Author Archives: Andrea De la Garza

SANTA FE STEAKHOUSE WINE CLASSIC AT BEAUTIFUL QUINTA MAZATLAN

The Santa Fe Wine Classic, with this year’s theme “Studio54,” is scheduled for Friday, March 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to attend dressed in glamorous 1970s club scene-inspired attire. Housing this impressive event is Quinta Mazatlan, the City of McAllen’s quintessential adobe estate located at 600 Sunset Drive in McAllen. The Wine Classic will highlight over 200 wines including such top brands as Paul Hobbs, Amici Cellars, La Rioja Alta, Bevan Cellars, Cakebread Cellars, Château Latour, Vega Sicilia, Ca’Momi, Caymus, Stags’ Leap, and Moët & Chandon. Restaurant chefs will craft the specialty dishes that make their restaurants the best in McAllen. Included this year will be Santa Fe Steakhouse, Republic of the Rio Grande, University Draft House, Kumori Sushi & Teppanyaki, and Mori Steakhouse. Music by Grupo Aché will be featured again this year, as well as a silent auction, a champagne & mimosa lounge,…

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13 QUESTIONS WITH MCALLEN CHAMBER BOARD MEMBER – FRANCY JONES

Francy Jones Marketing & Public Relations Director Castle Hospitality 1) What is your favorite book? My two favorite books are A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. A Lucky Child is a true story about a child surviving a Jewish concentration. The child’s strength is incredible to survive something like that. American Dirt is about migrants and their journey across the desert and mountains to get to the border. 2) What is your favorite movie? I’m more of a hobby and book reading type of person. I did like Pretty Woman because it’s a funny, happy ending movie. 3) What was your favorite vacation spot? Africa, without a doubt. We went to Johannesburg, Capetown, in South Africa. The pictures don’t do it justice until you see the zebras and the elephants crossing a river in their herds. It’s incredible to see nature at its best…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – GABRIEL BARRETO

Gabriel Barreto, a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, has a passion and it’s his job. Training those under his command to become competent leaders, critical thinkers, experts in personnel management, and managing egos and people is what gets him hopping out of bed in the morning. Without question, the Army has proven to be more than Barreto ever expected. “You can have any one of 150 different skills to join and only 10 percent are related to the area of combat capacity,” states Barreto. “The rest are areas such as logistics, human resources, finance, reporters, broadcasters, and cameramen.” This 13-year non-commissioned officer with two trips to Afghanistan and Iraq under his belt, has his goal to embed the Army within the community, sponsoring events, and educating people on the depth of opportunities the Army has to offer. Married with three kids, Barreto loves working out, participating in sports,…

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SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH SYSTEM McALLEN – A HOSPITAL WITH HISTORY, GROWTH, AND HEART

Todd Mann, Chief Executive Officer This story isn’t only about a hospital, another building stretching into the sky. This story includes the blood, sweat, and tears inside the brick-and-mortar of South Texas Heath System McAllen, of the men and women of the Valley who make a story worth reading. For almost 100 years, McAllen Medical Center, now South Texas Health System (STHS) McAllen, has been serving the Rio Grande Valley. Many people remember how the downtown hospital was the place of their birth. Moving to its present location in 1983, the hospital has been a mainstay of McAllen ever since. Completing a $54 million facility aesthetic upgrade last July – from rest rooms to elevators to patient rooms to corridors – has been a patient and family pleaser. Even hiring a new chef for the hospital arena has brought a more boutique-style food, creating unique menus for staff and patients.…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – AMY NOELLE GALLO

From artist to hair stylist and make-up artist to award winning realtor, Amy Noelle Gallo, a realtor at ReMax Platinum, has fallen madly in love with the Valley. “Number one, it saved my husband’s life,” she said of the migraines the up-and-down barometric pressure their Hawaiian living had caused the love of her life. Settling into the Valley in 2016, Noelle finished her long distant real estate projects in Hawaii before joining ReMax Platinum. For the last two years, she has been the top producer of their office and is being awarded as one of the top producers in Texas. Becoming a Chamber Ambassador was a natural progression for her means of networking and setting up contacts for her clients and their home needs. She loves working with the Ambassadors whom she feels are as passionate about their work as she is about hers. “I like being at the ribbon…

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BOGGUS FORD – “IT’S BETTER AT BOGGUS”

Jacob, Frank, and Bob Boggus Was he a visionary or just a good businessman? One thing for sure, James (J.) Lewis Boggus was a risk taker. The man was a rancher back in 1933. He had also been a bookkeeper turned salesman for a Ford dealership, selling Model Ts and perhaps the brand new 1933 Ford Cabriolet with either a trunk or rumble seat for $588. Perhaps it was the thrill of seeing happy customers drive off in their modern vehicles, some with V8 engines. Whatever it was, J. Lewis Boggus sold his ranch and, partnering with the H-E-B Butt family, opened his first dealership in downtown Harlingen. “We call him the smartest guy that was alive because he had a lot of forward-thinking ideas,” great grandson Jacob Boggus, general manager at Boggus Ford in Harlingen, said. “Somehow he knew there was going to be an expressway built in McAllen.…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – NOBLE TEXAS BUILDERS

Rene Capistran President/CEO Rene Capistran, President/CEO of Noble Texas Builders, looked up the word noble on Google thinking he knew what it meant. “It means so much more than I thought,” he recalled. “This is it!” Thrilled, he accepted the word and all that it meant as the cornerstone of his company. “Now we work every single day to live up to it.” Only from a solid background would that word bring such meaning and emotion. Capistran joined the Navy after high school graduation and spent the next four years in law enforcement. “We were on base and served and protected our service members there.” Stationed in Dallas, it was the streets of Ft. Worth that would inspire him one day. “They have beautiful buildings downtown. I would see the cranes working and wished I could build something like that. It was my passion, what I wanted to do.” Entering…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – NOELY MENA

