RGV LEAD’s 2012 Regional Conference—Linking Economic and Academic Development
RGV LEAD extends MANY THANKS to the many wonderful people whose contributions made our Regional Conference a success! This year, our 2012 Regional Conference was held at the Isla Grand Beach Resort in South Padre Island. We are grateful for all the presenters and participants who participated and made the event a great success.
Thanks first to our conference sponsors: South Padre Island Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, The Isla Grand Beach Resort, Breakaway Cruises, and rgVision Publications.
Thanks, too, to the college and university partners who donated door prizes and spent time sharing information with participants.
RGV LEAD appreciates the creative ideas and insights shared by all the individuals who made presentations during breakout sessions. Conference participants heard from RGV LEAD Board members, business and economic development professionals, public school partners, college/university leaders, and other RGV LEAD partners. RGV LEAD is grateful for the ideas and expertise all these outstanding individuals shared!
RGV LEAD’s Board Chair, Rene Capistran, President – South Texas Region, SpawGlass, set the tone for the event and introduced Alex Meade and Lizzy de la Garza in the conference opening session. All keynote speakers received “rave reviews,” as they shared about the important relationship between education, workforce, and economic development. Many thanks to:
- Alex Meade, Chief Executive Officer, Mission Economic Development Corporation (Meade also serves on the RGV LEAD Board). After reminding the participants that in the last ten years, Texas has created more jobs than 49 other states combined, Meade talk about the new Skilled Workforce Initiative that was recently announced by Governor Rick Perry. He mentioned that helping students receive quicker certifications in high demand industries will not only make the state more competitive but will allow the students to become productive citizens. Meade strongly believes that “educators and economic development professionals must continue to work together to build a strong foundation for the Rio Grande Valley.”
- Lizzy de la Garza, Director of Business Retention & Expansion, Brownsville Economic Development Corporation. De la Garza shared some of BEDC’s initiatives and their engagement with the Brownsville community. She also talked about BEDC’s partnership with RGV LEAD, stating: “Education and economic development are interdependent. Our communities cannot develop and grow if the two aren’t working hand in hand. The work that you’re doing with our students is invaluable. You are building our future workforce. So let’s continue to work together because when education and economic development meet, success is created.”
- Joel Stone, Chief Executive Officer, SpawGlass, shared his own story and thanked the educators for their work with future generations. Stone recognizes that today’s students will have great impact on the future success of business and expressed the strong commitment that SpawGlass has for supporting students and the education system. Stated Stone, “Education drives our economy, our companies … as educators, you must try to help every student identify and pursue his or her passion.”
RGV LEAD and its partners and board understand that our students “need not only a solid academic foundation but also the ability to think critically, solve programs, and be able communicate effectively,” as well as developing their soft skills. Together, RGV LEAD and its partners are implementing initiatives designed to build a strong workforce for the Rio Grande Valley.
All RGV LEAD staff count it a privilege to work with the wonderful people of the Rio Grande Valley and are looking forward to an even greater conference in 2013!