McALLEN, RGV – The next time Todd Staples refers to the Rio Grande Valley as a “war zone,” its leaders could respond by saying “SpaceX.”

Likewise, the next time Greg Abbott refers to the Valley as a “Third World Country,” its economic development specialists could respond by saying, “Oh, really, so how come Elon Musk believes in us? He is building a commercial rocket spaceport in our region.”

Just how the Valley should respond to all the negative coverage it gets is the subject of a breakfast conversation on Tuesday at Texas A&M Health Science Center in McAllen. At an event sponsored by Futuro McAllen, crisis management and communications expert James Moore will speak on the topic of “Reversing the RGV’s negative image.”

Doors open at 7:30 a.m. and breakfast is available. The program runs from 8 to 9 a.m. and Moore, a New Times best-selling author and TV Emmy award-winner, will take questions from the audience.

Asked to give a sneak preview of what he will be discussing, Moore told the Guardian: “I’m speaking about what I call ‘The Greatest Story Never Told.’ Frankly, if all of the developments happening in the Valley where taking place almost anywhere else in Texas, or the U.S., for that matter, the whole world would know about it. There’s a fast track to the future unfolding in the Valley and I will talk about how to demand more of the media and put away the outdated reputation the Valley has been burdened with for so long.”

James C. Moore
James C. Moore

Moore has been hired by the Rio South Texas Economic Council (RSTEC) to counter the negative image the Valley has, as well to improve its branding around the country. Here are biographical details on Moore:

James C. Moore is a New York Times bestselling author, an Emmy-winning former TV correspondent, and a frequent on-air analyst for cable news networks on issues ranging from politics to media and economics. He is a former executive of a global public relations firm and has managed communications issues for multi-national corporations as well as business development and branding for dozens of technology startups. Mr. Moore has managed crisis communications for worldwide product recalls, federal investigations of public institutions, and public figures. He is the author of six books and the founder of Big Bend Strategies, a communications consulting firm specializing in messaging, brand image, communications strategies, and media relations. He has traveled and reported on every presidential election since 1976 and his writing has been published in major national and international newspapers and publications.

In addition to speaking at the second of Futuro McAllen’s Fall Season Breakfast Series, Moore will be moderating a series of community town hall meetings around the Valley on behalf of RSTEC. RSTEC is a coalition of economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, cities and counties, institutions, businesses and professionals that have organized to facilitate positive economic growth for the Valley.

The first of the community town hall meetings is being held on Tuesday evening at Texas State Technical College’s Cultural Arts Building in Harlingen on Tuesday. The program runs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Asked to explain what the town hall meetings are about, Moore told the Guardian: “I’m hoping to engage everyone who lives in the Valley as a Brand Ambassador for the region. We want residents to know that RSTEC has made a strong commitment to turning around the negative brand image under which the Valley has unfairly suffered, and that we need support and resources to market the much more positive story that is unfolding in the Rio Grande Valley. We’ve already made progress in less than six months but there is much work to be done and we want to let people know how they can help.”

Alma Puente Colleli, executive director of RSTEC said other town hall meetings are to be held in McAllen, Brownsville, Weslaco and Rio Grande City. Puente Colleli said the community town hall meetings will feature local economic development experts sharing a regional approach to promoting and marketing the Rio Grande Valley. She said RSTEC’s current communications initiative to manage negative publicity and begin positive messaging will be explained. The event in Harlingen will be the first of a series of community gatherings held throughout the Valley to seek involvement and ideas for the Valley’s future and communicating a positive image, Puente Colleli explained.

“The Valley has been historically shortchanged both politically and economically but there are significant developments unfolding that provide tremendous opportunity for the region,” Puente Colleli said. “This discussion will include conversations about the Burgos Basin shale field in Mexico, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Mexico’s new coast-to-coast highway, I-69, advanced manufacturing, and global corporations considering relocation to the Valley.”

For more information on the Futuro McAllen breakfast event, call Nedra Kinerk at (956) 330-2071.

For more information on the Rio South Texas Economic Council community town hall meetings, call Alma Puente Colleli at (956) 928-0641.