Monday, December 24, 2018

Brownsville Scholars Benefit from Living-Learning Community

Brownsville, Texas, native Micheal Albert “Mike” Hernandez III heads D & M Leasing in Dallas. In addition to his business accomplishments, Mike Hernandez III supports anti-poverty and education initiatives including the Brownsville Scholars Program.

Dedicated to increasing access to higher education for South Texas residents with low incomes, the Brownsville Scholars Program offers comprehensive financial assistance to attend Texas A&M University. In addition to a four-year tuition scholarship, the program provides stipends for internships and enrichment activities, as well as funds for travel costs, a fish camp retreat, and housing in the university’s “Living Learning Communities” dormitory.

Identified as a “high impact” practice by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, learning communities like those at Texas A&M encourage students to build connections with people who have shared interests or backgrounds. With a focus on small group interactions and mentorship programs, these communities have demonstrated the capacity to increase student engagement and academic performance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

OP 10.33 PAC Aims to Reduce Cameron County Unemployment

The chief executive of D & M Leasing, Micheal Albert Hernandez III has run the Dallas-Fort Worth based vehicle leasing company since 1984. Born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, Mike Hernandez III works to reduce poverty in economically depressed Cameron County.

Through the political action committee OP 10.33, which aims to dramatically improve economic conditions in Cameron County by October 2033, Mike Hernandez III helped to establish the Cameron County Education Initiative (CCEI). CCEI offers vocational education and training to help residents prepare for in-demand jobs such as construction worker and medical assistant, encouraging economic self-sufficiency. 

CCEI offers both online training and a classroom facility. Located in Brownsville, the facility features computer and technology labs, tactile learning classrooms, and a student resource center, in addition to traditional classrooms and administrative offices. Ongoing funding for the program comes from workforce investment programs, corporate tuition reimbursement, and charitable donations. Tuition assistance is available for eligible students.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Cameron County Education Initiative Debuts Construction Training Class

The chief executive of the Dallas-area company D & M Leasing, Micheal Albert “Mike” Hernandez III has decades of experience in the vehicle leasing industry. In addition to running a successful business, Mike Hernandez III focuses on philanthropic work and supporting nonprofits such as the Cameron County Education Initiative (CCEI).

CCEI recently partnered with Workforce Solutions Cameron to develop a pre-apprenticeship construction training program in Cameron County, Texas. With enough funding to help 25 people become job ready, the program will teach basic skills for using hand and power tools, reading blueprints, and completing required measurements and math equations on a construction site. Students can opt to receive training in first aid and forklift driving depending on their job choice.

The pre-apprenticeship construction training program is funded by a $50,000 Texas Industry Partnership grant through the Texas Workforce Commission, along with a matching donation from CCEI. To learn more, contact your local Workforce Solutions office or visit

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Impact Texas A&M Foundation Giving Has on Students

Michael “Mike” Albert Hernandez III has led D & M Leasing in Dallas, Texas, as chief executive officer since 1984, and parent company Hernco, Inc., since 1990. Beyond his work as an executive, Mike Hernandez III supports community groups, such as CCEI in Brownsville and the Texas A&M Foundation.

The impact a Texas A&M Foundation donation can have on a student's life cannot be overstated. Financial aid has the potential to free students from the responsibilities associated with part-time jobs and related stresses, thereby allowing individuals more time to study and pursue character-building extracurricular activities.

Contributions can be made to an annual scholarship fund or established as an endowed gift, ensuring future learning opportunities in perpetuity. When making a donation, individuals may elect to specify a particular major or field of study they would like to support. Contributions can also be directed to students from a certain geographic region or to students enrolled in either graduate or undergraduate programs.

Endowed scholarships are particularly impactful at Texas A&M, as the foundation makes sure to invest endowed funds in a manner that ensures optimized growth with minimal risk to the principal. Only earnings are distributed through various or select scholarships, guaranteeing continued financial support to future generations of Texas A&M students.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Leader of Texas' V3 Army for Good Has Long Record of Community Support

Micheal Albert “Mike” Hernandez III is the chief executive officer of the Dallas-area company D & M Leasing. A native of Brownsville, Texas, Mike Hernandez III supports numerous nonprofits focused on improving quality of life for underserved residents in Cameron County, including V3 Army for the Good.

V3 Army is a community organizing initiative that aims to spur substantial change in governmental institutions in South Texas. It accomplishes its mission by thoroughly vetting the ethics of candidates for office and ensuring that essential public services reach those in need within Cameron County. The organization is led by Jose Angel Gutierrez. 

