Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Women in Business
October 21, 1999
Burkholder growing into new business
PECOS, October 21, 1999 - Jackie Burkholder had to learn the flower business from the stem up when she and her sister, Cindy Breiten, bought Four Seasons Flower Shop.
But she is not alone in the brightly decorated shop at 716 W. Third St.
Virginia Garcia has been employed by Four Seasons for 30 years, and she
keeps things running smoothly.
Burkholder attended Laverne's School of Floral Design in San Antonio
and continues to learn as she creates arrangements for funerals, places
roses in a vase for a wife or sweetheart, or creates a silk wall hanging.
"It is something different, something new," Burkholder says of the
business that succeeds the oil field office job she held for 14 years in
She and her daughter, Jamie Moore, moved to Pecos last August when she
married Matt Burkholder.
Husbands buy lots of roses for their wives, Burkholder said. But
funeral arrangements are the biggest seller in Pecos.
"Arranging for funerals is our way of making a sad occasion pretty,"
she said. "We are bringing a little color to it. The flowers are just so
pretty. Even though it is a sad occasion, at least you can help."
Flowers for all occasions are available in the shop, with homecoming
mums just finished and Christmas decorations on the way. What is left of
fall arrangements adorn the bright, airy showroom.
"Fall arrangements went pretty good," Burkholder said. "We try to be
real fair on prices."
Much of the business comes through long-distance calls to the toll-free
Flowers come from all over, and the staff is always on the lookout for
new sources of better, longer-lasting flowers.
Burkholder and Garcia hold down the shop, while Breiten holds down a
full-time job with attorney Scott Johnson.
When she's not in the shop, Burkholder enjoys playing golf, which she
is learning along with Jamie.
"We are getting better," she said.
Jamie, a freshman cheerleader, will play basketball this winter and
then join the golf team in the spring. She has been taking tumbling
lessons since age 3.
Spencer helps husband with expansion
PECOS, October 21, 1999 - Becky Spencer plays a very small role in Frank X. Spencer & Associates.
Or she is the backbone of the company, depending on who is talking.
Frank Spencer says his wife's joining the staff as office manager has
kept him alive.
In addition, "She tells me when I do wrong; when I talk out of turn,"
Becky downplays her role, saying that just tries to keep things running
smoothly. "Sometimes I'm a gofer," she said.
With 31 employees in Pecos and El Paso, Frank X. Spencer & Associates
Inc. consulting engineers and surveyors are "A team providing a service
with professionalism, dedication, responsibility and commitment to our
clients," a new brochure proclaims.
Becky provides for the needs of those employees, oversees payables and
receivables, "pick up little stuff that the other guys don't do,"
working alongside Frank.
"Whatever he's needing, I am right around the corner," Becky said of
their connecting offices in the Oak Street headquarters.
"It is a very difficult position to be in," she said.
When Frank travels, meeting with state, county and city officials,
Becky is usually by his side. "He feels that the family plays a big role
in the way the company looks," she said.
They recently made a business trip to Chihuahua, Mex., where he hopes
to do some work. Then they hosted a hospitality room in Lajitas for the
county judges and commissioners convention.
When they are away, the young staff keeps the wheels turning.
"I just can't say enough about everybody here," Becky said. "They are
young couples that really put out very good work; very conscientious,
very responsible, and that's hard to come by."
Staff meetings and the annual Christmas party help keep the team close,
and Becky hopes to get their families together for an annual picnic.
"But finding the time for all to participate is difficult," she said.
"Our employees did participate in the barbecue cookoff. I think that is
What does Becky do when she's not working?
"It's all work," she said. "We are here from 9 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m.
much of the time. We go home to work and work to home. We are trying to
pick up a little bit of golf to break the monotony of just all work."
When her three children were at home, Becky's focus was on the family.
Now that the oldest, Monique, is working in San Antonio and Rebecca and
Panchito are attending Texas A&M University, she has more time to
concentrate on work.
Having opened a branch office in El Paso last year, the Spencers make
the 208-mile trip frequently to meet with prospective customers and
oversee the 12-member staff there.
"Eventually I would like to do some art work," Becky said. "I have gone
back to taking a course here and there during the evening, especially in
computers, because everything is computerized here. My age group was not
much into computers. That makes a lot more pressure."
