MCALLEN, Texas – McAllen Economic Development Corporation and McAllen Chamber of Commerce have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work more closely on economic development issues.

An announcement about the MOU was made at a recent McAllen EDC board meeting. 

Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen EDC, told the board: “We are working on a collaborative agreement with Josh and the Chamber now, on how we work with one another to really be as efficient as we can in the economic development arena and to help one another so that we can continue to leverage our resources for the benefit of the community.”

Patridge said he and Mark E. Garcia, MEDC’s executive vice president, are in regular contact with Josh Mejia, the new president and CEO of the McAllen Chamber.

“We try and meet on a weekly basis, just just to meet to talk about what’s going on, what help we may need from one another. And I think it’s a good process that we’re developing. It’s Mark and myself and Josh.”

The MEDC board meeting was the first Mejia had attended. In his first McAllen Chamber report to the EDC board, Mejia said:

“Thank you. Very happy to be here to participate in this first McAllen EDC meeting. And thank you to everybody for the warm welcome that I’ve received thus far since starting my tenure here in McAllen.”

Mejia said a lot of great things are happening in McAllen. “I think one of the most exciting things that I’m working on is formalizing this great partnership, that the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the McAllen EDC are going to be working on, moving forward.”

Mejia said the McAllen Chamber of Commerce has always played a role in economic development. However, he believes it can do even more. “I think there’s an opportunity for us to be able to enhance those efforts, to be able to complement and supplement what we’re doing as a whole. And it’s important.”

In his remarks, Mejia referenced a list of new businesses being courted by McAllen EDC, along with a list of existing businesses in the area that are expanding. The lists were presented at the board meeting as part of the monthly reports by two McAllen EDC vice presidents, Ralph Garcia and Susie Flores.

“Our focus with entrepreneurship-led economic development helps businesses be able to get on this list that was presented not too long ago. Through commercialization, innovation and manufacturing programming,” Mejia said.

Mejia also mentioned a point he said he brought up at a recent strategic planning session hosted by McAllen EDC. “Our objective when we are talking and working on entrepreneurship is not to seek these unicorns, as they are called in the industry, those companies that grow into a one billion dollar valuation, but most importantly, to be able to create good, high quality jobs.”

Mejia said entrepreneurship is a growing trend in economic development. 

“I had the privilege to talk to the McAllen ISD superintendent yesterday briefly on some of the new entrepreneurship programming that they’re working on in the district. So what happens when these kids are learning about entrepreneurship is that they will eventually learn that a lot of these resources to help these ideas grow and become a reality are actually found elsewhere in the country on the west coast and the east coast in the central part of the state.”

Mejia added: “So our focus here in collaboration with the MEDC is to be able to create a conducive environment. And I’m happy to see the (McAllen EDC) strategic plan is working towards that, to be able to help retain some of this human capital and be able to have the opportunity to create these jobs here in the area. So that’s just a quick, brief summary and update on what we’re working on in collaboration and I’m very much looking forward to the future alongside each and every one of you.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows (center) Josh Mejia, the new president of McAllen Chamber of Commerce, alongside (left) Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen EDC, and (right) Mark E. Garcia, McAllen EDC’s executive vice president.

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