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Living Inside the Box

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By Lisa Harrison Rivas

Local entrepreneur aims to bring more shipping container homes to S.A.

It’s no secret that in San Antonio and much of the nation home prices are on the rise. Affordability is an issue in many communities, and this has led to thinking outside of the box when it comes to creating housing that is both affordable and appealing. The tiny house option is one way some are downsizing their living space as well as their debt. Shipping container homes are another unique dwelling option.

Though not a new concept, these homes are not common in the San Antonio area, but master designer Anya K. Bartay wants to change that. She has designed a house on the East Side using two shipping containers, and she also can incorporate several of the 40′ x 8′ containers to build a multi-level home that’s as big as a traditional house. The base price for a 2,000 square-foot home is around $220,000.

Her love of design and architecture began when she was a child. She spent part of her childhood in Panama and said that experience helped her appreciate the value of what we have in the United States.

She also credits her life in Panama with spurring the creation of Project N.O.A.H which stands for Net Zero Affordable Housing. Bartay stresses she is not designing government housing but housing that is affordable.

One of the homes she designed sits on the East Side and will become an Airbnb rental so that people can see what a shipping container home is like before they buy one. And soon, Bartay and her family will move into a container home she is building in Northeast San Antonio. It will be a model home she and her family will be living in for a year to provide data on how the house impacts the environment.

“We’re going to work with UTSA, CPS, Eco Central on monitoring all of the systems that are going to be implemented in that house. The solar, the rainwater collection to see how much is real, how much we use. To see how less of an impact we create with that house.”

Bartay recently discussed her plans to bring more shipping container homes to San Antonio.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I’m working on a partnership with a factory that is already building shipping container homes to facilitate my need for the construction and to help them with their need for sales. We do have a subdivision that we have in mind. The owners of that property (on the Southside) said they will give us the land and we will create a neighborhood.

Q: Why would someone choose to buy a shipping container home?

A:  The first thing is safety. The container is resistant to tornados, hurricanes, torrential winds. Lots of construction won’t withstand those different disasters.

Q: How do people react to your project?

A: When I give them a proper understanding of what container homes could look like, their reaction is wonderful.

Q:  How did you become interested in building shipping container homes?

A: What I did was start doing searches and finding out what would be acceptable to present to people I worked with who needed a little bit of financial assistance getting their architectural needs met. So, shipping containers came up.

Q: Have you talked to city officials?

A:  I have presented this to Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr., Senator Jose Menéndez, Neighborhood Housing Services of America and SAHA. And they’ve all agreed to using it.

Q: So how did you get training to build these homes?

A:  Once I had a nonprofit ask me about my designs, and then I got an investor. I looked up the details on YouTube and I put them into practice and started doing the work myself. I’ve been drawing it for years, so it’s just doing it now.

Q: Describe your style

A: I have 75 percent masonry on the outside and all the different means that everyone has for permanent housing. We are embedded into the foundation. And one of the biggest things is that we provide a thermal insulation coating and a rust-o proof coating for the container so that we avoid mold or any kind of disease.

Q: How much would a basic container home cost?

A: $110 a square foot (40-foot long containers are used). We have closing costs and money down assistance for an FHA or conventional loan.

Q: What type of foundation do the homes have?

A: We can do piers if you have elasticity in the soil. And you can do a regular slab on grade if you have nice solid bedrock.

Q: How long does it take to complete?

A: It should take no more than three months, but we’re going to be striving for one and a half. Most of the construction happens in one day. If it’s a custom, we’ll say three to six months.

Q: What are some of the things you can do to customize a container home?

A: Instead of sheetrock, you may want to use wood paneling, or put brick on the outside, or have an accent wall. You can do a lot of different variations of finishes.

Q: Do you help clients come up with a design?

A:  We try to help get the psychology behind the client’s needs and implement it into the design.


Lisa Harrison Rivas is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Don Johnson Realtors. If you are planning to buy or sell, feel free to contact her at 210-380-9006 or 
lhrivas@realsa.com

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Microsoft to Partner With Huge HBCU Hiring Event For Software and IT Professionals

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Nationwide — HBCU Connect and Microsoft have partnered to offer an amazing opportunity to  software engineering professionals. On February 13th, the two companies will host a special Recruitment and Networking Reception in Dallas, Texas for HBCU grads turned tech professionals interested in working for Microsoft.

