Olga GonzalezGreetings –

‘Tis the season! Brownsville loves the holidays, and for many of our members it’s the busiest time of the year. I hope it’s turning out to be a season that will exceed your expectations, and that you’ll also find some time to enjoy with those you love.

The leadership gavel was handed to me as the new Chair of our Board of Directors on December 3rd at our Annual Leadership Luncheon. It’s an honor for me to serve the Chamber in this way, and let me take a moment on behalf of us all to thank our outgoing Chairman, Humphrey G. Thomas, for all his hard work over the past year. In addition to the regular duties of a Chairman, he ably led us through a time of transition and the appointment of a new CEO. Thank you, Humphrey.

We were honored to have as keynote speaker for our Leadership Luncheon, the Honorable Carlos H. Cascos, Texas Secretary of State. Mr. Cascos gave an inspiring talk about economic development in Brownsville.

On October 13th, in collaboration with the Port of Brownsville, the Chamber hosted a Public Affairs Luncheon at the Events Center. 150 members turned out to hear a panel presenting information on “LNG in the Rio Grande Valley”; the panel was made up of executives from the three proposed LNG companies: Annova LNG, Rio Grande LNG, and Texas LNG. If you weren’t able to attend, a number of questions were asked and you will find the panel members’ answers published in this e-Newsletter.

Then, on November 19th, we celebrated the beginning of a new chapter in the Chamber’s history with the Grand Re-opening of our beautifully modernized facility. State Representative Eddie Lucio III presented a resolution praising the chamber for its “commitment to the prosperity and vitality of the community” and “lasting, positive impact in the lives of area residents.”

Those who took a tour at the open house saw that it’s an impressive building for our staff to work and welcome the community in, but as our president and CEO, Melinda Rodriguez, has said, this much needed renovation was done “with the members we serve in mind.”

Speaking of our membership, it was our great pleasure to welcome 16 new members during October and November. Let me take this opportunity to again welcome them; it’s great to be part of such a vibrant and growing Chamber.

Looking ahead to a couple of upcoming events:

In the new year, we are partnering with “All In” Brownsville to host a State of Education Luncheon. You might recall that this was previously planned for November, but had to be postponed. It will now take place at the Ambassador Event Center from 11:30am to 1:30pm on Tuesday, January 5th. The United Way of Southern Cameron County will be releasing their 2016 Indicator Report on Education and Human Capital. Also, a featured panel will include representatives from Brownsville Independent School District, Harmony Science Academy, IDEA Public Schools, Saint Joseph Academy, South Texas Independent School District, Texas Southmost College, and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

And finally, mark your calendar now for the Business to Botana Expo. This is a great annual event that attracts more than 100 booth vendors and 1,000 attendees.

There are many more great things ahead in 2016. I look forward to meeting many of you, and continuing to explore ways that we can all strengthen each other as part of this great Chamber.

We are better together!

Olga Gonzalez
Chairwoman of the Board

Vice President, Rio Bank