Their Yorkie pup takes the pressure off when Frank and Becky do make it
home in the evenings.
"He puts the cap on my day," she said, but admits it is added work to
"If I had it all to do over again, I would not do business," Becky
said. "I started out as a business major because I wanted something
quick I could learn and get out and work. I didn't really like it. I
decided, `If I am going to be doing this the rest of my life, I will be
She earned a degree in education from Sul Ross State University, but
has practiced it very little.
"When I got my family, I got away from everything. The kids will always
come first," she said.
Now their employees are like family, and Frank believes in paying them
"I am real happy with the people we have," he said. "A lot are Pecos
High School students we have trained. They are willing to learn and
study, and we require them to go to seminars or take correspondence
courses to keep up to date on our business."
Becky said she misses her contact with the community since leaving the
employ of Congressman Ronald Coleman.
"I was involved in the chamber, women's division, clubs and
organizations. Things are always coming up to get in my way, and there's
just not enough time."
Walker busy finding styles for stores
PECOS, October 21, 1999 - Keeping up with the latest in fashion and accessories can be a fun and
enjoyable experience, even if you don't keep everything for yourself.
Peggy Walker, owner of Needleworks Etc., has been "shopping" for others
for a long time.
She has been at her current location, 241 S. Oak St., since 1988, and
operates two other stores, in Alpine and Jal, N.M.
"I opened the store in Alpine in 1991 and the one in Jal, N.M., in
1996," said Walker.
Her stores specialize in women's wear, accessories and machine
embroidery, something she has been doing for 18 years.
Hence the name, Needleworks. "I started with machine embroidery and
that's how I came up with the name for the store," she said.
Walker started out in her embroidery business with Bonnie Cearly, a
former Pecos resident who owned a frame shop called the Patchwork Place.
"After she closed, I decided I needed to expand," Walker said. "After
the tornado, I felt I needed to work fulltime and moved to this
Walker's love for sewing came from her grandmother. "I later learned
how to sew in 4-H when I was ten years old," said Walker, who goes to
the Dallas market 4-5 times a year to try to keep up with the latest in
styles and fashion.
"It makes me feel good when local customers come in here, because they
know I specialize in embroidery," said Walker. "And it makes me feel
good when shoppers make a special trip to see me because I do have
specialty items, to look for things they can't find in major stores."
Her newest venture is, of course, cyberspace. "I'm working on starting
to sell on the Internet," said Walker.
She goes to different style shows about six times a year, selling her
merchandise. Some of those include the Western Heritage in Abilene,
Cowboy Symposiums and the Junior League Christmas Shows in Lubbock and
"These shows enable me to keep going, to buy more merchandise to offer
my customers," said Walker.
When she's not busy at her stores, which is seldom, she loves playing
bridge. "I do it when possible, which isn't a lot lately," she said.
Walker was a member of the Rodeo Committee for 14 years, where she
handled many duties including being the publicity person.
"I enjoyed every minute of it, but I had to take some time off to
devote to my business," she said.
She is also a member of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce.
She and her husband, Bob, of 31 years, enjoy the rodeo and doing things
together. "I've always had a love of the rodeo, Bob was a PRCA member
and rodeoed for many years," she said.
Walker said that her love of clothes and accessories enables her to
enjoy her "work" more, but it's the customers that keep her happy. "I
love people and I'm very fortunate to have good help at all my stores,"
Kim Sanders has been employed at the Pecos shop for 10 years, while the
employees at the other two stores have been there since they opened
Walker also employs a high school girl each year.
"There's no way that I could do the work without my employees," she
said. "They help out a lot."
Ward has seen changes in years at SSB
PECOS, October 21, 1999 - Cecelia Ward has seen a number of changes during her 25 years of work
at Security State Bank, with computerization of a number of tasks at the
top of the list.
"The way it's handled is different. Everything's on computers now, and
it used to be done manually," said Ward, who has worked in several
departments at the back over the years.
"I've worked in bookkeeping, and worked as a drive-in teller, and on
the inside I've been a commercial teller," she said. "Now I work in the
loan department and oversee tellers and the loan department wire
"When I first started the tellers verified all the cash, and ran a tape
to check all the numbers. Back then we just had an adding machine," Ward
said. "Now they only verify cash. On checks they send a proof to be
verified by computer. Everything is run through a proof machine, which
is used to update all the figures."
