A delegation from El Paso comprised of City officials and business leaders is gathering in Guadalajara, Mexico, along with other cities and counties from the United States and Mexico, as part of the All Mexico – U.S. Sister Cities Mayor’s Summit that begins February 15.
“The City continues to take advantage of every opportunity to promote our community, both economically and culturally. This summit opens relationships between Guadalajara and the El Paso del Norte regional businesses, higher education institutions, and civic associations. The positive outcome here is the beginning of new development between our two cities and the world,” said City Council Representative Peter Svarzbein.
The Summit is an effort to discuss ways to advance sister city programs between the United States and Mexico and is the third of an ongoing bi-national series of Summits to reaffirm and strengthen sister city relationships in key countries.
The conference theme of Independence & Interdependence focuses on celebrating the historical ties between the United States and Mexican civic society, business, cultural and education institutions.
“The Resilient El Paso strategy is a roadmap for collaboration regionally, nationally and globally. The City is committed to cultivating local, regional and global relationships supportive of prosperity for our people and sustainability for our city,” said Nicole Ferrini, Chief Resilient Officer and Director of Community and Human Development.
Ferrini added, “The path forward is paved by global connectivity, international best practices and cutting-edge local experimentation. As a desert-oriented, binational metroplex, we are positioned to lead the world in the practice of urban resilience.”
Staff Report January 29, 2018NewsComments Off on e-Commerce South Shore Furniture to Build Warehouse in El Paso108
E-commerce specialist South Shore Furniture announces the acquisition of over 6 acres of land and an investment of $8 million in El Paso.
“El Paso’s strategic location along the U.S.-Mexico border and its connectivity throughout North America makes it the obvious place for us to create a foundation for further growth,” said Jean Fortin Vice-president of Supply Chain and Logistics at South Shore.
South Shore officials said the company will build a brand new 132,000 sq.ft. building and will create 18 new jobs that will pay above the median hourly wage for El Paso County.
“The e-commerce battle is complex. To be a leader, a company needs a sophisticated and vertically integrated IT and logistics system, as well as amazing, personalized customer service and trendy and smart product solutions. We need committed people to continue innovating and growing,” states Jean Laflamme, president and CEO of South Shore Furniture. “One of our key success factors as a company is to devote a lot of energy to employee development by promoting training and enjoyment on the job.”
The company fosters and encourages internal transfers and promotions. Currently, the company is recruiting in Distribution & Logistics, Customer Service and IT for its operations in El Paso’s Vista del Sol District.
The new 132,000 sq.ft. building will feature a colorful and vibrant work environment to help employees embody the company’s values of teamwork, innovation and fun at work.
“El Paso’s business friendly environment and our strategic location keeps attracting leading companies to invest in our region and in our people. We are excited about South Shore’s decision to grow its operations here and look forward to working with the company,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.
“It’s encouraging and very telling when you see companies that once leased space make the long term investment to actually purchase land and establish their company in our community. Companies like South Shore, who already do business in El Paso, decided to grow with our community given the clear value they’ve experienced in our location, competitive cost of living, our talented workforce and business friendly environment. We look forward to seeing South Shore flourish and continue building its presence in our community,” said El Paso County Judge Ruben Vogt.
“We have been saying that the borderplex region is the center of commerce for North America and South Shore’s announcement shows why this is true,” added Jon Barela, Chief Executive Officer at Borderplex Alliance. “They are betting that our region can help them strengthen their logistics network and that our workforce embodies the values that have allowed South Shore to grow and stay an industry leader.”
Using South Shore Furniture’s new online store, consumers can shop for affordable ready-to-assemble furniture and décor products from the comfort of their home. The company’s vision is to make furniture and décor shopping inspiring, but simple, every step of the way. To learn more visit: southshorefurniture.com.
Established in 1940, today the company also takes advantage of the powerful web platforms run by the most important online players such as Amazon, Walmart, Wayfair, and many others.
