Author Archives: Athena Garcia

CHOOSING CAREER OVER FAME – AGUIRRE & PATTERSON, INC.

Joe Patterson, MAI, SRA, State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser for Aguirre & Patterson, Inc., made a life-changing career decision early in the game. Following in his dad’s footsteps, he chose a business career over what others might have expected him to do. His dad, J.W. “Bill” Patterson, Jr., had been a star quarterback in college and in 1940 for the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. However, since the senior Patterson was only paid $150 a game, he decided, for the sake of his family, to quit the football he loved and join the Navy. With a desire to become a pilot, he was assigned instead to play for the Georgia Pre-flight School. Later he became a real estate lawyer and had an illustrious career. All over the walls of Patterson’s office pictures tell his family’s story. Photos of his dad in his uniform and in his pin-striped suit looking…

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Q&A WITH GABRIELA PARRA

Name: Gabriela Parra Age: 24 Major: Communication Studies College: Liberal Arts Hometown: McAllen, TX High School: McAllen High School Former McAllen Chamber intern, attends UTRGV and finds a new adventure at the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley. Why UTRGV? I have collected an abundance of invaluable family memories at UTRGV from the time I was three years old. Evening walks around the Bronc Trail, standing in line with my brother to take a Christmas photo and celebrating my quinceañera at the UTPA Events Hall are just some of my many unforgettable moments. I have attended almost every March Madness, HESTEC and other campus events. My heart has always belonged to this campus and I am gratified that I followed it to UTRGV. What made you decide on your current major? I completed an internship at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. The projects and events I participated in ignited…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – JOHN MORENO

John Moreno, Outside Sales Consultant at AAA Electrical Signs, is an outgoing joyful man who turned his aversion of sales into a career he loves. “I wanted to start fresh from scratch,” Moreno said. “After sending 180 employment applications, I filled out the one for AAA Electrical Signs. Following a three-hour interview with the owner, he told me he wanted me to be on his sales team because of my personality. I told him I hated selling.” Three and a half years and $2.7 million in sales have given Moreno a new outlook. “My favorite thing is building an emotional connection with my customers,” he said. “I give them my undivided attention and do as much as I can for everybody around me.” Talking to the Chamber staff at a Business Expo, he learned how to become an Ambassador and learned more about networking. “It’s a great group of people…

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SHIPLEY DONUTS “MAKE LIFE DELICIOUS” – DAVID DUFF, FRANCHISEE

Everybody loves a good donut. What better way to enjoy the delicious treat than heading over to get a freshly baked Shipley Donut. “McAllen loves their donuts!” David Duff, franchisee of Shipley Donuts, said. “Over these 40 plus years, I’ve come to see it as a generational thing. I look out at our customers and see the kids who used to stand on the chairs and watch me make donuts coming in with their kids standing on the chairs watching the employees make donuts. Now, as those kids graduate from college, get married, and bring their kids in to watch, it will be the fourth generation of families that has followed us.” Duff, born and raised in Kankakee, Illinois, sixty miles south of Chicago, moved to the Valley with his family as a senior in high school when his father cried, “Enough!” “In 1975, we had a 500-year winter and…

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WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN THE McALLEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

By Gerry Garcia:   I spent a moment remembering an article I read in 2015 by David Larson of the Pleasant Grove Chamber of Commerce that gave six reasons a business owner should join its local Chamber of Commerce, and during this pandemic, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the reasons and see how the McAllen Chamber has instilled the changes we’ve had to adapt to make it work.  And even though you might feel you are already busy with work, these six reasons give great benefits not only to your business but to your personal life as well.  1. Relationships The article mentions how building relationships is not only about networking but about actually gaining friends, associates, and advocates. Not only will you gain friends, but you could gain lasting relationships. As you go on in the Chamber world, when our lives adapt to a new…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – MURPHY JEFFRIES

Murphy Jeffries Account Executive NBC, Channel 23   Murphy Jeffries, a father of three who plays guitar, loves to ride motorcycles, and play golf, is an account executive at NBC Channel 23.  He is the personification of a Chamber Ambassador.  He is an extrovert who loves to meet people with high energy and optimistic personalities, who found his niche in sales. “My degree is in Broadcasting/Journalism, but I found it not as exciting as expected,” said Jeffries. “After some years in medical marketing, a friend suggested I join the sales team at Channel 23. I told her I didn’t want sales again but went to the interview anyway and was hired right away.” As you might have guessed, he found his love in TV sales. “Being able to meet so many different people and help them grow their business is what I like best.” Becoming a Chamber Ambassador was a…

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A PLACE TO CALL HOME – HEARTHSTONE APARTMENTS

Susana Cole Property Manager Have you ever gone looking for an apartment to live in? Maybe back in college days? Maybe yesterday? An apartment complex can be many things to the variety of people who live there. However, the one thing that is most important is that it feels like home. That is exactly how it feels to many of the residents who live at Hearthstone Apartments. When you are first looking for that new apartment to turn into a home, taking in the lay of the land, surveying the landscaping, and inspecting the care of the buildings might first garner your attention. The warm, inviting colors of this well-kept complex will easily catch the eye of an apartment hunter. The meticulously maintained landscape of Hearthstone could possibly make your car pull directly into the office located in the center of the 308-unit complex. “This property was built in 1996,”…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – CAPABLE KIDS FOUNDATION

We have all been through some sort of trying time during this pandemic, from staying home, staying six feet apart from each other, washing our hands consistently, following city and state COVID-19 guidelines, making sure our kids and families remain safe – not to mention the families who know firsthand the devastating conditions this pandemic can bring. But I never stopped to think about the special people in our communities who, from the instant they were born, go through trying moments every day of their lives. Getting to know the Capable Kids Foundation and recognizing what it achieves was quite inspiring. Co-founder and physical therapist Melanie Watson and Executive Director Sofia Peña both spoke about the program and what they do to motivate the kids they help throughout the year. The organization’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children with all types of disabilities. The idea first…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – JOHNNY RODRIGUEZ

