Category Archives: Chamber News

The Value of Work

Geoffrey Owens has been in the news recently. For those of you who don’t remember, Geoffrey Owens is an actor who had a recurring role on The Cosby Show throughout the mid-80s and the early 90s. He has also been on several TV shows since then, including Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, and Built to Last. For the last 15 months, he had worked at Trader Joe’s in New Jersey because the job gave him the flexibility to pursue acting and directing gigs. Last week a fan recognized the actor at Trader Joe’s, took a picture of him working the cash register, and posted it on social media. What was shocking were the Internet “trolls” who tried to shame him because of his desire to work and support himself while pursuing his dreams. Therein lies the “rub” and what our culture has to…

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McAllen is Booming: City Earns Top Spot As Boomtown

It’s a great time to live and work in McAllen! Our gorgeous city was recently recognized by personal finance site MagnifyMoney as one of the Top 10 biggest boomtowns in the nation when categorized by: population and housing; workforce and earnings; and business growth over a five-year period. Even more amazingly, McAllen was ranked #1 out of the 100 largest metro areas in the nation in terms of rising salaries. Growing work opportunities, rising wages, and a flourishing workforce has made McAllen the South Texas city to be in. The study focused on the five-years between 2011 and 2016. During this time frame, McAllen’s civilian labor workforce grew by 8.7 percent, its unemployment rate decreased by 10.9 percent, and median worker earnings soared by 18.4 percent. Amazingly, revenues in McAllen rose by 19.1 percent during these five-years. McAllen’s metro population during this period also grew by a substantial 9.4 percent…

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The Law of the Harvest

The Law of the Harvest is the principle that states that you grow and reap where you focus your attention and efforts. We discuss with new chamber members how the Law of the Harvest is key to their membership. Small business owners are managers, HR specialists, customer service reps, finance gurus, chief strategists, marketers, and janitors; they do it all. The challenge for small business owners, with so many things on their plates, is how to grow their business. If a small business does not invest the time and effort to grow their economic pie and business model, they will wake up one day and there will be no business. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce helps solve one of the most fundamental questions for a small business, “How do I effectively and efficiently grow my business?” This question can be answered by being a part of the McAllen Chamber of…

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Flying Cars

I know lots of people thought that by this time in history we would have flying cars. Those of us who grew up watching The Jetsons on Saturday morning were certain that by the early 21st century we would all be traveling in flying cars. While we are not there yet, we are getting closer. Two key companies that have taken the lead in developing Personal Air Vehicles are Uber and Lilium (a German company). The challenge is “to deliver a safe, cost-effective, reliable and quiet aerial commuting solution using technologies and infrastructure that are available in the near-term.” The problem is that the complex ecosystem has to be put in place all at one time. Here are just a few of the difficulties: aircraft management, pilot management, skyport management, power and electric management, skyport operations, and communication infrastructure management. So, there are lots of moving parts that have to…

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SOUTH TEXAS – BUICK • GMC NOT THE BIGGEST, JUST THE BEST!

Gathered around the desk were Executive Director Victor Pardo, Digital Marketing Manager George Castillo, and General Sales Manager Eduardo Garza. It was easy to see the pride as each spoke about South Texas Buick & GMC. “Our company purchased South Texas Buick GMC in January of 2006,” began Victor. “We bought it with the expectation that this was going to be a great dealership.” Knowing they had a long road ahead since the dealership had been low-volume and family-owned, and knowing that General Motors was going through its bankruptcy process, the men dug in and got to work.  It had been a Saturn dealership that had brought Victor and George together.  “I had been in the banking business, but was asked to find a General Manager for the Saturn dealership by the company I worked for,” Victor said. “After three months without the right candidate, I decided to take the…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – METRO ELECTRIC, INC.

If it hadn’t been for an independent grocer in San Antonio, Metro Electric, Inc. might never have been. It was there that Jack Gerdes, a bag boy, was approached and told he should consider working for Alterman Electric Contractors. Jack took the suggestion and worked for them for years, learning the industry by beginning at the bottom – digging ditches.  “My grandfather worked his way up as high as he could get with Alterman,” company estimator Derek recalled. “At that point, he decided to venture out on his own, and in 1973 moved from San Antonio to Brownsville to start Metro Electric, Inc.” A family-run operation with son Michael as vice-president and another grandson, David, as an electrician in the field, the 45-year old company, with approximately 150 employees, has garnered many awards.  Among the awards are Service Contractor of the Year for the Independent Electrical Contractors, (IEC), and Subcontractor…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – RUBEN PEÑA, IV

Ruben Peña Cadravo Communications Ruben Peña is a mover and shaker. Working for Cadravo Communications as Software & Technology Developer simply wasn’t enough of a challenge for him. He embraced the company, which is designed for businesses on the go, to be able to be in communications with customers and clients any way and anywhere.  Taking phone systems to a whole new level by incorporating computer backups, phone encryption, Hunts Group technology and so much more including a state-of-the-art, virtually military grade secure server, Peña handles marketing, software development, and public relations. Never one to sit still, Ruben loves being an Ambassador, which gives him a sense of belonging in the business community. “Being an entrepreneur at heart, I love talking to clients in other businesses and learning what strategies they’re using – what’s working, what’s not,” Peña said. With a daily life calendar: Monday – gym; Taco Tuesday; dancing…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – CHRIS LASH

