EDINBURG, RGV – Procter & Gamble alumni and entrepreneur Mark Peterson and Rio South Texas Economic Council executive director Matt Ruszczak are the Rio Grande Guardian’s guests for the next LIVE at Bob’s luncheon.

The show is titled “X’s and O’s of 21st Century Economic Development.” It takes place at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, at Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg. 

“I am excited about participating in this fascinating conversation about economic development,” Ruszczak said. “Rather than take a, ‘whatever comes through the door’ approach, or, ‘let’s chase that chain restaurant,’ there is another way to approach economic development. The message Mark and I plan to get across during our conversation is that there is a game plan to economic development.”

Ruszczak said topics covered in the one-hour conversation will include:

  • The long term vs. short term perspective in economic development
  • The multi-faceted approach to economic development: fostering start-ups, retention and expansion of existing businesses, new business recruitment, as well as shaping an ecosystem where they can all succeed
  • The importance of workforce development: building up skill sets as well as a critical mass of skilled individuals
  • The critical role (and opportunity) of angel investment & community support for start-up companies
  • The value of having a sales strategy for your business and for your community
  • The power of regional collaboration

Tickets for the LIVE at Bob’s event are $25 each, with a three-course meal included. To reserve a seat call Bob’s Steak & Chop House at (956) 380-2627.

About Mark Peterson:

Peterson recently retired from P&G after nearly 40 years. His most recent P&G role was as Director, Global Business Development, responsible for leading business to business negotiations where Business Model innovation was required including licensing Trademarks, Technologies and Know-How, as well as minority equity investments and Joint Ventures. He spent the first 26 years of his career in Sales roles including leading the formation and execution of P&G’s customer team approach with teams including K-Mart and Super Valu and he also led the Canadian Sales Organization with responsibility for 800 employees and $2.5B in Sales responsibilities.  

Mark Peterson

Earlier this year, Peterson was “Expert in Residence” at Mission Economic Development Corporation’s Center for Education & Economic Development. When he started his residency slot, Alex Meade, CEO of Mission EDC, said: “Procter & Gamble is one of the world’s leading companies known for innovating, its knowledge of consumer behavior and business acumen. With his vast experience and his willingness to share and mentor others, Mark will be a huge asset for the Mission EDC and the business community. We are very pleased to have him here.”

Peterson lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. For the duration of the residency program, he and his wife Ellen lived in the Rio Grande Valley. Peterson was so popular at CEED that a number of companies asked if they could retain him as a consultant. So, he now makes frequent visits to the RGV. Among the organizations to have retained Peterson Consulting Group are South Texas Manufacturers Association. For STMA members, Peterson’s group will be conducing an two-day program to teach participants a seven-step process to drive long term partnerships.

Peterson’s educational background and professional accreditations include: University of Notre Dame, 1976, BBA Management; Beta Gamma Sigma Society Honors; Annual USA Governor’s Conference-(two different conferences with the topic-leveraging IP to grow economies and Public/Private partnerships with Universities): Keynote Speaker at Licensing Executive Society ‘Making Asymmetrical Relationships Work’; Certified Licensing Professional; State of Ohio Third Frontier Board 2010-2016 (Gubernatorial appointment); P&G Recognition included: Top 5 Training Manager Globally (3 times); Global Expert in Executive Selling Methods.

Other interesting experiences for Peterson are: Varsity Tennis at Notre Dame (1972-74); St. Mary’s College Varsity Tennis Coach (1974-76); Coached Youth Tennis 1972-76 (Self employed summers); Coached Youth baseball and ice hockey for 20-plus years each.

About Matt Ruszczak:

Ruszczak, an MBA graduate of UT-Pan American, is a native Central European who lived in both Poland and Germany prior to coming to the United States. He has been a proud Texas resident for the past 20 years. He is a graduate of Weslaco High School, where he attended as an exchange student, and, in 1998, decided to make the Rio Grande Valley his home. During his High School studies he attended classes at UTPA, where he continued his education to obtain a B.S. in Political Science, as well as a Masters in Business Administration.  

Matt Ruszczak

Ruszczak has a diverse professional background, having worked in IT, public opinion research, real estate, small business development, governmental affairs, economic development, public administration and non-profit management in various roles across the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas. He served Rio Grande Valley entrepreneurs as a Business Development Specialist with the UTPA Small Business Development Center, where he assisted existing and prospective business owners through one-to-one consulting, business planning assistance, and training. After the SBDC, Ruszczak joined the McAllen Chamber of Commerce as Vice President of Business Development & Governmental Affairs, serving its members as an in-house business consultant as well as liaison to local, state & federal elected officials. After assisting CivicView, LLC, a startup software venture, as VP of Sales & Governmental Affairs, he served as the President / CEO of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce. After almost three years at the helm of the Mission Chamber, Ruszczak served the City of Rio Grande City in the capacity of City Manager before moving to Austin, Texas in 2014 where he assisted Rio Grande Valley communities with their outreach missions to the 84th Texas Legislature. 

Subsequently, Ruszczak joined the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) in Austin to serve in a state-wide role as Chapter Relations & Development Manager. After supporting the leadership in the TRA Chapters across the state, he returned to the Rio Grande Valley in June 2016 to serve as Executive Director for the Rio South Texas Economic Council (RSTEC) in order to contribute to the prosperity of the region, its communities and its residents by supporting RSTEC members in their economic development efforts as well as promoting the Rio Grande Valley on an international scale. Besides English, Ruszczak speaks Spanish, German, and Polish, which benefits RSTEC in promoting the Rio Grande Valley in the global marketplace. 

Outside of work, when he and his wife Abigail aren’t taking in the beauty of Texas from on top of a motorcycle, Ruszczak enjoys being actively involved in the community and volunteering with various organizations. 

In 2009, Ruszczak received the Minority Small Business Champion Award for the SBA Harlingen, TX District and is an alumni of the Leadership McAllen Class XXVIII as well as Leadership Mission Class XXIX.