Category Archives: Chamber News

McAllen Chamber Seeking Nominations for McAllen’s 2020 Man & Woman of the Year Recognitions

We have all had the opportunity to be associated with individuals from the McAllen area who have distinguished themselves for their outstanding volunteer service to our community, and sometimes these members of our community do not receive the recognition they deserve.  Every year, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Man & Woman of the Year Selection Committee selects two outstanding volunteers to receive the honor of McAllen’s Man & Woman of the Year. Our community is currently going through a time where we must do things differently.  But we do not want the people who have continued to make McAllen their priority and have made sacrifices to ensure our community stays safe and our economy survives to go unnoticed, especially now.  We ask that you please take a moment to nominate commendable people to receive this recognition.  The McAllen Chamber of Commerce would genuinely enjoy letting our community know about these…

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Be the Turn-Around Person

Everybody has a bad day. For many of us, the COVID-19 seems to be a bad day that has lasted several months. This pandemic has been challenging for so many reasons: the self-isolation, the uncertainty, health scares, the constant changing of opening, to stepping back, or slowing down the reopening, and just the unknowns. We are human, and we like our routines, and we like being in comfortable moments that don’t threaten our wellbeing, financially or healthwise. So how can a person adjust and handle a moment like COVID-19? When everything seems to be going sideways or off track? Here are five simple things you can do to turn a moment, a week, or even a bad month around. Focus on the moment. Stop thinking about the future or what went wrong last week. You cannot change the past, and the future has not arrived. You have this moment and…

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A PLACE TO CALL HOME – HEARTHSTONE APARTMENTS

Susana Cole Property Manager Have you ever gone looking for an apartment to live in? Maybe back in college days? Maybe yesterday? An apartment complex can be many things to the variety of people who live there. However, the one thing that is most important is that it feels like home. That is exactly how it feels to many of the residents who live at Hearthstone Apartments. When you are first looking for that new apartment to turn into a home, taking in the lay of the land, surveying the landscaping, and inspecting the care of the buildings might first garner your attention. The warm, inviting colors of this well-kept complex will easily catch the eye of an apartment hunter. The meticulously maintained landscape of Hearthstone could possibly make your car pull directly into the office located in the center of the 308-unit complex. “This property was built in 1996,”…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – CAPABLE KIDS FOUNDATION

We have all been through some sort of trying time during this pandemic, from staying home, staying six feet apart from each other, washing our hands consistently, following city and state COVID-19 guidelines, making sure our kids and families remain safe – not to mention the families who know firsthand the devastating conditions this pandemic can bring. But I never stopped to think about the special people in our communities who, from the instant they were born, go through trying moments every day of their lives. Getting to know the Capable Kids Foundation and recognizing what it achieves was quite inspiring. Co-founder and physical therapist Melanie Watson and Executive Director Sofia Peña both spoke about the program and what they do to motivate the kids they help throughout the year. The organization’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children with all types of disabilities. The idea first…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – JOHNNY RODRIGUEZ

Johnny Rodriguez Public Relations Bert Ogden Auto Group Johnny Rodriguez, a happy, enthusiastic fisherman, golfer, gardener, and Public Relations Director for the Bert Ogden Auto Group, had two significant family role models, whom he said, shaped his life. “My dad was a World War II hero. He had his face blown off and survived to the age of 91,” Rodriguez said. “He could have lived off the government but instead worked for 50 years before retiring. He was a humble and great man. My mother was a cafeteria worker. They both showed me the way, making me a better person.” After 22 years supplying Bert Ogden with employees and where he developed a close business and personal relationship with Janet and Bob Vackar, he sold his business. His life then got even better. “Mr. Vackar asked me to come to Bert Ogden and do PR for them. I feel extremely…

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The Future Arrived Ahead of Schedule

Like so many businesses and people, we are all trying to navigate territory that feels unfamiliar and foreign to all of us. Finding our way in the future will not be a straight line or something we can map out step-by-step. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to have to side-step, change directions, and pivot many times. Steve Jobs said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close, that you can tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” There is information everywhere; what is needed is an actionable insight that is surprisingly hard to come by. What does the present moment mean for your business? The key will be to listen to and understand your customers and their needs, more deeply than just listening to and understanding surface responses. Here are some essential questions to start asking and exploring: What is the…

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$1.5 Million in Grant Money for 2nd Round of Funding for McAllen Small Businesses

The City of McAllen and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce are now offering an additional $1.5 million in its COVID-19 Small Business Grant program to help McAllen small businesses relaunch and reignite their businesses. Grants up to $5,000 will be given to small businesses with revenues of less than $2 million. Mayor Jim Darling said, “Small businesses are the foundation of McAllen’s economy. The City of McAllen wanted to do everything it could do to have a positive impact on local small businesses during this pandemic recovery.”  The program will be available to McAllen-based businesses, for as long as the funds are available. The grants are free money and do not have to be repaid.  The money can be used for the following: Launching online presence and sales Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies and equipment Short-term marketing campaign Limited interior modification for health and safety purposes Delayed rent/mortgage…

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FROM TEASPOONS TO TRENCHERS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN – RENTAL WORLD LLC

