Gretchen Vance for Lakeway City Council
A note from Gretchen…
When I entered the training room on the first day of my first “real” job out of college, the words “Ladies & Gentleman serving Ladies & Gentleman” were written in bold black letters across the white board. This foundational value still resides in me just as it did when my journey as a management trainee with the Ritz Carlton had begun. As I grew as a person and as a business women I took on new tasks in convention services and meeting planning and after a few years I continued to grow my special event skills with Saks, Inc, the parent company to Sakes Fifth Avenue.
Taking a break from the business world to raise my children from newborns to kindergartners, I reentered the workforce in early 2000 as the Director of Sales and Marketing for our family’s Irrigation Firm, which at the time was one of the largest in south central Texas. Responsibilities included commercial contract negotiations with companies such as Walmart, Toyota, and major planned developments, government contracts, municipal permitting and managing a staff that included managers to tradesmen. In 2009, I continued my education becoming a TCEQ Licensed Irrigator (LI18220). This knowledge puts me in a unique position to understand water supply and safety, backflow and irrigation planning and requirements. After its sale in 2011, we moved to Lakeway to retire and ease into a more simple life. We soon discovered that “easy” isn’t always enjoyable and followed our entrepreneurial spirits with the opening of Aquafly in late 2011 on Lake Travis.
Aquafly was one of the premier Jetboarding and Jetpacking training facilities in the country, producing three World Champions, one of the most prolific show teams in the world, and many appearances in Hollywood Movies, TV Shows and America’s Got Talent. From this exposure grew a multitude of opportunities in show production, international events and water sport competitions. Clients included Wynn Resorts Las Vegas (Steve Wynn Pictured Above-Center), Under Armor, Red Bull, the governments of Turkministan, Dubai and Qatar, Nikki Beach Clubs, Savvy Entertainment, Sea World and many others. My husband and I sold Aquafly in 2018 just as another venture we created, Electric Avenue Acro, was starting to gain traction.
Electric Avenue Acro (EAA) is a passion project grown from my youngest daughter’s love of the sport. EAA, is the only dedicated Junior Olympics Acrobatics & Tumbling (A&T) gym in the nation. This USA Gymnastics Facility is home to the 2018 USA Gymnastics National Champions in both the Senior and Junior Division. Acrobatics and Tumbling is the fast growing sport in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and is a gateway for scholarships for women who want to be collegiate student athletes. After just one year in business we have grown to over 200 enrollments in various classes such as A&T, Little Ninjas, Tumbling and Cheer Prep. Heading up the gym’s marketing efforts, Public Relations and social media campaigns are a focus as well as all team travel planning. Dedicating my time and energy to helping these athletes grow, set and achieve goals and be the best versions of themselves is highly rewarding.
Ever since I was a child, watching my mom volunteer in the Officer’s Wives Club of the Air Force (Where my father served), the foundation was set for me to understand the importance of service. I crossed paths with many volunteer organizations over the years from Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Hands Across Atlanta, Egleston Children’s Hospital, Booster Clubs representing everything from Fine Arts, Robotics and Cheerleading. In the Lake Travis Area, my focus has been in the halls of our schools doing anything from making copies, organizing parties to most recently serving as the President Elect and as the President of Lake Travis’ largest booster organization, the Lake Travis Band Parents Association. In this capacity I was charged with overseeing all Vice Presidents who control fundraising, uniforms, meals, travel, concession stand fundraising, merchandise, etc. This organization serves over 400 parents and over 200 students in our High School. I currently serve on the board of the EKH Memorial Scholarship Committee, which besides granting scholarships to LTHS Football players, has outreach programs to engage and bring into the light mental health issues that face all our teens today.