March / April 2024 - RGVision Magazine

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BreakingBarriers

TOP-RANKED SCHOOLS

Three Brownsville ISD schools named among academic survey. p.12

TECHNOLOGY AND HEALING

Moveo Performance providing enhanced relief and faster rehabilitation to patients and athletes. p.44

MORE THAN HOOPS

RGV Vipers impact helps them reach 17 years and counting. p.76

MARCH/APRIL 2024 | VOLUME 16 ISSUE 2
Emma Maria Montes-Ewing, leading change in healthcare p.40

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RGVISION

STAFF

GABE PUENTE

PUBLISHER/CEO

Luke 22:27

In this era of transformative leadership, Emma MontesEwing embodies the essence of servant leadership. As the first Hispanic female CEO for South Texas Health Systems, her journey reflects resilience, compassion, and dedication to her community. Through her visionary approach, Montes-Ewing redefines organizational success by emphasizing empathy and empowerment. Her leadership philosophy fosters a culture of inclusivity where every voice is valued, and every individual is uplifted. In this issue of RGVision, we celebrate Montes-Ewing's remarkable achievement and her commitment to servant leadership, reminding us that true greatness lies in serving others with humility, integrity, and unwavering dedication. Her story, along with others in the Rio Grande Valley, makes this region unique.

Thank you for choosing to read RGVision. We hope it educates, informs, and inspires you. Follow us and share this issue online. We also express our gratitude to all the advertisers for supporting RGVision and recognizing the value we provide through this print publication.

"For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

In "Rodeo Dental Transforms Patient Care," published in the Jan/Feb 2024 edition of RGVision, Colorado, was printed in error, as Rodeo Dental was founded in Fort Worth, Texas.

If you are interested in receiving issues delivered to your home, please go to RGVisionMagazine.com/Subscribe or send us an email at info@RGVisionMagazine. com to subscribe to RGVision for $6.50/month.

Copyright by RGVision Publications Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.

The opinions and views expressed in the magazine don’t necessarily reflect those of our advertisers or collaborators. RGVision magazine is published bi-monthly and circulates 10,000 copies across the Rio Grande Valley in 450 locations with a direct mail distribution to major hospitals and superintendents within Region 1. The RGVision office is located at 1912 Beaumont Ave., McAllen, TX 78501.

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CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS

Cynthia Ybarra

Texas Southmost College

Port of Brownsville

Valley Baptist Medical Center

Colleen Curran Hook

EZ-Scape

WRITERS

Bryan Kirk

Selene Guerrero

Nathaniel Mata

Bill Hill

Rafael Mendoza-Farias Jr.

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Bárbara Delgado

James Hord

Anthony Acosta

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A special thank you to all the advertisers who support this publication: You are the power behind the flywheel igniting positive change that keeps the conversation going.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

2024 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 2

RGVISION MAGAZINE

TOP-RANKED SCHOOLS

BREAKING BARRIERS

Emma Maria Montes-Ewing, leading change in healthcare.

Three Brownsville ISD schools named among academic survey.

TECHNOLOGY AND HEALING

Moveo Performance providing enhanced relief and faster rehabilitation to patients and athletes.

MORE THAN HOOPS

RGV Vipers impact helps them reach 17 years and counting.

EDUCATION

Nurturing Academic Brilliance

pg 10

Legal Center

pg 14

Mini-Tropolis

pg 18

BUSINESS

Inspiring Success

pg 22

Harlingen's Next Business Hub

pg 26

Reliable Internet

pg 28

Building the Future

pg 32

Rio Grande LNG

pg 34

HEALTH

Valley Baptist

pg 48

Dr. Lisa Chapa

pg 50

Dental Care

pg 54

An Exemplary of Growth

pg 56

QUALITY OF LIFE

Keep It Wild

pg 62

Inventive Restaurants

pg 66

Building Dreams

pg 72

Serving Families in Need

pg 78

Artificial Turf

pg 82

Premier Garage

pg 84

12 44
ON THE COVER 40
76
40 76 12 44

RGVISION ADVISORY BOARD

Each and every member of our advisory board charges RGVision with growth and commitment within our business development, social engagement, and editorial efforts. Through their feedback and contributions, RGVision will continue to help tell and share the Rio Grande Valley’s stories and extend the invitation to join the conversation.

BILL MARTIN MARITZA L. RAMIREZ MAURICE WELTON STEPHEN SUTTON SABRINA WALKER HERNANDEZ CARMEN PAGAN DR. RENE I. LUNA JUAN GARCIA SEBY HADDAD BYRON JAY LEWIS SARAH SAGREDOHAMMOND
8
ROBERT DUNKIN

NURTURING ACADEMIC BRILLIANCE

PSJA ISD's Pioneering Approach to Early Childhood Education

In the heart of educational innovation, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA ISD) is shaping the future by laying a robust educational foundation for its students through comprehensive early childhood education initiatives. PSJA ISD leaders have designed programs that commence at the elementary level and extend beyond post-secondary education to pave the way for academic success.

Understanding the pivotal role of early childhood in shaping lifelong learning, PSJA ISD strongly emphasizes developing foundational skills as early as Pre-K 3. The research underscores the significance of preschool years in acquiring essential knowledge. PSJA ISD is capitalizing on this critical period to maximize learning outcomes by utilizing the latest data; the district has crafted initiatives to benefit all students, firmly standing behind the notion that high-quality early childhood education should provide a solid foundation for lifelong learning.

Claudia Gonzalez, Executive Officer for Elementary at PSJA ISD, shared that the district's commitment to uniform instruction includes a comprehensive phonemic awareness and phonics program strategically implemented across all elementary campuses. This consistency ensures that students seamlessly transition between schools, picking up right where they left off due to standardized instruction and curriculum alignment.

The PSJA Sonia M. Sotomayor Building Blocks Academy in Pharr is a groundbreaking addition to the district's first early childhood campus exclusively dedicated to Pre-K 3 through kindergarten. This state-of-the-art facility features an Outdoor Learning Classroom aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The academy promotes play-based learning through a unique solar-powered tree house and a community garden, fostering an environment where students can build their educational foundation with a true connection to the world around them.

10 EDUCATION RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

In addition to the Sotomayor Building Blocks Academy, all PSJA ISD elementary schools offer full-day Pre-K 3 & 4, providing more options for parents to conveniently choose a school near them. PSJA ISD collaborates with over 40 childcare centers to provide instruction and guidance from PSJA Certified Teaching Staff, ensuring students are ready for kindergarten. This collaboration makes PSJA ISD the only district in the state with such extensive partnerships. By aligning external curricula with the district's standards, PSJA ISD ensures a seamless transition for students transferring into their schools, eliminating obstacles to continued learning.

Partnering with organizations like the United Migrant Opportunity Services and Hidalgo County Head Start Program, PSJA ISD extends its commitment to preparing students for success within the district. The collaboration with community entities ensures a horizontal alignment of learning, allowing all students to progress at the same level.

Gonzalez emphasizes the district's commitment to modern, play-based instruction: "Our curriculum incorporates 21st-century learning and play-based instruction. We want the students to come to school

and enjoy it but also learn the skills they need to set their foundation."

Superintendent Dr. Alejandro Elias underlines the district's unwavering commitment to providing a solid early childhood foundation, recognizing its pivotal role in students' overall success. "We firmly believe that a strong academic foundation with an aligned curriculum plays a significant role in the overall success of our students," affirms Dr. Elias. Our goal is to set them up for success as they transition to our middle schools and high schools and continue pursuing a postsecondary education."

Dr. Elias states the district plans to continue investing in early childhood education. Plans for a second PSJA Building Blocks Academy opening in Alamo, Texas, for the 2024-2025 school year are currently underway.

As an open-enrollment school district welcoming over 30,000 students from the Rio Grande Valley, PSJA ISD is committed to providing a nurturing environment that prepares students for success at every stage of their academic journey.

Parents interested in enrolling their children can find more information at psjaisd.us/whypsja.

11 RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024 EDUCATION

TOP-RANKED SCHOOLS

Three Brownsville ISD Schools Named Among Academic Survey

Three Brownsville ISD schools have earned recognition in the Rio Grande Valley for their superior academic achievements. The honor was awarded by Children at Risk, a research and advocacy nonprofit organization seeking to improve education standards throughout Texas. The three recognized schools are Brownsville Early College High School, Benavides Elementary, and Ortiz Elementary.

The recent survey analyzed 526 public schools in the Rio Grande Valley, assessing schools based on student achievement, campus performance, and student growth. Findings include standardized test scores as well as demographic data in an effort to evaluate success in underprivileged communities. The organization also studies graduation rates to determine college readiness

in high schools and accordingly ranked Brownsville Early College High School as the top-ranked high school in the Rio Grande Valley and the top five in Texas.

“This most recent accolade reaffirms our investment of time, instructional planning and funds to support our students,” said Dr. Rachel Ayala, principal of BECHS. “Our school community achieved this great distinction because of our collective efforts to help our target populations of at-risk and economically disadvantaged students.”

BECHS partners with college institutions to prepare its students for undergraduate studies. The high school, therefore, aspires for each of its students to graduate with an associate degree in General Studies from Texas Southmost College. This approach requires BECHS

12 EDUCATION RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

educators to provide social-emotional learning supports and interventions as necessary while removing all barriers to college enrollment.

“Our focus is to provide our students an enriched school environment,” Ayala said. “Our educators are committed to ensuring that every child is seen, heard and valued.”

Children at Risk also named Benavides Elementary one of its Gold Ribbon Elementary Schools, an honor recognizing academic excellence in high-performing, highpoverty schools. Anabela Almanza, principal of Benavides Elementary, notes that the award is a welcome addition to her school’s record of success.

“Our team is immensely proud to have been recognized for such a prestigious award,” Almanza said. “Our success is rooted in the dedication of our entire faculty and staff.”

Benavides seeks to respond to the holistic needs of students, offering a learning environment with academic, social, emotional, and physical benefits. Almanza has coordinated with her staff to expand extracurricular activities, student behavior incentives, goal-setting initiatives, and a lively calendar of school-sponsored events. This blend of student interests has fostered an inclusive environment for learners of all backgrounds.

“The culture at A.X. Benavides is deeply rooted in student-centeredness, collaboration and a dedication to meeting the diverse needs of every learner,” Almanza said. “Teachers actively encourage students to take ownership of their academic journey.”

