Amarillo area business news and developments for Feb. 5, 2023
Tyson Foods announces new team member benefits to support overall health, wellness
SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Tyson Foods announced this week new changes and investments aimed at further intensifying U.S. team members relationships and enhancing workplace culture. According to a news release, specifically, they are making changes to U.S. based policies and practices related to healthcare and overall wellness.
The company’s new policies and investments are in addition to recent compensation benefits. Tyson recently announced it invested more than $50 million in thank you bonuses and $100 million in wage increases for U.S. hourly workers over the past year.
"Tyson Foods has invested more than $20 million this year to offer longer parental leave, additional mental health support and other wellness and health plan benefits to further enhance Team Member wellbeing as part of the company’s caring and inclusive culture," the release states. "The company increased its parental leave program to include eight weeks paid leave for mothers and two weeks paid leave for U.S. team members whose spouse or partner gave birth to provide bonding time with their new family member. We also continue to offer four weeks of paid parental leave for adoptive parents."
This spring, Tyson team members will also have access to a personalized wellbeing portal to help manage their health and wellbeing. To learn more about all the benefits Tyson Foods offers its team members, visit the Tyson Benefits page.
Whalin named to senior leadership at communications and PR firm
Crosswind Media and Public Relations, a leading communications firm based in Austin, has announced the hiring of Randall Whalin to serve in senior leadership as Vice President of Creative Services. Whalin, of Amarillo, will provide oversight to the company’s overall creative direction in serving the agency’s clients.
Whalin previously served as a Concierge Marketing Consultant for Gray TV, an Atlanta-based media company. During his time with Gray, he provided extensive marketing and creative consultation to clients across multiple industry segments. A Texas native, Whalin has served as Chief Marketing Officer in collaboration and service to iconic national brands such as Walmart, Mack/Volvo Trucks, National Football League, and Major League Baseball.
“We’re excited to welcome Randall to our team,” said Crosswind CEO Thomas Graham. “His creativity and experience will bring additional value to our clients and help us find new and innovative ways to tell their stories and build their brands.”
Texas Utility Help available to cover Xcel Energy bills
Xcel Energy works with community groups to secure funding for customers who need assistance paying electricity bills and is now working with a Texas state agency to provide an additional resource through Texas Utility Help.
“Inflation has really hit some of our customers hard, and we know they have struggled to find enough money to cover their expenses, including energy bills,” said Adrian J. Rodriguez, president, Xcel Energy - Texas in a news release. “Texas Utility Help has come along at just the right time, and our customer agents are ready to help our Texas customers access these funds to give them a fresh start.”
Texas Utility Help is a program of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and is funded through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance, or LIHEAP, and the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, also known as LIHWAP. The program provides eligible customers with financial payments made directly to Xcel Energy on the customer’s behalf. Assistance may be paid up to the total past due amounts owed and up to $2,400 for future payments, depending on household income. More information is available at the Texas Utility Help website or by contacting an Xcel Energy Personal Accounts representative at 1-800 331 5262.
Personal Accounts representatives also work with nonprofits and charities in local communities to help Texas customers in need. In 2022, 8,170 Xcel Energy’s Texas customers received $8.8 million in billing assistance.
For customers who don’t require financial assistance but need extra time to pay, Xcel Energy continues to offer payment arrangements on a case-by-case basis. For more, call 1-800-895-4999 Monday through Friday or visit the customer support page at xcelenergy.com to learn about options and programs to help manage bills.
Award-winning Amarillo KOA Campground under new ownership
Kampgrounds of America is pleased to welcome Tony Pierce, new owner of the Amarillo KOA Journey, to the KOA family of campgrounds. The award-winning Amarillo KOA Journey, located just off Historic Route 66, has Western metal art displayed within the campground.
Pierce purchased the campground from his father after selling a car dealership he owned.
“My dad bought it as an investment about five years ago. When I sold my car dealership I told him I would buy his campground,” Pierce says. “My dad did a lot of infrastructure upgrades like adding a bunch of 50-amp sites and remodeling the main building and camp store. We have a plan to build on that. We’ve bought three new golf carts and we’re going to take some boiler rooms in the camp building, remodel them and make a business center with high-speed internet access. We’re also putting in a large outdoor patio with cover and propane gas fire pit. We’re adding amenities.”
