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2017 Arrival Awards

The University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic provides law students with an unparalleled opportunity to learn the art of lawyering and to gain hands-on experience while at the same time helping those in great need.

The Clinic specializes in assisting individuals who have been victims of torture and persecution, domestic violence and human trafficking, those fleeing civil war, genocide or political repression, and children who qualify for special immigrant juvenile visas. The Immigration Clinic also represents clients in immigration related federal court appeals.

Founded in 1999 by the late Professor Joseph A. Vail, a former immigration court judge, the Immigration Clinic has mentored more than 280 law students who have represented clients in nearly 2,000 cases.

Under the close supervision of clinical faculty, each of whom has years of experience in immigration law, students carry out all the duties of a practicing lawyer from initial interview and appearance in immigration court to trial and filing of appellate briefs in federal courts, in at least one precedent-setting case, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Immigration Clinic also participates each year in more than 20 informational presentations, training clinics, and workshops with law enforcement agencies, women’s centers, schools, and community organizations. In addition, the Clinic’s Deferred Action Initiative has assisted more than 300 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applicants through one-on-one consultations, outreaches, workshops, and direct representation.

The intense experience pays off for those who commit their time, effort, and heart to help others while learning by doing: “We have recent graduates who are now working in the top immigration firms in Houston, as government counsel, as a public interest attorney with the YMCA, and as a member of the Administrative Appeals Office in Washington,” said Immigration Clinic Director Geoffrey Hoffman.

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Attorney Charles Foster presenting one of three 2017 Arrival Awards to Roberto Contreras

The University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic presented the 2017 Arrival Awards to Roberto Contreras, President and CEO of St. Christopher Holdings, Ltd., Pershant Mehta, President and CEO of Je Matadi Inc., and Manolo Sánchez, Chairman and CEO of BBVA Compass, recognizing their achievements as successful immigrants.

The awards were presented by Co-Chairs, and renowned immigration attorneys, Charles C. Foster, of FOSTER, LLP, and Gordon J. Quann, of Quan Law Group, PLLC.

The fabulous dinner event, held at the stylish River Oaks Country Club, attracted many personalities and successful immigrants from a variety of countries and backgrounds, all sharing one common dream: a meaningful contribution to Houston, Texas, and to our country.

 

 

 

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NATION’S MOST EXPENSIVE HOUSE EVER

924 Bel Air, Bel Air Road, California 90077

Real estate developer Bruce Makowsky has unveiled a mansion that is a flamboyant display of luxe living.

He describes it as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. Located in the ultra-exclusive neighborhood of Bel Air, within Beverly Hills, in Los Angeles, 924 Bel Air Road has recently been completed and takes the title of the most expensive house in the United States. At a price $250 million, far from the record of $147 million of an East Hampton estate sold back in 2014.

The luxurious mansion comes with 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, a massage studio, an 85-feet Italian glass infinity pool, a Louis Vuitton-designed bowling lane, an outdoor theater, an indoor 007-style cinema, 3 gourmet kitchens, Hermès plate settings and prop helicopter from the TV show Airwolf.

With a 38,000 sq. ft. of floor space spread over four levels -surrounded by a moat-like canal-, the property boasts 270 degrees of panoramic views of the LA area. The house also has a Hobie Cat sailboat, glass ping pong and billiard tables, a crocodile-embossed elevator, 56 TV screens, two wine cellars and Willy Wonka-style cylinders filled with candy.

This dream estate, a true accomplishment in achitecture and design, even includes a private car showroom, filled with exotic cars and motorcycles with a value of over $30 million.
The decoration includes 100 art installations, hand-cut stone and marble, sculptures designed by Gale Hart, Lamborghini wall clocks, vintage fire extinguishers and gas cans and Rock Royalty Custom guitars.

Inspired by multimillion dollar yachts, Bruce Makowsky, the developer, built this house for the “ultimate billionaire who wants the best of everything that exists in life”. He wanted to build the most spectacular house in the country, and sure enough, he did.

Makowsky purchased the site in 2013 for a mere $11 million, according to property records. Sources familiar with the development told us that he spent north of $50 million to transform it. If it sells for its record asking price, he would net a not-too-shabby $189 million return on his investment.

While not the largest new home listed, the Bel Air property is a marvel of technology, design, craftsmanship, exotic materials and natural views.

The mansion went on sale in January and with a crew of 250 workers, took four years to be built. Now it comes with a staff of seven, including a yoga instructor and a masseuse, paid by the developer for the next two years.

Are you ready to make an offer?