Benavides was recognized by the Children at Risk analysis alongside Ortiz Elementary, making both Brownsville campuses among the top five elementary schools in the Rio Grande Valley.

“We have high expectations from our students, no matter what background they come with,” said Julie Peña, principal of Ortiz Elementary. “Some students don’t have the experience of affluent areas or neighborhoods, but we don’t let that be a deficiency for them. We encourage all of them to learn.”

The recognition by Children at Risk is one of many accolades for Ortiz Elementary. The school was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2023, making it one of 26 public schools in Texas to be distinguished for academic excellence. The award honors schools for closing achievement gaps in student sub-groups and reflects an in-depth survey of content mastery. Peña notes that many schools can document students approaching grade-

level ability. Still, fewer schools can attest to long-term progress and proficiency.

“Our students have to show some type of growth,” Peña said. “Getting growth and maintaining it is an issue that we have to work toward. We’ve been able to maintain that excellence, and that’s why we were recognized.”

Ortiz Elementary and Benavides Elementary are among the 12 finalists for the America’s Best Urban Schools Award. The award is presented by the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) based out of San Diego State University and recognizes efforts to prepare students for post-secondary education.

“It’s exciting for our school district because great things are happening here,” Peña said. “It’s now recognized on a national level, and other people are hearing about us.”

13 RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024 EDUCATION

TEXAS SOUTHMOST COLLEGE LEGAL CENTER

Paving the Way for Hands-On Learning in Law and Law Enforcement

Students from the Rio Grande Valley aspiring for law and law enforcement careers now have an added reason to choose Texas Southmost College (TSC) as their preferred institution to fulfill their career ambitions.

That reason is the TSC Legal Center.

Texas Southmost College recently celebrated the official opening of the legal center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the beginning of a new era for the college's Criminal Justice and Paralegal Studies programs. TSC's Paralegal Studies program has the American Bar Association approval for Paralegal Studies program, making TSC one of only 184 approved programs in the United States, 14 in the State of Texas, and the only American Bar Association-approved program in the Rio Grande Valley.

"The TSC Legal Center started as an idea," said the TSC board of trustee chair Adela Garza, "and Judge (Felix) Recio, Mr. Ruben Herrera and Dr. Kevin O'Malley took it to another level."

Garza said the development of the TSC Legal Center required significant effort and thoughtful planning, which

was successful with the stakeholders' collaborative efforts, including the subcommittee members, which consisted of the TSC trustees, TSC faculty, and community leaders.

Texas Southmost College alumnus and immediate past chair of the TSC board of trustees Ruben Herrera expressed his vision for this courtroom to be utilized by the Justice of the Peace Courts, Cameron County Courts at Law, State District Courts, and Federal Courts.

Herrera, who earned his law degree from Texas Southern University, emphasized the significant learning potential it offers students, highlighting the enriching experience of hosting court hearings and trials with TSC students observing and engaging in discussions about the proceedings and their outcomes.

Texas Southmost College President Dr. Jesus Roberto Rodriguez recognizes the significant impact of theorybased applied learning in enabling students to master their craft fully.

"The concept of the TSC Legal Center was conceived a few years ago as a learning laboratory for our students,"

14 EDUCATION RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024
Texas Southmost College Marketing Department | photos provided

said Rodriguez. "Similar to our health profession department which has simulation labs resembling emergency rooms and clinical settings; our early childhood education program uses the Raul J. Guerra Early Childhood Center as a simulation lab and the list goes on."

With the opening of the TSC Legal Center, the Paralegal and Criminal Justice programs now have a simulation lab to expand the learning environment for TSC students in these programs.

TSC Legal Center's focal point is a fully equipped 1,743-square-foot courtroom and conference center, complemented by an adjoining jury room, classrooms, and the digital Cameron County Law Library Annex, catering to TSC's Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Paralegal programs.

"By offering both the Associate of Arts degree and the applied science degree plan, TSC is preparing the next generation of criminal justice scholars, police officers, and federal and state agents," said Rodriguez.

With the opening of the TSC Legal Center, the Paralegal and Criminal Justice programs now have a simulation lab to expand the learning environment for TSC students in these programs.

15 RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024 EDUCATION

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HOME MORTGAGE

MINITROPOLIS

Sam Houston Elementary School Offers Students a Unique, Immersive Experience in a Mini-Metropolis

Sam Houston Elementary School in McAllen is more than just a place for learning. It's the birthplace of dreams and innovation. For more than 25 years, the school has transformed the traditional learning paradigm, offering its students a unique, immersive experience in a mini metropolis known on the campus as Houstonville.

"The name of the program is "Mini-Tropolis," which is actually a program that was initiated in a partnership with IBC Bank and Sam Houston Elementary back in 1996," Jessica Lowe, Sam Houston Elementary principal, said.

This program was widespread throughout the Rio Grande Valley before the pandemic. Only a few schools still run it today, and Sam Houston is one of those and the longest-standing campus to continue the program.

Imagine a place where the hustle and bustle of a city thrives, driven by children's boundless energy and creativity. Houstonville is not just a model city. It's a hub where the lines between education and real-world experiences collide.

"Houstonville comes alive every Friday at 2:20 p.m., and all pre-K through fifth-grade students participate. We mimic what a city has," Lowe said.

The "city" is led by significant city officials who mirror the complexities of an actual city, all elected and run by students. Instead of a student council, the school "elects" a City Council comprising fifth-grade representatives. The school has a Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem, a city record of parliamentarians, and commissioners.

18 EDUCATION RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

UPCOMING EVENTS

SATURDAY MARCH 9

The mini-city is not just a marvel of government but also of commerce. It features a fully functional IBC Bank where students learn about financial management by keeping track of accounts, executing transactions, and using Cougar Cash as currency.

"We also partner with dozens of businesses across the Rio Grande Valley, such as Walmart, IBC Bank, Home Depot, the City of McAllen, the Mayor's Office, the City of McAllen Police Department, and the City of McAllen Recycling Center," Lowe said.

Other businesses have recently joined, including the Salvation Army and Noble Construction. These partnerships provide items for the students to sell and buy. Home Depot donated plants, and Noble Construction donated hard hats, vests, and other resources like materials to build birdhouses and re-sell during Mini-tropolis's time.

The mini city also has essential services such as a post office that ensures messages are delivered, teaching students the importance of communication and logistics. Law enforcement officers patrol the halls, instilling a sense of safety and order while educating about civic duty and the legal system.

"At the beginning of the school year, students have to complete a job application for the business they're in, the class they're in, and they have to select a position they are seeking," Lowe said.

"They do this and learn how to complete an application and how to have interview skills, and then the teacher gives them a job. We also have a pay scale. If you're a manager, you make the most; it just goes from there."

The Mini-tropolis program at Sam Houston Elementary is more than just an educational initiative. It's a visionary project that shapes the leaders, entrepreneurs, and responsible citizens of tomorrow. Students learn the value of leadership and responsibility and become financially literate, not through routine classroom instruction but through living every aspect of a city's life.

The program sends a powerful message far beyond the walls of the campus. It tells a story of innovation and incredible potential in our young minds.

"Many kids come back and say, "My gosh, Mini-tropolis was so good for me, and this is what it did for me." It provides a vibrant, robust education. It's not about what's in a textbook. It's about these real-life world experiences."

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19 RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024 EDUCATION

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INSPIRING SUCCESS

Irma Chapa Shares Her Journey

It’s been more than 30 years since Irma Chapa – a natural-born storyteller – arrived in the Rio Grande Valley, and anyone who tuned into KGBT-TV in 1994 probably remembers that fresh-faced weather girl.

“It was the allure of storytelling and the power of communications that drew my attention to this career, and the fact that my parents would have to pay me to be quiet as a child,” she said.

Like other young girls growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Chapa had her role models; only hers weren’t your typical pop star. For Chapa, those people who were driven to make positive and impactful changes inspired her the most.

“I was inspired by those who used their voices to bring about change, I admired Dan Rather and enjoyed watching David Letterman,” she said. “Rather’s distinct voice, poise and decorated news background has always impressed me.”

Other broadcasters also appealed to Chapa and fueled her childhood dreams.

One of the most memorable role models

was a woman who reported the weather on a local Houston news station.

She remembers sitting in front of the television and being mesmerized by her confidence as she shared important weather information with communities in the Greater Houston area.

“Aside from news personalities and actors, my role models were my parents,” she said. “Both longed to for me to go to college and become independent.”

Chapa, originally from the East Texas town of Woodville, graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1993 and joined the KZTV news team in Corpus Christi as a news reporter.

She covered breaking news events and met interesting and impactful people, including Tejano singer Johnny Canales, then Texas Governor George W. Bush, and 70s television star Jimmy “J.J.” Walker.

She also remembers the sadness of that first year, which gripped her when she responded to traffic accidents or other human tragedies.

22 BUSINESS RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024
RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024 BUSINESS

“I’ll never forget the first time I had to report on a traffic fatality,” Chapa said. “The images leave a permanent scar.”

A year later, she was hired at KGBT as the weather anchor, where she remained for eight years before moving to corporate communications.

Her first job in corporate communications was with Valley Baptist Health System, where she led the public relations team. In 2009, Chapa became the Director of Strategic Communications for the U.S. Border Patrol’s RGV Sector in Edinburg.

“The motivation for my transition into strategic communications stemmed from a desire to contribute to a broader narrative,” she said.

In 2020, Chapa moved to Washington, DC, where she served as a Management and Program Analyst with the Department of Homeland Security and later as the Acting Director of Strategic Communications for the U.S. Border Patrol.

In Jan. 2023, Chapa returned to the Valley to rejoin the RGV Sector Border Patrol as the Communications Director and served in an acting role as Division Chief

of Mission Readiness Operations Directorate, where she oversaw policy, human resources, logistics, labor relations, and training until July 2023, when she was named the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Lone Star National Bank.

“I would define my career as a journey of continuous learning, growth, and meaningful contributions,” Chapa said. “If given the chance to start over, I would undoubtedly choose a career in media again.”

Amid her success in her career and family life, Chapa recognizes that some young girls may be searching for a positive role model or considering a future in media or journalism.

Chapa said the world needs young women who are fearless, resilient, curious, and passionate storytellers who aren’t afraid to tell the truth.

