Archive for the ‘Awards / Recognition’ Category

10 Most Dangerous Cities in America

April 4th, 2014 Comments off
From 24/7 Wall St., based on the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

1. Flint, Michigan

Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,729.5

Population: 101,632

2012 murders: 63

Poverty rate: 40.6%

2. Detroit

Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,122.6

Population: 707,096

2012 murders: 386

Poverty rate: 40.9%

3. Oakland, Calif.

Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,993.1

Population: 399,487

2012 murders: 126

Poverty rate: 21%

4. St. Louis

Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,776.5

Population: 318,667

2012 murders: 113

Poverty rate: 27%

Percent of adults with high-school diploma: 83.9%

5. Memphis, Tenn.

Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,750

Population: 657,436

2012 murders: 133

Poverty rate: 27.2%

Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,548

Population: 299,105

2012 murders: 71

Poverty rate: 25.8%

7. Birmingham, Ala.

Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,517.8

Population: 213,266

2012 murders: 67

Poverty rate: 32%

8. New Haven, Conn.

Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,439.2

Population: 129,934

2012 murders: 17

Poverty rate: 30.1%

9. Baltimore

Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,405.7

Population: 625,474

2012 murders: 219

Poverty rate: 25.1%

10. Cleveland

Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,383.8

Population: 393,781

2012 murders: 84

Poverty rate: 34.3%

-So why does McAllen and Reynosa get the dirty headlines of being an “unsafe” war zone area? Because the media likes to sensationalize and make things seem worse than they typically are, unfortunately. Either way, the proof is in the pudding and we are happy that the stats show the reality of what cities are like or not like.

source below:

McAllen: as seen by a Huffington Post Writer

March 21st, 2014 Comments off

From the eyes of a Huffington Post journalist

who visited the Rio Grande Valley


(McAllen, Texas) – We flew down on a cold January day. A dome of Canadian air that seemed to collapse from the arctic top of the world had reached all the way to the sub-tropical region of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Nothing kills in the tropics as efficiently as freezing temperatures. Our camera crew drove the roads that stitched together the orange and grapefruit groves and stopped to record the ruined fruit and the tall Washington palms that were certain to also die.

And then we began to contemplate the coming economic sadness.

In the ’80s, the lower valley kept getting knocked backwards by circumstance. Average unemployment was 27 percent and in Starr County it had reached as high as 60. There were two deadly freezes in a matter of a few years, and the peso in Mexico, which made it affordable to purchase American products, was consistently being devalued. There were no jobs, and little reason for optimism.

The struggles of the valley have not ended but the reference to the border by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who recently used the term Third World as a descriptive of the region, offended those of us who love la frontera. The GOP candidate for governor, Abbott described the border as practically being destroyed by corruption, although there are no statistics to support his critique.


There is, in fact, no evidence of disproportionate wrongdoing along the border. In fact, Abbott, who is a member of the board of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), and others involved with the multibillion-dollar fund, have been the target of a Travis County grand jury investigation over inappropriate awards of research grants and startup investments.

Which might prove to be corruption on a grand scale.

When I first lived on the Texas border, there were real third world problems. Incomes were the lowest on average in the nation, child mortality rates were higher than normal, unemployment lingered at painful levels, literacy was very low, and so was per capita income. These issues had less to do with the enterprise and aspirations of the people who live along the border than it did with the policies of state government in Austin. Historically, the border, and in particular, the valley was a political afterthought. The sheer inertial energy of population increase and economic growth has changed the political calculus down here in a place where the wind and the innovators remain restless.

McAllen, one of the three main cities that comprise the valley metro centers, briefed community leaders on a vision that offers what was once a largely unimaginable future. The McAllen Economic Development Council (MEDC), which began work on transforming the local economy 26 years ago, showed off the city’s new winged “M” logo and described a plan to make their community “the most strategic advanced manufacturing area in the world.”

Political candidates like Abbott, who talk about increasing security on the border by hundreds of law officers, are certain to prompt concern among the communities down here that have grown healthier based upon the free flow of people and businesses on both sides of the river.

2014-03-19-homeimage.jpgWhere Everything Grows

“We’re one community that happens to have a river running through the middle of it; it just so happens ours is an international border,” said Keith Patridge, chairman and CEO of the MEDC. “But it does not stop the flow of commerce, it does not stop the flow of families, it does not stop the flow of commerce back and forth across the river and we all have to embrace that.”

In fact, McAllen’s economic vitality is directly related to the Mexican border city of Reynosa. By helping the development of maquiladoras on the other side of the Rio Grande, McAllen and other parts of the valley have grown. The “twin plant” concept allows for the manufacturing of products in Mexico with their assembly and shipment occurring on the U.S. side of the river. There is probably not a car that comes off of an assembly line in Detroit that does not have parts from maquiladoras.

While there are still issues over fair wages in Mexico and the migration of jobs from the states, the North American Free Trade Agreement has enabled the twin plant operations and aggressive marketing by McAllen has led to 153,000 new jobs and 657 companies coming to Hidalgo County over the past quarter century. Civic leaders do not even consider it to be hyperbolic when they suggest they can have the same kind of international economy and vitality as Singapore and Hong Kong.

And even Austin has begun looking southward.

The state has funded a new medical school, which is already under construction in Edinburg, just north of McAllen, and a new university is being formed by the combination of the University of Texas system campuses in Brownsville and UT Pan American. McAllen’s South Texas College, which grants two year associates degrees, will continue to serve the region with more than 32,000 students in annual enrollment. In nearby Brownsville, Elon Musk is being courted to bring his Space X launch center to a city that has the lowest per capita income in the U.S. in the hopes that tax breaks from the state and municipal governments, which total $20 million, will create even more jobs.

There is no shortage of problems, however, along the border. In Hidalgo County, one out of every three people is believed to still live in a colonia, an unincorporated and unregulated development with limited, and sometimes no public services. Immigrants rush to buy any affordable piece of land to make a stake in America, even if they find themselves outside of the law, and the delivery of basic needs like sewer and water and electricity. No one has found a simple answer on how to manage this difficult growth dynamic, but talk of more border guns and clampdowns leaves people here unsettled. They have their own ideas about the future. And they do not envision a third world.

They see opportunity.

Also at: Don’t Grow Texas

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McAllen: Ready for Mexico’s ‘Eagle Ford Shale’

March 11th, 2014 Comments off

McALLEN, March 11 – The Rio Grande Valley stands ready to benefit economically from Mexico’s version of Eagle Ford Shale, which lies just south of Rio Bravo.

This is the view of Mike Willis, executive director of the South Texas Manufacturers Association.

“Eagle Ford Shale does not end in Laredo. There is a mirror image of it just south of here, south of Rio Bravo,” Willis explained. “Mexico is investing the bulk of PEMEX’s budget over the next two years in northern Mexico. So, we have a good opportunity to be a jumping-off point for drilling companies and sand and fracking materials and all of that in the Valley – the companies that will be serving northern Mexico will be staging their operations here.”

Willis said he is seeing a lot of interest in Mexico’s version of Eagle Ford Shale through the ports of Brownsville and Corpus Christi. “Mexico has changed its Constitution, which was a radical breakthrough and much-needed. Mexico’s revenue has been so dependent on PEMEX over the years and their productivity has gone down because they have not kept up with technology. So, they have recognized the need to form partnerships. They are still working out what that will look like without the companies actually owning the oil in the ground.”

Asked how far away the Valley is from seeing direct benefits from oil and gas exploration in northern Mexico, Willis said: “From what I hear, it is moving forward. Companies are already positioning themselves to be ready to start working with drillers and PEMEX in northern Mexico. I think we are going to see a lot of opportunity in the Valley, working through the Port of Corpus Christi and the Port of Brownsville.”

Willis said drilling companies that work in both Eagle Ford Shale north of Laredo and northern Mexico may choose to make the Valley a staging post.