WATCH THE MOVIE

PHOTO GALLERY

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Night view

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View overlooking Los Angeles

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Pool with huge TV screen

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Dining area

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Bowling lane

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James Bond style 40-seat cinema

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Game and candy room

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Workout

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Spa

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One of the wine cellars

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Panoramic view around the bar

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Exterior night view

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Home office

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Another spectacular view of LA from this infinity pool

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Lounge next to car collection

THE POST OAK: HOUSTON’S MOST LUXURIOUS HOTEL

The Post Oak will stand as the most luxurious -and with the highest rates- hotel in Houston. With the increase in number of wealthy visitors coming to Houston to visit the largest Medical Center in the world, to shop or to conduct business, The Post Oak just makes sense.

The strong demand for the highest quality hotel rooms is a clear indication of the appeal of extreme luxury. According to Stacy Small, President of Elite Travel International, “As our clients’ net worth increases, so too does their desire to reward their hard work with ultra-luxury travel experiences, often in private-yet-posh settings with their extended family and friends. We are seeing a continued increase in demand for multi-room, high-dollar suites.”

And this trend is not likely to slow down. On the contrary, it is anticipated that billionaires will grow by 50% in the next ten years.

This spectacular property is bound to be booked from day 1.

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Location 1600 West Loop South
(next to Landry’s, Inc. corporate headquarters)

Timeline Construction Underway as of April 2015
Restaurants Completion Spring 2017
Development Completion Fall 2017

Development Size
– 10 acres
– 680,000 sq. ft. tower
– 40,000 meeting and event space
– 16,000 sq. ft. main ballroom
– 3,000 sq. ft. junior ballroom
– 10,000 sq. ft. conference and breakout room space
– 11,000 sq. ft. luxurious pre-function areas
– Two 10,000 sq. ft. eateries
– 28,000 sq. ft. Landry’s, Inc. Corporate Offices
– 3,300 sq. ft. Post Oak Motor Cars Display Area
– 10 story parking garage
– Five retail stores

Tower Size
– 38 floors, 495 feet tall
– 10 floors / 140,000 sq. ft. boutique office space
– 22 residential units ranging from 1,000 – 2,000 sq. ft.
– 252 luxury rooms and suites ranging from 500 – 4,000 sq. ft.
– 4,000 sq. ft. Chairman Suite
– 1,500 sq. ft. Presidential Suite

Luxury Amenities
– Two-story Bentley and Rolls-Royce auto showroom
– Two-story spa and salon
– Stunning resort pool
– State-of-the-art workout facility
– Lush landscaping including terraced gardens
– Members-only private lounge and patio

Dining
– Mastro’s Steakhouse, first Texas location, offering spectacular outdoor dining, world-class service, highly acclaimed cuisine, and live entertainment in an elegant yet entertaining atmosphere. www.mastrosrestaurants.com
– Iconic Willie G’s Seafood and Steaks relocates to The Post Oak offering both indoor seating and expansive outdoor patio dining among lush oak trees. www.williegs.com

Design
The landmark tower will evoke a modern interpretation of classical forms with high-performing building components – all with dramatic interior finishes and unobstructed views of the surrounding neighborhoods and Downtown.

Project Team Tilman J. Fertitta, Owner/ Developer
Gensler, Design Architect
Tellepsen, Contractor
Information www.landrysinc.com

HOUSTON BLACK BOOK OF LUXURY LAUNCHES IN HOUSTON

Owners and upper management from 18 luxury businesses were recently invited to attend the launch of HOUSTON BLACK BOOK OF LUXURY hosted by Rolls-Royce and Bentley of Houston.

HOUSTON BLACK BOOK OF LUXURY (HBBL) is Houston’s only private membership club, as well as ultra-elite network of luxury retail stores, brands and professional services. Within the HBBL, premium companies work closely together at senior director level for mutual business and client development.

Attendees were introduced to the innovative concept through a 40-minute presentation by its founder, who put it clearly:

The HBBL’s objective can be defined as targeting two main, simple areas, as follows:

1. BUSINESS MEMBERS – To substantially assist select business members gain and sustain a competitive advantage, promote brand recognition, establish strategic alliances, produce B2B and B2C networking opportunities, develop constant marketing strategies’ innovation and optimization, enhance business performance and, ultimately, acquire new clients and become more profitable.

2. PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS – To offer discerning individual members the opportunity to gain exclusive access to a wide range of VIP services and benefits, be introduced to all business members, preview new luxury products and services before they are made available to the general public, stay informed about new openings and expansions, participate in select networking and social events, receive preferred and advanced special promotions and offers, and stay on top of the world of luxury.

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The full program is scheduled to be available to the public in January, although business members are already joining. Rolex Boutique, Peter Lik Gallery, Alexander’s Portrait Studios, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars of Houston, Deutsch & Deutsch Jewelers, Bullock Jewelers, Susan Iverson Wealth Management, Hal Martin’s Watch Co., Omni Hotel Houston Galleria and Bentley Houston count as some of the new members in the Uptown / Galleria area. More businesses in The Woodlands, Katy, Clear Lake, and Sugar Land areas are joining as well.

