SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, RGV – The South Texas/Northeastern Mexico border region is primed to enjoy the largest economic boom it has experienced in recent memory, according to organizers of a big economic conference taking place in the Rio Grande Valley on Sept. 1-2.

The region has finally entered into the initial stages of two vital economic forces that will transform both sides of the border into major metropolitan areas within the next 15 years, according to leaders with Asociacion de Empresarios Mexicanos (AEM).

In response, AEM has created Vision 2015, a two-day binational conference and expo featuring the thoughts and analysis of top minds in the fields of energy and logistics.

Marco Saldivar
Marco Saldivar

The event will take place on South Padre Island on Sept. 1-2 and is open to the public.

Cost to attend the energy conference is $250 and $200 to attend the logistics component. Both will run concurrently, and seating is extremely limited. Only 200 seats are available for each conference. The public is also invited to attend the event’s expo for an entry fee of $30.

The event will feature a world class exhibition showcasing leading U.S. and Mexican companies in the energy, logistics and infrastructure industries. The event will be complemented by a comprehensive seminar program featuring major industries that are the catalysts for growth in the region.

“If you are looking at the area between Matamoros and Reynosa, and the area of McAllen all the way to Brownsville and the Port; that whole area already has millions of people, only they are not united. That’s what this is going to do,” said Marco Saldivar, president of AEM Brownsville-South Padre Island.

“We have so many people in the area who want to get involved, but don’t know how to do it. This is the perfect vehicle to do that. If you want to get involved in any aspect of the logistics industry or energy industry, this is the place to come to. “The event will include numerous VIPs and speakers to South Texas. The energy conference will include presentations by at least 27 experts in the industry. At the top of the list are Humberto Vergara, who is the executive director of Mexico’s Asociacion Mexicana de Industria del Petroleo (AMIPE), former Mexican governor of Coahuila and PEMEX general director Dr. Rogelio Montemayor, Secretary of Economic Development and Tourism of the state of Tamaulipas C.P. Monica Gonzalez, president of South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable (STEER) Omar Garcia, and Dr. Thomas Tunstall research director for University of Texas-San Antonio’s Center for Community and Business Research.

The logistics component will include prepared remarks by Texas Secretary of State and former Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos, Secretary of Economic Development in Matamoros Alejandro Fernandez, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port Director for the Brownsville Port of Entry Petra Horn, Brownsville Port Director Eduardo Campirano, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez, D-Weslaco, current Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulveda, Director of Economic Development for Bexar County David Marquez, and CEO for the Port of Matamoros Vicente Saint Martin.

Earlier this year, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto signed a comprehensive energy reform bill that is designed to attract billions of dollars in foreign investment to the country’s declining oil, gas and electric industries. Foreign investment is expected to drive the future development of the energy industry in Mexico, especially south of the Eagle Ford and South Texas/North Mexico coastal areas.

“In the energy sector, if you look at Eagle Ford, everything that is happening there is going to be happening on the Mexican side. The Mexican side has no infrastructure, and they haven’t even started the exploration process. It’s something that is brand new” Saldivar said. “So everything with the Eagle Ford with regards to the technology transfer is going to be happening from the U.S. to the Mexican side.”

The causes for growth include the approval of energy reform legislation in Mexico and the advent of the Mazatlan/Matamoros Inter-Oceanic Economic Corridor. AEM will be bringing representatives from each state in Mexico located along the corridor, Saldivar said.

“Now, as far as the logistics are concerned, there is a corridor from Mazatlan to Matamoros that is connecting the oceans; the Pacific and the Atlantic and the Gulf. It is becoming a new logistical route that is uniting Europe with Asia,” he said. “This new world route is going to change everything around here. A lot of the produce that is sent to the East Coast from the West Coast of Mexico are now shifting gears and heading down this corridor saving anywhere from eight to 10 hours and transportation costs.

“A day in transportation is huge. So the corridor is a main focus of ours because it’s changing how things are being shipped,” Saldivar said. “The only other corridor you can say that unites both oceans is the Panama Canal. Now we have the economic corridor, Mazatlan-Matamoros.”

AEM was established in 1996 by a group of Mexican entrepreneurs who came up with the idea of teaming up to help Mexican businesspeople and professionals achieve success in the United States, and to assist American businesspeople interested in doing business in Mexico.

The group’s mission is to create business opportunities that promote progress and innovation, by strengthening ties and developing programs that help and guide binational business people and young entrepreneurs to become global leaders for their companies’ growth, development, and success, according to their website.

“For us as a chapter down here, we have never taken on such a big project and we are pretty excited about it. We have the experience,” Saldivar said. “If we were to have tried this three or four years ago it wouldn’t have worked, but there seems to be a big focus on South Texas and north Mexico because of the energy sector. Energy and Logistics is huge. They are both coming together at the same time. We are blessed to be in this part of the world at the moment. We have folks coming from Houston, Canada, from Belgium and New York. Based on that type of reaction or interest, we knew it was time to do a big event.”