McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez is interviewed about the Cambria McAllen hotel project in this file photo from Dec. 2015.

McALLEN, RGV – The Texas City Management Association has named McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E., as City Administrator (City Manager) of the Year.

Rodriguez has been city manager of McAllen since 2014.

The award was announced at the TCMA’s annual conference in Austin last week.

Roy Rodriguez

David Harris, president of TCMA and City Manager for the City of Balcones Heights, said Rodriguez deserves the award for the way he has handled McAllen’s growth.

“Quality, well-run cities do not just happen,” Harris said. “Quality comes from assembling and having a great team of people around you. Once in place, it is then that a City team can accomplish great long-lasting projects and achieve a sense of community. McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez has done just this.”

An engineer by trade and with over 30 years of experience in management, Rodriguez has worked with the City of McAllen since 2004, first as General Manager for McAllen Public Utilities and later, in a dual position as assistant city manager. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&I University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Texas–Pan American.

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said Rodriguez is fully deserving of the award.

“What has impressed me most about seeing his management style is how he helps make everyone around him better because he believes in their talents and skills,” Darling said. “He is able to motivate employees and commissioners alike to help make the entire City of McAllen the example by which other municipalities measure themselves against.”

McAllen city leaders, including Mayor Darling, have praised Rodriguez for the hotel, retail, and leisure development that has taken place near the McAllen Convention Center in recent years. For years there was no development near the Convention Center. Without the hotels, the Convention Center management could not book large conventions. Since 2014, all that has changed. The development was noted in a news release announcing Rodriguez’s award.

“From implementing a $45 million bond program that includes projects such as a state-of-the-art performing arts center, hotels, vibrant restaurants, and retail space attracting national conferences and performances to infrastructure projects such as youth baseball and softball complexes, people across the state are noting the wins of team McAllen,” the news release stated. “Additionally, he leads the efforts to streamline the construction and development process, promoting business and residential growth, demonstrating McAllen’s business friendly attitude and contributing to its strong economy.”

The news release also stated: “Community events and programs such as the McAllen Holiday Parade, McAllen BCycle, McAllen Marathon, and other events that focus on family-friendly and health-conscious community events prove that McAllen is definitely a leader among not only in the Rio Grande Valley, but throughout the state of Texas. All of these accomplishments can be attributed to the leadership of Rodriguez.”

Nedra Kinerk, president of Futuro McAllen, said she does not always agree with Rodriguez but, nonetheless, agrees he is deserving of the statewide award. Futuro McAllen is a community group dedicated to improving McAllen’s quality of life.

“I do think it is well deserved and I have congratulated Roy. I think it is another indication that we have a lot of good things going on in McAllen, “We do not have all of our problems solved and probably never will but those are challenges and I appreciate Roy’s work in working to meet those challenges. The important thing is we continue to work to improve what we do have. I am very pleased Roy was honored for doing that.”

Kinerk said Rodriguez has made some “smart moves”, such as hiring Assistant City Manager Michelle Leftwich and Retail and Business Development Director Rebecca M. Olaguibel.

Leftwich said Rodriguez’s greatest asset is “his public servant heart.” This, she said, “makes him a strong and confident leader” who “never wavers in his desire to be transparent to the community he loves.” She said Rodriguez strives to “do the right thing for every citizen he meets.”

Rodriguez has served on various state boards related to municipal government and utilities management. Locally, he also serves on the Public Administration Advisory Council at South Texas College and the Texas A&M University Kingsville College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board.