Joining the HOUSTON BLACK BOOK OF LUXURY is somewhat restrictive, as prospective business partners must submit an application with the endorsement of two existing business members; the application will then be submitted to the HBBL Admission Board for review and final approval. This application method guarantees that only businesses with a superior reputation will be accepted. There is an annual membership fee for Business Members, as well.

Businesses admitted in the HOUSTON BLACK BOOK OF LUXURY will follow certain rules and guidelines set in place to ensure tangible benefits to Business Members and Private Individual Members alike.

Exclusivity is another key component of the HBBL. For many businesses, HOUSTON BLACK BOOK OF LUXURY will not allow disadvantagous competition. For example, once a Mercedes-Benz dealership is admitted as Business Member, no other Mercedes-Benz dealership within the same DMA (demographic market area) will be admitted. DMAs will vary, and are defined differently for each industry. For some Business Members this is a first-come, first-served opportunity.

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For some sectors, there is no total or semi-exclusivity rule in place. For example, there is no limit for restaurants, men’s or women’s apparel boutiques, etc. However, as an example, there will be a limit set for Brazilian Steak Houses in the Galleria area, as there are three restaurants of the same type within a two-mile stretch of Westheimer Road.

There is no pre-qualification criteria set for Individual Members wishing to join HBBL, other than paying an annual membership fee.

Based on the immediate response from the initial Business Members, the club is expected to grow rapidly both in memberships, as well as in the range of benefits and activities offered. There are several HBBL committees, each designated to analyze, adjust, and organize different aspects of the Club, such as benefits, rules, events, and guidelines, giving members a voice within the organization.

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Individual Members receive a weekly email with updates, special opportunities offered by Business Members, invitations to events, and more.

In addition to having a fabulous website and a strong social media presence, the HBBL will annually produce a physical Houston Black Book of Luxury. This Black Book will be mailed to all Business and Individual Members, as well as to a number of additional select hotels, organizations and business locations.

The HOUSTON BLACK BOOK OF LUXURY will shake-up and substantially enhance the way in which luxury is perceived and experienced in Houston. Luxury just got smarter. A lot smarter.

CARMINA ZAMORANO – HOUSTON’S MOST INFLUENTIAL LATINA OF THE YEAR

Real Estate Entrepreneur, former model & TV host, listed on countless “women of the year” lists, Carmina Zamorano has been devoted to helping out her Houston community and all over the world. A mother to three beautiful daughters and a natural beauty both inside and out, she needs no introduction as a humanitarian spokesperson.

Carmina Zamorano defines herself as a wife and a working mom. She is a woman in love with two passions: her family and her business. She thinks that accomplishments are not only achieved with talent, but through hard work and believing in others as much as yourself. She could sit back, relax, and reap the benefits of her growing business and fame, but she wouldn’t feel complete. She wants her family and friends to achieve greatness, as well. And although she struggled with the deception of her business partner a few years ago, she is grateful to reflect upon the past, and learn from her mistakes. She knows that selfishly working towards your own goals does not lead to true success.

From early age Carmina wanted to be an architect. However, her father pushed her to follow a different path – law. So, she earned a master’s degree in corporate law and, also, an MBA in business. Carmina keeps a close circle of friends, the same four friends that have accompanied her throughout her whole life. She loves reading, relaxing, and staying home with her husband and three young daughters. She also enjoys learning about international business, city development, and interior design. She appreciates cultivating and developing new projects, from the creation of the idea to looking for the perfect target market. She is re-energized every time she begins a new one.
We asked Carmina how she manages her success. She told us, that, the key to being successful, in life and in work, is to remain grounded and understand there is always going to be someone bigger than you. In a world of sycophants, it is easy to get lost in the hustle.

Carmina believes Houston is a land of tremendous opportunity, but what stands out the most is the loyalty of its people. When Houstonians open their doors and you deliver, that loyalty stays there forever. In other cities, the pool is filled with sharks, and the competition is fearless and brutal, but here, honesty prevails.

This year of 2016 was a magnificent year for Carmina, receiving multiple nominations and awards to recognize her splendid labor in the Houston Community.

She kicked started the year by attending the 2016 Be an Angel Donor Appreciation Luncheon, where this amazing foundation, gave thanks to those who have supported this great cause for many years. Be an Angel Fund has the mission to improve the quality of life for children with multiple disabilities.

She is also an active member of Nicole’s Garden Foundation, attending several fundraising events to support this lovely and innovative cause. Le Jardin de Nicole, founded in Houston, has the mission to establish alternative and traditional gardens in non-traditional communities and non-green spaces, to help lower socioeconomic residents regardless of race, color or sexual orientation.

