Category Archives: Chamber News

ENGINEERS DON’T DO IT FOR THE CREDIT! – HALFF ASSOCIATES

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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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – INTERTECH FLOORING

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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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – KATY COY

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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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – LAURAH HERRERA

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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The American Dream

From the very beginning, the United States was founded on the concept that anyone could become anything they wanted. It was never a guarantee, but it was the concept of a “fair chance.” The dream meant a “fair chance” to achieve what a person desired, no matter where they were born or the circumstances of their birth. Government is not supposed to block a person’s path, and everyone should be offered a fair chance to compete.   What we have seen in the last decades has been an eroding of that confidence in the American way. Here are some examples of the erosions: Well connected and wealthy families cheat to get their kids into prestigious colleges and universities. Cheating to win. Doors to jobs and opportunities seem to open for people who have the right family connections and right school ties. Connections to win.  If you are not born in America…

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McAllen Earns Another Top Safety Ranking 

The City of McAllen has once again been recognized as one of the safest cities in Texas, based on an independent study done by Bacgroundchecks.org, which utilized the FBI crime statistics and a unique methodology metric to gain a city’s safety index score.  The City of McAllen was ranked #23 out 2,929 of the top cities with a population over 10,000, receiving a safety index score of .39.  While other cities ranked higher, McAllen is the only city with a population over 140,000 to rank amongst the top 25.  “McAllen is clearly a safe community,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.  “The work of the McAllen Police Department should be commended and is one of the reasons that our city is the place to work, live, play, do business, go to school and boasts the high quality of life we have here in McAllen.”  According to the report, the online website…

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Five Decision Making Traps to Avoid

There has been a lot written about decision making and what goes into the process. Bad decisions made by businesses get scrutinized repeatedly – they even become urban legends. Here are several examples: Ross Perot passed on buying Microsoft for $50 million in 1979; IBM allowed Microsoft to retain the copyright of the DOS operating system.  In 1999, Excite (a popular search engine in the 90s) passed on purchasing Google for $750,000; Western Union turned down purchasing the telephone patent for $100,000; In 1970, NBC and CBS passed on Monday Night Football; and, last but not least, Edwin Drake failed to file a patent for his oil drilling process in 1858 (he developed the process of using pipes to keep water away from the drill bits and ushered in the modern oil business).  Here are five traps that can happen during the decision-making process:  The First Idea Trap. We tend…

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RELIANT ENERGY – LIFE SWITCHED ON

Rolando Salinas Senior Manager Market & Segment Strategy   The fact that Reliant Energy is a major contender in the power company game is no surprise. Beginning in 1999 just before the Texas electricity market opened to competition through state-wide deregulation, it has roots tracing back to the company that brought electricity to Houston for the first time in 1882. Providing power to over a million homes across Texas, Reliant is part of parent company NRG Energy and is the largest competitive residential electricity retailer statewide. With digital, online and retail locations in numerous Walmarts, Reliant is structured to become an electric provider with ease. Reliant is known for powering the lives of its customers, but many don’t know how much more Reliant does for the communities it serves. “Even though we’re a big Texas company, we’re really local at heart,” Rolando Salinas, senior manager of Market & Segment Strategy,…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – SUSTAITA LOGISTICS CENTER LP

Everardo Sustaita, CEO   Learning about the logistics industry came naturally to  Everardo P. Sustaita, CEO of Sustaita Logistics Center LP. “I went to work my last year of college as a verifier of shipments for my father, a longtime Mexican Customs Broker,” Sustaita said. “During that time it became clear my father needed better control over the shipments going from the U.S. to Mexico. He needed someone who would cover his back, and that was me.” He and his father both realized what a vital job it was.  “Discrepancies on shipments found at Mexican Customs could have landed him in jail in Mexico.” Putting aside his dream to become a professor of economics, Sustaita first rented a shared warehouse in Hidalgo but without the tight security Sustaita wanted. Within two years, he bought the land on his current site and built his first 5,000 square foot warehouse. Today he has…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – JOE HERNANDEZ

