approximately<br />

380,000 acre-feet <strong>of</strong> water from the<br />

Brazos and 57,500 acre-feet from<br />

Chocolate Bayou and Halls Bayou.<br />

To meet customer demand during<br />

times <strong>of</strong> drought and low river<br />

flows, Gulf Coast Water Authority is<br />

able to tap into stored water along<br />

the Brazos River, thanks to a contract<br />

with the Brazos River Authority<br />

(BRA). To further ensure water<br />

reliability during drought, the Texas<br />

Commission for Environmental<br />

Quality (TCEQ) in 2015 appointed<br />

a watermaster.<br />

Gulf Coast Water Authority<br />

owns and operates the Thomas S.<br />

Mackey Water Treatment Plant in Texas City,<br />

which serves thirteen water utilities in<br />

Galveston <strong>County</strong> with customers in the cities<br />

<strong>of</strong> Texas City, La Marque, Galveston,<br />

Hitchcock, League City, GCWCID #1, GCW-<br />

CID #8, GCWCID #12, GCFWD #6, GCMUD<br />

12, Bacliff MUD, Bayview MUD, and San<br />

Leon MUD.<br />

Gulf Coast Water Authority has approximately<br />

seventy full-time employees. It is governed<br />

by a ten member board <strong>of</strong> directors:<br />

• Five by Galveston <strong>County</strong> Commissioners<br />

Court—2 are representatives <strong>of</strong> industry, 1<br />

for municipalities, and 2 representatives<br />

at-large;<br />

• Three members by <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Commissioners Court—1 each for industry,<br />

municipalities, agriculture; and<br />

• Two members by Fort Bend <strong>County</strong><br />

Commissioners Court—1 for municipalities<br />

and 1 as representative at-large.<br />

Gulf Coast Water Authority celebrated<br />

fifty years <strong>of</strong> service in 2015. Looking<br />

forward, the water authority will continue<br />

to provide its customers with leadership<br />

that is engaging, innovative, and educational<br />

and expand its customer base as supply<br />

is available. <strong>The</strong> water authority will conduct<br />

water planning, which will benefit the<br />

Tri-<strong>County</strong> area, including <strong>Brazoria</strong>, Fort<br />

Bend, and Galveston Counties, and will<br />

continue to provide expertise relating to<br />

current and future water supply issues. Gulf<br />

Coast Water Authority will also continue to<br />

serve as the conduit to its employees’ success.<br />

GCWA’s administrative <strong>of</strong>fice is located in<br />

Texas City at 3630 FM 1765. Its Canal<br />

Division Office is located in Alvin at 1500 West<br />

Highway 6. Additional facilities are located in<br />

Richmond, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and<br />

Juliff. For more information on the GCWA,<br />

visit www.gulfcoastwaterauthority.com.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

106


BRAZORIA<br />

COUNTY<br />

GOVERNMENT<br />

Welcome to <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Where Texas<br />

Began. Come explore <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s rich<br />

Texas history and see what we have in store<br />

for you. This diverse and thriving county has<br />

much to <strong>of</strong>fer, from twenty-three miles <strong>of</strong><br />

sandy beaches, to fast growing urban areas, to<br />

coastal plains rich with wildlife and pristine<br />

estuaries. <strong>County</strong> Judge Matt Sebesta takes<br />

great pride in welcoming you to <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, a community full <strong>of</strong> opportunities.<br />

“As your <strong>County</strong> Judge, I preside over<br />

Commissioners’ Court and serve as Chief<br />

Executive Officer <strong>of</strong> county government.<br />

Having previously served as <strong>County</strong><br />

Commissioner <strong>of</strong> Precinct 2 from 2007 to<br />

2014, I have learned that the potential growth<br />

and economic development for <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> is bountiful and will continue to grow.<br />

<strong>The</strong> vast economic development has enabled<br />

us to broaden the county’s tax base and maintain<br />

an affordable cost <strong>of</strong> living for the residents<br />

<strong>of</strong> this county.<br />

“As a lifelong resident <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, a<br />

husband and father, it is my goal to provide a<br />

safe prosperous environment for families and<br />

residents to live, learn and flourish. <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> provides vital government services to<br />

all residents, which includes county road and<br />

bridge, law enforcement services through our<br />

Sheriff’s Department and Constables, courts,<br />

county parks, county library system and the<br />

Gulf Coast Regional Airport. <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

is governed by your Commissioners’ Court,<br />

who are proud to assure our many county<br />

departments and services have the resources<br />

they need to serve this growing community.”<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, began in 1821, when the<br />

first <strong>of</strong> Stephen F. Austin’s colonists landed by<br />

boat at the mouth <strong>of</strong> the Brazos River. <strong>The</strong><br />

county’s name was derived from the Brazos<br />

River, which played an important part in the<br />

growth and colonization <strong>of</strong> the area. <strong>The</strong> city<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> was the county seat when the<br />

county was organized on December 20, 1836,<br />

as one <strong>of</strong> the original counties, and was<br />

moved to Angleton in 1896. <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

is the birthplace <strong>of</strong> the first capital for the<br />

Republic <strong>of</strong> Texas and is home to the oldest<br />

law enforcement agency in the state, the<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Sheriff’s Department, which<br />

formed in March 1836.<br />

Whatever you like to do; whether it is<br />

shopping, fishing, camping, playing on the<br />

beach or just simply relaxing, we have it<br />

all in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> and are glad you are<br />

here. Welcome to <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>; Where<br />

Texas Began.<br />

Top: Commissioners’ Court members:<br />

Left to right: Commissioner Stacy Adams,<br />

Precinct 3; Commissioner Donald “Dude”<br />

Payne, Precinct 1; <strong>County</strong> Judge Matt<br />

Sebesta; Commissioner Ryan Cade,<br />

Precinct 2; and Commissioner David Linder,<br />

Precinct 4.<br />

Below: <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Historical Museum<br />

once served as the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Courthouse, located on the current<br />

courthouse grounds.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

107


SI GROUP, INC.<br />

A plant in Baytown, Texas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> industry’s leader in the production <strong>of</strong><br />

chemical intermediates, phenolic resins,<br />

alkylphenolic resins, and alkylated phenols,<br />

SI Group has a 112-year legacy <strong>of</strong> demonstrating<br />

strong values, integrity, innovation,<br />

and dedication to improvement. With more<br />

than 2,700 employees, operations on 5<br />

continents, and 20 facilities in 10 countries,<br />

the company has a global reach that allows<br />

for the consistent, efficient, and speedy delivery<br />

<strong>of</strong> quality products to customers all over<br />

the world.<br />

SI Group’s roots date back to 1895, when<br />

W. Howard Wright became a chemist with<br />

General Electric Company in Schenectady,<br />

New York. Upon Wright’s recommendation,<br />

GE in 1903 developed a facility that manufactured<br />

insulating varnishes and compounds.<br />

As orders for GE’s electrical devices<br />

soared, the company’s in-house varnish operations<br />

department could not meet the<br />

demand. As a solution, Wright developed<br />

Schenectady Varnish Company to provide<br />

insulating varnish to GE’s plants. Upon<br />

Schenectady Varnish’s success and rapid<br />

expansion, the current plant site was constructed<br />

in 1907.<br />

Wright’s son, Henry D. Wright, succeeded<br />

him as the company’s leader in 1959. <strong>The</strong><br />

company then broke ground on a facility in<br />

Rotterdam Junction, New York, as well as a<br />

resin-manufacturing plant that would eventually<br />

grow to become a prominent commercial<br />

provider <strong>of</strong> phenol-formaldehyde resins.<br />

In 1962, the company changed its name to<br />

Schenectady Chemicals, Inc.<br />

In 1968, the W. Howard Wright Research<br />

Center in Niskayuna, New York, opened.<br />

With Henry at the company’s helm, manufacturing<br />

operations expanded into three divisions,<br />

and the number <strong>of</strong> operations sites in<br />

the Schenectady area multiplied to four.<br />

From the 1960s through the 1990s, additional<br />

plants were built in multiple countries,<br />

including an alkylphenol facility in Freeport.<br />

Its alkylphenol manufacturing capacity was<br />

increased in 1981, 1986 and 1990, allowing<br />

for the production <strong>of</strong> specialty alkylphenols<br />

including butylphenols, para-secondary<br />

butylphenols, di-secondary butylphenols,<br />

and dialkylphenols.<br />

In 1993, the company’s name was changed<br />

to Schenectady International, Inc. <strong>The</strong> same<br />

year, Schenectady Chemicals acquired<br />

Alphen Pratteln, AC, an alkylphenol producer<br />

in Switzerland, to complement its<br />

alkylphenol operations in the United States<br />

and Japan. In 1995, Henry died, and his sonin-law,<br />

Wallace Graham, became chief executive<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer and chairman <strong>of</strong> the board.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company celebrated its 100-year<br />

anniversary in 2006 and changed its name to<br />

SI Group, Inc. President and Chief Executive<br />

Officer Stephen J. Large became the first nonfamily<br />

member to lead the company. He was<br />

succeeded by Frank Bozich in 2013. Under<br />

Bozich’s leadership, SI Group made the largest<br />

acquisition in its history, purchasing the<br />

antioxidants and active pharmaceuticals businesses<br />

from Albemarle Corporation, and<br />

acquiring more than 500 additional employees.<br />

Today, SI Group’s primary market segments<br />

include rubber, industrial and<br />

adhesive resins, fuels and lubricants,<br />

plastic additives, surfactants,<br />

antioxidants, pharma and specialty,<br />

and engineering plastics. With facilities<br />

in the United States, Brazil,<br />

China, England, France, India,<br />

Korea, Russia, Singapore, South<br />

Africa, and Switzerland, SI Group<br />

delivers top-<strong>of</strong>-the-line products<br />

and services, while emphasizing the<br />

safety and health <strong>of</strong> its employees,<br />

communities, and the environment.<br />

For more information about the<br />

company, visit www.sigroup.com.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

