Category Archives: Chamber News

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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Stripes® Stores Announces Seventh Annual Fundraising Campaign for MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital

The state-wide campaign aims to top $5.8 million raised to date for pediatric cancer programs. (Dallas, Texas) September 1, 2021 – Stripes® Stores at 7-Eleven, Inc. kicks off its seventh annual MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital instore fundraising campaign today in locations across Texas. Benefiting The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the campaign will run in more than 570 stores across Texas and Louisiana from September 1 through September 30 as part of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. “We’ve dedicated September as Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in our stores to raise funds for children with cancer in our local communities. Since 2014, we have collaborated with MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital to help make a difference in pediatric cancer patients’ lives through emerging treatments. With the help of our passionate team members and generous customers, we can continue to support pediatric cancer research and fund camps and educational programs in the hospital,” said…

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UTRGV purchasing land in McAllen to double size of its medical school

MCALLEN, Texas – UT-Rio Grande Valley is to purchase 38 acres of land in McAllen in order to double the size of its medical school. The land, part of the 495 Commerce Center development just south of Pecan Boulevard between Jackson and McColl, will be home to UTRGV’s planned McAllen Academic Medical Campus. News of the purchase was announced by Dr. Parwinder Grewal, executive vice president of research, innovation, and new program development at UTRGV, in his monthly report to the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. Interviewed after the meeting, Grewal told the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service: “Mainly I wanted to share that UTRGV plans to buy 38 acres of land to double the size of its medical school. That will be in the City of McAllen. That land will be on the south side of Pecan Boulevard, between Jackson and McColl. We will complete the acquisition of that land…

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McAllen ISD will follow school mask mandate

McAllen ISD will be following the school mask mandate issued by Hidalgo County. This means all students, staff, and school visitors will be required to wear a mask starting on Aug 23, the first day of classes. Click the following link for copy of the letter: https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1478302/08172021_McAllen_ISD_letter_to_staff_and_parents__mask_.pdf  

GAC Chairman Dr. Fred Farias brings THECB Commissioner Dr. Harrison Keller to the RGV

McALLEN, Texas – When he assumed the role of chairman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in June, McAllen resident Fred Farias, III, said he would bring key stakeholders to the Rio Grande Valley. It has not taken him long to deliver. On Wednesday, Aug. 11, Farias will welcome Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller at a breakfast hosted by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Farias, an optometrist, chairs the McAllen Chamber’s Government Affairs Council.  He was appointed chair of THECB in June by Gov. Greg Abbott. “We are now in a leadership position so that we can hopefully make a big difference down here in the Valley and South Texas. As you know, being the chair of any state agency is a big deal because we are able to get stakeholders down here,” Farias told the Rio Grande Guardian, earlier this summer. Asked about the visit of…

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Neurosurgeon Jacinto I. Mañon, M.D., F.A.A.N.S, joins DHR Health Neuroscience Institute

DHR Health continues to improve the Rio Grande Valley’s access to neurological care. DHR Health Clinics is pleased to announce the addition of neurosurgeon, Jacinto I. Mañon, M.D., F.A.A.N.S, to the DHR Health Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Mañon is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and will be treating adult and pediatric patients for the brain, spinal, and peripheral nerve problems. He will provide surgical treatments for a wide spectrum of conditions affecting the nervous system including but not limited to spinal stenosis, spine fractures, adult scoliosis, brain hemorrhage, stroke, herniated or bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, traumatic brain injury, Chiari malformations, pituitary tumors, neck and back pain, arm and leg pain, brain tumors, cranial and spinal trauma, spinal cord injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and peripheral nerve. Dr. Mañon earned his medical degree from the Ibero-American University in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic before entering his internship in…

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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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KOKO’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT TEAMS UP WITH H-E-B

Albert, Jr. & Jorge Suarez Co-owners The pandemic hit hard and fast, and restaurants everywhere took a deep, scary dive into territory unknown. Local restaurants struggled to find fresh ideas to continue serving their customers. A true Texans helping Texans company, H-E-B, launched a new program to support restaurants around this great state. Two McAllen restaurants, Koko’s Mexican Restaurant and Salt-New American Table were invited to supply meals from their menus and bring their food fares to various H-E-B stores around the Valley. “We had the opportunity to put eleven plates in H-E-B, fully cooked and microwavable,” said Albert Suarez, Jr., co-owner of Koko’s Mexican Restaurant. “After that program ended, we continued to partner with H-E-B and opened a state-inspected manufacturing plant.” Keeping the operation, a family affair, both Albert and Jorge’s daughters run the plant. It started in seven H-E-B stores, and are currently in 20 stores from Laredo…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – TIJERINA LEGAL GROUP, P.C.

