Authors: Alexis AlvaradoMark Anderson | Chris Ardis | Mike Blum | Todd Breland, VBR general manager | Angela Burton | Anita Campbell | Ricardo Cavazos, VBR content editor | George Cox | JC Cruz | TJ Garcia | Selene D. Garza | Allen Gutierrez | Maria C. Hall | Lori Joiner | Beth Martinez | Arnoldo Mata | Eileen Mattei | Linda Matthews | Josie Maureen Barrera | Linda McMahon | Kathleen McShane | Henry Miller | Angey Murray | Ray Perryman | Matt Ruszczak | UTRGV SBDC | Lenny Saucier | Lisa Seiser | Nydia Tapia-Gonzales | Humphrey Thomas | Stefania Trimboli | Tony Vindell | Bridget Weston Pollack
Alexis Alvarado is a high school student at the International Baccalaureate Program at Lamar Academy in McAllen. She is the president and founder of the iBee Podcast and Newspaper Organization at her school and is interested in pursuing a degree in Communication Studies in the future. Her passions include writing, reading, speech, debate and music.
- McAllen Students Host U.S. Senate Candidate Forum — March 5, 2020
Chris Ardis is a retired teacher. She is a freelance writer, editor, and social media manager and works with Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill to help schools and nonprofit organizations raise money. Chris is also an education blogger, and you can her blog at the link below. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partner and Managing Broker NAI Rio Grande Valley, and member of the NAI Global network, the largest commercial real estate brokerage network in the world with affiliate office in 375 markets and 55 countries. NAI Global now owned by C-III Capital Partners LLC. Member of the NAI Global Leadership Board.
Todd Breland, VBR general manager
My thirty years in the media world has primarily focused on marketing, advertising and writing. This industry is my passion. I have been blessed to serve customers with marketing consulting, advertising concepts, video production and promotion of all forms - broadcast, print and digital. My occupation is a fun job but not work. The opportunity to put clients and customers together awakens me early. Learning clients and their businesses enables me to create effective multimedia advertising campaigns. My media life led me to deep South Texas in 2004 to co-found The Business Times of the Rio Grande Valley and then the Valley Business Report in 2009. This south Louisiana native is proud to call the Rio Grande Valley my home.
- Tips for Small Businesses For the Holidays & Beyond — December 17, 2020
- Shop Small on Small Business Saturday — November 27, 2020
- Lender Match Makes Connections — February 1, 2018
- Mentors Increase Small Business Success — January 9, 2018
- SBA Loans Pump Cash into Economy — December 22, 2017
Anita Campbell is a guest blogger with the Small Business Administration. She runs online communities and information websites reaching more than million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.
- Five Ways to Start Selling Online — February 5, 2020
- 10 Small Business Functions to Outsource — December 5, 2019
- Pros and Cons of Data Storage Solutions — September 25, 2019
- Considerations When Choosing Business Hardware — September 3, 2019
- A Virtual Assistant Can Make You More Productive — June 27, 2019
Ricardo Cavazos, VBR content editor
Ricardo D. Cavazos is a journalist and business executive who has over 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and publisher and is currently managing allied health schools in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo. Working for Freedom Communications, Cavazos served as editor of The Monitor for eight years and was publisher of The Brownsville Herald for 14 years. He also served as publisher of the Valley Morning Star for one year and launched two Spanish-language publications - El Nuevo Heraldo and El Extra. He is an Edinburg native currrently living in Harlingen.
- Educators Extend Passion Into Business — April 1, 2021
- Reyna’s Bar-B-Q Forges Path of Service & Soulful Food — April 1, 2021
- Authenticity & History Fuel La Placita Reemergence — April 1, 2021
- Front Yard Displays Spread Cheer — April 1, 2021
- Produce Company Opens Major Facility — April 1, 2021
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.
JC Cruz is an executive coach and organizational consultant specializing in team development, human dynamics and workplace harmony.
- Mission Expands Youth Opportunities — June 1, 2019
Selene D. Garza
Selene D. Garza sees a story in everything and has been reporting for 10 years. Selene was a community reporter for The Virginian-Pilot and lifestyle writer for Distinction Magazine, both in Norfolk, Va. She currently works in economic development and is always happy to tell regional stories when she gets the chance.
- Mujer RGV Unifies, Empowers, Inspires — March 1, 2020
- Giving Back with the Gift of Learning — January 1, 2020
- Searching for Ghosts — October 1, 2019
- Giving Back: McAllen Artist Mitch D’Arte — August 1, 2019
- Edinburg Cultural Arts Brings Communities Together — August 1, 2019
As Associate Administrator of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development for the Small Business Administration, Allen Gutierrez is dedicated to enhancing the nationwide network of offices, business executives, and mentors that support current and aspiring business owners as they start, grow and compete in today’s global market.
Maria C. Hall
Maria C. Hall is a certified start-up expert, speaker, author, entrepreneur and certified business coach who works with solopreneurs and small businesses. She is especially passionate about championing and helping women make their entrepreneurial dream a reality. Her areas of expertise include sales and communication training, leadership development and team building. She partners with business associations and government agencies to develop programming in support of entrepreneurial development.