108


From the days <strong>of</strong> Stephen F. Austin’s first<br />

settlement in Texas, port facilities have been<br />

recognized as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s most<br />

vital resources. Eighty-five percent <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> is within the Port’s Navigation<br />

District. Port Freeport continues to expand its<br />

capabilities and services to meet and exceed<br />

the needs <strong>of</strong> its partners while creating longterm<br />

growth opportunities for <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> residents.<br />

Port Freeport serves its customers and<br />

stakeholders through development <strong>of</strong> competitive<br />

world-class navigational capabilities,<br />

state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art infrastructure, and port-related<br />

industrial facilities.<br />

With current operating depth <strong>of</strong> forty-five<br />

feet and soon to be fifty-five feet, Port<br />

Freeport began the expansion <strong>of</strong> Velasco<br />

Terminal in 2013 with the completion <strong>of</strong><br />

Berth 7 housing two Post-Panamax cranes.<br />

Future visions for Velasco Terminal include<br />

three berths for a combined total <strong>of</strong> 3,600<br />

feet, nine gantry cranes, and a total lift capacity<br />

<strong>of</strong> approximately 1,500,000 containers.<br />

Partnering with a worldwide ocean carrier<br />

has created a major Original Equipment<br />

Manufacturer Public Private Partnership<br />

Ro/Ro facility on the Gulf Coast <strong>of</strong>fering all<br />

services to customers that move all types <strong>of</strong><br />

rolling stock. In 2016, the Port welcomed<br />

the first Post-Panamax Ro/Ro vessel. It was the<br />

largest pure car, pure truck carrier in the<br />

world with the capacity to carry approximately<br />

8,500 Car Equivalent Units.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Port has also partnered with a global<br />

supplier <strong>of</strong> steel products who will be opening<br />

a new seamless pipe mill in Bay City,<br />

Texas. <strong>The</strong> $1.7-billion facility’s feedstock<br />

began arriving at Port Freeport<br />

in mid-2017.<br />

Additionally, Port Freeport<br />

reached historical milestones,<br />

surpassing three million tons<br />

<strong>of</strong> cargo handled at the public<br />

berths and broke ground on its<br />

first major rail project. <strong>The</strong> rail<br />

project will include a 200-acre<br />

multi-modal industrial park,<br />

which will feature three new<br />

rail lines, environmentallyfriendly<br />

vehicle storage and<br />

processing centers, as well as warehouse and<br />

distribution centers.<br />

Port Freeport is proud to be a fast-growing<br />

Texas port. <strong>The</strong> growth is primarily attributable<br />

to Texas being the twelfth largest economy<br />

in the world. In 2014, Port Freeport’s<br />

Economic Impact study, performed by Texas<br />

A&M Transportation Institute, estimated that<br />

126,000 jobs, $7.6 billion in total income,<br />

and $46.2 billion in economic activity supported<br />

economy wide were in direct relation<br />

to the operations at Port Freeport. As <strong>of</strong> 2016,<br />

$25 billion <strong>of</strong> new projects are being constructed<br />

in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, and $18.5 billion<br />

<strong>of</strong> those projects are along Port Freeport’s<br />

Harbor Channel.<br />

Port Freeport envisions a bright future and<br />

will continue to invest in infrastructure<br />

and the surrounding community through job<br />

creation. Please visit www.portfreeport.com<br />

for additional information about your port.<br />

PORT FREEPORT<br />

Top: Port Freeport’s Post-Panamax cranes<br />

<strong>of</strong>floading at Berth 7, Velasco Terminal.<br />

PHOTO COURTESY OF VOGEL AERIAL PRODUCTIONS.<br />

Below: Port Freeport expanded<br />

infrastructure for Ro/Ro and steel<br />

pipe staging.<br />

PHOTO COURTESY OF VOGEL AERIAL PRODUCTIONS.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

109


JACO ROOFING<br />

&<br />

CONSTRUCTION,<br />

INC.<br />

Top: Staff <strong>of</strong> Jaco Ro<strong>of</strong>ing &<br />

Construction Inc.<br />

Bottom: Manvel High School, Manvel,<br />

Texas.<br />

As it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, Jaco<br />

Ro<strong>of</strong>ing & Construction., Inc., <strong>of</strong> Angleton,<br />

Texas, has left an indelible mark on <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, installing countless quality ro<strong>of</strong>ing systems<br />

for churches, businesses, and school districts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company has earned the Platinum<br />

Contractor Award, the highest quality distinction<br />

awarded to contractors that install Duro-<br />

Last brand ro<strong>of</strong>ing. As a Platinum Contractor,<br />

Jaco Ro<strong>of</strong>ing & Construction ranks among the<br />

top three percent <strong>of</strong> Duro-Last’s 2,000-plus<br />

dealers/contractors nationwide.<br />

Jaco Ro<strong>of</strong>ing & Construction specializes in<br />

commercial and single-ply ro<strong>of</strong>ing, metal<br />

ro<strong>of</strong>ing systems, and elastomeric coating<br />

applications. Jaco has been an authorized<br />

dealer/contractor for Duro-Last Ro<strong>of</strong>ing, Inc.,<br />

since 1989. In addition to providing the<br />

best warranty in the industry, Duro-Last ro<strong>of</strong>ing<br />

systems are durable, environmentally<br />

friendly, and leak-pro<strong>of</strong>. Since aligning itself<br />

with the Duro-Last brand, Jaco has installed<br />

more than 32 million square feet <strong>of</strong> ro<strong>of</strong>ing<br />

membrane as part <strong>of</strong> 1,700-plus projects. <strong>The</strong><br />

company has also been named a three-time<br />

Contractor <strong>of</strong> the Year award-winner for consistently<br />

achieving top sales among Duro-<br />

Last’s dealers/contractors.<br />

Jaco Ro<strong>of</strong>ing & Construction believes its<br />

success is due in large part to the company’s<br />

commitment to integrity and excellence, dedication<br />

to teamwork, and respect as demonstrated<br />

to its employees, community, and the<br />

environment. In exemplifying these qualities,<br />

Jaco inspires the best ideas to create innovative<br />

solutions for physical assets that enhance customers’<br />

commercial ro<strong>of</strong>ing for years to come.<br />

As it celebrates fifty years <strong>of</strong> service, Jaco will<br />

continue to install the best ro<strong>of</strong>ing systems in<br />

the industry, maintain excellent customer care,<br />

and provide quality careers to its employees,<br />

many <strong>of</strong> whom have been with the company a<br />

decade or more.<br />

Jaco Ro<strong>of</strong>ing & Construction is a member <strong>of</strong><br />

the Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce,<br />

Greater Angleton Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, the<br />

Pearland Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, the Victoria<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, Galveston Chamber<br />

<strong>of</strong> Commerce, Brazosport Area Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce, and Corpus Christi Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce. Jaco is also a member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Economic Development Alliance <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, Contractors’ Safety Council <strong>of</strong><br />

Brazosport, and the Ro<strong>of</strong>ing Contractors<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> Texas. <strong>The</strong> company has an A-<br />

plus rating with the Better Business Bureau.<br />

Jaco Ro<strong>of</strong>ing & Construction is located at<br />

1725 South Velasco in Angleton. For more<br />

information, contact the company at 800-265-<br />

5226, or visit www.jacoro<strong>of</strong>ing.com.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

110


Angleton combines small town<br />

charm, awe-inspiring wildlife, and<br />

easy access to metropolitan convenience<br />

in a way few can. <strong>The</strong> town sits<br />

within a stone’s throw <strong>of</strong> the sprawling<br />

city <strong>of</strong> Houston, the beaches <strong>of</strong><br />

Surfside and Galveston, and many <strong>of</strong><br />

the Gulf Coast region’s other notable<br />

places. But this thriving community <strong>of</strong><br />

nearly 20,000 residents is not one to<br />

be overshadowed.<br />

Angleton, the county seat <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, is the home <strong>of</strong> the<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Fair, the largest county fair in<br />

