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TSTC President Honored for Service to RGV LEAD

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

Dr. M - RGV LEADTexas State Technical College president Cesar Maldonado was recognized as a RGV LEAD All Star along with State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. and Albert G. Chronis, an architect with ERO Architects, during RGV LEAD's Third Annual Employers and Education Forum on Friday at the Knapp Medical Center Conference Center.

Maldonado, one of the driving forces behind RGV LEAD (Linking Economic and Academic Development) more than 20 years ago, was recognized for his time and effort with the organization that unites education and industry.

RGV LEAD, formerly known asTech Prep of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc., changed its name recently but its mission remains the same.

"I've been very blessed to be involved with this group," Maldonado told a packed conference center. I've learned more by contributing time to Tech Prep than if I worked on three PhDs. My success is not due to me. I've worked with a lot of great people."

Maldonado recounted the tale of his involvement with RGV LEAD. At the time, it was merely a concept and all he had to do was attend an hour-long meeting. That hour quickly turned into more than 20 years of service to the education process in the Valley.

"I was asked to go to a meeting to represent industry," Maldonado recalled. "And it would have been only an hour but when I got back to my office I wrote a two-page letter to Representative (Ruben) Hinojosa on how I disagreed with his proposals to move education forward and tying it with industry. I got a letter back saying if I didn't like it why didn't I come do it."

And so began a loyal commitment by Maldonado to help provide the students of the Valley with an opportunity to reach a higher level of competence in the workforce.

Maldonado credited RGV LEAD Executive Director Pat Bubb with providing leadership in the early days of Tech Prep.

"The starting point was a blank sheet of paper," Maldonado said. "We had little money and we had to figure out what we could do. So we came up with a concept on how to work with educators and industry on improving economic development in the region. And once we came up with it, we had to figure out how to sell it."

It took years and hard work but the right people were finally on board.

Another All-Star recipient played an integral part in the development of Tech Prep, now RGV LEAD. Lucio, a longtime lawmaker and education advocate from Brownsville, received a lot of credit for the work he did in Austin on behalf of RGV LEAD and education in general.

"It takes having a goal but it also takes realizing that the only way to accomplish anything is to work together," Lucio said. "I don't really deserve it (recognition). I got elected to represent you and do the best job that I could. And that's my attitude. People really don't care how much you know or how brilliant you are. They want to know how much you care."

Chronis was recognized as a former Tech Prep student. Chronis, a Brownsville Pace graduate, earned an associate's degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design from TSTC and went on to obtain a degree in architecture from UTSA. He currently works as the project manager for ERO Architects in McAllen.

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