4 | LMT BUSINESS JOURNAL MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2005 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2005 LMT BUSINESS JOURNAL | 13
Texas House honors Ramirez City manager explains plans NEW BEGINNINGS
Bank executive starts $1 million TAMIU endowment for Laredo’s growth New paintball business
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Zapata, Ramirez oversees IBC’s and contributed $25,000 on behalf By MIKE HALL
ZAPATA — International Bank
of Commerce-Zapata President and
CEO Renato Ramirez has been
branch operations and community
outreach in Zapata, Hebbronville,
Roma and Rio Grande and will
supervise the bank_s upcoming
of his family partnership, R & P
He served as the president of
the Zapata County Independent
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Laredo City Manager Larry
Dovalina said keeping ahead of
the growth of the city is like run-
hits the spot for fun
honored by the Texas House of expansion into the Brush Country School District Board of Trustees ning in front of a growing snow- By MAYRA FLORES
Representatives for his recent fund- communities of Alice, Freer, from 1993 until 1997 and remains ball as he runs down a hill. LAREDO MORNING TIMES
ing of a million-dollar endowment Kingsville, Beeville and Falfurrias. involved with the group today. Dovalina was the main speak-
which will be used for scholarships In addition to building branches In addition to efforts benefiting er at two recent business meet- For some people, there is nothing more
at Texas A&M in the Brush Country area, IBC, education, Ramirez also supports ings — at the board of directors of exciting than sneaking up on someone and
International under Ramirez’s leadership, will the Zapata Boys and Girls Club; the the Laredo Development Foun- mercilessly gunning them down – with paint
University. pursue opportunities to be an Sacred Heart and Casa Hogar “La dation last Wednesday and the that is.
State Rep. active community partner. Nueva Esperanza” orphanages in Laredo Manufacturers Associa- The extreme sport of paintball, touted as
Ryan Guillen, (D- A proponent of educational Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas, Mexico; tion’s monthly meeting last Photo by Mike Hall | Laredo Morning Times the newest stress reliever, has helped
Rio Grande City) advancement, Ramirez’s commit- the Capitol Tejano Monument Thursday. Laredo City Manager Larry Dovalina Courtesy photo | 21st Century Insurance Laredoan Ricky Moreno open a business and
who represents ment to increasing educational effort; the National Hispanic City officials in the manage- speaks to the board of directors of the A truck covered with people’s faces in the main focus of a billboard advertisement for 21st Century Auto provide an entertaining sport for those who
Duval, Starr, opportunities for students is wide- Institute; the United Way of Laredo; ment have developed strategies Laredo Development Foundation Insurance. They company has been been approved to operate in the state offering more choices for Texans. like to shoot each other for fun.
Webb and Zapata spread. the Zapata County Fair Association and plans for the next 10 years to Wednesday afternoon. Wicked Paintball sits on 10 acres on Well
RAMIREZ counties, present- Since 1966, Ramirez has spon- anticipate the needs for every- Lane near the intersection of Los Botines
New player for auto
and Zapata CrimeStoppers, Inc.
ed Ramirez on the sored an annual scholarship pro- “Renato truly integrates IBC’s thing — from larger parks and from $75 to $150 in the same peri- Road off U.S. Highway 83 North. The $8,000
floor of the House of gram that offers $3,000 scholar- corporate motto ‘We Do More’ into well-placed emergency fire and od. project features two fields for paintball com-
Representatives Wednesday and ships to graduates of Zapata High every aspect of his life,” said Dennis police locations to extending Dovalina said due to better petitions.
drafted the resolution honoring the
South Texas banker.
“I am proud to have been able to
When the bankrupt Benavides
School District was in need of
E. Nixon, chairman of International
Bancshares Corporation, parent to
IBC Bank. “For more than 25 years,
water and sewage pipes to devel-
oping subdivions and keeping up
with the infrastructure system so
planning, tax increases have been
minimal while providing for
more city projects that affect the
insurance comes to Texas “It’s a sport for just about anyone,”
Moreno said. “I just love the game - there’s a
high level of excitement and adrenaline rush
play an active role in ensuring that financial assistance after several Renato has maintained an extraor- traffic can flow better are on tap, quality of life for Laredoans. A By MAYRA FLORES Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Department everytime.”