Texas that showcases the rich agricultural heritage<br />

that still surrounds us today. Peach Street<br />

Farmers Market located in the heart <strong>of</strong> the city<br />

every Saturday morning provides an opportunity<br />

to purchase local honey, fresh eggs,<br />

organic chickens, handmade soap, and much<br />

more. Two times per year, Angleton Market<br />

Days attracts more than 200 vendors and<br />

many shoppers from across the state and<br />

beyond. Along with that, <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> has<br />

the greatest number <strong>of</strong> bird species in the<br />

North American continent, and it was one <strong>of</strong><br />

the first places in Texas settled by Americans.<br />

Thanks to its central location, Angleton <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

an ideal launch pad to experience all that<br />

makes this corner <strong>of</strong> Texas unique.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> National Wildlife Refuge, a<br />

44,000-acre area that more than 300 species<br />

<strong>of</strong> birds call home throughout the year, is a<br />

fine place to start your adventure in Angleton.<br />

Hiking and driving trails are available at the<br />

refuge, providing ample opportunities for<br />

birdwatchers and photographers to see a large<br />

amount <strong>of</strong> wildlife. Angleton is also home to<br />

MSR Houston, a premier road course and<br />

karting facility, and is close to a notable scuba<br />

diving facility and the warm beaches <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Gulf Coast.<br />

Angleton boasts an excellent school district,<br />

affordable housing and a low crime<br />

rate making our area an ideal community for<br />

families and individuals who can appreciate<br />

the close knit town in which our residents<br />

are proud.<br />

<strong>The</strong> area around Angleton was first settled<br />

by Americans in 1824, when Stephen F.<br />

Austin selected the area for colonization.<br />

Nearly 100 <strong>of</strong> the 300 land grants<br />

Austin received were sold to settlers<br />

moving into <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. Much<br />

<strong>of</strong> this history can be seen or experienced<br />

at the many museums in<br />

the area, such as the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Historical Museum, the<br />

Columbia Historical Museum, or<br />

the Varner-Hogg Plantation State<br />

Park. A sixty-foot-tall statue <strong>of</strong><br />

Stephen F. Austin stands just south<br />

<strong>of</strong> Angleton and serves as a<br />

reminder <strong>of</strong> the area’s history.<br />

Angleton is a wonderful starting<br />

point for any adventure in the<br />

Texas Gulf Coast region. Great<br />

Parks, schools and housing also<br />

help make Angleton a great place to<br />

call home.<br />

GREATER<br />

ANGLETON<br />

CHAMBER OF<br />

COMMERCE<br />

Greater Angleton Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce is<br />

located at 222 Velasco..<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

111


Top: <strong>The</strong> Phillips 66ers, from the 1920s<br />

through 1960s, played in the Amateur<br />

Athletic Union that exemplified honor and<br />

commitment, which we value today.<br />

Above: Young Eagles Program, supported by<br />

Phillips 66, introduces children to the joy<br />

<strong>of</strong> flying.<br />

PHILLIPS 66 SWEENY REFINERY<br />

Phillips 66 Sweeny Refinery spans<br />

approximately 14,000 acres in Old Ocean,<br />

Texas, sixty-five miles southwest <strong>of</strong> Houston.<br />

<strong>The</strong> refinery processes heavy, high-sulfur and<br />

light, low-sulfur crude oil. Sweeny receives<br />

U.S.–advantaged and foreign crude oil<br />

primarily through owned and jointly owned<br />

Gulf Coast terminals, including a deepwater<br />

terminal in Freeport, Texas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> refinery’s facilities include two fluid<br />

catalytic cracking units, delayed coking,<br />

alkylation, a naphtha reformer, and<br />

hydrodesulfurization units. Sweeny also<br />

operates terminals and storage facilities in<br />

Freeport, Jones Creek, and on the San Bernard<br />

River with pipelines connecting to the<br />

refinery. In addition to gasoline, diesel, and<br />

aviation fuel, Sweeny’s products include<br />

petrochemical feedstocks, home heating oil,<br />

and fuel-grade petroleum coke. Pipelines,<br />

barges, and railcars deliver these products<br />

throughout the Midwest and southeastern<br />

part <strong>of</strong> the United States.<br />

Built in 1942, Sweeny Refinery has more<br />

than 1,200 employees, including contractors<br />

who work on site. <strong>The</strong> refinery was purchased<br />

by Phillips 66 in 1947. Headquartered in<br />

Houston, Phillips 66 processes, transports,<br />

stores, and markets fuels and products<br />

throughout the world and operates businesses<br />

specializing in midstream, chemicals, refining,<br />

marketing, and specialties, including Phillips<br />

66 Partners, its master limited partnership. As<br />

<strong>of</strong> 2016, Phillips 66 had $52 billion in assets<br />

and $87.2 billion in revenue.<br />

With a history that dates back to 1875,<br />

Phillips 66 is one <strong>of</strong> the most recognized<br />

brands in the energy manufacturing industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company was preceded by Conoco and<br />

Phillips Petroleum Company, which merged<br />

into ConocoPhillips in 2002. In 2012,<br />

ConocoPhillips became two independent,<br />

publicly traded companies, one <strong>of</strong> which is<br />

Phillips 66. Today, Phillips 66 boasts an<br />

interest in fifteen refineries, an excess <strong>of</strong><br />

10,000 branded markets, 86,000 miles <strong>of</strong><br />

pipeline, and a processing capacity <strong>of</strong> over<br />

forty billion pounds <strong>of</strong> chemicals.<br />

More than improving lives with transportation<br />

fuel, natural gas operates businesses and<br />

heats homes, and the petrochemicals, polymers,<br />

and plastics found in electronics, vehicles, and<br />

items used every day, Phillips 66 provides quality<br />

jobs to approximately 14,800 people globally.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company operates based on three core<br />

values: safety, honor, and commitment. Safety<br />

means Phillips 66 is committed to protecting<br />

the environment and communities where and<br />

for whom it serves. Honor means the company<br />

operates with integrity and is dedicated to<br />

always doing what is right. Commitment means<br />

it is dedicated to conducting business at the<br />

pinnacle <strong>of</strong> performance.<br />

Phillip 66 Sweeny Refinery is located at<br />

8189 Old FM 524 Road in Old Ocean, Texas.<br />

To contact the refinery, call 979-491-2200 or<br />

visit their website at www.phillips66.com.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

112


BRAZOSPORT<br />

AREA CHAMBER<br />

OF COMMERCE<br />

Welcome to the Brazosport area where the<br />

future is happening right now with exciting<br />

growth and expansion occurring throughout<br />

our community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Brazosport Area Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce, founded in 1945, is celebrating<br />

seventy-two years <strong>of</strong> providing unified support<br />

and promotion <strong>of</strong> the Brazosport community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Brazosport Chamber has led the<br />

way in fostering economic prosperity while<br />

enhancing quality <strong>of</strong> life.<br />

Located on the Texas Gulf Coast just fifty<br />

miles south <strong>of</strong> Houston, the Brazosport area<br />

encompasses eight cities: Clute, Freeport, Jones<br />

Creek, Lake Jackson, Oyster Creek, Quintana,<br />

Richwood, and Surfside Beach. This is your destination<br />

if you are looking for miles <strong>of</strong> sandy<br />

beaches and fishing that is unmatched anywhere<br />

in Texas. Family fun can be found at Sea Center<br />

Texas, an aquarium and fish hatchery. Take in a<br />

planetarium show or explore the largest seashell<br />

collection in the South at the Center for the Arts<br />

and Sciences. Nature lovers can discover the<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> National Wildlife Refuge or the San<br />

Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are unique shops in all <strong>of</strong> our cities<br />

throughout the Brazosport Area including<br />

Brazos Mall. <strong>The</strong>re is no shortage <strong>of</strong> restaurants<br />

throughout our community. If you crave<br />

it, we have it. Each city <strong>of</strong>fers something for<br />

everyone through a wide variety <strong>of</strong> attractions.<br />

Also, history abounds, this is where Texas<br />

began. Stephen F. Austin, the Father <strong>of</strong> Texas<br />

settled the first 300 colonists and thus was the<br />

start <strong>of</strong> the great State <strong>of</strong> Texas.<br />

Our community is a great place to live,<br />

work, and raise a family. It has a strong economic<br />

base that has helped establish the<br />

Brazosport area as an influential retail and<br />

commerce center. It is home to world-scale<br />

petrochemical facilities, a world-class port and<br />

an incredible array <strong>of</strong> fishing, tourism and<br />

agriculture industries. We are an outstanding<br />

example <strong>of</strong> how quality <strong>of</strong> life and a safe environment<br />

can co-exist.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Brazosport Chamber serves our community<br />

through advocacy initiatives, business<br />

development programs, preserving quality <strong>of</strong><br />

life and member services. It is a people driven<br />

organization and serves approximately 700<br />

members.<br />

You are welcomed whether you are here for<br />

a short time or a lifetime. <strong>The</strong> Brazosport<br />

Area’s excellent quality <strong>of</strong> life, economic diversity,<br />

culture, and vast recreational opportunities<br />

make it the destination where businesses<br />

want to locate and people desire to live.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is no better place to live, work, and<br />

play than right here in the Brazosport Area<br />

because “<strong>The</strong> future is now.”<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

