Category Archives: Chamber News

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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Walking Through the Valley of the Virus

These are unprecedented times. I sometimes refer to this as our moment walking through the “valley of the virus.” The most important thing to remember is that this is not our destination, but a moment we are walking through. We need to continue to strengthen our resolve and confidence and to replace the fear with facts. As a community and as a region, we are very resilient and retain a lot of “grit.” Our greatest asset is us, not resources, infrastructure, money, or connections, but our human spirit.   Here are a couple of things to remember:   Get the facts. There is so much misinformation on social media and in the rumor mill. Understand, everything you see on the internet is not true. Sometimes our human nature is to focus on the negative and the worst-case scenarios — let it go. Use your wisdom and discernment to wade through…

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Take Care Of Yourself During COVID-19

While we might know the symptoms of COVID-19 like the back of our extremely clean hand, it is important to be aware of the additional ways the virus can be impacting others. Through all of the doom and gloom, it is imperative that everyone remain mindful of their current state of mental health. With all of the stressors that come with a global pandemic, it is normal to feel like things are out of your control. But with a loss of control comes a feeling of hopelessness, and often times, it can be consuming. There may be increased fears about you or your loved ones contracting the virus, or fears about what the pandemic’s impact will have on your employment. Additionally, with public health restrictions in place like social distancing and other measures being taken to decrease face-to-face interaction, it is easy to feel increasingly isolated. While these are all…

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Coming Together During COVID-19

The last few weeks have been a trying time for communities everywhere. There’s no shortage of uncertainty while each passing day brings a new set of changes and disruptions to our day-to-day lives. In the weeks and months that follow, we will continue to see how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play a role in our everyday functions, and what kind of lasting impacts it has on our lives moving forward. Despite every day seems like a flurry of bad news, misinformation and a rumor mill that won’t quit, there is reason to have hope in these uncertain times. Know for one, that this is but a passing moment in our history and eventually, as all things do, this will end. We will gather in crowded malls on a Saturday afternoon once again, and we will sit in packed theaters for the midnight premiere of the next great Hollywood blockbuster.…

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What You Can Do to Support Local Businesses

In tough times, our community has a record of pulling together. Today, and in the coming days and weeks, we will be having another one of those moments. Do we rise to the challenge, or do we seek to shelter in and practice non-involvement and isolation? This flu season and COVID-19 are severe and are impacting communities in different ways. This season will also be a great opportunity for us to come together and get through this moment, collectively and not individually.  The economic impact of this challenge could be severe. Supporting our local businesses is essential. There are ways to be safe and not spread the flu, but also make sure restaurants, bars, hotels, retail stores, and every other kind of business can survive this moment. Here are some simple steps to support our local businesses:  Order take out or curbside. Support your favorite restaurant by ordering from them…

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Seven Things to Do to Connect and Network

Connecting to people and building networks of contacts and connections are critical for any business’s success. One of the key benefits we offer at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce is the ability to connect with a wide array of people and businesses. At our core nature, we want to do business with people we know or have met.  Some people find connecting and networking easy and almost second nature. Others may find networking and connecting uncomfortable and hard to do daily. There are some basic things a person can do to communicate with other people. Here are seven things to do: Show interest in others. People know pretty quickly if you are “not really interested” in them and you are just trying to make a sale. The quick connection and sale mentality are a big turn-off. People who can carry on a conversation with everyone and show genuine interest are…

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Sharing Bad News

Communication can be a challenge for any business or organization. Some companies are good at sharing information and others, not so much. Effective communication can be the tipping point between success and failure. Ineffective communication in an organization creates rumors and a needless waste of time that affects morale and productivity. Sharing news good or bad, if done the right way, can help achieve a high performing business. Here are six key ways to communicate and share good or bad news: Don’t wait. Our human nature tends to make us wait when it comes to bad news. It is better to share information immediately, as opposed to waiting. In today’s work environment, there is constant discussion of “transparency.”  Giving people information in a timely fashion is acting transparently. The other key is trust in leadership. By withholding critical information, we quickly destroy faith within an organization.  Make the meeting face–to-face.…

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The SCAMPER Method (Part III)

I continue this week with the SCAMPER method as a way to develop a new idea or to make a breakthrough with a product or service. So, here are the final three letters in the process. 5) “P” is for put to another use – Think about how you can take a current product or idea and put it to a different purpose. Many times, a concept only turns out to be great when applied differently. Here are several key questions to ask: Is it possible to utilize this product elsewhere, maybe in a different industry? Who else can utilize this product? Would this product function differently in a different setting? What else can it be utilized for? Is it possible to recycle the product’s waste to make something new? Could it be used for people with specific disabilities? Is there another problem the product can solve?  Are there applications…

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