Carmina has been a big supporter of Houston Pet Set for many years, she attended numerous fundraising galas this year to support such a wonderful organization. Houston Pet Set provides grants to Houston-area animal nonprofits and which goal is to help those pets who need rescuing on a daily basis, as well as, neutering, fostering, adopting and protecting Houston’s homeless animal population.

In January, she was invited to join the Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce as a Board Member (HICC) which she gladly accepted. Carmina’s entrepreneurial skills and business career provides excellent expertise in the Houston Business community. HICC members range from small entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, which consist of thousands of employees.

March 31st, she celebrated with family, co-workers, friends & supporters the Grand Opening of Carnan Properties Houston International, where attendees also included all the charities & organizations she has supported through the years that she has been in Houston.

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As previously mentioned, Carmina’s support goes beyond helping her Houston Community. In July, accompanied by her Husband Rafael Chavez, Carmina attended the Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation Gala in St. Tropez, dedicated to the long-term health and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants. That night, $45 Million Euros were raised to help preserve our planet earth.

Early in September, Carmina received a Humanitarian Award at the Humanitarian Awards Luncheon from Latino Learning Center, recognizing her Philanthropic & humanitarian work which provides relief to the needs of the less fortunate population.

She was also paid tribute by Hennesy during the month of September during the celebration of Latin Heritage, which purpose is recognizing the contributions of Hispanics, like Carmina, that have made an impact to the culture of the United States.

In October, Carmina and her husband Rafael Chavez, were hosts to the Horses & Angels Gala at their ranch in Magnolia, Texas. This lovely fundraising gala was in support of Be an Angel foundation and Virtuosi of Houston. Both Carmina and her husband have been supporters of both charities for over 5 years.

In the month of November, Houston Magazine named Carmina for second year in a row ‘Dynamic Woman of the Year’ recognizing her entrepreneurial impact in the Houston community, talents, philanthropy and successes.

Over time, Carmina has become more involved in promoting humanitarian causes within her Houston community. There is still weeks left in this calendar year of 2016 and the month of December is one of the busiest months with fundraising events. She remains committed to attend such events during the holidays in order to support all those organizations she proudly believes in. Without a doubt, Carmina is invested in her Houston community on all and her influence has made a difference in everyone who gets to know her.

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Being the most influential Latina in Houston is a big responsibility. Carmina does not take it lightly, believing that her thoughts must be consistent with her actions. For Carmina, it is being a good person that matters the most to her success.

Her marriage stands strong, but its stability was not achieved overnight. Rafael Chavez is not only her husband but her best friend, confidante, and business partner. Their worlds are independent but revolve around each other.

They have both struggled to ensure that their family is the foundation of their business.

Carmina confessed she would like to interview Donald Trump. Trump has built himself as a real estate mogul, and she is fascinated with his business savvy. She equally respects Hillary Clinton and would have liked her to be the president. However, she recognizes Trump is a great business man, although she greatly disapproves what Trump said regarding Mexicans.

Carmina’s goal is to take Carnan Properties to the next level, to continue cultivating it until it becomes the number one real estate group in the state of Texas. Through her honesty and hard-work, she has changed the dynamic of real estate in Houston and The Woodlands, proving that dreams can become reality.

LUXCIOR magazine -Houston’s Hispanic luxury lifestyle authority- is proud to award Carmina Zamorano as  “HOUSTON’S MOST INFLUENTIAL LATINA OF THE YEAR.”

TILMAN FERTITTA – HOUSTON’S MOST INNOVATIVE VISIONARY

Tilman Fertitta, the World’s Richest Restaurateur, is a bright Houstonian, successful businessman, entrepreneur, and, now, star of the reality show Billion Dollar Buyer. His net worth positions him as one of the wealthiest Americans today, according to Forbes.

We had the unique opportunity to sit and visit with him. Considering he has just finished four months of filming for the second season of his popular TV show, he didn’t want to see anything resembling a camera, yet, he was gracious enough to spend some time with us -and our cameras-.

Tilman Fertitta is not just the “Billion Dollar Buyer,” but he is also the genius mind behind one of the world’s fastest growing empires. The key to his consistent financial growth is rooted in positioning his business to be relatively unaffected by economic downturns. He believes when the economy is looking up, people often tend to forget that it doesn’t always last; and at the same time, when money matters are looking doubtful, people tend to forget they will eventually improve. He has always been a cyclical player, building or acquiring new real estate, even when the time doesn’t seem to be the right one.

During the 10-year real estate recession, from 1986 to 1996, he took advantage of the economic situation, purchasing prime properties for less. Once the economy bounced back, he was ahead of the game. He believes that a strong business strategy is to invest even when the market is down.

