MCALLEN, RGV – A leader with McAllen Economic Development Corporation was the only person from the Rio Grande Valley to attend this year’s World Congress Experience in Detroit, Michigan.

MEDC Vice President Janie Cavazos, who specializes in bringing manufacturing companies to the Rio Grande Valley, said there was a lot of interest from auto manufacturing companies and their suppliers to move to Texas.

“There was a lot of interest from the automotive industry. They are looking to expand and the State of Texas has already shared the leads that we got. Now, we have to follow up with these companies and hopefully entice them to relocate,” Cavazos said.

Janie Cavazos.

“Most of these people stopped at our booth and wanted to know about the border, what’s going on and so forth. We were very well-received. We’re hoping to get some potential leads from that as well.”

Cavazos said the State of Texas’ economic development and tourism office was represented at SAE International’s WCX 18. Other Texas cities that had representatives at the trade show, she said, included Laredo, El Paso, Dallas and Austin.

However, Cavazos said she detected more interest in the McAllen metro area because automotive industries are particularly interested in the South Texas border region. The reason for this, she said, is due the growth of auto manufacturing in Mexico. Much of the interest at the trade show, Cavazos said, came from tier one and tier two suppliers to auto manufactuers.

“They also participate in those trade shows because of their customer-base and that’s in the interior of Mexico and central United States,” Cavazos said. “They’re not necessarily automotive plants–which is what we want, but for now it’s a lot of the suppliers. Any type of supplier–it’s the electronics, the metal stampers, plastic injections, machining processes,transportation–anything that has to do with a certain part of an auto.”


Cavazos also reported that McAllen EDC and the South Texas Manufacturing Association (STMA) is partnering to create a fresh produce division within STMA. Cavazos said that while fresh produce companies are normally associated with the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA), there are other issues that affect these companies other than, say, an overweight corridor.

“Several produce companies asked for our help with the transportation issues that they’ve been having,” Cavazos said. “Apparently, some of the Mexican truckers can come across and their costs are a lot less than the U.S. truckers, so it’s affecting our truckers. That deals with the legislation that has to enforce something through DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety), so there are a lot of things the produce industry is asking us to support.”

In her report to MEDC’s board of directors, Cavazos pointed out that 60 percent of the fresh produce exported by Mexico to the United States comes through ports in the Rio Grande Valley.

Cavazos said STMA currently has a plastic injection industry sector, a trucking sector, a manufacturing sector, a metal stamping sector. “Now we are going to have a food processing/produce industry sector.”

Asked about her efforts to land more manufacturing companies, Cavazos said:

“We had kind of slowed down with trade shows but we have picked up the pace. We have to be out there more, not only through social media. We still have a lot of people that participate in these expos and trade shows. So, we are picking up the pace.

“We’re also working with consultants because most of the inquiries we are getting are coming from consultants.”

Cavazos said she will be going to a consultant trade show in October and Ralph Garcia, [vice president of McAllen EDC], will be going to one in December. “We are picking up the pace to bring more leads to this area,” Cavazos added.