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Inspiring Stories from Outside the 610

The heart of our mission at VoyageHouston is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Houston’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out rising stars from outside the 610 below.

Victoria Hawes

Having grown up in the home building industry (my father was president of Partners in Building for 18 years), I have been around home building my entire life. I grew up in Spring and graduated early from Klein High School at age 16 and started college at the University of Texas at Austin. After changing majors twice in two years, I put the pause button on my education and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. After a year highlighted by serving as Britney Spears’s body-double in two music videos, I decided to come back to the greatest state and started working full-time at Partners. Read more>>

Octavio Orozco

VRTC got its start 11 years ago in 2006, inspired by the vision to start a Hispanic Advertising Agency. Originally VRTC was founded as an expansion of our parent company Grupo Vertice in Mexico in Los Angeles, California however as our business grew we found the need to expand and settled here in Houston, Texas. We’ve evolved over time from being a Hispanic Advertising Agency to a Multicultural Advertising Agency that helps to shape the ideas and reduce risks in the market for brands and businesses not only here in Houston but in other states as well and across the country. Read more>>

Oskar and Jennifer Torres

OAI Art Framing, Installation and Gallery started in 2009 as a residential and commercial art installation company. In 2010 after the sudden passing of a close friend and colleague we unexpectedly inherited his small home-based art framing operation. In 2015, we incorporated our business and expanded our shop to include a quaint Art Gallery showcasing some local artists as well as designer giclée art. In January of 2016 the Houston Chronicle showcased us in the Star Home section of the Chronicle. We are truly blessed by the amount of growth we have experienced in this short amount of time and are looking very forward to seeing what the future holds for us. Read more>>

Asher Kazmann

We began operations in January 2013 with a handful of people and an empty warehouse. Most of our initial team had been working together for years with a previous company in the same industry. Our story is probably similar to many start up businesses in that we were not satisfied with the way large corporations do business and we felt as if we could create a better business with old school customer service, utilizing cutting concrete technology, and taking care of our employees the right way. Read more>>

Christina Steele

My journey with autism started about 15 years ago when one of my cousins was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was only 12 at this time and never really knew much about autism. What I observed from my cousin was a lack of words and these unusual movements. As I became older I learned that these unusual, receptive movements were self-stimulatory behavior. This behavior was no longer unusual because I finally understood what it was. I remember my cousin coming to my parents’ house and myself trying to interact with him. Read more>>

Jo Ann Bigcas

I learned to play piano when I was six years old and never stopped learning until my graduation from college where I got my music degree. One day I stopped by a music store owned by Linda Paredes to buy piano books. She asked me if I taught piano. I said yes. She asked me to play a piece which I did. Then she gave me some sheet music to sight read. Little did I know I was auditioning for a job. After that, she offered me a job. I worked there for 7 years, quit for 9 years to raise my family then came back in 2014. In March 2017, I was able to buy this 20-year-old business. I’m glad to do something that I love. Read more>>

Will Wright

Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day. Read more>>

Kretonia Morgan

The vision behind the WMLBA came about in 2015. I’ve worked in Minor League basketball for five years all with men’s leagues. I understand the uniqueness of the minor league platform and wanted the women to have an opportunity to showcase their talent in a way that men have historically. Domestically here aren’t as many opportunities for women in professional basketball as there are for men. There have been lots of challenges as you can imagine with anything new. The main obstacle is showing and proving we are here to stay. We aren’t a fly by night business. Getting hat necessary support in some markets has also be a challenge. Read more>>

Kevin Hong

Did you ever ask yourself “What do I want to do when I grow up?” As a kid, I always wanted to be a pilot and fly fighters for the Air Force. I went to airshows with my dad and dreamed of flying in the sky shooting photos of anything that flew by me. After failing to get into the Air Force Academy and vision problems I decided to go to college and get a graphic design degree from the University of Houston. After working for various ad agencies for a few years I ended up working for a company in North Houston. Read more>>

Joseph Lombardi

I served in the U.S. Navy for 6 years of active service. Following discharge, I went to work on tugboats in Boston, schooners in Maine and tankers out of Boston and New York. I established my company in 1984 and have been a marine surveyor ever since. I moved my company to Texas 5 years ago and am a Texas resident. I love the people, food and music that flourishes in this part of the world. Fantastic! I have been the marine surveyor for battleship U.S.S. TEXAS for the Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) for the past 7 years and have organized and specified the prioritization of the repairs to that icon. A very challenging and rewarding experience. Read more>>

Bryan Ericson

We were started as an oilfield fluids company by brothers Phillip and Allen Bryson in late 2006. In 2009, we added our first crane. In 2013, we opened our Houston location and increased our capabilities by adding a 550 ton capacity to our fleet. By 2014, we had 78 cranes ranging in capacity from 50 tons to 550 tons and five locations across Texas and Oklahoma. Today we have approximately 200 employees and just took delivery of our 81st crane, a Grove GMK5150L 175 ton capacity crane. Read more>>

Emily Horn, Wendy McAnally, and Becky Evans

New Horizons is a new non-profit preschool for children with special needs, founded by sisters Emily Horn and Wendy McAnally, and their mother Becky Evans. We accept all children ages 2-7, regardless of ability. When we started on this journey our hope was to combine all of our unique experiences working with students with special needs into a program that allowed for maximum growth of our students. We took the best of what we learned and combined it into a program that is focused and allows for maximum intervention during the crucial time in a child’s development. Read more>>

Richard Andrews

I was born in New England but when I was 1 year old my family moved to southern Spain, where I grew up. When I graduated college with a geography major, I had no idea I would go into medicine. I knew I wanted to work with people and with science, so that is what drew me in. I studied medicine in Connecticut and then family medicine at Georgetown University in the nation’s capital. I then worked in rural Virginia for about 20 years before deciding to heat things up a bit by coming to Houston. I did additional training in preventive medicine and in obesity medicine. Read more>>

Michael Viator

We had a history of operating rubber molding companies that were efficient, successful, and ultimately ripe for acquisition by larger conglomerates. After growing two other companies to a certain size and then divesting them, we decided to take a new tack and get into a more advanced technology, which was laser cutting metal. We bought a new 5,000 watt laser in 2013 and have focused on several key industries (oil & gas, petrochemical, telecommunications, and transportation) and were able to successfully forge a successful enterprise. Read more>>

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