“The Shock” Announces Move to North Texas

Photo courtesy of BeliefNet.com

The Shock point guard Temeka Johnson. Photo courtesy of BeliefNet.com

Late last week, the WNBA announced their plans to move The Shock from their home in Tulsa to North Texas in the 2016 season.

It’s no surprise owners unanimously approved the relocation with North Texas already serving as the home to 13 professional athletic teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars.

The Shock won three WNBA championships while based in Detroit, but have not had much success since their move to Tulsa in 2010. Stakeholders hope that enthusiastic North Texas sports fans will welcome the new team with open arms.

Pending approval from the University of Texas System, The Shock will play at UT Arlington’s College Park Center starting in the 2016 season. The center seats about 7,000 people, which will be just right for The Shock’s growing average attendance, which reached 5,566 in 2014.

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Bringing the World to North Texas

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Lorena from Germany arrives in Texas to meet her host parents Holly and David and host sister Keeley.

Texas has become much more than the land of cowboys to hundreds of young people from around the world. It’s become home. With the help of Aspect Foundation’s international exchange program, Texas families have opened their hearts and homes to exchange students each year, providing safe and welcoming places during their American experience.

“When the students first come to Texas, they don’t know what to expect,” said Sherri Meyer, Field Manager for Aspect Foundation. “They think we all ride horses to school!”

With the love and guidance of their host families, these eager scholars navigate the cultural differences of living in America. The students attend local high schools, become active participants in clubs and sports and explore what daily life in Texas looks like – from the landmarks, to the food to the language!

“They are all in awe of the beauty here,” Meyer explained. “Most of their countries would fit into Texas three or four times, so seeing all that we have to offer, from deserts to mountains, to beaches, is amazing.”

The host families experience their own exchange. By welcoming an international son or daughter into the fold, they are able to bring a new culture to their hometown. Many choose to host an exchange student to expose their own children to a new language and traditions, but also to rediscover and share what makes their home special. The exchange students stay for a semester or academic year, but oftentimes the relationships with their host families endure for years to come.

Meyer, a long-time host mother herself, considers her exchange children part of her family forever. “When they come back and visit, they are still family. It’s like they’ve never left,” Meyer marveled. “We’ve built bonds with these families across the sea.”

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Rafael from Brazil, Laura from Germany, Joshi from Germany, and Greg from Norway all play their first tennis matches at their high school in Texas.

These relationships strengthen the ties between Texas and international communities. Exchange students return home with a profoundly personal impression of America, and Texas in particular. They return to visit often, bringing their families and friends to meet the community that welcomed them warmly as teenagers.

Oftentimes, the students’ exchange year and host family are catalysts for future academic and professional choices. “One of my exchange sons from Germany now works for BP,” Meyer explained. “When he lived with us, we used to take him down to see the oil rigs and he was fascinated. Now it’s his career. He feels one of the reasons he got this job, was that he ‘talked Texan.’ The interviewer asked why he sounded like he was from Texas and he replied, ‘my family is there.’”

Host families reflect the diversity of American families. Empty nesters, couples without children, families with young or teenage children and even single adults all can host and experience the rewards of participating in this meaningful public diplomacy. Host families provide a room and meals to one or two exchange students, and a safe, supportive environment while they attend high school for a semester or academic year. The students are accepted to the program based on academic excellence, maturity and English proficiency, and are covered on their own health insurance and provided with monthly spending money.

If your family is interested in an incredible cultural experience, contact Donna Vickers at 972-302-3821 or Sherri Meyer at 888-288-3556. Profiles of students are available to see at aspectfoundation.org.

NTX Magazine Vol. 4 Features BNSF

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Photo credit: BNSF

When you think of railroads, the first thing that pops into your mind isn’t often modern times. Maybe you think of cattle being hauled across country. Perhaps it’s that scene in Back to the Future III when Marty and Doc hopped off a speeding train and into the DeLorean. But when BNSF, a Fort Worth-based corporation, comes to mind, do you think of the gas in your car, the clothes on your back and the food on your table?

You should. That’s what BNSF provides, and since their inception in the late 1800’s, BNSF has been revolutionizing the railroad industry and now carries more than 40 percent of U.S. freight by volume.

