The South Texas Economic Development Alliance held their first meeting Thursday, March 30t h at the First National Bank in Hebbronville, Tx. Jim Hogg County Judge, Humberto Gonzalez and Marisa Yvette Utley, Economic Development Consultant for the STED Alliance hosted the event that brought representatives from the seven-county region that make up the alliance.

Duval County Judge Rocky Carrillo, Brooks County Judge Imelda Barrera, Zapata County Judge Joseph Rathmell as well as County Commissioners were in attendance. The guest list also included representatives from Governor Abbot’s office, TWC, Texas A&M International, Laredo Community College and UTSA Rural Challenge.

Christopher Moore, CEO of Raven Petroleum, LLC and Tomas Puente, Project Developer for the South Texas Energy Complex gave a presentation about the projects logistics and estimated timeline. Mr. Moore stressed his commitment to bring an environmental friendly approach to his design and operations of the state of the art geothermal refinery. The new Geothermal Energy Technology was discussed and explained in detail as well as the environmental concerns dealing with water, the environment and wildlife. 

Moore and Puente both emphasized how this refinery would create job opportunities, community and business development and have an economic impact of $400,000.00 a day once construction begins. An estimated 1,800 jobs will be created during the first phase of the refinery construction. The second phase, will create 300 to 350 permanent positions with an average pay of $36 an hour or 80K a year.

Leticia Flores of the Governor's office along with Michael E. Gonzalez with the Small Business Economic Development office at Texas A&M International updated the group on the Governor's Office Grant awarded to the STED Alliance. The Governor’s office approved July 20, 2017 as the day for the Small Business Forum workshop at the County Pavilion in Hebbronville. All interested persons with existing businesses or prospective business owners within the seven county area will be invited to participate. Included also will be interested contractors/subcontractors wanting to do business with Raven Refinery. Applications for employment will be available for people wanting to work during the construction phase of the project. The Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions of Laredo discussed workforce training, high school dual-credit certifications and degree plans for community colleges and universities.