New McAllen Chamber President has Ambitious Plans

By Benjamin Trevino

McAllen Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Josh Mejia addresses the McAllen Citizens League Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in McAllen. (Courtesy photo)

McAllen Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Josh Mejia wants to do more — and he can’t do it alone. Mejia spoke to members of the McAllen Citizens League on Oct. 20 as part of his ongoing effort to engage members of the community.

Mejia said his priority since assuming the post on June 29 has been to meet with as many McAllen stakeholders as possible about what they think the chamber should be like and do moving forward.

Mejia began his 20-minute talk by acknowledging his predecessor, Steve Alhenius, who stepped down from the post in October 2021.

“It goes without saying that for somebody to provide over 24 years of service to the community should never go unnoticed,” Mejia said. “We’re building on top of that, and it’s something that we should respect by continuously being able to improve on.”

Mejia said the chamber’s vision and goals should be set by the business community itself, rather than developing policies internally and then imposing them outwardly.

One area most in need of improvement, according to Mejia, is chamber membership. He noted that there are an estimated 8,931 business establishments in McAllen, but only 1,200 chamber memberships. He praised the chamber’s existing entrepreneurial programming and its partnerships with other entities, such as the city and the economic development board. But he added that continuous improvement was among his goals, and challenged the community at large to be part of that improvement.

“I encourage you all in this group to think about what you can do to support the chamber to be able to start moving the needle together,” he said. “Nobody on the (chamber) staff has a silver bullet, myself included. I’m only trying to expose what you all have told me, and how that connects with the data and trends that we’ve seen. “We’ve done a lot of things, but we can always do more. That’s going to be my message every year. What can we do to do more?”