Category Archives: Chamber News

PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – FRANK ALMARAZ

Frank Almaraz, Chief Executive Officer at Workforce Solutions, learned early from his dad the importance of literacy. Though neither parent went to college, literacy was on the top of their list of areas they wanted their son to conquer. “Get an education! Always do your best! Respect everybody!” Born and raised in McAllen, Almaraz was a scared 13-year-old traveling by himself to West Texas to harvest cucumbers, sleeping in the truck because there was no other room. Making that summer trip yearly through high school, Almaraz knew his father was right. He graduated from UT-Pan American with an accounting degree. Austin then became his home for the next 20 years. Becoming a CPA and working first for the state and then as Internal Audit Director for the Texas Workforce Commission, he jumped when he had the opportunity to return home to the Valley.  Almaraz took over as Chief Executive Officer…

Read More

MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – TINA ZIEGLER

Tina Ziegler Ziegler Services   Entrepreneur, artist, and Ambassador, Tina Ziegler is a woman having a love affair with both Germany and Texas. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she first came to McAllen at 14. That initial time was all it took. She fell in love with the Valley. Surrounding herself with the positive energy of her friends and customers, her goal as owner of Ziegler Services is to help her clients with her services. Becoming an Ambassador steered her along that path. “I decided to become an Ambassador because I love to meet people and learn about their businesses and see what’s new,” she said. “I wish to connect with business owners and help promote and create this community. I like to go to ribbon cuttings and congratulate the new business owners. Sometimes I’m able to give them a little piece of my knowledge, expertise or connect them with others…

Read More

How Do You See the World?

What type of lens we use to look at the world determines what we choose to see and think about what is around us. Our “lens” brings certain things into focus, while other things become blurred. We are quick to look around us and to measure our success by what we want to see. Here is a story of a young man learning a lesson about riches and poverty: One day a young man of a very wealthy family took a trip to the other side of the world to see how other people lived in poorer countries. The young man’s grandfather had sent him on this journey of discovery. The young man spent a couple of days and nights on a small farm in a rural part of the country watching this very poor family scratch out an existence on a small plot of land. On his return trip…

Read More

Nancy Millar Bids Farewell to the McAllen Chamber of Commerce

Nancy Millar, Vice President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, announced her retirement last week after 22 years of working at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Those of you who have had the pleasure of working with Nancy over the years understand the insight and enthusiasm she brought to the table on every project or event she worked on and developed. She truly has a deep love for McAllen. Nancy is a person who can stretch a dollar and get the biggest “bang for the buck” in marketing and advertising. She has a keen understanding of how to pull a marketing plan together and how to execute. What I grew to appreciate about Nancy is how she worked with limited resources and was still able to drive economic growth in McAllen. When an organization is flush with cash and can spend large sums of…

Read More

Launch McAllen: Propelling Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners Forward

The McAllen metro area, home to more than 2 million bilingual, bicultural people, is a region that has not only become an international hub for major industries but which also supports a thriving small business community. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce, along with leaders from the City of McAllen and McAllen Economic Development Corporation, is dedicated to paving the pathway to success for inventors, entrepreneurs, and innovators. We have developed forward-thinking programs to provide entrepreneurs, inventors, startup owners, and business leaders with the tools and support they need to not only get their ideas off the ground but also sustain their businesses. These programs have coalesced under Launch McAllen. Through this initiative, we are developing economic opportunity, driving innovation, and helping to build an ecosystem that will help to encourage the growth of local business. Let’s take a look at some of the programs that fall under Launch McAllen and…

Read More

McAllen Medical Center Becomes First and Only Level II Trauma Center in the Upper Valley

