WESLACO, Texas – The new executive director of Economic Development Corporation of Weslaco has announced his top three goals to ensure economic success for the city.
Steven M. Valdez (pictured above) said community wealth and prosperity is the overarching mission. He also wants the EDC to foster stronger bonds and connections between different stakeholders in the community. And, he wants to continue to develop and grow the Mid-Valley Industrial Park.
Valdez spoke about the latter in an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian in March. Click here to read it.
“I’m a home-grown product,’’ Valdez, a Weslaco native, said, after being appointed executive director of WEDC. In fact, Valdez’s family has been part of the community for almost 100 years. “I can relate to the people I belong to. Weslaco is my home.”
Valdez came to WEDC in the summer 2016 after a 25-year-stint at Weslaco ISD. There, he rose to leadership positions as he developed the district’s broadcasting operations and performing arts center.
Valdez was the unanimous choice of the EDC board of directors for the executive director role. His appointment was made official on May 19. He has served as the EDC’s interim director since late December 2020. Previously, he worked as a director of the organization for four years.
Valdez said he is confident there will be a seamless transition.
“Work has been nonstop since the EDC Board entrusted me with the interim position,’’ he said.
Valdez said being a director at WEDC has provided him with the foundation and experience necessary to run the organization. He said he understands the essential functions of the EDC and how it interacts with city government.
“Having gone through those past four plus-years was invaluable,” Valdez said. “I got to see how the board thinks, how they make decisions, what programs work and don’t work and embrace our seamless ties to city hall.’’
As for his three key goals, Valdez said building community wealth and prosperity is the overarching mission. He said he wants to improve community awareness on how the EDC pursues business opportunities and works on the city’s behalf. With regard to forging strong relationships, he said he wants the organization to foster bonds and connections between different stakeholders in the community, such as businesses, schools, churches and civic organizations. He said all these sectors and institutions can support and contribute to economic development.
As for the Mid-Valley Industrial Park, Valdez noted that in his role as a director, he has worked actively to make the park a more viable part of Weslaco’s economic lifeline. He said WEDC is currently working to develop a 149-acre extension to the industrial park. He pointed out that the 84-acre first phase tract already has seven letters-of-intent from companies looking to locate in Weslaco.
Indeed, a major prospect has already indicated strong interest to develop a sizable portion of the 65-acre tract of phase two at the industrial park.
Mid-Valley Industrial Park sits just two miles from Interstate 2 and eight miles from Progreso International Bridge.
“My ambitious goal is to have it filled up in three to five years,’’ Valdez said of Mid-Valley Industrial Park. “The EDC’s goal is to recruit as much manufacturing, distribution, food processing and warehousing as we can get with jobs paying at least $12-to-$16 an hour.”
Valdez said when such primary jobs are filled, retail will follow.
Matt Ruszczak, executive director of Rio South Texas Economic Council, said the Weslaco EDC board of directors has made a great selection.
“I am very excited to Steve to have now been confirmed as the executive director of the Weslaco EDC. I have had the pleasure of working with Steve, since he first came to Weslaco EDC in a director’s position, working projects, as Weslaco EDC is a member of the Rio South Texas Economic Council.
“I really enjoyed working with Steve and particularly watching Steve grow in that role. Very diligent, lots of follow-ups, lots of great questions, and I could always, when we had a project come though, a request for proposal come through, I could always rely on Weslaco to deliver a quality piece when they had the right piece of property or building, and it felt they were a good fit.”
Ruszczak said it is a tribute to the leadership of Marie McDermott, Valdez’s predecessor as executive director of WEDC, that Weslaco is poised for great success.
“Marie really directed that organization really well and put it on the path towards success. And, once again, a huge tribute to Steve for truly earning this job and earning the right to take the organization to the next step,” Ruszczak said.
“I am thrilled for Steve and look forward to, hopefully, lots of positive news we will be getting out of Weslaco in the weeks and months and year to come.”
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