• Meet Tom Schmid, Expanding the Possibilities

    FROM THE Fall 2017 ISSUE
    Texas State Aquarium CEO welcomes group and corporate events.

The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi has completed a $58 million, 71,000-square-foot expansion that features a new exhibit, Caribbean Journey. Now double in size, the aquarium cares for more than 4,000 animals representing more than 350 species; it also treats approximately 350 injured animals annually through its Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program.

“This substantial expansion transforms the aquarium experience into a highly interactive, educational and action-packed adventure that is a must for marine life enthusiasts of all ages,” says Texas State Aquarium President and CEO Tom Schmid. 

Born in Miami, Schmid grew up in South Florida and received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stetson University, and a master’s degree from the University of Central Florida. Prior to coming to the aquarium, Schmid served as the director of operations for the National Maritime Center in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1996, he moved with his wife Kim to Corpus Christi, where he was hired at the aquarium and moved steadily up its ranks, accepting his current position in 1999. 

The Texas State Aquarium expansion has ushered in new options for group and corporate events. Guests can experience the built-in entertainment of 330 species of aquatic life in the aquarium’s Under Water Dolphin Bay Room, Islands of Steel and Flower Gardens exhibits while enjoying food stations along the way. 

Plus, says Schmid, planners can make sure guests are entertained with an array of animal shows or interactive experiences, like going behind the scenes to see above the aquarium’s 125,000-gallon shark exhibit. The Texas State Aquarium can be rented as a whole in the evening for up to 3,000 nonseated and up to 450 seated guests. Smaller groups can rent the Dolphin Bay Underwater Room for an evening, which accommodates 100 nonseated and 75 seated guests. Daytime group rentals are available for the CITGO Skyline Venue, which offers 500-plus seats. 

If there is a better hair-of-the-dog drink than a bloody mary, we sure don’t know what it is. Visit Beaumont shared its recipe for a tasty Sunday brunch cocktail, and they even made it for eight, so you can treat your friends!


Born and raised in Bryan, about 90 miles east of Village of Salado, Chadley Hollas, Village of Salado’s director of tourism, says he came to the town with one goal: to help Salado become Texas’ best small destination. His favorite thing about his adopted hometown is the people. “They are quirky, creative and hospitable—a neat combination that makes for many good conversations,” says Hollas.


Question: What is your one must-have for business travel?

"My Mophie power station so I don’t have to compete for outlets during a flight delay or have that awkward moment of leaning into my neighbor’s lap while trying to find an outlet on the plane."

India Rhodes, CSEP Dallas Partner | Wilkinson Rhodes