Category Archives: Chamber News

Tips on Mentoring and Coaching

Coaching and mentoring a person in the business world can be a challenge. Today’s business world has become lean and requires many people to do two or three jobs, just for the business or organization to survive. So, many times, if I mention coaching or mentoring to a business person, I get the look and expression of, “I don’t have time.” If you are lucky enough to have a business coach or mentor at your workplace – be thankful. If you are in a position to help with coaching a person in business – give it some thought. I would also suggest to you that mentoring and coaching is a two-way street. The other person has to be really interested in learning. I have seen circumstances in an organization where the person who really needed the coaching stopped listening. If you want to begin implementing mentoring and coaching in your…

Read More

McAllen Sports – Trophies, Signage, and Really Big Murals

by Roda Grubb It’s fitting that we highlight a McAllen Chamber member who has played such a prominent role in our local sports scene – especially now that the McAllen Youth Baseball Complex has finally opened. Featuring 11 gorgeous baseball fields, an additional Miracle Field which complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards, a concession area, and plenty of parking, this facility is sure to make a lasting mark like McAllen Sports. Jorge Salcines opened McAllen Sports in 1979, following in his father’s footsteps but choosing to do it his way. “I grew up in the business, working at International stores, my father’s department stores, since I was 13,” Jorge began. “After college, I worked there until I got married. Then, I quit my job, and opened my business.” At one point, McAllen Sports grew to include seven sporting good stores and two department stores in McAllen, Harlingen, and…

Read More

Five Ways to Think Like Your Clients

Selling Can Be a Challenge Even the most successful salespeople reach plateaus and struggle to find ways to push through to the next level. One of the most basic elements of selling is the ability to put yourself in your client’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Once you begin to understand what your client’s burning problems are and how you can help to solve them, you are on your way to building a solid relationship that goes beyond selling and enters the world of problem-solving. The hard part is sensing what your clients are thinking. With a little time, research, and empathy, you can gain key understandings about your clients. Here are five ways to start thinking like your clients and walking in their shoes: Why your company or organization? Remember, you are not the only person out there selling a solution. What your organization brings to the…

Read More

The Four Key Things People Look for in a Leader

There is no magic formula to becoming a leader. Many people believe that great leaders are born and gifted with leadership abilities. I, however, would suggest that great leaders can be developed, and must learn that leading takes time, focused effort, and commitment. Many times, people confuse charisma with leadership and think the more charismatic a person acts, the better the leader. False enthusiasm and fake charisma are a trap and are the wrong way to lead genuinely. So, what do people want in a leader? There have been countless surveys and studies done to find the key characteristics people look for in one. Consistently, this research has shown that there are four major traits people expect in a leader: Honesty. We want to follow people who are worthy of our trust. Why would anyone follow someone else who is willing to lie, cheat, or take shortcuts? At our most…

Read More

McDONALD’S EQUALS SUCCESS

In McAllen, the name McDonald’s is synonomous with the word success. However, it takes a lot of hard work, long hours and many years to maintain that success. Fred del Barrio was 18 and going to school half days, which caused his father to say, “Get a job!” Reluctant to go job searching when he already brought in money from washing teachers vehicles, Fred found himself discussing his situation with his older sister’s boss at McDonald’s. Before he knew it, he had a job at McDonald’s. “I still remember my first day,” said Fred. “After an orientation and getting issued my uniform, I went to the kitchen to start my training, working a 4 to 7 o’clock shift. I remember all these timers going off all over. At 7 o’clock I headed to the time clock to punch out, but was stopped on my way. It seems I still had…

Read More

BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – BRITO CONSTRUCTION

Satisfied customers. That’s what most pleases Miguel Brito, co-owner of Brito Construction. Though the company does all forms of construction – home construction, residential remodeling, commercial finish-outs and residential developments – Miguel’s favorite is residential. “Commercial is often easier because doing residential means working with individuals who can be more detailed and finicky,” Miguel said. “But, I like that moment when I give the family the keys and see them happy.”  The company started 23 years ago when Brito’s father came from Venezuela. His brother joined him from Mexico. “My Uncle Juan found a piece of land at Bentsen and Pecan,” Miguel said. “We bought the land, developed the streets, and built the 181 lots by phases. It was called Bentsen Heights.” Today, Miguel and his cousin, Pilar Brito, run the organization. Building at least 30 to 35 homes a year, among their other projects, they have a staff of…

Read More

PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – ALBERT & JORGE SUAREZ

Albert & Jorge Suarez, Co-owners Koko’s Mexican Restaurant   Love sometimes leads people to do things that surprise all those around them. Take the story of Albert and Jorge Suarez, co-owners, Koko’s Mexican Restaurant on north 10th Street.  At 49 years of age, Carmen Mery Suarez, the beloved mother and wife of the Suarez family was gone. Though she and her husband, Alberto Z. Suarez, had a clothing store, her dream had always been to follow in her brother’s footsteps and open a restaurant. Jorge had worked in his uncle’s restaurant, and found he had a talent cooking. “A few months after my mom died I  went to Jorge and said, ‘Let’s open a restaurant. I’ll be the waiter and you be the cook,’” Albert said. “I was 21 and he was 18. We started out with 10 tables in downtown McAllen.”  Expanding to 28 tables across the street, then…

Read More

MEET YOUR AMBASSADORS – JERRY & SANDIE TREVIÑO

Jerry & Sandie Treviño VomFASS Owners   If anyone is the least bit a foodie, VomFASS is the place to go. With a European ambiance and good old-fashioned Texas hospitality, this gem of a store in the Palms Crossing shopping center by the Convention Center, co-owned by Jerry and Sandie Treviño, allows taste-testing of its one-of-a-kind products – special vinegars, oils, wines and liquors.  Leaving the corporate world behind with 33-years in insurance for Jerry and 30 years as a Security First Credit Union officer for Sandie, these foodies found VomFASS on their honeymoon in San Francisco, and returned on every visit to the Bay area. “I wasn’t even thinking of anything in particular after one especially hard day at work when I came home and told Sandie I was ready for something different,” Jerry began. “Before I knew it, she was on the phone checking out the opportunity to…

