Cypress Men of Distinction

Inspirational men making a big impact in our community

Article by Laura SanchezQuan

Photography by Shannon Raske

Originally published in Cypress Lifestyle

In this year’s Men of Distinction, we gathered a group of outstanding men in Cypress who are giving back, making a difference, and leaving a legacy; in their families, their businesses, and the community they serve as a whole.

Carlos Orozco

P.E. Teacher, CFISD & Owner, Manners Respect Athletics, LLC.

Share a brief biography about yourself.

Born in California, and raised in Texas, I attended Cy-Falls High School and graduated from the University of Houston. I am passionate about helping others unlock their confidence and enjoy everything about health and fitness.

What are your greatest personal & professional achievements?

My greatest personal achievement is marrying my best friend, Danielle. She has given me the greatest gift by allowing me to be myself and accepting me unconditionally. She is the greatest mom and stepmom to our three daughters. Professionally, I am honored to have been awarded Teacher of the Year in the 2021-2022 school year.

Who inspires you most, and why?

To this day I am still inspired by my mother. She taught me how to overcome adversity. A single mother and cancer survivor; a woman who led by example with relentless consistency. 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help; don’t suffer in silence. Growing up without my biological father gave me a false sense of pride. I thought I had to figure everything out on my own. I have been blessed with positive male role models throughout my life, and I want to pass that on to the next generation.

What inspired you to start your Manners Respect Athletics? 

I started MRA because I want to create a culture of students who think good sportsmanship is cool and to normalize respecting your peers and teachers. MRA focuses on teaching age-appropriate manners and etiquette to boys aged 7-12. I hope to create a generation of boys that breaks all the stereotypes of this generation.

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

I’m in a very unique situation as the P.E. teacher. I can have every student in the entire school spend time in my classroom. I view every interaction with each student as an investment, an opportunity to support their growth and development.

Twitter: @CoachCarlos_21 | Facebook.com/MannersRespectAthletics | Manners.Respect.Athletics@gmail.com

Robert Oncken

Agency Principal & Owner, Oncken Insurance Agency

Share a brief biography about yourself.

I was born and raised in the Houston area, I have a wonderful wife (best blind date ever) and two amazing daughters who grew up in the Cypress area. I graduated from Texas A&M University, but I’m an equal-opportunity-tuition-payer; I’ve got both a Longhorn-daughter and an Aggie-daughter who each make me immensely proud.

What is your philosophy on life? 

Everyone needs help from time to time.  If you can truly help someone, do it.

What is the professional accomplishment you’re most proud of?

Running a small business is every bit as rewarding…and difficult…as I imagined.  The growth and development of the employees that have worked with me through the years is what brings me the most professional satisfaction.

Who inspires you most, and why?

My father. He was and is the best man I’ve ever known. Whenever I wonder what I should do, he is who I think about.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

It doesn’t last forever. Take pride in what you do. And enjoy the struggle. Looking back, it’s what you’ll remember fondly.

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

Honestly, just by stepping away from the office (and the phone and the computer) and getting involved.  Stepping away is the hardest thing to figure out when you’re running a business, but, when you put yourself out into the community, you will find ways to help, mentor, or give.


Brian Sandel

Owner, Creekwood Grill

Share a brief biography about yourself.

Married for 33 years, my wife Alli and I have two beautiful grown daughters, and two, soon-to-be three, awesome grandkids! I have been in the hospitality industry since 1984, and in restaurants since 1990. I've spent time with many favorites over the years like Macaroni Grill, Pei Wei, Yard House, and Raising Cane's before opening Creekwood Grill. 

What is your philosophy on life? 

No matter what situation you find yourself in, remember there is always a bigger picture than anything we can see. 

What is the professional accomplishment you’re most proud of?

The success of Creekwood Grill is definitely my greatest professional achievement!

Who inspires you most, and why?

My wife Alli is battling breast cancer right now and her attitude is amazing. She is totally trusting that God is in control and that he will find great work to do through her and her fight. She is the strongest person I know and my biggest inspiration. 

What inspired you to open Creekwood Grill?

Growing up, from the time I was very young, I only remember my father ever having one "job." After that, he always had his own business. Watching him work for himself his entire life inspired me to want to do the same. 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

It would be difficult to say what my one favorite way to support the community would be. The intertwining of the school district, the business community, and the faith community in the greater Cypress area creates a dynamic that is simply amazing. 


Robert Webre 

Owner, Silverback Self Defense

Share a brief biography about yourself.

I have lived in Houston for 30 years, but I’m Cajun at heart, born and raised in New Orleans. I’ve been married to my wife, Valerie for 29 years this year and we have four awesome children and three grandchildren.

What are your greatest personal and professional achievements?

I am most proud of being a husband, father, and grandfather. As a competitor, one of my greatest accomplishments is the two bronze medals I won at the International Championship TaeKwon-Do tournaments in Seoul, South Korea in 2010 and in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2018. Professionally, I’m very proud of our martial arts school, Cypress Martial Arts and Fitness; a mainstay in the Cypress community for 20 years. 

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

I didn’t learn this until I was in my mid-30s–when I made the shift from the corporate world to focusing on martial arts training full time–life is too short not to do what you're passionate about. One of my favorite quotes is by Doctor Ivan Meisner, “Spend time in your fire and not in your wax.” 

What inspired you to start your business?

I was bullied as a child and that’s what led me to martial arts; it taught me discipline and confidence, and teaching that to my students is my biggest goal. The growth that happens as someone learns how to defend themselves empowers them in so many ways. 

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

I truly love teaching, training, and sharing my passion for self-defense with people. We do a lot of events for corporations throughout Houston but some of my favorites are always when we do MOPS groups, NCL groups, and Girl Scout troops in our own community. 

Silverback-SelfDefense.com | SilverbackProtectionProducts.com

Daniel Arizpe

Community Advocate & Photographer, Apollo Productions

Share a brief biography about yourself.

Native to Cy-Fair, I'm a photographer specializing in special event photography with a background in public relations and communications. I’ve enjoyed a decade of public service as a Volunteer Firefighter with the Cy-Fair Fire Department, and I’m honored to serve as a Board Member for Cy-Fair Helpings Hands, Reach Unlimited, and other local organizations.

What is the professional accomplishment you’re most proud of?

As a leader of Cy-Fair Fire Department's public relations team, one of my most rewarding experiences was guiding our communications during Winter Storm Uri, a statewide natural disaster in 2021. Our ability to effectively communicate during that crisis yielded national media recognition.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Instead of focusing only on yourself, invest in the lives of others. When you put others first, you’ll find your problems will become less significant. Enjoy the journey and live with intention, purpose, and gratitude.

What inspired you to pursue photography professionally?

I’ve always loved how a well-taken photo conveys emotions and tells a story in a way that words sometimes can’t. As my skills and confidence grew, it became evident that photography is more than just a hobby - it’s a calling. Photography is not only my passion but also my profession!

What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

Volunteering as a mentor to students through the CFISD Mentor Program has been the most fulfilling way of giving back to the community. My goal is to be a role model and a supporter and to encourage the students I’m honored to mentor.

Twitter: @DanielArizpe  | Instagram: @Arizpephoto | Facebook.com/Arizpe12

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