Category Archives: Chamber News

Five Leaderships Lessons from Grant

Leading and the core elements of leading are interesting to study. One area that is fascinating to study is military leaders. Their leadership role is much larger for one simple reason – lives are at stake. Military leaders are literally making life and death decisions. It is a responsibility that weighs on them long after the battle or war is over.  For the rest of us, there are key lessons to be learned in leading from military leaders. I am thankful I do not have to make those types of decisions. One general in particular always stands out to me – Ulysses S Grant. He demonstrated, at the Union’s lowest point in the Civil War, that he could lead and win.  He showed the resolve to defeat Robert E. Lee, who had become almost mystical, both in the North and South. Lee had become that figure and leader the Union…

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Five Fatal Flaws for an Employee

Many times, a business or organization is faced with a tough decision concerning keeping an employee or letting an employee go. Those moments as a leader or manager are never easy, but a situation or event has forced a decision to be made. How to evaluate and document what is essential to the organization is critical. Understanding what can be fixed and what cannot are important questions. Here are my five fatal flaws that would cause a serious conversation about termination: Lack of ability to learn from mistakes – We all make mistakes; mistakes are part of the human experience. I don’t worry too much about what I call “one-off” mistakes. “One-off” mistakes are missteps that happen just once. What catches a leader’s attention is the same type of mistake that is being made repeatedly. A mistake is corrected, but the person then keeps making the same mistake over and…

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Coldwell Banker La Mansion Real Estate Broker AND Socialife Magazine President/Publisher   1) What item would you not travel without? My cellphone. That’s my lifeline to everything, especially if my kids aren’t with me. 2) What is your greatest passion? That would be my children and now, my grandbaby.  3) Who is a person you admire the most? Why? My mother, because since I was very young, I always saw her working, taking care of all five of us kids. She was very protective of her kids, very hands-on, domineering, and a strong person. At 88 she still looks amazing and is full of life, very healthy. She’s funny, sassy, witty, and gives the best advice. All five of us are still trying to please her and make her proud. 4) Where do you go for your favorite meal? It would be very hard to pick one because the McAllen…

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CEO/Owner  Carats, Jewelry and Fine Gifts   1) What is your favorite book? I have quite a few because I was a Latin American Literature major. I think my favorite is The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. It’s hard to choose. 2) What is your favorite movie? I’m a big fan of film director Pedro Almodóvar so I choose Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. 3) What is your favorite vacation spot? Anywhere that has a beach or any place that I have not been. I have a bucket list of places I want to go see. 4) What is your life’s motto? Do good to others not because of who they are, but because of who you are. This was written by Oleg Vishnepolsky but I really do believe in that.  5) Where were you born? Brownsville, Texas 6) What was a life-changing event in your life? When…

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Chief Information Officer, Tex Mex Recycling   Skylar Stoleson has as many layers as the company he works for. When you’re the Chief Information Officer of Tex Mex Recycling, the vast amount of information that flows through your brain is mind-boggling. The company deals with the destruction of government agency electronics such as the Border Patrol, Homeland Security and U.S. Marshall’s from Corpus Christi south. “We have a 48 bay eraser and then we’ll shred the hard drives,” Stoleson said. “It’s all to government standards.” That’s just the icing on the cake. The variety of plastics Tex Mex Recyling and its sister Mexican company Tecnologias de Plastico recycle is beyond comprehension. Each plastic with its fillers of glass or talc, each color of plastic, each percentage of ingredients per plastic, and the different heat retention ingredients all make the recycling of the extensive array of plastics a complex affair. Then…

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Office Manager Supreme Credit Services   Life-changing! Going to work for Supreme Credit Services in 2017 was a shock for office manager Leonor Medina.  “When I first started with the company, Joe Martinez, the owner, told me we were going to be part of the McAllen Chamber’s Expo and I was going to do a presentation,” Medina said. “I thought I was going to simply do office work. I was super shy, very quiet, and quite sure I couldn’t do what he was asking.” Two years later, with Expos and Power Networks behind her and months as an Ambassador, Medina is a changed woman.  Passionate about her work with Supreme Credit Services, which is registered and bonded with the state, and with helping people buy their homes by guiding them to rebuild their credit, Medina is a powerhouse. Confident, outspoken, and inspired by her work on Weslaco’s Centennial Committee, she…

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Vote “YES” to add amendment which will prohibit the state from levying an income tax

Texas Proposition 4, the Prohibit State Income Tax on Individuals Amendment, is on the ballot in Texas as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 5, 2019. Please take note of the way the issue for voting will be added to the ballot: A “yes” vote supports adding an amendment to prohibit the state from levying an income tax on individuals to the Texas Constitution, which requires a two-thirds legislative vote and a statewide referendum to amend. A “no” vote opposes this amendment, thus continuing to allow the state to enact a tax on individuals in the future through a simple majority legislative vote and a statewide referendum. Please contact the Chamber at 956-682-2871 for more information.

