MCALLEN, RGV – Fresh from his trip to South Korea, McAllen mayor Jim Darling announced that the city will jointly host the World Technopolis Association’s General Assembly with Monterrey, Mexico in late 2018.
Darling, who made two presentations at WTA’s Global Innovation Forum in Daejeon this year, said that Monterrey offered to host the event with McAllen to alleviate the cost and bring tech opportunities to the region. Their joint bid beat out Cairo’s and secured WTA’s first assembly in North America.
“I think that’s the added element to us because, you know, we have the Amigos Siempre (sic) program going on. And, this is a great way to show the close relationship between McAllen and Monterrey, McAllen and Mexico,” said Darling.
The World Technopolis Association, an affiliated committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), aims to bring science and technology to developing communities around the world. In addition to their general assembly, WTA’s Hi-Tech Fair is an international exhibition of tech from university students. Darling hopes that the fair will inspire and connect Valley students to global technology.
“I think it’s great, especially with the university kids, that they’ll be exposed to things they never had and ideas and countries they never saw,” said Darling.
But, winning the WTA bid wasn’t the sole purpose of the six-day trip. President and CEO of the McAllen EDC, Keith Patridge, and vice president Ralph Garcia also joined Darling. The three met with several companies in Seoul that are hoping to expand their businesses into the United States.
Darling said that the city is interested in working with a few, including a manufacturer of aluminum piping for automobiles and air conditioners. If their labor costs are low, then McAllen could be their U.S. base. Other companies included a mobile X-ray startup and a furniture factory looking to move into the Southwest market.
Overall, Darling was pleased with trio’s work in South Korea.
“We definitely have some prospects, so bringing home the annual forum – yeah, it was a pretty darn good trip,” Darling said.