Today, BNSF invests billions of dollars in capital into the economy, and is a leader in the implementation of positive train control, or “PTC,” which leads to fewer accidents on railways. They hold 17 percent of their workforce in veterans, have networks in 28 states, and during America’s busiest shipping time, the holiday season, they have 50 million packages arrive on time. While other companies struggled in a recovering economy, BNSF saw demand for a more cost effective alternative with higher volume shipping, and the company has flourished as the country recovers its buying power.

To read more about BNSF in our feature article, check out NTX Magazine Volume 4.

Bike to Work Day 2015

BikeToWrk2014buttonBike to Work Day is here! This Friday, May 15th marks the day where we trade in our car keys for bicycle helmets and hit the streets in a whole new way. Bike to Work Day is one of the major highlights of National Bike Month. Local, state and national organizations have coordinated events throughout May to promote the bicycle as an alternative commuting option, as a recommended source of active transportation for both adults and children, and as a method to help reduce our carbon footprint.

The origin of Bike to Work Day traces all the way back to 1956 and the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). During World War II, the LAB saw an exponential increase in bicycle ownership and LAB membership due to the rationing of fuel and tires. However, when the war ended, cars easily replaced defense manufacturing, keeping people employed and the economy growing. This brought more cars than ever to American streets. With their membership and general public interest in bicycles declining, the LAB initiated one last effort, Bike to Work Day.

It’s been 59 years since then, and Bike to Work Day is still going strong. In fact the efforts of the league lead to the creation of Bike to Work Week and now, National Bike Month.

North Texas & Bike to Work Day

City of Denton

Denton has planned events throughout May to promote National Bike Month, and for the bicycle commuters on Friday morning, they’ve set up four breakfast stations to fuel your human-propelled method of transportation. Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. For breakfast locations and more information on the month’s events, click HERE.

City of Fort Worth

Forth Worth has received national recognition for their bike sharing program and is known for it’s mobile town hall meetings with Mayor Betsy Price, an avid cyclist. They’ve organized two different afternoon bike rides for Friday’s city commuters. You can meet at Noon at the Intermodal Transportation Center for a 20 minute ride through downtown or meet at the Panther Island Pavilion for a trail ride at 12:30 p.m. Learn more HERE.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Dallas Area Rapid Transit, better know as DART, is encouraging commuters to grab their bikes and combine with transit to help you get to work. DART has set-up eight different “Energizer” stations throughout eastern North Texas where volunteers will provide snacks, free bike tune-ups, safety tips, promotional items and information from local area bike shops. Their stations will be accessible from 7 to 9:30 a.m. on Friday. More information can be found HERE.

For more information on local cycling efforts and other cycling information for National Bike Month, visit the NCTCOG website.

WEATHER: With the weather forecast, biking to work may not be your best option, but the goal of the day is to remind commuters of the alternatives to driving yourself to work. So, whether you saddle up on your bike, carpool with a coworker or take one of the many rail systems throughout North Texas, make sure you celebrate this national effort.

 

Header image courtesy of FW Locals on Tumblr.

NTC Startup Report Issue 3 – Mad Scientist!

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Emerging technologies require inventive minds that can rethink entire systems. Entrepreneurs are that right mix of technical savvy, opportunistic business people and mad scientist. They imagine where the world could go if only it had the right tools. They believe in things like spaceflight for the masses and effortless security. This issue of the Startup Report is bringing you a few of these mad scientists. Dreamers, with ambitions to rethink some of our biggest ideas and they’re all located in North Texas.

North Texas has a robust and exciting entrepreneurial landscape and here at the North Texas Commission we’d like to bring this to you. Each company featured here represents a new approach or way of thinking. If you would like any additional information please contact Taylor Schrang at taylor@ntc-dfw.org.

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Latern Pharma logoLantern Pharma

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The big “C”. Most people will have cancer touch their lives in some way. Either directly or through a loved one’s experience with the disease. Lantern Pharma is trying to rethink the way to treat cancer, by personalizing medicine programs for cancer patients. They are pioneering precision drug treatment by using biomarker based genetic screenings to show doctors what treatments patients are most likely to respond to. This technology can be critical to treating particularly drug resistant forms of the disease. To learn more visit their website: www.lanternpharma.com

kubos_logoKubos

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The 21st century space race is not going to be lead by NASA, but by entrepreneurs and private companies. Based in Denton, Kubos is designing open source software to accelerate the new space race. As more companies enter the “space” space, Kubos can cut development time by equipping companies with a software platform for nano-satellites so companies don’t have to develop in-house software for each new venture, standardizing the industry and reducing R&D costs. You can check them out at www.kubos.co or contact them at marshall@kubos.co

