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Job Fair on Thursday in Edinburg, to be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sekula Memorial Library, to feature as many as 30 area major employers

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Featured, from left: Dr. Jonikka Charlton, Assistant Vice President for Student Academic Success, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Zaena Zamora, Mathematics Lecturer, UTRGV; and Justin González, Tutor, Learning Center Jumpstart, help help high school students prepare for college through the UTRGV JumpStart program, a five-week summer curriculum meant to help students overcome scholastic challenges. The Mayor, Edinburg City Council and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation lobbies the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents for advances that help UTRGV and its School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Representatives for as many as 30 major employers will gather at the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, located at 1906 S. Closner Boulevard, from 8 am. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2016 for a job fair, which is free and open to the public, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The event, coordinated by the Edinburg EDC, Workforce Solutions, the City of Edinburg, and the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, is part of a partnership between those entities to match qualified persons for jobs being offered in the city, said Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “Our job fairs are designed to make it easier and more convenient for employers and prospective employees to get together,” said Reyes. “They are for every kind of person, from people who want to get a job for the first time, to individuals who are already employed, but are looking for a better job or a different career.” People looking for employment will be able to learn about the job vacancies from the employers, leave their résumés, and in some cases, employers will conduct a job interview immediately, she added. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related. More information is available by contacting Reyes with the Edinburg EDC at 956/383-7124 or José Tamez, Assistant Director, Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, at 956/383-6246.

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Leticia Reyes will represent Edinburg EDC on Friday, October 7, during INNO 2016 panel focusing on Entrepreneurial Innovation

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Featured, from left: Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Jonathan Torres, Production Specialist, City of Edinburg; Pepe García Gilling, Independent Filmmaker, Monterrey, Mexico; Viviana Ozuna, Business Consulting and Marketing, McAllen; Luis Suner, MG Digital Group, Edinburg; and Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Assistant Vice President for Public Art, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. These individuals were gathered on Saturday, September 10, 2016, during the South Texas International Film Festival 2016 awards banquet held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. The Edinburg EDC was the major financial sponsor for the event, which organizers said drew more than 1,000 people to the three-day event, held from Thursday, September 8 through Saturday, September 10, 2016. STXFF is a competitive international film festival in the categories of Best Short Film, Best Feature Length Film, and Best Regional Film. This year’s edition showcased local, regional and international films that have a unique voice and style. As an added bonus, STXFF premiered the first local 3D movie filmed and produced in the Rio Grande Valley as part of the Festival’s opening. More than 102 submissions in Feature Film, Short Film, and film projects from more than 12 countries were in the running for awards.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, on Friday, October 7, 2016 will participate in the Fourth Annual Binational Innovation Conference (INNO 2016), which is being hosted by South Texas College (STC) in McAllen. The Edinburg EDC is one of the sponsors of INNO 2016. INNO 2016 is a bi-national collaborative effort between STC and El Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores in Reynosa, Mexico, and takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, October 7, 2016 at the STC Technology Campus located at 3700 W. Military Highway in McAllen. Reyes will be part of a panel of representatives from various economic development corporations in the region talking about entrepreneurial innovation as part of the INNO 2016. Joining her on the panel, which will be featured from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., will be Keith Patridge, President and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation; Rose Benavídez, Member, Board of Trustees, South Texas College, and President, Starr County Industrial Foundation; and Frank Almaraz, CEO of Workforce Solutions. They will focus on “Entrepreneurial Innovation”. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Elías Longoria, Jr., Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war

Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and other state leaders on Saturday, March 29, led a tribute to Texas veterans who served or were killed during the Vietnam War with the unveiling and dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Monument on the Texas State Capitol Grounds. The ceremony was held on Texas Vietnam Veterans Day, which marks the anniversary of the day the last American combat troops left Vietnam. “As a Vietnam veteran for the U.S. Marine Corps, I understand the difficult sacrifices that our military families endure on a daily basis,” Hinojosa said. “The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument honors and thanks our fallen Vietnam heroes and their families for their ultimate sacrifice of defending our freedom, and welcomes those who came home and fought with great courage and resilience.It is our hope that this monument will ensure that the memory of our Texas Vietnam Heroes lives on. Semper Fi.” The monument is a 14-foot-tall bronze sculpture featuring five seven-foot tall infantry figures in patrol positions situated atop an eight-sided base. Designed to represent the diversity of Texas Vietnam Veterans, the figures will be Hispanic-American, African-American, Asian, Native-American, and Caucasian. The Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit is a visual representation of the 3,417 Texans who did not survive to come home from Vietnam. It was designed by Excalibur Exhibits and consists of hand-embossed dog tags featuring the name, rank, branch of service, and date of loss and home of record for each veteran. See lead story in this posting.

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Dr. Guy Bailey, the newly-selected president of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, will find that South Texans are determined to see higher education in the Valley reach a world-class level, say Edinburg city and state leaders. Bailey, 63, has served as chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the president of Texas Tech University and the University of Alabama, and provost of The University of Texas at San Antonio. On Monday, April 28, the UT System Board of Regents, which met in Austin, selected Bailey as the sole finalist for the historic position of founding president for UT-Rio Grande Valley. “I am very impressed with his credentials and accomplishments, but it is the people of the Valley who will impress him,” said Canales, whose House District 40 includes UT-Pan American, the UT-Regional Academic Health Center Medical Research Division, and a planned major component of the new UT medical school for the Valley. Featured, from left, during a reception on Friday, May 16, at The University of Texas-Pan American, are: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; former Rep. VerónicaGonzáles, D-McAllen, who now serves as Vice President for University Advancement, The University of Texas-Pan American; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda, Member, Board of Regents, The University of Texas System; and Rio Grande City Mayor Rubén A. Villarreal. See story later in this posting.

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The majority of the Rio Grande Valley legislative delegation celebrates in the House of Representatives chamber soon after the final House passage in 2013 of Senate Bill 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which will bring a full-fledged University of Texas medical school to the Rio Grande Valley. The planned UT medical school, which is set to open in the fall of 2016 with an enrollment of 50 students, will have an economic impact to the four-county region of more than $1 billion a year when it grows into a UT health science center. This image, taken on May 23, 2013, features, front row from left: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission (seated); Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito; and Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco. Standing, back row, from left: Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas; and Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City.  See story later in this posting.

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Details of a proposal to donate up to five acres of prime real estate in southwest Edinburg – valued at more than $2 million – to serve as the site of the planned administrative headquarters for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley have been made public by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. of McAllen.The offer, submitted by prominent attorney José E. García on behalf of MVP Partnership, L.T.D., would benefit the UT System, UT-Rio Grande Valley, and the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) by placing the key headquarters, with its prestigious economic, academic, and political resources, in the heart of one of the Valley’s most influential, safest, and attractive regions.The site being offered by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. is located by the intersection of Trenton Road and McColl Road in Edinburg, immediately north of the campuses of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and adjoining medical offices and businesses. It is within easy access to all major hospitals in Edinburg, including Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas-Pan American, the planned UT-RGV medical school, and minutes away from some of the most distinguished neighborhoods and bustling business, medical, and entertainment corridors in Edinburg and McAllen. Featured on Friday, May 16, at The University of Texas-Pan American, from left: Dr. Miguel Nevárez, former president of the University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; and Jose E. García. See story later in this posting.