Founded in 1940, South Shore Furniture is one of the first manufacturing companies to specialize in the online sale of furniture. Its success hinges on a team of over 1,000 employees who work at one of its 6 locations, 3 of which are located in the United States.
South Shore Furniture offers a range of over 1,000 products divided into several categories: bedroom furniture, office furniture, storage solutions, furniture for babies and kids, as well as mattresses, sofas, bedding and other décor accents.
Late last year, a busload of teenagers pulled into Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care (YLM), in El Paso’s Lower Valley. More than a few of the kids had a look of expectant wonder on their faces as they had made this trip before. Others were beginning to wonder what they had signed up for.
Yet, here they were, ready to begin a trip that would help shape their futures.
I’ve previously written that I am the type of guy that tends to view everything through a jaundiced eye. With all I’ve been through, it’s hard not to. That’s why, when I see something positive, I must write about it. When that story also involves a group of fifty teenagers spending their Christmas vacation building homes in Juarez, I really must write about it.
Imagine, a group of kids coming from Mayer, Minnesota, to build homes for people they don’t even know, in a country, most of them have never visited before. Then, learning that the youngest person on the trip is thirteen-years-old, and you have something you take notice of.
Mayer Lutheran High School is a school within the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod. At the core of their teachings and beliefs is service to others. The same is true of YLM. For over thirty years YLM has been striving to change lives- Changing Lives Through Simple Acts of Kindness, is their motto.
I’m not going to tell the story of the kids who came down to build these homes; it’s better to hear it from them directly. You can watch the video I made with them here above. The story I am going to share with you is quite different. The story I want to share with you is about
need, about unity and about how it shouldn’t matter where one is from, or where one decided to help.
Over the last year, I have seen our country become polarized. Simply put there are two schools of thought. You either agree with the mainstream view, or you are labeled as a leftist, close-minded, or a moron.
It seems you must agree with everything the current administration preaches, or you will simply be an outsider looking in.
When I was considering this article, in early January, I spoke to several individuals about the work YLM is doing, and more specifically, the homes these kids are building in Juarez.
The most common refrain was that they should be working over here, in the United States. So, I spoke to Dave Lane, one of the teachers on this trip to El Paso, and Juarez.
“I had a lady, in one of our fundraising events, for this, tell me that specifically.” said Dave Lane, “I said, I don’t think it’s either-or, I think it’s both-and. Of course, people need to be helping people in our country, but who’s going to help those people in Anapra?”
As Dave said, he doesn’t see any agencies in Juarez working to help families in need. Don’t get me wrong; there are people who do help. But how far can their limited resources go?
That’s why it’s important that individuals such as Dave Lane, and his group of kids come down to help families in need.
Now, imagine a world where Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care or Mayer Lutheran High Schooldidn’t exist. Imagine those individuals who have received home, home extensions, food baskets, or the free medical care that is hosted on their Lower Valley campus. Where would those people, those families be?
Were it not for those groups, there would be 3,000 families, on both sides of the border, who would possibly be homeless, or worse. There would be families who would not be able to make their limited supply of groceries last between paychecks were it not for the food baskets provided by YLM to families in need.
Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care is one of a limited number of groups reaching out and serving those in need. Regardless of religion, race, or political leanings, YLM – and others – exist to help.
This is what we need to remember, to serve others.
Rabbi Shalom of Karlin, in the 18th Century, said “If you want to raise a person from mud and filth, do not think it is enough to keep standing on top and reaching a helping hand down to the person. You must go all the way down yourself, down into the mud and filth. Then take hold of the person with strong hands and pull the person yourself out into the light.”
Any group that is willing to get down into the “mud” and help, they are worthy of our help and support.
“G-d does not need our good works,” Martin Luther, Father of the Reformation said, “but our neighbor does.” (Wingren, Luther on Vocation, 10).
