WESLACO, RGV – Hernan Gonzalez, former executive director of the Development Corporation of Weslaco, has told how he first met cotton exporter Joaquin Spamer.
Spamer is one of the most celebrated businessmen in the Rio Grande Valley. His Commodities Integrated Logistics company has warehouses full of cotton in McAllen, Weslaco, Alamo and Raymondville.
Last week, Spamer opened his two newest warehouses, both of which are located in the Mid-Valley Industrial Park. One of the speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Gonzalez.
“I first met Joaquin when he came into the office to say he was buying a building on Business 83,” Gonzalez said. “But, he said, it won’t work unless you help me with the rail firm.”
Gonzalez said he thought he knew all about cotton having picked it as a youngster. However, he acknowledged he did not know about shipping cotton all over the world, like Spamer did.
“How does a Mexicano from McAllen/Mission end up in the cotton depots in Memphis and all over this country and all over the south where cotton is grown?” Gonzalez asked.
“This is what he said in reply. I will succeed because I will provide the best service in the cotton industry. That was 20 years ago.
Gonzalez told the Rio Grande Guardian that that is exactly what Spamer has done – provide the best service in the cotton industry.
Along with Gonzalez and Spamer, other speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony included Weslaco EDC executive director Marie McDermott, state Sen. Eddie Lucio, state Rep. Armando Martinez, Weslaco Mayor David Suarez, South Texas College dean of business Mario Reyna, Priscilla Gabrielle Duran, who handles community relations in the Valley for Gov. Greg Abbott, and the president and CEO of Weslaco Area Chamber of Commerce Barbara Garza.
Weslaco EDC director Steve Valdez was master of ceremonies.
One of CiL’s two new warehouses measures 82,500 square feet and the other 200,000 square feet. Combined, they are expected to store an estimated 75,000 bales of cotton. The cotton is warehoused in the Valley before being exported to Mexico and Asia.
With the completion of the two new facilities, CiL will have close to one million square feet of warehouse space for cotton. Of this, 600,000 square feet of distribution and shipping space is located in Weslaco.
According to a news release from Weslaco EDC, the new investment comes in at roughly $8 million, along with the creation of ten new jobs and a paid intern position.
The EDC says it encourages an internship program in order to connect high school and college age students with workplace opportunities.
Before construction of the two new facilities started, 92,000 cubic yards of dirt was laid. This allowed the buildings to be four feet higher than the existing ground elevation. Nearly 8,000 cubic yards of concrete was poured for the foundations and 4,800 sheets of corrugated sheet metal cover the walls and ceilings.