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Category Archives: Chamber membership

President’s Message – July 2016

HRBCC-42The Brownsville Chamber of Commerce recently held a special ceremony to induct 26 members of the Brownsville Young Chamber (BYC) and their newly elected Advisory Council. The historical event is the culmination of the Chamber’s strategic effort to be more responsive to the diversity of its members and the business community. It’s the first time that a membership level is developed to recognize the interests of young professionals. The purpose of BYC is to provide meaningful and strategic opportunities for the professional and personal development of young professionals. The BYC Advisory Council will soon begin the development of a strategic plan to develop programs and events that will be focused on strengthening the entrepreneurial and economic development ecosystem that Brownsville needs in order to sustain a vibrant and prosperous business community.

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It’s no coincidence that BYC members, most of them between the ages of 21 and 32, are eager to make a difference in their community. They define themselves more by their interests and passions than their careers, or their symbiotic relationship with technology. They have a strong sense of community service and entrepreneurship, and are equally passionate about the economy. It’s fair to say that passion is their preferred currency.

While the mission of our Chamber remains the same, to advance the business interests of its members through leadership, civic engagement, promotion, support and advocacy, there is no doubt that BYC members will catapult our mission to new horizons. The way they express and pursue their passions is different. They have access to more tools, are extremely resourceful, well connected, and are especially passionate about things that impact others. They are “change makers!”

It’s an exciting time for our Chamber. Moving forward, we can expect to see our BYC members investing in our community, supporting creativity and innovation, and sustaining and leading entrepreneurship. The long-term development and success of our business community depends on the cultivation and professional development of future business leaders.

We believe strongly that forging a collaborative relationship with young professionals is a step in the right direction for our Chamber and the business community. Together with our members, we will continue to cultivate the pro-business climate that sustains a strong, local economy. Each day, we take small steps toward these goals, and each day we see the success of our members and know that Brownsville is a great city—on its way to greater prosperity.

¡Adelante! Together—We are the Chamber!

Melinda Rodriguez



July 2016 Member Spotlight – Pink Ape Media Consulting LLC

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Company Name: Pink Ape Media Consulting LLC

Business Category: Advertising – Marketing

Date joined: October 2013

Services: Marketing and advertising consulting services to private companies, public institutions and political candidates in the Rio Grande Valley. Its expertise includes graphic design, advertising contents, video production, direct marketing, and the development of inbound marketing strategies, such as websites, social networks, email marketing or search engine optimization (SEO).

Pink Ape Media Consulting was started in 2011 with the vision of supporting local businesses and government institutions in developing promotion strategies. Although their beginning was challenging, the company has thrived over the years by educating entrepreneurs, business executives, and directors of public institutions, about new consumer habits and technologies that demand innovative ways of doing things.

“Creativity and innovation are our main principles. If anything has distinguished our company from others, it is that we do things differently, generating ideas and products that are both original and valuable to our clients,” said Rodrigo Moreno, founder and chief creative officer. “Achieving this requires a high dose of imagination, but also a constant commitment to overcome our own creations and designs.”

Pink Ape Media has a team of five full-time employees. The company joined the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce three years ago; they view their membership as an opportunity to strengthen ties of cooperation with other local businesses.

Pink Ape Media’s advice to small business owners is that any business, regardless of its size, cannot aspire to continue growing without a good marketing plan. Their industry’s biggest challenge is the misconception that marketing is only for big companies. Their objective is to show business owners and executives the possibilities available through the use of marketing tools.

Contact information:

Pink Ape Media Consulting LLC

3101 Pablo Kisel Blvd. STE B-4

Brownsville, TX

(956) 350-9540



May 2016 Member Spotlight: Lower Valley Dental Associates

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Company Name: Lower Valley Dental Associates

Category: Dental

Date joined: February 2009

Quality and personalized dental care is what Lower Valley Dental Associates aims to provide to each patient. This family business was started by Brownsville native Claudia E. Rodriguez, DDS, and her husband Jordan Patrick Pirtle, DDS, in 2007. At the time, the closest dentist providing sedation and general anesthesia services for dental procedures was located in Harlingen. Today, their dental practice has grown to three doctors and 19 staff members, including Dr. Melissa Uriegas.

The Lower Valley Dental Associates team takes pride in being part of the Brownsville and Rio Grande Valley community. Their services include dental care for children, adults, and special needs patients, in both office and hospital settings.

“Our practice is a family run and operated organization. This is not a corporate office with

a pre-planned business model. We are community members that are trying to do right by our fellow community members based on the education we have received from our higher learning

institutions.” Claudia E. Rodriguez, DDS, said. “We are proud to live in Brownsville and want to do our part to educate and help our neighbors.”


Contact information:

Lower Valley Dental Associates

4920 N. Expressway 77, Suite E

Brownsville, TX 78526

(956) 350-0059

President’s Message – May 2016

HRBCC-42Recently, WalletHub, a leading personal finance outlet, listed Brownsville as the 7th Best City for Hispanic Entrepreneurs. According to WalletHub, their analysts checked the Hispanic business climate in 150 of the largest U.S. cities to help aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesses find the most fertile ground for their enterprises. Brownsville was the only city in the Valley to make their list. Among the list of criteria used to rank cities was Hispanic-business-friendliness, startups per capita, number of small business loans awarded, housing affordability, and Hispanic population growth. The trajectory for the success of small businesses in our city continues to increase. The message is loud and clear, “Brownsville continues to be a great place for small businesses!”