Lori Joiner is an author, speaker and ministry leader based out of Texas. Her passion is speaking to, training and teaching people of all ages to be all they can be in their personal, professional and spiritual lives.
Thinker…Creator…Doer. Beth is passionate about life, learning, and all things creative. She has known from an early age that she had a love for journalism and media and spent her time in high school and college as part of the school yearbook, newspaper, and television station. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Texas Pan-American and immediately went on to earn her Master of Arts in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin. Beth has 15+ years working in all aspects of the media industry including: client services, graphic design, media creation for print, web, and television, and sales. Yet, she constantly strives to become more knowledgeable and accomplished within the field she loves. Aside from work, she has an active life she truly enjoys. With her husband, she owns her own business in which she uses her creativity to design and sell party printables as well as build, refinish, and paint wood items such as door hangers, decorations, and furniture. She also spends time with her family, husband, two daughters and sweet animals. A few of the things she loves… reading, purple, butterflies, the beach, chocolate, flowers, animals, good quotes, roller coasters and Chinese food.
Arnoldo Mata heads Leadership Resource Group and has more than 30 years of experience in leadership training and development. Leadership Resource Group works with nonprofits, governments and private businesses on strategic planning projects that provide focus and direction for organizational growth. He also provides training and services in creativity and ideation.
Freelance writer Eileen Mattei was the editor of Valley Business Report for over 6 years. Her articles have appeared in Texas Highways, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Coop Power magazines as well as On Point: The Journal of Army History. The Harlingen resident is the author of five books: Valley Places, Valley Faces; At the Crossroads: Harlingen’s First 100 Years; and Leading the Way: McAllen’s First 100 Years, For the Good of My Patients: The History of Medicine in the Rio Grande Valley, and Quinta Mazatlán: A Visual Journey.
Linda is an Associate Dean and Professor of Management at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
- Creating High-Impact Entrepreneurs — July 7, 2017
Josie Maureen Barrera
Josie M. Barrera is a creative writer and an artist from Alton, Tx. With a BA in English, and a minor in Studio Art, she has always been fond of connecting the two. She is a big supporter of small businesses and loves attending local events in the community. In the past, her works have revolved around SEO writing for digital marketing agencies. Josie looks forward to shedding some light on local small business owners and their success in providing something their community can enjoy.
Linda McMahon serves as the 25th administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. As a member of President Trump’s cabinet, she advocates on behalf of the 28 million small businesses in America, which employ nearly half of all American workers and account for 56.8 million jobs.
As the assistant administrator for the Office of Women's Business Ownership, Kathleen McShane is responsible for overseeing Women’s Business Centers throughout the country. These centers offer counseling, training and mentorship to women who want to launch or expand their business. The SBA official also provides advice, assistance and support to promote, coordinate, and monitor the efforts of the federal government to establish, preserve and strengthen women-owned business. Prior to joining the SBA, she was CEO and founder of Ladies Launch Club, a company that provided guidance to women who wanted to launch a business.
- Mentoring: the Missing Link to Small Business Growth and Survival — February 11, 2019
Has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years. Was a syndicated writer for more than 130 newspapers and talent for 40 radio stations covering NASCAR during its heyday. Covered the 1996 Olympics for Thomson Newspapers. Has won more than 30 local, state and national writing and photography awards. Earned a communications degree from the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio and an MBA from UTRGV. Teaches business classes for Wayland Baptist University. Covered stories including the blackout of the Northeast, Dale Earnhardt's death, the murder of Michael Jordan's dad and many other stories. A native of New York, he lives in McAllen with his 12-year-old daughter Camilla. He enjoys being a motivational speaker, playing sports, reading, cooking, coaching volleyball and, most of all, being with his 13-year-old daughter daughter Camilla, a volleyball and track star, and straight A student. He is also the youth director at his church, Christian Fellowship Church in McAllen.
Ray Perryman is President and CEO of The Perryman Group, an economic research and analysis firm based in Waco, Texas. His firm has served the needs of more than 2,000 clients ranging from major corporations to small startups and from local communities to the federal government. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Perryman has helped recruit corporations providing tens of thousands of jobs through economic development work, resolved billion-dollar legal issues, and revamped public policy through impact assessments and other studies.
- A Case for Immigration Reform — December 14, 2017
Matt Z. Ruszczak is the executive director of the Rio South Texas Economic Council.
- The Valley is Blessed — May 17, 2018
The UTRGV Small Business Development Center (SBDC) seeks to promote growth, expansion, innovation, increased productivity, and improved management skills for small businesses in the Rio Grande Valley through quality, business advisement and business training. The UTRGV SBDC is a partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, hosted by The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), and in partnership with public and private partners throughout Deep South Texas. It is a field center of the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network and accredited by America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC). Within UTRGV, the program is a part of the Office of Economic Development, under the Division of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development. All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the SBA.
