Featured, from left: Ronnie Larralde, Executive Director, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Marsha Green, Vice President of Marketing, Bert Ogden Auto Group; Natasha Del Barrio, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, Bert Ogden Auto Group; Robert Vackar, Owner, Bert Ogden Auto Group; Janet Vackar, Owner, Bert Ogden Auto Group; Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and Mario Lizcano, Administrator of Corporate Affairs, DHR Health.
Photograph By DEANNA GARZA
Featured at the podium is Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, founding Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Saturday, July 23, 2016, welcoming the UTRGV School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 for the inaugural White Coat Ceremony at the Performing Arts Center in Edinburg. Among the dignitaries who also participated in the South Texas landmark event were, front row, from left: Dr. Leonel Vela, then-Senior Associate Dean for Education and Academic Affairs; Dr. Guy Bailey, President of UTRGV; and UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven. Rodríguez, a former member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, caught the attention of statewide leaders in higher education and state politics on the East Coast which resulted in the Wednesday, June 21, 2017 announcement by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo that the longtime Edinburg resident has been selected as the 20th president of The University at Albany. The appointment will take effect in mid-September.
Photograph By DAVID PIKE
Dr. Havidán Rodríguez generously credits the people of South Texas – including his colleagues on the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation — for helping prepare him to serve as the 20th president of The University at Albany in upstate New York. Rodríguez believes one of the strengths of his successful candidacy for the presidency of The University at Albany was his work on the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors from June 2013 through May 2015, which allowed him to develop expertise in municipal government, economic development, and state legislative affairs. “I think it was critically important because it got me, and it got UTPA (The University of Texas-Pan American), and later UTRGV, to remain connected to the city, and continued to fortify and strengthen the university relationships with the city,” he said. “We established great partnerships that benefited both the city and UTRGV, and especially the students. This was a fabulous experience in my professional development.” 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 Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. The Edinburg EDC, of which Gus García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Gus García are not related. Gus García said Rodríguez’ efforts on behalf of the Edinburg EDC and UTRGV have been impressive and appreciated. “From working with the Edinburg EDC and the Edinburg City Council on its joint efforts that have brought hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth to the community, to helping the city’s leadership on its pro-business and high quality-of-life strategies that have resulted for years in one of the lowest unemployment rates in deep South Texas, soon-to-be President Rodríguez has made his presence felt in these and many other ways,” Gus García said. Among their many duties, members of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors attend board meetings and vote on key issues regarding job creation and social, cultural and economic development of the community. They, along with the Edinburg EDC staff, also visit with potential business investors and consultants who work in collaboration with the city, as well as facilitate and attend joint meetings with the university and the city’s key officials.
Featured: Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Saturday, July 23, 2016, addressing the inaugural class of the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, which opened its $54 million Medical Education Building at the Edinburg campus, welcoming 55 students into its charter class. In a related development, the UT System Board of Regents on Monday, September 26, 2016, unanimously approved the leasing of an approximately 85,000-square-foot facility from Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, which is based in Edinburg, to UTRGV for medical research and educational and clinical uses. The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents for advances at UTRGV and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg.
Photograph By DAVID PIKE
More people continue to move into Edinburg, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced, based on the latest year-to-date figures which show that between January and September 2016, more than $108 million in new homes and multi-family residences were approved for construction. For the month of September 2016, total construction activities during that period totaled more than $13.5 million. Also year-to-date, construction and related building activities for all categories have approached the $180 million level, based on information collected by the city’s Code Enforcement Department. The increasing number of residents in Edinburg is reflected in the most recent population estimates by the U.S. Census Department, which show the city has grown more than 13 percent between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2015. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Edinburg’s estimated population as of July 1, 2015 was 84,497, compared with 74,541 on April 1, 2010, representing a growth of 13.4 percent. Year-to-date (January through September 2016), building permits were issued for 357 single-family residences, valued at $47,071,342, compared with 257 single family residences, valued at $37,102,917 from January through September 2015. Year-to-date (January through September 2016), building permits were issued for 230 multi-family residences, representing 928 units, valued at $61,655,264, compared with 36 multi-family residences, representing 71 units, valued at $5,365,356, from January through September 2015. The Edinburg EDC, whose executive director is Agustín García, Jr., 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.
Featured: Second from left, Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, meets with students at the Edinburg campus on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, as part of celebrations marking the first anniversary of UTRGV, which was the result of state legislation in 2013 that brought together the resources of UT Pan American in Edinburg, UT-Brownsville, and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg and Harlingen. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, helped lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents for the creation of UTRGV, which also includes a School of Medicine with a major campus in Edinburg.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
About a week before The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg celebrated its first anniversary, the UT System Board of Regents approved a major plan that will lead to the construction of the latest state-of-the-art facility on the local campus – the $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building. Meeting in Austin on Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25, 2016, the nine-member governing board, which includes Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, unanimously gave the go-ahead to the design development of the 53,400 gross square foot facility, which is being built to increase the number of engineering students, said Edinburg Mayor Richard García. The timeline for the project includes issuing the Notice to Proceed in March 2017, with substantial completion anticipated by November 2018. “According to the UT System Board of Regents agenda, this new facility will include six engineering teaching labs, two discipline-specific computer labs, eight 60-seat general classrooms, offices for faculty and staff, and support spaces for graduate and doctoral students,” said the mayor. According to UT System and UTRGV leaders, among the key goals of the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building are: Increase engineering enrollment by 48% from 3,076 to 4,553 by 2028; Increase number of laboratory seats by 40% from 2,771 to 3,879 by 2028; and Reduce teaching space deficit by 32,233 assignable square feet (ASF). Additionally, the project will include an outdoor area to be used as a gathering and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events. The $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building will located just adjacent to the west Physical Science Building, which will be abandoned and demolished.
Featured, on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg following the Public Affairs Luncheon, which was organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, front row, from left: City Councilmember David Torres; Elva Jackson Garza (Vice President, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.); Cris Torres (Vice President, Greater State Bank); David Salinas (President/CEO, Greater State Bank); Mayor Richard García; Guy Bailey, Ph.D. (President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley); Robert Lozano (Chairman of the Board, Greater State Bank); Agustín Lozano, Jr. (Bert Ogden Dealer Group); and Marty Martin (Rio Valley Realty). Back row, from left: Johnny Rodríguez (Bert Ogden Dealer Group); Mario Lizcano (Doctors Hospital at Renaissance); Jacob De León (Memorial Funeral Home); Sergio González (Rosie’s Flower Shop); Ricardo Hinojosa (Chief Financial Officer, Greater State Bank); Víctor Barbosa (Vice President, Greater State Bank); Claudia Alvarado (Officer, Greater State Bank); James Cano (Senior Vice President, Greater State Bank); Mark Hernández (Senior Vice President, Greater State Bank); and Michael Williamson (PlainsCapital Bank). Greater State Bank was the sponsor of the quarterly event.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
College football, which is currently being considered for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, could have positive results far beyond the gridiron, according to Guy Bailey, Ph.D., the President of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Bailey, whose extensive professional credentials include serving as president of The University of Alabama and Texas Tech University, which have high-profile football programs, brought up the possible addition of the nation’s most popular college sport to UTRGV during his presentation on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 before a full house in the Hidalgo Banquet Room of the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg. “As we look to grow as a university, we look at the possibility of football, too,” said Bailey, who was the featured speaker for the quarterly Public Affairs Luncheon organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. “There are a number of reasons for having football. If you have been at places with football, you understand it is a galvanizing force for students and for your communities as well. If that happens, you will all understand what impact it will have.”