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Born in Galveston, he is the sole owner, chairman and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, Inc., which owns both the restaurant giant Landry’s, Inc. and the Golden Nugget Casinos, and is recognized today as a world leader in the dining, hospitality, entertainment and gaming industries.

The Company today has revenues over $3.4 billion and assets of more than $3.5 billion. Landry’s operates more than 500 properties in 34 states and owns a number of international locations. It is also one of the country’s largest employers, with more than 60,000 employees. Landry’s owns and operates more than 50 different restaurant brands, including McCormick & Schmick’s, Chart House, Landry’s Seafood, Rainforest Cafe, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Claim Jumper, Mitchells Fish Market and many more award-winning concepts. Landry’s Signature Group of restaurants includes some of the world’s premier fine dining concepts, like Mastro’s Steakhouse and Ocean Club, Morton’s The Steakhouse, The Oceanaire, Vic & Anthony’s, Brenner’s Steakhouse, Grotto, La Griglia and Willie G’s, just to name a few. What is further unique about Landry’s is that it operates all of its locations and doesn’t license or franchise any of its domestic units.

The company also owns and operates numerous gaming, hospitality and entertainment venues, including the iconic Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino brand, with 5 locations throughout the United States, including Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Laughlin, Nevada; Biloxi, Mississippi and Lake Charles, Louisiana. In the Houston/Galveston area, Tilman operates the award winning San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center, The Westin Houston Downtown and several other award-winning regional hotels. The Company’s entertainment destinations include the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, The Kemah Boardwalk, Downtown Aquarium Denver and Houston and Tower of Americas in San Antonio, which are all featured on the Forbes, Travel Channel or USA Today’s top five lists of attractions.

Tilman will be opening an all-new Grotto restaurant in Downtown Houston, specially tailored to the niche downtown marke.

Tilman believes in the importance of giving back to the community and devotes a substantial amount of time to civic service and charitable organizations. He currently serves as Chairman of the Houston Children’s Charity, the Houston Police Foundation, and is currently the Chairman of the Board of Regents University of Houston. He also is on the Executive Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, one of the Nation’s largest charitable organizations. He also serves on the boards of the Texas Heart Institute, and Greater Houston Partnership.

He and his wife Paige live in Houston with their four children, ranging in ages from 17 to 23; he anticipates his children will eventually be involved in different areas of his company. He believes their young minds will bring a fresh insight to his work, as well as learning his business savvy.

He is always looking for the next great idea. And this upcoming year will see the inauguration of ten new Saltgrass Steak House restaurants, three to four new Mastro’s, and a 350-room tower expansion at the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Also, he recently purchased a Manhattan-based franchise, that will add 15 restaurants to the six he already owns in the area, making him the largest restaurant operator in Manhattan. He also owns 40 properties all over the world, from the Middle East, to Asia and the South Pacific.

An influential business figure, Tilman has been frequently featured in the nation’s top financial and industry publications. He is a frequent guest of prominent national business programs on networks like CNBC and Fox Business News. He is one of the foremost authorities in the restaurant, gaming entertainment and hospitality industries.

Tilman also stars in CNBC’s Billion Dollar Buyer, currently entering its second season. His successful show has him visiting cities such as Miami, Naples, Fort Lauderdale, New York City, San Antonio and Los Angeles. At each location, he visits and evaluates a small, locally-owned business to determine if it can live up to the expectations of the Landry’s Inc. image, and the “Billion Dollar Buyer” himself. New episodes air Tuesdays on CNBC. Definitely a show you don’t want to miss.

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Tilman’s many personal honors include: Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young and induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame as the second-youngest inductee. In 2012, he was named Amusement Today’s Person of the Year, and in 2013, he was named Casino Journal’s Executive of the Year and one of restaurant news top executive almost yearly. Tilman debuted on Forbes 400 list in 2012 and is referred to as “‘the world’s richest restaurateur.“

His hottest project of the moment is The Post Oak, soon to be Houston’s most exclusive destination. The complex will contain a 5-fixture-bath hotel (the first in Houston and the most luxurious), residential units, 150,000 square feet of office space, four restaurants and two to three retail locations. His luxury dealership, that represents the Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands, will also gain an additional showroom in the main building. This fabulous project will take Houston’s hotel industry to the next level. The Post Oak will boast the biggest ballroom available in the Galleria area, and will offer a variety of luxury services such as: a Bentley and Rolls-Royce vehicle concierge, 24-hour room service, and a helipad with one of Tilman’s three helicopters on stand-by, just in case a guest is running late to the airport or an appointment. He anticipates The Post Oak to bring in even more tourism to the Houston area, and we are certain he’s right. We were given a sneak peek at a surprise for the complex, which we were asked not to reveal in this article. Although we are dying to divulge, we know this one addition alone will make The Post Oak a sensational attraction for affluent locals and tourists alike.

