All posts by Amy Jones

Going National with Halo and Gone Virtual

Going National with a Halo and Gone Virtual

Have you ever really taken a look at what the city of Lubbock offers as far as business opportunities? I’m not talking about looking for and finding a job for yourself. And I’m certainly not writing an advertisement for entry level marketers that allows you to make $500 per day if you work real hard. I’m actually just talking about what sort of cool businesses exist in this city. I’m always driving around and seeing new places that have popped up. I also drive around and see businesses popping down – going out of business. Most of the former and latter are local stores serving local wares to the members of this town. But then, every once in a while I’ll get introduced to a surprising a company that serves both local, regional and even national crowds. Just the other day I found one of these places and it blew my mind. I’ve lived in this city of Lubbock for 25 years and I’ve never known that this place existed (and it’s not a small mom and pop set-up). This place is a national force in a field I know very well and it has been under my nose for years – yet I’ve never experienced it. Anyway, I’ll introduce it to you using it’s website as a main source. Who knows? Maybe you will need to make use of their services.

Welcome to Halo Architects and its partner company Gone Virtual – They work together to make a difference in this world. In simple words, these are church architects who use various technological tools (3D animation and architectural visualizations) to help people see what a desired project is going to look like before one brick is laid. I used to work in the church biz myself and have been through several Church Capital Campaigns and I can say that having companies like these on your side is invaluable. Okay enough of me – Let’s get to a solid description for both firms –


Halo Architects, Inc. (and Gone Virtual) is a cutting edge architectural studio that specializes in the planning and design of contemporary, yet detail oriented facilities. The skilled designers at Halo have experience in numerous building types, including Religious, Retail, Education, Healthcare, Civic, and Institutional, and have managed projects ranging from small renovations of 3,000 square feet to large campus developments with multiple buildings totaling over 300,000 square feet.

Today, Halo is much more than a full service architectural design firm and offers our clients the most comprehensive portfolio of services in the building design and construction industry. With affiliations in capital campaign fund raising and capital campaign marketing and a growing network of strategic partners in building finance and construction, Halo has the ability to uniquely offer an all-inclusive service package to help reign in the lengthy process of planning, designing, communicating, marketing, financing, and building your vision for the future. Halo and its affiliated companies continue to be nationally recognized as authorities in applying cutting edge technologies for planning, communication, and design.


So what do you think of that? Can you believe they are in Lubbock? I was shocked. There are other businesses out there in Lubbock that serve customers nationally, but this is the only one I have found. Here’s to a deeper search…

Rush Neighborhood is nice

Rush Neighborhood

If you are looking for some really cool Lubbock homes for sale, Rush neighborhood is a definite place to search. Rush is a well-established luxury subdivision with large trees and well-developed landscapes.  It is located between 4th Street, 19th Street, Quaker Avenue and Toledo. A lot of doctors and professors have found this to be the best place to settle not only because it is near to Tech, LCU, UMC hospital and Covenant hospital but because it has some of the most beautiful homes in Lubbock. I could not afford to live in Rush but I would love to (The majority of homes are in the two hundred thousand to one million dollar price range).

I have had dinners with friends who live in Rush and I can tell you that both the exteriors and the interiors are stylish. These houses sprawl to give a lot of room for classy décor. You can tell that the original Lubbock architects must have had a clear vision in putting this neighborhood together. I recommend doing a walking tour of the entire Rush subdivision so you can get a real feel for its beauty.

Another nice thing about the Rush area is that it has two parks nearby that are lovely. Higginbotham Park has a mile jogging trail, playground, and a concrete basketball/volleyball court. As well, just down the road is a relatively new set of restaurants and a huge grocery store, which are convenient to the Rush crowd. That being said, neither of these create unnecessary traffic or crowding in Rush.

I highly recommend Rush if you can afford it and if you want to settle in an older neighborhood in Lubbock where character is valued above brand spanking new.  (You can take a virtual 3D animation tour of it online if you want to do that before checking into the neighborhood in person.)

3D Visualizations

3D Visualizations

Technology has come a long way in such a short time. And I think my favorite thing about its advances is in the area of visuals. I love enjoying movies that could never have been made without these advances. I especially try to pay attention to 3D animation that is used in every area from movies to TV to architectural renderings.

