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Chapter focus: Houston.

Area Covered: Greater Houston-Galveston metropolitan areas

Year Founded: 1942

Members: Approximately 300, including retired members.

Companies: Continental Airlines, BMC Software Inc., Pappas Restaurants, Cooper Industries Inc., El Paso Corp., Global Marine Inc., Reliant Energy, Halliburton Co., Quanex Corp., Waste Management Inc., Administaff Inc., Sysco Corp., Landry's Restaurants Inc., Baker Hughes Inc., ExxonMobil.

Annual Dues: $250--includes eight monthly dinner meetings, annual spring golf outing, dinner-dance and eight Professional Development sessions, plus a $25 voluntary Scholarship Fund contribution.

Meeting Schedule: Third Tuesday of each month, September through May, beginning with a Professional Development Seminar from 4:30pm to 5:30pm (offering CPE credit), followed by a cocktail hour and a dinner speaker. Meetings are held at the River Oaks Country Club, located midway between the downtown and Galleria areas. Approximately 100 people attend the meetings, with 45-70 attending the Professional Development Seminar. Thought-provoking subjects focus on current topics, such as stock options, document retention and destruction policies and FASB updates.

Special Events: Gala black-tie dinner-dance around Valentine's Day, and a spring golf outing held at one of the Houston area's many championship golf courses.

Sponsorships: Each monthly dinner meeting focuses attention on a maximum of only two sponsors. "We try to target our monthly meetings with a quality forum and not have a meeting overrun with more suppliers than members," says Mark Fehrs Haukohl, Houston Chapter President, who provided information for this feature.

Unique Qualities: Sponsors. Working with an annual budget of approximately $124,000, the Houston Chapter is described by its president as a dynamic group, whose "claim to fame" is its new proactive sponsorship program, now in its second year. The Chapter raises over $60,000 per year from its sponsors by offering two levels of sponsorship:

Platinum. For a $5,000 annual fee, sponsors can provide a one-hour Professional Development Seminar that focuses on a top-caliber speaker or key topic. The sponsor attends the event it hosts; and all sponsors are invited to the Chapter's two social events. In addition, these sponsors receive a full-page ad in the Membership Directory and Chapter Newsletter recognition for the sponsoring month, as well as exclusive recognition at the sponsored event.

The Chapter's Platinum sponsors include: KPMG LLP; Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP; Deloitte & Touche LLP; Mann, Frankfort, Stein & Lipp; BDO Seiman; Sam Houston Race Park; Hein + Associates LLC; Marsh USA Inc.; Fulbright & Jaworski; Grant Thornton; ExxonMobil; and Bowne of Houston, L.P., prints the annual Membership Directory.

Gold. For a $3,500 annual fee, the legal community gains opportunities to sponsor relaxed cocktail hours. These sponsors receive a full-page ad in the Membership Directory, with Chapter Newsletter recognition for the sponsoring month, complimentary attendance at the event it sponsors and a complimentary invitation to one of the two annual social events. Current sponsors include: Nathan, Sommers, Lippman, Jacobs + Gorman LLP; Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP; Haynes and Boone LLP; The Alexander Group; and ChemConnect.

Advertising: Full pages in the Membership Directory cost $2,500 per page, and advertisers can select to attend either one of the annual social events.

Scholarships: For select accounting or finance students from 12 local colleges and universities, the Chapter sponsors an exciting Academic Day and Evening. Students and their professors attend a dinner meeting (usually in February), and a $750 scholarship is awarded to each student in the name of one of the dinner speakers, in lieu of an honorarium. The full-day event has included such activities as a harbor tour and discussion of the economics of the Port of Houston and the Port of Houston Authority, and a tour and business case discussion at an ExxonMobil refinery. This year's day at the Sam Houston Race Park, a division of Maxxam, will address an overview of its corporate restructuring and a discussion of the overall gaming industry.

Haukohl says the Chapter has researched the pros and cons of offering one or two large scholarships versus an increased number, and concluded, "With our smaller scholarships, we are able to reach more students who would not normally apply for scholarship monies, [and who] need only a little assistance to reach their educational goals."

Immediate Goals: 1) Expand the Gold Level ($3,500) Sponsor Program. 2) Increase committee involvement and the size of each committee. 3) Launch a plan and strategy development activity for a self-funding Academic Day Endowment and Scholarship Program. 4) Build paid membership by 50 new members this year.

Other Unique Qualities: Program Committee. "Our Program Committee works very creatively to obtain speakers with unique qualities. We try not to focus on only local speakers and issues, [but rather] for example, target CEOs and members of international boards of directors who sit on the boards of the larger Fortune 500 companies in our area by extending invitations to these people when they will already be in our region. Also, international speakers have spoken about global issues -- Lord Colin Moynihan, MP, from the U.K, discussed The United Kingdom Energy Policy and Its Global Effects," says Haukohl.

For 2002/2003, speakers include/d: David M. Rubenstein, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group; Alfred R. Berkeley 3rd, Vice Chairman, the NASDAQ Stock Market Inc.; Stephen F. Cooper, Interim CEO and Chief Restructuring Officer, Enron Corp.; Dr. Robert Goodman, Senior Economic Advisor and Managing Director, Putnam Investments.

Professional Development Program. "The seminars, sponsored by the Platinum Sponsors, have sparked a great deal of corporate partnering interest in the Chapter. Many professional accounting firms and insurance organizations have shown a strong positive response to speaking in the smaller, professional and interactive environment. The sessions focus on key topics as well as the main strengths of the sponsoring firms; and sponsors like the fact that they are the main focus of the evening and are not competing with others.

By offering this focused approach to sponsorships and the Professional Development Seminar, we are attracting world-class-caliber speakers, while addressing global issues," Haukohl adds.

Committee and Team Development: Last year, as the President-Elect, Haukohl, joined by then President Jeffrey E. Curtiss of Service Corp. International, co-sponsored a pre-fiscal year FEI Board of Directors Day at the Astros to generate team spirit and cooperation between the directors, officers and committees of the Chapter's Board of Directors. Many members did not know each other from previous years, and several were one-year members eager to get involved.

The event consisted of a buffet and behind-home-plate box seats in a private box owned by, Drayton McLane (Houston Astros' owner), and it created a special sense of camaraderie among the FEI group that has carried through to the cur rent year.

President 2002/2003: Mark Fehrs Haukohl, The Vero Group, vero 713.655.0071.

VP Programs: Jerry Blurton, Vice President and Treasurer, Halliburton Co.,; 713.676.5856.

Committee Chair: John D. Thomas, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Duke Energy Merchants;; 713.989.1707.
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Title Annotation:Financial Executives International
Publication:Financial Executive
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Dec 1, 2002
Previous Article:Conference calendar.
Next Article:Taylor Hawes. (Balance Sheet).

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