A lifelong resident of Pecos, Ward graduated from Pecos High School and
immediately went to work for the bank. She currently supervises a group
of eight tellers, plus some part-time workers in that department.
"I'm see that everything gets balanced and see whose sick so we can get
a replacement, and keep track of who's on vacation," said Ward.
After starting work at Security State in the mid-1970s, Ward's worked
in the loan department since 1981, "But I only assumed being over the
tellers in the last few years." Her load duties include "Processing new
loans and loan payments, and getting them all put on computer and
getting them balanced."
After all the updating in recent years, Ward said see doesn't expect to
see any other major changes in her departments in the near future.
"There don't seem to be any changes coming. Things have been good the
way they are," she said.
Canon's love of numbers helps in job
PECOS, October 21, 1999 - Numbers and figures have always fascinated the business manager for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District.
"Ever since I was in high school I have loved working with numbers,"
said Mary Ann "Cookie" Canon.
Canon attended Texas A&M University and majored, of course, in
accounting. She worked for Scott and Armbruster and later worked for her
brother, Dan Paint¬ er, a CPA.
"I was the office manager for Dan," said Canon.
Canon and her husband Jack attended A&M together, having gotten married
after her freshman year in college. "We were struggling students," she
Jack is also from Pecos, and graduated from Texas A&M with an
engineering degree. He is currently a manager at the Freeport Mine.
Canon said ever since she was in high school she was "crazy" about
math. "I had a real good bookkeeping teacher in high school, Joyce
Mussey," she said.
Playing around with numbers runs in Canon's family, who has a sister
and a brother who have accounting degrees. "But I also have one brother
who is a lawyer," she added.
As the financial manager for the school district, Canon is in charge of
the financial status of the district and everyday opera¬ tions of the
business office. "It gets really wild here sometimes," she said.
Canon oversees four other employees in her office, but states that
they are really the "heart" of the office. "They're the ones who are the
heart of everything we do here, I'm just here if they have a question,"
Along with her many other duties, Canon attends every school board meeting. "That's in the contract, but really I like going to the board meetings or else I'm lost," she said.
Training is also in her busy schedule and she attends several seminars
and different training throughout the year. "As a matter of fact, we
just returned from TASA/TASB training for school board members and
school admin¬ istrators," said Canon.
"You really have to keep up
with all the new school laws and payroll laws," said Canon. "There's
always something new to learn and a lot of information."
Canon has been with the school district for 10 years, where she be¬ gan
as administrative assistant to the superintendent, a position she held
for two and half years. "And then when the business manager left, they
took that position and the business manager's and put it together," she
When she's not busy at school, she enjoys spending time with her
husband, Jack, and two children, John, 15 years old and 13 year old,
Guebara takes Wal-Mart reins
PECOS, October 21, 1999 - Keeping customers happy is the number goal of Olga Guebara, the new manager of the Pecos Wal-Mart.
Guebara assumed the duties of manager of the facility in August and is
enjoying her new position tremendously.
"I really like it, I've done this for a while now, so it's not new to
me," she said.
Guebara started working at the local Wal-Mart in April of 1986 and has
assumed different positions within the store since then.
She started in the processing area, later was department manager and
CSM, for house wares and toys and then became the assistant man¬ ager in
Being in charge of the entire op¬ erations of the local store, Guebara
oversees about 80 employees. "Basically, I'm in charge of everything
that comes in the store and that goes out the store, including the
customers," said Guebara. "We have to keep the customers happy."
Schedules, inventory, receiving and, of course, complaints are a part
of her everyday routine.
"It gets very hectic sometimes, but it can be fun," she said. "There's a lot of paperwork."
Guebara has gone through extensive training, as assistant manager
and has completed managerial training. "I was in California, during
the earthquake, doing training while I was assistant manager and have
completed all my training," she said.
When she's not busy at the store she enjoys spending time with her
husband, Ramon, and her three daughters, Tiffany Machuca, age 12,
Katrina Machuca, 9 and her baby, Ramona Guebara, 4.
"We enjoy doing family things and I enjoy going fishing with my husband
and girls," said Guebara.