Joe Hernandez, Manager of the  McAllen branch of Ric Brown Family Funeral Homes, loves to help people. He’s found his path and it’s paved with the goodness in his heart. Ric Brown lost his son back in the 1970s and was forced into the world of funerals. Feeling a different method of handling funerals was needed, he opened his company. Hernandez is the third generation of the family in the business and proud to be carrying on the tradition. A youth pastor at The Door Church, he and his wife revel in working with the kids, introducing them to the community, and all that entails, supporting their local firemen and police, for example. Having been an Ambassador for nine months has given him a new perspective of McAllen. “I would never have met the people I have met,” Hernandez said. “I love to hear how everybody has a story of…

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Core Values

One of the critical things that drives the success of a business or organization is the set of core values of that organization or company. Core values are the foundational stone for success and provide the “North Star” for businesses managing change and disruptions in the marketplace. Without clearly defined core values, an organization bounces from situation to situation, without really understanding why it has chosen to do things a certain way. Core values become the guiding principle and standard by which situations, customers, and even how internal matters are handled. Core values become “red lines” that are not negotiated or compromised. Everything can be traded and compromised, except core values. Easy to say, but much harder to do.  A person’s core values need to match with his/her business or organization’s core values. Without a close match, there is internal stress created, which results in a mismatch between an individual…

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City of McAllen Receives 97 Marketing Awards, Individual Professional Award at Texas Festival & Events Association Annual Conference 

McAllen Parks & Recreation Director Recognized as Professional of the Year McAllen hosted statewide festivals and events representatives for education and networking sessions The City of McAllen once again hosted the Texas Festival and Events Association Annual Conference this past weekend, bringing in festivals and events representatives from around the state as diverse and far away as Tomball Mud Fest; Ft. Worth Main St. Art Festival; Grapevine’s Grape Fest; Plano Balloon Fest; Poteet Strawberry Festival and even others closer to home, including Weslaco’s Texas Onion Fest; City of Edinburg; Laredo’s Washington Birthday Celebration Association,  and of course, as well-known as San Antonio’s Fiesta Flambeau Parade and St. Mary’s University Fiesta Oyster Bake. While the annual conference offers guidance, suggestions, ideas and networking opportunities, the highlight of the annual gathering is the Kaliff Marketing Awards, which recognizes the best of the best amongst the various Texas festivals and events. In fact,…

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U.S. Census Bureau Announces the Start of First Major Field Operation for 2020 Census

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the launch of address canvassing throughout the United States, the first major field operation of the 2020 Census. Address canvassing improves and refines the Census Bureau’s address list of households nationwide, which is necessary to deliver invitations to respond to the census. The address list plays a vital role in ensuring a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States. “The Census Bureau is dedicated to ensuring that we are on track, and ready to accomplish the mission of the 2020 Census,” said Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. “We have made many improvements and innovations over the past decade, including better technologies for canvassing neighborhoods and developing complete and updated address listings and maps.” The Census Bureau created new software called the Block Assessment, Research and Classification Application (BARCA). It compares satellite images of the United States over time, allowing Census…

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MXLAN BY SHAH – McALLEN’S GO – TO EVENT OF THE YEAR! JULY 24 – JULY 28

At its core, MXLAN is an interactive arts and music festival celebrating the past, present, and future of Mexico’s diverse cultural influence in our world.    Are you ready to dive into the depths of Mexican music, food, arts, and fun without leaving McAllen? Well, save the date! Shah Eye Center and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to bring MXLAN to McAllen from Wednesday, July 24 through Sunday, July 28 with all events held at and around the McAllen Convention Center complex. Sure to become a destination vacation event with visitors from across the country and Mexico, it will be an experience igniting people’s spirit of adventure, revelry and camaraderie. “You don’t want to miss this event,” an enthusiastic Steve Ahlenius, president & CEO, McAllen Chamber, said. “This is something you want to come out and experience.” While brainstorming for something new and different for the Valley,…

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