One of the things we’re looking at, at McAllen Economic Development Corporation, is the movement of companies out of the big cities to second tier cities like McAllen. 

And there’s an example that I think we could talk about and that’s Zoho, a software development company headquartered in India. My vice-president, Ralph Garcia, actually worked with them and brought them into the area. They actually contacted the mayor, Javier Villalobos, wanting to know about McAllen. And so they contacted us and we followed up with them immediately. 

And Zoho told us a story. They said they moved out of Silicon Valley to Austin, because Austin was the next Silicon Valley. And they moved to Austin along with lots of other tech companies, and they set up shop. And what happened is they were being faced, just like many of the other tech companies up there at the time… now they’re kind of downsizing… but at that point, they were losing employees all the time, because the employees were leaving to go across the street to another tech company for a $5,000 sign on bonus. And then they would jump from them to another. 

And so they said, we’ve got to look at another way of doing this. And somehow they said, we’re going to expand our reach (for employees) online. And they put the notice out online, I think in in the McAllen area. And they had a few applicants. And they moved those applicants to Austin. And they immediately said, they’re some of the best employees we have. And so then they said, well, let’s go down there (to McAllen) and see what else we can find. So they hired more. They actually ended up with 17 employees at the time we first talked to them. They had 17 employees from our area. And they said they were some of the best employees that they had. 

And so they said, we’re in Austin, we’re getting people from McAllen, we’re moving them to Austin, we’re facing the possibility of losing them to our competitors here, why don’t we move there (to McAllen)? And the have. And now, the last time we talked to them we were told, this is their number one location, even better than their Mexico operation. They have operations in, I think, 114 countries around the world.

And because of this they’re getting ready to build a 90-acre campus in McAllen. And that 90-acre campus will not just be for software. They have been buying a lot of other technology companies in Silicon Valley that they are beginning to move and their plan is… hopefully they continue it… their plan is to move those operations here as well. 

So, we have now have a truly technology-based company here. And it’s going to provide us with opportunities for our kids to stay or to grow here with a career in McAllen.

Editor’s Note: The above test column is based on commentary delivered by McAllen Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Keith Patridge (pictured above) at the recent Edwards Abstract & Title Company’s 2023 State of Real Estate Forum. It was held at the McAllen Convention Center.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary is the first in a two-part series based on the analysis McAllen Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Keith Patridge gave at the recent 2023 State of Real Estate Forum. Part Two will be published later this week.

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