EDINBURG, RGV – For his non-stop work for the good of the community, youth, education and health, Reynosa entrepreneur Raul Lopez Lopez was recognized as one of the top leaders by UT-Rio Grande Valley.
“I feel very touched and humbled for being here,” Lopez said after taking the podium on Friday, Oct. 28, as one of the three guests of honor during the UTRGV Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s inaugural Business Leaders Lunch. “When they informed me about the award, I felt nervous because I am not inclined to awards or recognitions, and sometimes that makes me uncomfortable… and since then I am suffering.”
Two other leaders recognized at the same event were Dr. Carlos J. Cardenas, co-founder of South Texas Gastroenterology Associates and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, and Robert W. Shepard, president of the board for Shepard Walton King Insurance Group.
Sergio R. Cuéllar, president of the board for FINSA, SA, introduced Lopez and said he was a renowned business person from “our sister city of Reynosa.” He then introduced a video about the honoree.
Getting to know Lopez was easy thanks to the video. Testimonials presented revealed a complete, respectful and family loving person.
“Mr. Raul Lopez is a humble person, always spending time with friend, with his employees, he is an altruist person always helping the community and looking of the general well-being,” the video stated. “He is a person committed with the youth.”
In another testimonial, Lopez was considered a leader since he is an effort multiplier through the “Líderes de Hace Tiempo” program which allows young people to be part of a training session. They are then asked to take the lead.
“That is what he has done, and that it why I recognize in a leader,” a testimonial expressed.
Also, one of his sons said how they grew up with their father.
“Since we were kids, my Dad used to tell us how important respect and responsibility were. For him what a person says is very important. He is a person of character, with a strong temperament, but with a noble heart, and that is what he has cultivated in us, and that is our goal, to follow him and be like him,” the son said in the testimonial.
Lopez and his nine siblings created Grupo Farmaceutico Lopez, with pharmacies in Reynosa, Rio Bravo and Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas. He and his wife have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and five grandsons.
Even though he only studied at college, he acquired professional knowledges after working seven years in a bank; he has also experience in politics since he was a council member in Reynosa, Substitute Mayor for Mayor, Nacional Financiera assessor, chair for the local utilities board, and founder of the Reynosa Food Bank.
He feels really excited for changing young people’s lives, through scholarships, donating hearing aids, or in the “Trevino Kelly Little League.”
“I have been coordinating a program to give hearing aids in children and adults. I believe that a kid that can’t hear properly is a child who’s going to have issues while learning,” Lopez said.
He also has a scholarship program because he believes education is basic to having a successful life. It is through Grupo Farmaceutico Lopez, and it is with customer support that a round-up program can exist, with all the money given away in scholarship. They have been able to help almost 4,000 children.
“We see how there are too many brilliant children but without opportunities because the lack of money, so we help them and they can continue studying,” Lopez said. “They are the people who in the future will be in charge of the businesses, and in our government, in the different institutions as professionals giving light to our society.”
Lopez has also made a difference in sports as a sponsor of the “Trevino Kelly Baseball Little League.” This sport was part of his childhood because he used to play it along with his brothers every Sunday.
It was during the video presentation that Lopez mentioned Jaime Garcia, a young man from Reynosa who played at the Trevino Kelly Little League and was able to play for the Saint Louis Cardinals.
“I would suggest to young people to prepare themselves, to choose a career they actually like, to finish it and continue towards a master’s degree and a PhD,” Lopez said. “They should see themselves with their own business, so when they have it they will be able to innovate and offer something that doesn’t exist and be successful.”
Lopez also recognized how the University of Texas has been able to help professionals over the decades. He remembered that around 25 years ago, when he was chairman of the Consejo de Instituciones, he visited El Paso to begin a discussion to save the Rio Grande river.
“The Rio Bravo has always been endangered (but even more on those days) by illegal discharges, so we fought irresponsible businesses and careless governments to stop contamination of the river,” he said during the ceremony. “That helped a lot, because afterwards different laws started to regulate the illegal discharges.”
He said UT is a solid and human institution, and praised the space that is given to women looking to study an area such as industrial engineering.
“It catches my attention that a woman has all those capacities. She takes the chance to move forward and go farther than we thought she could get, and I congratulate them a lot,” he added.
Lopez and his family still have ties in Reynosa and McAllen, and he mentioned that he actually considers the Rio Grande river as a merger point.
“The Rio Bravo is not a division, is a merger point and I believe we can do a lot between these two communities if we work together,” he said.
Finally, the philanthropist mentioned he felt touched and thankful, and added that this was one of the most beautiful moments in his life.
“I thank you all very much,” he concluded.