At the event, participants will learn more about Microsoft and converse with Microsoft recruiters and hiring managers with the unique opportunity for candidates to land next day interviews on the 14th followed by same day job offers!

Event Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2020 – with next day interviews and offers on the 14th
Event Time: 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Event Location: Dallas, Texas – Exact location provided with confirmed registration

Microsoft has hundreds of openings for software engineers and technical program managers, so whether you are a coder or have progressed into program management with a background in software engineering, you really need to make it to this event! Microsoft offers a great work atmosphere, great pay and benefits, crazy room for advancement, and a progressive work environment.

The team behind the event is Microsoft “COSINE”, which stands for Core Operating System and Intelligent Edge technology. As a part of the Microsoft Cloud + AI division, the COSINE organization delivers technologies and solutions that establish the OS platform foundation across Microsoft’s everchanging product lines.

The COSINE organization within Microsoft would like to hire as many Software Engineers and Technical Program Managers as possible from the HBCU Connect hiring event. So, if you have experience developing code in C++, Java, C# or other modern programming languages, or you used to write code but now have years of experience as a program manager, you should register to attend this event.

While most of the opportunities will be at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA, Microsoft offers a very competitive salary and relocation package for potential employees. Microsoft also has a thriving community of Black professionals, many of which are part of their long-standing employee resource group called Blacks at Microsoft (BAM).

This is a very unique opportunity for software professionals to get their foot in the door at Microsoft.

How to register:
Space is limited! Submit your resume and contact information at www.hbcuconnect.com/resumes or email your resume to rsvp@hbcuconnect.com

Companies interested in discussing the execution of similar events, and/or leveraging HBCU Connect in support of their diversity hiring strategies, should contact us at events@hbcuconnect.com.

For individuals interested in attending future events hosted by HBCU Connect, register at www.hbcuconnect.com/resumes.

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Leader In Fostering Diversity

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TV ONE NAMED AMONG TOP COMPANIES FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR BY COUNTRY’S LEADING ORGANIZATION FOR DIVERSITY IN THE COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY 

TV One was recently named one of the Top Companies of 2019 for People of Color by the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), the premiere organization focusing on cultural diversity, equity and inclusions in the communications industry. As announced by NAMIC, TV One was among the top five programmers and is recognized as a leader in fostering diversity and inclusion in the cable and communications industry. The findings were gleaned from the 2019 NAMIC AIM Report which ranked the top five operators and top five programmers.  “It is an honor for TV One to be recognized by NAMIC as a leading company for diversity,” said TV One General Manager Michelle Rice. “We strongly believe diversity and inclusion are key business imperatives that cultivate a positive work environment for our employees to thrive. We will continue to invest and employ programs and strategies to retain and recruit both a dynamic and diverse workforce.”

Other top programmers ranked by NAMIC include AMC Networks, CBS Corporation, NBCUniversal and Revolt Media & TV; top operators include Altice USA, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications and Mediacom Communications Corporation. 

“Building a diverse talent pool not only is the right thing to do, but also is essential for driving bottom-line results,” said NAMIC President and CEO A. Shuanise Washington. “These 10 companies are leading the way in adopting successful diversity and inclusion strategies that ensure we embrace differences and more accurately reflect the representation of our industry stakeholders as well as today’s workforce.” 

Funded by the Walter Kaitz Foundation and conducted by Mercer, the survey captured organizational workforce demographics, diversity practices, non-traditional employee benefits, and other indicators of corporate commitment to diversity and inclusion. The survey also gathered information that enabled the creation of industry-wide Internal Labor Market (ILM) maps showing the workforce dynamics – hires, promotions, and exits – of people of color in the industry. Data is being used to determine the steps the industry needs to take over the next five years to recruit and retain diverse talent. 

Twenty-one organizations participated in the survey, which represents an estimated 75.5 percent of the cable and communications industry’s workforce. 

The full report is available at http://namic.com

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Black Man produces water out of thin air!

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