Category Archives: Chamber News

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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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – DORA BROWN

Dora Brown is retired. That could be simply all that needs to be said. However, Dora Brown’s story is not a one sentence article. She is one of those community leaders who puts her heart, soul, and faith into everything she does. Her leadership will be missed. But, then, Dora Brown is not the kind of person to fade away, either. This year she will be recognized as a 50-Year Banker. Starting in the banking industry with her smile and superior customer service skills, this former Senior Vice President and Marketing Manager for IBC Bank said that banking chose her, not the other way around. “Customer service has always been my job,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed it.” After she immersed herself in banking, learning everything she possibly could, she turned outward to her community, looking for the next way she could be of service. In 1996, when Sam Houston…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – 2F AKAUSHI BEEF

Felo & Stephanie Martinez Owners Have you heard of healthy beef? Through a neighbor’s friendly suggestion, Felo and Stephanie Martinez, third generation owners of 2F Rancho Sante Fe, found their way to the Wagyu beef breed, specifically the Akaushi breed (pronounced ah-ka-oo-she), meaning red cow. Akaushi is highly prized for its tenderness and butter-soft flavor, but they are a feisty breed. “They’re hard to work,” Stephanie said. “You cannot get in a corral with them or they’ll run you over. They’re intimidated by people, so we do all our work on horseback.” Their ranch is an intriguing commingling of Old West and contemporary. Their ranch home is decorated straight out of historical lore with branding irons adorning the walls, cypress pickle-barrel wood lining the ceiling, and historic family saddles embellishing the main room. Outside, cows and calves roam the range, some sticking their heads under the backyard fence to get…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – SELENA MARTINEZ

Selena Martinez, owner of RGV Payroll, has always liked numbers. Obtaining her degree in accounting from UTRGV allowed her to fulfill a lifelong dream of working in a family business with her dad. Managing his firm, Fred Martinez LLC, and opening her RGV Payroll have brought a new world to life for her and uses her love for numbers. “My favorite part of accounting is payroll,” Martinez said. “I truly enjoy helping people who don’t understand payroll. Now I have my own company as well as working for my dad’s.” Following in her father’s footsteps in another area as well, Martinez decided to become an Ambassador. “I like socializing and building relationships with the other Ambassadors. I believe when they are looking for payroll help, they’ll call me because we may have already established a relationship.” A cheerleader from high school through college, this Ambassador loves to travel, attend concerts…

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CITY OF McALLEN LEADERS SHARE THEIR STORIES ABOUT McALLEN, AND THEIR TRIUMPHS & GOALS

Mayor Jim Darling Mayor Darling graduated high school in Rochester, New York, went into the Air Force, completed two tours in Vietnam, flew 133 missions in C47s, and acquired a psychology degree before graduating from law school at Baylor. He held various jobs from high school on before becoming an attorney working in a lumber yard, a dock for a carbon paper factory, as a mason’s helper, at a VA facility, and was part of a roofing crew. He served as McAllen Assistant City Attorney, McAllen City Attorney, attorney for Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, and for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, then McAllen City Commissioner and McAllen Mayor. Mayor Darling would like to make sure the city is providing quality jobs to match the quality education students are receiving. He would also like to provide our community with a great quality of life. “We’re really concentrating on ‘Let’s Ramp It…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – TEHUACÁN BRILLANTÉ WATER

A. Jimmy Garza CEO Flowing in springs from the 18,491-foot-tall Orizaba, North America’s third highest mountain, is a delicious, pure mineral water made from rain and snowmelt that filters through the volcanic strata. Learning about the widespread consumption of Puebla, Mexico’s Tehuacán region mineral water, A. Jimmy Garza, CEO of Tehuacán Brillanté Water realized the taste was clean and fresh with no aftertaste. He knew he wanted to be a part of introducing it to the world. While researching the field of mineral waters, Garza found the overall growing trend in beverages is towards health and wellness. “People want to drink something that is good for them. They know sweet sodas are not, which explains the big boom towards mineral waters,” Garza explained. “Tehuacán Brillanté Sparkling Natural Mineral Water is naturally sourced and provides beneficial minerals. It’s a great natural beverage alternative for the public.” He believes the American people…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – DAVID PEREZ

David Perez, Executive Director of Comfort House, an end-of-life establishment, has found his niche. It took years. Initially he spent years as a teacher, then years first in outpatient rehabilitation administration and then in healthcare administration. Along the way he completed his graduate studies in guidance and counseling, working as a family counselor. Such background gave him the ability to beat 52 other applicants when applying for his current position. But Perez was sure he had other help. “I think God led me where He wants me to be,” Perez said. “I wanted a place where I could pray openly and freely, and I get to do that every morning with our residents.” Preparing for Comfort House’s largest annual fundraiser, Pretty in Pearls, scheduled for April 2, he exhibits a few more of his talents. Having a theater background and a hobby of wedding planning, he loves pulling out the…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – FRED MARTINEZ

Fred Martinez, owner of Fred Martinez, LLC, has a passion for his work that wakes him up in the morning and puts a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. “When I’m able to look at a client’s books and determine within 10 minutes how they are doing or how the company has managed their books in QuickBooks, that’s my passion,” said Martinez, whose areas of expertise includes QuickBooks, payroll, and taxes. He has found his calling with his bookkeeping and tax preparation business, and also as an Ambassador. “At first, being an Ambassador was a way to meeting potential clients,” Fred explained. “As time passed, the Ambassadors have become my friends. The relationships we build are tremendous. I have learned that to be successful with the Chamber, you have to be active in the Chamber.” When he’s not working, Fred loves to travel with his wife.…

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Updated Summary of the Paycheck Protection Program Established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

An article from Dykema Gossett PLLC The CARES Act has now been passed by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020. One of the highlights of the CARES Act for small businesses is the establishment of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP is an expansion of the existing SBA 7(a) loan program in an effort to provide eligible participants with access to up to $10 million (covered loans) for the period from February 15, 2020, through June 30, 2020, (covered period) as a way to keep their employees on the payroll to get through the COVID-19 crisis. Who is eligible? Among those eligible include: Businesses and qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofits with not more than 500 employees worldwide, or the applicable size standard for the industry as provided by the SBA, if that number is higher A business in the food…

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