Thank you for that great introduction. Well, welcome everybody. It is great to be here at this Select USA mini-micro event. And to be the only one in Texas, I think really says a lot. The rest of the state is really taking note of what is happening in Brownsville, Texas. And certainly, it is an honor for me to serve as mayor and to serve for the last three years. 

Brownsville, as you know, is open for business, and that is something we really like to stress upon because we are really focusing on economic development and growing our city and growing everything around us and making this an environment that is conducive to conducting business. 

So, Select USA. The key word for me, there, is select and I really think is about Select Brownsville. 

So, what are some of the great things about Brownsville? We have location, we have workforce, we certainly have an aerospace company presence, and availability of land. 

So, talking about location, one of our advantages over other cities is our proximity to Mexico. Nobody else can really claim the same proximity and the same relationship that we have with our partner to the south in Matamoros, who has a very experienced manufacturing industry. The Port of Brownsville is an asset for Brownsville as well and one of our greatest assets when you are talking about global industry. We certainly have plenty of land available as well. 

When we are looking at our workforce we certainly have one of the youngest workforces in the state and for those of you that are looking to relocate to Brownsville, probably, if you have done your homework, you know that. But we are certainly proud of our workforce and a growing workforce, which could not happen without partnerships from our local educational institutions. Southmost College, we have representatives here today. UTRGV, I know we have representatives from UTRGV here as well. But without our workforce partners we wouldn’t be able to grow our workforce and meet those industry needs. So, thank you all for being here. 

Talking about aerospace, we certainly have a growing aerospace presence, and you are going to hear some of that later today. Certainly from Brant, who is here, all the way from Canada or New York or, I am not sure where he was yesterday. Happy to welcome Brant Arseneau and happy to welcome Natalie Rens here as well. You are going to hear from them here in a little bit and some of the exciting things about Brownsville. Some of the exciting things they have got happening in Brownsville. And hopefully some of the reasons they have chosen to do business here in Brownsville.

We have certainly prioritized aerospace here in Brownsville. We certainly see that as a real opportunity for us. When you see what kind of industry this will be. This is… certainly a lot of you will have heard this before but maybe some of you haven’t: this is projected to be a trillion dollar industry in just a couple of decades. So Brownsville, we see ourselves as well-positioned, not just globally; geographically, we are well positioned for launches as you know. But, we really see ourselves as one of the top places for aerospace companies to come because of our workforce, because of where we are located. And certainly because of SpaceX. 

In regards to SpaceX, those of you that may have been at State of the City, you will have heard about a lot of the things that are happening with SpaceX here in Brownsville. We are also happy to announce that they now have about 100,000 square feet in Brownsville and growing. I know that they are looking for some more space. Last year alone they invested over $400 million in our community. They are employing 71 percent of their 1,600 employees here locally. And their economic impact in the coming years is projected to be over $800 million. They continue to grow, they continue to expand their footprint. And because of the SpaceX presence we are also able to talk to a lot of companies that are looking to come to Brownsville, and either help with those operations or also form their own companies. So, Brownsville is certainly the place to be. I am excited to be mayor and excited to welcome all of you all here today.

On the business front the city has undertaken three really strong initiatives. The first is we developed a strategic plan shortly after this administration came in. That was one of my priorities, to develop a strategic plan. We also basically tore down our development code to make it easier for you to open a business, to streamline that process and make it faster for you. We have got a great planning department who is here to help you open. And last, we are creating a citywide, broadband network here in the City of Brownsville which is a model network that is going to serve as a blueprint for other cities across the U.S. to follow. It is a public-private partnership and hopefully we will be breaking ground on that here in the next few months. 

So, all of you all, thank you for being here and Select Brownsville. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: The above remarks were made by Brownsville Mayor at the start of a recent SelectUSA Spinoff – The Future of Aerospace, Defense & Energy in Brownsville event hosted at the Brownsville Events Center by the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation. SelectUSA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and seeks to bring foreign direct investment in the United States.

Editor’s Note: Brant Arseneau, whom Mayor Mayor Mendez mentioned, is founder and partner of 9.8 Capital, an aerospace finance company. Dr. Natalie RENs, whom Mayor Mendez mentioned, is CEO and founder of Astreia, which builds advanced and sustainable communities. 

Editor’s Note: The above guest column is the first in a series of features focusing on the recent Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation/SelectUSA conference. Part Two will be published in our next edition.