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Leaders for Texas National Bank in Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (RGVHCC) on Thursday, May 22, hosted a summer mixer to educate area residents of the loan packages and other financial services available through Texas National Bank for current and prospective business owners. The event took place at the bank, located at 4809 South Jackson Road. “Are you looking for loan? Learn of all the different loan possibilities that Texas National Bank offers,” noted Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO of the RGVHCC. “Also learn of the award-winning membership benefits that the RGV Hispanic Chamber offers. Anyone can become a member of the chamber.” Individuals do not have to be Hispanic to be a member, she added. The RGVHCC has many services for its membership, including lobbying state and federal leaders on public education, international affairs, and women and health-related issues. Featured during final preparations for the May 22 event are, seated from left: Gina Ayala; Odilia Chaidez; Mayra Woloski; Linda Vera; and Ester Medrano. Standing, from left: Rubén Plata, Executive Vice President, Texas National Bank; Mario Lozano; Omar Rodríguez; Frank Davila; Pete Morales; James Flores; Millie Smith; Laura Galván; Leo Treviño; Connie González; Mary Elizondo; Ernesto López; Navil González; Joe Quiroga, President, Texas National Bank; and Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO, Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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The Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) has announce that five employees with Edwards Abstract and Title Company, with its headquarters in Edinburg have successfully completed the requirements and passed a rigorous examination to earn the professional certification designations from TLTA. To become TLTA certified, a candidate must meet certain eligibility requirements in work experience, education and professional involvement, and then successfully pass an examination. Each designation represents a measure of achievement and proficiency in the Texas title insurance industry and distinguishes these highly motivated individuals. Edwards Abstract and Title Company associates who have earned professional certification designations from the Texas Land Title Association are, featured from left: Martha (Marty) García, CESA (Sr. Escrow Officer – Mission); Marilyn De Luna, CAEA, CESA, CTIA (Regional Escrow Automation Manager/Sr. Escrow Officer – McAllen); Byron Jay Lewis, CTIA (Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer – Edinburg); Mariana Ragousis-Ramírez, CESA, CTIA (Escrow Officer – McAllen); and Mary A. Barrientos, CESA (Mission Branch Manager/Sr. Escrow Officer). See story later in this posting.

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The Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber Women’s Committee is preparing for the RGV Women of Distinction Awards Dinner to be held on Saturday, June 19, at The Social Club in Edinburg. The evening will celebrate women who have excelled in their fields. It will consist of a dinner, shopping, entertainment and the 2014 awards. Individual tickets may be purchased for $10 while a Table for 10 is available for $500. The committee is asking for nominations from the public in the following categories: Professional, Humanitarian, Education, Government, Entrepreneur, Arts and Entertainment; and Rising Star. Qualified nominees are those women who have helped the community and excelled in their field, and who have encouraged other women to succeed. The RGVHCC Women’s Committee will also be scheduling workshops, in the forms of luncheons or evening gathering, relating to women’s issues. “We welcome women to become involved in the Women’s Committee and get to know other successful women who are willing to help women.  The Women’s Committee also has an event at the end of the year called ‘Ladies Night Out’, which includes pampering, shopping, silent auction and a male style show,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President and Chief Executive Officer. Women’s Committee leaders, featured from left, are:,Sharon Almaguer, attorney; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President/CEO;  Brenda Lee Huerta, Chair-Elect, RGVHCC; Hannah Burleson; Connie Huerta, New York Life; and Eve Mullis, Women’s Assistant Basketball Coach, The University of Texas-Pan American. More information on the Women of Distinction and/or the RGVHCC is available by calling 928-0060.

