Don Gaddy, chair of the Summer Creek BizCom since its inception 10 years ago, reviews the BizCom agenda with Realtor Deborah Rose Miller (left) and Chris O’Dell, who coordinates BizComs for the Lake Houston Chamber.

Summer Creek BizCom members took a trip down Memory Lane as Humble ISD Assistant Superintendent Trey Kraemer recalled the humble beginnings of BizCom in 2009 and how it has evolved in 2019.

Ten-year-old photos displayed thousands of acres of empty land where Generation Park now sits and the yet-to-be-completed Beltway 8 east at W. Lake Houston Pkwy.

Kraemer, then principal of Summer Creek High School, recalled his conversation with Don Gaddy, an Edward Jones financial advisor, as they created what became the Lake Houston Chamber’s BizComs.

“I believe – as the school goes, so goes the community – and I had this idea that we bring the business community onto the school campuses to discuss issues that are important and that make our community stronger,” said Kraemer.

After clearing the concept with then-Humble ISD Superintendent Dr. Guy Sconzo, Kraemer and Gaddy went door-to-door in Summerwood, inviting business and community leaders to the first meeting.

What began as eight to 10 people meeting in a not-yet-completed Summer Creek High School has morphed into quarterly meetings during which the principal updates the community and businesses and civic leaders outline their plans as well.

“Bringing the Lake Houston Chamber in as a partner was the catalyst which has helped the district and the chamber win recognition in Texas and nationally,” said Kraemer. “In the next three to five years, incredible things will happen in our Summer Creek community. I’m honored to see my vision grow into what it is today.”

Lake Houston Chamber’s Economic Development President Mark Mitchell agreed.

“In 1980, there were 59,661 residents in Lake Houston and by 2023, the population estimate is 318,652. I think that’s conservative,” said Mitchell as he, too, showed photos of empty fields contrasting with the dynamic growth of Summer Creek.

“This zip code, 77044, really is the last frontier of Houston,” Mitchell said. “There are 89,000 vehicles passing by West Lake Houston on Beltway 8 every day. You can see the potential.”

Mitchell ticked off several major Lake Houston projects – the Insperity Tower to be built on their Kingwood campus, the massive United Airlines hangar, the creative 250 Assay Building and vast Ikea distribution center in Generation Park, and Memorial Hermann’s major construction in Humble, to name just a few.

“It’s important to remember that, when national and international businesses contact me, they want to know what kind of school district we can offer their children and the children of their employees,” Mitchell said.

Also speaking was Dr. Allatia Harris, who revealed renderings of the 57-acre campus that San Jacinto Community College is building in Generation Park.

Summer Creek BizCom ‘old-timers’ welcome the ‘newbie’ to their 10th anniversary meeting. Dr. Allatia Harris with San Jacinto College is welcomed by, from left, Dr. Guy Sconzo, who approved the concept when he was Humble ISD superintendent; Don Gaddy, who coordinated the very first meeting; Dr. Harris; Blake Willenborg, store director of HEB Summerwood who catered the 10th anniversary party; and Duane Johnston of Chick-fil-A Wilson Road who catered the very first Summer Creek BizCom. Photos by Tom Broad

“We’ve broken ground on our first building that will offer credit classes when it opens in the fall of 2020,” Harris said. “After we survey area businesses, we’ll offer workforce training to suit their needs.”

Harris predicts the Generation Park campus will host 14,000 students and could take 10-20 years to build out.

Summer Creek Principal and Host Brent McDonald declared another breakout year, praising the school’s progress in the Three As – art, academics and athletics.

“You need to keep in touch with us on social media, so you know what our students accomplished,” he said. “All our teaching positions for next year are filled and we have a waiting list. Teachers want to teach here. It demonstrates that Summer Creek is trending in the right direction.”

The Lake Houston Chamber now hosts four BizComs, at Summer Creek, Atascocita, Humble and alternating at Kingwood and Kingwood Park high schools. Summer Creek BizCom begins its 11th year on Sept. 12. Look for the BizCom directional signs. Dates for all BizComs can be found on the Lake Houston Chamber web page at www.lakehouston.org.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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