The Brownsville Chamber of Commerce is leading the effort to improve the climate for small business startups, as well as established businesses. Brownsville is an emerging entrepreneurial community, and last week’s announcement of the arrival of SATA USA, an Italian machining operation, is yet another sign that new industries are coming to Brownsville. Aside from increasing the opportunities for business owners to increase their knowledge and expertise through our Chamber University Program, which offers more than 40 professional development workshops, we also partner with numerous small business service providers to offer business owners the resources they need to expand their businesses and reach more customers. Some of those resources include access to experts to help create business and marketing plans, as well as access to lending institutions and organizations such as LiftFund that can offer startup capital, credit report reviewing and planning, and business and strategic planning. These organizations want to lend money to businesses in Brownsville.

Looking to the future, the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce is also working to inspire future business leaders through the creation of the Brownsville Young Chamber. The Brownsville Young Chamber (BYC) program is a great opportunity to develop Brownsville’s future entrepreneurs. By providing opportunities for BYC members to engage with business and community leaders and providing relevant professional development, we aim to cultivate a strong and innovative pro-business culture that sustains Brownsville’s future economic development. Over 50 interested young professionals attended the first social gathering, and before the end of the event, 19 had officially joined BYC. More continue to join each week.

Lastly, we know that there are many challenges to opening and sustaining a successful business, so in the very near future, we plan to expand our business services to provide more support to small business owners by offering financial incentives to cultivate more creativity and innovation. We also want to attract new entrepreneurs and industries to Brownsville, so together with local business and community organizations, we will strengthen the entrepreneurial infrastructure so that we develop a qualified workforce, provide vital business support services, create a fertile pro-business climate, and in the end improve our quality of life. Each day, we take small steps toward these goals, and each day we see the success of our members and know that Brownsville is a great city—on its way to greater prosperity.

¡Adelante! Together—We are the Chamber!

Melinda Rodriguez


March 2016 Member Spotlight: Communities In Schools of Cameron County

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Organization Name: Communities In Schools of Cameron County (CIS)

Date joined: October 2012

Programs and Services: CIS is the nation’s leading organization that champions the connection of needed community resources with schools, to help young people successfully learn, stay in school, and prepare for life.  The staff consists of trained professionals that work with students by providing personalized, one-on-one assistance to improve attendance, academic readiness, conduct, and basic needs.

CIS programs reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates by keeping students in schools, eliminating barriers to success by any means, and never abandoning a student. CIS gives students the opportunity for success by providing services such as tutoring, mentoring, supportive guidance, college readiness, career preparation, support services for students and parents, health and human services support, after school activities and enrichment.

Vision and mission: To surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

 Leadership: Greg Flores, Executive Director

Contact information:

700 E. Levee St. Ste. 204

Brownsville, TX 78520

Eva Perez, Program Manager

P: (956) 554-7954



Chairwoman’s Message – March 2016

Olga Gonzalez

Greetings –

The nineteenth century developers of Brownsville gave us a truly unique and beautiful city, combining the Mexican-Spanish Colonial architectural traditions with formal and folk buildings. This rich blending of history and functionality, the past and the future, is a kind of picture of who we are. Our city, our valley is blessed with a wonderfully optimistic, industrious and warm community of people, and Brownsville Chamber of Commerce continues to be an invaluable point of meeting for us. I’m so grateful you’re a part of it.

Last week the Chamber hosted the first of the 2016 Women in Leadership Speakers Series, presented by Valley Regional Medical Center. Our very special guests were Jamie and Patsy Silva Schanbaum. Jamie’s story of overcoming adversity is truly inspirational. After losing her legs and fingers 8 years ago to meningococcal septicemia, she founded The JAMIE Group to raise awareness and educate the public about this preventable disease. In 2009, Jamie helped to pass Senate Bill 819, the Jamie Schanbaum Act, requiring meningitis vaccinations for all college students in Texas.

I encourage you save the date for the next powerful presentation of the Women in Leadership Speakers Series, featuring Gloria Campos, scheduled for June 29, 2016, from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the Historic Alonso Building.

ADB-Facebook1nother great event that you will not want to miss is ¡Despierta Brownsville!; an early morning opportunity to chat about the great things going on in Brownsville. Join us from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., on April 13, at The Historic Alonso Building, 510 E. Saint Charles Street. The topic of the presentation will be the Nielsen Border Study insights, presented by the Brownsville Partners that funded the study.

One more advance notice for later in the year: we are honored to have been selected as one of only ten partners across the state to host a 2016 Governor’s Small Business Forum. Plan to be with us on October 27, 2016, at the Brownsville Event Center. From our Press Release: “These forums are designed to give entrepreneurs and small businesses valuable tools, skills, and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s fast-paced economy. The event will feature a wide range of instructive seminars and expert speakers offering vital information on both public and private resources. There will also be a special focus on offering information for women and veteran entrepreneurs.”

Finally, we are continuing to grow and it’s been our pleasure to welcome 18 new members in January and 11 in February. It’s great to have each one with us, and we encourage you to get involved and make the most of all the benefits that come with being part of our dynamic Chamber. Did you know that our Chamber University program includes more than 40 professional programs and workshops throughout the year focused on helping business owners and nonprofit organizations grow and prosper their organizations? Get more information and register online.

We are better together!

Olga Gonzalez
Chairwoman of the Board

Vice President – Professional & Executive Banker, BBVA Compass

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