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Edinburg’s retail economy in March 2014 showed an improvement of almost 11 percent over the same month last year, representing one of the best gains among major Valley economies, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg also registered a rate of growth better than the state average for March 2014, which showed a 5.6 percent increase over the same month in 2013. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated more than $1.7 million in local sales taxes in March 2014, compared with almost $1.6 million in March 2013. For the first three months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $8,028,833.80 in local sales taxes, compared with $7,214,163.81 for January through March 2013 – a rise of 11.29 percent. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the five-member Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, said the March 2014 and January through March 2014 quarterly figures are consistent with the economic goals and strategies of the Edinburg City Council, the EEDC Board of Directors, and city and EEDC staff. “The greatest measure of a community’s growth, we believe, is the growth in sales tax,” the mayor observed. “This kind of success and growth does not happen without vision, planning, and a very deliberate plan of action. Our City Council and our city staff are a team of professionals whose focus, priority, and responsibility is this, our beloved city.” The positive retail sales figures are helped by dozens of new and planned businesses in the past year, he added. “When it comes to economic development we have more than 50 new businesses that have opened within the last year or are under construction right now aimed at improving our quality of life: Wal-Mart with 360 new jobs and a new planned HEB along with Taco Palenque, two Starbucks, IHop, Two Popeye’s, University Drafthouse, Thirsty Bronc, Kahn’s Grill, Chic-Fil-A, Wingstop, Subway, Pizza Hut, Siempre Natural, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Easy Cuts, Moon Beans, Drunken Clam, Burrito Bar, Lanadees, La Mexicana, Taquería el Zarape, Pizza Patrón, Walgreens, CVS, McDonalds, Las Cazuelas, Big Lots, Party City, Carters, Burkes Outlet, GNC, Melrose, Chopstix, Gorditas Doña Tota, Dairy Queen, Cordons Taste of Chicago, CTC Distributing, Johnny’s True Value,” García noted. Featured from left: Laura Lee Vela, Administrative Assistant, EEDC; Cynthia Contreras Gutiérrez, General Counsel, EEDC; Nelda T. Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, EEDC; Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, EEDC; Mayor Richard García; Fred Palacios, Secretary-Treasurer, Board of Directors, EEDC; and Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, EEDC. See story later in this posting.

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Edinburg’s unemployment rate for April 2014 was 5.5 percent, the best showing in the city for any month since January 2008, and the second-best figure for all cities that month in the Rio Grande Valley, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. This latest positive news comes as Walmart announced the opening of its third major store in Edinburg. Mayor Richard García, featured left, who also serves as president of the five-member Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, noted that the city’s third Wal-Mart (the most among all Valley communities) is taking advantage of one of Edinburg’s key assets: U.S. Expressway 281/I69-Central. Located just south of the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, the new Walmart has created 300 new jobs for the region. It is near the intersection of U.S. 281/I69-Central and Canton Road, an area that in the past few years has become one of busiest in the city, the mayor said. “The region’s Expressway 281/I69-Central is a huge piece of the success today and even greater of what to expect tomorrow: 13.5 miles of U.S. Highway 281/I69-Central from FM 2812 to the Pharr Interchange,” said García. Edinburg has the largest amount of freeway frontage than any other community in the Rio Grande Valley, “to the tune of 18 miles” compared to the three other largest cities with an estimated two miles of frontage each, he added. “This immense opportunity for growth has been discovered by large investors like Bert Ogden with the new Infinity Dealership, Fiesta Chevrolet, Holt Caterpillar, Walmart, HEB, the Shoppes at Rio Grande, the master planned community of La Sienna and our exciting mega-arena development,” García said. The mega-arena project involves a planned $50 million special events center to be built just off U.S. Expressway 281/I69-Central. For the month of April 2014, only McAllen (5.4 percent) had a better figure than Edinburg (5.5 percent), while the other major communities in the Valley had unemployment rates that ranged from 6.3 percent in Harlingen to 8.6 percent in Brownsville. The Valley’s three other most populous cities also had unemployment rates for April 2014 in single-digits: Mission (6.8 percent), Pharr (6.9 percent), and Weslaco (8.6 percent). From left in this image from May 19 at the University of Texas-Pan American are Edinburg Mayor Richard García, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Rio Grande City Mayor Rubén O. Villarreal. See story later in this posting.

