McALLEN, RGV – Mexico’s energy reforms and their likely impact on economic development along the border will be the theme of the keynote speech at Inno’2014.

Inno’ 2014 is a binational innovation conference hosted by South Texas College and the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores.

The keynote speech will be given by Max Yzaguirre, president and CEO of The Yzaguirre Group, an Austin, Texas-based business and public affairs advisory firm. Yzaguirre, an attorney, has 28 years of leadership experience in domestic and international business, government and law and was president of Enron’s Mexico operations. He is also a former chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Prior to founding The Yzaguirre Group, Yzaguirre served in various capacities for the group of companies headed by Ray L. Hunt of Dallas, Texas. His primary role was serving as president of Hunt-Mexico, Inc., an investor in energy, real estate and private equity opportunities, and as President of Hunt Resources, Inc., an investor in energy production and transportation opportunities.

“We are delighted to have Max Yzaguirre as the keynote speaker at this year’s Inno conference,” said Mario Reyna, dean of STC’s business and technology departments. “This year’s conference is all about innovation in energy innovation and Mr. Yzaguirre, who used to be the president of Enron Mexico and Hunt Oil Mexico, will give a presentation on what the energy policy changes in Mexico mean to us and how we need to get ready to support that initiative.”

Max Yzaguirre
Max Yzaguirre

In addition to Yzaguirre’s speech, Paul S. Moxley, president and CEO of Texas Regional Bank, will give a financial perspective on energy innovation in the region.

Inno’ 2014 takes place at STC’s technology campus from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26. In addition to energy innovation, the conference will also focus on cross-border economic development. Jesus Cañas, business economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, will kick it off with a presentation on the economic outlook for the South Texas region.

Eduardo A. Campirano, port director and CEO for the Port of Brownsville, will also speak at Inno’ 2014. The Port of Brownsville recently entered into a 30-year agreement with OmniTRAX, one of the largest private railroad and transportation management companies in the United States. Under the agreement, OmniTRAX will run the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway at the port and develop a 1,200-acre industrial park. Campirano will speak about port innovation.

Following Campirano’s presentation there will be a panel discussion about economic development innovation. Slated to speak on this panel are: Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen EDC, Alex Meade, CEO of Mission EDC, Agustin ‘Gus’ García, executive director of Edinburg EDC, Fred Sandoval, city manager of Pharr, Rose Benavidez, president and CEO of Starr County Industrial Foundation, Carlos M. Marin, president and CEO of Ambiotec Group Brownsville, and Francisco ‘Frank’ Almaraz, CEO of Workforce Solutions.

Inno’ 2014 is unique in that it actually takes place in two countries. On Thursday, Sept. 25, the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores in Reynosa will highlight the work its students are doing. Juan Rosendo Martínez Gómez, president of Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores, created the Inno’ conference with STC’s Reyna. He will give the opening remarks at the STC conference along with STC President Shirley Reed.

“The part of the conference taking place in Reynosa is being designed to showcase the educational achievements of the students in Reynosa,” Reyna said. “My understanding is they will invite someone from the economic development community and they will also do a presentation on what they see happening in Reynosa. We are developing the partnership STC and Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores signed last year and we are going to continue to grow it. We are bringing our faculty together this year so we can start reviewing programs to see which ones match so that we can start exchanging students.”

Reyna will give the closing remarks at the STC Inno’ 2014 conference. Attendees may wish to stay on to watch a student workshop overseen by Fernando Ortiz, director general at the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores, Miguel Ángel Sahagún Guardiola, director of post graduate and extension programs at the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores, and STC economics instructors Oscar Plaza, Kevin Peek, Salvador Martinez and Laura Leal.

“I think Inno’ 2014 is going to be a very powerful conference where people who are interested in business, entrepreneurship and education will learn a lot. We are probably going to have to adjust some of our educational programs to support some of the energy initiatives that will be happening in the future,” Reyna said.