ExosAST_logo_black EXOS AEROSPACE

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Commercial space flight may not be the final frontier, but it is certainly the next one. With our second space services company on the list, Exos, we can begin to see just how quickly this important industry is expanding. Exos also offers commercial space solutions to companies that need to expedite the development process of a space project. Rather than spend millions of dollars to get a chance at getting your experiment on the international space station, Exos will send up your project in one of their rockets and be able to send back results in real time. To learn more visit www.exosaero.com

Brainspace logo_clearBrainspace

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Search engines have been always built on the concept of keywords. Search snakes, and you’ll find anything and everything pertaining to snakes. YouTube videos of snake bites, academic articles on new snake species, symbolism of snakes in history, all can be results. While those ideas may share a keyword, they don’t really share any similar concepts. Brainspace is re-thinking search by providing results based on knowledge concepts. This new seach approach will help the user discover new and related content. This platform doesn’t just apply to Internet search, but can be used for enterprise applications too. Learn more at www.brainspace.com

nexiden logoNexiden

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Cyber security is an increasing concern. Specifically, usernames and passwords are not only a security weakness, they are hated by end users because they are hard to remember and keep up with. Nexiden is bringing a suite of multifactor authentication and authorization solutions to market that are more secure than competing solutions while being easy to use and implement. With Nexiden’s patent-pending technology the world can completely get rid of user-names and passwords while at the same time increase online security and privacy. Learn more at www.nexiden.com.

Previous NTX Startup Reports

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Cinco de Mayo & the Roots of the Margarita

This afternoon, the offices around North Texas will clear out early and the patios of restaurants and bars will begin filling with the annual celebration of Cinco de Mayo. But before you go out and toast to North Texas’ deep Mexican heritage, let’s learn more about the holiday and our region’s tie to its signature drink: the frozen margarita.

Cinco de Mayo (that’s May 5th for you gringos) commemorates Mexico’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. While the holiday is not celebrated as Mexican Independence Day (September 16) it is a day honoring Mexican culture and pride across Mexico, the United States and even overseas.

In Winsor, Ontario, the Canadian city holds a Cinco de Mayo Street Festival with Mexican music, food and drinks. A sky-diving club near Vancouver, British Columbia holds a Cinco de Mayo skydiving event. The Cayman Islands holds an annual Cinco de Mayo air guitar competition. Celebrations are also held in Brisbane, Australia; London, England; Paris; France (and probably Paris, Texas, too); and across New Zealand. And, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Tokyo, Japan as a celebration of all the Americas along with the Mexican culture.

But what about the official drink, the margarita?

Although the adult beverage has become the iconic drink for all things Mexico, the roots of the Margarita are tied its neighbor to the North, Texas. And, there’s as much debate as to who invented the margarita as there is to the debate of frozen versus on the rocks. According to the Smithsonian, there are a few contenders to who made the first mix. One story is that Carlos “Danny” Herrera developed the drink at his Tijuana-area restaurant. Another contender – and one with a local tie – is Margarita Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite who claimed she whipped up the drink for friends at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948.

And while the cocktail’s origin is a bit tipsy, the machine that added a question to the lips of bartenders around the world was invented in 1971 right here in Dallas. The frozen margarita machine, invented by Dallas restauranteur Mariano Martinez, was acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 2005.

We’ll drink to that!

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SOURCE: ABC News

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SOURCE: The Smithsonian Institute

North Texas Tees Off for Golf Season

Grab your sunglasses and country club best, because it’s golf tournament season in North Texas. With more than 200 public and private golf courses, our region’s love for golf is Hole-in-1 status. And, the international golfing community has noticed. The Professional Golfers Association, the Ladies’ Professional Golfers Association and other major players have all staked their claim in North Texas with various tournaments including a U.S. Open and two PGA Championships.

