After a year on the job, McAllen Chamber of Commerce CEO resigns

Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
Josh Mejia

McALLEN — Josh Mejia, the president and CEO of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, has stepped down from the position effective immediately.

Mejia’s resignation comes a little more than a year after he left the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation in order to help guide economic development in Hidalgo County’s largest city.

“I had the privilege to be able to work there (McAllen) for a little over a year to be able to kind of set the ground for our leadership, working with them and our stakeholders,” Mejia told The Monitor late Monday.

“It just gets to a point where you are able to understand when your time is done and when it’s required for the organization to consider somebody else that can come in and just keep driving things forward,” he added.

Mejia has more than a decade of experience in economic development and came to the McAllen Chamber after serving as the CEO of the Brownsville CIC for about three years, but was with the organization for six years.

Mejia spoke of how his hiring here helped provide stability to a Chamber of Commerce that was in flux after the departure of longtime CEO and President Steve Ahlenius, who, in October 2021, abruptly resigned after helming the organization for nearly 24 years.

“There was some obvious and immediate history in the organization that required some stability … and (I) essentially worked with stakeholders and leadership to determine what a new foundation would look like,” Mejia said.

Under his leadership over the last year, the McAllen Chamber has unveiled new branding and has worked hard to build state, national and international business relationships, Mejia said.

And now, as the Chamber’s board of directors is on the cusp of rotating leadership, it’s the perfect time for the organization to seek out a new CEO, as well.

“I thought it was best for us to be able to allow for somebody else to come in and be able to work the organization moving forward with this new, I guess you can call it, chapter that was already established at that point,” Mejia said.

McAllen Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Josh Mejia addresses the McAllen Citizens League Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in McAllen. (Courtesy photo)

On Oct. 1, former McAllen Mayor Jim Darling will succeed Stephan Wingert as the board chair.

Wingert is the publisher of The Monitor, the Valley Morning Star and The Brownsville Herald and serves as the regional vice president of the newspapers’ parent company, AIM Media Texas.

“There’s new leadership that’s coming into the board, as well, that will definitely also help moving the momentum and driving it forward,” Mejia said.

As for what Mejia will do now, he said he will continue to foster economic development through his position on the board of directors of the International Economic Development Council based out of Washington, D.C.

But, he also plans to stay in the Rio Grande Valley — in the region he says he loves the most — to continue offering economic development advice to local leaders.

“I leave with immense gratitude for being provided the opportunity to begin with, right, and being able to get to work with the people I worked in leadership and staff, the partners over at the organization,” Mejia said.

“My love grew tremendously in such a short amount of time for this community — far more than what it was before.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect Mejia’s tenure at the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation.