Mission EDC Welcomes New Board Members

Mission EDC Welcomes New Board Members 

MISSION – The Mission Economic Development Corporation welcomed several new community leaders to its board of directors that bring a wide breadth of knowledge and experience to the business and job creation organization.

The seven-member board will consist of four new members plus Board President Richard Hernandez, Mission Mayor Norie Gonzalez Garza and Jose Vargas, who was previously on the board.

The new board members include Deborah Cordova, Carl Davis, Estella Saenz and Noel Salinas. They were voted on and approved by the city council in December 2022.

The Mission EDC board will also serve as members on the Mission Education Development Council and the Mission Economic Development Authority. The Mission EDC board provides leadership and policy direction primarily for the EDC, a 13-employee entity with an $8 million annual budget that oversees the city’s job creation efforts, a 55,000 square-foot business incubator (Center for Education and Economic Development), and industrial park and a food park.

“Mission’s economic development future is very bright, and with the experience, wisdom and leadership of this new board, the Mission EDC will move forward in a positive, transparent and strategic way,” said Teclo J. Garcia, Mission EDC’s CEO. “I look forward to working with the board on issues that impact Mission and the Rio Grande Valley such as quality job creation, business expansion, small business growth and workforce training. Mission is definitely building something special here.”

The new board is composed of small business owners and experts in healthcare, law, real estate and insurance sectors. More information about their backgrounds can be found below in alphabetical order.

Deborah Cordova is an attorney and a founding member of the firm Walsh McGurk Cordova Nixon, PLLC. She served on the Board of Directors for the State Bar of Texas from 2019-2022, is a former president of the Texas Women Lawyers and was named a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation in 2019. Cordova is the first woman chair of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership Chamber of Commerce, and her volunteer work is extensive, having served on various community organizations, including the Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas, Boys & Girls Club of Mission, Teach for America and the Junior Service League of Mission. She is also currently an Advisory Board Member at Mission Regional Medical Center and an Advisory Board Member for Lone Star National Bank.

Carl Davis owns Davis Insurance Agency, which has been in business for 32 years. He is currently chairman of the Mission Building Board of Adjustments and he previously served on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Mission and as a former president of the Shary Municipal Golf Course Advisory Board. He also previously served as an ambassador for the Mission Chamber of Commerce and was on the Board of Directors for the Farmers Employees & Agent Political Action Committee of Texas.

Norie Gonzalez Garza was elected Mission mayor in June 2022. Before that, she served on the city council for four terms and previously three terms on the Mission Consolidated Independent School board. Garza has been a real estate broker for more than 30 years and owns Real Estate Investments Company. She has served in numerous community organizations, such as Mission Chamber of Commerce, Junior Service League, Mission Boys & Girls Club, parent-teacher organizations, Texas Citrus Fiesta and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Richard Hernandez is president of El Capote Inc., a real estate investment trust, and has held that position for more than 25 years. Throughout his career, he has held many leadership positions, including as former president of the Boys & Girls Club of Mission, former chairman of the Mission Redevelopment Authority, former chairman of the Mission Economic Development Authority and former president of the Shary Municipal Golf Course Advisory Board. Hernandez was also heavily involved with the Junior Chamber, a leadership training and civic organization for people between the ages of 18 and 40, also known as Jaycees. He served as president of the Texas Jaycees and vice president of the United States Jaycees.

Estella Saenz has been in the banking industry for 29 years and is currently a business relationship manager/vice president of PNC Bank, formerly known as BBVA. She previously served 17 years on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Mission, was part of the Volunteer Chapter Board for BBVA and currently sits on the Mission Regional Medical Center Advisory Board.

Noel Salinas has been in the healthcare industry for more than 26 years and currently serves as chief executive officer for Valley Cancer Associates in Harlingen. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and a master’s in business administration. He is also a registered X-ray technician and a registered radiation therapist.

Jose G. Vargas is the owner and cofounder of Apple Pharmacies, which operates 22 locations throughout central South Texas. He began serving at MEDC two years ago and is currently serving as chairman of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce. Vargas is also a permanent deacon with the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville. The Mission Economic Development Corporation is a 501(c) (4) organization dedicated to job creation, business expansion and fostering continued investments in Mission.

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