Author Archives: Athena Garcia

PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – DORA BROWN

Dora Brown is retired. That could be simply all that needs to be said. However, Dora Brown’s story is not a one sentence article. She is one of those community leaders who puts her heart, soul, and faith into everything she does. Her leadership will be missed. But, then, Dora Brown is not the kind of person to fade away, either. This year she will be recognized as a 50-Year Banker. Starting in the banking industry with her smile and superior customer service skills, this former Senior Vice President and Marketing Manager for IBC Bank said that banking chose her, not the other way around. “Customer service has always been my job,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed it.” After she immersed herself in banking, learning everything she possibly could, she turned outward to her community, looking for the next way she could be of service. In 1996, when Sam Houston…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – 2F AKAUSHI BEEF

Felo & Stephanie Martinez Owners Have you heard of healthy beef? Through a neighbor’s friendly suggestion, Felo and Stephanie Martinez, third generation owners of 2F Rancho Sante Fe, found their way to the Wagyu beef breed, specifically the Akaushi breed (pronounced ah-ka-oo-she), meaning red cow. Akaushi is highly prized for its tenderness and butter-soft flavor, but they are a feisty breed. “They’re hard to work,” Stephanie said. “You cannot get in a corral with them or they’ll run you over. They’re intimidated by people, so we do all our work on horseback.” Their ranch is an intriguing commingling of Old West and contemporary. Their ranch home is decorated straight out of historical lore with branding irons adorning the walls, cypress pickle-barrel wood lining the ceiling, and historic family saddles embellishing the main room. Outside, cows and calves roam the range, some sticking their heads under the backyard fence to get…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – SELENA MARTINEZ

Selena Martinez, owner of RGV Payroll, has always liked numbers. Obtaining her degree in accounting from UTRGV allowed her to fulfill a lifelong dream of working in a family business with her dad. Managing his firm, Fred Martinez LLC, and opening her RGV Payroll have brought a new world to life for her and uses her love for numbers. “My favorite part of accounting is payroll,” Martinez said. “I truly enjoy helping people who don’t understand payroll. Now I have my own company as well as working for my dad’s.” Following in her father’s footsteps in another area as well, Martinez decided to become an Ambassador. “I like socializing and building relationships with the other Ambassadors. I believe when they are looking for payroll help, they’ll call me because we may have already established a relationship.” A cheerleader from high school through college, this Ambassador loves to travel, attend concerts…

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CITY OF McALLEN LEADERS SHARE THEIR STORIES ABOUT McALLEN, AND THEIR TRIUMPHS & GOALS

Mayor Jim Darling Mayor Darling graduated high school in Rochester, New York, went into the Air Force, completed two tours in Vietnam, flew 133 missions in C47s, and acquired a psychology degree before graduating from law school at Baylor. He held various jobs from high school on before becoming an attorney working in a lumber yard, a dock for a carbon paper factory, as a mason’s helper, at a VA facility, and was part of a roofing crew. He served as McAllen Assistant City Attorney, McAllen City Attorney, attorney for Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, and for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, then McAllen City Commissioner and McAllen Mayor. Mayor Darling would like to make sure the city is providing quality jobs to match the quality education students are receiving. He would also like to provide our community with a great quality of life. “We’re really concentrating on ‘Let’s Ramp It…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – TEHUACÁN BRILLANTÉ WATER

A. Jimmy Garza CEO Flowing in springs from the 18,491-foot-tall Orizaba, North America’s third highest mountain, is a delicious, pure mineral water made from rain and snowmelt that filters through the volcanic strata. Learning about the widespread consumption of Puebla, Mexico’s Tehuacán region mineral water, A. Jimmy Garza, CEO of Tehuacán Brillanté Water realized the taste was clean and fresh with no aftertaste. He knew he wanted to be a part of introducing it to the world. While researching the field of mineral waters, Garza found the overall growing trend in beverages is towards health and wellness. “People want to drink something that is good for them. They know sweet sodas are not, which explains the big boom towards mineral waters,” Garza explained. “Tehuacán Brillanté Sparkling Natural Mineral Water is naturally sourced and provides beneficial minerals. It’s a great natural beverage alternative for the public.” He believes the American people…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – DAVID PEREZ