RGV Innovators and Entrepreneurs

I spend a lot of my time working with startups and entrepreneurs, and it is one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of my day that I get to do at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Seeing some of the fantastic ideas in development, and some even becoming realities, is thrilling. Our culture believes creating something from nothing can be done overnight and that entrepreneurs and innovators catch “lightning in a bottle”. In actuality, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. The average entrepreneur and innovator we work with will take almost five years to get his/her idea to a profitable stage, if it makes it that far. So, here are a few things I have noticed about our local entrepreneurs and innovators: They have lots of ideas – The innovators we work with have lots of ideas, and one approach leads to two or more ideas in…

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McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (Part II)

Last week, I wrote about the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The Chamber board has been strategic in finding key leaders across sections of McAllen’s economy who bring to the table relationships and the ability to drive critical goals for the Chamber. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board is the tipping point, or “X” factor, for our organization. Here is Part II of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors: Jason Leal – Jason is the immediate past treasurer for the Chamber and brings a robust analytical approach to the trends financially impacting the Chamber, along with the benefits of a long-term banking relationship. Todd Mann – Todd is new to the board and is President and CEO of McAllen Medical Center. The healthcare industry is a massive driver in the local economy and is impacting the community in a variety of ways. Carlos Melguizo – Carlos…

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (Part I)

The new fiscal year for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce started October 1, and I am excited about all the new things the Chamber will be doing this coming year. One of the essential touchstones for the Chamber’s success is the board of directors. These businessmen and businesswomen make such a huge difference in our success and bring the intangible, or “X” factor, to the table. The board has the ability to commit to, and see the possibilities for, the future and the role the McAllen Chamber can play in the business community. Listed here are the people who are driving the Chamber’s success: Sally Fraustro-Guerra – Board chair and “connector”. Sally knows everyone and has stepped up, time and time again, in making things happen at/for the Chamber. She is always positive and willing to do whatever it takes for this organization to be successful. Bob Boggus – Chair-elect…

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The GoodPitch Competition

  The elevator pitch is the most powerful and concise description of you, your company, or your products boiled down to 2 minutes. It answers five basic questions, and it encourages the listener to request, “Tell me more.” The first step is to develop answers to the following questions: 1. What value do you provide? 2. How do you provide this value? 3. What is unique about your offer? 4. What is your target market? 5. Why do they care? Or, What’s in it for them? (For example, include in your answer “so that they can,” “who can no longer afford,” or “who are tired of.”) The next step is to practice… Remember!!! YOU ONLY HAVE 2 MINUTES


Kristina Leal, Business Development; Vice President Robert Saenz; Team Leader Jose Delgado;  Operations Manager/Senior Vice President Trey Murray; and Team Leader Raul Garcia We improve lives and communities by turning ideas into reality. Halff Associates engineers Trey Murray, P.E., senior vice-president and operations manager, and project manager Miles Bullion, P.E. described their company’s work as being the “behind the scenes” team, handling everything you don’t see. “We’re the ones who keep it from falling down, from sinking, and who keep it lit up, powered, cool or warm,” Murray explained. “We get water to it and sewer out of it. We get the telephone in and the wi-fi working. We make sure the fire alarm system and smoke alarms work. That’s what we do in a building. Outside we design roads to get you there and keep the bridges from falling.”   “I liked my teacher, Mr. Blackwell, and physics at…

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VICENTE GARZA VICE-PRESIDENT OPERATIONS   Floors can help bring the interior of a building to life or cause it to just sit there looking bored and tired. One company with its goal to make a difference is Intertech Commercial Flooring. “We’re a fully commercial company and work on floors of all types,” said Vicente Garza, Vice-President of Operations for Intertech Commercial Flooring. “We do all types of specialized flooring: epoxy flooring for kitchens, industrial flooring, polished concrete, porcelains, ceramics, computer access flooring, and any other type of specialized flooring. And, of course, we do the basics, carpet and hard tile.” Founded in Austin 32 years ago and now successfully operating in the Valley for 12 years, Intertech Commercial Flooring has built a solid reputation statewide through its capacity to meet customers’ needs with certified manpower, materials, and warehouse space. Offices are in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and the Valley, and…

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Katy Koy Executive Director, Valley Symphony Orchestra   Music has the ability to cast a wondrous spell over those listening as strings, reeds, horns and percussions create harmonies, which have the ability to move people’s souls.  It can change people for the better, enriching the lives of those who play and those who listen. “I believe the arts have the power to change lives as well as communities,” said Katy Coy, Executive Director, Valley Symphony Orchestra. “I am thrilled to be part of a community that continually works toward making arts a major force for change in the Valley. I believe the arts are a powerful tool for economic development and education, upgrading the overall quality of life.” Joining the Symphony in October of 2018, Coy considers the McAllen Performing Arts Center one of the finest she’s ever been in. “I feel like the luckiest person to be part of…

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Laurah Herrera Internet Sales Manager Audi San Juan   Baseball, church and work. Those are the words Laurah Herrera, internet sales manager for Audi San Juan, uses to sum up her life. “Baseball refers to her nine-year-old son, Efren. Laurah enjoys taking him to practice and games with her husband of 20 years. She relishes every second. As her two older daughters leave for college, spending time with Efren seems even more precious to her. “Church” refers to all the time she serves, giving back to God. Having a career in the car industry for 18 years, her employment with Audi San Juan has provided her with an occupation she loves. “I love the automotive industry and being ‘first contact’ with people searching for their perfect car,” Herrera said. “Audi has become my favorite brand, and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.” As an Ambassador, she puts her people…

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