KOA Journey campgrounds are located near the highways and byways of North America and offer long Pull-thru RV Sites, after-hours check-in service and a line of RV supplies. Located at 1100 Folsom Road in Amarillo, the Amarillo KOA Journey received the President’s Award for meeting exceptional quality standards and are recognized by their guests for outstanding service. For more information, please visit www.koa.com or call 806-335-1792. Reservations are available by going online, using the KOA App, or by calling 800-562-3431.
AgriLife Extension hires 18 new county agents across the state
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service announced the hiring of new county agents across the state, as well as transfers within the agency. AgriLife Extension employs county agents, divided by districts, to serve every Texas county. They are instrumental in providing hands-on education and programming based on scientific research. A complete list of county agents can be found at https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/counties/.
Following are the some of the local individuals hired and the county agent positions they will fill:
District 1, headquartered in Amarillo: Stephanie Palmer, Better Living for Texans agent, Randall County. Palmer, of Amarillo, earned her bachelor’s in human development and family studies at Texas Tech University. She spent the past two years as the program assistant with the AgriLife Extension office in Randall County. Palmer said she is passionate about providing nutrition education programs, tools and resources to residents of a wide range of ages and backgrounds. “My hope is that through AgriLife Extension, I can help empower individuals, families and the community to incorporate daily practices for a better life,” she said.
Hannah Sell, family and community health assistant agent, Hemphill County. Sell, of Booker, earned her bachelor’s in agricultural education at West Texas A&M University. She spent the past summer completing an internship with the AgriLife Extension office in Hemphill County. Sell is passionate about helping families in Hemphill County. She said she looks forward to serving the community and helping to improve the lives of Texans.
District 2, headquartered in Lubbock: Kathy Lostroh, family and community health, Lamb County. Lostroh, of Lamesa, earned her bachelor’s in family and consumer sciences education at Texas Tech University. She spent 14 years as the family and consumer sciences, FCS, teacher at Springlake-Earth High School, then four years with Kress High School, followed by the last three-and-a-half years at Lazbuddie. Lostroh also serves as the executive director for Youth SUMMIT, a drug, alcohol and violence prevention student program. She grew up involved in 4-H in Dawson County and was a Gold Star and an I Dare You Award recipient.
Xane Reiter, family and community health, Garza County. Reiter, of Post, earned her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies in early childhood education at Lubbock Christian University. For the past 12 years, she has been an elementary teacher, the majority as a fifth-grade teacher at Post Independent School District. This past fall, she was the Election Administrator for Garza County. Reiter grew up in the 4-H system showing goats and participating in food and nutrition and apparel projects.
AAF-Amarillo to celebrate advertising creatives with awards gala
The Amarillo chapter of the American Advertising Federation will be awarding students and professionals in the area for creative work submitted earlier this month with a coveted ADDYS award.
The American Advertising Awards is the advertising industry's largest and most representative competition, attracting more than 25,000 entries every year in local AAF Ad Club competitions. The mission of the American Advertising Awards is to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising. ADDYs are awarded to both professionals and students and will be announced at the American Advertising Awards Gala at 6 p.m. on Feb. 24 at Reed Beverage.
Tickets to the gala, which include dinner, an open bar, professional photography and industry-inspired fun can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/american-advertising-awards-gala-2023-tickets-434265508827 .
Inquiries about the American Advertising Awards and the Amarillo ADDYS Gala should be directed to AAF-Amarillo American Advertising Awards Chair Jody Reynolds at 806-433-6054 or email@example.com.
AAF-Amarillo is the Amarillo chapter of the American Advertising Federation, a national network of affiliated advertising clubs. AAF-Amarillo is a diverse group of local advertising professionals that meet bi-monthly to network and share industry-specific educational programs. Learn more at aafamarillo.org.
