• Meet Brian Strange, Don Strange of Texas, Inc.

     
    FROM THE Fall 2014 ISSUE
     
    Photo credit: Liz Garza Williams Photographer,LLC

FOR BRIAN STRANGE, the complexities of running one of Texas’ most recognized catering companies comes down to one simple motto. "We help people celebrate. That’s what we do," says Strange, CEO of Don Strange of Texas Inc., a third-generation family-run business.

The company was founded in 1952 by Joe Strange, and operated by second-generation owner Don Strange until his death in 2009. Under Don’s tutelage, the company served notable customers like chef James Beard, hosted parties at the White House and became the caterer of choice for celebrities and locals alike. As his father’s successor, Brian Strange has elevated the company’s award-winning cuisine, expanded its service lines and added exclusive venue management.

"I officially started in August 1989, but I essentially grew up in the business," Strange says, with the exception of a post-college foray into sports marketing. "I decided pretty quickly [sports marketing] wasn’t nearly as fun as I thought it was going to be. But I took what I learned back to the family business."

Today, Strange is banking on a strong demand for wedding catering and, as corporate budgets bounce back, is prepared for a breakout year.

"Celebrating means something different for everyone," says Strange. "We’re an outsidein company, which means we do what the customer wants. We could literally do the same event for two different clients and have two different outcomes because their needs and wants are so different. One thing that never changes, though, is knowing it’s our job to make planners look good."

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better champion of Amarillo than Hope Stokes, director of brand management for the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle city, she graduated from nearby West Texas A&M University and her first job in the tourism industry was as an intern at the council. Stokes shared with us her love of her hometown.

What is your favorite thing about marketing Amarillo?

 

Texas is bursting with history.  Ever  wonder how the authenticity and legacy of those landmarks are maintained and upheld for everyone to enjoy? It’s thanks to individuals like Pamela Jary Rosser, Alamo conservator. A ninth generation Texan, Rosser was born in San Antonio and has a degree in fine arts and art history. She studied conservation in Italy with a team that worked on the Sistine Chapel, as well as Mission Concepcion and Mission San Jose. Rosser was kind enough to share her passion for history with us.

 

Gail Davis, founder and president of Dallas-based GDA Speakers, was working in corporate training for EDS when the phone rang. “One of my mentors called me and said, ‘There’s a position in the events department, and I think you should do it. It would be so easy for a working mom,’” says Davis, before adding wryly, “It was clearly someone who had never planned events.”