Tilman’s motto for business is to “understand that this is a changing world, and you need to stay on top for every new opportunity that arises. If you slow down, you will get run over, so you can’t slow down.” His final note for us is some advice for new entrepreneurs: “Complete knowledge of the business is a must and should be there, not only on the sales side but on the financial, marketing and operational sides also. And let go of fear, and do not worry about failure.”

Razones que Hacen de Houston la Mejor Ciudad para Vivir

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Cuando la gente piensa en una ciudad que está en crecimiento y que está en progreso, generalmente no piensa en Houston.

Las personas tienden a asociar esta ciudad con el olor de refinerías de gasolina, un nivel de humedad opresivo, y por supuesto, el constante bajo rendimiento del equipo de los Astros. Deberían considerar esto nuevamente. Houston tiene una economía gigantesca.

Es la ciudad numero uno en el país con la mayor fuente de trabajos, el hogar de la creciente industria energética, tiene más diversidad étnica que la ciudad de New York, y te permite extender el rendimiento de tu dinero más que en cualquier otra parte en todo el país. Además de todo esto, agrégale que es una creciente ciudad en restaurantes y escenas culturales. Y es así que tienes un caso ganador para Houston como la mejor ciudad para vivir en los Estados Unidos.
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El nivel de desempleo está muy por debajo del nivel nacional. Mientras que ciudades como Los Angeles no alcanzan a recuperar ni la mitad de los empleos perdidos, Houston ha alcanzado un 230.5%. Dallas aparece en segundo lugar con un 164.2%.

 

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Vivir bien no consiste solamente en ganar un alto cheque de pago. Se trata también de cuanto cuestan todas las demás cosas. No puedes ganarle a Houston en esta área. Cuando haces un ajuste al costo de vida, Houston tiene el nivel de pago más alto en todo el país, al nivel de $75,256, más adelantado que otros lugares como el área de San José, que tiene niveles altos de pagos, pero al mismo tiempo un costo de vida extremadamente alto.

 

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El costo de las viviendas es extremadamente accesible. La ciudad de Houston no pasó por la experiencia de la burbuja que explotó en el mercado de viviendas como lo experimentó el resto del país. Una casa que en California -por ejemplo- costaría $750,000 (Orange county), aquí no pasa de los $250,000.

 

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Houston excede en el número de compañías del grupo Fortuna 500 (Fortune 500) a cualquier otra parte del país con excepción de Nueva York. Cuenta con 22 sedes de compañías Fortuna 500, menos que la cantidad con las que cuenta la ciudad de Nueva York, pero dobla la cantidad con que cuentan las ciudades de Dallas o Atlanta, que se encuentran en cuarto lugar con solo 10. La mayor parte se encuentran en la sección del “corredor de energía” de la ciudad, que es la sede de las industrias de aceite y gas. Estas industrias incluyen a Conoco Phillips, Marathon Oil, Sysco, Apache, Halliburton, y muchas más.

 

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Houston es llamada la Ciudad Espacial por ser la sede de la NASA. Houston también es el hogar del Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, el cuerpo de Astronautas de América, y el lugar donde muchos astronautas, locales e internacionales, son entrenados para ir al espacio. Cuenta con un centro de investigación muy importante, fuente de empleos, al mismo tiempo que es casa de la Misión de Control de expediciones del hombre en naves espaciales.

 

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El New York Times le otorgó buenos comentarios a los restaurantes innovadores Oxheart y Underbelly. El jefe de críticos gastronómicos de la famosa publicación neoyorkina, Pete Wells, escribió que la ciudad de Houston se está convirtiendo en “una de las ciudades del país mas excitantes para comer”. También hay un gran avance de los puestos de Uchi, uno de los mas alabados restaurantes de sushi, y mucho más.

 

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Hay una espectacular variedad de restaurantes de comida étnica, fantásticos mariscos y grandes barbacoas. Houston tiene en particular excelente comida vietnamesa debido a la creciente población de expatriados, que han sido atraídos a la ciudad por la gran industria de mariscos. Cuenta también con excelente comida mexicana; existe también una fuerte presencia de Cajun debido a la proximidad con New Orleans y la gran cantidad de personas que vinieron a la ciudad después del huracán Katrina y se quedaron a vivir aquí.
Y no nos olvidemos de la barbacoa, porque después de todo, esta ciudad es Texas.

 

8

Olvídate de los Astros. Los equipos Texans, Rockets y Dynamo son todos ganadores. Mientras menos mencionemos a los Astros, mucho mejor. Pero los Texanos parecían ser competidores serios para el Super Bowl la temporada pasada, los Rockets sorprendieron a todos con sus carreras en los juegos de eliminatoria, y los Houston Dynamo del MLS (Liga Mayor de Soccer) han permanecido como contendientes feroces en los juegos de eliminatoria.

