Category Archives: Chamber News

McAllen Passport Division to open the second Saturday of the month

The City of McAllen would like to remind residents that its Passport Division is open every second Saturday of the month. They will accept applications from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No matter where you go, a U.S. passport will get you back home. To learn more about travel requirements for U.S. citizens visit City of McAllen Passport Acceptance Facility is located in the Downtown Parking Garage at 221 S. 15th Street.

Global Competitiveness Report 2018

The World Economic Forum recently released its Global Competitiveness Report 2018.  The report shows that the United States has returned to the #1 position in overall competitiveness. Singapore was #2, Germany was #3, Japan was #6, China was #28 and Russia was #43. There are twelve key benchmarks that measure a country’s competitiveness and they include the following: Intuitions. Includes the rule of law and ensuring fair and equal treatment. The U.S. was ranked #13. Infrastructure. The benchmark includes everything from broadband to airports to highways. With some of the oldest legacy infrastructure in the world, the U.S. needs to invest much more to move up from #9. Internet, Communications and Technology. America’s diversity and individualism hurt, as too many people opt-out of state-of-the-art technology. The U.S. was ranked #27. Macroeconomic Stability. This benchmark refers to safety provided by monetary and fiscal policies. The United States is ranked #34. This…

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Dreamers & Inventors Win 2018 Innovation Grants Once again, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce has indentified individuals with the perseverance and willingness to face the challenges necessary to win a coveted Innovation Grant. Be Still, Little Tree, Be Still Shawn Elliot Russell, SER Publishing, author/musician A children’s book inspiring courage and peace. Five years ago, Shawn Elliot Russell, author/musician, was sinking into a black hole, withdrawing from the world, his anxiety disorders and phobias taking over his life. When the day came that a little voice urged him to end it all, he knew he’d hit bottom. “That was the low point,” Russell acknowledged. “Three years, later I have a book and have started a publishing company.” Writing Be Still, Little Tree, Be Still is Shawn’s way of helping others through their storms by sharing what he learned during his experience. The McAllen Chamber Innovation Grant allows him to order…

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Brad Wagner Expedient Mortgage Area Manager   What happens when the life you planned changes right before your eyes?  “I fell into banking by accident after I graduated,” said Brad Wagner, area manager for Expedient Mortgage. “With my degree in International Business and a minor in Spanish, I expected to work for a conglomerate abroad, preferably somewhere due south.” Landing a great job in Dallas after college led to a work life filled with horrible traffic, commuting and traveling. So Brad answered a random ad for a loan officer trainee, and that one discussion altered his goals completely. “I had the best trainer ever and I just loved it!” he said. Joining the telecommuting world took him to San Antonio where he joined Expedient Mortgage 13 years ago. “Our home office is in San Antonio with Thrive Mortgage as our parent company,” he said. “Expedient has six branches and Thrive…

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Dr. Pablo Tagle, III Chiropractic Wellness Center   1) What is your favorite book? I think one of my all-time favorites would probably have to be by Wayne Dyer, and it’s called Thereís a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem. Things he teaches resonate with me and how I view life. I was going through a challenging time in my life when I read that book and it gave me a lot of knowledge and insight into how to live more peacefully. It helped get me into my regimen of meditating. 2) What is your favorite movie? I’ll have to go with something like Pulp Fiction. It sounds like a cliché, but I really love that movie. It’s a little violent, but I think what I like, more than anything else, is the way the whole movie comes together with Quentin Tarantino as the producer. They’re called semi-smart movies. They have…

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Ashley Castillo Sales Rep,   The last few years have been a series of ups and downs for Weslaco native Ashley Castillo, sales rep for Married with a blended family of five kids, she has little time to enjoy her hobby of running. Somewhere between her dreams of becoming a nurse, and going to school for it, the universe threw her a curve ball. Life was put on hold when her youngest was diagnosed with leukemia.  “No school, no work, everything was put on hold for him,” she remembered. “Losing my father during that time was also difficult.” Now with cancer behind them, Ashley is working towards her master’s in Healthcare Administration while repping for, a toner manufacturer that also sells re-manufactured black ink cartridges, printers, and handles copier leases. As the co-chair of the Chamber’s Ambassadors, she loves her work with them. “I’m a people person…

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The Power of Focus

When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than to a get a magnifying glass and burn stuff. I think my parents were concerned I was a budding arsonist. I loved taking my $4.99 magnifying glass outside and burning paper, plastic soldiers, and leaves. I even stuck my finger under the magnifying glass. Trust me – it hurts and you don’t need to try it. The magnifying glass is a great example of bringing focus. If you can remember back to your childhood, it took a little skill (angles and light) and time to get the glass focused on the right spot. Our ability to get things done is like the magnifying glass – it takes a little skill. When I need to get things done, I have found improving my focus improves the outcome. When my focus is diluted, I get diluted results. There are three kinds of…

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How To Sell on Amazon Seminar

  At the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, we are always looking for new opportunities to make your business grow. We understand the importance of having an online presence and expanding the channels for your product delivery. Therefore, we would like to offer to our members the opportunity to sell on Amazon. If you would like to attend a seminar with Amazon representatives that will teach you how to list your products and market them, fill out the form below: Before setting a day and time for the event, we would like to know how much interest a topic like this would bring. Make sure to fill out the form in order to make this happen. We will reach out to you as soon as we have a set day and time. Thank you! McAllen Chamber of Commerce