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Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout

April 30 – May 3 at Las Colinas Country Club
As a part of the LPGA Tour

The LPGA’s top four player in the world have traveled to the Lone Star State to shoot it out on the green. Stacy Lewis (U.S.A.), Hyo Joo Kim (South Korea), Lydia Ko (Australia) and Inbee Park (South Korea) along with 133 other golfers took to the course yesterday teed off this morning for the second round. Last year, Lewis’s 6-stroke victory over Meena Lee was her ninth win on the LPGA Tour. She also shattered Park’s winning record from 2013.

The course at Las Colinas Country Club was designed by Joe Finger in 1963. The 2013 tournament was the first time the LPGA Tour has played in the North Texas region in over 20 years. For more details on this weekend’s event, CLICK HERE.

 

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Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

May 21 – 24 at the Colonial Country Club
As part of the PGA Tour

The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is one of only five tournaments given “invitational” status by the PGA Tour, and consequently it has a reduced field of approximately 125 players as opposed to most full-field open tournaments with a field of 156 players. Beginning in 1946 as the Colonial National Invitation, the tournament keeps tradition by bestowing the annual winner with an official Scottish tartan plaid jacket. Australia’s Adam Scott ended up taking the win last year over America’s Jason Dufner is a very close game.

For 69 years, this tournament has been held at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. The current course was designed by Jerry Pate, former U.S. Open Champion and renowned golf course architect. For more details on the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, CLICK HERE.

 

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AT&T Byron Nelson Championship

May 28 – 31 at the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas
As a part of the PGA Tour

Now the ninth longest-running active tournament on the PGA schedule, The AT&T Byron Nelson has become the Kentucky Derby of North Texas. This highly anticipated and competitive tournament has roots that trace back all the way to 1944. Originally the Dallas Open then the Dallas Invitational, it officially became the Byron Nelson Golf Classic in 1968. Last year’s winner, Brendon Todd took home the trophy at 14 under par. However, the record is still held by Sam Snead who hit a startling 20 under par in 1957.

The Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas became home to the golf classic in 1983. The global telecommunications powerhouse, AT&T took over as the presenting sponsor for the first time this year, a title previously held by Hewlett-Packard (HP). For details on the AT&T Byron Nelson, CLICK HERE.

 

NTX Startup Report – Healthcare

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Accounting for 15 percent of the North Texas economy, healthcare plays a significant regional role. It only makes sense that some of the most exciting healthcare startups are popping up in North Texas. The region boasts amazing resources for health startups. Health Wildcatters is an accelerator dedicated to early-stage health companies, and Zs Pharma, the first Biotech IPO in the region in the decade, is a product of the Tech FW program.

North Texas has a robust and exciting entrepreneurial landscape and here at the North Texas Commission we’d like to bring this to you. Each company showcased here represents a new approach or way of thinking. If you would like any additional information please contact Taylor Schrang at taylor@ntc-dfw.org.

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mvt-icon-darkMy Vision Track

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Losing one’s vision is a frightening thought. While regular eye exams are important to eye health, a once yearly appointment can sometimes be too infrequent. My Vision Track is the first FDA cleared ophthalmic app for home vision monitoring. Patients who have progressive vision loss or have a family history of the condition can monitor their vision on a regular basis from home and have results reported back to their doctor. This advancement allows doctors to pay much closer attention to the progression of a patients condition. A Richardson-based company, you can learn more at www.myvisiontrack.com.

safenight logo clear SafeNight

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It’s sad but one of the major health risks women face is domestic violence. Women go to shelters for a safe option in a crisis, however these organizations can fill up and have to turn women away. Now you can help make sure every woman has a place to stay when she needs it with the Safe Night app. When a shelter can’t accommodate a woman, you’ll receive a notice, and an option to pay for a hotel stay that night for that woman. This social enterprise is utilizing technology to make sure that all people in crisis have a place to stay. Learn more at www.safenightapp.org.

 

Encore vision logo clearEncore Vision

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As part of the natural aging process nearly everyone begins to lose their ability to see up close. It is common to see people holding books or menus at arm’s length, or reaching for a pair of reading glasses. Encore Vision has now developed an alternative to reading glasses in the treatment of presbyopia or “aging eyes.” An eye drop that you give yourself treats this mild vision impairment and is the first real alternative to reading glasses. Encore Vision just filed an initial new drug application with the FDA and hopes to start testing this summer. If you’d like more information please contact IR@ encorevisioninc.com or visit www.encorevisioninc.com..