 

9

Houston es uno de los centros en auge de las industrias de petróleo y gas de América. No solamente es sede de corporaciones como Conoco, Phillips y Marathon, sino también el centro de la industria químico-petrolera, cercano a los campos de crudo de Texas y con cercanía a América Latina. El sector de energía provee un estimado de 3.4% de todos los trabajos en el área, y con un gran índice de crecimiento.

 

10

La masiva cantidad de intercambio internacional produce un gran aumento en los empleos en esta cuidad, marcando un muy rápido crecimiento. El puerto de Houston es el más grande del país en términos de cantidad de toneladas internacionales procesadas, y el segundo en tamaño en general. Esto significa una gran cantidad de negocios internacionales e intercambios de negocios. Esto se traduce en aún más empleos. Es también una ciudad excepcionalmente buena para los negocios, y la única ciudad importante en los Estados Unidos que carece de leyes de zonas. El puerto, su poder en el sector de energía y su proximidad a América Latina, indujo a más de 100 compañías extranjeras a entrar al mercado, expandirse o empezar un nuevo comercio en Houston entre los años 2008 y 2010.

 

11

La ciudad cuenta con la concentración más grande del mundo en el área del cuidado de la salud, con científicos que trabajan arduamente para combatir el cáncer, entre otras cosas. El Texas Medical Center es el mayor empleador en Houston, y el centro médico más grande del mundo, con 21 hospitales, ocho instituciones académicas de investigación y 50 organizaciones sin fines de lucro.
El complejo médico es más grande que todo el centro de la ciudad de Dallas. Este complejo incluye instituciones como la Universidad de Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, que es uno de los mejores centros de tratamiento y hospitales de investigación de cáncer, con una inversión de billones de dólares en una agresiva iniciativa para la cura de cinco clases de cáncer.

 

12

La ciudad está llena de museos de reconocimiento mundial y puestos culturales como el Rothko Chapel. El Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts está entre los museos más grandes de los Estados Unidos y cuenta con una de las mejores colecciones de muebles decorativos de arte en el país. A esto se añaden 14 acres de jardines formales. Mark Rothko se tomó tres años creando el trabajo de arte del Rothko Chapel, que él mismo ayudó a diseñar. La ciudad cuenta con un total de 19 museos en un radio de 1.5 millas, los que componen el Distrito de Museos de Houston (Museum District).

 

13

Todo el mundo ama los parques. Houston tiene más parques que cualquiera de las otras ciudades que se encuentran en primer lugar en las listas metropolitanas . A pesar de ser reconocida por su asociación con la industria del petróleo, Houston tiene gran cantidad de parques y aéreas verdes, 50,632 acres en total. Esto la pone en tercer lugar después de San Diego y Dallas en acres por cápita. La ciudad ha estado invirtiendo una gran cantidad de dinero en construir este espacio, en particular, el área adyacente a Buffalo Bayou, que es el principal transportador de agua en Houston.

 

14

La combinación de La Universidad de Houston y la Universidad Rice significa que hay mucha gente muy capacitada. Quizás no se compara con la ciudad universitaria de Boston, pero la educación universitaria de Houston es muy competitiva. Houston tiene cerca de 41,000 estudiantes, y fue elevada al status Tier One (Nivel Uno) como centro de investigación, por la Fundación Carnegie en 2011. La universidad Rice es una de las mejores escuelas en el país en el programa de graduado, por haber obtenido el 17º lugar nacionalmente, en particular en el programa se ciencias aplicadas.

 

15

Houston recientemente sobrepasó a New York en ser la ciudad con mayor diversidad étnica y racial en los Estados Unidos, de acuerdo a información provista por la oficina del censo. Alrededor de unos 400,000 residentes extranjeros se mudaron a la ciudad entre 2000 y 2010. La población caucásica en Houston es del 32% en comparación a 48,9% en New York. Los latinos ocupan el primer lugar -siendo además el grupo de más rápido crecimiento- con un 40%; los afro-americanos ocupan el tercer lugar con un 18% y hay una gran población creciente de Asiáticos con un 6% (Oficina del Censo 2012).

 

16

Dada la gran variedad étnica de Houston, aquí no se ve la persecución y racismo que se han visto en tantas otras ciudades del país, como lo es el caso diametralmente opuesto de Phoenix y el estado de Arizona en general. Una vez más, esta apertura a la variedad no ha hecho más que impactar una economía saludable.

