"Off the Record"

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A Pair of Aces

English + Associate’s Pete Eichenlaub has been an ACE mentor for four years, and a Board Member for two of those years. The Board meets year round to ensure the program is meeting the student’s expectations, focuses on improving the program each year, and focuses on fundraisers to raise money for student scholarships. 

At each of the bi-weekly meetings, student teams work directly with professionals from leading area firms who volunteer their time to mentor the teams as they design hypothetical projects, tour local construction sites, and visit architectural, engineering, and construction offices. The Houston group consists of approximately twenty students and 10 mentors. “For students, it’s a unique chance to discover and develop new skills, solidify future goals, and get on track to exciting, rewarding careers. And for me, the opportunity to meet and share my 35 plus years of experience as an architect with the students who might not normally have the opportunity to be exposed to the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering,” said Eichenlaub. 

ACE’s Houston Chapter is a group of Houston-area professionals who are interested in sharing what it means to work in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. We want to show high school students what it is we do, why we enjoy it, and to encourage those who are considering choices about their futures to follow in our footsteps, or simply continue on with higher education. For more information, visit http://www.acementor.org.

 

Camp For All

While Matthew Duggan was in college, his fraternity was involved in a Spring Break Service Project called Camp For All.  After learning about the camp during spring break, he spent two summers working there, and has been connected to the camp ever since. “It is the primary reason I ever visited Texas in the first place,” said Matthew. “I would not have moved to Texas if I had never volunteered at Camp For All.” 

There are two weekend camps a year in which Matthew is a counselor in the cabins with the campers: Camp Cliff for families that have been affected by cancer, and Camp Du Balloon Rouge, a camp for children with Tourette Syndrome. Along with being a camp counselor, Matthew has volunteered at the camp, and has even been on the Young Professionals Board. This year, he may even participate in the annual Camp For All Hilltop Bike Ride on Saturday, March 31, 2012. 

Camp for all is a camp for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.  Throughout the year, Camp For All hosts more than 56 groups from the greater Houston area, Washington County, Bryan/College Station, Austin, and some camps draw nationally.  Campers include people with special needs, including those with cancer, HIV, burns, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, kidney disease, developmental disabilities, Phenylketonuria, neurofibromatosis, visual challenges, brain injuries, gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, tourette syndrome, autism and others.

 

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VOX Culture

Since 2008, Vox Culture is an Arts and Advocacy Network that combines the voices of creativity and cause to fight against poverty and injustice. English + Associate’s Christine Chen’s interest with Vox Culture sparked when she learned that they were passionate about connecting artists and the public to advocate for a meaningful cause.  A deeper involvement with the organization was initiated when there was a call for volunteers to help plan and put together the events.  Christine joined the Core Team, and with her background and interests, she naturally started assisting in creating layouts for each art show, as well as directing the setup and teardown processes.  As the organization grew, the events evolved from art shows and markets to events that engaged the public through printed information, graphic art, spoken word, dance, and music. “I love meeting all the creative talent we get to work with, walking alongside people who are passionate about making a change in this world, and knowing that it is all in an effort to help others,” said Christine.

VOX Culture has worked with nearly 50 different artists, musicians, local eateries, and coffee houses to create a unique cultural experience. At a Vox Culture event you’ll find a blend of different people coming together to enjoy food, music, and art while learning how to help others. Additionally, they have also partnered with anti-human trafficking groups to bring greater awareness to a hidden problem. 

 

The Decatur Gators

English + Associates has participated for the past five years in an A/E Co-Ed Basketball league that was created with the objective of promoting healthy and friendly competition. We have found that this particular league has been great to expand our professional network, and further strengthen the relationships between our professional peers in the Houston A/E community.  “Our Team name is The Decatur Gators, and our office has been gracious enough to supply us with the best looking jerseys in the league, in my humble opinion, which allows the Gators to represent our firm’s professional attitude and atmosphere,” says E+A’s Dennis Hopkins and regular player.

For the past several years the league has been held at the Quillian Recreation Ministry of First Methodist Houston located at 3663 West Center Drive, Houston, TX. Some of the local firms that have participated have been Kirksey, DBR, IA Naman + Associates, Apollo BBC, and Burns & McDonnell. It promotes a great way to get a little exercise, promote team spirit, and have tons of fun with our coworkers, peers, family, and friends. We are looking forward to a successful year and getting a few wins under our belt!