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This Season: Shows On Stage You Must See

Article by Starlight Communication’s Author. Published January 14, 2011 on City’s Best- AOL.

Houston is known for its arts, culture, and theatre scene. However, sometimes you’ve just got to plan ahead. You can escape the chill this weekend at an art opening or live music show — but for the best shows of the season, look into tickets now.

Billy Elliot The Musical, The Sleeping Beauty, Curtains, The Music of Led Zeppelin, and The Taming of the Shrew made the list.

Read the full article and show descriptions here.

Houston Remains Strong Despite the Economic Downturn- A Conversation with Jeff Moseley

Article screenshot from Houston Lifestyles October 2010 Issue

Article by Starlight Communication’s Author. Published in the Houston Lifestyles and Home Magazine.

“It was quite hot,” said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, as he referred to the US economy prior to the recession. “We have seen a dramatic cooling off in our economy, we knew it had to cool off,” he explained further.

In comparison to other US cities, Houston has one of the top performing economies as a region in USA. “While we have seen the job creation drop and unemployment go up, Houston has always been almost a full percentage below the US unemployment rate,” he said. “We have a lot for which to give thanks.”

Moseley leads the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), a primary advocate of Houston’s business community that is dedicated to building regional economic prosperity. The organization’s efforts include lobbying for legislation that favors the region’s business community; facilitating relocations and expansions in the Houston area; strategic planning; and international outreach and trade initiatives.

According to population estimates, Moseley said that in the next thirty years, Texas will double its population, “For Houston region that means we gain the same population as Los Angeles- three million (approximately).” In order to prepare for the growth in population, GHP is striving to grow high paying jobs in Houston’s ten county regional economies to provide a strong tax base, “So services like police, fire, health and public schools will have the funding necessary to take care of all the new Houstonians.”

Opportunity Houston Expected to Grow Jobs, Capital, and Trade

A direct result of the Partnership’s ten-year strategic plan, Opportunity Houston is an aggressive five-year marketing and lead generation program that will help grow jobs by 600,000, increase capital investment by $60 billion, and expand foreign trade by $120 billion for the greater Houston area by the end of 2015. According to the Opportunity Houston Strategic Plan (houston.org), “The Houston region’s economic future is tied to its ability to attract companies to locate, expand and maintain their operations here, and for Houston area companies to sell their products and services abroad and / or to operate overseas.”

Houston’s Job Growth Predicted in Energy, Health, and Aerospace Sectors

“We now know due to the data that almost fifty percent of our $400 billion regional economy is from the energy sector, so we know the specifics of how we go after jobs within that cluster,” replied Moseley when asked, which sector the strategic plan will provide job opportunities in. “Well there is no doubt about it that energy is the lion of our economy.” Considered by many to be the energy capital of the world, some of the world’s major energy companies maintain large bases of operations in Houston.

 “A close second is the healthcare sector and that is symbolized by the Texas Medical Center, which has more than 90,000 trained professionals that go to work there every day… and we have a lot of health care providers outside of the Texas Medical Center as well,” Moseley explained. “So that is a tremendous opportunity for us to continue to grow healthcare jobs.” Additionally, GHP conducted a research in 2009, which proved that Harris County Hospital District is Texas’ largest hospital district.

“We also interestingly enough are a high tech city,” Moseley said. Houston’s technology factor can be observed when thinking about all the technology that drives Houston’s economy- the technology used upstream and downstream in energy, technology in the medical center, and technology at the Johnson Space Center. “Talking about Johnson Space Center, aerospace is a big opportunity in Houston,” he said. Thus, there is tremendous opportunity in Houston to grow technology jobs and jobs in the aerospace industry. “Energy, health, and aerospace,” rated Moseley as the top three industries for job opportunities in Houston.

Business Development and Public Policy is the Key

The Opportunity Houston Strategic Plan to create jobs, grow capital investment, and expand foreign trade will be achieved by working towards the Partnership’s primary and overarching purpose in four visions that fall within two broad and mutually supportive categories of business development and public policy. The first vision of the strategic plan is to establish Houston region as a business magnet. To do so, GHP will facilitate initiatives that differentiate Houston and capitalize on its core strengths and resources. Secondly, GHP will lead and facilitate initiatives that establish the Houston region as the leading gateway to global markets. The goal is to establish Houston as one of the top four international trade regions in US. Thirdly, GHP will be a proactive visionary to build and maintain an infrastructure and business environment that sets Houston apart, nationally and globally, as the most attractive place to do business. Lastly, GHP will be an aggressive driver of local, regional, state and federal public policy that makes Houston one of the top four regions in the United States for business.

Houston’s Quality of Life Ranks Amongst the Top Cities

“We are one the most affordable large cities in the world and we fight to keep the affordability and business friendly climate here,” replied Moseley when asked about the Partnership’s efforts towards quality of life. In addition to that, “We have a tremendous resource in Houston and that is our climate,” Moseley said. “We have got more rainfall than Seattle and perhaps as much sunshine as Miami.” This resource makes Houston friendly for reestablishing the region’s urban forest and green space. Such commitment will not only enhance the quality of life for Houstonians, but also attract businesses.