113


BRAZORIA<br />

CHAMBER OF<br />

COMMERCE<br />

<strong>The</strong> first <strong>Brazoria</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce was founded in 1984 by<br />

a large and diverse group from<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong>. Members from all walks<br />

<strong>of</strong> life came together. In the beginning,<br />

the group wanted to have a<br />

yearly festival, to bring in money to<br />

assist with various town activities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> search began for a name.<br />

Numerous names were suggested<br />

and refused. <strong>Brazoria</strong> is unique and<br />

so the name for the festival needed<br />

to be unique. As time got closer<br />

and closer, there was still no name<br />

for <strong>Brazoria</strong>’s festival. <strong>The</strong>re was no<br />

agreement among the various<br />

groups in town. When no consensus<br />

could be reached on a name,<br />

the town decided to go with the<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> No-Name Festival. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

has been some thought to change<br />

the name, but it has never gained<br />

much movement and so the name<br />

has remained the same over<br />

the last thirty-three years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> has a lot to<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer. It is a small town with the<br />

closeness <strong>of</strong> a big city. It is located on State<br />

Highway 36 between the San Bernard River<br />

and the Brazos River. <strong>Brazoria</strong> is a friendly,<br />

peaceful town with a population <strong>of</strong> approximately<br />

2,900. Just an hour away from<br />

Houston, America’s fourth largest city and<br />

minutes away from the Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> is in a prime location to have a career<br />

and still enjoy the small town charm.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> is the Cradle <strong>of</strong> Texas, and as such,<br />

has a very diverse history. John Austin and<br />

Jane Long both had homes in town. We celebrate<br />

the Santa Ana Ball and re-enact it every<br />

year for the historical society. An old-fashioned<br />

cattle drive and parade also takes place<br />

the first weekend in March. <strong>The</strong> town lays<br />

claim to the first woman doctor in Texas. Dr.<br />

Herzog used her initials to gain the job for the<br />

railroad initially. When the owners discovered<br />

what they had done, Dr. Herzog refused to<br />

resign and continued to work the railroad. She<br />

was famous for her extraction <strong>of</strong> bullets and<br />

even had a jeweler in Houston string the bullets<br />

she extracted into a necklace. <strong>The</strong> necklace<br />

was buried with her.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce is “the<br />

Front Door to the Community” and as<br />

such, keeps our door open and welcoming<br />

to all. We pride ourselves in getting answers to<br />

all questions that are asked about our community.<br />

We believe in our community and helping<br />

you become a part <strong>of</strong> the small town that<br />

is <strong>Brazoria</strong>.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

114


In the spring <strong>of</strong> 2000, Amy received a film<br />

SLR camera on loan from her uncle. Little did<br />

she know, that this would be the first <strong>of</strong> many<br />

SLR cameras she would have in her hand. She<br />

enrolled in a black and white film photography<br />

class and immediately felt a connection to the<br />

craft. While studying photography, she also<br />

dabbled in other mediums <strong>of</strong> art, learning all she<br />

could about composition and lighting. In 2001<br />

she built a portfolio and walked into a respected<br />

portrait studio in her hometown. <strong>The</strong>y hired her<br />

as a wedding portrait photographer and with<br />

this, a career was born. It wasn’t long before she<br />

was the lead photographer at this studio.<br />

When the digital era was born, it turned her<br />

film world upside down, but she didn’t back<br />

away from the challenge. Amy, studied new<br />

lighting techniques and ways to manipulate her<br />

photograph with tools like photoshop.<br />

Suddenly there was a world <strong>of</strong> possibilities right<br />

at her fingertips.<br />

In 2009, Amy opened her first portrait<br />

studio in a beautiful historic building located<br />

in the downtown area <strong>of</strong> Moline, Illinois.<br />

Throughout the next few years, she focused on<br />

creating portrait art for her clients, filling their<br />

walls and hearts with captured memories.<br />

While attending a photography workshop in<br />

2012, Amy met and fell in love with fellow<br />

photographer, Cody Clinton. It didn’t take her<br />

long to make the decision to relocate to Lake<br />

Jackson and join forces with him. <strong>The</strong>y opened<br />

COMPOSURElife portrait design in 2013 and<br />

enjoy working together to provide the people<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> with beautiful artwork <strong>of</strong><br />

their family. <strong>The</strong>y also take joy in traveling the<br />

globe while sharing the love <strong>of</strong> their craft. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

have taught many others about lighting and<br />

COMPOSURELIFE PORTRAIT DESIGN<br />

posing techniques and delight in seeing a new<br />

photographer develop. <strong>The</strong>y share a passion<br />

for their life as portrait artists and as role<br />

models for their daughter, Stella.<br />

Amy has said this about their work today:<br />

“Love and Legacy.” That is our focus here at<br />

COMPOSURElife. Through our craft and<br />

artistry, your story will be told. BOLD,<br />

CONFIDENT, STRONG and LOVING. We take<br />

great pride in creating timeless, heirloom<br />

portraits that secure the love and legacy <strong>of</strong> your<br />

family, so that your children can remember<br />

today, right now, what you shared with them…<br />

who you are today.”<br />

For more information and to view galleries <strong>of</strong><br />

their work, please visit COMPOSURElife.com.<br />

You can also stay up to date on daily activities by<br />

following them on Facebook and Instagram.<br />

Above: Cody, Amy, and Stella Marie Clinton.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

115


KIMCO<br />

SERVICES, INC.<br />

For Kimco Services Inc., providers <strong>of</strong><br />

self-contained breathing apparatuses<br />

(SBCA) used by firefighters and chemical<br />

plant workers, timing is everything.<br />

Kimco was incorporated in 1984 when<br />

firefighter Roy Kimmel experienced a<br />

two-month turnaround to have his<br />

own fire department SCBAs repaired.<br />

Kimmel and Clyde Gates decided to<br />

start a business to support local fire<br />

departments that were experiencing the<br />

same issues. With certifications from six<br />

different SBCA manufacturing companies<br />

as opposed to just one, which competitors<br />

have operating similar to Kimco;<br />

Kimco Services has a unique competitive edge.<br />

Kimmel and Gates started the business in a<br />

shop behind Kimmel’s home, where they<br />

repaired any SCBAs that they could not service<br />

at the customer’s location. In its first few<br />

years <strong>of</strong> operation, Kimco was contacted to<br />

service some Louisiana Fire Departments that<br />

had heard about the business’ quick turnaround.<br />

This later led to additional customers<br />

in Arkansas. Gates eventually left the business,<br />

and Michael Quisenberry replaced him,<br />

working part-time for a number <strong>of</strong> years. In<br />

1991, Kimmel began working for the company<br />

full time and hired additional staff to<br />

accommodate its growth.<br />

Today, Kimco Services’ staff consists <strong>of</strong> one<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice manager and four technicians. Its customers<br />

are local and scattered throughout a<br />

third <strong>of</strong> Texas, Arkansas, and most <strong>of</strong> Louisiana.<br />

For the past decade, the business has experienced<br />

marked growth in terms <strong>of</strong> employees<br />

and customers, the latter <strong>of</strong> whom require<br />

annual service calls and emergency repairs.<br />

Kimco Services aims to support all firefighters,<br />

from the volunteer departments that<br />

struggle to stay afloat with the aid <strong>of</strong> fundraisers,<br />

to the larger paid departments. <strong>The</strong> business<br />

likely will hire more staff in 2018 to meet<br />

these anticipated demands.<br />

Kimco Services has been a member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Brazosport Chamber for the past thirty-two<br />

years and the Angleton Chamber for the past<br />

two years. Kimmel is a member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Angleton Rotary Club and a twenty-year<br />

Rotarian. He was a member <strong>of</strong> the Freeport<br />

and Lake Jackson Fire Departments for more<br />

than twenty years and also served in the U.S.<br />

Army, retiring with the rank <strong>of</strong> Major after<br />

twenty-one years.<br />

Kimco Services collects donated SCBAs<br />

that are no longer legal for use in the<br />

United States. <strong>The</strong>se are then refurbished, and<br />

the Angleton and University Area Rotary<br />

Clubs send them to Mexico and South<br />

America, where firefighters have to buy<br />

their own equipment. Through this Rotary<br />

program, Kimco has donated more than<br />

$10,000 in equipment.<br />

Kimco Services is located at 103 Oyster<br />

Creek Drive #3, in Lake Jackson, Texas. For<br />

more information, please visit the company’s<br />

website at www.kimco-services.net.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

