epic software Donates Creativity for Big Brothers Big Sisters Website

The Woodlands Texas, August 10, 1996 - When the Big Brothers Big Sisters branch serving North Harris and Montgomery counties needed a new Web site, they knew exactly where to go. "William Vaughan, one of our Big Brothers, is the creative director of the epic software group, a premier web development company located in The Woodlands,'" said Diana Garbis, BBBS ranch director. ''William took one look at our old site and said 'I think we can make it a little better,' "Garbis said. "That was certainly an understatement. Within two weeks, William and his team created a site for us that is truly world class."

To get the site built, Vaughan encouraged the artists, animators and programmers at epic to donate their time to this cause."I had a feeling if they met my little Brother; they might better understand the organization," Vaughan said So Vaughan brought Patrick, 11, by the epic shop on a Saturday to meet some of the developers. "We played video games and went out for pizza. We really got to know him and he is quite a kid," said Robert E. Bailey, the lead programmer at epic. Vaughan's co-workers admit that his ploy worked wonders. In fact, Bailey put his programmers to work on the site that very day. The team gathered photographs, created new graphics, and wrote and collected copy.

"The Big Brothers Big Sisters national organization is approaching its l00-year anniversary, and we wanted to make the new site really special," Vaughan said. ''The site highlights the organization's history and provided a visitor with information on volunteer activities. Yet the children are the real heroes." Once the site was built the next hurdle was to find a place to host it. "We had been hearing a lot of good things about The Woodlands Electronic Village, a service provider, so I called Michael Busby, the owner, and asked if he could donate some server space. Without hesitation, Mr. Busby said 'of course,' and the site went live in mid-September," Bailey said.

The value of epic"s in-kind contributions for development and regular updates will be $17,500 for the year. The new BBBS website is at www.thewoodlandstx.com/bbbs. "The way that people, including potential volunteers and donors, access information has changed dramatically,"; Garbis said. "So it was vital that our branch be able to keep pace and integrate an interactive website and e-mail into our communications plan for recruitment of volunteers and sponsors. ''Thanks to epic, we are prepared with a web site that loads quickly, features stunning photos, is easy to navigate, provides tons of information, links to other relevant sites, offers opportunities for interaction and provides free screensaver and wallpaper downloads," Garbis said.

The epic software group is a 10 year-old multimedia production company located in The Woodlands. The 10 artists, animators, programmers and support staff who work in the company create interactive electronic catalogs, multimedia presentations, 3D graphics and animated short features. Epic's most recent work can be seen in the "Happy & Max" series of children's books published by Jamsa Press. The 3D illustrations in the books were created by epic and each book includes a CD-ROM with games developed by the company. The company is now building a 3D-animation studio on Sawdust Road, which should open in early December.

To learn more about BBBS volunteer opportunities,
call toll-free 1-888-844-6289, Ext. 243, or e-mail: ToBeaBigaol.com. BBBS of North Harris and Montgomery counties is a branch office of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston.

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