“My dad never tired of reminding me, ‘Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres – Tell me with whom you walk, and I will tell you who you are,’” she said. “Don’t expect to be inspired every day and keep in mind that with every experience, whether a success or a challenge, there is an opportunity for growth.”

24 BUSINESS RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

HARLINGEN'S NEXT BUSINESS HUB

Industrial Park at Roosevelt

The Harlingen Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) is set on transforming Harlingen into a prosperous economic area outfitted with industry. The HEDC is developing a new industrial park off Interstate 69, led by CEO Orlando Campos.

"The Industrial Park at Roosevelt is located on the west side, right along Interstate 69. So we saw this as an opportunity to grow that area by bringing in new industries and providing more options to potential investors and businesses that we work with," said Campos.

Harlingen, situated at the center of Rio Grande Valley, is a prime location for businesses. It is strategically placed between McAllen and the Port of Brownsville, with easy access via I-2 and I-69. It is an ideal spot for economic activity and connectivity between regions.

"Harlingen represents that ideal location for companies that want to take advantage of everything the Rio Grande Valley has to offer," Campos said.

The development of the park comes alongside the development of West Harlingen in recent years, boosting the region's economic activity, bringing in outside

industry, and providing employment for Harlingen's growing population.

"We felt that there was a need for more businesses to help spur more growth and development on the west side of the community. I think that bringing jobs closer to where people live will definitely help enhance the quality of life for the residents that live there," he said.

The industrial park has been under development since 2016, with various improvements made possible by federal funding.

"There was no infrastructure available there at the industrial park – no streets, no water, sewer lines, and we knew that it was going to be a costly endeavor to bring in those services. So, the economic development corporation applied for a grant from the Economic Development Administration, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. We had to wait and see if we would get approved, which we did last year. With that grant now approved, we have a maximum of three years to utilize those funds."

Campos aims to complete the park in under two years

26 BUSINESS RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

and turn it into a thriving commercial hub within five years.

"It will be in development within the next two years. We hope to finish all of the infrastructure in less than that time. We'll start marketing and attracting new businesses to the industrial park. I believe that maybe within the next five years, the park will be filled with new tenants and new companies that choose to locate there."

The Industrial Park at Roosevelt is envisioned to attract industries that can take advantage of Harlingen's strategic location.

"Given its location, I think that it makes it quite a bit appealing to companies in the service sector as well as transportation and logistics services simply because it is located just off the interstate. I think that trucking firms and warehousing distribution would be ideal," said Campos.

The Industrial Park at Roosevelt is just

the beginning of Harlingen's path toward prosperity, urbanization, and community betterment through increased industrial presence and a strengthened economy.

"I think after this park is filled with companies, we will obviously be looking at other parts of the community and possibly build another industrial park to help attract more businesses and industries here to the community. I think that in terms of our vision of Harlingen in the future, we want to diversify our industrial base here in the community. We're very strong in the medical sector, as well as back office operations, but we've got to focus on developing opportunities for all residents of the community and providing jobs in diverse fields, so that's what our vision and focus will be in the future. That includes attracting more manufacturing companies to the community," said Campos.

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RELIABLE INTERNET

Providing the Right Service

Connectivity and the ability to access the internet are essential for businesses that aspire to remain competitive in the digital era. Moreover, a business requires a high-quality, dependable service tailored to its needs. VTX1 offers tailored internet solutions that cater to the unique digital needs of its clients.

With the modernization of the workplace, the prevalence of technologies dependent on the internet has become commonplace. Regardless, a business's internet usage will vary from company to company.

"Businesses rely on high-quality, high-speed internet for video conferencing, cloud-based applications and large data transfers," said Joe Robles, marketing communications supervisor.

VTX1 provides customized solutions for each client based on individual needs. Some companies only require reliable communication services, while others require vast quantities of internet usage or bandwidth. Through customization, a business avoids overpaying for internet amounts it does not need while having

"Businesses rely on high-quality, high-speed internet for video conferencing, cloud-based applications and large data transfers."
Joe Robles, marketing communications supervisor.
28 BUSINESS RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

the right service to fulfill its operations effectively. This helps to maximize a business's productivity by smoothing its functioning.

"A tailored internet solution fits a business's unique needs. It increases efficiency, boosts productivity and keeps the costs in check. At VTX1 Internet, we're not about one-size-fits-all; we're about customizing to make your business shine. VTX1 Internet's adaptable internet offerings benefit various businesses, including small enterprises, large corporations, government entities and industries like health care, finance, and manufacturing," said Robles.

One benefit VTX1 provides businesses with is its use of fiber technology to deliver enhanced internet access, with an increase in reliability and data transfer rate. This is compared to traditional cable technology, which is more prone to outages. This reliability is advantageous to any business, helping prevent inconvenient delays and technical difficulties. However, it is even more crucial in industries where uninterrupted access to the internet is of critical importance, such as the medical sector, where lives depend on the viability of utilizing technology.

"Fiber is crucial for businesses with high data demands. Industries such as health care, manufacturing, finance, and professional services benefit from fiber internet. Entrepreneurs and those who run businesses out of their homes especially need reliable high-speed internet," said Robles.

VTX1's devotion to providing proficient internet service extends far beyond the city's reach, delivering the same standard and adaptability of service to remote, rural areas where internet access is otherwise not present.

"At VTX1 Internet, we are committed to addressing the diverse internet needs of businesses, including those in more remote areas. We take pride in being the first to deploy Next Generation Fixed Wireless Access

(ngFWA) technology, powered by Tarana in Texas, providing reliable connectivity to the businesses and entrepreneurs that need it most, those in remote and rural areas," said Patrick McDonnell, VTX1 Internet CEO.

Looking to the future, VTX1 seeks to continue delivering the highest-quality internet service to its clients while continuously increasing the capabilities of the internet it provides.

"VTX1 Internet anticipates advancements in business internet usage. We plan to stay at the forefront by adopting emerging technologies, enhancing speed and reliability, and ensuring our clients are well-equipped for the evolving digital landscape," said Robles.

"At VTX1 Internet, we are committed to addressing the diverse internet needs of businesses, including those in more remote areas."
Patrick McDonnell, VTX1 internet CEO
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BUILDING THE FUTURE

Port of Brownsville’s Business Park Takes Shape

by Port of Brownsville | photo provided

Only months after the Brownsville Navigation District Board of Commissioners (BND) held a groundbreaking for the Port of Brownsville’s business park in June, prospective businesses are preparing to

negotiate lease agreements with the port.

At a regular board meeting on Feb. 7, the BND Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve leasing rates for the business park. The competitive rates aim to

Designed to streamline global supply chains, the Port of Brownsville’s business park offers 17 lots with all utilities, a foreign trade zone, and direct access to the USMCA Corridor.
32 BUSINESS RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024
The

Port of Brownsville’s 40,000 acres make it a viable business center, attracting multi-billion-

dollar

projects and supporting diverse industries expanding their operations. From wind energy, and steel, to the space sector, the port is a hub of economic activity.

attract sustainable, high-quality companies to the port, ensuring its long-term success.

Hard at work, port staff from the Engineering and Facilities Maintenance departments have completed several construction milestones in-house for the 118-acre business park, including leveling the site and installing water/sewage pipes and fire hydrants.

The Port of Brownsville’s 40,000 acres make it a viable business center, attracting multibillion-dollar projects and supporting diverse industries expanding their operations. The port is a hub of economic activity, from wind energy and steel to the space sector.

The business park is BND’s latest infrastructure investment aimed at drawing industrial and manufacturing companies supporting the port’s mission to enhance workforce opportunities for the Rio Grande Valley.

The business park at the port is unprecedented, as no other facility in the region offers a strategic location near the Brownsville Ship Channel with direct truck and rail connectivity to an efficient logistical network that saves time and money.

Deep in South Texas, with room to grow, opportunities at the Port of Brownsville are limitless, providing companies the advantages of doing business in the Lone Star State.

Since 2015, Texas has attracted more than 288 corporate headquarters, according to the Texas Office of Governor Greg Abbott. During an Aug. visit to the Rio Grande Valley, Abbott touted the Port of Brownsville as the “centerpiece of future economic expansion for this entire region.”

“What’s going on at the port cannot be overstated. We are working and have been working with billion-dollar businesses that are expanding operations in the Port of Brownsville,” said Abbott. “This port is incredibly important as an international transfer point. It already provides well over 50,000 jobs and $3 billion in economic activity.”

As a leading maritime port for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Port of Brownsville’s position along the U.S.-Mexico border makes it the optimum location for companies seeking to establish in Texas and northern Mexico and capitalize on the nearshoring trend.

The Port of Brownsville and its business park, built for growing business, are poised for peak performance in the years ahead. As industries evolve and global trade patterns shift, the port stands ready to adapt, ensuring it remains a driving force in the Texas economy.

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RIO GRANDE LNG

The Valley’s Largest Investment

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Brownsville is home to one of the most productive ports in Texas. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, it is a gateway for international trade and shipping in and out of the country.

NextDecade is a global liquified natural gas (LNG) company helping transform the Port of Brownsville into one of the nation’s largest natural gas exporters. It operates in Texas through its subsidiaries: Rio Grande LNG (RGLNG) and NEXT Carbon Solutions.

The $18.4 billion project to build an LNG export facility and improvements at the Port of Brownsville will help the region meet the world’s demand for cleaner natural gas. Phase 1 of the project will feature three liquefaction trains. The liquefaction process increases the quantity of natural gas that can be shipped by reducing its

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“We are developing a 27 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) LNG export facility at the Port of Brownsville along with one of the largest planned carbon capture and storage projects in North America."

volume, making LNG more economically profitable. The facility plans to also take advantage of NEXT Carbon Solutions’ carbon capture and storage technology to reduce the carbon footprint of NextDecade’s natural gas processes.

“We are developing a 27 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) LNG export facility at the Port of Brownsville along with one of the largest planned carbon capture and storage projects in North America. RGLNG will be the largest privately funded infrastructure project in Texas and will deliver enough energy to heat and cool the equivalent of nearly 34 million U.S. households annually,” said Susan Richardson, Senior Director of Communications for NextDecade.

“RGLNG is the first and only U.S. LNG project offering CO₂ emissions reduction of more than 90% via planned carbon capture and storage.”

The company also plans various improvements for the Port of Brownsville, benefiting all users and increasing its overall financial profitability.