This impressive accomplishment demonstrates South Texas Health System’s ongoing commitment to ensure quality care is available for patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses in the Rio Grande Valley. McAllen Medical Center, part of the South Texas Health System (STHS), is the first hospital in Hidalgo County designated as a Level II Trauma Center with 24/7 board-certified trauma surgeons immediately available to serve the Rio Grande Valley. The designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services was achieved following program verification by the American College of Surgeons and required that McAllen Medical Center meet the essential criteria that demonstrate trauma care capability and institutional performance. The Texas Department of State Health Services Trauma Designation Rules classifies both Levels I and II Centers as Major Trauma Centers since patient care delivery requirements are the same for both. We are proud to be designated as the first and only Level II Trauma…

Read More

5G and Its Importance to the RGV

This last week, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce hosted its first Entrepreneur Summit and one of the presenters, Jon Roberts from TIP Strategies, discussed the importance of 5G and the next big-business boom. There has been a lot of conversation around artificial intelligence (AI), bio-engineering, robotics, and the North American Energy Boom, but the most significant change is coming with 5G. The techno-revelation is built on a foundation of moving and processing information quicker and at lower costs. The rollout of 5G will be the infrastructure foundation to make all this happen. The 5G infrastructure will be able to carry previously prohibitive volumes of data and will allow a smarter and more connected world. Whether you are talking about driverless cars, flying vehicles, AI, intelligent appliances, advanced manufacturing or superfast data communication, 5G will power all of it and be the game changer.    The rollout of 5G is in…

Read More

SHAH EYE CENTER PRESENTS MXLAN, McALLEN’S NEW FIVE-DAY FESTIVAL

Shah Eye Center presents MXLAN, McALLEN’S NEW FIVE-DAY FESTIVAL WITH  LA GUELAGUETZA PERFORMERS, MEXICAN  ARTISANS AND CRAFTSMEN   The McAllen Chamber of Commerce announced recently that Shah Eye Center will be Presenting Sponsor of MXLAN 2019, a unique multi-day and multi-generational festival geared to appeal to everyone – adventure seekers, families, history buffs, children, and seniors. It will offer experiences for every age and background, all set within a festive backdrop.  Debuting in July, MXLAN 2019 by Shah Eye Center will commemorate the color and pageantry of Oaxaca’s many native cultures, its time-honored past preserved for hundreds of years, and its present and future during the five-day event.  MXLAN 2019 by Shah Eye Center is where Oaxaca’s art, music, literature, lifestyle, and culinary experiences will come alive. At the heart of the festival will be “La Guelaguetza,” the traditional dance performance deeply embedded in Oaxaca’s history.  “As you can imagine,…

Read More

BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – THAI RED CHILI

PAIRAO & CHANIDA TAUTHONG Owners   Pairao and Chanida Tauthong, owners of Thai Red Chili, brought the look, feel and taste of Thailand to McAllen when they used Pairao’s extensive restaurant knowledge to open Thai Red Chili at 3507 North Ware Road, south of Nolana. Over 30 years ago, Tauthong cooked at his brother’s successful Thai/Northern Italian food restaurants in Stamford, Connecticut. He then worked at various hotels around the New York City area and found an affinity for the restaurant business. Pairao met his future bride through a mutual New York friend in 2001. He had listened when the friend spoke of Chanida, a nurse – now nurse practitioner – who lived in McAllen. He had taken a risk and had flown to McAllen to meet her. “It was summer and  hot,” Pairao chuckled. “I looked up and was surprised. In New York it was a concrete jungle and…

Read More

14 QUESTIONS WITH McALLEN CHAMBER BOARD MEMBER

Joe Habbouche Attorney & Equity Partner Atlas, Hall & Rodriguez, LLP   1) What is your favorite book? It has been a while since I’ve had the free time to read as I did in my youth. I had to read a lot of different books in college and law school. Picking a favorite is difficult. I can tell you I thought the easiest classic to read was Bram Stokerís Dracula. I thought that was the most interesting, much more riveting than contracts and Real Estate Law 101! 2) What is your favorite movie? The movie I can watch almost any time it’s on is The Bourne Identity. I’m a fan of entertaining action movies more than some of the cognitive movies. Any kind of 80s action movies would entertain me. 3) What was your favorite vacation spot? I would say probably Montreal, Canada, because it’s the first time my…