David Perez, Executive Director of Comfort House, an end-of-life establishment, has found his niche. It took years. Initially he spent years as a teacher, then years first in outpatient rehabilitation administration and then in healthcare administration. Along the way he completed his graduate studies in guidance and counseling, working as a family counselor. Such background gave him the ability to beat 52 other applicants when applying for his current position. But Perez was sure he had other help. “I think God led me where He wants me to be,” Perez said. “I wanted a place where I could pray openly and freely, and I get to do that every morning with our residents.” Preparing for Comfort House’s largest annual fundraiser, Pretty in Pearls, scheduled for April 2, he exhibits a few more of his talents. Having a theater background and a hobby of wedding planning, he loves pulling out the…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – FRED MARTINEZ

Fred Martinez, owner of Fred Martinez, LLC, has a passion for his work that wakes him up in the morning and puts a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. “When I’m able to look at a client’s books and determine within 10 minutes how they are doing or how the company has managed their books in QuickBooks, that’s my passion,” said Martinez, whose areas of expertise includes QuickBooks, payroll, and taxes. He has found his calling with his bookkeeping and tax preparation business, and also as an Ambassador. “At first, being an Ambassador was a way to meeting potential clients,” Fred explained. “As time passed, the Ambassadors have become my friends. The relationships we build are tremendous. I have learned that to be successful with the Chamber, you have to be active in the Chamber.” When he’s not working, Fred loves to travel with his wife.…

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Goodwill Makes A Plea To The Public To Hold Onto Donations Until It Reopens

As the situation around the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and with Hidalgo County’s shelter in-place in effect, Goodwill makes a plea to the public to hold onto those valuable donations of clothing and household items until it can reopen. Goodwill stores and donation stations have been closed to the public since Monday, March 23rd.  Even with the closure, donors are dropping off items, causing donations to be left outside and rummaged through (see attachment). “During this crisis, people ransack donations that have been left outside of our closed facilities.  When donations are exposed to the elements, it tends to make them unusable.   When we get back to normal operations, we welcome the opportunity to thank donors, personally, for giving to Goodwill.  Until then, we urge donors to hold on to their donations,” said John Owen, President & CEO, Goodwill Industries of South Texas. In the coming weeks and months,…

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2019 MAN & WOMAN OF THE YEAR – JESSICA DELGADO & BOB BOGGUS

Jessica Delgado Co-owner, Delgado Collective   Bob Boggus Owner/President, Boggus Ford   Aren’t you grateful to be living in a city like McAllen, Texas, where picking a Man & Woman of the Year from all the deserving members of this community is such a hard job? How lucky McAllen is to have such outstanding people living here – people who are willing to give back by sharing their time and talents where they are most needed.  Jessica Delgado, co-owner of Delgado Collective, was stunned when McAllen Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve Ahlenius called to inform her of her new title. “What?” she stammered. “You’ve been named McAllen Chamber’s Woman of the Year,” Ahlenius repeated. “Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much, Steve. I’ll see you soon.” After she hung up, Jessica realized what had just happened. Her road to the award started on her road to the restaurant business, which…

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12 QUESTIONS WITH MCALLEN CHAMBER – TODD MANN

Todd Mann CEO of South Texas Health System, McAllen   1) What is your favorite book? The Lady or The Tiger by Frank R. Stockton. Most of the time a book is driven to tell you something. Anyone can read it and will interpret it differently but the end result is always there for you. The Lady or The Tiger does not give you that option. The book ends and you don’t know whether he gets the lady or the tiger. It leaves you with an empty feeling of what it is but allows you to create your own ending in your mind. That book has always stuck with me. 2) What is your favorite movie? I’m not a movie buff, but probably the original Star Wars. It was so revolutionary and was something we hadn’t seen. Probably second to that would be Planet of the Apes. It’s just amazing…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – GRANCHELLI CONSTRUCTION

