McALLEN, RGV – For the first time ever, Nielsen is to do a cross-border study in the Rio Grande Valley in an attempt to gauge trade activity between the United States and Mexico.

Nielsen, one of the largest entities specializing in American global information and measurement, will begin quantifying the impact of what is taking place, with regards to the interchange and interactions between both sides of the border from the McAllen/Reynosa area to Brownsville/Matamoros, according to leaders with McAllen’s Economic Development Corporation.

Keith Patridge
Keith Patridge

Acting on a tip from Sergio Sanchez of News Talk 710 KURV, who had been in contact with Nielsen prior, MEDC leaders met with senior level representatives from the Nielsen company. The representatives later notified MEDC that they had received clearance from corporate headquarters to conduct the first-of-its-kind study.

“They’re very smart and recognized very quickly the value of the information they would have for their customers as well as for other companies,” said McAllen MEDC CEO Keith Patridge about his initial impression of the representatives from Nielsen. “They came back asking us to put a list of bullet points together about different things that are going on in the region, from projects to ideas. So we put it together. They talked to their team internally and decided to do it.”

Nielsen will begin their study in mid-July. It is still unclear what data the company will utilize, but the message is clear, according to Patridge.

“They are saying that there is money to be made here,” Patridge said. “It’s going to be a really valuable thing for us and they recognize it. They have asked us to participate with them and help them put it together and be put in touch with the right people. That will be a real opportunity.”

Nielsen Holdings N.V. is the official name for the American global information and measurement firm based in New York City. The company is active in over 100 countries and employs approximately 40,000 people worldwide. Total revenues for the company were $6.3 billion in 2014, according to a company press release.

Patridge said the attention from Nielsen is a sign of things to come. Companies are looking past the negative image of the South Texas border and are beginning to look at the region as the ideal to set up shop, he said.

“Nielsen is very respected,” Patridge said. “I think it’s a sign to me that the perception of violence has really impacted us tremendously, and I use the word perception because, as we all know, our existing companies have continued to grow even through this period.

“Things are beginning to calm down, we are now seeing these companies coming in again,” Patridge said. “To me, that tells me that the media has really injured us with their coverage.”

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three-part series focusing on the work of McAllen Economic Development Corporation. Part Three will be posted in the coming days. Click here to read Part One.