Featured, right, Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García speaking with reporters on Thursday, January 22, 2015, prior to welcoming Gov. Greg Abbott to the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Edinburg’s unemployment rate for February 2015 was 4.8 percent, which was lower than the previous month’s level of 5.1 percent, better than the February 2014 level of 6.2 percent, and the best showing for that month since 2008, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and the Edinburg City Council. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. Those most recent figures, released on Friday, March 27 by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), came about a week after Teleperformance U.S.A., a global company which specializes in customer service, technical support, call center, debt collection and social media, announced that it will begin hiring 200 more staff members at its Edinburg site, located at 1701 South Closner Blvd. Only McAllen had a better monthly performance among the Valley’s major economies, coming in with a 4.7 percent unemployment rate for February 2015, the TWC reported. The previous month, the unemployment rate in McAllen was five percent. Edinburg’s February 2015 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was 4.3 percent for February 2015, compared with statewide average of 4.6 percent for January 2015, according to TWC figures. With more than 700 employees at the local Teleperformance facility, the company currently utilizes about 50,000 square feet with about 800 work stations. “Our clients see Edinburg as a great place for customer service and support,” said Miranda Collard President of Operational Delivery for Teleperformance U.S.A. “They recognize the area’s diversity, talent, and education in the community. Edinburg offers a unique advantage to employers like Teleperformance because of the strength of the community and the incredible work ethic of the people. We are excited to continue our growth in this area.”Mayor Richard H. García congratulated Teleperformance with its continued success and agreed with the company’s assessment of the work ethics in this region. “For us working hard is just something we do. That’s what our parents taught us and I’m glad we’re being recognized for our hard working habits,” the mayor said. ‘“This is their second expansion since they first opened in 2003. Clearly, we’re a good fit.” Their first expansion was in 2013, when Teleperformance added 400 positions and increased square footage by 24,000 feet, making room for 350 more workstations. Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. (no relation to the mayor), Executive Director of the EEDC, said the additional 200 jobs at Teleperformance U.S.A. will contribute to the city’s declining unemployment rate. “This also means that people looking for a job will have high-paying positions to choose from, great jobs that could turn into careers,” the EEDC Executive Director reflected.
Rep. Terry Canales, D-McAllen, featured on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, addressing the State Legislative Session Wrap-Up Luncheon, sponsored by the City of McAllen, the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, held at the McAllen Country Club.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
With a growing number of state agencies providing detailed information in Spanish on their respective websites, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is working to create a bilingual presence on the Internet for the Texas House of Representatives. Canales has filed House Bill 288, which proposes that key components of the home page for the House of Representatives, as well as for the individual websites for each of the 150 state representatives, also have the capability to be read in Spanish. “It is both practical and beneficial to offer legislative information in both English and Spanish. As we seek to modernize our government and keep pace with the 21st century, I believe we must allow legislative information to be accessible in English and Spanish,” said Canales, who is fluent in English and Spanish. “The success of government depends on effectively communicating with the public and offering nondiscriminatory, accurate information.” On Wednesday, March 18, HB 288 was unanimously approved by the House Committee on Transparency and Operation with the recommendation that it be approved by the House of Representatives, then sent to the Senate for their action. Canales noted that the Texas Senate for the past 14 years has maintained and improved its Spanish-language version of its Internet web site, including the individual official websites of each state senator. That site is available online at http://www.senate.state.tx.us/Senado.htm. The House of Representatives should also break down language barriers, the lawmaker said. “People in the United States should speak English because that is the most spoken language of our country, but we do not want to disenfranchise those (who are more fluent in Spanish),” Canales said. “According to a 2011 Census survey, almost 30 percent of Texans speak Spanish. Of that figure, more than 42 percent of those Texans speak English less than very well.” The Center for Immigration Studies found that the Census Bureau recently released information from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS), including languages spoken for those five years of age and older. “The new data show that the number of people who speak a language other than English at home reached an all-time high of 61.8 million, up 2.2 million since 2010,” Karen Ziegler and Steven A. Camarota reported in their October 2014 article, One in Five U.S. Residents Speaks Foreign Language at Home, Record 61.8 million. “The largest increases from 2010 to 2013 were for speakers of Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. One in five U.S. residents now speaks a foreign language at home.” (http://cis.org/record-one-in-five-us-residents-speaks-language-other-than-english-at-home). In 2007, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency under the management of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, released updated information, based on the 2000 Census, that detailed the languages spoken in U.S. and Texas. According to the CDC, English and Spanish, or predominantly Spanish, are spoken considerably by Texas residents at their homes, including in the major metropolitan regions not located along the Texas-Mexico border: Harris County (Houston): 898,885; Dallas County (Dallas): 539,570; Bexar County (San Antonio): 517,885; Tarrant County (Ft. Worth): 218,615; Travis County (Austin): 168,285; and Nueces County (Corpus Christi): 118,745. These figures do not include residents in those counties who spoke English only. Counties bordering Mexico, as expected, reported large percentages of their residents who spoke English and Spanish, or predominantly Spanish. “Providing more Spanish-language content on the House of Representatives websites also will help generate more commerce with non-English nations which do business with Texas, he added. “Texas bordering Mexico also makes it crucial that our largest trading partner have access to our Legislature and the information we have.” According to http://www.TexasWideOpenForBusiness.com, which is a maintained by the Texas Economic Development Corporation – an arm of the Office of the Governor – Mexico in 2014 was ranked number one with $102.6 billion in Texas exports, followed by Canada ($31.1 billion), Brazil ($11.7 billion), China ($10.9 billion), and the Netherlands ($8.9 billion) as the top five international trade partners. Exports are goods or services sent from Texas to another country for sale. Mexico also held the top spot as country of origin for Texas imports, accounting for more than $90.1 billion, or 29 percent, of Texas imports in 2014. China ranked number two for Texas imports ($45.4 billion), followed by Saudia Arabia ($19 billion), and Canada ($17.4 billion), added TexasWideOpenforBusiness.com. Imports are goods or services sent from another country to Texas for sale.The public hearing, in its entirety, is available on the Internet by logging on to http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/committee-broadcasts/ , then scroll down to “03/11/15 Government Transparency & Operation” and click the committee’s name.