“For some of these drilling companies, now, perhaps, we are a good location for serving Eagle Ford Shale and northern Mexico. I think we will see some of the EDCs trying to capitalize on that going forward. I have talked to Eddie (Campirano), over at the Port of Brownsville. I have spoken with the folks at the Port of Corpus Christi. They are telling me they have got clients that are bringing materials into the Port of Corpus Christi that need to service northern Mexico.”

Asked what type of operations may be located in the Valley, Willis said: “I think we will see opportunities for storage facilities, staging facilities. If I were a CEO of a company, I think I would want to keep my expensive materials here until it is time to take them to the drill site, instead of storing them somewhere in the frontera of northern Mexico.”

Willis is also director of business partnerships for Workforce Solutions, which handles jobs training in Hidalgo and Starr Counties. In his January report on the Valley labor market for Workforce Solutions, Willis wrote:

“We are seeing opportunities develop to take advantage of our location when PEMEX begins opening up the southern half of the Eagle Ford Shale to exploration in 2014. Our ports anticipate an increase in energy-related business as materials begin to flow into our region before being routed into northern Mexico. While the RGV is not taking part significantly in the drilling activity, energy-related companies are actively recruiting our workforce, and we could soon play a significant role in the distribution/logistics sector by supporting the energy work taking place both north and south of the RGV. Laredo continues to benefit strongly from the drilling activity taking place all around them.”

Willis said that for the first time in 25 years, employment in manufacturing is up slightly in the Valley. He was interviewed at a check presentation at South Texas College’s technology campus in south McAllen. There, the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative (NAAMREI) received a $500,000 grant from the Wagner-Peyser program administered through the Governor’s Office.

Carlos Margo, NAAMREI’s interim executive director, said the Wagner-Peyser program is a federally funded initiative that matches employers with qualified job seekers. Through this project, Margo said, a total of 675 individuals will receive specialized training in areas including robotics, mechatronics, programmable logic controllers and other advanced topics.

“These funds will help NAAMREI continue to build its prominence in promoting advanced manufacturing in the South Texas region,” Margo said. “It will ensure NAAMREI adds to its current inventory of cutting edge automation technology equipment, supports the development and expansion of curriculum and innovative programs and provides training, instruction and credentials that will have global appeal.”

Asked if South Texas College and NAAMREI are ready to assist with oil and gas exploration and production in northern Mexico, Margo told the Guardian: “We certainly have the capacity to do so and we certainly will have the funding to develop programs in those fields. We currently are not doing training directly, simply because the activity tends to be a little bit further north of where we are. But, as the activity moves further south, as Mike said, into Mexico, we can certainly develop programs. We are primed, if you will, to be able to react quickly to develop. If industry changes, we are right there with them.”

At a news conference held last week to announce a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Pharr and the Port of Corpus Christi, there was discussion about Mexico’s version of Eagle Ford Shale. The MOU will see Pharr and Corpus Christi help promote each other’s trade facilities. Pharr Bridge Director Juan Guerra and Port of Corpus Christi board member Richard Valls told the Guardian that the MOU was important because of increased oil and gas exploration and production in northern Mexico.

Source & story, see below:

$1.2 Trillion of Economic Activity Expected for Border Towns

February 18th, 2014 Comments off

According to Marcial Nava, an economist at BBVA Compass, border towns should be expecting $1.2 trillion dollars worth of economic activity.

The United States is Mexico’s largest natural gas supplier, providing 80% of imports. More than 60% of the natural gas supplied comes from Texas through pipelines that link the Lone Star state with its southern neighbor. In 2012, the Mexican government only authorized the drilling of 3 shale oil and gas wells, a stark contrast to the 9,100 in the U.S. for the same period.

The reforms will remove the limitations that prevented international investment from developing Mexican shale plays, especially in the Burgos Basin, which is the portion of the Eagle Ford Shale that extends into Mexico. This play could hold more than 300 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas, while Mexico’s other shale plays the Sabinas, Tampico, and Veracruz Basins – those are estimated to hold more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.



MEDC to Launch New Rebranding Campaign

December 5th, 2013 Comments off


McALLEN, December 5 – McAllen Mayor Jim Darling will announce a major rebranding campaign for McAllen in his State of the City address in January.