116


G. Fagioli, known as “<strong>The</strong> Grandfather,”<br />

founded Fagioli, Inc., in 1955 as a transport<br />

company. After a brief time, Fagioli became a<br />

leader in the transportation <strong>of</strong> goods throughout<br />

Italy. With momentum from the company’s<br />

rapid success, Fagioli expanded globally into<br />

the project shipping market. When clients<br />

approached Fagioli with complex problems,<br />

the astute businessman responded to their<br />

needs with new ideas and technologies, effectively<br />

catapulting the company to the forefront<br />

<strong>of</strong> heavy transportation and lifting.<br />

Today, Fagioli specializes in worldwide<br />

logistics and transport, heavy-lift transport,<br />

and door-to-door project cargo shipping. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s primary activities include logistics<br />

management, in-house engineering, transport<br />

engineering, international road transport,<br />

erection engineering, specialist lift systems,<br />

plant disassembly and erection, transport, lifting,<br />

and final positioning <strong>of</strong> nuclear industry<br />

components, project logistics and forwarding,<br />

emergency services and humanitarian aid forwarding<br />

activities, heavy-lift deep-sea<br />

shipping, deep-sea barge operations, and<br />

abnormal road load transportation. Fagioli<br />

owns and operates conventional trailers, selfpropelled<br />

modular transporters, strand jacking,<br />

tower lift and flat jacking equipment,<br />

medium-range cranes, gantry lifting systems,<br />

and lattice boom cranes. Its maritime equipment<br />

includes heavy transport ocean and<br />

river barges, and self-geared roll on/<strong>of</strong>f ships.<br />

Transport, logistics services, and engineering<br />

activities are conducted in-house with the aid<br />

<strong>of</strong> technology including CAD facilities and 3D<br />

simulation movies. Fagioli holds a unique<br />

position in the market as a global provider <strong>of</strong><br />

managed logistics solutions, whether<br />

for a single item or an entire project.<br />

Fagioli also operates in construction<br />

sectors including power, chemical,<br />

petrochemical, <strong>of</strong>f shore, civil, industrial<br />

machinery, shipwright, and the nuclear<br />

industry. Within each sector, an experienced,<br />

dedicated team works with<br />

clients to efficiently manage the transport<br />

and/or erection scheme, all the<br />

while adhering to strict safety protocols.<br />

Today, Fagioli’s son, Allesandro<br />

Fagioli, leads the company. Fagioli<br />

operates with strict adherence to an ethical<br />

code and HSE requirements. Its employees<br />

are skillful at what they do and perform their<br />

jobs with integrity and common sense, helping<br />

the company fulfill its principles <strong>of</strong> operating<br />

ethically, with an emphasis on mutual<br />

respect, trust, and team work. Fagioli also is<br />

mindful <strong>of</strong> the environment in which it operates,<br />

even though its activities do not have a<br />

direct negative impact. <strong>The</strong> company’s Quality<br />

and Safety department pays close attention to<br />

environmental laws to ensure its adherence.<br />

Fagioli is headquartered in Italy. It also has<br />

operations in Algeria, Angola, Australia,<br />

Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany,<br />

India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mexico,<br />

Poland, Singapore, Spain, Suriname, Thailand,<br />

Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, the United<br />

Kingdom, and Manvel, Texas. For more information<br />

on Fagioli, Inc., visit the company’s<br />

website at www.fagioli.com. Its Manvel, Texas,<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice is located at 21310 Highway 6, and can<br />

be reached at 281-997-3434.<br />

FAGIOLI, INC.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

117


WEST<br />

COLUMBIA<br />

CHAMBER OF<br />

COMMERCE<br />

Above: Visitors are greeted with a large<br />

mural at the Columbia Historical Museum.<br />

<strong>The</strong> museum is located at 247 East Brazos<br />

Avenue.<br />

Welcome to West Columbia, the First<br />

Capitol <strong>of</strong> the Republic <strong>of</strong> Texas. West<br />

Columbia is a friendly, outgoing people place;<br />

an environment with something for everyone,<br />

and a community rich in heritage.<br />

Nestled midst oak trees dripping with<br />

Spanish moss, majestic pecan trees, and the<br />

mighty Brazos River, West Columbia is a great<br />

place to call home. Historical sites and markers<br />

tell the history <strong>of</strong> the land where Texas<br />

was born.<br />

Located about an hour from Houston and<br />

just minutes from the Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico, West<br />

Columbia provides a gateway to “big city” fun<br />

and entertainment, as well as the lure <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Gulf with its many saltwater activities.<br />

Locally, residents take pleasure in the slower-paced<br />

lifestyle <strong>of</strong> golfing, fishing, sport<br />

activities, local festivals, and events.<br />

A city rich in Texas history, West Columbia<br />

is also home to the Varner Hogg State Historic<br />

Site; Veteran’s Memorial Park; Replica <strong>of</strong> the<br />

First Capitol <strong>of</strong> the Republic <strong>of</strong> Texas;<br />

Columbia Historical Museum; Rosenwald<br />

School; Capitol <strong>of</strong> Texas Park; Old Columbia<br />

Cemetery; Underwood House; Sweeny Waddy<br />

Cabin; Nash Prairie Preserve; site <strong>of</strong> the Dance<br />

Gun Shop; Aycock Crews House, and Stephen<br />

F. Austin death site.<br />

This community is fortunate to have so<br />

many dedicated citizens working in harmony<br />

with local business, educational and industry<br />

who continue to invest in the Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce. West Columbia Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce was established in 1957 and is<br />

located on Highway 35 downtown West<br />

Columbia at 202 East Brazos Avenue.<br />

Represented are businesses, organizations,<br />

and individuals that believe in and support<br />

the work <strong>of</strong> the chamber. That alone places<br />

them a cut above those that do not choose to<br />

reinvest in their community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> chamber <strong>of</strong>fice is the information center<br />

for West Columbia. Whether it is a new<br />

business looking for a location, a new family<br />

looking for a realtor, tourists wanting to know<br />

about the many historic sites in and around<br />

West Columbia, a mother wanting to sign up<br />

her child for soccer, a tour guide wanting to<br />

schedule a tour group or someone just needing<br />

maps and phone books, the chamber is<br />

the source.<br />

<strong>The</strong> West Columbia Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce<br />

is a partnership <strong>of</strong> over 200 growing concerned<br />

city, schools, business women, men and<br />

citizens working together to accomplish<br />

and create a stronger community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> chamber conducts regular network<br />

events, held at local businesses, Annual<br />

Chamber Appreciation Banquet, Antique<br />

Junktique Quilt Show, San Jacinto<br />

Festival, Annual Networking Golf<br />

Tournament, and Light Up the First<br />

Capitol Festival, Business After Hours and<br />

Ice Cream Social. All events are coordinated<br />

by volunteers and staff <strong>of</strong> the chamber.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

118


Throughout my early career, we were<br />

blessed with many growth moves and lived in<br />

several states and homes. My family: wife Lori,<br />

son, Jeff, daughters, Jody and Jenny, and I<br />

arrived in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Lake Jackson in<br />

September <strong>of</strong> 1981. When we arrived in Lake<br />

Jackson we were so impressed with the city,<br />

surrounding cities and the county, we knew<br />

we had found our permanent home. We<br />

engaged in many civic and industry activities<br />

as well as serving on many boards for several<br />

years. <strong>The</strong> people engaged in the various trade<br />

associations and civic organizations served as<br />

great mentors. <strong>The</strong> successes we have experienced<br />

are the results <strong>of</strong> the quality <strong>of</strong> state,<br />

county, city, college and school leadership and<br />

the people who make up our area quality <strong>of</strong><br />

life. <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is not only a great place<br />

to live but a great place to do business.<br />

When Dow Chemical located here in the<br />

early 1940s, it changed the landscape forever<br />

and they, along with other investments by<br />

other major chemical industry leaders such as<br />

BASF, Phillips 66, Chevron Phillips, and<br />

Shintech, have been the driving force for many<br />

other support industries, retailers, commercial,<br />

and contractors. Our area cities, as I like to say,<br />

are “joined at the hip,” which includes Lake<br />

Jackson, Clute, Freeport, Richwood, Oyster<br />

Creek, Surfside Beach, Jones Creek, and<br />

Quintana, where the preponderance <strong>of</strong> these<br />

industries are located. <strong>The</strong>y are tied together<br />

through what this area is known as Brazosport.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Brazosport Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce serves<br />

these cities in promoting commerce and<br />

tourism. I have been a member <strong>of</strong> the Chamber<br />

for over thirty years. I have served on the board<br />

for many years, and have been blessed to work<br />

with many extraordinary industry and government<br />

leaders. Our cities have many, in my<br />

opinion, the finest, hardest working employees<br />

we have experienced in our lifetime.<br />

Never having dreamed I would enter into<br />

politics, I ran for Lake Jackson City Council in<br />

2005 and was successful. I then ran for Mayor<br />

in 2006 and served the three allowed terms<br />

through 2012. I never imagined this would be<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the most enjoyable endeavors <strong>of</strong> my<br />

life. I have been blessed with an exceptional<br />

wife, who has supported my activities<br />

throughout our career and we both agree that<br />

serving the citizens <strong>of</strong> Lake Jackson has been<br />

the most rewarding.<br />

As we interacted with other city, county<br />

and state <strong>of</strong>ficials and learned the value <strong>of</strong><br />

having the top representatives in place from<br />

several aspects, legislation, budgeting and<br />

every other aspects <strong>of</strong> governing, <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> has the best. We are proud to be citizens<br />