cariloop logoCariloop

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Every day, thousands of people have to face that their aging loved one’s needs are changing. Suddenly they face questions surrounding senior care never previously thought about. The process of deciding the best option can take months to figure out. Cariloop’s program allows people to plan for and manage their older loved ones’ healthcare needs from start to finish. Cariloop offers concierge services and management tools that can help families save time and money. For more information see www.cariloop.com.

inrfood logo blackINRFood

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These days nearly everyone has their own special dietary guidelines or restrictions. Whether a person has celiac disease, food allergy or religious restrictions, it seems there is even more reasons to be reading ingredient lists to figure out exactly what is being eaten. INRFood is a mobile app boasting the largest database of food ingredients. Users can simply scan packaged foods to be alerted to ingredients to avoid based on the user’s profile. Helping users avoid potential allergic reactions, or breaking their diet. INRFood has gained real traction and recently raised $250,000 in capital. To learn more visit www.inrfood.com.

Verizon Wireless Still Strong in North Texas

By now, you have likely heard that Verizon Wireless’ parent company Verizon Communications has agreed to sell its landline, FiOS TV and FiOS Internet operations in California, Florida and Texas.

In fact, Verizon Wireless is celebrating its 15th anniversary this very month and remains an active member of the North Texas community.

North Texas Startup Report

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Welcome to the first North Texas Commission Monthly Startup Report. This report is aimed at being an easy way for you to learn about and connect with emerging companies in North Texas. Each generation produces a new class of entrepreneurs and future leaders of our industries, communities and region. Crucial to developing the much coveted Unicorns of the startup world is making sure there is a healthy ecosystem for forward thinking ideas to thrive. So we must continually connect with these new innovators in order to learn trends, new ideas and create new opportunities for our region and our businesses.

North Texas has a robust and exciting entrepreneurial landscape and here at the North Texas Commission we’d like to bring this to you. Each month this report will give a brief overview of organizations we think you should know about. Each young organization will represent a new way of thinking or bring you a new solution.

If you would like any additional information please contact Taylor Schrang at taylor@ntc-dfw.org.

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COMPANY PROFILES:

CALAMITY GYM

 Calamity Gym LogoCalamity Gym

Improve your strength and your Karma. We all know that working out is good for us. Now it can be good for others. Calamity Gym is an exercise app that donates 25 percent of all profits to charity. They partner with over 50 charities so your workouts can go to the causes you love. This month’s featured charity is Children’s Health.

Calamity Gym also offers corporate services to help companies better serve employees and the community. Recruit Talent, keep your workforce healthy, while also supporting a worthy cause.

www.calamitygym.com

 

FOREMOST

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From the creators of the magazine-catalog hybrid, NEED, Foremost delivers the exclusivity, narrative and quality of the world’s luxury brands at unprecedented prices and with exceptional focus upon our process. Each month, Foremost releases a limited-edition collection of clothing — three-to-five items per gender — alongside an interview series with some of the world’s most prominent, interesting and creative personalities.

www.foremostedition.com

 

KINSKII

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Families separated by distance need a better way to create meaningful memories when they interact online. Kinskii utilizes ‘gamified’ video chat experiences which enable young ones to stay engaged by playing games with their relatives embedded in the video chat experience. This will allow parents and family members to actually play with children even if they can’t be with them, such as military families that can now have activities to share. This company is in pre-launch, but you can sign up for more information on their website.

www.kinskii.com

 

VIRTUAL VISIT

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Virtual Visit helps nursing home providers communicate better and more securely with the families of their residents and provides a HIPPA compliant way for families to stay connected with their loved ones in full-time care facilities. Families can get regular updates from providers and coordinate family visits in a way that saves time and improves care. Facilities can provide care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values and ensures that patient values guide all care decisions. Contact and communication are central to meeting the resident’s social and emotional needs.

www.virtualvisitsolutions.com

 

DRAW ATTENTION

Draw Attention

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With a world revolving around tech, often people catch themselves without pen and paper. Maybe a date needs to be written down, a discussion leads a brainstorm or someone just wants to doodle. Draw Attention has capitalized on the tech-heavy consumer market by creating white board stickers for laptops. Pop one of these stickers on a laptop lid (or anywhere, for that matter), and the space transforms into a blank canvas for any possible purpose: a billboard, a white board, a scratch pad and an invitation. It’s the perfect solution.

www.drawattention.co