Brief details were given at the 26th Annual McAllen Economic Development Corporation Christmas Party on Wednesday evening. At the event, McAllen EDC leaders unveiled their new logo and branding efforts, which they hope will propel them to further success in the next 25 years.

“There is something coming up with the mayor and we promised we were not going to take any of the mayor’s thunder from his January State of the City address but there is something coming up,” Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen EDC, told those attending the Christmas Party.

“What we are doing ties in with what the City (of McAllen) is doing. Stay tuned. It is something we are really excited about. We are working with the City of Reynosa and the leadership there to continue to build on that relationship and to move our community forward.”

McAllen EDC Marketing Director Adriana Treviño elaborated on the City of McAllen’s rebranding plans. “We are coming together with the City of McAllen, working on a huge campaign, and the key word will be connecting,” Treviño told those attending the Christmas Party.

Later, Treviño gave an interview to the Guardian. “We are really excited. We have a lot to look forward to. We have many programs coming up in January and what is really neat is we are going to be linking our own campaign with an even bigger campaign. We cannot give any details on that but it is exciting and we have a lot to look forward to,” Treviño said.

Brian Godinez, of Godinez Commissions, said he could provide a few more details about the City of McAllen’s rebranding plans. Godinez Communications helped design McAllen EDC’s new logo and is working on the City of McAllen’s rebranding project.

“What I can tell you is the Mayor is going to make an announcement and part of the program in the State of the City address in January is going to be centered on a new branding campaign for McAllen. McAllen EDC is closely linked to it. What the City is going to be involved in is a citywide collaborative effort with MEDC being part of that lead. There are going to be other institutions involved.”

McAllen EDC’s new logo comprises the letter “M” drawn in the shape of a flowing wave with the center of the word colored a lighter blue and the outer edges darker shades of blue. Underneath the logo is the statement: “Connecting Everything Made in McAllen.”

In her interview with the Guardian, Treviño said the color blue signifies a river and the color black two nations. She said the river unites two nations. “We chose blue because it was calming and tranquil yet at the same time gave us energy with that kinetic feel with the wave, moving forward towards new things. A lot of people like red and orange but we ejected reds and oranges because of the negative comments in the media about border violence. With all that is in the media, the last thing we wanted to do is add more red, which means danger and emergency. We wanted to keep the cool, calming and trusting effect in line.”

In his remarks at the Christmas Party, Patridge said 60 to 70 percent of the business leads given to McAllen EDC come from personal recommendations. He said the corporation’s new ECON (Engaging Connections, Opportunities and Networks) Program will reward those who provide McAllen EDC will new business leads. He likened the reward program to the Frequent Flyer rewards that airlines offer.

Treviño also discussed the ECON program in her interview with the Guardian. “Word of mouth continues to be the top marketing unit for us. The best people to advocate for us are our friends in the community, so we have developed programs, such as ECON program. Say you go on a trip to Jamaica and you meet someone who wants to open up a company. Well, if you refer them and it turns into a visit, we will reward you for that. If that company decides to locate here, we will reward you for that.”

More than 300 people attended the Christmas Party, which was held at the McAllen EDC’s offices in the McAllen Foreign Trade Zone on Military Highway.


Special THANKS to Steve Taylor from The Rio Grande Guardian for covering our event and featuring us.

Manager’s Mixer – Sept. 2013

September 27th, 2013 Comments off

A BIG thank you to Embassy Suites Hotel in McAllen for hosting a fun mixer for us and our plant managers. Fire guacamole, bacon wrapped shrimp and some good wine swarmed the room as managers mixed and mingled. This is a very important gathering for our corporation because we are able to connect with our innovative plant managers and staff from Reynosa and McAllen in a relaxed ambiance. Embassy Suites gave away a hearty gift basket of champagne and snacks alongside a free one night stay and $40 gift certificate to Remington’s Steak House. Can someone say generous? We love our friendly business partners. Below are some fun pictures!