<strong>of</strong> Lake Jackson, the Brazosport community<br />

and <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. Our family has been<br />

blessed with many friends over the years.<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> and its cities provide a<br />

quality <strong>of</strong> life unmatched and I feel, having<br />

lived in several different states and cities, reasonably<br />

qualified to say so.<br />

ROBERT H.<br />

SIPPLE<br />

Top: Robert H. Sipple.<br />

Bottom: Robert and Lori Sipple.<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile written by Robert Sipple.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

119


BRAZORIA<br />

COUNTY<br />

CONSTABLE,<br />

PRECINCT 3<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is full <strong>of</strong> supporting<br />

businesses and citizens. Westside Veterinary<br />

Hospital is but one <strong>of</strong> them. Pictured is Dr.<br />

Cara Campbell, DVM, Constable Buck<br />

Stevens, and Business Manager Mike<br />

Doleski.<br />

Say the word “policeman” and most people<br />

have a good idea <strong>of</strong> what you are talking<br />

about; say the word “Sheriff” and they are still<br />

pretty sure <strong>of</strong> themselves. But say the word<br />

“Constable” and the meaning becomes hazy!<br />

It conjures up stories <strong>of</strong> Robin Hood,<br />

Sherlock Holmes and <strong>of</strong> England decent.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y are seen more frequently now on the<br />

roads and in courtrooms across the state, but<br />

what do they do?<br />

Research suggests the Constable is the oldest<br />

form <strong>of</strong> law enforcement in the world.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y existed in the kingdom <strong>of</strong> King Alfred,<br />

who ruled England from 871 to 899 A.D. In<br />

1066, King William divided England into<br />

fifty-five military districts called “shires” and<br />

each had army reserves called “reeve.” (Over<br />

time, the citizens combined the two words,<br />

thence the word “sheriff.”) Constables were<br />

appointed to head the communities within<br />

those shires.<br />

<strong>The</strong> earliest mention <strong>of</strong> Constable in written<br />

law was in 1215 A.D. as part <strong>of</strong> the Magna<br />

Carta. <strong>The</strong> early law enforcers’ apprehension<br />

process was first formalized by the hue-andcry,<br />

which meant that every person on a<br />

Constable’s order must aid in the pursuit <strong>of</strong> a<br />

felon, or face fine and imprisonment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Texas Constitution <strong>of</strong> 1876 mandated<br />

that Constables would be elected at the<br />

precinct level. Today, Constables numbering<br />

approximately 780 are elected from precincts<br />

in nearly all <strong>of</strong> the 254 Texas counties.<br />

Constables are elected to serve four-year<br />

terms and are empowered directly by the<br />

Texas Constitution. Texas Government Code<br />

defines the Constable is an associate member<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Texas Department <strong>of</strong> Public Safety and<br />

given that same authority by the signature <strong>of</strong><br />

the Governor. <strong>The</strong>y are the administrative<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers <strong>of</strong> the Justice Courts in Texas.<br />

Each Constable appoints their deputies<br />

who work under his authority; each deputy<br />

has the same lawful authority as the<br />

Constable. <strong>The</strong> Constable and their deputies<br />

all have the same responsibilities, arrest powers,<br />

and training <strong>of</strong> every peace <strong>of</strong>ficer in the<br />

state; however, they have become subject<br />

matter experts in civil process. <strong>The</strong> actual<br />

elected Constable must also complete forty<br />

hours <strong>of</strong> training through the Bill Blackwood<br />

LEMIT program at Sam Houston State<br />

University in order to remain in <strong>of</strong>fice. Some<br />

have even been credentialed after completing<br />

an intense 100 hour course under the<br />

Constable Leadership Institute.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice routinely performs such other<br />

duties as serving warrants, writing traffic<br />

citations, working accidents, public appearances,<br />

making calls for service and conducting<br />

investigations. A Constable is considered<br />

to be the “people’s police” because <strong>of</strong> their<br />

Constitutional origin and local connections to<br />

the citizens and community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> earliest record <strong>of</strong> an elected Constable<br />

in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is on November 6, 1900,<br />

in which eight constables were elected.<br />

However, the first record <strong>of</strong> affirmation <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong>fice was in 1937. Constable Charles Buck<br />

Stevens, who wrote this article, has held the<br />

Office <strong>of</strong> Constable in Precinct 3 since January<br />

1997 and will still be serving as <strong>of</strong> 2020.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

120


<strong>The</strong> Sweeny Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce began<br />

in 1964 with the goal <strong>of</strong> promoting and<br />

advancing the commercial, agricultural,<br />

industrial, civic, and general interests <strong>of</strong> the<br />

trade area as bound by Sweeny Independent<br />

School District. <strong>The</strong> organization first met at a<br />

donated building and city lot on Main Street.<br />

Ann Andrews was Sweeny Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce’s first executive director, and Earl<br />

Halloway filled in once a month. Royce Murphy,<br />

then president <strong>of</strong> Sweeny Merchant’s<br />

Association, served as president. Other <strong>of</strong>ficers<br />

included H.M. Culpepper, first vice president;<br />

R.W. Lortz, second vice president; and J.A.<br />

Davis, secretary-treasurer. <strong>The</strong> organization’s<br />

first board <strong>of</strong> directors included A.M. Anderson,<br />

Red Benedict, R.H. Britton, Marvin Graham,<br />

O.K. Hitchcock, Jake Mason, W.R. Rogers, E.N.<br />

Windler and R.S. (Bob) Phillips. <strong>The</strong> chamber’s<br />

first <strong>of</strong>ficers prepared bylaws, organized a membership<br />

drive, and secured a charter.<br />

A few months after the Chamber’s formation,<br />

forty-nine firms and individuals had joined the<br />

new Chamber. Listed in the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

News on April 9, 1964, these members included:<br />

Alamo Lumber Company, R.E. Fowler, W.J.<br />

Schneider, Maxey’s Furniture, Mattie Lee Jordan,<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> News, A.T. Bruce Building<br />

Contractor, Western Auto Associate Store, J.A.<br />

Davis, M.R. Heickman, Jack’s Automotive<br />

Supply, Steele’s Garage, W.B. Friday, Long’s<br />

<strong>The</strong>aters, Sweeny Drug Store, J.W. Roberts, F.F.<br />

Smith, Newton Brand Jr., E.J. Rosser, R.S.<br />

Phillips, Edwin N. Windler, J.M. Graham, J.W.<br />

Mason, Benedict’s Super Market, Lack’s<br />

Associate Store, R.W. Lortz, Crosson Builders<br />

Supply, Finley’s Phillips 66 Service, Leach<br />

Cleaners, Huston Hardware Company,<br />

Chambliss Kirksey Inc., JVA Kirksey, Murphy’s<br />

Jewelry, Citizen’s State Bank, Sweeny Lumber,<br />

Dr. Hester Clinic, Sweeny-Old Ocean Telephone<br />

Company, Bay City Materials, Glen White, Wells<br />

Flower Wonderland, V.L. Skrabanek, Louis A.<br />

Woodard Jr., Frost Insurance Agency, Denman<br />

Amoco Service, Jones-Grimes Co., Lockwood’s<br />

Super Market, Muriel’s Dress Shop, Your Gift<br />

Shop, and Dixie Grill.<br />

A photo published in June <strong>of</strong> 1964 showed<br />

Sweeny Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce’s new <strong>of</strong>ficers.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y included: H.M. Culpepper, president;<br />

