Author Archives: Eileen Mattei

Freelance writer Eileen Mattei was the editor of Valley Business Report for over 6 years. Her articles have appeared in Texas Highways, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Coop Power magazines as well as On Point: The Journal of Army History. The Harlingen resident is the author of five books: Valley Places, Valley Faces; At the Crossroads: Harlingen’s First 100 Years; and Leading the Way: McAllen’s First 100 Years, For the Good of My Patients: The History of Medicine in the Rio Grande Valley, and Quinta Mazatlán: A Visual Journey.

Dancing as Fast as She Can 

In 1995, during her senior year at Lamar University, Lori Rodgers often traveled between Beaumont and Harlingen as she prepared to open her business. The dance major, with advice from her father Rick Mathes, had found a home for Rio Grande Valley Arts Studio in Harlingen and was having the building renovated. She convinced him that she did not need a teaching degree as a backup.“Dance is what I know…

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How to Keep Your Best Employee

“Once you find somebody who shares your values and work ethic, you have to make a decision on how to keep them. If you just increase their salary, you still risk losing them at any point. Laurie Tresch was an employee we needed to keep,” said Allan Crockett, who with his wife Terrie and sons runs Hilco, Crockett Farms and Gulf Coast Contractors. “Laurie is the face of Hilco, the…

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Putting the Ahhh in Aloe Relief

Todd waller bringing natural aloe Relief to the Valley and beyond After more than 15 years in the Valley’s aloe vera industry, involved in everything from production methodology to R&D at various Valley companies, Todd Waller in 1999 decided to go out on his own. He formed Pangea Phytoceuticals, Inc. which today grows aloe vera barbadensis and manufactures aloe products under its Aloe Re-Leaf label. Initially Pangea researched under a NIH grant,…

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Giving back: Rotary works to end polio  

End Polio Now funds vaccinations “A lot of people don’t know that we didn’t get rid of polio in America until 1979,” said Doyle Clark, accountant and Rotarian. Valley Rotary clubs are collaborating with each other and working with the global effort to entirely eradicate and end polio by 2020. In the 1950s, the Valley was hard hit by a deadly polio epidemic. Three children from one family died within a…

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Resort manager runs a small town 

Llano Grande sets RV park bar “People my age are starting to retire and have a whole different outlook on life than the previous generation,” said Karen Pike, 57, resort manager at Llano Grande Resort and Country Club. “They want to be entertained and to go where their every need is met. They are not penny pinchers. If they saved up for retirement, they are going to spend it.” Named…

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You say pitaya. I say dragon fruit  

Pitaya Farms growing in Raymondville Exotic in looks and name, dragon fruit is grown on structures similar to those found in vineyards. Chuck Taylor, owner of  Pitaya Farms of Texas LLC, west of Raymondville, said dragon fruit is actually the domesticated version of the pitaya, a native cactus which originated in Mexico and central America and was transported to Asia, where it acquired the dragon fruit label. Pitaya Farms harvested…

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Taking It to the Streets: Valley Towing Services 

Local towing helps when bad things happen When bad things happen on the highway or in your driveway, towing companies and roadside assistance services arrive on the scene with solutions to the problem. Whether clearing an accident site or jumpstarting a car, whether summoned by you, your motorist assistance plan  or law enforcement, towing companies must respond rapidly round the clock with the right equipment and personnel. Some of these…

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Denimburg: soon to be the market leader 

Denham production runs extensive Can there be a better DBA than Denimburg for the Edinburg plant which anticipates producing 11 million yards of denim in 2017?  The ultra-automated factory is on its way to becoming the largest denim manufacturer in the United States. Claudio Motta, plant manager for the facility owned by Santana Textiles of Brazil, started a tour of the ultra-automated factory in Denimburg’s fabric showroom. “Here we try…

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Skilled jobs have another path   

Vocational schools Lead to career paths Individuals who want skilled jobs and technical training without taking the academic courses required by South Texas College, Texas State Technical College and Southmost College can enroll at Rio Grande Valley’s privately owned vocational schools.  Providing no nonsense, adult-focused education, the proprietary school courses that focus on healthcare jobs prepare students for careers in vocational nursing, massage therapy, dental assisting and medical office skills.…

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Generations of Gloor Lumber Expertise  

Recently, a woman walked into Gloor Hardware & Specialty Lumber and, mystified, asked her companion, “Are we in Gloor’s?”  She had reason to be confused.  Since late August, the 64-year-old lumber business has undergone a total makeover inside and out. “We’re trying to bring it back to the glory it was,” said Stanley Tomlin, Gloor Hardware & Specialty Lumber’s general manager since August.  “We’ve just gone through a major restocking…

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