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Councilmember García, Mayor Ochoa support plan for trailblazing medical conference center by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance

Dr. Blandina “Bambi” Cárdenas, featured first row, second from left, on Thursday, November 20, outlined some of the key measures that she hopes to secure for the University of Texas-Pan American during the upcoming regular session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes on Tuesday, January 13.  Cárdenas, the first female president of UT-Pan American, made her presentation during a legislative luncheon at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center coordinated by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. She noted that graduates from UT-Pan American who apply to medical school have a higher acceptance rate than students from other Texas universities, a key point that will be used by area state lawmakers, who have pre-filed legislation to build a UT medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. In a related move, Mayor Joe Ochoa, featured to the left of Cárdenas, has pledged the city’s support for plans by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, which is considering building a cutting-edge medical conference center that would feature world-class medical professionals who would provide unprecedented seminars, including onsite surgeries, in the three-time All-America City. City Councilmember Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. (not included in this portrait) has been a key player in promoting Edinburg’s participation in the discussions about DHR’s medical conference center. “I do not want to identify just yet who the players are, but this project, if brought to fruition and marketed properly, could very well put Edinburg in a national spotlight,” Councilmember García said. “I have been assured by the investor group that with the city’s participation, they would name it the ‘Edinburg Medical Conference Center’.”  See lead story later in this posting.

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In a time of challenging national economic data, positive news was recently announced at the Edwards Abstract and Title Co.’s annual economic outlook symposium. “Jobs are everything to an economy, and Hidalgo County has delivered for more than a decade,” said Ted C. Jones, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for Stewart Title Guaranty Company. “Hidalgo County and the cities therein have grown jobs at 4.5 times the rate of the U.S. per year, compounded annually for the past 10 years,” added Jones. “In the latest twelve months ending September 6, nine hundred net new additional jobs were created in the local economy.” Another highlight of the forum was the participation of a panel of economic development experts from the cities of McAllen, Edinburg and Weslaco who shared their views regarding the factors that are contributing to the continued commercial and industrial growth of the region. Participating in the economic development panel were, first row, from left:  Dr. Ted C. Jones;  Elva Jackson Garza, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Ramiro Garza, executive director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Byron Jay Lewis, president of Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Stewart Morris, Sr. with Stewart Title Guaranty Company. Back row, from left: (back) Stewart Morris, Jr. with Stewart Title Guaranty Company; Keith Patridge, President and CEO, McAllen Economic Development Corporation; Pat Townsend, Jr., President and CEO, Mission Economic Development Authority; and Hernán González, Executive Director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

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Young ladies who are seniors at Edinburg High School were recently addressed by prominent Texans during the Young Women’s Summit, a forum which allows the students to interact with some of the most successful women in their respective fields. The Young Women’s Summit developed from research completed by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) which found that Hispanic girls are the most under- represented group of post-secondary graduates. Featured, from left: Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen; Gloria Cotton Wells; Deann Craft; María Piña; and Jennifer Ruiz, Miss Galaxy International 2009.

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Miss Edinburg 2009 and her counterparts were recently honored by the Edinburg school district for their outstanding efforts in representing the city and school district, and for bringing honor to their respective families. Featured in this portrait during a recent school board public session were, from left: Gilberto Garza, Jr., superintendent of the Edinburg school district; Alexis García, Miss Edinburg 2009; Avery García, Miss Pre-Teen; Anahi García, Little Miss Edinburg; Rachel Tgunberg, Junior Miss Edinburg; and Omar Palacios, president of the Edinburg school board.

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G&C Avanti Trucking LLC in Edinburg is partnering with South Texas College on an experimental project that calls for students in the Precision Manufacturing Technology Program to help fabricate prototypes of several automotive parts that will enable vehicles, such as this GMC 5500 truck, to travel in up to five feet of water. Pictured are (front row, l-r): Chente Aguilar from G&C Avanti Trucking LLC; Leticia Reyes from the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Mario Reyna, STC division dean of business and technology; Efrain García, Jr.; Efrain García, Sr.; Rodolfo Sánchez from G&C Avanti Trucking LLC; Alberto Díaz from Santos International; and G&C Avanti technician Marcelo Cantú. STC Precision Manufacturing Technology instructor Harold Bernard and PMT students Zeke Sáenz, Erick Vega, Ricardo García and René Vera are pictured on top of truck. See story later in this posting.

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