“NextDecade is funding a significant portion of the Brazos Island Harbor improvement project that includes deepening the Brownsville Ship Channel from 42 to 52 feet, the development of two ship berths, and a turning basin for the RGLNG project,” she said.

The Port of Brownsville features a variety of factors that make it an advantageous location for NextDecade’s development and its future role as a powerhouse in LNG exportation.

“RGLNG is located in the Port of Brownsville, allowing us to capitalize on some of the largest, most economical natural gas reserves in the world – the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale. The Port of Brownsville is not as congested as some of the other Gulf Coast ports, and historically, the area has been hit by fewer hurricanes than the upper Gulf Coast. Additionally, there is a

local workforce with a tremendous work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Richardson.

The reach of the port’s sewer and water lines will also be increased, making it more appealing to prospective tenants by eliminating the need for future infrastructure construction.

Investment in the port will benefit the local population, boosting the economy at all levels and providing vast employment opportunities that help increase the skill level of the workforce.

“Construction and operation of the facilities will involve significant economic benefits for the local area, state of Texas, and U. S. NextDecade’s investment in the Rio Grande Valley is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits through taxes, jobs (direct, indirect and induced), local procurement and community investments.”

“We are committed to hiring at least 35% of RGLNG’s employees locally. RGLNG is expected to create and sustain more than 5,000 construction jobs during the peak development period and 350-400 on-site jobs during operations,” said Richardson.

There is also an outstanding commitment to the safety and environmental protection of the port, local region, and the planet. Along with carbon capture, the facility plans to operate with net-zero electricity, significantly reducing environmental impact. The company is also leading conservation efforts in the region, preserving 1,500 acres of the Las Lomas preserve, restoring wetlands, expanding ocelot and jaguarundi habitats, and translocating Texas tortoises whose habitat is affected by development.

“The more than 4,000 acres included in NextDecade’s environmental mitigation plan are equivalent to more than five times the 761 acres of land directly impacted by the RGLNG export facility.”

36 BUSINESS RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

· Robotic Committee Member

✓ Hidalgo-Starr County Medical Society (HSCMS)

✓ Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery (TIRS)

✓ Texas Medical Association (TMA)

Hospital Affiliations:

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Rio Grande Regional Hospital

Board-certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist

Board-certified Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery

AS SEEN IN THE TEXAS MONTHLY MAGAZINE

• Texas Rising Stars 2018-2020

• TEXAS SUPER DOCTORS 2021-2023

RENEILUNAMD.COM | (956) 630-2400 | 501 SAVANNAH AVE. MCALLEN, TEXAS 78503 Providing advanced quality healthcare to the women
of the Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Rene I. Luna
HEALTH RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

Breaking

Barriers

Emma Maria Montes-Ewing, Leading Change in Healthcare

A profound transformation is underway at South Texas Health System McAllen. Steering this change is the facility's new CEO, Emma Maria Monte-Ewing, whose appointment marks a milestone as the first Latina to helm the South Texas Health System's largest acute care facility, initially launched as McAllen Municipal Hospital in 1919. With a resounding history spanning more than two decades, Montes-Ewing's career has grown, and her leadership experience is considered more than a personal achievement. It's a leap forward in diversity and progressive administration in healthcare.

Her journey started in Peru, where she was born and raised. In this country, residents received socialized medicine and as a child, she didn't like going to hospitals. However, her interest was piqued when her grandmother became ill after receiving a shot that was administered incorrectly, leading to infection.

Montes-Ewing would observe the nurse who would make daily visits to her grandmother and care for the wound. Over time, she was fascinated by how the infection subsided. Her grandmother made a healthy recovery, which sparked an interest in Montes-Ewing, and she knew she wanted to work in health care.

She moved to the United States, learned English, and her

education evolved. She entered the healthcare industry as a licensed physical therapist assistant specializing in wound care, eventually becoming a supervisor.

"I later partnered with a physician who was the medical director for the wound care center, and we were so passionate about healing people, using tools that we had at the time, from hyperbaric therapy to maggot therapy - it was amazing."

The company she was working for at the time was creating a pipeline for CEOs and she set her eyes on becoming part of that program. After receiving her master's degree, Montes-Ewing was invited to apply to the program.

Her journey to the pinnacle of hospital administration is varied, with rich experience in healthcare management and her ability to nurture high-performing teams, drive revenue growth in competitive markets, and foster the overall strength of healthcare organizations. Before her new role, Montes-Ewing honed her skills through roles of escalating responsibility in hospital administration, making impactful contributions within the communities she has served.

Her work has not gone unnoticed. In addition to earning her facilities national recognition, Montes-Ewing

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has also served in various professional organizations. Her honors include:

· Doctors Hospital of Laredo was the recipient of the Service · Excellence Award for 2022, as presented by parent company Universal Health Services (UHS)

· Recipient of the Russ McEwen Community Hero Award in 2017

· Board Member of the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce

· Board Member at Howard Community College

· Board president of the local American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) chapter.

· Earned Regent's Award in 2013.

· Served as the Alliance for Women and Children Board president in 2009 (formerly known as YWCA)

These prestigious recognitions and awards are a testament to Montes-Ewing's exceptional ability to lead with empathy, excellence, and effectiveness.

"It's been an amazing experience, but I'm not going to say it was an easy one. It's highly competitive. Many people start, but not everybody finishes," says MontesEwing. "Luckily, I have been blessed with great mentors throughout my career who were instrumental in my development and success. I am very thankful to all of them."

"Through the highs and lows, my experiences have helped me mold me and get me to where I am today, and I have learned from the struggles and failures that sometimes can be paralyzing and demotivating. Even if a door gets slammed in your face or there's a rejection letter, there's always something to learn from it."

Montes-Ewing admits to facing many obstacles but has used them as stepping stones on her professional journey. She's looking to use everything she's learned thus far to help the people in the region.

"There are a lot of great things happening in the Rio Grande Valley. It's an amazing place with so many opportunities, but we still have the issue of being underserved," she said.

Tapping into her experience creating a workforce committed to serving growing communities and her ability to engage current physicians while recruiting additional ones, she's confident she can help create better access to much-needed healthcare in our communities.

She also recognizes the shortage of healthcare professionals after the pandemic. She's familiar with the excellent nursing, allied health, and medical programs in the area. She believes we're set up for success in the future.

"As an industry, everybody's facing that deficit," she said. "We'll continue to work on being able to recruit specialists that want to come here and help us expand services and programs, as well as primary care physicians with a passion for providing quality, compassionate care in underserved communities like ours. We'll work to retain Valley-born physicians and get them to see the value of staying in the communities they grew up in. Together, we can all build a great health care system."

Montes-Ewing added that a way to combat the shortage is by launching recruitment programs, like the recently launched South Texas Health System GME Consortium, a graduate medical education (GME) program expected to bring 200-300 medical residents to the region to complete their education.

"We're super excited because this creates additional future physicians that we will train in our system while helping them see how they can help our region flourish through expanded healthcare access."

Montes-Ewing aims to nurture an environment where healthcare excellence is the norm, not the exception. Her leadership is not just about maintaining standards but elevating them and ensuring that STHS not only meets but exceeds the health care needs of the Rio Grande Valley's diverse population.

Montes-Ewing aims to provide more healthcare opportunities while creating a culture driven by service excellence and bringing functionality to the organization by strengthening community and workplace relationships.

"When patients come to South Texas Health System McAllen, we are about creating effective communication, creating trust and mutual respect," Montes-Ewing said. "Those three things are the pillars of every functional relationship."

Leaders like Montes-Ewing are pivotal in a world where health care is more crucial than ever. Her journey is more than a personal success story. It's a testament to the power of inclusive, compassionate, and visionary leadership. Montes-Ewing is determined to continue the growth at STHS McAllen and bring a promising future where healthcare is defined by excellence, inclusivity, and an unwavering commitment to community well-being.

"When we're able to solve problems, we can see things that didn't go as planned and work together to fix it," she said.

"When we do that, we can reach the stars. We can evolve, strategize, and see where the opportunities lie."

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43 RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024 HEALTH

TECHNOLOGY AND HEALING

Moveo Performance Providing Enhanced Relief and Faster Rehabilitation to Patients and Athletes

Physical therapy is the pathway for people who have suffered from physical injuries to recover. Over time, research and scientific developments have improved the practice of physical therapy, providing enhanced relief and faster recoupment to patients. Part of the progress made in therapist's ability to heal is technological advancements that augment and build upon practitioners' skills to remedy the body in previously impossible manners.

"At Moveo Performance, cutting-edge technology takes center stage, offering innovative solutions to enhance the rehabilitation process," said Jose Suarez, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, and owner of Moveo Performance.

Moveo Performance is an outpatient orthopedic private practice physical therapy clinic in McAllen, Texas. It is at the forefront of the merger between technology and practitioner, equipped with tools that elevate the practice beyond the reach of traditional methods, from anti-gravity treadmills to variable blood-flow

technologies and advanced dynamometers to make precise measurements of the body's condition.

Among the most modern technologies is the use of an anti-gravity treadmill known as Alter-G. This treadmill functions like any regular treadmill, providing a surface for forward movement. However, the user's body is encapsulated in air, which provides an upward force that counteracts the force of gravity. This reduces the forces experienced by the body compared to movement in a regular setting, which lowers the stress on the body's critical components for movement, such as joints and muscles, which, when compromised by an injury, cannot operate under the same stress as they could normally, possibly making the affected area unusable for movement until an improvement of the injury has occurred. However, with the Alter-G treadmill, the stress imposed on an injury can be significantly reduced, allowing for earlier use of therapy techniques and exercises and a quicker recovery time.

"By harnessing NASA-developed technology, the AlterG provides a controlled environment where patients' body weight can be reduced to 0-80%. This allows the therapist to re-introduce walking and running at reduced body weights to regain strength and mobility. Indications for use are rehabilitation after total joint replacement, running injuries, and sport-specific conditioning programs," said Suarez.

Other technologies include biomechanical force measurement equipment, such as VALD Force Deck plates, which measure the forces applied by standing and vertical activity, and dynamometers, which measure

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the forces applied by muscle groups. These cutting-edge tools give precise measurements and insights into the state of a patient's internal muscle-skeletal workings, from which therapists can draw and define the best course of treatment for a patient and measure the progress made over time, allowing for informed, databased decision making.