Humberto Tijerina, III Chief Visionary Officer Ever since he was young, Humberto Tijerina, III, Chief Visionary Officer of Tijerina Legal Group PC, his path clearly laid out in front of him. He would be a fighter for the underdog. “I always had an affinity for making sure if somebody was bullied, I would either put a stop to it or help that person not get bullied again,” Tijerina said. Law seemed a natural fit for this man who was always so willing to fight for justice. Choosing the scholarship to Southern Methodist University (SMU) over one to the University of Houston, Tijerina earned his law degree and then began practicing business/corporate law. He first worked for a firm in San Antonio but felt limited with only reading and modifying contracts and with drafting agreements between companies. He missed the people aspect of law. When a friend called and suggested they…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – MARTHA GARZA

Martha Garza Owner, Breadsmith After purchasing Breadsmith a few years ago, Martha Garza decided she wanted to get more involved with the community. “I wanted to expand the business and let people learn about us,” Garza said. “Since we are in the bread business, we wanted to help the community have fresh bread every day.” Becoming an Ambassador was her doorway. “I love it. Going to the events gives me the chance to tell people about our business. I love when they ask me to help. I truly feel it’s them helping me get the word out about Breadsmith.” She believes businesses who join the Chamber need to reach out and become active in chamber events. “We always get to meet new people and as a business owner that’s what we’re really about – meeting people and telling them about our business.” Proud of the fact that nothing goes to…

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STC names faculty of the year honors

MCALLEN, TEXAS (July 16, 2021) – Even while managing through a global pandemic, Dr. Jennifer Guerra worked diligently to develop the pathways that would connect Culinary Arts to academic and workforce programs statewide and on a national level. At issue during the pandemic, Chef Guerra placed a priority on ensuring that classes continued in person while ensuring a safe and active learning environment as well as student involvement. Through Guerra’s efforts, South Texas College also developed a food pantry program to assist students in need during the pandemic. “We are focused on being a model program. We are intentional about our actions and efforts to serve both our students and our community,” said Dr. Guerra, Chair of STC’s Culinary Arts Program. “While so much focus has been placed on the struggles created by the pandemic, we are focused on building a bright future for our students, the program, the college,…

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Tocqueville, Pascal and Existential Angst

The last 15 months have caused each of us to question our purpose and what we are trying to accomplish with the constant pursuit of so many different things and activities. As Americans, we appear to be pursuing diversion and distraction for their own sake, making us miserable. We appear to be in a frantic search for something beyond ourselves. We seem to be on an endless search for happiness and contentment, but the search leads us to envy, loneliness, and acrimonious political debate. We spend a great deal of time running around, taking kids to youth sporting events, piano lessons, planned get-togethers, school, and tutoring.  We go to work, we take care of the family, we attend meetings, and we take care of the house and yard. We live in this frenetic state of activity and then realize there is no satisfaction in the life we live. We are…

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What Is Causing Inflation and How Long Will It Last?

Globalization typically depresses prices of goods, but the pandemic changed that. Because fewer people were working in production and distribution facilities over the last 15 months, supplies were constrained and the supply chain lengthened, causing a sharp rise in prices. All the experts point to this inflation as being temporary and believe it will return to the normal 2-3% per year range.    I wrote about the chip shortage two weeks ago. Another big part of this temporary inflation deals with the service inflation. Most inflation is labor related in the service sector and is connected by six inter-related constraints that affect the labor supply. These six constraints are: 27% of the schools were still closed in April, forcing parents to choose between employment and taking care of their children. Many jobs are entry-level jobs and they are traditionally low-paying Generous unemployment benefits have affected the decision for parents to…

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