HOW DID YOU get where you are today? The EMS industry, quite literally, never stops. Our staff and units are called to serve our community every hour of every day; there are no weekends, holidays, or “days off.” Obviously, the demands of EMS are not for the faint of heart, and we have established a culture of service and accountability that is different than nearly every other organization. Our leadership team sets this culture by exhibiting their passion for this industry daily. Their tireless dedication makes a better experience for our staff when they come to work and for our patients and clients when they call on us to transport their loved ones.
Who do you credit? Foremost, I credit the leaders and staff of my team. Beginning with Vice President Sumi Patel, who has been with ORION for 15 years, I am extremely proud to work with, and for, everyone who wears our logo. Houston has amazing diversity in the community, and ORION celebrates that both publicly and internally, as seen in the makeup of our leadership team and staff. The people who work at ORION do so because they are committed to our mission and to providing the most professional medical care to every patient we transport. Their devotion to and support of ORION has made us one of the best EMS companies in the city.
What lessons have you learned that might enlighten/inspire? One of the most important roles that Sumi and I play is mentoring and guiding our managers, so that they can effectively lead their departments. Watching their professional growth is very rewarding, but it also has clear benefits to the business, as it allows us to expand to meet new opportunities. Over the last 15 years, we have learned that complacency is not an option. The EMS industry is vibrant, especially in Houston, which requires ORION to have an agile and dynamic business model. We are constantly evaluating our processes to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community in ways that provide the most impact and value to them. We are tactical enough to respond to every day-to-day circumstance that arises, while, at the same time, maintaining a strategic focus on our goals for the future.
What’s new or upcoming for ORION? As we continue to fulfill our mission of service to the Houston community, we are excited to expand our reach into other hospital systems in the region. Our team and fleet are growing to ensure that we are always ready to serve the people of this community.
AS THE FALL social season begins to overlap the holidays, one of Houston’s grandest blue-chip galas unfolded in the The Caroline Wiess Law Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston — raising well over $2 million!
MFAH’s annual Grand Gala Ball, with Van Cleef & Arpels ballyhooed as underwriter, “drew more than 425 guests, entering through a tent adorned with hot pink drapery, and a gold chandelier,” said a museum rep. “Upon entering the cocktail space, a diamond shaped bar greeted guests, flanked by works by Andy Warhol.” The Warhols and urbane vibe underscored the “Icons” theme, as championed by chairs Nicole and Evan H. Katz.
Baroque crystal chandeliers, black acrylic tables, a huge movie screen showing clips of Texas-made movies, and a racy mix of red- and pink-hued florals lent to the sexy-than-the-average-gala vibe. Dinner included, to start, a cold poached lobster with baby arugula, shaved fennel, olives, toasted pistachio and grilled artichoke salad; beef tenderloin accompanied by a savory leek-wrapped bread pudding made a sophisticated, hearty entrée. For dessert: an old-fashioned pecan ball with chocolate sauce, an iconic Houston favorite to be sure.
Entertainment for the affair was varied and at times stirring. LA-based Brandon Wattz crooned love songs and jazzy pop numbers throughout a dinner. A dashingly tuxedo’d Bun B took to the mic afterward, giving guests a surprise hip-hop show. Mr. Bun’s Trill Burgers also took over a museum terrace, with cooks grilling up delicious smash burgers for a raved-over midnight snack!
Per usual, a who’s-who of city society and top philanthropists showed up to support MFAH, including Nancy and Rich Kinder, Susan Sarofim, Joan Weingarten Schnitzer, Rose Cullen, Lynn Wyatt, Margaret Alkek Williams, Anne and Albert Chao, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Dan Zimmerman, Whitney and Jim Crane, Tony and Cynthia Petrello, Ron Franklin and Janet Gurwitch.
Franci Neely, Margaret Alkek Williams, Phoebe Tudor
Nancy and Rich Kinder
Andrew and Mona Sarofim
Richard Flowers, Lynn Wyatt, Angel Rios
Anne and Albert Chao
Gary Tinterow and Christopher Gardner
Bun B and Queenie with chairs Nicole and Evan Katz
Laura Stokes with a Trill Burger
Jonathan and Lily Schnitzer
Amy Doherty and Alexandra Butt
Bun B performs at the 2023 Grand Gala Ball
Trill Burgers at the gala
The cocktail area
- Two New Exhibitions Coming to the MFAH This Fall Will Provide Fresh Perspectives on the Works of O’Keeffe, Picasso and Calder ›
- Sprawling New MFAH Show Illustrates the History of Transatlantic Slave Trade ›
- With Custom Tapestries and Jeweled Archways, MFAH Transforms Into Indian Palace for Glam Gala ›
- MFAH’s Kinder Building Hosts First Gala — and It Was Truly ‘Grand’ ›
- Life and Legacy of Big-Time Benefactor Celebrated at MFAH’s Grand Gala Ball ›
- From Paris with Love: Inside MFAH's $1.2 Mil Grand Gala Ball ›
STILL HAVEN’T DECIDED where you’ll pick up Thanksgiving provisions for Nov. 23? Whether you want to stay traditional or add a twist this year, some Houston restaurants are still taking orders for sides, sauces, mains and desserts. Here’s our tip sheet for the spontaneous!