In the quake of the global pandemic, there is some good news. For many, by staying at home there is now time to do all those projects that have been on the honey-do list for years. Getting ready, however, might take a bit more equipment than is around the house. Need a backhoe? Need an airless paint sprayer, an air chipping hammer for demoing a tile floor? How about a tent when it is time to celebrate joining the world again? The list could go on and on.  There is one place you can go for all these items and much more.  Rental World, LLC has retail outlets in McAllen, Weslaco, Harlingen, Brownsville, and Corpus Christi, and a warehouse complex of four acres and 60,000 square feet of warehouse space. That warehouse is the size of over 12½ NBA basketball courts or almost an acre and a half, mostly all…

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McAllen’s International Bridge Boards Appoint New Superintendent of Bridges

The McAllen-Hidalgo and Anzalduas International Bridge Boards have appointed Juan Olaguibel as its Superintendent of Bridges.   The former director of operations for the McAllen Bridge System has10 years of experience in bridge management, serving most recently as the Interim Director for the bridge system after the previous director’s departure.  Olaguibel, a native of Mexico City, Mexico, also has a broad range of expertise in finance earned over 12 years in the banking industry, serving as a bank manager for Wells Fargo before joining the City of McAllen. “The McAllen-Hidalgo and Anzalduas International Bridge Boards were impressed with Juan’s vision for the operations of these two international crossings and their role in growing both the economy and security of the two nations that they join,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, chair of the international bridge boards.  “Aside from his operational knowledge of running an efficient, safe and profitable bridge system, Juan’s…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – GABRIELA GARCIA

Gabriela Garcia Business Specialist Wells Fargo Bank   Banking must have been in her blood because when it came time to choose a career path Gabriela Garcia, Business Specialist for Wells Fargo Bank, chose banking and never looked back. That was 15 years ago, and this proud mom of a 17-year-old is glad she did. “I help business customers with their financial needs,” Garcia said. “It could be to establish an account or help them register or help them grow their business. I can also help them in all areas of their business logistics such as payroll, vendors, or getting credit.” Getting involved with the community, another part of her job, led her to become an Ambassador. Incorporating the Ambassador’s network within her client base is a win-win for everyone. “We have a network we know we can call for help or refer our clients to receive other guidance,” Garcia…

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TIAA Institute honors South Texas College and Northeastern University presidents with 2020 Hesburgh Award for leadership

The TIAA Institute, in partnership with the American Council on Education (ACE), announced Shirley Reed, President, South Texas College, and Joseph E. Aoun, President, Northeastern University, as the recipients of the 2020 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education. The Hesburgh Award recognizes college or university presidents or chancellors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities. The award is named in honor of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., (1917-2015) past president of the University of Notre Dame and longtime member of the TIAA and CREF Boards of Overseers. A world-renowned educator and humanitarian, Father Hesburgh was a lifelong champion of human rights, the cause of peace, and care of the poor. “Higher education is at an inflection point as the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered schools across the country, underscoring the need for new technology and a sharpened focus on equity in order to transform the system for future…

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Thoughts During COVID-19

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter defeats, so you may know who you are, what you rise from, how you still can come out of it.” Maya Angelou We are all experiencing hard and difficult times. Our routines and daily ways of doing things have all been disrupted. Our sense of “normal” is gone, and we struggle to find a new path forward. Some of us have lost jobs and income, others have seen loved ones sick and struggling, and still, others have been overwhelmed by anxiety and fears. None of us are alone at this moment in this pandemic.  This pandemic is just a moment. Understanding and recognizing what is happening around us is the first step to leaning into this moment and dealing with our fears and thoughts. So many times, we want to numb…

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Governor Abbott Filed Executive Order GA-26

Governor Abbott filed Executive Order GA-26. This executive order no longer singles out types of businesses that may operate, and instead generally authorizes all businesses to operate at a 50% indoor occupancy level. Some entities are excluded from the 50% limitation and one has a delayed start date.  The outline below is a summary of Executive Order GA-26. You may also visit the Open Texas Website for more information. Under Phase 3, effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at 50% capacity, with two exceptions. The following exceptions are listed below: Businesses that could previously operate at 100% can continue to do so, those are listed below: 1.  Businesses providing CISA services; 2.  Religious services, such as a church or house of worship 3.  Operations performed by a local government; 4.  Child care services; 5.  Youth camps; and 6.  Recreational sports programs for youth and adults Amusement parks can operate at…

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McAllen ISD IB Programme Pinning Ceremony

Today, 120 high school seniors will receive their IB pin, emblematic of completing the two-year IB diploma programme.  This will be a drive-through event.  Students and their families will be in their vehicles, and they will drive from the east side parking lot to the semicircle area between the Convention Center entrance on the south side and the reflecting pool. –       Each senior and their family will line up in their vehicle in the Convention Center east side parking lot (1 car per senior/family) –       Senior vehicles will drive through the Convention Center traffic circle and stop at the photographer station in front of the main entrance (see map, click here) –       Only the IB Lamar Academy senior will be allowed outside of their vehicle to pick up a small gift and take a photo with a photographer. –       Social distancing guidelines will be in place! The staff will be wearing masks. Students may choose whether or not to…

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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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