So, I want to challenge you; I want to know where you are. Are you sitting there, on the sidelines, waiting for someone to help? Or, are you willing to help? That’s where I challenge you, to get up, get out and help.
Take a moment this week to speak to your Rabbi, your pastor, your parish priest. As them how you, as a community of faith, can help those who are hungry, are homeless, who are sick. Ask what can be done, and where to begin. You may be surprised as they just might be waiting for you to get the ball rolling.
Hillel the Elder said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
Staff Report December 30, 2017NewsComments Off on Herald-Post Best of 2017: Year in Pictures705
It’s another year in the history books, as 2017 fades and 2018 dawns.
From the streets of downtown, to the football fields of the schools around town, to the houses of worship throughout the Borderland and locations in between, our photographers were busy documenting our story.
Below are the best shots from our team of photographers: Chief Photographer Andres Acosta, Steven Cottingham and Kevin Venegas.
Staff Report November 28, 2017NewsComments Off on El Paso Ranked 5th in ‘Top Places to Retire’ By U.S. News and World Report1,316
El Paso ranks among the top 5 places to retire, according to a 2018 U.S. News and World Report of 100 Best Places to Retire in the USA.
“This recognition is a testament to the quality of life that El Paso has to offer retirees,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “To be ranked in the top 5 acknowledges the effort by our city employees to deliver on our vision for a vibrant community.”
El Paso is listed just ahead of Austin (9th) and McAllen (6th) and just behind San Antonio (3rd) in the 100 city list.
Profile author Alexis Garcia writes, in part, “It’s easy to write El Paso, Texas, off as another southern cow town. Sure, you’ll find an overwhelming number of steakhouses here, and you’re bound to come across someone sporting a wide-brimmed cowboy hat. But gone are the days when old El Paso was known as the “Six Shooter Capital” – a place known for its outlaws and vices.”
The publication’s rankings were based on a weighted average of these six indexes: Housing Affordability, Happiness, Desirability, Retiree Taxes, Job Market and Healthcare Quality.
Destination El Paso presented their strategy to position and promote the city as a desirable destination on October 31, 2017 to the City Council.
“The growth and number of quality convention hotel accommodations we will see in the next few years in close proximity to the El Paso Convention Center is impressive and allows us to once again attract the larger, more impactful groups and organizations to the destination.” said Bryan Crowe, General Manager for Destination El Paso.
“Currently there are only 432 hotel rooms available downtown but by the close of 2019 we will have over 1,200 rooms. This growth in new high quality inventory will position El Paso as a destination for meetings and conventions,” Crowe added.
Since the announcement of the quality of life bond projects and substantial private investments in the downtown core, the team has increased travel and participation in state and national trade shows, implemented aggressive incentive packages and increased the size of the sales team.
Additionally, significant investments have been made in both traditional and digital marketing allowing us to increase our reach and exposure with decision makers.
“At the direction of city council, the city has aggressively incentivized convention hotel development. As these projects are under construction and renovation, we are strategically increasing our effort representing El Paso as a destination for meetings and conventions. These efforts will result in increased jobs, economic impact, and increase visitor revenues.” said El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.
Staff Report October 3, 2017NewsComments Off on City, Borderplex Alliance Work With FullBeauty Brands to Retain, Expand Workforce684
FullBeauty Brands, a digital and catalog retailer for the plus-size consumer, announced Tuesday that the company is retaining its current workforce and laying the groundwork for future growth.
The company is hiring an additional 80 new employees this year alone for its local customer service center, and they plan to hire up to 500 employees in the next 3 years.
“FullBeauty Brands’ commitment to retention and growth in El Paso demonstrates their investment in our workforce and community. The potential for job growth is promising for the region and sends a signal to other businesses that we are a prime location for investment,” said Mayor Dee Margo.
FullBeauty worked with the Borderplex Alliance, the local regional economic development organization, and The City of El Paso to ensure viable expansion of its workforce. With the approved incentives package from the El Paso City Council, the company will retain 525 employees and continue to be a key employer in the business services sector of El Paso.
