Winners of the Houston West Chamber Star Awards Announced

Feb 26, 2014 | About ABIP


HOUSTON – FEBRUARY 11, 2014 – Over 650 of West Houston’s business community attended the 16th Annual Star Awards Luncheon and Economic Development Summit on Friday, February 7, 2014 at the Omni West Houston Hotel. This year there were six (6) key competition categories: retail, consumer and restaurants; financial and legal services; healthcare and hospitality; real estate and construction; business services; and education and non-profit. More than 100 west Houston businesses were nominated for the Star Awards competition. Approximately one-quarter of those were named finalists in the competition. The winners of the 2014 Star Award were:

ABIP, P.C. – Formally known as Alonzo, Bacarisse, Irvine & Palmer, the ABIP, P. C. firm opened in West Houston In 2001 and has 39 employees, up 18-percent over last year. They have three primary departments: Assurance, Financial & Accounting, and Tax. ABIP believes the firm and its people should be immersed in the communities where they work, live and play. They’ve sponsored a wide range of activities in West Houston including the Chamber’s Zest in the West and Women Driving Business series. But ABIP doesn’t just “mail in a check.” They roll up their sleeves and give hundreds of volunteer hours to ensure those projects are successful.


Carmelo’s Ristorante Italiano – Since 1981, Carmelo’s Ristorante Italiano has been a fixture on the West Houston restaurant scene. Today, he has 70 employees and has enjoyed 14% growth this year in a very competitive industry. Carmelo and Hilary Mauro are generous to the community that has backed them for more than 30 years. Carmelo serves on the Italian Chamber of Commerce, the Ambassador’s Council of Interfaith CarePartners and the Board of Regents for Pope John Paul 23 High School. This year alone, they donated gift certificates and other in-kind dining experiences worth $100,000 to schools and charitable organizations.

Houston Offshore Engineering was created when a large EPS contractor decided to divest from oil and gas and shut down a Houston business with deep water expertise. Instead of letting the employees, knowledge and know-how from this business become diluted by having individual employees join separate companies, Houston Offshore Engineering was born. That was 2005. As the company has grown, they have stayed in West Houston and, in December, they moved into a 64,000-square foot office space at I-10 and Barker Cypress. The employees of Houston Offshore Engineering participate in the holiday Toys for Tots drive as well as the Salvation Army Angel Tree, helping provide Christmas gifts to many local children and families in need.

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center – Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center has made it unnecessary for West Houston residents to travel to the Medical Center for quality medical care. They have recruited many high-quality, board-certified physicians, including specialists and subspecialists to bring new levels of medical expertise to west Houston. The hospital has also invested more than $500 million in facilities and equipment in recent years, resulting in contracts with local architecture, engineering and construction companies. The hospital is heavily invested in the west Houston community as well. They have hosted Junior Achievement events for Westchester Academy and they participated in “nurse of the day” events at Frostwood and Bunker Hill Elementary Schools. More than 100 high school students pursuing careers in health care rotate through Memorial Hermann Memorial City and more than 30 junior high students toured the hospital as part of a career enrichment program with Spring Branch ISD’s Guthrie Center. Keith Alexander, CEO accepted the Star Award on behalf of Memorial Hermann. Mr. Alexander was named this year as one of the 100 Leaders of Great Hospitals in America by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Mission of Yahweh – The Mission of Yahweh is a non-denominational Christian-based shelter, founded in 1961. Today it operates as the only emergency shelter and transitional living facility in Houston that offers a unique continuum of care for homeless women with children for up to two years. Our judges were particularly impressed with the way that Mission of Yahweh prepares its clients to transition out of the shelter and into the workforce. The Mission is located in Northwest Houston at 290 and Gessner and is staffed by 14 full-time and 16 part-time employees. An army of more than 2,500 volunteers donated an average of 269 hours weekly last year. Their outreach includes the Mission Thrift Store, daily food pantry, back-to-school backpack giveaways, free summer lunch program for neighborhood youth and Christmas toy and food giveaways.

Murray Resources, LTD – Marsha Murray and her team at Murray Resources have been successfully placing thousands of job candidates at many of Houston’s leading companies for 30 years. The company’s net income has grown 300% due to a strategic re-focus of the business to more profitable services. Murray Resources’ growth over the past three years has earned a place on the Inc. “5000 list of fast growing private companies in America.” The company established “Murray Cares” to raise funds for and lend company support to local charitable organizations chosen by Murray employees. The have assisted Mission of Yahweh, the Westchase Rotary Club and Holy Spirit Episcopal School.

Veteran Energy – Veteran Energy was launched in Houston in 2010 by energy executive and military veteran Kevin Barber. This year, the company grew from seven to ten employees, with a 73-percent revenue growth. Veteran Energy is the first 100% veteran-owned retail electric provider in the State of Texas and the first energy company devoted to providing support to veterans and their families through financial, employment and emotional assistance. Veteran Energy has hired veterans, donated more than 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to veterans and contributed more than 2,000 volunteer hours to supporting veteran charities and programs.

Texas Children’s Hospital – West Campus was selected to receive the prestigious Pillar Award. The Pillar Award is given to a business or organization that stands head and shoulders above the rest in its support of and dedication to improving West Houston. Since March of 2011, Texas Children’s Hospital has been providing inpatient services at its new beautiful facility located on I-10 at Barker Cypress. In fact, it is Houston’s first community hospital designed, built and equipped exclusively for children. Within the first three years of operations, the hospital has recorded more than one-and-a-half million patient visits and has had more than 97,000 emergency center visits – a strong indication that Texas Children’s is meeting a need for pediatric health care in the west Houston community. With 260 square miles of new residential development on tap for west Houston, our area will double in size by 2050. And Texas Children’s Hospital is prepared to grow as the community grows. The hospital currently has 48 beds, but its 55-acre campus gives it room to grow to an eventual 96 beds. Today, the facility has more than 480 employees – many of whom are community residents – along with a hospital leadership team that has built successful relationships with local vendors and businesses. Senior Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown accepted the award on behalf of Texas Children’s Hospital.

The Houston West Chamber of Commerce is located in the population center of Houston that is home to the Galleria Area, Uptown District, Westchase District, Spring Branch District, Memorial City, International District, CityCentre and the Energy Corridor District – an area of more than 8,000 businesses that employ more than 100,000 people in industries responsible for West Houston’s exponential growth such as oil and gas, manufacturing, technology, retail, medical, engineering and service firms. For more information on this event and the Houston West Chamber of Commerce, please call (713) 785-4922 or visit

# # # #