Author Archives: George Cox, VBR Managing Editor

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

Taking a Byte from the Apple

Jose David Avila and his son David hold a vintage IBM keyboard like one they sold online for $1,000. (VBR)

A father/son team has carved out a niche in the recycling industry by working with products no one else in the Rio Grande Valley touches: electronics. RDA Technologies in Brownsville recycles anything with electronic components inside, ranging from old computers to ice makers to televisions and more. “I started in my living room in 2012 destroying old computers. Then my wife kicked me out to the garage,” said Jose David…

Read More

Leadership Matters: Manny Vela

Valley Baptist Health System CEO Manny Vela

Editor’s Note: Leadership can mean different things to different people. The Valley Business Report wanted to learn more about the views on leadership through the words of experienced business leaders in the Rio Grande Valley. Starting with this month’s edition, VBR introduces Leadership Matters, a new question-and-answer feature that poses questions on leadership to Valley CEOs and other business leaders. Manny Vela CEO, Valley Baptist Health System   What are…

Read More

Big Freeze: Pathway to Pain Relief

Vaporized nitrogen flows from a cryosauna as Cryo Body Perfections owner Margret DeBruyan holds the door open. (VBR)

Margret DeBruyn is a walking advertisement for cryotherapy. After a bad car crash she was left with chronic back pain when she tried cryotherapy and was amazed with the results. That prompted her to start a business to help others find relief. “It’s something that is really amazing,” she said. “If you are in chronic pain it chips away at your life. You start to miss out on life. We…

Read More

Three Generations of Protection

Owner Jeremy Holden with a manually operated shutter often used by businesses for security. (VBR)

There are only a handful of locally owned home shutter companies in the Rio Grande Valley, and Holden Security and Storm Shutters is probably the oldest one around. “I am third generation,” said Jeremy Holden, who has run the company founded by his grandfather ever since his father died 11 years ago. “I started right out of high school so I’ve really been in this business for 21 years.” The…

Read More

Trevino Touts Economic Progress

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino gave a State of the County presentation at an even sponsored by the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce. (VBR)

A devastating hurricane season last year that took a toll in the Caribbean tourism industry may have also opened a door of opportunity to increase tourism at South Padre Island. “The four major cruise lines have contacted South Padre Island about establishing a port of call there,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino said during a recent State of the County event in Harlingen. Trevino credited the county for helping to…

Read More

Standing on the Brink of Boom

Big economic news is expected to break in April with an announcement that will mark the latest industrial success story for Cameron County, further setting the stage for an unprecedented economic boom for this southernmost county in Texas.   “We are on the cusp of some great things,” said Gilbert Salinas, director of the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp. “And it’s no accident. This has been a 10-year body of work…

Read More

Port of Brownsville Celebrates Banner Year

Port of Brownsville CEO Eduardo Campirano

About 250 people attended the Port of Brownsville’s annual State of the Port event to celebrate continued growth and look forward to opportunities that may be just around the corner. “2017 was indeed a banner year,” said Brownsville Navigation District Vice Chairman John Reed. “And 2018 could become a turning point for the port and for South Texas.” Reed was the lead speaker at the Thursday luncheon in Brownsville. He…

Read More

Numbers Offer Proof of NAFTA Benefits


The numbers are impressive. The North American Free Trade Agreement has had a profound impact on the economies of the United States, Mexico and Canada, the three nations party to the agreement implemented in 1994. NAFTA has been a driving force behind increases in Texas exports, which reached $247 billion by 2015, the best in the country and followed by California with $163 billion, according to statistics compiled by Jesus…

Read More

Downtown Harlingen Merchants Share Information

Downtown merchants gathered for coffee and breakfast tacos to hear updates from fellow business owners. (VBR)

Downtown Harlingen Director Edward Meza welcomed about 30 people Thursday morning to discuss some of the latest news from downtown merchants. Sponsored by the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, coffee and breakfast tacos were served as business owners took turns talking about their products and services and promoted upcoming events. Meza said he has recently talked with three individuals interested in opening businesses in the downtown area.”There are more new people…

Read More

Getting Ready to Pay the Taxman

CPA Javier Alacron discusses tax reform with small business owners.

Some elements of the new tax reform package that was signed into law late last year and took effect in 2018 are straightforward and simple to understand. Others are detailed and complex. And some areas are cloudy since the regulations haven’t been written yet. The simplest part of the package to understand is the lowering of tax rates in the seven tax brackets for individuals. “Whatever bracket you are in,…

Read More