City of Canyon welcomes new Economic Development Director
CANYON – The City of Canyon and the Canyon Economic Development Corp. (CEDC) are excited to announce the hiring of Stephanie Tucker as the new Executive Director of the CEDC.
Tucker, originally from Groom, received her dual bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from Texas Tech University. She and her husband have owned and operated the Amarillo Venom since 2011 and have created multiple football leagues and the US Arena Professional Soccer League. Most recently, she was General Manager and Vice President of Marketing at IVRS Wellness Center.
“We are thrilled to bring Stephanie on as the new CEDC Director,” said Joe Price, City of Canyon City Manager. “Her passion for business development and this community will continue to make Canyon a city where businesses thrive. She brings invaluable experience from her time being a business owner and the key relationships that she has forged over the years.”
Stephanie has served on the WTAMU College of Nursing and Health Sciences Advisory Board for five years and the United Way of Amarillo and Canyon board for two years. She was also named the “Texas Woman to Watch” by the Texas Business Women in 2013 and “Business Woman of the Year” by the Childress Chamber of Commerce in 2008. She and her husband, Toby, moved to Canyon five years ago after he was named the Athletic Director for Canyon ISD. They have three kids that are all Canyon Eagles.
“There is no better place to raise a family, live and work, than Canyon, Texas,” said Tucker. “I cannot wait to share my love for this awesome community and help businesses prosper.”
A reception to welcome Stephanie will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Canyon Area Library (1501 3rd Ave., Canyon) 5-6:30 p.m. Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend.
‘Tribute to Texas Leadership’: Graham, Hlavinka received distinguished agriculture leadership awards
Charles W. “Doc” Graham ’53, DVM, and Terry Hlavinka ‘85, were honored on Jan. 18 at the Austin Club in Austin with the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Achievement, TALL, and Distinguished TALL Alumni agricultural leadership awards, respectively presented by the Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr. Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Hlavinka received the TALL Distinguished Alumnus Award, presented by Eric Turpen, TALL alumni president and mayor of Littlefield. Graham received the TALL Achievement Award presented by Marcus Hill, chairman of the TALL advisory board and chairman and president of Ag Workers Insurance.
Graham is one of the world’s top equine veterinarians. The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory and veterinary school facilities in the Texas Panhandle bear his name. In addition to his renowned reputation in equine medicine, Graham is a leader in Texas’ horse and cattle industries and a tireless volunteer, advocate and youth mentor. He is the only individual to serve as president for both the Texas Quarter Horse Association and the Texas Thoroughbred Association. He is also the only person to be selected as Horseman of the Year by both associations. He is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame, the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Graham earned his bachelor’s degrees in animal husbandry in 1953 and animal science in 1954 and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1961, all from Texas A&M.
Hlavinka, a TALL alumnus, is president and general manager at Hlavinka Equipment Co. He is a former yell leader at Texas A&M and is part of a family line of former students. His brother, Kenneth ’90, is a former Aggie Bonfire Redpot, and their father, Joe ’56, is a former commanding officer in the Corps of Cadets.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar encourages Texans in Panhandle to monitor new endangered species listing
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today alerted stakeholders of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) decision to delay implementation of a final rule listing the lesser prairie-chicken as an endangered species. The endangered species listing will impact private landowners and industry stakeholders, including those in energy and agriculture, in the Texas Panhandle.
Earlier this month, FWS issued a final rule listing the northern and southern populations of the lesser prairie-chicken as endangered and provided a tailored rule for the northern population. In this notice, FWS pushed the effective date of the rule from Jan. 24, 2023, to March 27, 2023.
“I encourage private landowners and industry stakeholders to contact the TPWD’s Panhandle Division to inquire about enrolling in the CCAA and complying with FWS’ new rule,” Hegar said.
Texas entered into a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) in 2006 to assist private landowners and industry stakeholders in managing lesser prairie-chicken habitat. As part of the CCAA, the federal government assured participants that it would refrain from imposing additional regulatory burdens if the species was listed as endangered. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) continues to administer the CCAA and will enroll participants until the effective date of the rule.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Amarillo area business news and developments for Feb. 5, 2023