Read More

PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – LIZ SUAREZ

Liz Suarez, Director of Aviation for McAllen International Airport, has come full circle. Starting her career with the City of McAllen in the Department of Aviation in 2000, Suarez has completed the loop. “I was given this opportunity primarily because I had a good level of experience on the ground transportation side in the transit department,” Suarez said. “The airport has transportation needs and trends specific to our region and our community. In addition, I have a vast understanding of federal regulations and guidelines and 13 plus years working with FTA, the sister organization to FAA.” At the airport, again, in 2013 as Deputy Director, she was appointed Director in the spring of 2014. “It’s been a fun ride. I love aviation. It has a whole different dynamic,” she said. Taking on the aviation side of economic development, Suarez learned about the airfield and all involed in opperating an airport.…

Read More

MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – CARLOS LOPEZ

For the first eight years of his life, Carlos Lopez, credit officer at Greater State Bank, grew up in Redwood City, California. It was there his late grandmother made history as the first Hispanic female bank vice-president in the area, working her way up with only a high school degree.  “Ever since I was 11, I wanted to pursue a career in banking,” Lopez said. “I love what I do.” When Greater State Bank became a chamber member, Lopez went to an Ambassador meeting and was hooked. “It’s about getting out in the community, getting to know people, and helping the Chamber in any way I can.” Along with his wife, they lead the board of Keep McAllen Beautiful. Carlos as president, his wife the vice-president, and their 5-year old daughter is an unofficial junior board member thanks to her participation in nearly all volunteer events.  “Church, family, work, Keep…

Read More

McAllen Begins Outreach Efforts for U.S. Census 2020

The City of McAllen, in partnership with the U.S. Census, has already rolled out its first of many public service announcements regarding the 2020 Census, encouraging McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley to “Make Texas Count!” for next year’s census.  Featuring McAllen Mayor Jim Darling in English and McAllen Chief of Police Victor Rodriguez in Spanish, the message is a broad overview of why the census is conducted, why it is important, the various ways to fill out the Census and finally, how individuals can apply to help be a part of the Census team in McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley. In both videos, Mayor Darling and Chief Rodriguez encourage the community to fill out the Census to help make sure that everyone in Texas is counted. “This message is especially important in our part of Texas, the entire Rio Grande Valley,” said Mayor Darling.  “It is so important…

Read More

STC’s President Reed honored in New York by Community College Baccalaureate Association

South Texas College President, Dr. Shirley A. Reed, was invited by the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA) to accept the 2019 annual Pioneer Award on behalf of the College. The award recognizes an individual who has shown great leadership, as well as someone who went above and beyond to provide financial support and resources for a higher education institution. The event took place Saturday, Feb. 23 in New York City. The CCBA strives to promote better access to baccalaureate degrees on community college campuses and serves as a resource of information for community colleges interested in offering bachelor degrees. As the founding president, Dr. Reed developed STC from a “blank canvas” to serve South Texas, formerly a region that was once plagued by limited access to higher education and workforce training. Because of Dr. Reed’s leadership, STC is now Offering over 120 degrees and certificate options with 32 fully-online programs.…

Read More

McAllen to Celebrate Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day

Mayor Jim Darling and the McAllen City Commission proclaimed the month of March as Women’s History Month in McAllen,  and March 8 as International Women’s Day in McAllen, in celebration of the of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  City leaders were proud to point out that the City of McAllen is unique among Rio Grande Valley and border municipalities, with an equal number of men and women who are directors of the City of McAllen departments.    The world of work is changing, and with significant implications for women. “The City of McAllen is an organization where women flourish and is proud to boast an equal number of women and men in positions of leadership, influence, and decision and policy-making as directors within the organization, helping to bring new vision and perspective to the growth and direction of the municipality and more importantly, the community,” said Mayor…

Read More