Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m here with Brian Baumler, the Energy Practice Leader at PKF Texas and the Chair of the 17th annual TXCPA Houston Energy Conference. Also with us today is Jennifer Poff, the Executive Director of TXCPA Houston, and Tracy Tyler, the Co-Chair, as well as the Managing Director at WG Consulting. Welcome to The Playbook, everyone.

Jennifer: We’re glad to be here.

Brian: Thanks, Jen. I appreciate you having us here.

Tracy: Thanks, Jen.

Jen: Let’s kick this off. Jennifer, tell us as little bit about TXCPA Houston.


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As accountants and trusted business advisors, we enjoy working with you to co-create ideas and co-develop innovative solutions for your business. To supplement this, we also want to provide valuable information, including upcoming Houston events that we support, and think may be of interest to you.

  • Greater Houston Partnership
  • Texas CPA Society – Houston Chapter
  • Client Exclusive – Not-for-Profit Seminar
  • Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Corporate Directors
  • Turnaround Management Association

If you have questions about any event details or registration information, the organization-specific contacts are below. We hope to see you at any or all of these Houston events!


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On Friday, June 28, 2019, the Houston Business Journal is hosting a philanthropy and not-for-profit panel as part of its Power Breakfast series.

Houston is known as a giving town, with many not-for-profit organizations in the city. The panel discussion will dive into successful fundraising and marketing strategies, as well as ways not-for-profit organizations can

As accountants and trusted business advisors, we enjoy working with you to co-create ideas and co-develop innovative solutions for your business. To supplement this, we also want to provide valuable information, including upcoming Houston events that we support, and think may be of interest to you.

  • Houston Business Journal
  • Greater Houston Partnership
  • Turnaround Management Association

One of the Greater Houston Partnership’s most popular events of the year, State of the City, is happening next week, and our PKF Texans attending are excited to hear about what’s going on in Houston.

State of the City 2019 will be Mayor Sylvester Turner’s fourth address to the Partnership. Open to members and non-members,

As accountants and trusted business advisors, we enjoy working with you to co-create ideas and co-develop innovative solutions for your business. To supplement this, we also want to provide valuable information, including upcoming events that we support, and think may be of interest to you. 
  • Greater Houston Partnership
  • Turnaround Management Association – Breakfast Meeting
  • National

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. With me today is Russ Capper, Executive Director of Houston Exponential. Russ, welcome to the guest side of the Playbook.

Russ: Well, it’s great to be here.

Jen: For our viewers who aren’t quite familiar with Houston Exponential, can you share a little bit about what that is?

Russ: I’d love to. Houston Exponential is a non-profit initiative put together by the Greater Houston Partnership and, really, the Mayor and the City Council. They both seemed to come together simultaneously and felt like, “My goodness, we have to do something that really champions our innovators and accelerates the growth of our innovation ecosystem,” meaning, trying to make Houston more fertile for development of digital technology startups.

Jen: What kind of projects do you guys have to help drive that digital innovation?


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Russ: This is PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. I’m very pleased to have as my guest now, Richard Gruber, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of MERIT SI. Richard, welcome to the show.

Richard: Thank you, Russ.

Russ: You bet. Tell us about MERIT SI.

Richard: MERIT SI is a two-year-old firm headquartered in Houston. Our focus is developing renewable strategies and solutions for energy, water and chemical companies to help them drive lower costs, reduce their emissions and improve their overall stakeholder awareness.

Russ: Ok. So, renewables, are we talking about solar and wind?

Richard: Principally, solar and solar with battery storage, and typically with advanced controls. And located at their points of demand for these companies, so where they consume it is where we site it.


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As accountants and trusted business advisors, we enjoy working with you to co-create ideas and co-develop innovative solutions for your business. To supplement this, we also want to provide valuable information, including upcoming  Houston events that we support, and think may be of interest to you. 
  • Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship
  • Turnaround Management Association