 

17

Houston es reconocida como la ciudad #1 de Estados Unidos para establecer un negocio. Ninguna otra ciudad del país cuenta con tantos hispanos dueños exitosos de sus propios negocios.
Definitivamente, estamos en la ciudad número 1 en Estados Unidos..

 

 

Rostros en la Calle

Despierto en la mañana y los primeros rayos del sol iluminan mi rostro suavemente a través del follaje de los árboles afuera, y entre sus ramas veo por mi ventana el precioso azul del cielo; no puedo evitar pensar en mi corazón: “Que hermoso nuevo día para vivirlo ante la presencia de mi Dios”. Qué alegría comenzar el día sabiendo que Jesús me ama y que su presencia estará a mi lado en cada pensamiento, en cada lugar al que vaya, en cada situación en la que me encuentre, en cada dificultad y desafío al que deba hacer frente; que su protección me guardará cuando por horas estoy expuesto manejando por las calles saturadas de tráfico de nuestros barrios de Houston. Qué motivación saber que estaré inspirado por Dios mientras haga mi trabajo; qué tranquilidad saber que el mismísimo Creador del universo y de todos nosotros es mi amigo y caminará conmigo todo este día, en cada pequeña situación, con cada detalle, llevándome hoy un peldaño más arriba en esta escalera de la vida.

Pronto he de salir a la calle, y por la ventana de mi auto veré cientos de rostros. Los mismos que veo día tras día. Rostros de personas que no tienen este inmenso privilegio de conocer a Jesús; sin duda han escuchado de él, pero que están tan ocupadas corriendo de un lado al otro como para ponerle siquiera un poquito de atención. Como dice la Biblia: “Solos y sin Dios en el mundo”. ¡Qué vidas tan vacías y desprotegidas!

Rostros de hombres y mujeres, todos buscando desenfrenadamente cómo ganar unos dólares más para ganarle a esta recesión, o cómo superar sus temores, o satisfacer sus deseos que nunca podrán ser realmente colmados, porque no los buscan del Unico que puede dar verdadera satisfacción. Rostros angustiados por un dolor, por pesadas cargas que no pueden sobrellevar solos, pero que bien podrían poner al cuidado de Dios, y él las llevaría por ellos hasta desaparecerlas. Rostros de ancianos que han llegado al ocaso de su vida y que cuando miran hacia atrás, no ven sino dolor y equivocaciones, y comprenden que ya es “casi” dema-siado tarde para crear un brillante y mejor futuro. Si en su disminuída lucidez pudieran contemplar su presente, descubrirían que es tan vacío como todos los años pasados de oportunidades que malgastaron tras cosas vanas.

Rostros de jóvenes estudiantes pensando cómo abordar su siguiente conquista, de la madre con sus niños rumbo a la escuela y preocupada por mil cosas, del trabajador con su lonchera rumbo a otro día de pesada rutina, del ejecutivo engrandecido ante sus propios ojos como un pequeño semi-dios por su traje nuevo y su lujoso carro, pero vacío por dentro; de la mujer angustiada porque su esposo no es lo que prometió ser, del hombre frustrado porque no logra salir adelante, de la muchacha envanecida ante el espejo y enamorada de sí misma, de niños que ni imaginan en su inocencia el camino tan equivocado por el que los llevan sus padres.

Rostros y más rostros. Cientos y miles, todos tienen algo en común. Todos llevan la marca clara tras su dibujada apariencia, de estar muy ocupados en cosas urgentes, en un sinfín de problemas por resolver, de necesidades que saciar. Los rostros de quienes olvidan lo único que es verdaderamente importante: Dios en sus vidas. ¡Y qué diferencia esto haría!

Un rostro mirando a Dios comienza el día elevando sus pensamientos en la dirección correcta; es el rostro de alguien con la certeza de que todas sus cosas, todas sus ansiedades, todos sus problemas, todas sus preocupaciones, todos sus temores, estarán ampliamente atendidos por quien sí tiene el poder para ocuparse de ellos, dejándote espacio para cosas mejores, como soñar con un sueño que sí se cumplirá, poder amar más allá de la familia y los amigos, hallar cómo contribuír en la vida de los demás, estar agradecido por la oportunidad de un nuevo día.

Ojalá el tuyo sea el rostro de quien supo buscar en el lugar correcto: A Dios.

_______

 

Si estás sintiendo la voz de a Dios en tu corazón invitándote a ordenar tu vida y a permitirle hacer por tí todo lo que tú solo nunca has podido hacer, si deseas ver maravillas en tu vida y la de tu familia, si quieres conocer el plan extraordinario que Jesús tiene para tí, y si estás en verdad interesado en encontrarlo, llámame hoy aquí en Houston al 480.399.8867. Va a ser un gusto conversar contigo, orar por tí, y si gustas, estudiar la Biblia contigo.

 

LUXZIO Digital August 2014