Category Archives: Chamber News

Business You Should Know – LEO RODRIGUEZ, STATE FARM INSURANCE

Here to Help Life Go Right! It is always amazing to me how life leads people to where they are supposed to go. Take Leo Rodriguez, State Farm Insurance Agent, for example. Growing up in Edinburg, he loved being outside. “We had such innocent fun back then,” he chuckled. “We’d go out and play baseball, touch football and climb trees. Every now and then we would try to get into mischief.” Graduating from Edinburg High School, he went to UTPanAm to follow his aspirations of becoming a doctor. When he graduated, his life changed when he was asked to be on the ground floor of what is now called the Learning Assistance Center, a program designed to help disadvantaged students get on an even playing field. Then, after seven years he received a call from an Agency Manager with State Farm. “He specifically told me, ‘This is not a job.…

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Show Me Your Scars

I recently sat through a seminar on how to relate to the millennials at work and how to engage them in meaningful work and fulfillment. Half-way through the presentation, I began to feel that I had become more like my father and that I now carried his attitudes toward younger workers. Don’t get me wrong; I love what Millennials bring to the workplace with their excitement, social media savvy and the ability to work in teams or as part of bigger groups. I can also see some of my own attitudes, when I was in my twenties, in this generation. They have a sense of being in a hurry and thinking experience is overrated, just like I did at that age. In the seminar, it was even suggested we, older workers, could be mentored by the Millennials. But I return to that classic line I was told in my twenties,…

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

http://mcallen.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Baseball-Video_FB-720_V3-1-1.mp4 The McAllen Chamber of Commerce and McAllen Convention Visitors Bureau are proud to announce that this year’s Cecil Fielder New Years Invitational baseball tournament was a huge success. The event, which took place in mid-January brought over 60 teams from all throughout Texas as well as several international teams from Mexico. We’re also ecstatic about McAllen hosting the 2018 Cecil Fielder Texas State Championships at our newly developed 12-field baseball complex. The state tournament is set to take place from April 21-22nd and will bring in anywhere from 80 to 100 teams. Registration space is still available. We hope our Chamber members and local business owners are ready for the crowds! With 14 sporting events bringing in over $3.3 million to the local economy in 2017, we know this year is going to be even better. McAllen. Great place. Great sports. Great people.

Some Words of Encouragement

The economic and political climate today can cause a person to stop and wonder: “What is going on?” Uncertainty and a sense of chaos can be destabilizing, at so many different levels, for a person. Psychologists have found that when a person believes things or situations are out of a person’s control, there is increased stress, anxiety, angst, worry and all the other symptoms that come with uncertainty. Here are some words of encouragement. One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t tell me worrying doesn’t work, 90% of the stuff I worry about never happens.” Our community and our region are primed to achieve unprecedented growth and opportunity. We have so many good things working in our favor, but we sometimes overlook them because of all the negative rhetoric coming out of Washington and Austin. So here are a few facts that I hope you will find encouraging: The median…

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New Year, New Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Did you promise yourself that 2018 will be the year that you stick to all of your New Year’s resolutions and finally get into the best shape of your life? You are not alone. The health and wellness industry is big business in McAllen and around the globe. Current projections indicate continued growth over the next few years. One of the leading nonprofit research and education resource centers for the wellness industry, the Global Wellness Institute, has commissioned multiple landmark studies that have found some truly intriguing business statistics including: The global wellness industry was a $3.7 trillion market in 2015. The industry grew by 10.6% between 2013 to 2015. The healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss sector accounted for $646 billion. The fitness and mind-body sector stood at $542 billion. Preventive and personalized medicine, as well as public health, stood at $534 billion. 1 2 3 4 5 6…

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Customer Service and “Add-on Sales”

Over the years, I have written about the importance of customers to a business. A business wants to keep their customers and they want them coming back on a regular basis. A business works hard to gain a customer and if a business will do the “right things” for their customers, the business is building the foundation for long-term success. Getting a customer is expensive. I am always surprised by all the great lengths and expenses business go through to get a customer to walk into their store or business, and then the business drops the ball on customer service and/or miss out on a “add-on” sales opportunity. You want to make it easy for your customer to do business with you. For small businesses to survive against the big box stores and online competition, they must deliver a customer experience that the customer cannot get from a big box…

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Job Opportunity: CVB Sales Manager

Are you ready to take on the invigorating challenges of marketing one of the fastest growing, vibrant, international communities in Texas? The McAllen Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes visitor-related activities, facilities, and events in a dynamic region that sees tens of thousands of visitors annually. We’re looking for an experienced, capable, and dynamic individual to join our team today! McAllen Chamber of Commerce Job Description Position: CVB Sales Manager, Visit McAllen Reports to: VP and Director, Visit McAllen Minimum Education/Experience Requirements: College degree preferred Two years of experience in hospitality, customer-facing, account management, or event sales Knowledge of relevant computer applications Knowledge of principles and practices of sales including negotiation, influencing ability, and sales training Knowledge of customer service principles Knowledge of basic business principles Experience in making presentations Proven ability to achieve sales targets by overcoming objections Any work related experience resulting in acceptable proficiency levels is an acceptable…

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Great Leaders Protect and Develop