I have a buddy who is involved in architecture and he assures me that 3D animations have made his business explode. He says that when you can show people what their buildings are going to look like before a foundation is even laid. He does a lot of church capital campaigns – from church stage design all the way to full on expansions – and he says that there is usually a lot of pushback from the congregation – mainly because people don’t love paying more than their tithes and offerings for anything (And most people don’t even pay those.) But my buddy says that once his firm shows the people the cool 3D stuff, they are wowed. And my friend says that it’s this that moves most capital campaigns along. His business is very lucrative.

My main field is marketing and change agency. Basically I help to persuade people to adopt new innovations, ideas and philosophies. My architect buddy brings me in to be the point person on a lot of his projects because I’m good at getting late adopters and even laggards to pull their wallets out and give toward churches that are growing. Anyway, I have experienced that with all my influence and all my persuasion techniques that people want to see the 3D. It immediately moves people down the line. So I guess we are a good team, but I give most of the credit to the technology. Without it, I wouldn’t stand a chance of getting people to move all the way from a “No!” to a “Yes!”

I think my friend just pulls me into these projects because he wants to throw some business my way and I will take all I can get. I have other architects who don’t use the 3D visualizations to help their cause and who depend on just me and their leadership team to try to get everyone on the same train that is moving in the right direction. Let’s just say those projects are often disasters. I do my best to describe how the blueprints are going to be realized and I use action words to try to tell them how great this whole thing is going to be great for the future. But words don’t show anything. Words might tickle the imaginations of the crowd, but they don’t show them what is coming. People tend to be convinced if they are shown these animations.

Anyway, I wonder what technology will be able to do ten years from now – how will movies be? How will my buddies’ business be able to show off their projects? It seems to me that 3D might become 10D whatever that means…

Vintage Township Neighborhood

Another Lubbock neighborhood worth a look

A fairly new Lubbock neighborhood is known as Vintage Township and it is located at the intersection of 114th and Quaker. Vintage Township is a planned village type atmosphere that is reminiscent of the 1950’s. Their website says the following: “Vintage Township is characterized by wider, tree-lined sidewalks and traffic-calming streets to make it safer for everyone to get to work or play or just enjoy the neighborhood. They also promote a healthy lifestyle as it is common to see residents walking with their pets or to a local restaurant, shooting hoops or swimming with their kids, jogging in the neighborhood or carrying their kids off the playground in time for supper. Don’t be surprised if you see a bike or scooter near your house, too. They are everywhere as kids just feel safer in a place like this. Have more questions about Vintage Township? You’re not alone. It almost sounds too good to be true!

Other common amenities include parks within walking distance of homes, a resident pool and fire pit, and much more—again, many within walking distance. Essentially, we’re building a town within a town. We think you’ll be as excited about our future as we are.”

From this description the one thing that sticks out to me is “a town within a town” because it looks nothing like anything else in the city of Lubbock and it has definite charm found nowhere else. When I first heard about it and went to see it, I really wanted to live there. It seemed like a Dr. Seuss-built place where everyone could know everyone. It seemed to be built on a Disney-based theme where magic and friendliness would be found. My friends live there and say it is a great place to have children grow up because of the safety and communal atmosphere. I highly recommend this neighborhood. The Lubbock homes for sale here are beautiful.

Two drawbacks:

  1. The people who put together the original vision to expand the community much farther out ended “selling out” to other builders and this has been a major issue with the tenants of Vintage Township. Now houses built by other builders will come shoulder to shoulder with Vintage Township and this sort of wrecks the magic of being in your own town. Many of the people who live in this part of town feel cheated because what was promised to them has now been taken away.
  1. Even with this above issue, houses in Vintage Township are hard to come by. One might want to live here, but there are usually very few lots available. Supply does not equal demand.

Besides these issues, I do want to say that even if you search for other homes for sale in Lubbock and end up in a different neighborhood, you should definitely take a ride through this really cool looking “town.” I think you will love the look and feel.

Okay – another Lubbock neighborhood review will come in the next article.