"These state-of-the-art devices offer precise measurements of muscle strength, joint function biomechanics, enabling clinicians to make better decisions and tailor rehabilitation programs with unparalleled accuracy," said Suarez.

Another development that Moveo utilizes is variable

blood flow tourniquets for personalized blood flow restriction training (PBFR), which allows muscle building to occur at a lesser intensity of exertion than standard training. This allows an injured muscle group to be exercised earlier in recovery while reducing the risk of further aggravating an injury. Muscle training helps speed recovery and prevent mass loss after an injury. Combined with the rest of Moveo's technology, practitioners can deliver the patient an advanced and comprehensive level of care.

"Normally, it is required to have an external load of 70% one-repetition maximum (1-RM) to induce muscle hypertrophy, the physiologic process involved with increasing muscle mass and strength. PBFR allows for muscle hypertrophy at low intensities (i.e. 20-35% 1-RM) while placing a tourniquet on the extremity and applying a calibrated pressure to occlude venous blood out of the limb and restrict arterial blood flow into the limb," said Suarez.

"The importance of embracing updated technology in rehabilitation cannot be overstated. It not only expedites the recovery process but also enhances the overall quality of care."

For more information about Moveo Performance, visit moveoperformance.com.

46 HEALTH RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024
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VALLEY BAPTIST-HARLINGEN RENOVATES BREAST CENTER

Adding Automated Ultrasound Capabilities

When health care is at its best, patient experience and cutting-edge technology are key to the process.

Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen addressed both the experience and the technology with a recent renovation of its Breast Center that could be described as thoughtful and deliberate.

Valley Baptist-Harlingen Imaging Services Director Joey Govea said the renovations are key to providing patients with the best health care and most comfortable experience. From new décor designed to help reduce

anxiety over screenings and procedures to the latest technology aiding in the detection of breast cancer, the renovations are key to providing patients with the best health care and most comfortable experience.

“The changes we’ve made go a long way toward improving the patient experience. Unfortunately, mammograms and breast ultrasounds continue to be some of the more anxiety-inducing procedures for patients,” he said. “As we know, one in eight women experience breast cancer in their lifetime. That’s so

48 HEALTH RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024
“The changes we’ve made go a long way toward improving the patient experience."

many of our family members and loved ones, and it is a lot of patients. When many of these women undergo these procedures, it makes them naturally nervous, but we’ve worked hard to revamp our environment to help put the patients at ease.”

Govea said the renovation carries a price tag of nearly a quarter of a million dollars and includes thoughtful design and décor touches throughout the Breast Center space. Waiting areas and procedure rooms were enlarged and redecorated, walls were repainted with new colors chosen to give the space a sense of home, and lighting was softened to strip away the feeling of a sterile hospital environment.

Throughout the undertaking, which was completed in late 2023, Govea said his team of technologists continued their important work of helping Valley BaptistHarlingen’s community in the fight against breast cancer.

“Through it all, we never shut down and we were able to keep servicing our community during the upgrade,” he said.

In addition to the facelift, the Valley Baptist-Harlingen Breast Center is also the first in the Rio Grande Valley to add a new piece of cutting-edge technology to aid in the fight against breast cancer that could be especially key for women in communities throughout the region. Automated breast ultrasound, or ABUS, is a secondary cancer screening test that can help detect possible cancers in dense breast tissue, a trait found in as high as 65% of the Valley’s female population, Govea said.

“ABUS is an adjunct procedure and does not replace the traditional mammogram,” Govea said. “It helps us better serve our patients who have been identified as having dense breast tissue.”

Mammograms of dense breast tissue are more difficult for radiologists to read, with Govea describing the images as looking at a snowstorm. For radiologists trying to detect cancer, the process of examining a mammogram of dense breast tissue can be akin to “looking for a snowball in a snowstorm,” he said.

“Obviously that presents a greater challenge for our radiologists,” Govea said. “But with ABUS, we now have another tool in our arsenal to give our radiologists all the accurate information we can to help them make the correct diagnosis for our patients.”

Govea said the increased clarity provided by ABUS adds marginal time to the traditional screening process and carries with it minimal discomfort.

“For patients who would benefit from ABUS, we’re doing our best to schedule their mammograms and ABUS at the same time,” he said. “The ABUS procedure follows the mammogram, and during the procedure a patient will lie on their back and a technologist will move a handheld device over the breasts to take images at different angles that will help our radiologists detect any potential masses. All combined, a mammogram should take about 10-to-15 minutes, and the ABUS procedure will take about the same amount of time.”

Govea said that when considering the addition of ABUS to the Breast Center’s available tools, putting patients first and keeping them close to home for potentially life-saving screenings was a top priority.

“Technology moves very quickly, especially in health care. This is our community and our families,” he said. “Just like everything else we do at Valley Baptist, we wanted to make sure that whenever possible, our patients don’t have to travel far from home for the latest technology or treatments.”

As the healthcare landscape of South Texas continues to grow, Govea said Valley Baptist will strive to remain at the forefront of transformation.

“Just like everything else Valley Baptist Health System has done first, we will continue to refine and streamline our processes with ABUS, and then we hope everyone else will follow suit,” he said. “This will be a gamechanger for women in our community, and I hope that it will become the standard of care throughout the Valley. At Valley Baptist, we don’t shy away from new things when they are the best thing to do for our community.”

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HEALTH RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024

Dr. Lisa Chapa LA JEFA

Breaking Barriers in the Medical Field

Dr. Lisa Chapa’s story is one of resilience, sacrifice, and achievement. Dr. Chapa is the only Latina breast surgical oncologist in the Rio Grande Valley at DHR Health. Her journey, marked by challenges and triumphs, serves as an inspiration that proves barriers are but stepping stones on the path to success.

Born and raised in McAllen from an early age, Dr. Chapa was drawn to the intricacies of the human body and the complexities of medical science. Her academic journey began at Texas A&M College, where she pursued her undergraduate studies with a a difference.

“Growing up, I was always told by my parents that I could either be a doctor or a lawyer,” she said. “I had no context for what you know a doctor or a lawyer was. I didn’t have those people in my family.”

“I always really liked science, and I loved

learning, so I became a biology major in college.”

She realized that biology might not be for her when it was consuming a lot of her time and taking away from her passion, participating in performance groups. The university choir required her to focus and dedicate much of her time so that she couldn’t juggle the demands of her biology major and choir.

“So, I ended up becoming a psychology major with a minor in genetics and neuroscience.”

It wasn’t until her friend realized they both had the prerequisites for medical school that the idea of medical school became a reality.

She applied and was accepted, setting her on a path that would lead her to break barriers in the medical field.

Traditionally dominated by men, the

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“I live in this kind of in-between where I am grateful for the opportunities I was given and the fact that I’ve become a surgeon, and what that means for me. It has made me the person I am and given me the confidence I’ve acquired and the impact I get to make on my community.”
Dr. Lisa Chapa, breast surgical oncologist

world of surgery presented its share of obstacles. Women make up about 20% of the surgeons.

“If you look at that breakdown for Latinas, we only make up 1.3% of surgeons,” she said. “We are very, very underrepresented, just as Hispanics in general.”

Dr. Chapa is excited that she got over those hurdles and proud that she has had the opportunity to operate alongside surgeons who inspired her.

She took her journey from Texas A&M to the prestigious Baylor Scott & White Hospital for her General Surgery residency. Her quest for knowledge and expertise in her field did not stop there. She further honed her skills in Breast Surgical Oncology during a surgical fellowship within the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, an experience that equipped her with the latest techniques and evidence-based practices to provide the highest standard of care to her patients.

Returning to the Rio Grande Valley was driven by love and commitment. Dr. Chapa’s dedication to her family and friends underscores her deep-rooted values and belief in giving back to the community. As the Director of the Breast Center of Excellence at DHR Health, she offers hope and healing to those facing breast cancer and other conditions.

Her expertise extends to performing oncoplastic breast-conserving surgeries, mastectomies, and sentinel lymph node biopsies, continuously with a focus on the

needs and best outcomes of her patients.

Dr. Chapa admits that life can be a balancing act. Still, without the support of her parents, family, and loving husband, she would not be able to achieve her long workdays and commitment to the work she does.

“If I’m being honest, I struggle with and mourn the loss of the person I was before,” she said. “There’s a lot you have to give up of yourself to become a surgeon.”

She shared that she works long days that add up to 80 to 100-hour weeks, working herself to the bone.

“I live in this kind of in-between where I am grateful for the opportunities I was given and the fact that I’ve become a surgeon, and what that means for me. It has made me the person I am and given me the confidence I’ve acquired and the impact I get to make on my community.”

Dr. Chapa added that she is working on reconnecting with the person she was before and learning to discover her passion and joy in music.

“The advice I would give someone would be to just go into it with eyes wide open. This profession will take a lot from you, and you will not come out the same on the other end.”

“You have to be OK with the losing of yourself, even some of the most precious parts of yourself, so that you can evolve and be molded into this new version. It is as if you’re blooming.”

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DENTAL CARE

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies and When to Seek Immediate Care

Maintaining good oral health is paramount to overall health. The neglect of oral health can have serious implications for the entire body. To provide dental care, Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics is a Texas-based company with a multitude of practices in various states. Despite its expansion, the company has a unified vision: to provide the people of its communities with the highest quality and most accessible dental care, addressing and preventing dental issues and potential challenges.

“Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics was founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to high-end dental care regardless of means or status. Our awardwinning doctors provide you and your family top-notch dental services and specialties all under one roof. All Rodeo Dental facilities use state-of-the-art dental and information technology and boast hospital-grade sterilization environments,” said Dr. Hisham Ayoub,

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regional director of Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics.

Despite the availability of advanced and accessible care, patients sometimes omit or delay receiving treatment. This can be for various reasons, such as economic or time-related.

Regardless, delaying dental care can only aggravate an existing problem.

“At Rodeo Dental, we are fully sensitive and empathetic to the needs of the community. A lot of us may be experiencing hardships on personal and economic levels. We offer multiple in-house discount plans, and in some cases, working with a great local organization such as Dentists Who Care, we can help with free care if the patients meet certain criteria”.

Some individuals may not feel their symptoms yet merit a visit to the dentist. However, Dr. Ayoub states that even the most minor discomforts can be signs of a much greater issue.