Johnny Rodriguez Public Relations Bert Ogden Auto Group Johnny Rodriguez, a happy, enthusiastic fisherman, golfer, gardener, and Public Relations Director for the Bert Ogden Auto Group, had two significant family role models, whom he said, shaped his life. “My dad was a World War II hero. He had his face blown off and survived to the age of 91,” Rodriguez said. “He could have lived off the government but instead worked for 50 years before retiring. He was a humble and great man. My mother was a cafeteria worker. They both showed me the way, making me a better person.” After 22 years supplying Bert Ogden with employees and where he developed a close business and personal relationship with Janet and Bob Vackar, he sold his business. His life then got even better. “Mr. Vackar asked me to come to Bert Ogden and do PR for them. I feel extremely…

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FROM TEASPOONS TO TRENCHERS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN – RENTAL WORLD LLC

In the quake of the global pandemic, there is some good news. For many, by staying at home there is now time to do all those projects that have been on the honey-do list for years. Getting ready, however, might take a bit more equipment than is around the house. Need a backhoe? Need an airless paint sprayer, an air chipping hammer for demoing a tile floor? How about a tent when it is time to celebrate joining the world again? The list could go on and on.  There is one place you can go for all these items and much more.  Rental World, LLC has retail outlets in McAllen, Weslaco, Harlingen, Brownsville, and Corpus Christi, and a warehouse complex of four acres and 60,000 square feet of warehouse space. That warehouse is the size of over 12½ NBA basketball courts or almost an acre and a half, mostly all…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – GABRIELA GARCIA

Gabriela Garcia Business Specialist Wells Fargo Bank   Banking must have been in her blood because when it came time to choose a career path Gabriela Garcia, Business Specialist for Wells Fargo Bank, chose banking and never looked back. That was 15 years ago, and this proud mom of a 17-year-old is glad she did. “I help business customers with their financial needs,” Garcia said. “It could be to establish an account or help them register or help them grow their business. I can also help them in all areas of their business logistics such as payroll, vendors, or getting credit.” Getting involved with the community, another part of her job, led her to become an Ambassador. Incorporating the Ambassador’s network within her client base is a win-win for everyone. “We have a network we know we can call for help or refer our clients to receive other guidance,” Garcia…

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STORAGE UNITS HAVE STORIES TO TELL – STOR-GALORE

Barbara Parry Co-owner   If storage unit walls could talk, oh, the stories they would tell. Take for example the maroon Mercedes. It sat in a unit month-after-month for years. When the storage unit rent had not been paid after so long and it was time for the unit to be opened, there she sat in all her beautiful glory. Why would anyone leave such a beautiful car behind? “My daughter was an Aggie and she really wanted that car,” laughed Barbara Parry, co-owner of Stor-Galore along with husband Bob, and brother Ben Chilcutt. “When we looked into selling it, we found out it had been stolen off the floor of a dealership in Houston! The company had already collected its insurance years earlier, so it was up to us to dispose of it.” Then there was the time 40 years ago, when their own home was broken into. Through…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – McALLEN CRIME STOPPERS

In this time of COVID-19, the thought of Crime Stoppers takes on a whole new meaning. Yet, this 501(c)(3) non-profit, free-standing independent organization, plays its role like one might imagine, with just a little twist here and there. Staying anonymous, this group’s members work with individuals who have a secret to tell, a tip to share, which will lead our police force to apprehend those who choose not to follow the law. McAllen Crime Stoppers began in 1984 as a partnership with the McAllen Police Department. However, over the years, organizers learned they needed the organization to be a stand-alone entity in order to reach the success level they wished to achieve. Today there are 16 volunteer members with two ultimate tasks. The first is to fundraise to pay individuals for the anonymous tips that lead police to a suspect arrest. The second is to pay the tip. Without a…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – W. SILVER RECYCLING, INC.

Joe Foytek REGIONAL SALES MANAGER   When the word recycling is discussed, green is a closely associated term. In the case of W. Silver Recycling, Inc., that would be right-on target. “Being green is one of the most important things we always keep in mind when we’re talking to our clients,” said Joe Foytek, regional sales manager for W. Silver Recycling, Inc. “That’s why we focus a lot on working with maquiladoras.  The scrap products we get from them can go into a mill and come back to be utilized sooner than expected. We work with all our clients to take a green approach, always trying to see if we can identify more revenue from what they’re considering industrial waste.” Founded in 1920 by William Silver, the company has stayed in the family, first to a son-in-law and now to Lane Gaddy, Silver’s grandson, who holds the reins as CEO.…

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STRONG VALUES AND A CULTURE OF CARING – ROYAL TECHNOLOGIES

Trung Nguyen Plant Manager A man who decided not to take “No” as an answer when he was told he didn’t have enough education to become a manager did what many wish they could but never had the guts to do. Jim Vander Kolk started Royal Technologies with the help of his silent partner and he never looked back. Building the company on great customer service, solid working knowledge of the industry, and excellent products coming off his first used press and sampling molds, Vander Kolk’s company has evolved to utilizing over 1,000 employees in Michigan, Alabama, and Texas, and over 400 presses. Royal Technologies has built its company to support other major companies such as Steelcase, Stanley Black & Decker, Panasonic, Toyota, and DeWalt. Plant Manager to the Mission facility is mechanical engineer Trung Nguyen (pronounced Winn), a McAllen resident for 20 years. “I came to the Valley to…

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