Category Archives: Chamber News

$1.5 Million in Grant Money for 2nd Round of Funding for McAllen Small Businesses

The City of McAllen and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce are now offering an additional $1.5 million in its COVID-19 Small Business Grant program to help McAllen small businesses relaunch and reignite their businesses. Grants up to $5,000 will be given to small businesses with revenues of less than $2 million. Mayor Jim Darling said, “Small businesses are the foundation of McAllen’s economy. The City of McAllen wanted to do everything it could do to have a positive impact on local small businesses during this pandemic recovery.”  The program will be available to McAllen-based businesses, for as long as the funds are available. The grants are free money and do not have to be repaid.  The money can be used for the following: Launching online presence and sales Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies and equipment Short-term marketing campaign Limited interior modification for health and safety purposes Delayed rent/mortgage…

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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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McAllen’s International Bridge Boards Appoint New Superintendent of Bridges

The McAllen-Hidalgo and Anzalduas International Bridge Boards have appointed Juan Olaguibel as its Superintendent of Bridges.   The former director of operations for the McAllen Bridge System has10 years of experience in bridge management, serving most recently as the Interim Director for the bridge system after the previous director’s departure.  Olaguibel, a native of Mexico City, Mexico, also has a broad range of expertise in finance earned over 12 years in the banking industry, serving as a bank manager for Wells Fargo before joining the City of McAllen. “The McAllen-Hidalgo and Anzalduas International Bridge Boards were impressed with Juan’s vision for the operations of these two international crossings and their role in growing both the economy and security of the two nations that they join,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, chair of the international bridge boards.  “Aside from his operational knowledge of running an efficient, safe and profitable bridge system, Juan’s…

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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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TIAA Institute honors South Texas College and Northeastern University presidents with 2020 Hesburgh Award for leadership

The TIAA Institute, in partnership with the American Council on Education (ACE), announced Shirley Reed, President, South Texas College, and Joseph E. Aoun, President, Northeastern University, as the recipients of the 2020 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education. The Hesburgh Award recognizes college or university presidents or chancellors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities. The award is named in honor of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., (1917-2015) past president of the University of Notre Dame and longtime member of the TIAA and CREF Boards of Overseers. A world-renowned educator and humanitarian, Father Hesburgh was a lifelong champion of human rights, the cause of peace, and care of the poor. “Higher education is at an inflection point as the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered schools across the country, underscoring the need for new technology and a sharpened focus on equity in order to transform the system for future…

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Thoughts During COVID-19

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter defeats, so you may know who you are, what you rise from, how you still can come out of it.” Maya Angelou We are all experiencing hard and difficult times. Our routines and daily ways of doing things have all been disrupted. Our sense of “normal” is gone, and we struggle to find a new path forward. Some of us have lost jobs and income, others have seen loved ones sick and struggling, and still, others have been overwhelmed by anxiety and fears. None of us are alone at this moment in this pandemic.  This pandemic is just a moment. Understanding and recognizing what is happening around us is the first step to leaning into this moment and dealing with our fears and thoughts. So many times, we want to numb…

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Governor Abbott Filed Executive Order GA-26

Governor Abbott filed Executive Order GA-26. This executive order no longer singles out types of businesses that may operate, and instead generally authorizes all businesses to operate at a 50% indoor occupancy level. Some entities are excluded from the 50% limitation and one has a delayed start date.  The outline below is a summary of Executive Order GA-26. You may also visit the Open Texas Website for more information. Under Phase 3, effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at 50% capacity, with two exceptions. The following exceptions are listed below: Businesses that could previously operate at 100% can continue to do so, those are listed below: 1.  Businesses providing CISA services; 2.  Religious services, such as a church or house of worship 3.  Operations performed by a local government; 4.  Child care services; 5.  Youth camps; and 6.  Recreational sports programs for youth and adults Amusement parks can operate at…

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McAllen ISD IB Programme Pinning Ceremony

Today, 120 high school seniors will receive their IB pin, emblematic of completing the two-year IB diploma programme.  This will be a drive-through event.  Students and their families will be in their vehicles, and they will drive from the east side parking lot to the semicircle area between the Convention Center entrance on the south side and the reflecting pool. –       Each senior and their family will line up in their vehicle in the Convention Center east side parking lot (1 car per senior/family) –       Senior vehicles will drive through the Convention Center traffic circle and stop at the photographer station in front of the main entrance (see map, click here) –       Only the IB Lamar Academy senior will be allowed outside of their vehicle to pick up a small gift and take a photo with a photographer. –       Social distancing guidelines will be in place! The staff will be wearing masks. Students may choose whether or not to…

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Census Bureau to Deliver 2020 Census Questionnaires in the Rio Grande Valley

The U.S. Census Bureau, in coordination with federal, state, and local health officials, will begin to drop off 2020 Census questionnaire packets at the front doors of households in the four counties of the Rio Grande Valley beginning Tuesday, May 26, 2020. This is done in areas where the majority of households do not receive mail at their physical address. The Census Bureau began hand-delivering census materials on March 15 but suspended all fieldwork for this operation on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporary field staff has been trained to observe all social distancing protocols and will wear official government-provided personal protective equipment for their safety and the safety of the public. This operation is contactless and follows the most current federal health and safety guidelines. The health and safety of Census Bureau staff and the public is always a top priority. The Census Bureau will deliver 2020 Census…

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Rio Grande Regional Hospital Joins Convalescent Plasma Study for COVID-19 Patients

Hospitals currently seeking plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 individuals to potentially help critically ill patients McAllen, TX, May 14, 2020 – Rio Grande Regional Hospital is participating in a national study to determine if plasma from convalescent, or recovered, COVID-19 patients may benefit individuals currently hospitalized with severe or life-threatening cases of the virus. As part of the effort, hospitals are seeking eligible volunteers to donate plasma to help current patients in need. “Rio Grande Regional Hospital is excited to take part in such an important and revolutionizing study.  I would like to ask the community to help spread awareness about plasma donation for patients facing COVID-19 not only in McAllen or South Texas but also around the world,” said Cris Rivera, Chief Executive Officer at Rio Grande Regional Hospital. To date, there is no proven therapy for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, but there is a long history…

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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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McAllen Public Library Reopens Friday, May 1

On April 27, 2020, Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order which initiated a phased, statewide plan for reopening business and public services in Texas beginning on May 1, 2020, including libraries. McAllen Public Library re-opened its doors today, May 1 with modified services and limiting the number of patrons in the building. McAllen Public Library staff and patrons are required to wear a personal face mask in the library. Stacks will be browsable and the computer lab and printing services will be available. Hours of operation for the public will be Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Main Library and Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Lark and Palm View branches. “The McAllen Public Library extends a warm welcome back to our patrons. We will continue to serve our patrons while practicing social distancing, which slows the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” says…

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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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