Thursday AM August 24th, 2006

Texas Technology Fast 50 includes ten Houston-area companies... Residential construction employment is contracting, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor...Seminar on business and investments in China underway this morning at Houstonian...

The Deloitte Services Texas Technology Fast 50, which ranks technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies by revenue growth, includes ten Houston companies, including four in the Top Ten. This is an increase over the seven Houston-area firms that made the 2005 list. Rig Net is second on the list, behind first-place New Market Technology of Dallas. Placing third is Houston-based Tanox. Other Houston companies on the list are Pre-Cash at number nine, Webxites at number ten, INX at number 18, DataCert at number 21, FuelQuest at number 25, ObjectWin Technology at number 28, Network International at number 32 and Paymetric at number 35.

Winners are selected based on percentage revenue growth over five years. To be considered, entrants must have operating revenues of at least $50,000 in 2001 and at least $5,000,000 in 2005; and own proprietary technology or intellectual property contributing to a significant portion of its operating revenues.

For the fourth year in a row, Washington, D.C. and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs lead the nation in attracting fast-growing, private companies. Inc. magazine says 43 of the companies on its list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies are located in the national capital area this year. That's one more than during 2005. In second place is New York City, with 42 companies--a gain of 17--followed by Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta. As far as states go, California has the most Inc. 500 companies, 66. Next come Virginia and New York, both home to 34 of the fastest-growing companies, followed by Texas and Massachusetts.


Analysts look for the softness in the housing market to have continued last month. Briefing.com says the expectation on Wall Street is that sales of previously-owned homes fell during July to an annual rate of 6.55 million houses. In fact, there's been only one increase in sales in the last 11 months, with sales now down ten percent from the record high in June of last year. More housing data is due Thursday, when the Commerce Department reports on new home sales for July.


Residential construction employment is contracting, according to Grubb & Ellis, reflecting statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Downsizing by office tenants engaged in residential lending, title insurance, sales and other services is likely to have a minor impact on the office market overall, however, according to the property group, though areas where housing has been particularly hot, such as parts of California, south Florida, Las Vegas and Phoenix, will feel a sharper impact. The last full-blown housing downturn was in the recession year of 1991, when housing construction and materials jobs fell 8.5 percent and housing-related services jobs fell 1.9 percent.


The 600,000-acre Texas state park system needs improvements. The situation is drawing political attention before the November 7th election. Critics point to crumbling facilities, staffing shortages and reduced hours of operations at some sites. The State Parks Advisory Committee today is slated to recommend spending an extra $85 million annually on the system. Governor Rick Perry advocates spending all $100 million--generated by a tax on sporting goods--for state parks. The money was allocated in 1993, but lawmakers two years ago capped the share for parks at $32 million.


The University of Southern California wants hospital operator Tenet Healthcare to give up control of its USC University hospital. The university claims Dallas-based Tenet's recent financial and legal troubles void the terms of its lease. USC filed a lawsuit yesterday in Superior Court. It's asking a judge to enforce a notice sent to Tenet to vacate the hospital and sell the buildings to USC. Tenet has struggled with lawsuits, federal investigations and criminal charges over the past several years. In June, the company agreed to a $900 million settlement of charges it bilked Medicare. That came a month after Tenet agreed to pay $21 million to settle charges of making illegal kickbacks to doctors in San Diego. Tenet said it had not yet seen the lawsuit.


A seminar on the latest developments affecting business and investments in China is underway this morning at the Houstonian, featuring China-based representatives of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Fulbright & Jaworski. Speakers are focusing on recent legal and regulatory developments, economic crime trends, intellectual property rights and China's regulatory infrastructure. Questions will be addressed relating to strategic market entry, procurement relationships, current changes in Chinese accounting regulations, CFO office trends and merger and acquisition challenges.


Citibank Texas is hosting free identity theft seminars in 110 of its retail branch locations in Texas this evening. The seminars offer small business owners and consumers advice on signs of identity theft, how to protect yourself and what to do it if happens. Attendees also receive a free credit report.


The third Bubbles Express car wash facility opens this week—the ninth operation in the chain that includes five Bubbles hand wash locations. The new outlet is on FM 1960 East in Humble. Three more Express locations are planned before the end of the year. The Atoscocita location is offering free car washes all day Thursday to celebrate the opening.


Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...