Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship honors local business leaders at annual luncheon

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Three Rio Grande Valley business leaders were recognized Friday for their contributions to business and commerce, during the annual Business Leaders Lunch, hosted by The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship. A large crowd of attendees and sponsors gathered at the Rancho Viejo Convention Center to acknowledge this year’s honorees (from left), JoAnn Gonzales Gama, co-founder of IDEA Academy; Don Emigdio Manuel Garcia, creator of the Garcia Group based in Matamoros, Mexico; and Nick Serafy Jr., president and CEO of Proficiency Testing Services. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

This is a peak of a more complete report coming in Texas Border Business November 2017 newsprint Edition. An in-depth feature story and more, more photos.

Texas Border Business

By Vicky Brito

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – OCT. 27, 2017 –  Three local business leaders were recognized Friday for their contributions to business and commerce, during The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s annual Business Leaders Lunch. 

A large crowd of attendees and sponsors gathered at the Rancho Viejo Convention Center to acknowledge this year’s honorees:

  • JoAnn Gonzales Gama.
  • Don Emigdio Manuel Garcia.
  • Nick Serafy Jr.

JOANN GONZALES GAMA 

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Gonzales Gama, co-founder of IDEA Academy, was born and raised in Houston. A graduate of Boston University, she joined Teach for America and earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from UTRGV legacy institution UT Pan American. DON EMIGDIO

MANUEL GARCIA

Garcia, born in Matamoros, Tamp., Mexico, identifies as a self-made man whose calling to commerce led him to discover the potential for tourism in Matamoros.

“I feel so honored to receive this accolade,” Garcia said. “On behalf of myself and my family, I am truly grateful. I am particularly glad to accept this from the university. This university has produced numbers and numbers of professionals to this region.”

NICK SERAFY JR.

Serafy, a native of Brownville, is president and CEO of Proficiency Testing Services, which specializes in providing quality management testing programs used by clinical laboratories and healthcare organizations to evaluate, monitor and improve the accuracy and reliability of diagnostic test results.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER JAVIER PALOMAREZ

Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), and an alumus of UT Pan American, addressed the large group of Valleywide business leaders with a positive message about the Hispanic population’s growth and potential in the business arena.