Economic growth addressed by region leaders

October 8, 2014


(L-R) Borderplex Alliance CEO Rolando Pablos, Ft. Bliss Garrison Commander Col. Thomas E. Munsey, City Development Director Matthew McElroy, and EP Chamber of Commerce CEO Richard Dayoub during the Borderland Economic Development panel.





Julio-César Chávez


Concluding the series of panels discussing border issues and Hispanic culture, El Paso Community College held the last two on Oct. 1, where the topic was the future of the economy in the borderland.


The panel comprised Borderplex Alliance CEO Rolando Pablos, Fort Bliss Garrison Commander Col. Thomas Munsey, El Paso Chamber of Commerce CEO Richard Dayoub and City Development Director Mathew McElroy.


They discussed the need for an improved education system and economic growth of the region.

“The bottom line is this: If you want to win the lottery, don’t go out and buy a ticket, go and get a college degree,” McElroy said.


“The number one concern of companies looking to come here is education,” Pablos said, whose organization specializes in helping companies move to the region.”


It was said that the El Paso,Juarez and Las Cruces region was not hit as hard by the 2008 recession, which the panel attributed to the tightly-knit relationship between all three cities, among other unique qualities.


Pablos said it is important to concentrate on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and that students should be well-rounded and complemented by arts.


“The arts are important for a child to develop well throughout their life,” Pablos said.


The panel also warned that strong work ethic is not enough to help the cities grow.


According to Munsey, Fort Bliss aims to help newcomers contribute to its population.


He said these residents contribute to El Paso economy with $5.5 billion a year.



(L-R) Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, El Paso Mayor Pro Term Courtney Niland, Ciudad Juarez Project Executive Jose Ramos Andujo at the borderland economic forecast panel of discussion.


“The things we want to do is to make the education and transfer of students as seamless as possible,” Munsey said.


McElroy agrees with the importance of academic advancement, but thinks that the region must improve to make it more attractive to younger generations.


According to McElroy, a good regional plan must provide for proper education at all levels. It should prepare the population for the needs of present and future businesses.



“I’m talking K through 12, but we still need to promote post-secondary studies,” McElroy said.


“We’re creating a coalition of organizations. Right now, we have too many people with too many individual plans. We’re getting them all and bringing them together.”


The second panel of discussion, where Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, El Paso Mayor Pro-Tem Courtney Niland, and Ciudad Juarez Project Executive José Ramos Andujo concentrated on the ongoing efforts to revitalize the cities.


“Instead of just focusing on what we are as El Paso, we should concentrate on what we are as a region,” Niland said. “That includes El Paso, Las Cruces and Ciudad Juarez.”



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