Great leaders are always looking out for the people they lead. It is easy to spot the poor leader in an organization or business because everything is about the leader. You see it in the “gold parachutes” that executives have when the company is sold, or when a merger takes place. The key executives are taken care of beyond anything that is reasonable, and the rest of the company employees are left to see their benefits cut and layoffs. It is no wonder there is such a frustration sometimes toward businesses. It appears the most basic contract of trust and protection is broken. The top people get all the benefits, while the rank and file suffer. The great leaders look out for everyone in the business or organization. They are willing to give things up for the good of the whole group. The great leaders spend their time building and…

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Ambassador of the Year and the GAC Meeting

Every year we honor the Ambassador of the Year. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors play such a huge role in the success of the Chamber at so many different levels. The Ambassadors are really our “boots on the ground” and do such a fantastic job of connecting and welcoming new Chamber members and representing the business community to newcomers and existing businesses that are developing and reaching new markets. There are over 100 active ambassadors with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and they come from every business sector you can imagine. The ambassadors are the folks in the blue coats that show up to “make a difference.” The ambassadors take time out of their schedules to connect and welcome new businesses. They also are developing an extensive network of business contacts that enhances their networks. To earn the Blue Coat, an ambassador must bring in over $2,000 in new…

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Dollar General vs. Amazon

“Amazon and the internet are putting me out of business!” claimed a local small business owner. I listened as this small business owner lamented the current retail climate and the future. I had heard this refrain before, when Walmart was expanding at an exponential clip in the 1980s and 1990s and changing the retail landscape. The reality is that no one factor forces a small business owner out of business. What Amazon and the big box retailers are doing is giving customers a choice. Your customers will not put you out of business, as long as you are their best choice. The successful small retail business understands what it means to compete against an Amazon or a “category killer”. The one key trait that I see over and over again in the successful small business is the willingness to change. John Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And…

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What Retail Looks Like in the Next Ten Years

Last week I wrote about the success of Dollar General as they compete in the digital era. The company serves the poorest areas with small markets and declining population mix. On paper, the company should be a failure, but for the last 27 years they have been profitable and are expanding faster than any other retail store in the country. First, Dollar General has a relentless focus on controlling costs and enhancing efficiency. Second, they understand their customer and what they want and how they want it packaged and at what price. “The internet is going to kill retail” is a constant refrain I have heard the last several years. However, it is important to remember that internet sales are only 11% of the total retail market. The percentage is growing, but brick and mortar retail is not going to go away anytime soon. But the world is changing and…

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THE 2017 McALLEN INNOVATION GRANT AWARD WINNERS

Each year the McAllen Chamber’s Innovation Grant program attracts participants who put their creativity and dreams in the hands of the judges. “The program was created by the Chamber to develop a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem and to stimulate innovation in the McAllen area,” Director of Business Development Jorge Sanchez, said. Here are the six 2017 Innovation Grant winners. Ranvu Grocery Delivery App makes life easier for the busy families of the Valley. By downloading this app to a smart phone, people can select their grocery store of choice and create and order their list of food and supplies. The items will be delivered to them within two hours. Gloria Ordaz and her husband Dorance Cuba were in France working on a master’s program in International Business Management. For six months they researched the idea and future of e-commerce. When she read about the grocery delivery business, Gloria felt the time…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – OMAR QUINTANILLA

Omar Quintanilla Vice-President, Frost Bank, City of McAllen Commissioner District 3 With his degree in Finance, Omar Quintanilla began his almost 20-year banking career with the only bank on his business path, Frost Bank. After a year in the downtown San Antonio home office, he made a career move back down to his home turf, The Valley. “I’ve always liked analyzing financial statements and dealing with the business community,” he declared. “I especially like working with entrepreneurs and their companies.” Quintanilla, is Vice-President of Frost Bank and also serves as District 3 City of McAllen Commissioner. He began his service with the City of McAllen after he completed the Class 20 Leadership Course, when organizers suggested graduates join a city advisory board. Taking the knowledge of the over 30 city departments and their functions that he had gleaned from the class, Quintanilla became a member of the Community Development Block…

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13 QUESTIONS WITH MCALLEN CHAMBER BOARD MEMBER – STEPHAN WINGERT

Stephan Wingert Regional Vice-president, Publisher The Monitor 1) What is your favorite book? My favorite book is by David Allen and it’s called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. I have a lot of tasks that pile up for me to do. I’m always looking for that philosophy or tool that’s going to help me keep up. His philosophy is that if you can get these things into a system which relieves them from being piled up in your head, then you’re more relaxed, you get to sleep at night. 2) What is your favorite movie? I’m a fan of the Star Wars movies. I love every one of them. I don’t even have a favorite. My favorite thing was when my son was old enough to share that with him. I remember sitting in the theatre with my mom when the first one came out and being…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – JANIE RAMOS-VELA

Janie Ramos-Vela General Manager, Studio 6 Extended Stay Hotel Inspired by the hotel’s re-grand opening and the feeling of welcome received from Augie Lozano, 2016 chair of the Ambassadors, Janie Ramos-Vela, general manager, Studio 6 Extended Stay hotel, decided then and there to become one of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassadors. Janie joined the team in October of 2016, and since then has found her shyness taking a back seat, and her enthusiasm for meeting the people who are working for the same thing she is – success – coming to the forefront. Working for Studio 6 for over 13 years, she remembers her first days of part-time, night time auditor, then working her way up to General Manager as the years passed. “I love meeting the various people who come here,” she said. “I’ll always remember the woman who started her stay pretty grumpy. I stopped to talk…

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