R.W. Lortz, first vice president; Weldon Bailey,<br />

second vice president; E.J. Rosser, secretarytreasurer;<br />

and Jake Mason, director. Directors<br />

were Dr. R.H. Britton, Rod Benedict, Barkley<br />

Smith, E.N. Windler, C.B. Jones, Newton<br />

Brand, J.M. Graham, D.M. Pettigrew, Ray<br />

Nash, Cecil Allen, and Royce Murphy.<br />

In 2007, Sweeny Chamber relocated<br />

to the original City Hall <strong>of</strong>fice on Third<br />

Street. Membership climbed to 140 members.<br />

<strong>The</strong> organization marked fifty years <strong>of</strong> service<br />

in 2015.<br />

SWEENY<br />

CHAMBER OF<br />

COMMERCE<br />

<strong>The</strong> Sweeny Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce is<br />

located at 111 West 3rd Street, Sweeny,<br />

Texas 77480.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce is a partnership <strong>of</strong> businesses and<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional people working together for the<br />

betterment <strong>of</strong> the community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Chamber is supported through<br />

membership fees. Members are referred to<br />

as “investors,” because they are truly investing<br />

in their business and community. One <strong>of</strong><br />

the many purposes <strong>of</strong> the Alvin-Manvel<br />

Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce is to promote<br />

the community to help stimulate the<br />

economy. Many <strong>of</strong> the Chamber's activities<br />

and events have become area traditions, and<br />

we continue to search for additional<br />

opportunities to promote our members,<br />

business and the community.<br />

For more information about the Chamber,<br />

please visit www.alvinmanvelchamber.org<br />

ALVIN-MANVEL<br />

AREA CHAMBER<br />

OF COMMERCE<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce is located at 105 Willis Street,<br />

Alvin, Texas 77511.<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

121


PEARLAND<br />

CHAMBER OF<br />

COMMERCE<br />

<strong>The</strong> Pearland Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, a<br />

volunteer intensive organization driven by the<br />

entrepreneurial spirit, is proud to encompass<br />

a group <strong>of</strong> visionaries leading the way for<br />

others to follow on the road to our city’s<br />

progress and promotion <strong>of</strong> commerce in the<br />

Gulf Coast region.<br />

For over fifty years, this commerce driven<br />

organization has been the voice <strong>of</strong> business,<br />

with a mission to build business, leaders and<br />

community by championing a pro-business<br />

agenda. Formed in 1963 by a group <strong>of</strong><br />

business pr<strong>of</strong>essionals concerned about the<br />

progress <strong>of</strong> Pearland, this organization was<br />

charged with creating job opportunities<br />

through stimulation <strong>of</strong> industrial and commercial<br />

growth. Dynamic leaders continue<br />

to lead the way in improving economic development<br />

and quality <strong>of</strong> life for our members<br />

and citizens.<br />

<strong>The</strong> history <strong>of</strong> Pearland began more than<br />

100 years earlier in 1861 with a grant <strong>of</strong> land<br />

applied for by the Houston, Tap and <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

Railroad Company. Born with the railroad,<br />

much <strong>of</strong> Pearland’s early years centered on the<br />

Santa Fe Railroad Depot.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first real growth <strong>of</strong> Pearland was<br />

caused by a land boom in 1892. Captain<br />

Withold von Zychlinski, a Polish nobleman<br />

set aside 520 acres along both sides <strong>of</strong> the<br />

railroad as a town site. To promote the town<br />

to prospective settlers, many fruit trees were<br />

planted. On May 17, 1894, Zychlinski filed a<br />

plat <strong>of</strong> the town and the name given to<br />

the town site was “Pear-land.” Southern<br />

Homestead Company helped develop the<br />

area by directing a large advertising campaign<br />

to attract buyers from the snowbound<br />

Midwestern states to come to Texas and grow<br />

pears. After the destruction caused by the<br />

great hurricane <strong>of</strong> 1900, when most <strong>of</strong> the<br />

pear trees were destroyed, the area was promoted<br />

once again–this time as a garden where<br />

oranges could be grown on a commercial<br />

scale. It was not until 1912 that the city had<br />

another boom, this time for the growing <strong>of</strong><br />

figs on a commercial scale.<br />

Growth continued as shell roads were built<br />

to Houston, Friendswood, and Alvin. Those<br />

roads made it easier for people to get to jobs<br />

in other communities and were followed by<br />

the city’s modern, paved roads and are now<br />

some <strong>of</strong> the busiest highways in the area.<br />

In 2016, the Census Bureau recognized<br />

Pearland as the seventh fastest-growing city in<br />

the U.S. With a population over 100,000, the<br />

sleepy little town is thriving.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Pearland Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce,<br />

armed with passion, vision, members, board<br />

<strong>of</strong> directors, volunteers, and staff, combine<br />

power and energy to build upon the history<br />

that began in 1861. Whatever the needs<br />

<strong>of</strong> our members and the city at large, the<br />

Pearland Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce will continue<br />

to be the vehicle for building success<br />

and prosperity.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

122


Since its origins in 1973, as a small regional<br />

publishing company based in San Antonio,<br />

Texas, Lammert Inc. has been in the business<br />

<strong>of</strong> helping its customers tell their stories in the<br />

most compelling and powerful ways possible.<br />

Working with a wide variety <strong>of</strong> clients—from<br />

corporations to civic organizations to<br />

individuals and families, Lammert Inc. emerged<br />

as a force in the publishing industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company initially produced specialty<br />

publications, such as an <strong>of</strong>fice building directory<br />

for the North San Antonio Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce, and a pictorial roster for the San<br />

Antonio Bar Association. Over the last four<br />

decades, Lammert published hundreds <strong>of</strong> directories,<br />

maps, and magazines for chambers <strong>of</strong><br />

commerce and civic groups across the country.<br />

In the mid-1990s, Lammert created a new<br />

division, Historical Publishing Network (HPN),<br />

and focused on producing hardcover c<strong>of</strong>fee<br />

table-style history and cityscape books. <strong>The</strong> first<br />

<strong>of</strong> these was Fire and Gold: <strong>The</strong> San Francisco<br />

Story. In the ensuing years, Lammert perfected<br />

the sponsored-book model <strong>of</strong> publishing.<br />

Conceived around the idea <strong>of</strong> an ultra-high<br />

quality hardcover chronicle <strong>of</strong> a city or county’s<br />

past, these exceptional books were also designed<br />

to raise funds for a sponsoring organization—<br />

typically a chamber <strong>of</strong> commerce or a historical<br />

preservation group. <strong>The</strong>y utilized a unique<br />

advertising mechanism, known as company<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>iles—business and institutional histories,<br />

which were purchased by organizations wishing<br />

to tell their individual stories, and placed in special<br />

sections <strong>of</strong> the books.<br />

As <strong>of</strong> 2018, Lammert had published more<br />

than 140 titles using the sponsored-book<br />

model, while raising hundreds <strong>of</strong> thousands<br />

<strong>of</strong> dollars for its many sponsoring groups.<br />

Having carved out its position in the market<br />

for turnkey design, production, and marketing<br />

<strong>of</strong> photography-rich c<strong>of</strong>fee table books through<br />

HPN, in 2018 Lammert Inc. signaled a new<br />

focus with the launch <strong>of</strong> its new division, HPN<br />

Custom Media & Publishing (HPN-CMP).<br />

HPN-CMP remains a one-stop source for<br />

custom media, including turnkey book design,<br />

writing, editing, and production, as well as<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering an enhanced range <strong>of</strong> customized<br />

services, including print, digital, and photo and<br />

video media solutions, as well as related website<br />

design and events management services.<br />

Employees, customers, partners, and shareholders<br />

all value a credible story which unites<br />

the organization’s past to its present and to its<br />

future, enhancing its community standing and<br />

brand reputation, or celebrates a significant<br />

anniversary, milestone, or similar event.<br />

<strong>The</strong> unique mix <strong>of</strong> talents and expertise<br />

brought to bear in a HPN project culminates in<br />

a remarkable creation—a breathtaking, photorich,<br />

c<strong>of</strong>fee table book.<br />

<strong>The</strong> book may be complemented by a<br />

dedicated website, digital “flip-book,” and/or by<br />

related events to commemorate a historical<br />

milestone, introduce or promote a product or<br />

brand, or to present an organization’s annual<br />

report with more impressive visuals. As a gift to<br />

associates, partners, current and prospective<br />

employees, clients, and civic <strong>of</strong>ficials, the book<br />

serves as a powerful marketing tool.<br />

For more information, or to inquire about<br />

producing your own publication, please visit<br />

www.hpncustommedia.com.<br />

LAMMERT INC.<br />

DBA<br />

HPNBOOKS &<br />

HPN CUSTOM<br />

MEDIA &<br />

PUBLISHING<br />

BRAZORIA COUNTY PARTNERS<br />

123


THE ECONOMIC<br />

DEVELOPMENT<br />

ALLIANCE FOR<br />

BRAZORIA<br />

COUNTY<br />

Right: from left to right, Debbie Pennington,<br />

vice president; Gabe Williams,<br />

administrative assistant; and Gary Basinger,<br />

interim president and CEO.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Economic Development Alliance for<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> (<strong>The</strong> Alliance) is a countywide,<br />

membership-based, economic development<br />

organization that was created as a<br />

resource and advocate for economic development<br />

in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>. <strong>The</strong> Alliance’s mission<br />

is to support and champion the interests<br />

<strong>of</strong> existing businesses, promote and diversify<br />

the economic base and attract high-wage jobs<br />

and capital investment in targeted industries.<br />

In addition to its mission, <strong>The</strong> Alliance has<br />

been actively assisting, and promoting, the<br />

need for more single-family housing, skilled<br />

labor, transportation improvements and the<br />

continued flow <strong>of</strong> water down the Brazos<br />

River so that county residents and industry<br />

have an adequate supply <strong>of</strong> water for now and<br />

into the future.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alliance assists in the above areas by<br />

coordinating two industrial job fairs a year; creating,<br />

in 2015, the Lower Brazos River Coalition<br />

to serve as an advocate for the continued flow<br />

<strong>of</strong> water down the Brazos River; and hosting<br />

bi-monthly Roads and Bridges/Transportation<br />

Committee meetings to keep members<br />

updated on transportation issues. Another<br />

transportation event that <strong>The</strong> Alliance, in partnership<br />

with the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Council <strong>of</strong><br />

