Whether you grew up here and never left, returned after a stint elsewhere, or found it by luck or research, the Highland Lakes means heart and home.
Julie Robison of Burnet
General manager of five local Subway restaurants
Julie Robison has been serving some of the same Subway customers since she was 16 years old and making sandwiches at the downtown Marble Falls location. It was the Burnet High School student’s first job, which she got to pay the expenses of a car she received for her birthday.
At 40, she is general manager of five area locations. Once shy, she is now well-known as a gregarious personality who loves her customers as much as she loves living in the Highland Lakes.
Her husband, Michael Robison, is a Burnet newcomer, although the two have been married 18 years. They met while he was serving in the U.S. Army in Fort Hood.
“I said, ‘If you want to be with me, you have to stay here,’” she said. By “here” she meant Burnet, as she lived in Bertram at the time. “I moved up to Burnet when we got married,” she added. “The big city.”
The couple has three daughters: 12-year-old Sydney, 10-year-old Gabby, and 5-year-old Rebeca.
Her goals are to build a bigger house, send her kids to college, stay healthy, and “keep doing what I’m doing.”
“I love it here,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere else.”
Joe Uvalde and Lily Flores of Marble Falls
Siblings and H-E-B employees
What began as after-school jobs became careers for Joe Uvalde and his sister, Lily Flores. The two started as baggers at the H-E-B grocery store in Marble Falls.
Lily, 45, has worked there for 28 years. She found her calling as a bilingual clerk in the pharmacy and became a certified pharmacy technician.
Joe, 42, has worked at H-E-B for 24 years. He manages the healthy living department, where he enjoys helping customers find what they need.
Joe summed up why he and his sister have stayed in the Highland Lakes and at H-E-B.
“This is a job that fulfills my purpose of serving others in a way that can change their lives,” Joe said. “H-E-B has always had the right culture for me: taking care of families and taking care of partners. That’s what we’re called, partners. We’re all owners; we’re all part of maintaining the good relationships we have with our customers.”
Both are the proud parents of six children each and say they are blessed to work where they can make a difference.
“I’m rooted to H-E-B,” Lily said. “It’s my H-E-B.”
Cory and Kelsie Warner of Burnet
Coach and teacher at Burnet High School
Burnet High School graduates and sweethearts Kelsie and Cory Warner didn’t have to search far to find their ideal quality of life. They experienced it growing up in Bertram and Burnet, they said, surrounded by the people they love in a place that’s about achievement.
“You know the kinds of kids that were coming through here,” Cory said of his years as a Burnet Bulldog. “You know Burnet always is going to be successful.”
A 2008 graduate, Cory was part of the Burnet football program that became a state powerhouse. Kelsie, who graduated in 2010, led the hurrahs as a member of the cheerleading squad. They both graduated from Tarleton State University and then worked at four different school districts before landing jobs at Burnet Consolidated Independent School District two years ago.
Cory is a teacher and coach at Burnet High School; Kelsie teaches at R.J. Elementary School. The couple have three children: 5-year-old Cohen, 3-year-old Piper, and 1-year-old Champ. They plan to stay in Burnet.
“Every year (since graduation), we tried to come back,” Kelsie said of their prior career moves. “That was the whole goal. We love it.”
Katie Jung of Marble Falls
Veterinarian at Highland Lakes Veterinary Clinic
As a child, Katie Jung often went on patient calls with her parents, veterinarians Margaret and Donald Jung. After graduating from Faith Academy of Marble Falls in 2009, she traced their steps to Texas A&M University in College Station, where they all earned veterinarian degrees.
After a first job at a mixed animal practice in Clifton, she returned home in December 2018 to work in the family business. She couldn’t fully appreciate her parents’ clinic in Marble Falls until she worked for someone else, she said.
“I feel like I had a blessed childhood,” she said. “I got to see more directly the organized way my dad ran the practice.”
The toughest part of her job is finding cost-effective ways to treat a a diagnosis. Her parents taught her the importance of showing compassion for both patient and pet owner.
“Everybody is doing the best they can for the pet,” she said. “Pets are such an important part of people’s lives.”
Katie is enjoying her return to home turf.
“It’s been good for me, both personally and professionally,” she said.
MADE A HOME
Calvin Richard of Marble Falls
Owner of Verus Strength & Fitness
Calvin Richard (pronounced re-shard) was working as the fitness manager at Horseshoe Bay Resort when a friend asked him for weight-loss help. In response, Richard developed a two-day-a-week boot camp. His friend spread the word, and a group formed.
Three months later, Richard opened Verus Strength & Fitness at 708 Industrial Blvd. in Marble Falls.
Richard moved from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He and wife Courtnaye stayed because “we believed this is where God wanted us to start over.”
“Once we were in the Hill Country for a few months, we fell in love,” he said.
The 44-year-old fitness guru has 24 years’ experience in sports medicine. He trains in teams with gym hours starting at 5 a.m. His fitness plan includes attention to emotional health as well as physical.
“Have faith in God and self and have the courage to accept the challenges that life brings,” he said. “Somebody in your exact same situation is making it happen. I see people transform themselves: their self-worth, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.”
Kelly Walne of Marble Falls
Attorney with Sutliff & Stout, Injury & Accident Law Firm
As a full-time single father, Kelly Walne, 38, found living in Houston with its grueling commutes was cheating him of quality time with his 7-year-old son, Jackson.
“I needed to simplify,” he said.
At the time, Walne was a commercial lawyer in a large firm. Four years ago, he moved to Marble Falls, where he opened his own practice and started networking. About 18 months later, he joined Sutliff & Stout as the firm’s only local personal injury lawyer.
Currently president of the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce and the committee chair of YoungLife, he has also served on the board of the Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center and volunteered in the annual Back-to-School Blast. He and Jackson are active members of Lake Shores Church.
Why he loves Marble Falls can be summed up by the way people wave, Kelly said.
“Here, you get these honest waves from people, like they are saying, ‘How are you?’” he said. “Marble Falls is a great place to live.”