“El Paso is a fantastic place to do business. We are proud of our local team and we are excited to expand our impact locally and nationally through outstanding customer service,” said Alfonso Espinoza, the Director of Human Resources for FullBeauty Brand’s El Paso location.
“Our company has been successful in recruiting and keeping talent. We have many examples of homegrown talent moving up to senior positions and recruiting local individuals into these positions-myself included,” Espinoza added.
Over the last few years, FullBeauty has seen a significant increase in its retention rate, which exceeds the industry average.
According to company officials, through investment in recruitment and training efforts, they have been able to identify strong individuals in the community that they plan to develop over the years to come.
“FullBeauty Brand’s decision to expand in El Paso reflects a positive business climate in our city and community. El Paso remains a compelling place to do business and a great area to invest,” said Jon Barela, CEO of the Borderplex Alliance.
Staff Report September 27, 2017NewsComments Off on Leadership El Paso Now Accepting Application for Class 40731
The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce seeks applicants for Leadership El Paso Class 40.
“The Leadership El Paso experience is ideal for those individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to community service,” GEPCC officials stated via a news release.
If selected, the tuition fee for the all-inclusive program is $2,000 for Chamber members and $2,600 for non-members. Limited slots may be available at a lesser tuition rate for not for profit charitable organizations seeking to further develop their key leadership.
Chairs, Mr. Mauro Monsisvais (EPISD) and Mr. Tyler Smith (SBNG), along with their selection committee, seek representation from a cross section of the community who are active in business, education, politics, the arts, religion, government, community-based organizations, and ethnically diverse groups, in order to reflect the diversity of the community.
Applicants who have achieved leadership positions in their field and are willing to accept greater community responsibility will be chosen for a year-long curriculum. The curriculum is designed to educate and enlighten Leadership El Paso class members about all subjects El Paso, and further engage these leaders in El Paso’s progress through executive positions in boards, associations, organizations and elected office.
Deadline to submit an application is October 31, 2017 (class to be announced November 9, 2017).
A two night retreat January 12-14, 2018 will kick off the year. For more information, contact Ms. Maggie Benham, at 534-0526 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“This is an investment in our region’s students, teachers, and future workforce. If we want to get serious about El Paso’s economic future, then we must invest in our students now so they are able to successfully pursue a postsecondary credential and have a prosperous career. Expanding high quality opportunities in our region’s K-12 system is a necessary step to get us on the right path,” said Woody L. Hunt, founder and chairman of the Hunt Family Foundation.
Earlier this year, CREEED released the 60×30 El Paso report, which highlighted the education challenges and opportunities that currently exist in the El Paso region in meeting the statewide goal of having 60% of Texans ages 25-34 obtain a credential or degree by 2030.
The report found that El Paso’s high school graduation and postsecondary attainment rates are below the state average, and that too many students are graduating from high school without the skills necessary to thrive in postsecondary work without remediation.
While the report acknowledged the progress that has been made in recent years to close education gaps, it also notes that the pace of change has been too slow and too small.
Since its founding, CREEED has invested in local school district initiatives that improve student achievement and expose students to the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century workforce. The $12 million grant will support CREEED in advancing the recommendations in the 60×30 report, especifically around the creation of a portfolio of high-performing schools as well as strengthening the teacher talent pipeline in the region.
“I want to thank the Hunt Family Foundation for their generous support and tireless commitment to improving our region’s education system over the years. Woody, Josh, and the Hunt Family Foundation have set the example for civic involvement and philanthropy for our community. We look forward to working with our workforce and education partners to ensure this investment produces measurable outcomes for our students and families,” said Richard A. Castro, chairman of CREEED.
Over the past 30 years, the Hunt Family Foundation has awarded over $87.7 million in grants and charitable contributions to programs and initiatives in the Borderplex region focused on healthcare, education, arts and culture, and economic development. The $12 million grant builds on the $55 million that the Hunt Family Foundation has already invested in higher education initiatives across the region.
