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

Next week, the Rice Business Plan Competition will host its 19th competition on April 4 – 6, 2019. PKF Texas is proud to be supporters once again, as well as the official accountants for the 10th year.

The Rice Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition. It is hosted

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 with Del Walker, Tax Practice Leader at PKF Texas, and founding organizer of the forum. Del, great to have you.

Del: Russ, it’s always a pleasure, my friend. Always a pleasure.

Russ: We’ve completed now, your fourth, and this is my fourth interview with you after the completion.

Del: I know, and we are still so young, aren’t we?

Russ: That’s true, absolutely. But share your perspective from this 2019 version.

Del: We tried some things differently this year, a little bit. We’re always asking for feedback from our participants, and we’ve got some thoughts that were a little different than we’ve done in the past.


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The Greater Houston Partnership’s next Houston Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) event, “Explore Your Passion,” is coming up on February 20, 2019.

The event, sponsored by PKF Texas, is designed PechaKucha style where young professionals can meet, talk and interact with various not-for-profit and volunteer organizations. Young professionals will have the opportunity to network and

Now that the new year has started, what’s next for Houston? The Greater Houston Partnership is hosting its first event of the year – its Annual Meeting – and is celebrating its 30th anniversary throughout 2019.

Current GHP Chair, Marc Watts, President of The Friedkin Group, will recap 2018 before passing the torch to the

Recently, the Houston Business Journal published an article on their website authored by PKF Texas Tax Director, Martin Euson, JD, about Houston’s designated “opportunity zones.”

What are opportunity zones?

According to Euson’s article, opportunity zones are part of the U.S. Treasury Department’s new program, which was created by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act