NOELY Jewelry and Boutique Multi-talented Noely Mena, owner of NOELY Jewelry and Boutique, accomplishes anything she puts her mind to and then some. Singing in a mariachi when younger, going to Hollywood and Mexico, she then worked at local radio and TV stations. She found her true love in sales, working at Lacks, before a debilitating illness forced her to stay home. “Find something to keep you busy,” her doctor said. Noely began making jewelry. “I had $40 in my account,” she remembered. “My husband was working in the Virgin Islands. We were struggling.” Making jewelry kept her busy and she loved it, she continued buying supplies to make more jewelry. She also found she was feeling better. “Stop!” cried her husband, Manuel, until they sold $1,000 in one night in their first Facebook live show. Uploading pictures on Facebook had paid off and she had found a new career.…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – MARIO LIZCANO

Mario Lizcano, Administrator of Corporate Affairs at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health, watched at 6 years old as his neighbor burned down the home next door with children and their stepmother inside. “That incident stayed on my mind, and when I grew up, I became a volunteer fireman for over 20 years,” Lizcano said. He learned growing up in a tough area of the Valley that education was his only way out. He headed to San Antonio for college the day after graduation and obtained his marketing degree with biology and chemistry minors – science is his true love. However, his natural marketing ability and desire to help others eventually led him to over 28 years in the healthcare industry, with 16 years at DHR. Today he serves on 14 boards as well as a Chamber Ambassador. “I love being an ambassador. It gives me an opportunity to power network…

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The Workforce in the 21st Century (Part I)

The pandemic has accelerated changes in the workforce that will have far-reaching implications for businesses, the workforce, and all people. It is hard to prepare for jobs that do not exist today and to understand what critical skills and qualifications will enable people to find jobs and opportunities in the future. As robotics, Artificial Intelli-gence (AI), and automation become more and more present in the workplace, what skills do people need to compete for jobs? There is a split occurring in the workplace. There will continue to be a demand for physical skills in logistics, transportation, warehousing, and distribution. There will also be a demand for technological skills, social skills, and higher-level cognitive skills in the emerging workforce. As more automation and digitalization occur in the workplace, people will need foundational skills. Three essential criteria include: • Added value beyond what AI or automated machines can do • Operating in…

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MAN & WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2020 – CHIEF VICTOR RODRIGUEZ AND SALLY FRAUSTRO-GUERRA

Chief Victor Rodriguez and Sally Fraustro-Guerra Being selected as Man or Woman of the Year for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce is no easy task. First, the Chamber President/CEO Steve Ahlenius forms the Man & Woman of the Year committee. An article in The Monitor runs requesting nominations from the community several times and the requests for nominations are publicized on the Chamber website. Once they are received, the committee reviews the applicants and painstakingly makes the difficult decision. This year, as usual, two extraordinary individuals have been selected to receive these prestigious awards. Man of the Year McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez was arriving home when he received the call from Steve Ahlenius telling him of his award. “It was very humbling,” Rodriguez said. “I sat in the garage for about 15 minutes considering what it meant.” As he thought about it, he added, “I believe it is a…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – MAYOR JAVIER VILLALOBOS, CITY COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 1 TONY AGUIRRE , CITY COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 6 PEPE CABEZA DE VACA

What to expect from our newly elected Mayor and City Commissioners. Three newly elected officials have taken their positions for the first time. What can we expect from them? Let’s take a look. McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos Mayor Villalobos, with 23 years experience working as City Attorney for small cities, decided to run for mayor when Mayor Jim Darling announced his retirement. “I knew what to expect and what to do, so I feel comfortable after serving as City Commissioner for District 1,” Villalobos said. With a long agenda of priorities he would like to accomplish, he has jumped in feet first. “The city will work on keeping taxes low, a high priority for many of our citizens, though we have no control over how the appraisal district assesses property.” Anxious to rejuvenate the downtown area, Villalobos will propose an increase in the budget for the downtown area and be…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – BELLA MIA ITALIAN AND AMERICAN CUISINE

Chef Juan and his wife Maria M. Martinez Guarcas How could a little six-year-old boy know his dreams could come true as he slept on a dirt floor in his Guatemalan home? Meeting Chef Juan Guarcas, co-owner and chef of Bella Mia Italian & American Cuisine Restaurant, you understand how this determined, talented Mayan used his culinary gifts and firm resolve to bring his vision to life. When his mother left for a month, Chef Juan told his four brothers and sister, “We have to survive. We have to make our food.” After the first try with a chicken and veggies flopped, he told his dad he could fix it, and he did. He had no idea where that instinct came from, but it shaped his life.   While growing up, Chef Juan experienced his father spend the family’s money on drinking instead of purchasing food, so he was determined…

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SUCCESS FROM EVERYBODY SIMPLY DOING THEIR JOB – MIKE’S PLUMBING & ELECTRICAL, INC.

Mike Losoya, Jr., General Manager/Owner As a youngster, Mike Losoya, Jr., Owner/General Manager of Mike’s Plumbing & Electrical, Inc., was fascinated with all manner of electronics. “I always had a thing for opening electronic devices, either to make them work again or just to learn about what was inside them,” he said. When he reached high school, he had to choose between electronics or going into the electrical shop class. “I chose the electrical class because it was more of a trade to get into,” he said. “My family had taught us to find something to make a living with, something to support us. I took the class for two years and found I was good at it, and I liked it. I also liked to compete.” Mike won an interschool electrical competition in south Rio Grande Valley which catapulted him to the regional competition in Dallas. There was a…

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