In addition to his work as a community organizer, Mr. Gutierrez is an attorney, licensed to represent clients in matters before the Texas Supreme Court and federal courts in Texas in the Northern and Southern Districts. The recipient of a three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to document the civil rights history of racial minorities in Texas, he is also known for founding the Mexican American Youth Organization and the Mexican American Unity Council. In 2014, Mr. Gutierrez was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dallas Peace and Justice Center.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cameron County Education Initiative Admission Guidelines

Founder of community development group OP 10.33 and chief executive officer of D & M Leasing in Dallas, Michael “Mike” Hernandez III is an inspiring business professional and benefactor of various nonprofit organizations in Brownsville and Cameron County. Mike Hernandez III established the Cameron County Education Initiative to offer debt-free education and career preparation programs that will benefit students as they enter the job market.

The Cameron County Education Initiative (CCEI) is the primary driver of OP 10.33’s objective of providing affordable education to students in need, offering various programs in areas related to medicine and construction technology. To qualify for admission to CCEI, students must present either an official high school transcript, an acceptable high school diploma, a GED certificate, or foreign high school documentation. Students may also qualify by providing a copy of the curriculum of their homeschooling or a Wonderlic Basic Skills Test result with a minimum verbal score of 200 and quantitative score of 210.

The CCEI admission procedures consist of an interview with an admissions representative followed by a tour of the school and a meeting with a financial officer. The admissions representative will facilitate completion of the enrollment agreement and other required forms to officially accept the student’s application. 

Visit to learn more about the programs offered.

Friday, August 31, 2018

CCEI Supports Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Born in Brownsville, Texas, Micheal “Mike” Albert Hernandez III serves as the chief executive officer of Hernco Inc. and D & M Leasing in Dallas. After reading a Houston Chronicle article ranking Brownsville as the poorest city in America, Mike Hernandez III founded OP10.33, a 20-year project dedicated to supporting projects that advance education and provide job opportunities to the residents of Cameron County. 

Through OP10.33, Mr. Hernandez has committed to donating $10 million to various projects in Cameron County for the first 10 years. Guided by his mission, he intends to emphasize the four main aspects of the project.

1. Education and Training
Cameron County Education Initiative (CCEI) was established to provide postsecondary education and career training to the residents of Cameron County and South Texas. CCEI offers three programs in construction technology, medical billing and coding, and medical assistance. CCEI will use the seed funding from OP10.33 to grant tuition assistance to students.

2. Job Creation
The OP10.33 the project requires a combination of five competitive factors to achieve its goals for job creation and economic stability. The five factors include leadership and collaboration, workforce skills, reliable and cost-effective infrastructure, capital availability, and entrepreneurial culture. The project will track and measure its success by monitoring the overall economic viability of the region in terms of per capita income, poverty rate, and net asset valuation per capita.

3. Civic Engagement
OP10.33 works on empowering the residents of the Rio Grande Valley to perform their civic duties. This is done by encouraging and assisting eligible residents in becoming registered voters and exercising their rights during elections.

4. Social Services
OP10.33 partners with different segments of the community such as churches and nonprofit organizations that are active participants in the health care profession, schools, arts and media, government, and private organizations to improve Brownsville and Cameron County residents’ overall quality of life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Services Offered by OP-10.33

Micheal (Mike) Albert Hernandez III has made his mark in the business community as Chief Executive Officer of D & M Auto Leasing.  In addition to running a thriving business, Mike Hernandez is a committed philanthropist and the founder of OP-10.33 in Brownsville, his hometown.

Focused on promoting economic growth in Cameron County, OP-10.33 takes its name from the phrase “land of opportunity by October 2033,” which expresses the organization's mission. In 2013, Brownsville was named America's poorest city by the Houston Chronicle. OP-10.33 set out to change that through comprehensive efforts to stimulate the economy and promote education.

OP-10.33 provides services in areas such as food and access to phones and computers for those in need. The organization collaborates with insurance companies and healthcare providers to supply services to people without insurance. 

In the field of education, OP-10.33's efforts include the support of trade schools and training programs. The organization also backs political candidates of any party that will further its mission.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Dr. Jose Angel Gutierrez, Founder of V3 Army

Micheal Albert “Mike” Hernandez III graduated from Texas A&M University before embarking on a career that has included leadership positions with D&M Leasing in Dallas, Texas. Outside of his professional life, Mike Hernandez III supports nonprofits and organizations in his hometown of Brownsville, Texas, and the surrounding communities, including the V3 Army.

