As the McAllen Economic Development Corporation comes up on 25 years of dedicated service to the McAllen/Reynosa region, over 600 companies have been recruited, and over 135,000 jobs have been created. Over time, companies have discovered the true value that our region offers their operations: A skilled and abundant multi-cultural labor force that can adapt to radical changes from recessions, to booms in manufacturing and distribution on both sides of the U.S. / Mexico border. The talent pool this binational region produces covers positions from production and assembly line workers, to general managers, and executive officers.
In this special issue of the McAllen EDC Newsletter, we bring you the unique experiences of women leaders in different fields within the manufacturing world. Given that manufacturing has traditionally been viewed as a “Man’s World”, this piece should offer a unique perspective and offer young women in our community examples of perseverance and adaptability.
Below are the women leaders who participated in this segment:
- Charmaine King / President / EMU Plastics
- Elsa De Alba / Plant Manager / Regal Beloit
- Esmeralda Adame / Instructor, Precision Manufacturing Technology / South Texas College
- Maria Patterson / Plant Manager / Gerber Manufacturing Company
- Mary Velasquez / General Manager / Coast Tropical
- Norma Torres / Owner / Amaida Machine Shop
- Pamela De La Garza / Operations Manager / Valley Plastics and Paper Recycling
At what age did you decide you wanted to begin a career in manufacturing, and how many years have you been in the manufacturing world professionally?
I have been in manufacturing for about 40 years. My first introduction to manufacturing came more as a coincidence when I was seeking employment as a new immigrant. At the time I had started my career in manufacturing, women in this career field were a rarity. – C. King; EMU Plastics
I began working in manufacturing with Fruit of the Loom Company right after college. They were looking for bilingual supervisors for their first plant in Mexico, so I was recruited right after graduation. I have been working in apparel manufacturing for 25 years. – M. Patterson; Gerber Manufacturing
I turned my focus to manufacturing at 30. With the mentoring I received from a previous boss, a plant manager, I realized I wanted to develop into a plant manager as well. However, I knew it would be difficult since I was a woman, and because my background was in finance, not engineering. Through perseverance, I was able to equip myself with the necessary skills to become a plant manager. – E. De Alba; Regal Beloit