Texas Border Business
Steven M. Valdez has been selected as the new executive director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation.
Valdez, a Weslaco native, has served since late December 2020 as the interim executive director after previously working for over four years as a director at the EDC. For Valdez, the unanimous vote by EDC board that elevated to him to the organization’s top position provides a seamless transition.
“Work has been nonstop since the EDC Board entrusted me with the interim position,’’ he said.
Valdez came to the EDC in summer 2016 after a 25-year-stint at the Weslaco ISD, where he rose to leadership positions in developing the district’s broadcasting operations and performing arts center. The nearly five years as the EDC’s director provided him with the foundation and experience of understanding the organization’s essential functions and how it interacts with city government.
“Having gone through those past four plus-years was invaluable,” said Valdez, who was officially selected as the executive director on May 19. “I got to see how the board thinks, how they make decisions, what programs work and don’t work and embrace our seamless ties to city hall.’’
Valdez cited three key goals in getting started as the executive director. Community wealth and prosperity is the overarching mission, he said. Valdez wants to build a better community awareness of how the EDC pursues business opportunities and works on the city’s behalf. Second, he wants the organization to foster bonds and connections between the different stakeholders in the community, including businesses, schools, churches and civic organizations, with all sectors supporting and contributing to economic development.
Third, Valdez wants to continue to develop and grow the Mid-Valley Industrial Park. In his former role, he worked actively to make the park a more viable part of Weslaco’s economic lifeline. The EDC is currently working to develop a 149-acre extension to the industrial park. The 84-acre first phase tract already has seven letters-of-intent from companies looking to locate in Weslaco.
A major prospect has already indicated strong interest to develop a sizable portion of the 65-acre tract of phase two at the industrial park.
“My ambitious goal is to have it filled up in three to five years,’’ Valdez said of the industrial park that’s centrally located in the region, just two miles from the expressway and only eight miles to the Progreso International Bridge. “The EDC’s goal,” says Valdez, “is to recruit as much manufacturing, distribution, food processing and warehousing as we can get with jobs paying at least $12-to-$16 an hour and when these primary jobs are filled, retail will follow.”
Valdez sees his new job as another way to serve a community his family has been part of for almost 100 years. “I’m a home-grown product,’’ he said. “I can relate to the people I belong to. Weslaco is my home.”