“This grant is an expression of our commitment to the future of this community and our belief that this region’s best days are in front of us. Every student deserves the best chance possible to succeed and contribute to our region’s future; and that is why we are investing in their education,” said Josh Hunt, president of the Hunt Family Foundation.
“Mr. Hunt’s vision for strengthening our region’s education ecosystem from kindergarten to college, has provided us with the roadmap and resources we need to accelerate the transformation of El Paso into a leader in educational excellence and success. The continued investments of the Hunt Family Foundation in innovative initiatives, and the data to measure progress, makes our work that much more meaningful and impactful,” said Dr. William Serrata, President of the El Paso Community College
Staff Report September 19, 2017NewsComments Off on After Pro-bono Work and Remodel, St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store Ribbon-Cutting Set1,090
Thanks to local architectural and engineering firm Parkhill, Smith & Cooper (PSC), the renovated St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store is set to once again help the borderland’s less fortunate.
Irma H. Trujillo, General Manager of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, El Paso Thrift Stores, said the volunteer efforts for the repair and remodeling of the group’s thrift store at 2104 North Piedras in El Paso are vital to the society’s mission of helping the poor.
PSC provided a site evaluation, a charrette session with the Thrift Store Committee, development of concept exhibits, budget estimates, construction drawings, and construction administration services.
The improvements made include remodeling of the entrance and bathrooms for ADA compliance, replacement of plumbing, mechanical, and electrical systems, repair of structural damage to the floor, adding a Clothing Change room, remodeling the volunteer and employee break room, improving the layout of the sorting room, installing a cart lift between the basement and ground floor, remodeling the storefront, and making floor room enhancements to better showcase items for sale.
The Thrift Store in Central El Paso provides second-hand clothing, furniture and household goods to low-income families in need, as well as serving the community by selling inexpensive basic need items, such as refurbished mattresses.
As part of a Catholic outreach network, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul aims to embrace the hurting poor in a network of charitable help.
Parkhill, Smith & Cooper opened its El Paso office in 1958, as a multidisciplinary firm that provides comprehensive architectural and engineering design services for a multitude of projects in government, commercial and institutional sectors – including K-12 and higher education, public works, water resources, infrastructure, transportation, healthcare and church facilities.
A blessing and ribbon-cutting for the renovated St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store will take place at 3 p.m. Monday, September 25th. Bishop Mark Sietz will officiate.
The City of El Paso recently announced the appointment of longtime City of El Paso engineer Sam Rodriguez as the new City Engineer and Capital Improvement Department Director.
Rodriguez, a professional engineer with approximately 20 years of diverse public and private experience, replaces Andy Goh, who recently resigned citing family reasons and choosing to relocate back to Arizona.
“Sam Rodriguez brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to his new role that will allow us to provide the continuity necessary to deliver on the City’s nearly billion dollars in capital investments from quality of life bonds to our transportation infrastructure,” said Ted Marquez, El Paso’s Interim Deputy City Manager.
“He joined our organization over a decade ago and has been a critical member of our management team. Today, we are able to capitalize on our own talent and professionals using the City’s strategic plan, which has set the foundation we needed to retain and promote a skilled workforce. Sam’s high level of expertise makes him the prime appointment to oversee our capital program. This is an excellent example of growing our own and the strength of our succession plan.”
Rodriguez most recently served as Assistant Director of Aviation at the El Paso International Airport where he oversaw facility maintenance operations and the development of the airport’s capital improvement program and major airport projects, such as the airport’s Rental Car Center and runway rehabilitation projects.
He came to El Paso from the City of Big Bear Lake in California, where he served as the City Engineer. He began his professional career working in the private sector working for AECOM (formerly URS) and Atkins (formerly PBS&J) focusing on highway design and land development. The fact that Rodriguez brings a private and public sector mentality; he is able to hit the ground running with the external and internal stakeholders.