“Some patients may be surprised to learn that they have a small cavity that was diagnosed on x-rays, and say, “But I don’t have any pain.” The best time to treat tooth decay is before symptoms develop because once pain starts, it usually means it has become an elevated problem.”

With routine preventative care, the possibility of major complications is significantly reduced.

“At Rodeo Dental, we recommend that our patients try their best to visit our clinics twice per year in order to give our detail-oriented doctors the chance to examine, diagnose, and treat any small developing dental disease using our advanced imaging technologies and treatment facilities,” said Dr. Ayoub.

However, when the onset of pain has started, dental concerns become urgent, and a patient should seek

immediate care. Rodeo Dental is equipped with an emergency phone line to handle a patient undergoing severe issues, and their clinics are ready for any emergency visit.

“When a patient feels pain, it is the body screaming for help. Pain should always be taken seriously, no matter how “little” it may be. Every person is different, with different sensitivity. I have personally examined patients who have had a very severe infection but only felt “a little pain.” If left untreated or just allowed to fester because the pain is not severe enough, the infection can make its way through the root of the tooth and into surrounding bone and gums, causing facial swelling in dental patients. At this stage, the infection can suddenly reach a level where a patient’s swallowing and breathing are affected,” said Dr. Ayoub.

“If the pain is severe, or the patient is feeling swelling or breathing problems, a visit to the emergency clinic or hospital is absolutely necessary. With 17 locations across the RGV and Laredo, Rodeo Dental is set up to welcome emergency walk-in patients any time of the day.”

Within the Rio Grande Valley, Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics is deeply established, providing a connection between patient and practitioner and enhancing the quality of care and service.

“Our grassroots foundation in the RGV has set Rodeo Dental apart in its ties to the community. Many of our amazing team members grew up as patients at Rodeo. We believe in giving back to the RGV community that welcomed us with open arms from the very beginning and continues to look to us for help in times of need,” said Dr. Ayoub.

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AN EXEMPLARY OF GROWTH

Laura Disque Provides Rio Grande Regional Hospital Exceptional Guidance and Experience

Rio Grande Regional Hospital (RGRH) in McAllen, Texas, is one of the region's most prominent hospitals. Along with its sister hospital, Valley Regional Medical Center (VRMC) in Brownsville, they provide advanced quality medical care in the Rio Grande Valley. Both facilities are HCA Healthcare-affiliated hospitals. HCA Healthcare is the leading healthcare system in the United States, providing extensive expertise, tools, and resources, highly driven by its mission to improve human life.

Leading RGRH is chief executive officer Laura Disque, appointed in 2023, providing the hospital with exceptional guidance and experience.

"As CEO, I am committed to ensuring quality care and a positive experience for our patients, their families, physicians and employees. Additionally, I focus on health care growth and expansion. What more can we do? What does our community need?" said Disque.

Before becoming CEO, Disque played various roles within the medical field, such as nursing and other leadership positions. Still,

her passion for caring and inspiration to be a healthcare provider go back to her childhood.

"I have been a registered nurse for over 28 years; my neighbor, also a registered nurse, inspired me as a child. She was my best friend's sister. She attended Pan-American University. I was in awe of her pile of anatomy books and study habits. In high school, I took a job in the medical records department of a medical office, and I was fascinated by the patients. It was an orthopedic office. I took any opportunity to be around the clinical area."

Having chosen the medical field, she attended university, became a nurse, and commenced her practice. She also holds a bachelor's in psychology and a master's in nursing administration.

"I started undergraduate studies at Pan-American University. I transferred to Southwest Texas State University; however, they did not have a nursing program. I found a program near Seguin, Victoria College and earned my associate degree in nursing. I also worked as a nurse's aide during college for two years. I did much commuting those two years, but it was worth the sacrifice."

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RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024 HEALTH

Disque worked as a bedside registered nurse for 12 years before taking on a leadership position, moving up the ranks, and eventually becoming CEO.

"I took the opportunity for a leadership position as a unit director at a local health system. I did well within that specialty and earned a promotion to vice president of nursing operations. In 2019, I returned to RGRH as the assistant chief nursing officer. After two years in clinical leadership, pandemic, and executive development training, I advanced to chief operations officer. When Cris Rivera retired last year, I was fortunate to be appointed the new chief executive officer."

Laura's extensive history of hands-on nursing experience and leadership gives her an informed view on which to base critical decision-making.

"My clinical experience, nursing background and having worked at the bedside for many years strengthen my role. I understand the staff's challenges regarding workload, patient acuity, equipment, supplies and infrastructure needed because I've been on the front line."

"As a leader, I've learned to build high-performing teams by acknowledging my strengths and opportunities and those of the team and filling gaps with complimenting talent. Creating a strong and cohesive team will bring commitment and effectiveness. That's the secret sauce," said Disque.

A large part of her role and goal as CEO is expanding the hospital's reach and practices and identifying areas for improvement.

"We perform routine health care gap analysis and focus on the resulting opportunities to ensure we are filling the disparity with the appropriate health care our community needs. Neurology services continue to be an immense deficit here in South Texas. One of our focuses these last two years is bringing in a full complement of neuro hospitalists and neuro endovascular physicians to RGRH and VRMC," said Disque.

Another of Disque's goals as part of her vision to advance the hospital and health care in South Texas is increasing HCA Healthcare's access points from the upper to lower valley. Currently, RGRH alone has 19 off-site access points. By adding more sites of care across the valley, RGRH and VRMC will be connected and positioned to positively impact health care, health education and economic growth.

Laura Disque states to anyone pursuing a leadership position:

"Don't chase a title; follow your talent, put yourself out there. Acknowledge your strengths and opportunities, then build strong teams around them rather than trying to lead alone. Always recognize your colleagues for their work, have empathy, and stay humble."

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Dr. Jose I. Suarez Physical Therapist RELIEVE PAIN. OPTIMIZE MOBILITY. IMPROVE PERFORMANCE. contact us Moveo Performance LLC 956-515-2055 | Fax: 956-515-2058 www.moveoperformance.com 6624 N 10th ST, Suite R McAllen, TX 78504 @moveoperformance Expert Physical Therapists helping active adults and athletes relieve pain, optimize movement, and improve performance to return to the lifestyle and activities they love.
by Colleen Curran Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlán | photos provided
LIFE RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024
New Native Plant Brochure cover

When you walk the grounds of Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, you see the beauty of our native plants growing wild around the urban sanctuary. Not only are they beautiful, but they significantly help our wildlife in a time when a small percentage of native plants remain in the wild. The Granjeno (gran-hen-oh) is an example of a “giving” native plant from our region. The evergreen shrub will attract many birds to the sweet fruit in your garden. We find Green Jays, Mockingbirds, Cardinals, and Long-billed Thrashers eating the tiny orange berries. The berry-bearing plant appreciates the birds and other animals spreading their seeds.

The Rio Grande Valley enjoys a number of different habitats, with over 1,200 reported native species. There are plants found here that occur nowhere else in the United States. With plenty of sunshine but low rainfall, most of our native plants tend to have small leaves. A beautiful woody plant for your garden is the Guayacan (whuh-yah-can). It vaguely resembles the appearance of a northern evergreen, and in the spring, you’ll see violet flowers and fruit supporting the wildlife.

Another must-have for your native garden is the

Turk's cap plant.
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Buff-bellied hummingbird.
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popular Turk’s Cap. The red flowering plant provides nectar to support hummingbirds. In no time, you’ll welcome the Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, a year-round resident in the Rio Grande Valley, to your yard.

With such a large palette of native plants, we selected over 100 species that are more readily available for purchase at nurseries and or may readily be found growing in the region. These species are featured in a new guide titled “KEEP IT WILD-Native Plants of the RGV.” Texas artist Don Breeden designed the guide, available in the Quinta Gift Store. It was developed to encourage the use of native plants in places where we work, live, and play.

When creating your garden environment, include pieces of wood/stumps for shelter and décor. Add water for the wildlife, even a simple shallow bowl, or drip onto a rock. Remember that native plants can coexist with what is already growing in your garden. Celebrate our regional beauty at home and help create a habitat corridor to support our birds, butterflies, and all living things. Follow Quinta Mazatlan on social media for workshops on creating a small wildscape at home!

Guayacan.
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Guayacan.

INVENTIVE RESTAURANTS THRIVING IN NORTH MCALLEN

Neighboring Diners Offer Variety of Food and Atmosphere

The Valley has plenty of unique dining options, three of which can be found within one building in North McAllen. These neighboring locations on Auburn Avenue offer a distinct mixture of food, drink, and social atmosphere.

Anyone seeking a vibrant nighttime environment can start with Toloa Rooftop. The location opened in April 2023 as its three founders sought to create an innovative dine-in experience.

“Their vision was to have a fusion of a restaurant, bar, and lounge rooftop in North McAllen,” said Ricardo Martinez, General Manager. “It’s a very interesting concept where customers don’t just do one thing.”

Key to the restaurant’s atmosphere is its striking architecture, which sports an Aztec-themed aesthetic of earthy coloring and textured wall designs. Guests ascend to an upper story by stair or elevator, then encounter a spacious rooftop suite with options for indoor and outdoor ambiance.

“The architecture transforms this place into something very unique,” Martinez said. “We can open our glass panels, and it changes the restaurant from a formal dining setting into a more open lounge and bar.”

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Toloa Rooftop has hosted several events promoting local interests and invites residents of McAllen to celebrate its one-year anniversary event in April.

“I think everyone who comes in here receives a warm welcome, no matter what status,” Martinez said. “That’s really unique because the restaurant lends itself to be dictated by customers.”

Guests can visit a neighboring suite to find Santo Pecado, a restaurant known for its all-day assortment of dine-in options. Santo Pecado is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., remaining open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant and coffee shop appeal to a wide array of customers with its flexible dining environment.

“We wanted people to have an experience from the a.m. to the p.m.,” said Juan Verdura, one of the restaurant’s two founders. “You can roll in, bring your laptop, get coffee and pastries, and do some work or study.”

The menu at Santo Pecado combines traditional entrees with cocktail drinks and cold-brew coffee. Drink options are handcrafted and brewed in-house,

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while popular dishes include the Garritas de Leon RibEye Tacos and Pistachio Crusted Salmon Risotto. This variety has allowed the restaurant to host a broad range of social events, including birthday parties, real estate conferences, holiday gatherings, engagement celebrations, and a daily Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The location also hosts a DJ on Friday and Saturday nights and has previously featured live performances by jazz musicians. The restaurant hopes to resume Jazz Night on Thursdays and plans to launch a Karaoke Night on Mondays.