Kelsey Park Neighborhood

Kelsey Park in Lubbock

Well, we continue our search for Lubbock homes for sale. Most specifically we are researching and reviewing different neighborhoods in Lubbock to give you house seekers out there some ideas as to where you want your dream house to be. It’s one thing to find a great house and it is altogether different to find that house in the right location (As the cliché goes: “Location, Location, Location.”) I’m trying to stay as unbiased as I can as I review the homes for sale in Lubbock because I don’t want to steer you into a neighborhood I like rather one that you would like. I’m just a hometown guy who hopefully can help you understand what areas in Lubbock are available and nice. From there, it’s on you. Still, feel free to comment about my reviews if you like and add what you think are the best neighborhoods for those moving to the Hub of the Plains.

So far, we have talked about Tech Terrace, Vintage Township and Lakeridge and I think I have given you fair pros and cons. Today this article will focus on my hood, known as Kelsey Park. Kelsey Park is located between Quaker Avenue and Indiana Avenue and from 130th street to 150th street. It is one the very newest neighborhoods in town. My wife and I moved into this Kelsey Park over one year ago and we have noticed it has gone through some major development. I would call this neighborhood mid to middle-upper class. There are some luxury apartments going up to our north and to our east. I can’t speak to what luxury means in this case, but I do know that they call them luxury. And I also know that as houses are being built all around us, many families who have moved to town are staying in really nice duplexes on 133rd street as they wait for their house to be built.

I’ve walked around quite a bit in this neighborhood and there is a really nice park nearby that has a lit running/walking track. As well, on my walks I have seen some of the already-built homes and I can only call them beautiful. From inside to out, these homes have been carefully planned. They are all modern and there is character to them. Also the neighbors seem to be nice and helpful. I got snowed into my garage and a guy who lives in the house behind me helped me shovel away snow and ice for an hour. Two days later I drove my car into a muddy ditch and could not get out. This is when I met another neighbor from down the street who hooked a chain to my bumper and pulled me out. (I know this is a limited sample size – the rest of my neighborhood might be full of sociopaths and thieves. But I doubt it.)

The drawback to Kelsey Park is that it is so new. There are loud noises from construction, nails all over the place (which my tires seem to always find), and not too many restaurants nearby. I know these issues will all soon be remedied as a Wal-Mart has opened near – Wal-Marts usually mean lots of other businesses will follow. I cannot say much else about the problems here because it hasn’t reached full-development. (It’s possible that a volcano will arise and erupt causing some negatives, but Lubbock is not known for those – more like 800 mph winds.)

Okay – That’s it for Kelsey Park. We will keep moving around town in future articles. Good luck with your house hunting.

Lakeridge Country Club Homes

Another Good Neighborhood in Lubbock

I’ll lead out by saying that there are myriad Lubbock homes for sale. And to be honest, it’s pretty hard to find a house in a terribly bad area. Lubbock is known for being a good place to raise families and is overall known as a warm and friendly place to be. If you can stand the occasional (like 360 days out of 365) gusts of orange dust whipping through the air, you have found an excellent place to land for a while. Still, in this article, I want to continue sharing the best and worst parts of specific areas in town so you can get the best home in Lubbock, Tx.

Today I want to focus on a country club setting known as Lakeridge. Lakeridge is basically found south of 82nd street to 98th street on the north. It also runs from Quaker Avenue on the east to Slide Avenue on the west. For a long time, Lakeridge was known as the place to be. It’s property costs were fairly high but with the country club atmosphere and steady gains in overall property values, a lot of wealthy people began buying their homes in this very nice neighborhood. This section of town was pretty much at the edge of the new Lubbock sprawl to the southwest and as a past Tennis pro who worked the courts of this golf and tennis club, I can attest that it was a gem. I always thought I would live in either Tech Terrace or Lakeridge because both had loads of character.

But then something happened. I’m not totally sure, but the rumor was that the ground underneath Lakeridge was cracking and as a result was causing foundational cracks in the houses of many of the houses there. I know I saw this cracking on the tennis courts as we had to resurface again and again. I also know that the golf course didn’t have good enough drainage and it was almost destroyed. Suddenly the premiere place to live in Lubbock was losing it’s stellar reputation.

