Author Archives: George Cox

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Laurie Simmons is the manager of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Center for Innovation and Commercialization in Weslaco. (VBR)

The Rio Grande Valley is a complex network of interconnected communities bound by culture, geography and economics. At times in its history and into the present, the region sometimes struggles to overcome territorial squabbles to work together for the common good. With the merger of campuses into the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the concept of a regional university represents another step in uniting the border region. And a…

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Venue Gives Valley Boost

Welcomed with great fanfare and full houses, the $88-million, 219,000-square-foot Bert Ogden Arena opens a new chapter in the Rio Grande Valley as the largest entertainment venue in South Texas and a boon for regional economic development. An estimated 5,000 people turned out for grand-opening ceremonies and arena tours in August, entertainer Luis Miguel performed a sold-out concert in September, followed by a near sell-out for a WWE wrestling card.…

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Love of Golf Drives Business

Elliott’s Custom Golf owner Tim Elliott replaces the grip on a customer’s golf club. (VBR)

A bad motorcycle accident changed Tim Elliott’s life, sending him down a new road toward owning his own business. After almost losing a leg and unable to return to work as part of the Walmart management team, the once-athletic Elliott immersed himself in the study of golf and golf equipment. It was the only sport he thought he would ever be able to play again. “I read Golf Digest and…

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Merger Opens New Markets

Michael Blum and Edward Villarreal in front of their new McAllen office following the merger of their commercial real estate companies. (VBR)

After years of discussion and negotiation, a new merger has created one of the largest independently owned full-service commercial brokerage real estate firms in South Texas. Michael Blum, partner and managing broker of NAI Rio Grande Valley; Charles Mueller, managing partner of Synergis Realty Group, LLC, owner of NAI Rio Grande Valley; and Edward Villarreal, owner of South Texas Commercial Real Estate, recently signed off on the merger that has…

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Look in the Mirror to Succeed

Bridgett Krause, founder and CEO of the Dream Big Facility, gestures during a presentation at the McAllen Business Expo. (VBR)

Bridgett Krause believes in the “law of the mirror” as a strategy for personal and professional success. “You must see value in yourself to move forward to achieve personal growth and leadership,” she said during a recent seminar at the McAllen Business Expo. The annual expo was sponsored by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Krause and her husband Ryan are international trainers and executive coaches with the John Maxwell Team.…

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Custom Nets to Catch Clients

SPI Nets owner Joe Rodriguez works at his desk in the company’s San Benito office. (VBR)

Joe Rodriguez’s father started SPI Nets more than three decades ago, relying on his fishing background to launch a business making fishing nets. But today, the company’s nets don’t catch fish. They catch balls – baseballs, soccer, golf and even lacrosse balls. “The fishing industry as far as net building is a very localized business,” Rodriguez said, meaning that fishing regions tend to have plenty of established businesses manufacturing the…

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Leadership Matters: Frank Fernandez

Frank Fernandez

Editor’s Note: Leadership can mean different things to different people. The Valley Business Report turned to experienced business leaders in the Rio Grande Valley to learn more about their views on leadership in their own words. Through a question-and-answer format, Leadership Matters presents comments on leadership from Valley CEOs and other business leaders. Frank Fernandez has been plant manager for Duro Bag at the Port of Brownsville since 2015. With…

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Business that Beats the Heat

A Tenzo employee cleans a large shade structure prior to the new school year at Covenant Christian Academy in McAllen. (VBR)

Protecting people and property from the scorching South Texas sun and its potentially dangerous ultra-violet rays is the focus of a fast-growing Rio Grande Valley enterprise. Tenzo Architectural Solar Shades owner Christian Diaz built the business from scratch and works tirelessly to keep up with the demand as his business continues to expand. The Mission-based company designs, manufactures and installs custom outdoor fabric shade structures throughout the Valley. With more…

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Nonprofit Fosters Healing

Cindy Perez-Waddle, a licensed professional counselor, stands on the stage of a mini-theater where children can use puppets and other props to act out their feelings. (VBR)

Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is among life’s hardest journeys. For children, the path can be especially confusing and difficult. In the Rio Grande Valley there is only one organization that specializes in helping young people travel that road to healing. The Children’s Bereavement Center Rio Grande Valley in Harlingen opened in February 2017 to foster healing for grieving children and their families. “That’s really…

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