December 16, 2013

The other day, during his T-ball practice, my 5-year old son became very visibly upset. At that age, kids are learning the fine skill of running the bases. The coach lines them up at home plate, and sends the first one on his way around the bases. The second kid is sent a few yards behind, with the task of catching up to the one ahead. Well, my son Is pretty fast, but on this one occasion, the runner behind him caught up to him before Joseph reached home plate. It was rather amusing to see my son so competitive. I guess he didn’t like that a little girl named Alexa caught him.

As competitive as he may be, Joseph is also one of those kids who makes friends easily and has a million of them. His best friend, Jarrod, plays for another team, but that doesn’t stop them from hanging out or playing together.


In recent weeks, we have seen some pretty amazing efforts at cooperation between friends and competitors:

  • US Congressman Filemon Vela, along with United Brownsville, UT-Brownsville and others brought together our first BiNED Summit. BiNED stands for Bi-National Economic Development. The Summit was a gathering of various speakers and dignitaries from Mexico and the United States, with attendees from Brownsville and Matamoros, and from Harlingen and San Benito, and Los Indios and more Cameron County communities. Issues regarding trade and infrastructure development and border security were among the topics of discussion. Problems were aired, and possible solutions sought.
  • Ramiro Aleman recently joined Alma Colleli, with Rio South Texas Economic Council, and Eduardo Campirano (Port of Brownsville) at a meeting of the Primera EDC Board. Alma was asking Primera to join RSTEC and was accompanied by Ramiro and Eddie to show regional cooperation. Primera EDC will soon be part of RSTEC.
  • Solomon Torres and I met last week to discuss certain prospective companies and how we should get them here.

The sad story is that these shouldn’t be “amazing” or with effort. The silver lining is that we are all starting to realize that regionalism works. Together we are stronger.

We may not be as comfortable as Joseph and Jarrod, yet. But we’ll get there.

In other HEDC news:

Staff toured a couple of mid-sized manufacturing firms this month. We read and hear that manufacturing activity levels on a national scale aren’t where they have been in the past, but locally, we wouldn’t believe that. As an example, another building in our industrial park can now be marked of the “available” list thanks to local real estate brokers Ron Chamberlain and David Allex. Derksen Portable Buildings took 50,000 square feet of space to manufacture portable buildings for this market and beyond.

La Paloma Power Plant’s, a 690 megawatt natural gas-fired plant to be constructed beginning in 2014, general contractor is opening up an office in Harlingen to recruit welders, pipefitters, and other trades for the project, and for future projects in the region. If you know of someone interested in these job openings, have them call our office for more information.

Halff and Associates presented staff with several site options and layouts for a new Class A Business Park. Harlingen has about 80,000 square feet of Class A space vacant. That leaves us virtually with no space to locate new or relocating companies in our community. Thus, we have a need to build new space in a competitive location with the type of amenities that can compete with other parks in the state.

McCallum Sweeney, one of the country’s premier site selection consulting firms, has invited us to Phase III of their site certification process for the Harlingen Industrial AirPark. The 430 acres or so available east of the Valley International Airport have all the necessary infrastructure to accommodate large industrial projects. This site certification process help affirm that to the rest of the world. Staff at VIA and HEDC will be working on this process over the next few months.

OK, time to wrap it up. Since we are nearing the end of a fantastic 2013, our next newsletter will be devoted to the “year in review” in the economic development world here in South Texas. In the meantime, we will keep striving for that kid spirit, where our neighbors are our friends, and we’ll fight like heck for them, but just don’t forget – we like to run the bases without getting caught too!

  • Upcoming Events
  • HEDC Board of Directors Meeting – December 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM at City Hall


  • Texas Transportation Forum – Jan. 6-8 in San Antonio


  • Impact Texas – Jan 9-10 in Austin


  • MD&M Trade Show – Feb 11-13 in Anaheim


  • IEDC Leadership Summit – Feb. 2-4 in Irvine


  • TEDC Site Consultants Day – Feb. 4 in Austin


If you have any other events that you’d like for us to post on this newsletter, send us an email with some information!

News from around the Harlingen area and beyond

Manufacturing Building Available for Lease 

ProLogis bldg Valley Industrial Park Building 1

1805 North Loop 499, Suite 110

Harlingen, TX 78550

72,000 Total SF available

24′ minimum clear height

and much more.  Call the Harlingen EDC office for more information at 216-5081.