Tilted Kilt’s Grand Opening, 100 jobs generated

September 13th, 2013 Comments off

Business on the west side of McAllen is booming. MEDC strives to bring businesses and communities together with unique experiences, and a great quality of life and innovation. Today’s highlight of the morning was “Tilted Kilt’s” grand opening. CLICK HERE FOR NEWS STORY

Overweight Corridor to make large Economic Impact in the RGV

August 30th, 2013 Comments off

What a positive day!

What once was a local economic dream, is now a reality. The passage of  House Bill 474 authored by State Representative, Sergio Munoz, Jr. is not only an asset for economic growth and job development, but a sign that “good things are coming our way”.

The overweight vehicle corridor will allow our area to continue to grow,  promote international trade and highlight our escalating role in commerce.

As for fees, each overweight business truck will pay a “fee per load” to cover any tips of road maintenance and/or improvements.

A formal update and presentation is anticipated on September 26 in McAllen, TX

*On behalf of the MEDC, we’d like to say THANK YOU! To a few of our media friends who made it out today. It is extremely important to cover the great things our region is doing locally and internationally. 

Texas Leads Nation in Job Creation

April 3rd, 2013 1 comment

AUSTIN – A report released this week by the Brookings Institution is the latest to highlight the Lone Star State’s strong jobs climate, finding that Texas leads the nation in job creation with Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Dallas and McAllen creating more jobs now than before the recession. According to the report, Austin saw the highest percentage increase in jobs of any city in the nation.

“Texas continues to set a national example for job growth, and I’m proud the Lone Star State is home to six out of the 14 cities that have more jobs now than before the recession,” Gov. Perry said. “Our low taxes, predictable regulations, fair courts, skilled workforce and low cost of living have made Texas the best state in the nation to live, work, raise a family and run a business.”



Story from The Nueces County Record Star

Click HERE to view the March 2013 Metro Monitor by Brookings


McAllen ranked 13th in Texas Retail Survey

March 27th, 2013 Comments off

Texas’ Largest City Retail Markets

Ranked by Retail Sales

  1. Houston     $35,354,740
  2. San Antonio     $17,184,282
  3. Dallas     $14,302,985
  4. Austin     $10,813,562
  5. Fort Worth     $6,972,843
  6. El Paso     $6,273,122
  7. Plano     $5,051,826
  8. Arlington     $4,337,696
  9. Lubbock     $3,712,894
  10. Corpus Christi     $3,510,956
  11. Amarillo     $3,045,808
  12. Irving     $2,614,418
  13. McAllen     $2,543,238
  14. Laredo     $2,322,058
  15. Grapevine     $2,145,316
  16. Midland     $2,116,391
  17. Tyler     $1,982,494
  18. Odessa     $1,919,992
  19. Frisco     $1,907,790
  20. Beaumont     $1,738,145
  21. Round Rock     $1,733,754
  22. McKinney     $1,676,749
  23. Lewisville     $1,636,204
  24. Garland     $1,620,307
  25. Longview     $1,580,033
  26. Waco     $1,576,559
  27. Abilene     $1,529,864
  28. Denton     $1,497,635
  29. Kileen     $1,473,472
  30. Brownsville     $1,458,260
  31. Grand Prarie     $1,456,927
  32. Conroe     $1,402,045
  33. Richardson     $1,384,651
  34. Carrollton     $1,372,928
  35. Mesquite     $1,355,313
  36. Pasadena     $1,298,308
  37. San Angelo     $1,266,224
  38. San Marcos     $1,232,234
  39. Witchita Falls     $1,217,493
  40. Victoria     $1,199,065
  41. Sugar Land     $1,162,431
  42. New Braunfels     $1,061,042
  43. College Station     $1,058,569
  44. Hurst     $1,050,033
  45. Georgetown     $1,004,335
  46. Temple     $962,012
  47. Pearland     $961,964
  48. Baytown     $961,613
  49. Sherman     $961,613
  50. Harlingen     $913,931

Texas State     $264,247,639


Source: 2012 Texas Retail Survey