Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo: The Place to do Business

By Mark Yost
The Houston Business Journal

Halfway through the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, it’s clear that Houston’s signature event is the place to do business in March.
“It’s especially popular with our international clients,” said John Porter of Baker Botts, Houston’s fourth-largest law firm. “Last year we hosted a client’s global legal team at the Gary Allan concert. It’s a year later, and those lawyers are still talking about what an exciting, memorable experience they had at the rodeo. They had no idea who Gary Allan was, but they sure loved the event and the great country music.”
BubbaFirethorne is a 1,400-acre master-planned community located in Katy/Fulshear that has purchased season tickets to the rodeo since 2007. General Manager Wayne Meyer said he invites their top-producing Realtors, as well as marketing directors, clients and suppliers.
“It’s a great time to interact with Realtors, have a fun evening and build relationships,” said Firethorne Marketing Director Janet Burkett.
Asia Society Texas took a group of global trustees to this year’s rodeo.
“This is a high-level, international group who will be in Houston in early March for a meeting at the Texas Center,” said spokesman Chester Jacinto.
J.D. Joyce is a financial planner affiliated with Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC).
“I particularly enjoy having a night out at the rodeo where we’ll invite a few clients who may or may not know one another prior to the event,” he said. “This makes for a fun event, and it is a good way to spend quality time with people whom we already enjoy and with those we’d like to get to know better.”
Carmen Jordan is the new Houston president of Iberia Bank, which sponsored the Cork ‘n’ Fork barbecue cook-off team this year. The bank shared its hospitality tent with some of its energy clients.
“It’s an incredible cross-selling opportunity,” said Jordan, a Nederland native who had to network within the bank to get cook-off tickets. “And in terms of the Houston business community, you really gotta be there.”
“It’s a more relaxed atmosphere,” said John Grayson of law firm Cokinos, Bosien & Young, which has a suite at the rodeo. “You can talk business if you want, or not. But mostly, it lets you get to know your clients in a more social atmosphere.”
Todd Riddle, another Cokinos attorney, is also a volunteer who has met dozens of clients through the rodeo.
“People will ask, ‘How do you know so-and-so?’ and the answer is ‘rodeo.'”
Among the bold-faced business names that are rodeo volunteers: Tax Managing Director Gregg Steffen of UHY Advisors, Houston’s fifth largest public accounting firm, is one of the vice chairmen who oversees about 460 volunteers on the parade committee; Mark Kelly, chairman of Vincent and Elkins, Houston’s largest law firm, is a rodeo director, while V&E Partner Harry Perrin is a lifetime vice president.

About Mark Yost
Mark Yost is the author of the Rick Crane Noir series, published by Stay Thirsty Press. Rick Crane is the classic, anti-hero private eye in the spirit of Sam Spade and Jim Rockford. He works in the unmistakably noirish underworld of Upstate New York, running errands and fixing problems for Jimmy Ricchiati Sr., one of Upstate New York's most notorious crime bosses. But readers quickly learn that deep down, Rick Crane is one of the good guys. "Cooper's Daughter," the first book in the widely acclaimed series, is a fast-moving tale in which a heartbroken father comes to Rick and asks him to find out what really happened to his daughter, who was murdered and the details buried in the Unsolved Crimes File of the local police department. The second book in the series is "Jimmy's Nephew," which begins with the death of Joey "Boom Boom" Bonadeo, an up-and-coming boxer and the nephew of Rick's underworld boss. What starts out as a routine investigation turns into a case that will test Rick's faith -- in the Catholic Church and his fellow man. Book No. 3 in the series, "Mary's Fate" is due out in August 2015. Mark Yost also writes for The Wall Street Journal Arts in Review page, as well as the Book Review section. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America -- Midwest Chapter, International Thriller Writers, and a number of other author groups. He is also a member of the Amazon Author's Program. Mark lives in the Loyola neighborhood of Chicago, but he and his son, George, call the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn "home."

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