EDINBURG, RGV – With his first year under his belt as executive director of Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, Joey Treviño says he can look back with a lot of pride at his accomplishments over the past 12 months
However, there is not too much time to reminisce, he said, because a lot of exciting developments are just around the corner.
“Edinburg has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Rio Grande Valley and our retail sales are up. That means people are working and people are buying things. We are real excited about that,” Treviño said.
Treviño gave an exclusive interview to the Rio Grande Guardian and RGV Public Radio 88FM at a recent check presentation ceremony at South Texas College’s Pecan Campus in McAllen. STC will use a $655,153 grant provided by Texas Workforce Commission to provide custom training 1,167 new and incumbent workers in the healthcare and social assistance industry. The training will take place to assist a healthcare consortium that includes Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital.
“We are continuing to work with the Texas Workforce Commission, South Texas College, and UT-Rio Grande Valley on some other projects we want to bring into Edinburg. We are real excited,” Treviño said.
On the retail front, expect to see some new stores opening soon, Treviño said.
“Our retail portion is expanding. In March, Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar should be opening. So, if New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl, Drew Brees will likely be down here!”
Brees, an NFL star and Texas native, owns Walk-Ons. “Edinburg EDC is proud to welcome Walk-On’s to our community. This will definitely be a new and exciting addition to the the city and we look forward to a great partnership and to the job opportunities this will create for our local economy,” Treviño said.
Also on the retail and accommodation front, Treviño said: “Edinburg has a couple of new hotels coming in and some new retail shopping centers coming in, so we are real excited about it.”
Asked about speculation that The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley is set for expansion, Treviño said: “Nothing has been announced yet but we have been working closely with the developers on that. Not just The Shoppes but the whole area. We just completed our retail study with the Canvas Group and we have got some really good numbers. We have got some good sources we are going to start talking to or have started talking to. In the near future we are going to have some new companies coming in, in retail businesses.”
One of the key developments in Edinburg over the past year has been the opening of the Bert Ogden Arena next to I-69 Central. Treviño said the arena is helping to make Edinburg a destination city, just as many economic development leaders predicted.
“When people drive by the arena, I get a phone call, what is going on here. I think it is having a big impact. We are the gateway into the Rio Grande Valley and when people see the arena they say, wow, something is really going on here. Our sales tax numbers say that and our hotel numbers say that also.”
Asked what the Edinburg EDC’s legislative agenda consists of, Treviño said: “We are going to support UTRGV and STC with their legislative wish-list. We also have some drainage and infrastructure issues that the Legislature could help with. And, we are looking at hotel and motel tax legislation.”
Treviño and the EDC board will be assisted with their legislative agenda for the 86th Legislative Session by Austin-based lobbyist Elvia Caballero Lopez of Caballero Governmental Affairs.
“We are excited to have such an experienced legislative firm represent our economic interests in Austin,” Treviño said. “We are confident that this relationship will help us remain aware and updated on specific legislative issues as they relate to Edinburg EDC’s economic development goals and priorities, and that they result in projects that will help to spur economic activity in our area,” Treviño said.
Asked for some wrap-up remarks, Treviño said: “Our city council and board of directors are great to work with. They are very pro-development and pro-business. Any new businesses that are looking to come down here, they are more than welcome. We will welcome them with open arms.”
Plinio ‘Joey’ Treviño was appointed Edinburg EDC executive director in the middle of February, 2018. He came to the city with numerous years of experience in economic development having served as executive director of Weslaco Economic Development Corporation and more recently as South Texas director of business development for Raba Kistner Consultants.
As executive director of Weslaco EDC, Treviño is credited with hatching the plan to bring UT-Rio Grande Valley’s Center for Innovation and Commercialization to the city.
Treviño also has municipality experience having served as the director of the planning and code enforcement division for the City of Weslaco.
Additionally, he served as a city commissioner and mayor pro tem in Harlingen from 2009 to 2012 where he led the negotiations and approval for the Bass Pro Shop Major Retail Development.
Treviño has also served on numerous boards and committees, such as the Red Cross South Texas Chapter, Vida, RGV Lead, and the Rio Grande Valley Partnership.
He holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Texas State University and attended the Reynaldo Garza School of Law from 1992 to 1993.