“We put an emphasis on allowing our team members to put their creativity into those things,” Verdura said. “Santo Pecado would not be where it is today without an amazing team of bartenders, mixologists, baristas, and kitchen staff managers.”

The restaurant hopes to honor the food and drink industry members with future promotions and discounts.

Found in a nearby suite is Howling Rabbits Beerworks, a location known for its exciting blend of food and festivities. The restaurant and brewery are open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., providing a fun and familyfriendly environment.

“We wanted to combine everything,” said Steven Schwoerer, General Manager. “There’s only a few more in the state that can do everything we do.”

The brewery features an unrivaled atmosphere for sports fans, boasting several video walls of widescreen TVs. One video wall features a combination of twelve 75-inch screens, making it one of the largest TV displays in South Texas. The restaurant must prepare for widely anticipated sports events, which draw large viewing parties throughout the year. Fans can bond over popular drinks and appetizers, including the Street Corn Dip and Loaded Soft Pretzel. The menu also includes various pizza options, with selections ranging from the traditional to the extravagant.

“We stick with the classics, and then we try to put our own little spin on everything,” Schwoerer said. “It’s stuff for everybody that everyone knows and loves.”

The restaurant’s universal appeal is only one highlight of an innovative dining sector, where residents and visitors in North McAllen can enjoy several firstrate options.

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COMPREHENSIVE Care for Kids

For nearly 18 years, Valley families have counted on South Texas Health System® Children’s for a wide range of pediatric services.

Our colorful, kid-friendly facility features a four-story pediatric tower and a dedicated pediatric emergency department, as well as the following specialty pediatric services:

• Anesthesia

• Behavioral Health

• Cardiology

• Ear, Nose & Throat

• Emergency Medicine

• Gastroenterology

• General Surgery

• Hematology/Oncology

• Infectious Disease

• Intensive Care

• Nephrology

• Neurology

• Orthopedics/Sports Medicine

• Outpatient Physical Therapy

• Pulmonology

• Scoliosis/Spine

• Sleep Medicine

• And many more

Learn more at southtexashealthsystemchildrens.com

If your child is ill or injured, South Texas Health System Children’s is here. Since 2006, we have earned the confidence of our community by demonstrating, every day, that your child’s health is our purpose.

Physicians are independent practitioners who, with limited exceptions, are not employees or agents of South Texas Health System. The System shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability accommodations and the nondiscrimination notice, visit our website. 242088265-2131659 1/24

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Valley International Airport - Largest in the Region
Two Major Interstate Highways
Opportunity Zones
Hundreds of Acres of Shovel-Ready Industrial Land ... and much more! THE HARLINGEN ADVANTAGE
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BUILDING DREAMS

Ariva Homes Commitment to Quality of Design

Being a homeowner has been a staple of the American dream for as long as it has existed. To live and own one's space, to have a personal haven to bear one's life, a place where one can relax, raise a family, and make memories that will last for a lifetime, has been the image of prosperity for generations.

Ensuring the utmost quality of design and assembly is essential in raising a dream. Ariva Homes is a familyowned residential construction company set on delivering people their aspirations of a lifetime and guiding their customers along the process.

Ariva, however, does far more than just home building. It is a multifaceted construction company long involved in commercial construction and land development. Profusely experienced, the company has operated for over 25 years, erecting many successful projects. It has recently completed just under 1 million square feet in dry stack warehouse projects. The company was previously known as KRK Construction, only transitioning through a rebrand into Ariva Homes three years ago.

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"Ariva was born with a clear mission — to craft affordable, high-quality homes and communities that resonate with the diverse needs of our clients. Ariva Homes is one of the largest family-owned homebuilders in South Texas. Our goal is to build not just homes but lifelong memories and relationships. Since then, we've been dedicated to transforming dreams into homes," said Rico Rodriguez, Division President for Ariva Homes.

The constructions of Ariva Homes are defined by their craftsmanship and commitment to creating a personally intimate space, inviting to the heart and the eye, pleasing all senses of the human experience. All their homes are built sturdily from first-class building materials such as stucco, which prolongs the durability and extends the value of a home. Each home is also fenced, enhancing the privacy and protection of one's personal space. Every construction also comes equipped with a warranty.

"Ariva takes pride in crafting homes designed by highly qualified architects and engineers. Our homes are built to last, with meticulous attention to detail."

"Warranty we offer is one year door-to-door, two years on plumbing, electric and HVAC, and 10 years structural. We are one of the only builders in the valley offering this product and are one of the only ones that have a full-time warranty team," said Rodriguez.

Ariva Homes do more than build houses; instead, they erect entire communities. The company has developed a multitude of different neighborhoods all over Laredo.

It will soon be constructing new subdivisions in the RGV. Each community is different, with its unique location and select styles. However, they are all tied together by Ariva's notable sophistication. Neighborhoods are strategically planned and located, with easy access to vital roads, shopping centers, and schools.

"At Ariva, our commitment to integrity, professionalism, and social responsibility is unwavering. We uphold the highest standards of ethics, ensuring that every home we build reflects these values in its very foundation," said Rodriguez

The company also prides itself on offering variety, appealing to a large customer base, and meeting individuals' diverse needs. When picking a home, Ariva provides multiple plans, or they can design a custom home plan based on customer specifications. Ariva's designs are defined by a commitment to modernity, delivering the client a home at par with the times.

"Our design philosophy is dynamic and responsive to market trends. We aim not only to meet but to exceed modern design expectations, ensuring that each Ariva home stands as a testament to refined living."

"From first-time homebuyers embarking on a new chapter to those seeking their forever home, to highend luxury customers seeking top-notch white glove treatment. Ariva welcomes any customer who values quality and distinction," said Rodriguez.

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MORE THAN HOOPS

RGV Vipers Impact Helps Them Reach 17 Years and Counting

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers have been in the Valley since 2007. In 17 years, the team has climbed to the top of the NBA G-League (formerly D-League) mountain as champions four times, the most in league history.

Games are played at Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, right off the highway, and accessible to fans across the collection of cities that make up the Valley.

"We are the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and we play in Edinburg, but we are the Valley's team. Being affiliated with the NBA is incredible. We want to create core memories for families and basketball fans." Vipers Vice President Mario Rodriguez said. "People are able to come to an affordable NBA-quality game and see NBA caliber players."

Rodriguez has served in his role for four years. He is in charge of a tight-knit crew because semi-professional sports operate on a smaller scale than the Rockets or Spurs.

"My role includes everything from sales to overseeing our front office," Rodriguez said. "I oversee day-to-day operations, our budget, our sponsor contracts, season ticket members, and everything that aligns with that. We're a pretty small office, so I get to play a hand in

everything from dancers going to community events to public relations releases that go out."

Despite extreme success on the court, the Vipers' work off the court has played a large role in ensuring they are here to stay.

Small-town sports is no small business. Even though the RGV is a growing region, it's important to remember all the teams that have come and gone through the years. From the Harlingen Whitewings on the diamond to Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on ice to the RGV Dorados Arena football.

"It's not just about coming to a basketball game, it's about the live entertainment product," He said. "Yes, there's a basketball game going on, and that's what we are built around, but there is so much else going on as well. We have dance schools performing, we have schools performing national anthems, we recently had the Boy Scouts come and do a shoot around and earn a badge. It's about creating lifelong memories."

Rodriguez acknowledges it takes hard work to embed a team as part of the fabric of the community.

"What we learned early on is it's the fans that drive the game," Rodriguez said. "When there are 3,000 plus fans

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all cheering for the team, it really makes a difference, especially for our players."

Speaking of players, part of Rodriguez's job is to build a connection between the community and the players that come to this area to chase their dream of being a pro hooper.

"When the players come in, it's one of the first things we talk about. We're a team that does a lot in the community," Rodriguez said. "We have players going to schools talking about the importance of hard work. We recently went out to help at an animal shelter."

Rodriguez gives a lot of credit to head coach Kevin Burleson, who actively gets his team out into the Valley around them.

"It starts with our head coach; on Thanksgiving morning, he and his team were out there at the Salvation Army being a part of this community," Rodriguez said. "It's about the culture that you build. I've never seen a player turn down a fan for an autograph or photo with a kid. They understand how much they mean to the Valley and how much support they have."

Rodriguez reiterated the importance of being proactive and working hard to resonate with the area, especially how quickly things change or come and go in the RGV.

"Being anywhere in the Valley for 17 years is impressive," Rodriguez said. "We have no plans on going anywhere, and that has to be a two-way street. You can't just ask people to come to games and never give back. At the end of the day, it's not about the money they come and spend; it's about memories they come to create."

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SERVING FAMILIES IN NEED

Affordable Homes of South Texas Creates Network of Homeownership Assistance

Several generations of homeowners have enjoyed the support of Affordable Homes of South Texas, Inc. (AHSTI). The nonprofit organization seeks to enhance the quality of life with affordable homeownership options and a devoted community of supporters.

"We offer multiple ways to achieve homeownership," said Myra Martinez, Deputy Executive Director of AHSTI. "We consider ourselves a one-stop solution for anyone who wants to buy a home regardless of income level."

The organization was founded in 1976 in response to unfavorable living conditions in the Rio Grande Valley. A contemporary citation by the U.S. News & World Report revealed that McAllen, Texas, suffered from Third World living conditions, prompting a call to action from business and community leaders. AHSTI was accordingly established to reduce levels of impoverishment in McAllen, developing a rehabilitation and repair program for local residences. The organization has redefined and expanded its services in the years since. Still, it emphasizes low- to moderate-income families in its core homeownership program.

"There's a huge amount of our population down here that are still working at a wage level that makes homeownership challenging," Martinez said. "Our role is to look at each applicant's situation, see what obstacles they have, and work with them to put them on an action plan."

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"We offer multiple ways to achieve homeownership. We consider ourselves a one-stop solution for anyone who wants to buy a home regardless of income level."

The organization remains based in McAllen and with a second branch in Weslaco. Its services include house sales, home building and improvement, lending, homebuyer education, financial counseling, and home maintenance and repair classes. At the core of its business is the construction and development of houses, which involves a multistep journey toward homeownership. AHSTI first determines its customers' eligibility and then seeks to equip them with the necessary tools to achieve homeowner status.