Chambers, has been coordinating since 2011, is<br />

the annual <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Transportation and<br />

Infrastructure Summit.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alliance also presents a Business <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Quarter Award and Business <strong>of</strong> the Year Award;<br />

updates, prints and distributes the <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Industrial Service Companies<br />

Directory; prepares demographic<br />

reports; hosts quarterly membership<br />

luncheons; provides guidance on the<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> tax abatement<br />

process; prepares economic impact<br />

analyses; and promotes <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> at industry tradeshows.<br />

For more information about <strong>The</strong><br />

Alliance, the <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> economy<br />

or about becoming an Alliance<br />

member, please contact us at (979)<br />

848-0560 or visit our website at<br />

www.eda-bc.com.<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

124


SPONSORS<br />

Alvin Animal Clinic ............................................................................................................................................................................94<br />

Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce........................................................................................................................................121<br />

Architecture Etc*/Raymond L. Burroughs, AIA....................................................................................................................................90<br />

Ascend Performance Materials.............................................................................................................................................................81<br />

BASF...................................................................................................................................................................................................92<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce........................................................................................................................................................114<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> Government............................................................................................................................................................107<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Constable Precinct 3...............................................................................................................................................120<br />

<strong>Brazoria</strong> Heritage Foundation............................................................................................................................................................100<br />

Brazosport Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce............................................................................................................................................113<br />

Brazosport College ..............................................................................................................................................................................74<br />

Candlewood Suites ® Lake Jackson .....................................................................................................................................................84<br />

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, LP ..........................................................................................................................................102<br />

City <strong>of</strong> West Columbia........................................................................................................................................................................78<br />

Commissioner Ryan Cade .................................................................................................................................................................104<br />

COMPOSURElife Portrait Design ......................................................................................................................................................115<br />

Dow Texas Operations ........................................................................................................................................................................96<br />

<strong>The</strong> Economic Development Alliance <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> ..................................................................................................................124<br />

<strong>The</strong> Eye Contact, Inc. .........................................................................................................................................................................98<br />

Fagioli, Inc........................................................................................................................................................................................117<br />

G.B. Industry Co., L.P. ........................................................................................................................................................................86<br />

Greater Angleton Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce..........................................................................................................................................111<br />

Gulf Coast Water Authority...............................................................................................................................................................106<br />

HomeTown Bank, N.A. .....................................................................................................................................................................103<br />

Jaco Ro<strong>of</strong>ing & Construction, Inc. ....................................................................................................................................................110<br />

Kimco Services, Inc...........................................................................................................................................................................116<br />

Lammert, Inc. dba HPNbooks and HPN Custom Media & Publishing ..............................................................................................123<br />

NALCO Champion .............................................................................................................................................................................82<br />

Pearland Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce.......................................................................................................................................................122<br />

Phillips 66 Sweeny Refinery ..............................................................................................................................................................112<br />

Port Freeport ....................................................................................................................................................................................109<br />

Rollac Shutters <strong>of</strong> Texas, Inc. ..............................................................................................................................................................88<br />

Sandy Point, Texas ............................................................................................................................................................................101<br />

SI Group, Inc....................................................................................................................................................................................108<br />

Robert H. Sipple ...............................................................................................................................................................................119<br />

Smile Avenue Family Dental..............................................................................................................................................................105<br />

Staybridge Suites ® Lake Jackson ........................................................................................................................................................85<br />

Sweeny Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce.........................................................................................................................................................121<br />

West Columbia Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce.............................................................................................................................................118<br />

SPONSORS<br />

125


THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

126


ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER<br />

AMY<br />

CLINTON<br />

I moved to Lake Jackson in 2012 from Moline, Illinois. Having lived in the midwest my whole life,<br />

Texas seemed like a different world to me. I had only visited this state a few times before, so I only had<br />

visions <strong>of</strong> Longhorns, boots and BBQ, but I soon adapted to the lifestyle….and the heat. I even<br />

purchased my first pair <strong>of</strong> Cowgirl boots on the streets <strong>of</strong> Austin!<br />

I started working in the photography industry right out <strong>of</strong> high school and fell in love with the craft.<br />

<strong>The</strong> anticipation <strong>of</strong> just the right moment to push the shutter, the subtle way to pose my client to<br />

convey emotion and create depth, the anticipation <strong>of</strong> the film to be developed….yes, I said film!<br />

Everything about this pr<strong>of</strong>ession was drawing me in. I began working for a respected studio and<br />

eagerly learned all I could. In 2009, I opened my first portrait studio in Illinois until I met the love <strong>of</strong><br />

my life, Cody, who was a native Texan. We have been working together ever since and share a passion<br />

for our artistry. Through the years, Cody and I have taught many others all over the globe about<br />

lighting and posing techniques. We love watching that spark come to the eyes <strong>of</strong> our students as they<br />

discover and expand their knowledge <strong>of</strong> this ever-changing field.<br />

In 2013, Cody and I opened up our portrait studio, COMPOSURElife portrait design and focused<br />

our efforts on creating beautiful portrait art for families. We spent the next two years working with the<br />

people <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> designing artwork that showcases the most important aspect <strong>of</strong> life….the<br />

love within your family. This set the stage for the next chapter in our lives together, the birth <strong>of</strong> our<br />

breathtaking daughter, Stella Marie.<br />

After taking some time <strong>of</strong>f to stay at home with Stella, I decided it was time get back to the business<br />

<strong>of</strong> photography. Although Cody had grown up in Lake Jackson, I still had a lot <strong>of</strong> exploring to do. And<br />

what better way to learn about my community than to be commissioned to photograph all the things<br />

that make this county so special. <strong>The</strong> idea <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> seemed like a fun year-long<br />

project, but I underestimated the excitement it would bring to learn about the history and special<br />

heritage <strong>of</strong> this area. When Harvey hit, I found an even deeper appreciation for the people here. As I<br />

watched neighbors and friends lose so much, I also witnessed an outpouring <strong>of</strong> kindness and<br />

generosity.<br />

I am grateful to be a part <strong>of</strong> this book and thankful to share the spirit <strong>of</strong> this growing community.<br />

I hope you all enjoy this exciting piece <strong>of</strong> history as much as I do.<br />

-<br />

Amy<br />

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER<br />

127


ABOUT THE WRITER<br />

SUSAN AVERA HOLT<br />

I have lived in <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> my entire life. I grew up in West Columbia, graduated from<br />

Columbia High in 1988, and from there, went to the big city <strong>of</strong> Waco. In 1991 I received a diploma<br />

for a bachelor <strong>of</strong> arts in journalism and then returned home.<br />

As a journalist, I have worked at <strong>The</strong> Facts and for BayStar Group, writing feature stories for Image<br />

Magazine for more than 20 years.<br />

For 12 years, I taught journalism and English, first at my alma mater Columbia High and then at<br />

Brazosport High in Freeport.<br />

Now, I freelance for BayStar Group, still writing for Image Magazine. <strong>The</strong> opportunity to write a<br />

book about <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> seemed like a relatively easy task since I “knew” my subject so well.<br />

<strong>The</strong> more I researched, the more I learned. I had a hard time deciding what to leave out. <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> is just astoundingly packed with history. We have so much here, and I really don’t think most<br />

Texans know about us. I hope this book is just one small way to tell the story <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

When Harvey hit and I watched friends and neighbor’s homes flood, I also watched friends and<br />

neighbors, and even complete strangers, pitch in to help. First responders “complained” we brought<br />

them too much food! <strong>The</strong>y told the media that <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> folks were the nicest they had met.<br />

Growing up here, that’s a way <strong>of</strong> life. You think everyone grew up like you did. Apparently, <strong>Brazoria</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> is special. We do have a unique spirit here.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Spirit</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Brazoria</strong> <strong>County</strong> is the thing I was most proud to write about for this book. I hope you<br />

learn about the county and its people —who really make this a most special place.<br />

-<br />

Susan<br />

THE SPIRIT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY<br />

128


ISBN: 978-1-944891-54-1<br />

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