Renato received this state-wide financial institutions had denied dinary level of commitment to his too. large investment has been in LAREDO MORNING TIMES of Public Safety to conduct child safety seat The 33-year-old entrepreneur, who also
recognition for his lifetime dedica- loan requests, Ramirez worked hometown of Zapata as well as to To date, he said a total of $71 upgrading the training of city inspection and installation fairs in 2005. operates a trucking company in Laredo,
tion to the advancement of educa- with the school district to construct its neighboring cities.” million is being spent on all city workers and leadership capabili- There’s a new player in the Texas auto — 21st and Gov. Perry will also distribute says he began developing his business idea
tion,” said Rep. Ryan Guillen. “His a loan that would keep the district International Bank of projects. ties of managers. insurance industry. bilingual guides on proper car seat usage. while practicing paintball shooting as a
commitment to impacting South functioning while allowing it to Commerce (IBC)-Zapata is a mem- To fund these and other city Dovalina said the city is work- 21st Century Insurance has now been — Publishing “The Consumer Guide to sport.
Texas communities through volun- regain its financial stability. ber of International Bancshares projects, the city tax rate has ing with a citizens group to revi- approved to operate in the state offering Buying Texas Auto Insurance,” which com- The popularity of the sport and consider-
teerism and philanthropy serves as Last year, Ramirez was appoint- Corporation (NASDAQ: IBOC), a grown over the last five years, talize the San Bernardo area from more choices for Laredoans. pares policy contracts, service features and ing that most paintball facilities in town do
an example to us all. He embodies ed by the Laredo Community $9.4 billion multi-bank financial however it decreased slightly Scott Street to Calton Road to cre- Customers have the option to purchase prices of leading companies in the state. not have a large field prompted him to open
and encourages the spirit of giving College Board of Trustees to be one holding company headquartered in from last year to 6.17 percent. ate a better shopping area for insurance, service their policy or report a At year-end 2003, 21st Century his own business.
and for that reason, his actions are of the nine founding directors of Laredo with more than 160 facili- The increase over this time peri- Mexican imports. He said better claim over the phone with their licensed Insurance Group had $1,219 million in net “I wanted to do something different from Photo by Mike Hall | Laredo Morning Times
vital to the continued growth and the LCC District Education ties and 250 ATMs serving more od has been only increased by 13 sidewalks and other improve- insurance professionals or through the premiums written, $1,246 million in rev- what the rest are doing,” said Moreno,
success of South Texas.” Foundation. Ramirez secured a than 70 communities in Texas and percent, compared to school taxes ments are being planned by the company’s full-service Web site at 21st.com. enues, and assets totaling $1.7 billion. Today, the year-plus business serves both Ricky Moreno, owner, stands in one of his paintball
As President and CEO of IBC- $75,000 donation for the foundation Oklahoma. which have gone up 100 percent city for that area. “We’re celebrating not just our company’s individual players and group outings from fields at Wicked Paintball, off Well Lane near Los
expansion into Texas but the expansion of our schools or companies interested in simulat- Botines Road. Moreno, 33, offers paintball competi-
family, as we’ve added 190 people to help offer History ed battlefield combat. tions in his 10-acre outdoor facility.
consumers our superior policy contract, 21st Century Insurance’s success story The field is equipped with a high chain-
BORDER BRIEFS highly competitive pricing and 24/7 policy began with its founder Louis W. Foster. link fence on the outside and a nylon mesh- ond and multiple bruises Moreno has show
services,” Bruce Marlow, Chief Executive After 20 years as an independent agent in like material inside to capture any stray that he had been “hit.”
Aerial feats excite thousands at airport during diving out of planes with U.S. and Texas flags. . (Feb. 14, 1A) summer, let alone February." Officer of 21st stated in a press release. the insurance business, Foster founded the paintballs. “Anyone who has played paintball knows
But it took a few more years before he found his way here. 21st Century Insurance began selling original company in 1958 in Los Angeles as Air-filled bunkers, known also as “tow- getting shot can leave a bruise, but the thrill
Stars and Stripes Spectacular “Heatwave”Berler celebrates 25 years After attending college at Florida State University, Berler policies in Texas this January as a direct an inter-insurance exchange and with one ers,” “doritos,” and “snakes,” sprinkle the it provides, is well worth it,” Moreno said.
started working for a small station in Minnesota.Then he dis- result of the recent enactment of reforms to employee – a secretary. fields, where shooters hunker down their Moreno notesmany play for an entire day
BY ADRIANA ARCE as weather man at KGNS covered there was an opening at KGNS. (Feb. 15, 3A) the state’s auto insurance market designed The office grew rapidly and in 1966 the opponents in a quest to capture the oppo- for about $45, depending on how much
LAREDO MORNING TIMES to bring more choices for Texas consumers. company moved to Century City to accom- nent’s flag. There are five players per team. ammo, the paintballs that explode upon con-
“Look at the plane!” countless children shouted at their By ERICA CORDOVA
High school students twist , flip “Pricing differences are important but
are just one factor to consider,” Jim Reeves,
modate its expanding staff and volume .