Feed crews large and small with classic Thanksgiving sides, sauces and desserts enhanced with fine Texas-Creole touches. Prep your own protein, and let Brennan’s cover the turtle soup, Andouille mac and cheese, candied sweet potatoes, oyster dressing, Creole bread pudding and whole pies. Limited supply available for pre-order. Pick up Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Brennan’s, 3300 Smith Street. Orders are served chilled with reheating instructions. Menu and ordering here.
Daily Gather Deviled Eggs (photo by Debora Smail)
Daily Gather’s catering menu blends the best of their brunch, lunch and dinner menus. From light fare, like the citrus avocado salad ($60, serves 7-10), mustardy bacon deviled eggs ($26/dozen) and the harvest salad ($92, serves 7-10), to heartier sides like elote cornbread ($36/dozen), the options will hit the spot. Catering menu here.
Dish Society Brussels Sprouts (photo by Kimberly Park)
Holiday fare can be fresh and delicious without the subsequent food coma with the help of locally sourced salads and sides from your favorite homegrown diner. Tasty choices include balsamic bacon Brussels sprouts, truffle mac & cheese, mashed sweet potato, smoked gouda grits, roasted seasonal veggies, and sautéed greens. Throw in healthful salads like the Super Brussels Sprout Salad, Wine-Poached Apple Pecan Salad, and Kale Caesar. Place orders to pair with your protein for curbside pickup. Catering menus and ordering info here.
When you’re short on time or want to make a great impression with family and friends, bring chef Philippe’s cooking to your table. Holiday foods to-go from Etoile must be placed by Nov. 21 — call 832-668-5808. The menu includes luxuries such as leek and mushroom soup; a pound of pork and duck paté; a pound of foie gras (brioche loaf available); roasted turkey, stuffing and gravy; pecan vanilla bourbon pie, or the complete Thanksgiving Dinner with the trimmings (serves 10-12, $225).
Available for pickup, customers can order from a scrumptious selection of desserts including Pumpkin Flan, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Coconut Cheesecake, Brownie Cheesecake, or Dulce de Leche cheesecake. Pumpkin Flan is offered in 8-inch (serves 8-12) or 10-inch (serves 12-16) options. The pickup date is November 22. For something savory throughout the holidays, stop by Picos’ signature Tamale Stand for scratch-made tamales available in half dozen ($12) or full dozen ($24).
Traveler's Table (photo by Becca Wright)
Want to get away but can’t this holiday? Traveler’s Table has a Thanksgiving In the Islands menu for a refreshing meal twist. Peruse the exotic menu and order online here.
Celebrate Thanksgiving stress-free with The Moran CITYCENTRE’s Family Thanksgiving Bounty Box by Chef Christian Cardenas. Indulge in a delectable spread of traditional favorites and chef-crafted specialties including mix green salad candied pecans, feta cheese, roasted beets and herb vinaigrette, herb butter roasted sliced turkey breast. Served with cranberry sauce, homemade traditional gravy, sage stuffing, bacon Brussel sprouts, classic mashed potatoes, honey roasted spaghetti squash, and French dinner rolls. Pumpkin pie for dessert! To place orders, call the hotel at 713-973-1600 by November 21 at 4pm and pickup Thanksgiving morning between 9am-2pm. For more information, please visit the website. The four-person meal is $140. The Moran hotel is also the perfect place to stay for the in-laws.
Looking for an impressive spontaneous meal? Choose from two different Japanese Thanksgiving packages at $175 per person for pick-up Nov. 20-22. The eight-course omakase menu includes gems like Chinese broccoli, sprouts, Wagyu strip loin and Uchi salad with Thai cashew pesto. Sister location Uchiko also offers the omakase for take-out with kombu roasted carrots, smoked duck breast, lobster in tiger’s milk and more.