Lake Houston Area

Lake Houston Area

Pines Montessori School, JLA Realty, Chick-fil-A Wilson/Beltway 8 announced as winners of inaugural Pinnacle Business Awards

HUMBLE, TX— Lake Houston Area business professionals and community members convened at The Overlook on Tuesday, July 23 for the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Pinnacle Business Awards presented by Insperity to celebrate the winners of small, large and franchise business of the year.

The winner of the Small Business of the Year award was Pines Montessori School. JC Sports was also a finalist.

Since opening in 1977, Pines Montessori School has sought to foster competent, responsible, adaptive citizens who are life-long learners and problem solvers. In recent years, they’ve purchased new buildings, renovated old buildings, and completed a commercial kitchen where they use food from their garden to prepare nutritious and fresh foods for their students. They focus on “growing up” their next generation of employees by promoting from part to full time and investing in training and Montessori credentialing to provide opportunities to become lead teachers. Their family retention rate is 94% while enrollment has grown by 15% from 2015-2019. In January they earned accreditation from the International Montessori Council, an honor only 10 other schools in the world have obtained.

The winner of the Large Business of the Year award was JLA Realty. Amber Green Corporation/Abby’s Catering was also a finalist.

JLA Realty was established on 2011 by John Altic, though their first office did not open until 2014 with 22 agents. Now, they currently have 15 offices across the Houston area and more than 870 agents. Their closed transactions grow by $100 million each year. Each month, they offer more than 45 trainings, “boot camps” and the new “JLA University” for their agents to strengthen their skills. This company truly invests in its community through their own non-profit, JLA CAN (Caring About Neighbors), and their agents donate to this non-profit on every closing. They also support other local organizations and partnered with Rebuild Houston after Hurricane Harvey.
The winner of the Franchise Business of the Year award was Chick-fil-A Wilson/Beltway 8. Service Master Restoration & Cleaning was also a finalist.

Known for exemplary customer service, Chick-fil-A Wilson/Beltway 8 strives to set the bar as high as it can go to differentiate themselves from other area Chick-fil-A restaurants. Since opening in 2008, Duane and Erica Johnston have experienced steady financial growth as well as employment growth bringing them to a current headcount of 70 employees. They’ve grown their leadership team from 4 to 17 people and invest in their leaders who help tackle the demand of the daily business. As the Johnston’s budget $2,000-$3,000 each month in food donations as well as additional funding to support local charities and non-profits, their support of the community is felt throughout the Lake Houston Area.
More than 20 Lake Houston Area businesses were nominated for these awards. A panel of Lake Houston Area business and community leaders chose the finalists and winners for each category.

The qualifications to be chosen for these awards included:
1. Nominee must be an active business located or operating in the Lake Houston Area.
2. Nominee must have been in business for at least 5 years.
3. Nominee must have demonstrated the following characteristics:
     - Shows financial growth for past 3-5 years
     - Demonstrates economic support of the Lake Houston Area business community
     - Exceptional growth through additional creation of jobs
     - Innovative products or services
     - Provides exemplary customer service
     - Volunteers in the Lake Houston Area community

Lauren Leal, co-host for Houston Sports Show on KPRC Channel 2 and sports and feature reporter at NTV Houston emceed the event.

The Platinum Sponsor for the luncheon was U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady; the Awards Sponsor was Main Event Entertainment; Gold Sponsors were CommunityBank of Texas, N.A. and The Observer Newspapers; and the Silver Sponsors were Minuteman Press of Humble and Plains State Bank.

For more information about nominations for next year’s Pinnacle Business Awards, contact Christina O’Dell at or call the Chamber at (281) 446-2128.


About the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce: The Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization of professional business men and women who have joined together for the purpose of promoting the civic and commercial progress of the Lake Houston Area. The Chamber is the organized voice for the quality of life and business related issues at the local, state and federal level of government and is the front door to our community for tourism and business relocation information. The Lake Houston Area Chamber is comprised of 1,100 members and serves Atascocita, Fall Creek, Humble, Kingwood, Summerwood and portions of East Montgomery County.