Robert. S. Nelsen, Ph.D., former President of The University of Texas-Pan American, addressing a gathering at the Student Union Building on Thursday, October 24, 2013.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees on Wednesday, March 25, appointed former University of Texas-Pan American President Robert. S. Nelsen, Ph.D., as President of California State University, Sacramento (officially known as “Sacramento State”). He will assume leadership of the university in July 2015. “Sacramento State has truly become a destination campus where students receive a transformative educational experience that prepares them for success in the future,” said Nelsen. “The opportunity to work alongside the many dedicated faculty and staff who guide students along that journey and prepare them for achievements beyond the classroom is incredibly exciting.” Nelsen will become the eighth permanent president of Sacramento State and succeeds Alexander González, who will retire at the end of the academic year after 12 years as president. “Dr. Robert Nelsen is an ambitious and visionary leader who will successfully build on the foundation President González has established at Sacramento State,” said CSU Trustee Steve Glazer, chair of the Sacramento State Presidential Search Committee. “He has extensive experience leading a large, diverse university and a long history of always putting students first.” Pedro Reyes, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the UT System, congratulated Nelsen on the announcement, citing the soon-to-be former UTPA president long-lasting impact in Texas. “Dr. Nelsen served The University of Texas System with great distinction and we will miss his leadership and guidance,” said Reyes. “He embraced the culturally rich environment of the Rio Grande Valley as president of UT Pan American, and his passion and dedication for students and faculty and their success are without comparison.” Nelsen’s importance and influence in Edinburg also was recognized last fall with a proclamation in his honor unanimously approved by the Edinburg City Council. “Jody and I have loved everything about the Rio Grande Valley, and it will be very hard to leave this magical place,” Nelsen said. “But we are excited to embark on a new adventure in California, and we will take all of you with us in our hearts. Somos para siempre familia.”
Keith A. Patridge, President and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, with Adriana Treviño, Marketing Director for the MEDC.
Photograph Courtesy McALLEN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Keith A. Patridge, President and Chief Executive Officer of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, will share his extensive knowledge and experiences about business and how it is impacted by government and politics as one of three high-profile experts serving on a blue-ribbon panel for “Economic Development – A Regional Outlook” on Thursday, March 26 in Edinburg. The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, 118 Paseo Del Prado. Joining Patridge will be Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and Alejandro “Alex” Meade, Chief Executive Officer of the Mission Economic Development Corporation. The EEDC, which is a sponsor of the event, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The gathering on Thursday, which is organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, is also designed to allow business professionals to meet, network, and create opportunities for the companies they represent, costs $18 per person, or $200 for a table of eight, and includes a hot lunch, beverage and dessert. For more information or to make a reservation, individuals may call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974. The Thursday, March 26 session is consistent with the strategies of the Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, who have made regional cooperation with other South Texas cities a priority as part of their efforts to promote socioeconomic advances in deep South Texas. The McAllen Economic Development Corporation is one of that city’s pro-business, job-creation entities. According to the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, the MEDC is a not-for-profit corporation under contract with the City of McAllen to create jobs for McAllen by attracting new industry and helping existing companies to expand. With 28 years of working at the McAllen Economic Development Corporation and McAllen Foreign Trade Zone, Patridge has a great deal of experience in assisting companies with their start-up operations in either McAllen or Reynosa, according to his official biography. Patridge has worked with global companies planning a strategic move or expansion to service their industry from a cost competitive market. During his almost three decades of service with the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, that organization has assisted more than 600 companies in the relocation and start-up of successful operations in its community, resulting in the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.
Alejandro “Alex” Meade, Chief Executive Officer, Mission Economic Development Corporation.
Photograph Courtesy OFFICE OF THE TEXAS GOVERNOR
Alejandro “Alex” Meade, Chief Executive Officer, Mission Economic Development Corporation, will be joining Keith A. Patridge, President and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, and Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, on Thursday, March 26, in “Economic Development – A Regional Outlook”, hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, 118 Paseo Del Prado. The gathering, which also will allow business professionals to meet, network, and create opportunities for the companies they represent, costs $18 per person, or $200 for a table of eight, and includes a hot lunch, beverage and desert. For more information or to make a reservation, individuals may call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974. “The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to the gathering of three of the leading economic development professionals in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President of Edwards Abstract and Title Company, which is one of the event sponsors, and Vice Chair of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s Public Affairs Committee. Public Affairs Luncheons are an initiative introduced in 2006, and have featured popular topics with speakers who cover important community and legislative issues. The vision is to inform, involve and educate chamber investors and civic leaders. “There are several important factors for scheduling the economic development panel. Primarily, the growth and vitality of the Rio Grande Valley have been impacted by the continued work and efforts of the economic development corporations,” Garza explained. “The Valley is poised to experience changes in the educational, industrial, commercial and residential sectors. Bringing these three EDC entities together will help further the regional mindset in the civic, business and community leaders.” Fred Sandoval, City Manager of Pharr and Director of the Pharr Economic Development Corporation, had also been invited to participate in the event, but a schedule conflict prevented his valued participation, according to Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing/ Special Events at Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The Thursday, March 26 session is consistent with the strategies of the Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, who have made regional cooperation with other South Texas cities a priority as part of their efforts to promote socioeconomic advances in deep South Texas.