Home to 25 Fortune 500 companies and yet still ranked as having one of the lowest cost of living amongst major metro cities, Houston has a lifestyle that many can enjoy from professionals and entrepreneurs to children and families. Even students aren’t left out as Princeton Review (2009) ranked Rice University as having the highest quality of life among students. Recent rankings compiled by Forbes (2010) placed Houston as America’s Best City for Young Professionals. In prior rankings conducted by

Forbes, Houston was not left behind- Houston was ranked as the Best City to Get Ahead (2009), the Best City to Buy a Home (2008), and the Best US City to Earn a Living (2008). Unable to hide his confidence in Houston’s economic future, Moseley acclaimed, “We see Houston as a top 10 global community.”

Bird’s Eye View- An Artist and His Bronze Creations

Article screenshot from Fort Bend Lifestyles May 2010 issue

Article by Starlight Communication’s Author. Published in the Fort Bend Lifestyles and Home Magazine.

“Can you imagine waking up in the morning and not hearing any birds all day long,” said Bob Pack, Sugar Land’s renowned sculptor, as he casually spoke about the launch of his next series of bronze sculptures focused on the beauty of birds. Art works of this highly acclaimed Texas-based sculptor has been collected worldwide, ranging from small collectibles to life-sized monumental pieces of art. His energy level and artistic abilities appear just as boundless as the life-size bronze monuments that he diligently sculpts. Bob will launch his new collection focused on the theme of birds in Fort Bend County at an exhibit scheduled to open on May 28th at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land. “It’s a perfect marriage for me to be able to do this exhibit in Fort Bend County,” explained Bob referring to Fort Bend’s rich culture of bird watching.

Texas is fortunate to be home to over 620 species of some of God’s most beautiful and interesting creations—birds. Approximately half of these species can be seen in Fort Bend County during some parts of the year. Brazos Bend is a popular State park suggested for bird watchers. More than 300 species of birds have been sighted at Brazos Bend alone. When asked where Bob likes to go for bird watching, he enthusiastically led the way to the lake at his Sugar Land home and said, “My favorite spot for bird watching is right here in my backyard.”

Ever wondered what triggers an artist to select what his or her next theme will be? According to Bob, “When you forget about the time and the hours, and get into the flow of painting or sculpting, and then you stop for a mid morning break and it’s already 5:30 in the evening … then, you know what your next theme is going to be.” In the last thirty-five years, Bob’s themes have generally focused on concepts such as golf, hunting, life size monuments, and now birds. “I work on a theme for so long that after a while I want to try something that has not been done before,” he says. When he sees something that catches his eye, he immediately begins sketching it on whatever he sees nearby, even paper napkins. What ever an artist creates, Bob says, “It has to be close to the heart, it has to be original, and it has to be something that really moves him.”

With birding or bird watching being one of Bob’s passions for the last twenty-five years, it is natural that he turned his artistic eyes towards birds. Working together with the help of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Bob was able to study specimens of various Fort Bend species to insure accuracy in the anatomy of each bird’s creation. Each piece Bob creates requires almost six months for production: three months study (measuring, photographing, and drafting in wax), and approximately three months on the actual sculpting (mold making and casting the piece in bronze). As of date, the exhibit at HMNS will display eight species of bird, with two sculptures of each- one in a brown patina and one in a polychrome (painted) patina. Approximately four additional species will be exhibited in the final clay model stage prior to casting. These models are an attempt to give viewers a glimpse of the meticulous process of sculpting. This exhibit should be educational and a feast for the eyes as viewers will indulge in the beauty of birds. Additionally, the illustrated panels around the exhibit should be an informative representation of the general theme of birds that call Fort Bend County their home.

Bob began sculpting in 1976 and specializes in realistic bronze figures ranging from small collectibles to life-sized monumental pieces of art. He has about twenty-five life sized works on display around the world, as well as pieces in the permanent collections of seven museums. Fort Bend’s residents are probably familiar with his sculpture of the Stephen F. Austin monument at Sugar Land Town Square. The monument depicts Austin emerging from the Brazos River on horseback. His horse rearing, Austin struggles to lead a packhorse stumbling in the river’s current, represented by the surrounding fountain waters. A portrayal of the struggles of settlement and colonization, this monument pays homage to Austin, whose original Texas colony encompassed what is today Fort Bend County. Other local examples of Bob’s work can be seen at the Sugar Land Police Station and Sugar Land First Methodist Church.

For the next seven to ten years, Bob plans to focus his attention on illustrating the beauty of birds through his new bronze collectibles. When asked if he is a full time artist, Bob modestly said, “This is all I do … I have never done anything else!”

 

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