MCALLEN, RGV – McAllen Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Keith Patridge says he is “95 percent sure” two more companies will be establishing operations in the city, bringing with them almost 1,000 jobs.

One of the companies is in the manufacturing sector. It will be hiring around 100 people. The other is in the customer care center. It will hire 858 employees.

Referring to the latter, Patridge said: “It is not a call center but it does provide technical support. They have over 200 positions that pay very, very well.”

Patridge said MEDC went to the City of McAllen for financial incentives in order to land the companies and was successful. 

“It is never a done deal until they have signed a lease or purchased a building. We do not classify it as a done deal until then. But I would says it is probably 95 percent,” Patridge said.

“What is interesting is that in the last few months we have taken to the commission and the commission has approved incentives for seven companies that involve over 2,000 jobs and over 1.4 million square feet of space so we have a lot of activity going on right now.”

Patridge gave his comments in an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian at a recent McAllen Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The event focused on a wrap-up of the 86th Legislative Session. 

Patridge acknowledged McAllen EDC is seeing a surge of activity right now. Asked if this is in anticipation of the USMCA trade agreement being ratified, hePat said:

“Some of it is USMCA, some of it is tariff issues, some of it is just the growth and the fact that we have a labor force that is attractive as far as quantity. Each company is different with what they are looking at. Some of them are companies that are suppliers to Mexico operations and they are looking at the border in anticipation of USMCA.”

Patridge noted one of the provisions of USMCA relates to the auto sector: that in order to avoid import duties, a manufacturing company must pay a minimum of $16 an hour for 40 percent of the value of the vehicle. 

Asked when the two companies might make a decision, Patridge said: “Within 30 days. One could start within two weeks with renovation of a building. The other, probably within the same time frame.”

Patridge added: “There are some other things that are happening, which we will release details on fairly soon. There are some major deals in the works.”

Patridge first announced details of the two new companies coming to McAllen at an MEDC board meeting. He said their imminent arrival is indicative of a surge in activity.

“There are 35 companies we are actively working on. Eight are from Mexico and 23 from the U.S. They would bring in 2,200 jobs to Mexico and 3,084 to the U.S. They would take up 555,000 square feet of space in McAllen and 1,390 square feet of space in Reynosa. The investment would be $67 million in Mexico and $115 million in the U.S.,” Patridge told the board.

Specifically referring to the customer care company about to arrive in McAllen, Patridge said: “They were originally talking about having 500 employees. They were looking at U.S. side. They came back to us and said they made a mistake, it is actually 858 jobs.”

As for the manufacturing company, Patridge said: “They are actually a Reynosa company that is looking at establishing an operation in McAllen. It will have 100 employees and it is fits with what we have been talking about, which is under the USMCA and just general conditions, we are seeing companies looking at splitting up their operation and putting capital intensive on the U.S. side and labor intensive on the Mexican side.”

Patridge said more good prospects are in the works. 

“We have gotten three more Mexico companies, all of them from Reynosa, that we are working with, Ralph is working with, that are looking at establishing on the U.S. side. Those involve a substantial number of jobs, probably over 1,000. We are busy and there is a lot of activity taking place.”

The “Ralph” Patridge was referring to is Ralph Garcia, MEDC vice president for Mexico operations. 

“We have already taken three companies to the city commission over the last 30 days. Those three involve about 900,000 square feet and over 900 jobs. There are a lot of things happening, despite everything you hear in the news. Despite all of the headwinds we are seeing with immigration and all the other issues that are out there, things are moving pretty well.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen Economic Development Corporation.

Editor’s Note: The above news story is the second in a two-part series on McAllen Economic Development Corporation. Click here to read the first, which focuses on an upcoming trade trip to China.