The company celebrated a major mile-
Players use a compressed air gun that
propels gel-cap paintballs filled with differ-
tact, they use.
Wicked Paintball serves individual play-
parents Sunday, as they pointed upwards, towards an action- LAREDO MORNING TIMES for science class Assistant Vice President, and Texas Product stone at the same time — achieving $1 mil- ent colors of water-soluble paint inside that ers and group outings from companies,
packed sky. Manager for the company said. “Only 21st lion in premiums in a single year. make a colorful splash upon impact. schools or anyone interested in the simulat-
The excitement was part of the 2005 WBCA Stars and It’s not a surprise that a man who’s nicknamed “Heatwave” By ADRIANA ARCE specifies original equipment replacement In 1996, the company expanded into Equipment needed to play includes a mask, a ed battlefield combat.
Stripes Air Show Spectacular at the old Laredo International loves Laredo. LAREDO MORNING TIMES parts for body repairs and will pay 100 per- Arizona and two years later began operat- marker, and paintballs. The business has equip- Moreno plans to finish a third paintball
Airport. “It’s got one of the most unique climates in the country,” cent of your original purchase cost if your ing in Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. ment and protective gear to rent for the day. field that is under construction and sched-
Thousands toting umbrellas and sunglasses experienced said Richard Berler, KGNS meteorologist. “In fact, we own the Tuesday was a problem solving day for about 900 students new car or truck is totaled in the first year 21st Century Insurance has more than Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants are uled to be completed in a couple of months,
war exhibits and great food highlighted by exhilarating per- United States record for the month of February.” that twisted, flipped and went round and round at the WBCA of ownership.” 2,500 employees and occupies two 11- also recommended for optimum playing, he he said.
formances of aerial acrobatics. In 1998, Laredo logged a high of 103 degrees – the highest Carnival fairgrounds. According to company officials, 21st’s story headquarter buildings in Woodland added. For more information, call Moreno at
With military fighter jets and other high-tech aircraft temperature recorded anywhere in the nation for that month. It was part of the Laredo Independent School Districts commitment to Texas includes: Hills. On a weekend, he said well over 100 peo- Wicked Paintball at (956) 235-0066.
brought in from all over the nation, the airport grounds Monday, Berler, 51, celebrated 25 years at KGNS. He start- third annual Physics Phun Day led by Gerardo Cruz, an _ The opening of the Lewisville service The company also operates 14 division ple play at his facility. (Mayra Flores can be reached at 728-2547
seemed equipped for a war. ed at the station on Valentine’s Day in 1980. instructional coordinator of science. center, the company’s first outside of service offices, five vehicle inspection cen- The paintballs travel at 3,000 feet per sec- or by e-mail at email@example.com)
“We brought in A-10s, C-130s, helicopters and 121 military Originally from Westport, Conn., “Heatwave” started keep- “The kids are actually given the opportunity to test the California. ters, and nine drive-in claim centers.For
men who are taking part in showing weapons like the 50-cal- ing weather records in fourth grade. laws of physics and math by applying them to real world situ- – Underwriting policies through 21st more information on the company call 1-
iber machine guns from World War II,” said Carlos Garza, air "One day I was in the back (of the local weather bureau ations,” Garza said. “And what better place than an amuse- Century Insurance Company of the 800-211-SAVE (English) or 1-888-920-2121 Have your new business featured in the “New Beginnings” section
show coordinator. office) and they had pamphlets with all of the climatalogical ment park.” Southwest, an insurance company in Texas (Spanish) or visit the company’s Web site at
Other performers who came to join in on the fun also flew data from across the country, and then I came upon Texas," Accompanied by about 40 teachers, middle and high school and member of the 21st Century Insurance www.21st com. New businesses or businesses that are changing/adding to their prodcut line or services
in private planes.The thrills began immediately as the show Berler said. " I found that Laredo hit 100 degrees in February students could be seen hopping into thrilling rides with a pen Group. (Mayra Flores can be reached at 728- may contact the Laredeo Morning Times Business Journal to get the firm featured in the
opened with the Star Spangled Banner and three paratroopers of 1940. I hadn't ever seen 100 de-grees in the middle of the and paper in hand. (Feb. 16, 1A) — Forming a historic parnership with 2547 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org) “New Beginnings” section of the journal. Call MIke at 956-728-2529 or Mayra at 956-728-2547.