Thanksgiving Together

Thanksgiving in our house is the best and most favored holiday. I am not slamming Christmas. Who doesn’t like getting gifts, all the festive decorations, parties, and the general goodwill that seems to prevail even if just for a momentary period? However, in our house, Thanksgiving wins. There is something about giving thanks that is reflective.  It causes us to slow down, and pause, and think about all the blessings we have in our lives. This Thanksgiving we need to stop and reflect more than ever. There seems to be a growing uneasiness and sense of being overwhelmed by things happening all around us. Thanksgiving is a time, not to pull away and retreat into our own little world of food, football, and turkey, but to come together. Together is a powerful word. It means we are not alone. We are not separate. It is an acknowledgment of the authentic,…

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Holiday Shopping in McAllen

LET’S GET SHOPPING,MCALLEN! The holiday season is just around the corner, which means you probably have plenty of shopping to get done. But no need to stress, the McAllen metro area has everything you need, from exquisite jewelry stores to one-of-a-kind boutiques and everything in between. Your team at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce have put together a quick list of some of the best shops in town. Whatever you are looking for, you’re sure to find that special gift for everyone on your list! A Block Away Quilt Shop 2706 N. 10th Street McAllen, TX 78501 956-638-1961 People love creating their very own crafts and quilts, and A Block Away Quilt Shop is the perfect store for the quilt maker in your life. Offering fabrics, quilt kits, patterns and books, batting, fusibles, and even quilt making classes, this is the one stop shop for that craft maker you know.…

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Larry Delgado co-owner, & bistro. and Salt-New American Table   1) What item would you not travel without? There are quite a few that are on my checklist. But the one I would never travel without is my wife. I wouldn’t know where to go, what to do next, where the good places to eat are if Jessica hadn’t planned them out before we left.  2) What is your greatest passion? If you ask me today, that has to be my children. The old cliché that your life turns upside down when kids come is true. I often was critical of my friends who said things like that, and lo and behold, it happened to me. It certainly changed my perspective on everything. 3) Where do you go for your favorite meal? Ahhh…food, my other passion! At one point it might have been the greatest, but it’s been superceded by my…

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Horacio Repetto, General Manager, GE Aviation   When people see the name GE, the first thing which comes to mind is typically appliances – washers, or refrigerators –  none of which will be found in this GE plant. With a motto of “Invent the Future of Flight, Lift People Up and Fly Them Home Safely,” it’s not hard to determine that this plant is all about jet engines. Manufacturing each part, and having the capacity to fix any jet engine, has made GE Aviation the largest manufacturer on this side of the border in the Rio Grande Valley. “‘Fly Them Home Safely’ is what all 550 of our employees live by,” said Horacio Repetto, General Manager of GE Aviation. “When we’re working on a part and ship it out of here to go back into an engine, it has to be perfect. We take a lot of pride to  ensure our…

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Co-owner of Minuteman Press What does a 26-year banking executive from First Community Bank, who was promoted to vice-president during her 15 years as the Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering officer, do when she’s ready to move on? She finds a franchise she’d like to own, of course. Gina Cruz, co-owner with her husband of the Minuteman Press McAllen franchise, went to Farmingdale, New York last year for two weeks of intensive training.  “We learned the basics of how to operate and manage a professional printing company,” Cruz explained. “Minuteman Press is a full service printing and marketing design company offering competitive pricing and such services as advertising, printing, direct mail, and promotional items. Additionally, we offer in-house sublimation for local customers not wanting dozens of items.” “It was different at first, but now I enjoy talking to people,” she said.  Becoming involved in chambers around the Valley and as…

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Youth Apprenticeship McAllen

This past Wednesday, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, South Texas College, and McAllen ISD launched the first of its kind Youth Apprenticeship Program in South Texas. The program is a pilot project driven by the idea of developing the talent pipeline for McAllen businesses. The program is a win-win-win-win for the students, businesses, STC, and McAllen ISD. This initiative is a Department of Labor certified apprenticeship program, which means these students are a “step-ahead” of their peers in the labor market. The training provided by STC for the apprenticeship certification is customized for each business and each student. The students follow a training pathway and the companies get the opportunity to develop talent from the ground-up. Another important factor in this program is that the students get paid as they learn. This is not an internship program or a job-shadowing program. These are real jobs with real skill sets that…

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Top Five Small Business Winners

Every year, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce honors the community’s Top Five Small Businesses, and this year’s honorees are just outstanding! Small businesses drive the success of our community. The investment, and jobs created and sustained by small businesses, are essential to the overall health of McAllen.  They are a key indicator of the economic vitality of our city. Here are this year’s winners: Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects was established in 1990 when two firms owned by Danny Boultinghouse and Bob Simpson merged. The firm is well known for its quality work and involvement in the community. The company has seen a 333% increase in employment and has also seen a steady 5% increase in business the last three years while expanding into San Antonio, Laredo, and Buda. The firm has completed numerous major projects over the years including the McAllen Public Library, the Museum of South Texas History, the…

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