Chris Lash Keep McAllen Beautiful Nestled on the grounds of the Recycling Center sits the mobile home offices of Keep McAllen Beautiful (KMB). Out of these humble settings a team of dedicated employees guides the volunteer projects of Keep McAllen Beautiful through clean-ups, mosaic works, house paintings, and neighborhood revitalizations. Leading the team of enthusiastic staff and volunteers is Chris Lash, Program Director. “I really love the way we are enveloping our culture and having more quality things to do for families, such as the hike and bike trails,” Lash said. “McAllen is growing tremendously, and our events and projects are a great way to get involved in the community.” Lash developed her passion for the environment from her parents. “When we were young, our parents would take us to parks and monuments, teaching us not only to enjoy the outdoors, but also not to litter,” she said. “As I…

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As the Unemployment Rate Decreases, Opportunity and Hope in the RGV Increases

Change is happening in McAllen. The work for a better tomorrow over the past year has produced record-breaking results that have improved the quality of life to the citizens of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area. It is our privilege that the McAllen Chamber of Commerce provides the backbone necessary to build a strong, sprouting business, and when more businesses plant their roots into McAllen’s soil, more jobs become available to our citizens. While we all share in this success, it wasn’t an easy win to obtain. Thanks to our programs—such as the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Innovation Grant, 1 Million Cups, and IdeaPlace powered by Wells Fargo to name a few—that foster ambition, reward innovation, and inspire hope, local entrepreneurs both inexperienced and experienced are realizing their true potential. Because of our dedication to nurturing these small businesses, job vacancies have been created, effectively decreasing the unemployment rate throughout the metro…

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Programs

Innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship are driving our economy in the 21st century. McAllen is building the infrastructure and networks to foster innovation, creativity, and startups. Ideas and innovation drive wealth creation in communities. Our goal at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce is to provide technical support, connections, funding and a vetting process that allows entrepreneurs to explore ideas without wasting a lot of money. We are creating the culture and working to lower the transactional costs for young companies and the success is paying off. We have worked with over 160 startups and have assisted in securing 16 patents, nine trademarks, and seven copyright protections filings. We have created 36 jobs, but more importantly, we have helped young McAllen companies generate more than $4.5 million in revenue over the last five years. We have assisted three finalists in the H-E-B Primo Picks Competition, and we have more coming. It is…

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An Oasis in Life’s Stormy Weather Cryo Body Perfections By Roda Grubb

Out of pain comes gain ― if you let it. Though this saying has been around for ages, Margret De Bruyn, Managing Director of Cryo Body Perfections, knows it for a fact. After a major war with an 18-wheeler, De Bruyn, a pilates instructor, weightlifter, and health advocate living in San Antonio, was in major pain due to back injuries and pinched nerves. “I’m allergic to painkillers and nothing was working to help stop the pain except ice treatments at the chiropractors,” De Bruyn explained. “When a tri-athlete friend suggested I try a new treatment that had helped her called cryotherapy, I thought, ‘Why not?’” Hoping for immediate results, it wasn’t until the following morning she discovered she had miraculously slept all night and had been able to get out of bed in 20 minutes instead of 45. The more she underwent cryotherapy treatment, the better she felt. She found…

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Boost Metal Wins $7,500 from the McAllen Business Plan Competition

McAllen, TX – Since 2011, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the McAllen Economic Development Corporation have provided more than $45,000 in awards to 8 different entrepreneurs. The contest awards a prize $7,500 every year to the winner. The intent of the program is to foster new business creation and expansion in McAllen. The competition is for new, independent, for-profit ventures in the seeding or start-up stages in the McAllen. The competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges function as venture capital investors deciding on which business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation, all influence the judges’ decisions. Ultimately, the winning team should be the team in which the judges would most…

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Four Key Elements to Leading

If you have followed the news for the last several months (or maybe it has been years), you may have noticed a huge drop in civility and leadership. We see people in leadership positions insulting and degrading people with whom they disagree. We seem to think voicing our thoughts and opinions on social media is synonymous with having an impact. We “exaggerate” our involvement and activism, and yet we don’t even get off the couch to try to make a real difference. True leadership requires more than voicing one’s opinions and thoughts. There are four key parts to leading: History. What a person brings to the table when leading is an accumulation of strengths and weaknesses that have developed over a lifetime. There are no shortcuts to effective leadership. It takes time as well as success and failure. Our desires for instant gratification and to solve problems quickly do not…

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You Own It!

“You own it!” This is a phrase that has several meanings. It can be, “Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a new house or car,” or it can mean that you own the outcome or decision you just made. Unfortunately, our culture today is allowing an attitude of deflection and denial to creep into our thought processes, which is preventing us from taking responsibility for our choices. I don’t want to go as far as the victim persona, but there is a shift toward not taking responsibility for our own decisions. We are quick to blame other people: “They said this first,” or “They did this to me first.” Instead of owning what we do and say, we deflect and deny. When my kids were teenagers, I was quick to point out that they owned their decisions, actions, or words. It didn’t matter what their friends did; it…

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McAllen Chamber Seeking Nominations for Prestigious Man & Woman of the Year Awards

We have all had the opportunity to be associated with individuals from the McAllen area who have distinguished themselves for their outstanding volunteer service to our community, and sometimes these members of our community don’t receive the recognition they deserve.  Every year, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Man & Woman of the Year Selection Committee selects two outstanding volunteers to receive the honor of McAllen’s Man & Woman of the Year. To distinguish these deserving individuals, we ask for your nominations to make this recognition a reality for McAllen’s most deserving people.  If you know individuals you feel need to be recognized for their acts of exceptional kindness and tireless energy, or someone who has organized a program for the betterment of our community, given their time and talent to teach, lent a helping hand to those in need, or just made the special effort to ensure that “good things…

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