Customers can begin this process by creating an online profile with AHSTI. A six-question survey determines future steps in the process, with some customers acquiring prequalification as their first step and others being referred to financial classes and counselors. AHSTI is also a counseling agency approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, allowing customers to benefit from pre-purchase counseling services free of charge.

"We love to promote our homebuyer education class," Martinez said. "It's an overwhelming experience to buy a home and this class answers a lot of questions, and clears up a lot of anxiety for potential homeowners."

The home-buying process includes multiple paths based on customer needs and financing options. Still, AHSTI works to ensure that each potential homeowner has the opportunity to reach their goal. The organization works closely with families to verify program eligibility based on area median income while facilitating contract signing, loan application, material selection, home construction, and closing. In addition, AHSTI also helps higher-income customers through its mortgage brokerage service.

"We're really all about the journey," Martinez said. "We're embarking on this celebration of accomplishment and chronicling the whole journey home from the beginning to the end. Our customers can always remember the moment that they made their dream come true."

The company's streamlined approach to

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homeownership has appealed to a wide range of customers. Families can approach AHSTI as the single solution to all their home-related concerns and, in turn, avoid relying on multiple businesses.

"We finance the homes, we build the homes, and we close on them in-house," Martinez said. "Then we service the loan, so you make your payments with us. You stay within the family until you pay it off."

The organization's culture is consequently one of loyalty and communal support. The company's services have benefited multiple generations of customers, with a recent applicant representing a third-generation AHSTI homebuyer. The clientele also includes a high volume of single parents, allowing the collective staff at AHSTI to embrace their role as a surrogate family. Martinez recounts that several closings have had inspirational stories behind them, noting that some homeowners have been denied mortgages multiple times before finally building their homes with AHSTI.

"We're trying to bring back the emotion of buying a home," Martinez said. "We celebrate the accomplishment of the dream with the customer at closing. It's about connecting as much as possible with them."

For more information about Affordable Homes of South Texas, Inc., visit ahsti.org.

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WHY SHOULD I GET ARTIFICIAL TURF?

Exploring the Benefits of Synthetic Grass

Artificial turf has been gaining popularity in recent years as a practical and sustainable alternative to natural grass. Whether you're a homeowner looking to upgrade your lawn or a business owner considering landscaping options, you might be wondering: why should I get artificial turf?

Artificial turf has revolutionized how we approach landscaping, offering many advantages over traditional grass. From environmental benefits to cost savings and durability, the appeal of synthetic grass is undeniable. Let's explore some key reasons why choosing artificial turf could be the right decision for you.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

One of the most compelling reasons to opt for artificial turf is its positive environmental impact. Unlike natural grass, which requires copious amounts of water to stay lush and green, synthetic turf requires minimal irrigation. By reducing water usage, artificial turf helps conserve this precious resource and contributes to sustainability efforts. Additionally, synthetic grass eliminates the need for harmful pesticides and fertilizers, further reducing environmental impact and promoting a healthier ecosystem.

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MAINTENANCE AND COST SAVINGS

Artificial turf offers significant advantages in terms of maintenance and cost savings. Unlike natural grass, which demands regular mowing, watering, and application of lawn care products, synthetic turf requires minimal upkeep. With synthetic grass, you can say goodbye to weekend chores spent tending to your lawn and hello to more leisure time. While the initial installation costs of artificial turf may be higher than natural grass, the long-term savings on maintenance and water bills make it a cost-effective choice in the grand scheme of things.

DURABILITY AND LONGEVITY

Another key benefit of artificial turf is its durability and longevity. Unlike natural grass, which can become worn and patchy over time, synthetic turf maintains its lush green appearance year-round. Whether faced with heavy foot traffic or harsh weather conditions, artificial turf stands up to the challenge, retaining its beauty and functionality for years. With proper care, synthetic grass can outlast its natural counterpart, providing a lasting solution for your landscaping needs.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Artificial turf also offers advantages in terms of health and safety. By eliminating the need for pesticides and fertilizers, synthetic grass reduces exposure to harmful chemicals, creating a safer environment for you, your family, and your pets. Additionally, artificial turf eliminates mud, puddles, and uneven surfaces, reducing the risk of slip and fall accidents. With synthetic grass, you can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that your outdoor space is clean and safe for everyone.

AESTHETIC APPEAL AND CUSTOMIZATION

When it comes to aesthetics, artificial turf shines. With a wide range of options for texture, color, and pile height, synthetic grass allows for endless customization to suit your preferences. Artificial turf can accommodate your vision whether you prefer a lush, natural-looking lawn or a sleek, modern design. With synthetic grass, you can achieve the perfect manicured appearance without the hassle of constant upkeep, enhancing the beauty of your landscape with minimal effort.

VERSATILITY AND USE CASES

Artificial turf is incredibly versatile, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. The possibilities are endless, whether you're looking to install synthetic grass in your backyard, on a rooftop garden, or on a sports field. Synthetic turf can adapt to challenging terrain and climates, providing a practical solution for landscapes of all kinds. Artificial turf offers a versatile and durable landscaping solution whether you're a homeowner, business owner, or municipality.

The advantages of synthetic grass are numerous, including environmental sustainability, cost savings, durability, and safety. If you are thinking of improving your outdoor space or creating a low-maintenance landscape, you may want to consider artificial turf. It is a practical and sustainable choice that offers many benefits.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about synthetic grass, don't hesitate to reach out. Our team of experts is here to help you make the best choice for your outdoor space.

For more information on artificial turf, visit ez-scape.com.

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PREMIERGARAGE

Transforming Garage Organization in the Rio Grande Valley

PremierGarage is known nationwide for its garage optimization services but only arrived in the Rio Grande Valley in February of 2023. PremierGarage of McAllen now acts as a thriving branch of the national franchise, offering high-quality and affordable garage services throughout South Texas.

Leading the family-operated business is Ulises Gonzalez, a McAllen-based franchisee with a vision of superior garage management throughout the city. Gonzalez is one of over a hundred PremierGarage franchisees and has worked to define his business model while also upholding the parent company's policies.

"Our core values are to provide the services here with a high level of integrity," Gonzalez said. "We deliver innovation and have the newest products for this purpose."

The enterprise began in 2020 with statistical research on customer needs. Gonzalez discovered that many consumers were seeking low-quality local options for their garage services while others were paying high prices for contracts in remote locations. The lack of local and affordable services led to a new business undertaking in McAllen.

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"In some cases, the customers weren't getting exactly what they needed," Gonzalez said. "We saw a lot of opportunity. I decided to go for it."

Gonzalez contacted a liaison at PremierGarage and completed a process of interviews and training. The franchise expanded to McAllen, where the local business represents its parent company with only five employees. His family supports Gonzalez in managing the company's needs, including its sales and marketing. The company also hires subcontractors on a per-account basis.

PremierGarage of McAllen specializes in garage organization, seeking to create efficient, durable, and aesthetically pleasing storage systems. Their main services include the installation of shelves, cabinets, countertop workspaces, and overhead storage units to optimize space management. The business offers customized services for maximum efficiency, including floor coating and wall-mounted units, which are tailored to the needs of garage owners. The company's target audience includes the general public as well as commercial venues.

"The whole idea of our business model is to offer the potential customer an entire garage system," Gonzalez said. "You can see how any garage transforms from a simple or disorganized place into a very neat and organized space that is appealing."

The customized storage systems facilitate a number of customer interests, including in-garage hobbies and sports-related activities. The Cimarron Country Club

locker rooms in Mission are among the locations where Gonzales recalls a substantial improvement.

"It was a transformation," Gonzalez said of the Country Club. "We entered there and offered a solution. They're very happy with it."

The company has spent the last year developing its customer base and seeks to increase its involvement with community development in McAllen. Gonzalez notes that promoting youth activities is key to the company's interests, particularly in underprivileged communities. The business currently supports a nonprofit organization in an effort to provide free tennis lessons and equipment for students.

"We try to engage children in schools with limited resources," Gonzalez said. "These kids would not be exposed to those kinds of specific lessons otherwise."

The local initiative is only one example of the company's commitment to improvement. The business began as an attempt to strengthen the quality of local services and now continues to strive for superior quality at a manageable cost. Their effort reflects a larger mission to serve as the garage designer of choice throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

"We have average to high-end customers, and they want the best of the best," Gonzalez said. "We can deliver for that purpose."

For more information about PremierGarage, visit premiergarage.com.

85 RGVISION MAGAZINE . MAR/APR 2024 LIFE
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Recognized

Hanna Solutions Commercial Real Estate is setting t he bar high in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) real estate market. Our recent recognitions, includ ing the Platinum Broker award by Crexi and the Power Broker award by Costar for Top Sale in Q4 of 2023, are testaments to our commitment to excellence. With the highest digital footprint in South Texas, we ensure your property gets unparalleled exposure. Our impressive 87% List to Sale ratio demonstrates our efficacy in marketing and selling commercial proper ties. At Hanna Solutions, we don’t just list your property; we craft a strategic marketing plan to meet and exceed your goals.

SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD Award-Winning Service:
as
Platinum Broker
Power Broker award
Costar
Top Sale
Q4
2023.
a
by Crexi. Received the
by
for
in
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Unmatched Presence: Largest digital footprint in South Texas for maximum property exposure Outstanding Performance: 87% List to Sale ratio, underscoring our success in selling properties we represent. Tailored Marketing: Every property is given a strategic marketing plan for optimal results Local Focus: Dedicated exclusively to the Rio Grande Valley area, with extensive knowledge of the local market Proven Results: Showcasing a series of recently sold properties, reflecting our ability to close deals Mark Hanna Commercial Real Estate Advisor Mark@hanna.solutions (956) 821-8001 Edson@hanna.solutions (956) 360-5062 Edson Carvajal Commercial Real Estate Advisor WE MAKE DEALS HAPPEN McColl N 611 322-4001 (956) Road McAllen, TX 78501 - Suite D www.hannasolutionscre.com
661-U-SEE (8733) WWW.PENAEYE.COM T H E VALLEY’S OFFICIAL I N TR A L A SI K SUR G E ON F OR T H E DALLAS C OWB OY S EXPERIENCE YOU CAN TRUST ADVANCED VISION CORRECTION See Bet ter. Live Bet ter. Feel Bet ter.
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