Read More

Four Types of Goals

Goal setting can be a challenge for some people. I try to understand their hesitation in setting goals. There may be a wide variety of reasons why they don’t like setting goals. They may think of goals as being too restrictive or they don’t like the accountability. A person may feel goal setting is a set-up for failure and eventual firing. A person may have been given an impossible goal and none of the resources to attain the goal. Whatever the reason, not setting goals is a recipe for not getting anything done. I love goals. I love trying to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. One of the key elements of a successful leader and business person is a willingness to set the “mark” and work towards achieving it. Clearly stated goals bring focus but keep in mind there are different types of goals. Exciting goals An exciting goal…

Read More

Tourism Disruptors & 4 Key Cornerstones

Disruption is happening all around us. The business models that worked in the past are failing. Just take a quick look at what is happening in retail, transportation, healthcare, and community involvement. These are only a few of the areas experiencing disruptions. A key area of disruption that we are experiencing in McAllen is in the tourism industry and how it is marketed and consumed. The disruptions in tourism are challenging the old business models we have built. Ask any hotel operator in McAllen about how different the market is today than just five years ago and a person will get a “hearty” agreement about how challenging the market is now. Disruptors are impacting how we are operating, as well as how we should be operating and adapting to the new opportunities. Here are just some of the key elements of the disruptors: Speed of change and disruptions; increasing isolationism…

Read More

How Small and Nimble Businesses Are Beating the Big Corporations

During the Industrial Revolution, one key concept that developed was the idea of “scale.” Scale allowed companies to reach maximum efficiency in production, distribution, and profits. It also leads to the concept that “bigger was better.” This idea that “bigger was better” continues to play out in the strategies of many large corporations in today’s market space. The idea has worked well for the last 130 years. “Bigger” gave corporations advantages that small businesses could not get, but now things are turning in favor of small and nimble businesses. Three key trends that have been identified in Hemant Taneja’s and Kevin Maney’s book, Unscaled, and which are changing the business landscape are (1) The emergence of platforms; (2) Technologies that can be rented; and (3) Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing mass production. These three elements are letting small businesses compete against big corporations. The critical factor for success is the relentless…

Read More

MCALLEN ENTHUSIAST: LOCAL BLOGGER’S NINE TO FIVE GUY POSTS PROMOTE CITY IN UNIQUE WAY

Promoting the city and a healthy lifestyle seems to come naturally for local blogger Robert Lopez. The McAllen native is becoming known throughout the area for his Nine to Five Guy blog but has also worked for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce for six years with the Convention & Visitors Bureau division where he is the director of sales and sports tourism. “My job is to bring conferences or conventions or sports tournaments that will bring visitors from out of the area to McAllen,” Lopez said. “So that they sleep in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores; that will generate an economic impact with money coming outside the valley inject into our community.” Some of the sporting events that have been attracted to McAllen were Games of Texas and more recently the Texas Youth Football Association Spring Bowl that was held at the McAllen Sports…

Read More

FULLY PROMOTED – HELPING BUSINESSES GROW

Hector Leal and son Miguel are helping McAllen and the Valley be Fully Promoted.   EmbroidMe has changed its name to Fully Promoted. Do you know why? It’s actually pretty simple. “The primary reason we changed our name is because people still think we just do embroidery,” manager Miguel Leal said.  Joining the four-year old EmbroidMe franchise in 2004, the McAllen branch became a family affair for Hector Leal and two of his three sons. Today, it’s Hector and son Miguel who carry on the family business and bring Hector’s dream of coming to America to become a success a reality. Hector brought his family to the Valley in 1997 with one goal – to own his own business. Working in sales and management for a local company, Hector found an opportunity to open an EmbroidMe franchise in the Valley, and began following his plan of action. “I remember it like it was…

Read More

BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – VALLEY RETINA INSTITUTE, PA

Caring for others’ vision is the passion of Dr. Victor H. Gonzalez, Valley Retina Institute, PA, Valley Retina Research. Actually, Dr. Gonzalez first dreamed of being a neurosurgeon and operating under a microscope, but he found he missed the patient/doctor relationship.  “When I rotated to ophthalmology, retina surgery was the closest thing to neurosurgery,” Gonzalez said. “You’re operating under a microscope, and since the retina is an extension of the brain, in a sense it is neurosurgery. I love it, and I like being able to follow the patients through their recoveries and establish relationships with them.” After Harvard Medical School, Gonzalez completed his retina fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and then spent time at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. A casual remark to him by a diabetic nurse triggered his life’s passion to work with children and diabetics. “The nurse had told me she practiced putting…

Read More

PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – GILBERT GALLEGOS

Gilbert Gallegos Senior Vice President, Broaddus & Associates   Broaddus & Associates senior vice president Gilbert Gallegos, an architect, started his career in the private sector. It wasn’t long before he realized he wanted to do more, and entered the public world. He began working for UT Austin, which led to his career with the UT System. “They wanted an individual to manage projects with the 1993 South Texas Border Initiative for providing higher education access,” Gallegos explained. “I began managing all the design and construction for UT System south of Austin. When I first came down to McAllen with Broaddus 17 years ago, it was like a mission. My passion was to be involved in helping under-served areas so people could experience unique environments to enhance the learning, functional, and perceptive quality for all.” With five employees in the McAllen office, the 18-year-old company based out of Austin leads its…

Read More