Lakeridge has survived all of this mess and is back to being a good neighborhood, but the damage has been done for those who were in Lubbock as this mess was happening. As well, Lubbock kept growing far beyond Lakeridge’s once dominant location. (Lubbock has sprawled for five miles in all directions.) With new beautiful neighborhoods popping up to Lakeridge’s southwest, there were many more choices than Country Club land.

The one good thing about Lakeridge now is that you can still get a really nice home for much more reasonable prices. It also has some lovely homes for sale in Lubbock. It’s definitely a place to check out if you are in the market, but I just wanted you to know some of the background so you can make an informed decision.

Okay. That’s it for this article. I’ll be back to review another neighborhood in the next article.

Road Warrior – Day three

Day Three: Sheds and Knives

Today was Friday and I was able to recognize a lot of weariness in the clients I visited today. I get it – weekends are more fun than the regular work week – more freedom. I also felt like I was kind of going through the motions with my pitches, but whatever I was doing was working because we picked up another new client. That will please my bosses.

Landing this new client sort of kick-started my weekend and made me feel valuable and feeling valuable is on of my two favorite feelings in the world. Feeling valuable makes me feel worth – I know I am supposed to get that feeling from God, but sometimes I don’t. I guess I am just a bit of a people-pleaser and a little insecure – like most people I know.

When I got back to my Lubbock Corporate Housing spot, I took a shower and then checked on my nurse friends next door. They asked me to go to dinner with them at Texas Roadhouse – I said yes and that I would be waiting for them in the lobby. While I was in the lobby I grabbed a local newspaper and was perusing it when a fellow extrovert sat across from me and introduced himself as Tom. Tom was about 50 years old and his twang let me know he was from West Texas. As I put my paper down, Tom asked me what I did for a living. I responded “Sales and marketing.” Then I asked him what he did and he told me, “I am a professional storage shed buyer.” I asked him, “So like the guys on Storage Wars?” He nodded and just began to talk about his latest finds.

I could tell he was feeling the loneliness I had been feeling – he just wanted another human to talk to. And I was happy to lend a listening ear. He went on about last week’s find: “I bought a shed that was piled with your normal junk, but after I bought it, I discovered three suitcases in the back. Suitcases can always be interesting – especially locked ones. I pulled out my big flat head screwdriver and pried them open. Guess what was in them.”

I took a shot. “An original Declaration of Independence worth millions?”

He shook his head and went on. “I wish. No, but it was still interesting. This shed had been abandoned by a now dead accountant and inside these suitcases was old WW2 memorabilia – all kinds of things. One thing that stood out was an old dagger with a swastika at the top. I guess it was a prized weapon for the original owner. Some Nazi.”

As Tom was going on, my nurse friends came downstairs and I cut off my conversation with Tom by saying, “Tom I have to go but how long are you in Lubbock?” I stood up and we shook hands. He responded, “One more month.” I asked his phone number and he gave it to me so we could reconnect later on. “I’ll call you.” He said in closing, “Great Kevin. (I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself to you earlier) I’ll take you to one of the shed auctions with me some time.”

And that was that. I was off to my dinner with three very pretty nurses who were ready to use the weekend as a full on escape from their nursing duties. I might tell you more once I get back to my Lubbock Extended Stay bed. But for now, let’s leave it at that.

South Central Teaching Job and Panic Attacks

South Central Teaching Job and Panic Attacks

Teaching as a profession is hard no matter where you are working. I’ve taught in Private Christian Schools that were similar to Southcrest Christian School and I’ve taught in inner city Los Angeles at one of the most dangerous schools in the country. Both situations were hard because you have so much work to do during school time and so much work to do after school just to get ready for the coming day. Both types of schools require constant attention – Lesson plans, committee meetings, classroom discipline, parents, etc. I think teachers have the hardest job on the planet and I regret treating my teachers so badly when I was a youth. Besides that, teachers are severely underpaid and underappreciated.

