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20110823_MEDC_Alex-Maude_Reception_JB_018A large gathering of community leaders welcomed Mission Economic Development Corporation’s new CEO, Alex Meade, during a reception at La Fogata restaurant Tuesday evening.  Meade was hired as CEO last month, putting the city’s economic development efforts on solid footing as the city transitions the spearheading of economic development from MEDA (Mission Economic Development Authority) to MEDC.

MEDC Chairwoman Cathy Garcia introduced Meade to the crowd, which included State Representatives Sergio Munoz Jr. and Aaron Pena, Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas, Mission Chamber Chairman of the Board Fred Kurth and Hidalgo County RMA Chair Dennis Burleson. Also present were City Council members Ruben Plata, Leo Olivarez and Maria Elena Ramirez; Julio Cerda, Mission city manager; Oscar Martinez, Mission school board member; Dr. Noel Garza, Sharyland school board member and many other community leaders.

Meade, who has wide experience in economic development with many different Valley cities, told those gathered that one of the main reasons he chose to come to work for the City of Mission was the city manager.

“The city manager in Mission definitely works like no other. Every community I’ve worked with is your typical bureaucracy. Here, failure is not an option; we’ll take it to the next level,” Meade said.

The new CEO also said he plans to make some changes in the city’s approach to economic development, striving for a more balanced approach.

“In the past, we were doing 90 percent industrial and 10 percent commercial.

Now we’re going to try and have a little more of a balance between health care, commercial and industrial,” Meade said. “Healthcare is definitely underserved in the Valley and we have a good foundation here that we can build on.”

Meade also said MEDC and the city will focus on customer service. Citing a prior experience he had while working to recruit an industrial plant to locate in another community, he said he couldn’t compete in a bidding war to offer more incentives than the community he was competing with. Despite that, the company chose to go with Meade. When Meade asked the company why they chose his community instead of the one that offered them more dollars, they said, “Alex, you answered my phone calls.” They wanted to make sure that when it came time to move their expensive equipment to the community that the city would answer the phone when their help was needed.

“We are going to be proactive. We are constantly competing with other communities, so we have to hustle,” said Meade.

Concluding, Meade said, “We’re going provide a business climate that is second to none. We have literally the best state when it comes to creation of jobs. We’ve created more jobs in Texas than 49 other states for the past several years….With the state setting the tone, we’re going to follow that same formula as we approach our economic development efforts.”

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