McAllen has a history of finding ways to overcoming obstacles and create an energy do drive our region forward. We have weathered hurricanes, drought, peso devaluation, political scrimmages, and for the last 14 years the constant challenges of the Mexico drug wars.

However, today we are in a unique time in our history. Never before have we seen the world voluntarily shut down virtually all business activity; require all of us to avoid personal contact, require us to practice social distancing and literally encouraged all of us to stay at home to combat the dreaded and deadly COVID 19 virus.

McAllen EDC, like, most of our business clients, are currently grappling with how to move forward with business in a crisis that has no clarity as to when it will end. Add to that, an upcoming election season, with a very real contrast in the candidate’s policy platforms and we have a lot of uncertainty, and as the old adage goes “business hates uncertainty.”

While we have had some of our projects notify us they are hitting the pause button, we have others that are moving forward. Today we are actively working 27 projects that could involve 5,885 jobs, over two million square feet of space and over $109 million dollars of investment.

Will we be successful with all of those companies? Of course not, but that is part of our business. We work every deal until we either savor victory or feel the agony of defeat.

The MEDC team is increasing our efforts to support the needs of our existing industrial companies in the community. To comply with the State and local health recommendations we have shifted our Business Retention and Expansion visits from on-site on a virtual format. We have reviewed our company directory of the 140-plus companies that are due for a follow up visit. The MEDC team will be following up very soon to identify how we may be of support.

On a more solemn note, I would like us to all remember the many community members, family and friends that we have lost to COVID 19 as well as the two police officers that gave their lives in service to the community.

As I close, always remember we are a community of resilience and a culture of caring for one another. That is what makes social distancing difficult for all of us. At MEDC we will continue to push forward and convey who we are to the rest of the world via digital, virtual or in-person communication. As I have shared with my team, adversity is not new to South Texas. We have a history of overcoming it. I think three sentences from a new study of our area by Marketing Alliance and Shortlisted capture the essence of who we are:

“The leaders of this region are passionate about economic development and advancing the region through servant-leadership themes that have been offered multiple times. A certain grit, determination and can-do spirit continually reveals itself on both sides of the border. This energy, call it innovation or work ethic or a culture of yes is a powerful force for transformation in the future prosperity creation in the bi-national region.”

I thank you for taking time to read about current stories from MEDC. In this months’s issue we focus on Jorge Torres and Interlink Trade Service and our very own 30-year veteran, Janie Cavazos. Both individuals continue to work through the current state of the of the region. As they have both shared… “we’ve gotten through worse; we can get through this.”

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen Economic Development Corporation. The column first appeared in the August edition of MEDC’s e-newsletter, Monthly Memo. Click here to read the e-newsletter. The column appears in The Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. 

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