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TAB’s Visit to Rio Grande Valley Underscores Importance of Regional Economic Development Collaboration

I recently had the privilege of joining Texas Association of Business (TAB) Chairman Massey Villarreal and Ramiro Cavazos, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, for a series of engaging and important events with the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


First, I delivered the keynote address on Leadership at the 1st Annual Manual of Success Men's Conference and Expo. Our TAB Chairman, Massey Villarreal, and our TAB RGV Regional Chair, Sergio Contreras, also participated in another panel discussion, offering insights on career development, leadership skills, and work-life balance. The following day, Massey and I participated in an insightful panel discussion on the future of Latino economic impact in the U.S. and Texas. Held in McAllen, Texas, this gathering underscored crucial opportunities for the Rio Grande Valley region as we look ahead.


Local business leader Robert Lozano took the opportunity to inform the panel that there is a growing interest in binational private sector cooperation between businesses in the RGV and their counterparts in Tamaulipas, indicating we could soon see a ‘Rioplex’ that brings stakeholders together from both sides of the border to promote more regional economic development collaboration:


“Local business leaders have come together with northern Tamaulipas and all of the Rio Grande Valley. We’re one economic unit here. It blends, it goes back and forth over the river. It’s one community.”


Following the panel discussion, former Texas Workforce Commissioner and panel moderator Julián Álvarez said he supported a regional framework to showcase the benefits of doing business in the RGV:


“We’ve got a skilled workforce, we’ve got a community that is vibrant, we’ve got a young population. And you could hear from Glenn mentioning today, all we lack now is the marketing, a good marketing plan. So, we are excited. We are all on the same page.”


Massey made clear that the RGV’s potential is critical to encouraging even more investment and job creation in Texas, telling the audience:

"I think this (the RGV) is the greatest gem hidden in Texas, a lot of land available, great workforce. The Rio Grande Valley is a perfect place to host corporations, right? To come down here because of the big workforce, the cost of living is not as high as New York or California. We need more promotion out of the Valley."

TAB Chairman Massey Villarreal, TAB President & CEO Glenn Hamer, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Ramiro Cavazos, and Lone Star National Bank Senior VP and Director of Business Development Julián Álvarez. Photo Credit: Steve Taylor/Rio Grande Guardian

Top of mind throughout our discussions was the upcoming TAB to CDMX delegation that will take place the same week as the North Capital Forum (NCF) in Mexico City and the inauguration of President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum on October 1. I stressed the importance of the Rio Grande Valley's active participation in the NCF, emphasizing the need to establish a robust relationship with Mexico's new leadership from the outset. This engagement, set to last from October 2 - 4, is about laying the groundwork for meaningful economic cooperation that benefits both sides of the border.


Cavazos added valuable insights from a national perspective, outlining the importance for Texas business leaders to seize this opportunity for engaging the new Sheinbaum administration:


"I'm very impressed with the president-elect. She is a scientist. She's the first woman president, so Mexico beat the United States in electing a first Latina or female president. She went to graduate school at UC Berkeley, so she understands how this nation works…What impresses me about her is that I believe she's going to build her own path. She is pro-economic development."


Cavazos reiterated the U.S. Hispanic Chamber’s commitment to expanding robust trade relations, saying, "I agree with the work that TAB is doing to open those doors immediately. We look forward to being there for the inauguration."


As we look ahead, the Rio Grande Valley's role in shaping Texas' economic future cannot be overstated. This is largely due to the region's wealth of talent and opportunity and its proximity to the border. From emerging sectors like aerospace to the logistics industry, this region is primed for significant growth and investment.


As a new chapter of partnership dawns, TAB is poised to build bridges with our closest neighbor and largest trade partner, Mexico, by fostering partnerships and driving economic prosperity that benefits both countries. I encourage all stakeholders in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond to stay engaged and seize the important opportunities that lie ahead.


-              TAB President & CEO Glenn Hamer


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