- Values Create Strong Cultures — September 17, 2017
- ‘Fab Lab’ Plants Seeds of Creativity — August 31, 2017
- The Business of Bees — August 10, 2017
- Op-Ed: SBA honors our veterans and their entrepreneurial spirit — November 1, 2016
- Marketing to Millennials — February 1, 2016
Lenny Saucier has been in the leadership and management rolls for 19 years. His teachings have reached 20 states, plus Canada and Saudi Arabia. Contact Lenny at email@example.com.
Inform. Educate. Entertain. Inspire. Those are the four key components Lisa believes must be present in “the perfect story” and accomplishing that is her goal every time she sits down to write. Lisa is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years in the industry as a newspaper reporter, editor, photographer and page designer. In June of 2019, she left the Valley Morning Star after four years as its editor. During her stint at the VMS, she also created and was the editor of Valley Women Inspire, a magazine published by AIM Media Texas, owners of the Valley Morning Star, McAllen Monitor and Brownsville Herald. Originally from Southeastern Wisconsin, Seiser was the editor of a weekly newspaper, the Lake Geneva Regional News. She then moved to Junction City, Kansas, to be the editor of the Daily Union in that city before relocating to the RGV to work at the Valley Morning Star. Seiser has lived in Harlingen since June of 2015 and loves palm trees, the beach, traveling, golfing and her three rescue dogs.
- Harlingen Nonprofit Brings Top-Notch Entertainment — February 1, 2020
- So, You Need a General Contractor? — November 1, 2019
- Downtown Harlingen Hot Points — October 12, 2019
- Preparing for Ghost Hunts — October 10, 2019
- A “Night in Old Mexico” in Harlingen — October 3, 2019
Freelance writer and blogger, Nydia Tapia-Gonzales enjoys writing about life in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. She has been a contributor to the Valley Business Report for the past 5 years. An avid proponent of the preservation of mid-twentieth-century modern architecture. Tapia-Gonzales is the publisher of two online publications: La Vida Valle; an online magazine about the arts and culture of the Rio Grande Valley and RGVMod; a website dedicated to create awareness and promote the preservation of the midcentury modern architecture of the Valley. Tapia – Gonzales presents as a guest speaker on the subject of midcentury modern historic preservation in the Rio Grande Valley. She is a destination management and tourism professional with 25 years of experience currently serving as the director of South Texas Nature Tourism Marketing Cooperative. A native of Matamoros, Mexico who lives in Harlingen with her husband Lupe Gonzales. Tapia-Gonzales is a board member of Preservation Texas, the Center for Latino-Jewish Relations and the Brownville Community Development Corporation.
Hello, my name is Humphrey Thomas. I’m a graduate of Maastricht University located in the Netherlands with a degree in International Business. I am a Registered Financial Advisor and an Investment Advisor Representative. I am also an Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS®), and I am a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™(CDFA®). I hold General Securities Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65 Licenses, as well as being licensed in Life and Health Insurance. As an Independent Financial Advisor, I specialize in Retirement Planning. One thing in life we can count on is change and this is why I make it my professional goal to be the best in my field of expertise by staying educated in the ever changing-financial world. It is my desire to understand my clients’ financial goals and present a long-term plan that navigates their finances to work for them, bringing the security needed when changes come. It is my passion to educate people about their financial options and to help them better understand how to achieve their short and long-term financial goals. When someone understands their entire financial picture, they are then equipped to make solid and sound decisions -- decisions that will set them up for security in the future.
Stefania Trimboli is a Harlingen native who moved to Austin out of high school to attend culinary school and then went on to work at the Ritz-Carlton in Las Vegas. She later returned with her husband to the Valley where they bought a small BBQ restaurant which they have been running for five years. They also briefly published enCORE, a magazine highlighting the art and music scene in the Rio Grande Valley, where she specialized in travel journalism. Trimboli serves on the Downtown Improvement District board of directors, Harlingen Farmer's Market board and Healthy Harlingen Initiative. She is currently attending TSTC with plans to transfer to UTRGV to earn a bachelor of arts. After ten years of cooking professionally, Stefania wants to start a new chapter following a passion she's had since she was a young girl, photojournalism.
- O.W.E. Encourages Local Businesswomen Success — September 27, 2018
- Knowledge Gained at Business to Botana Expo — September 25, 2018
- Local, Healthy Eating is Made — September 20, 2018
- Bandera Brings New Brew to Harlingen — September 13, 2018
- The Basics of 8(a) Government Contracting — September 7, 2018
Freelance journalist Tony Vindell has more than 30 years experience as a newspaper reporter. Born in Nicaragua, he studied journalism and political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. He began his career working for The Pecos Enterprise in West Texas. Vindell also worked for The Laredo News, The Brownsville Herald, Valley Morning Star, Port Isabel News Press and the Raymondville Chronicle/News. Vindell, who lives in Brownsville with his wife Sharon, enjoys hunting, fishing and traveling.
Bridget Weston Pollack
Bridget Weston Pollack is the vice president of marketing and communications at the SCORE Association. She is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services. She collaborates with SCORE volunteers and develops SCORE’s online marketing strategy.
- It’s National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day — March 29, 2018
- Six Ways to Prepare for a Successful Holiday Season — September 21, 2017
- Corporate Social Responsibility — August 15, 2017