In 2006, Rodriguez relocated to Texas when he accepted a position as the City of El Paso Engineering Division Manager for the Capital Improvement Department, then the Engineering Department. Upon arriving in El Paso he was a critical member of the engineering team leading the development of major programs, such as the 2006 Storm Recovery program, the Airport Capital Improvement Program, and joint projects with the Texas Department of Transportation.
This opportunity speaks directly to our succession planning program that really focuses on developing our talent internally so when opportunities present themselves, we can move quickly. Rodriguez will be working off a 100-day plan that will focus on the effective delivery of our capital improvement program.
Rodriguez holds Professional Engineer licenses in the states of Texas and California. He is a certified Floodplain Manager, Accredited in the Congress of New Urbanism, and a member of the American Association of Airport Executives organization. He has been recognized as the Young Engineer of the Year by the local chapter of the Texas Professional Engineers organization.
He served in the U. S. Marine Corps and is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University where he earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering.
Wednesday, Mayor Dee Margo and Borderplex CEO Jon Barela announced a partnership, along with civic and business leaders in the region, to submit a proposal for Amazon’s recently announced nationwide search for a second headquarters.
“Our region won’t take a backseat to anyone. El Paso should set its sights on big, ambitious projects that are reflective of the talented, ambitious people in our community. We are a competitive, smart choice for Amazon,” said Mayor Margo.
“No doubt El Paso has been thought of as an underdog in the past, but in the last decade, Fortune 500 companies have entered the marketplace successfully, finding a hardworking and innovative workforce and great partnerships with PK-12 and higher education institutions. This region is the best-kept secret in business, it’s time to change that,” said Jon Barela.
The City of El Paso and Borderplex Alliance are working with regional partner organizations on the proposal, which has a national deadline of October 19.
A total of six new cases of West Nile Virus confirmed over the past week has brought the total number of cases in El Paso to 11 so far this season.
“We need to remember that it takes about a teaspoon of water to create breeding conditions for mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus,” said Lead Epidemiologist Fernando Gonzalez.
“As soon as we see rain, we need to start thinking about getting outside our homes and getting rid of it,” Gonzalez added
The news comes as the Sun City continues to experience seasonal rains with more expected in the coming days.
To report standing water or mosquito breeding, call 3-1-1.
The following is a compilation of cases identified by Department of Public Health epidemiologist:
The most effective way to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses, is to prevent mosquito bites and use the 4 D’s:
DEET – Use insect repellents that contain deet when outdoors.
DRESS – Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
DUSK and DAWN – Although mosquitoes associated with Zika can be active throughout the day, residents should take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours (from dusk to dawn) or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
DRAIN – Drain standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, and birdbaths.
Residents can also mosquito-proof their home by repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. For more information on mosquitoes, visit www.EPHealth.com or www.EPSalud.com.
The City of El Paso Department of Public Health and emergency response partners invite the community to celebrate “National Preparedness Month” by participating in the 2017 Community Preparedness Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, at the El Paso Convention Center.
“In the aftermath of recent Hurricane Harvey, we are reminded of the importance of being prepared for an emergency,” said Department of Public Health Director Robert Resendes. “While we can’t predict unforeseen emergencies and disasters, we can have an emergency plan in place.”
The free educational and family-friendly event provides information on how to prepare, respond and cope with unexpected community emergencies and disasters. The event allows visitors to get a first-hand look at emergency response units from the El Paso Fire Department, Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Management, and many other agencies (great phot opportunities for children).
In addition, the expo will include workshops, hands-on displays, dozens of informational booths and demonstrations from a variety of organizations.
As part of National Preparedness Month, which is recognized in September, the event is co-sponsored by the El Paso City-County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the El Paso Fire Department.
The Community Preparedness Expo is free and open to the public. For more information call the Department of Public Health at (915) 212-6524 or visit their website.