In Weslaco, Texas, part of the Rio Grande Valley, Joey Treviño, Raba Kistner Business Development Director for South Texas, joined other community leaders to celebrate the ground breaking of the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Center of Innovation and Commercialization (CIC). Joey directly contributed to the development of the CIC when he served as the Executive Director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation prior to joining Raba Kistner.
Among those present for the beam signing were UTRGV President Guy Bailey, state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., state Rep. Armando Martinez, U.S. Economic Development Administration regional director Jorge Ayala, Weslaco Mayor David Suarez, Hidalgo County Commissioner David Fuentes, and Weslaco Economic Development Corporation President Joe Olivarez.
Joey Treviño said “This is a dream come true…I started working on this project when I got to the EDC in 2014. I was tasked by the City Commission and the EDC to bring UTRGV to Weslaco. Unfortunately, it was not the administration building we were aiming for at the time but we had this 16,000-square foot piece of property next to the EDC and City Hall. Over a bar napkin, Laurie Simmons and I drew up plans which led to the CIC."
Treviño said Dr. Kroll, Dean of the Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship, and UTRGV President Guy Bailey joined the conversations. "The ball started rolling and we hired an architect, the late Meg Jorn, who we miss dearly. She started doing some concepts for us. We got an EDA grant for $1.4 million, to match what the EDC had. It really is a dream come true."
The 20,000 square foot facility will provide the necessary resources for supporting the growth and success of start-up companies and entrepreneurs. Centrally located in the City of Weslaco, UTRGV Center for Innovation and Commercialization (CIC) will transform the Rio Grande Valley by serving as the regional entrepreneurial hub and catalyst for economic growth. By providing the necessary resources and support systems to the community, the CIC will help to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies and successful scalable enterprises that have the potential to reach national and/or international markets.
The CIC will work to help create an entrepreneurial eco-system that cultivates the formation of such enterprises, and provides an array of business support resources and services including:
- Co-working and Desk Space and Lounge Seating
- Conference Room/Team Breakout Room
- Makers Space with 3D printers, 3D scanners, and Prototype Tools
- Incubation Offices and Suites
- Mentoring/Coaching/Educational Opportunities
- Professional Services (Accounting. legal, Marketing, etc.)
The state-of-the-art facility will also house the smartest and brightest entrepreneurial talent in the region, and become the new home to the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship (VCOBE) PhD program.
Treviño added: "I am very proud because a key to economic development is nurturing our entrepreneurial spirit. When you look at the expansion of Texas A&M’s engineering program in Weslaco, it is clear the Mid Valley is going to be a hub for entrepreneurs."
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