When you go to Wal-Mart, you'll see friendly faces and one of them will
be the new manager.
"I want to keep in touch with my customers needs, so they won't have to
go all the way to Odessa," said Guebara. "We also want to provide
service with a smile."
She is also the first local individual to be given the position of
manager of the facility. "It's just great because, as a local, we already know everybody," she said.
Johnson establishing new insurance career
PECOS, October 21, 1999 - Donna Johnson followed her dream to be an insurance agent about 18
months ago by opening an office in the Executive Center, where she had
worked for accoun¬ tant J. Robert Scott.
"I have been interested in the in¬ surance business a long time and
just finally got brave enough to jump out there," Johnson said. "It is
hard when you are getting a regular paycheck to jump out there on your
own, but I have the support of my husband. He really encouraged me to do
Her husband of 15 years, Billy Johnson, is a deputy U.S. Marshal who
works in the federal courthouse across the street.
"I am so proud that Donna can be such a part of this community and
provide such good service to the citizens of Pecos," he said. "She and
her staff really care about their customers and work very hard to make
He's not a part of the staff, but Billy helps out with filing, answer¬
ing the telephone and "whatever I need," Donna said.
Robin LeBeouf and Benjamin Mendoza are the office staff.
Johnson became the exclusive agent for Allstate in April and will be in
their employ for the first 18 months.
"They help with expenses and then you are an individual contractor
with them," she said.
Her regional office is in Dallas, and calls to her office after hours
are answered there.
Computers connect the offices so that all the information is avail¬
able with the touch of a keyboard. When Johnson enters information on a
policy she has sold, the paperwork is done instantly.
She handles auto, home, life, commercial, health and disability
insurance. When she receives a claim, Donna enters it into the com¬
puter, and the customer usually is contacted within an hour, she said.
The adjuster's office is in Midland.
"The experiences I have had with claims has been real good, and that's
one of the things I investi gated with Allstate," Johnson said. "I
wanted to be sure they would treat us equally with the big towns. Their
customer satisfaction ranks very high."
Even if the customer purchased his policy from another agent, Johnson
handles the claim "as if they were in their own agent's of¬fice."
Establishing a new business is not easy, Johnson said, and she and her
staff spend a lot of time calling prospective clients on the telephone
or sending mail-outs to let people know Allstate is in town.
"You really do have to go out and ask for the business, and that's
probably the hardest thing to do," she said.
When she does attract a client, she may find they have been driv¬ ing
for 40-50 years and paying insurance premiums without knowing what
their policy covers.
"One of my goals is to know what they had on the previous pol¬ icy and
what the choices are, and making sure they understand what will be
covered in the new policy," she said.
Donna or one of her staff is in the office at 320 S. Oak St weekdays
until 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Those who have Internet access can get a quote by registering at the
Allstate web site, www.allstate.com. "They will e-mail it to me and I
can contact them," she said.
Later, Johnson will have her own web page on the Allstate site.
When she's not working, Johnson enjoys participating in the Women's
Division of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, renovating and renting or
selling houses and managing 250 storage units.
For relaxation, she and Billy may "sneak off" to Midland for dinner and
Donna has worked in banking, accounting and for the U.S. Border Patrol.
Now that she's found her niche, she expects to stay put in the Executive
Center for a long, long time.
Test track has roles for women
PECOS, October 21, 1999 - The people, their talent, Mother Nature's sunrises and the industry
itself make Smithers Transportation Test Center an interesting
place to work.
Bookkeeper Martha Summitt, who's been with STTC just under two years,
said she gets asked frequently if she minds the 22 mile drive to the
automotive testing facility, located southeast of Pecos, off the
"I really don't mind it," she said, "I see the most glorious sunrises.
Of course now it's totally dark. The stars are beautiful on a clear
"The drive back gives me a chance to unwind and relax a few minutes
before I get home." Summitt said, adding it beats the hour-long,
bumper-to-bumper commute her Houston-based son endures to get to and
"I like the people," said Kimberly (Kim) Walker, project coordinator/tire technician and four-year veteran. Walker said she also really enjoys working with Duane Poi¬ tevint, project manager, who she affectionately calls, "Dad". "He's really steered me through what we do
"I like the family feel to the operation," said Mari Maldonado,
project coordinator/systems administrator, who has worked for STTC 16
months. "There's a diverse supply of talent out here and it's interesting to see it all come together."
