Written By Dr. Gilberto de los Santos, Professor Emeritus-The University of Texas—Pan American
Edited By Publisher Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally Published by Texas Border Business newsprint Edition
James W. Collins (Jim) was employed in Dallas by the Sunshine Mining Company and Hunt International Resources owned by the Hunt Family in Dallas, Texas working long hours and earning a very good salary as Vice President for Operations and Corporate Secretary. However, he had very little time to enjoy the company of his wife, Kathy and baby daughter Jennifer. So in 1980 he decided to move to The Rio Grande Valley to work for Mayfair Properties, a family owned business, in McAllen, Texas. This is a move he has not regretted. Jim loves what he is doing here, and he feels that he has not worked a day in his life after his move to The Valley.
Since coming to The Valley Jim has been blessed in many ways. The Collins family has increased by four additional children—Will, Courtney, Caroline, and Vannie—and Jim has ample time to enjoy the growth and development of his five active children, as well as the company of his lovely wife, Kathy. All five sons and daughters have acquired excellent education, and are pursuing careers in fields that they love, except for the youngest who is still a student at The University of Texas in Austin. (He also has an Aggie Son-in-Law.) He enjoys the wonderful life style of The Valley with its cultural diversity. Jim loves his profession and the many other ways he has helped promote economic growth for The Valley.
As a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a BBA degree and an MBA degree in Finance, Accounting, and Real Estate, Jim has put his education to work for The Valley in these fields. He works with Rioco Partners, a commercial real estate developer, as a General Partner. Rioco developed the popular Las Tiendas retail shopping mall located on East Expressway 281 and McColl Road, Northcross shopping mall located at the corner of North 10th and Nolana, and the Sharyland Towne Center mall located at West Expressway 281 and Shary Road. They also built the 320 units Hearthstone Apartments located on McColl and Savannah. The keys to his success are that he surrounds himself with talented, solid colleagues who are passionate about what they do. Jim credits Rioco’s success to his partners Bob Morehead, Nancy Rios, Maggie Muniz, Rosie Alvarez, Ken Crews, Mike Rabinowitz, Mark Allen, and twenty others.
Interestingly, he mentioned that he has helped bring businesses to The Valley by using “Void’s Analysis”. During his extensive travels he looks for business opportunities that can enhance the quality of life for Valley residents, and helps bring these businesses to The Valley. Some well-known retail establishments that he has developed in The Valley are; Little Caesar’s Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings, Block Buster Video, Lens Pro Vision, Copy Zone, Zone Amusement Park, Saturn of McAllen, and South Texas GMC. Again, he was associated with key partners Shelby Longoria, Larry Harris, Tony Corso, and many other associates.
Jim also served as founder, director, or advisor for various financial institutions. As a Director, he was honored to help develop The Valley with Glen Roney, and the Board of Directors of The Texas State Bank. He was also organizer and advisor for the Inter National Bank, and appreciated working with fine administrators like Carlos I. Garza, Rob Hymel, Marin Espinoza and the Board of Directors. He has high respect for Byron Lewis, President of Edwards Abstract and Title Company, being associated with Edwards Abstract as Advisory Director.
Living in The Valley facilitated Jim to be associated with the oil and gas industry. He is also associated with Petroleum Solutions, and credits Tom and Mark Barron for their dedication in making this company successful.
The Valley would not be what it is, were it not for contributions by businesspeople like Jim. He believes that education is one of the main keys to people’s success and to the economic growth of The Valley, and he is active in promoting quality education through scholarships he has funded though the Loring Cook Foundation, James W. Collins Family Foundation, , and Texas Business Hall of Fame. Jim has been Vice President and is a Director for the Texas Business Hall of Fame. He is most moved by the success stories of scholarship recipients from low-income and single parent families who have completed their degrees and who move upward in productive careers. Jim loves to talk to, and hear from, scholarship recipients, and is proud of the phenomenal 70% success rate of the scholarship fellows who earn a college degree within five years. He is quick to add that the other 30% made some progress and may eventually earn a college degree. Even if the students do not earn a college degree their education has been enriched because they have earned college credit hours—and he is grateful for that, too.
Jim’s vision for The Valley is for it to continue to be a blend of cultures and values that make it an outstanding place to raise a family, and a friendly environment in which to conduct business. He believes that The University of Texas—Pan American and South Texas Community College are doing a creditable job, and should be commended for their contributions to education. Both educational institutions complement each other beautifully with UT-PA educating professionals with bachelors, masters, and doctors degrees and with STC preparing indispensable, educated nurses, mechanics, technicians, and other vitally important professionals. Jim is aware that STC is also educating college transfer students with AA degrees, who will earn BBA, Masters, and doctor’s degrees from UT-PA, as well as other colleges and universities. He is impressed that STC has about 20,000 students and has awarded over 20,000 degrees and certificates during its approximately 15 years of existence—and that both institutions of higher learning now have an enrollment of close to 40,000 students.
Jim sees continued growth for The Valley. When I asked him, “What are the greatest obstacles for continued growth for The Valley,” he responded that security on both sides of the border, and lack of water development needed to be addressed. He also feels that more of The Valley’s population needs to pursue higher education beyond high school in technical, vocation, and professional studies.
In addition to business, education, and scholarships Jim has found other ways to do what he loves. He is director for RGV Business PAC, Director for the Valley Baptist Health System, Advisory Director to UT-PA College of Business, Advisory Director to the Ronald McDonald House Charity, and Member of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Institute, Quail and Deer Committee. Jim has found time to enrich his church as a past Elder. He has also worked in the past with: McAllen International Museum, St. John’s Episcopal Day School, Rotary International McAllen South Club, Texas Lyceum, American Cancer Society, and the Ely Unitrust for the Rio Grande Children’s Home.
James W. Collins Loves What He Does, And Has Never Worked A Day Since He Got To The Valley. (Is it not amazing what love can do?) TBB
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