MCALLEN, Texas – A former chairman of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce says the group needs new leadership at the board of directors level.

Charles R. Lopez, of CRA Investments, is a McAllen resident and longtime member of the McAllen Chamber. He is unhappy with Steve Ahlenius’ departure as president of the chamber.

Lopez sent this letter to the board of directors on Nov. 9, 2021:

Dear Chamber Board Member,

I am writing you as a concerned citizen, chamber member, and past chairman. I am saddened that McAllen has lost a true leader and innovator for our business community. Steve Ahlenius has dedicated the last 24 years to helping businesses create jobs and grow our economy. During all the time I worked with Steve as a chamber board member and chairman he was always trustworthy and professional. Under Steve’s leadership, the McAllen Chamber has been a trusted advocate of business owners as they created jobs and opportunities. In addition, Steve forged relationships on the state and national levels that benefited McAllen. He and his staff have accomplished amazing things during his tenure and unfortunately, that is now over. 

If we are to move forward as a chamber and as a community there must be trust. A significant amount of time has passed and there has been no communication to the membership or the community in regards to the current status of the chamber and the future. Many concerned citizens and chamber members do not believe that the current chamber board leadership is working for the good of the membership. Given the current controversy in regards to how Steve’s resignation has been handled and why it came about, there must be change. The change now needed is in the current board leadership.  

Thank you for your service.


Charles R. Lopez 

CRA Investments, LLC

Chamber magazine

Ahlenius shocked a number of board members when he announced Oct. 19 that he was resigning. He had served as president for 24 years.

His departure led to the resignation of Bob Boggus, of Boggus Ford Lincoln, from the board of directors. Boggus is the immediate past chairman of the board. 

Other prominent McAllen business leaders joined Boggus in voicing their displeasure at boardroom level goings on. They included Bob McCreery of McCreery Aviation, retired banker Paul Moxley, Jorge Salcines of McAllen Sports, and Charles Marina of First American Realty. Like Lopez and Boggus, all of these business leaders would have rather Ahlenius stayed on as president. Moxley said he would be writing to 100 McAllen citizens to voice his concerns.

The chair of the McAllen Chamber is businesswoman Annette Franz. She has not returned the Rio Grande Guardian’s calls and emails requesting comment. 

Meanwhile, the latest issue of McAllenChamber, the group’s monthly magazine, is now out. The September issue appears to have gone to press before the recent upheaval because it still lists Ahlenius as president. It also lists Boggus as chairman of the board and Franz as chairman-elect. The cover story is about Boggus Ford. Titled, “It’s Better at Boggus,” the feature was penned by contributing writer Roda Grubb. It includes an interview with Jacob Boggus, general manager of Boggus Ford in Harlingen. Bob Boggus, who has just resigned from the McAllen Chamber, is pictured in the article. 

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