MCALLEN, Texas – The shooting death of two men from South Carolina in Matamoros had a temporary impact on the Rio Grande Valley’s economic development prospects.

Site selectors from across the country, including one representing a company from Germany, were concerned about going to Reynosa in the light of the shootings. The plan was for the visitors to tour a number of maquiladoras.

However, the tragic events in Matamoros a few weeks ago left the visitors feeling uneasy about such a visit.

LaTavia Washington McGee was visiting Matamoros for a medical operation. But she and her friends were shot at while traveling in their truck. Washington McGee and Eric Williams, who was shot three times in the leg, survived a kidnapping. Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were shot to death.

Keith Patridge, president of McAllen Economic Development Corporation, said the visiting site selectors were apprehensive about visiting Reynosa. They questioned whether it was safe to do so.

“Last week, we had a ‘Fam Tour,’ which is a familiarization tour for site selectors. This was held in conjunction with AEP and CoSTEP,” Patridge told his board of directors, at a recent meeting.

“We had five or six site selectors from various areas of the country. And Europe was represented as well. I think there was one company from Germany that was here. They were here for about two and a half to three days,” Patridge recalled.

“They spent one day in Reynosa and then the rest of the time in McAllen looking at our area. I think they left with a much different opinion of what the Valley is like and our region is like. 

“This was the time of that unfortunate situation in Matamoros. And so they were a little apprehensive about going across. But, when they went across to Reynosa, it was just basically a common day. Everybody was out and about, traveling and stuff with no (untoward) activity. So they left, I think, with a different opinion of what’s actually going on here.”

CoSTEP stands for Council for South Texas Economic Progress. Its senior vice president, Adam Gonzalez, wrote about the “Fam Tour” on social media. He said it was a big success.

“We had the privilege to host site selectors from Tochi Advisors LLC, Goldstone Consulting Group, and Quest Site Solutions in McAllen and Reynosa. We also hosted representatives from Cantier, Nano Dimensions, and FUMEC which added tremendous value to the Fam Tour,” Gonzalez said.

“Our focus this week was to feature the bi-national dynamic of our region and the collaboration that exists in RioSouthTexas. Thank you, Nidec, Prologis, Grupo Río San Juan, Steelcase, Cinch, and GE Aviation for welcoming our guests. Your presentations about your manufacturing processes and the efficiencies that exist in twin plants made a lasting impression with our guests.”

Gonzalez said a special thank you needs to go to McAllen EDC for co-hosting, along with Mission EDC, Pharr EDC, and Weslaco EDC for “great presentations about your communities.”

“COSTEP’s sponsors that make regional efforts a success are Rhodes Enterprises, Commodities Integrated Logistics (CIL), Texas Regional Bank, and AEP Texas,” Gonzalez added. 

“For information on joining this regional effort for industry attraction contact COSTEP at [email protected].”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows site selectors visiting the Nidec plant in Reynosa. Photo credit: CoSTEP and McAllen EDC.

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