With all the generalization behind us, I want to get specific about my time teaching 7th grade history at John Muir Middle School in South Central LA. It sucked. Let me tell you why it was so bad. First of all, when the school year got started, I had an average of 36 students per class with one actually having 45. There was no way I could get this many kids to pay attention especially when there were only 35 desks. That’s right. All the chairs filled with nine students either standing or sitting at my teacher’s desk. Secondly, there were no history books for the students. I had to lesson plan for them without them having the basic materials. It was silly. Third, some of the kids were violent and were always fighting or threatening to kill each other. Fourth, the students were disrespectful. I needed another teacher to just sit in the room and handle discipline. Fifth, if you sent the kids out to hall or to the principal, they would just leave the room and take off. Sixth, the principal told me that it was important not to send any kids to his office because he was dealing with much more serious issues. Seventh, they had to regularly lock the school down because of gang activity. One time, two guys with machine guns broke into the school and we had to hide under desks until they were captured. Eighth I found out that the teacher I was replacing had committed suicide by hanging himself in the classroom. Not a very encouraging place to be.


Needless to say, my work environment was horrible and I had panic attacks before almost all of my classes. I couldn’t eat because of the stress and I dropped down to 120 pounds. I cried hysterically every night when I got home and no matter my best attempts, I finally quit.


Here are my recommendations: Don’t be a teacher unless you are tough, resilient, willing to be treated poorly and thick-skinned. I salute every one of you teachers out there. You are superstars.



Change Agents for Capital Campaigns

Capital Campaigns and Change Agents

Most people do not like change. If people have been doing things one way and someone introduces a change that will force them to shift their behavior, there is typically push back. This degree of this push back is usually determined by how much change is required. I recall working at one church where leadership decided to set up a new model for committees and since this forced the staff and the congregation to radically change how they related to the system of church democracy, there was a near rebellion. I guess what I am getting at is that change does happen and often it needs to happen, but that does not mean this change will be easy. In fact, some changes, no matter how necessary and no matter how small, are not accepted. The naysayers win the day. All of this can be seen in every level of society and I think most of us have had to either introduce change or be asked to change.

And like everyone, I have been a jerk when someone tries to make me change a system if the current system is working. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it, right? If the change is going to cause me to learn a lot of new things that slow me down or asks me to alter my finances or my actions, I typically balk and join a little faction of other people who would rather overthrow the institution that goes the way of the change.

So. With that being said, I get to our topic of change today – Church Capital Campaigns. Church Capital Campaigns are attempts by a congregation to raise extra funds from their particular flock to either renovate a current part of the building, or to raise extra cash to pay for a whole new set of buildings. Both of these two ventures are introductions of change because people are asked to give more money and because the leadership usually forms its focus around this project. In other words, leaders shift their focus to get their congregants to get on board with the new change.

But, I have to say that any sort of change that tries to open wallets wider is the most difficult change to get people to accept. People tend to not like when churches are asking for any money from them much less asking them for even more money. Knowing this, a church that is trying to raise extra capital really needs to bring in experts who know how to introduce this most difficult change. These experts are called Change Agents.

Change Agents understand how to bring about the vision of new church design and shifts in architecture, slowly bringing the church members to buy-in. How do they do this?

More on that in the next article…

The Future is now!

For some individuals and businesses, there is a gap between now and the possibilities of the future.  But for some people, the future is now and it is pretty impressive.  I always think of Apple and Google being at the front and center of this global trend setting and futurist thinking.  They take people’s imaginations of what things could be like and they blow right past these imaginations providing goods and services that have dominated market shares everywhere.  What used to be dreams are now cutting edge technologies which help people do what they wan to do and get to where they want to go.

Recently I was invited to see two of these business types for myself – Two companies who work together in the field of architecture and 3D animation to help other businesses flourish.  These businesses, Halo Architects and Gone Virtual, are located in West Texas but do most of their work for people all over the nation.  They believe art and vision to be the driving forces behind their projects and they’ve done such a good job at everything from church design to large retail design.

Speaking with the owner and chief innovator, I was reminded of a nicer Steve Jobs who not only builds great businesses, but who sees miles ahead of his competitors.  To be honest, I could not believe that these two businesses were not located in New York or in Silicon Valley.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout out to him and his team for doing such an excellent job and for pushing architecture and 3D virtual designs into the future; for not stagnating or plateauing as so many other firms do.  I have a lot of respect for leaders who know how to lead now and who also can lead their teams into the future.  I hope I can do the same sooner rather than later…