Jim Granchelli Born in Lockport, New York, it was the warmth of the Texas Tropical Trail Region that enticed Jim Granchelli, his wife, and their seven children to migrate to McAllen in the late 1990s, not knowing anyone. Beginning his Texas career by supplying firewood to the local barbeque restaurants, Granchelli built on the construction industry and real estate development experience he brought from New York. “I then also started a Cantera stone business since I was a pretty good brick layer and stone setter,” Granchelli explained. “I built stone and Cantera columns until I became an estimator and eventually worked for D. Wilson Construction for nine years.” From there, Granchelli went out on his own, starting Granchelli Construction, LLC 10 years ago. “We build commercial and industrial only, no residential, except apartments,” he said. “Our goal is always to deliver quality and finish on time and on budget. We…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – JENNIFER SANCHEZ

Jennifer Sanchez Branch Manager, IBC Nolana Traditional   A welcoming voice greets those entering the bank, and there’s a smiling, happy face behind that voice.  “Everybody knows me by Jenn,” said Jennifer Sanchez, branch manager at IBC Nolana Traditional. As a person who enjoys the networking aspect of life, and as a lover of all things family and giving back to the community, this lady has a lot of folks saying, “Hi, Jenn!” “I’ve been in banking with IBC five years this coming March, and it’s been a tremendous ride,” she said.  Pursuing her degree in Organizational Leadership, she is ready to “karaoke” at the drop of a hat, has a hobby of making balloon garlands, and loves volunteering as a Loan Executive for United Way. “All the things I’ve been learning and I’m exposed to are thanks to the bank,” she said. “I never thought I was going to…

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SAY HELLO TO…SALLY FRAUSTRO-GUERRA – CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

Coldwell Banker La Mansion Real Estate Broker AND Socialife Magazine President/Publisher   1) What item would you not travel without? My cellphone. That’s my lifeline to everything, especially if my kids aren’t with me. 2) What is your greatest passion? That would be my children and now, my grandbaby.  3) Who is a person you admire the most? Why? My mother, because since I was very young, I always saw her working, taking care of all five of us kids. She was very protective of her kids, very hands-on, domineering, and a strong person. At 88 she still looks amazing and is full of life, very healthy. She’s funny, sassy, witty, and gives the best advice. All five of us are still trying to please her and make her proud. 4) Where do you go for your favorite meal? It would be very hard to pick one because the McAllen…

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13 QUESTIONS WITH MCALLEN CHAMBER BOARD MEMBER – CARLOS MELGUIZO

CEO/Owner  Carats, Jewelry and Fine Gifts   1) What is your favorite book? I have quite a few because I was a Latin American Literature major. I think my favorite is The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. It’s hard to choose. 2) What is your favorite movie? I’m a big fan of film director Pedro Almodóvar so I choose Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. 3) What is your favorite vacation spot? Anywhere that has a beach or any place that I have not been. I have a bucket list of places I want to go see. 4) What is your life’s motto? Do good to others not because of who they are, but because of who you are. This was written by Oleg Vishnepolsky but I really do believe in that.  5) Where were you born? Brownsville, Texas 6) What was a life-changing event in your life? When…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – SKYLAR STOLESON

Chief Information Officer, Tex Mex Recycling   Skylar Stoleson has as many layers as the company he works for. When you’re the Chief Information Officer of Tex Mex Recycling, the vast amount of information that flows through your brain is mind-boggling. The company deals with the destruction of government agency electronics such as the Border Patrol, Homeland Security and U.S. Marshall’s from Corpus Christi south. “We have a 48 bay eraser and then we’ll shred the hard drives,” Stoleson said. “It’s all to government standards.” That’s just the icing on the cake. The variety of plastics Tex Mex Recyling and its sister Mexican company Tecnologias de Plastico recycle is beyond comprehension. Each plastic with its fillers of glass or talc, each color of plastic, each percentage of ingredients per plastic, and the different heat retention ingredients all make the recycling of the extensive array of plastics a complex affair. Then…

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