As the chief accountant for the facility, Summitt handles all of the
"I keep up with the purchase orders and process all of the bills,"
Summitt said, which are then sent to Akron, Ohio, where STTC's corporate office, Smithers Scientific Services, Inc., is based.
"I also keep up with all employee hours.make sure that all purchases and hours worked on a specific job (project) are applied to the
cost of that job (project)," added the bookkeeper.
Walker and Maldonado share the tasks of data entry, test coordinating, invoicing, clerical assis¬ tance, compilation of test data and
Walker started out as a driver. She has been with the testing division for just over two years, and also aids Tire Technician Steve Reyes
in her current job. "I don't mind getting my hands dirty," Walker said
of her occasional tire labeling and measuring duties.
Six months after her hire to the administrative secretary's post,
Maldonado was promoted to the coordinator's position along with the
duties of upkeeping and main¬ taining the local network system.
"I can handle most of the prob¬ lems that I come across," said the
systems administrator, "but occa¬ sionally I have to call on Mousef
(Haddad), the information systems engineer at corporate."
When asked what goals they have regarding their positions with
Smithers, Summitt said she'd like to continue to streamline the accounting process, while Walker said she would like to see the testing division continue to upgrade and expand.
"I find the technology we use and the technology that is out there
interesting," she said. "I hope to see Smithers (Transportation Test
Center) continue upgrading our tech¬ nology and increase our testing
"For the time being I'm striving to get everyone out here that requires one, a PC.set them up with their own e-mail box.analyze their
individual electronic needs and get it for them," Maldonado said. "I'm
also working with Mousef on get¬ ting us connected to a local ISP."
"With a small staff and the rest drivers, we all have to pretty much
come together and constantly delve outside our prospective job descrip¬
tions," said Maldonado.
"We don't mind, it keeps things interesting," Walker added.
"We're only the administrative pull," Maldonado added, "we also have
female drivers and dispatchers who have to be versatile as well and
accomplish some amazing things out there that are vital to what we do at
Smithers (Transpor¬ tation Test Center)."
Among them are Safina Bailey, Teri Crow, Stella Dominguez, Car¬ men
Iniguez, Nancy McKinney, Rachel Navarro, Joann Ramirez and Susan Ramirez.
"We've enjoyed working with newcomer and General Manager, Arch
Deutschman," said Summitt. "He's put a different perspective on the way
we do things out here."
"He's added a lot of humor, which makes it really easy to talk to him,"
All three women concur that neither of them figured the automotive
testing industry in their futures. "It didn't sound all that interesting
before," Maldonado said, but their hands-on experience have proved them
Tersero enjoys excitement of police department work
Diane Tersero can't imagine working anywhere but in law enforcement,
where "you may have one hour of quiet, and then all sorts of things
She is secretary for the Pecos Police Department, where she has worked
for eight years.
"I really, really like it," Tersero said of her new position. "It is a
change. I do a little bit of everything."
Having spent the past seven years as communications chief, Tersero
misses the excitement of the dispatch office.
"But it's just across the hall, and if they need something or need to
leave, I can help out," she said.
Officers type their reports into the computer now, so Tersero doesn't
have to type them. She puts reports together for the state and the
county and district attorneys.
The new 9-1-1 emergency system remains Tersero's responsibility,
and she spends much time correcting errors in addresses or other
information on Reeves County residences.
"I have to correct them, send them to the planning commission, and they
send them to GTE," Tersero said. "Once we get through with the small
errors, we can go to the next step."
The next step is to install a computer that will map the county and
show on the screen the location of an address where each 9-1-1 call
Tersero likes working for Chief Clay McKinney, who "always has something
planned that he wants to do. We just sit around wondering what's the
next thing he's going to want to do," she said.
McKinney has re-decorated the offices, installed new furnishings and
equipment, purchased equipment the officers need and provided more
training for them. "A lot of positive things," she said.
She also likes the regular hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the secre¬
tary's office, since she has a kindergartner and an eighth grader this
"When I'm not working, I'm tending to my family," she said. "I like
cooking, especially baking, and doing crafts with my kids. I am more of
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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