Based in Cameron County, Texas, V3 Army is dedicated to supporting the citizens of the region by driving governmental change. In addition to vetting and endorsing political candidates that support its goals, the organization hosts food drives and other community outreach programs. 

V3 Army was founded by Dr. Jose Angel Gutierrez, a longtime academic and community activist. Originally from Crystal City, Texas, Dr. Gutierrez holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, and a law degree from the University of Houston. For many years, he taught political science at the University of Texas, Arlington, where he founded the Center for Mexican American Studies. He is author or co-author of 14 books. 

Over his long career, Dr. Gutierrez has stood out as a champion for humanitarian values and social justice who helped lead the Chicano Movement and co-founded influential groups such as the Mexican American Youth Organization. Since then, he has become familiar to the nation as a frequent guest on national news programs, where he has debated extremists from across the spectrum. 

Dr. Gutierrez retired from teaching in 2015 and turned his attention to community organizing and grassroots activism through organizations such as V3 Army. In 2016, he volunteered for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Brownsville Achieves Progress in Education and Unemployment

Micheal “Mike” Hernandez III is a respected presence in the Dallas business community who has guided D & M Leasing for more than three decades. Having grown up in Brownsville, Mike Hernandez III has a longtime commitment to South Texas and leads a nonprofit focused on revitalizing Brownsville's economy, which is one of the poorest performing nationwide.

Despite the region’s economic struggles, Cameron County does have much potential, as it features a port city situated on the Mexican border. A recent article in the Brownsville Herald drew attention to a RentCafe report, which analyzed census numbers from more than 300 cities across the United States. 

With Odessa, Texas, ranked first, Brownsville achieved ranking at number nine in the “Most Prosperous Cities in the United States” list. Midland achieved a 10th place ranking, while major Texas cities such as Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston did not even appear on the list.

One reason for Brownsville’s high ranking is that the list does not rely on conventional wealth metrics, but rather progress achieved in a half dozen “prosperity indicators.” As well as home value, these include income, population, poverty rate, higher education, and unemployment.

The city has witnessed a 30 percent population expansion since the last census, with the unemployment rate dropping 28 percent and the poverty rate by 9 percent. At the same time, that percentage of the population holding at least an undergraduate degree has increased by 35 percent.

Unfortunately, despite tech-driven inroads in diversifying the local economy, the median household income stands stubbornly at less than $35,000 in a state where the median household income is more than $56,000.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

OP 10.33 Visualizes Brownsville as a Land of Opportunity by 2033

Micheal (Mike) Albert Hernandez III serves as the chief executive officer of D & M Leasing in Dallas, Texas. Semi-retired since 2011, Mike Hernandez III focuses a significant portion of his time on philanthropic pursuits that include establishing the OP 10.33 project. 

The nonprofit OP 10.33 focuses on Cameron County and its county seat, Brownsville, which the Houston Chronicle identified as “the poorest city in America” in 2013. OP 10.33 operates with the single goal of transforming the area into a land of opportunity by October 2033. According to OP 10.33’s mission statement, its projects will focus on organized efforts to increase private-sector business growth and support political candidates who have a history of generating funding from government agencies. OP 10.33 also fosters education beyond high school through the implementation of coordinated degree plans at every school level. 

In addition to its grand-scale goals, OP 10.33 strives to provide a range of individual services, from legal assistance and health care alternatives to feeding Cameron County residents in need. Individual entities that benefit from the organization’s support include the Brownsville Scholars Program, Mission Metroplex, and the Cameron County Education Initiative.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Texas A&M’s Long History of Creating New Opportunities

Michael Albert “Mike” Hernandez III, now partially retired after decades of service and leadership to D & M Leasing in Dallas, Texas, channels his personal wealth into nonprofit efforts to improve the lives of youth and families in his hometown of Brownsville and beyond. Through his Brownsville Scholars program, he gives college-age young people from the severely under-resourced community free tuition to Texas A&M University for four years of study. Mike Hernandez III is himself a graduate of Texas A&M, where he studied industrial distribution.

Texas A&M offers a rich variety of academic and extracurricular activities to some 60,000 students. The school’s proud history goes back to its establishment as Texas’ first publicly funded state higher education institution, in the days of land-grant colleges of the mid-1800s.

In the midst of the Civil War, the United States Congress passed the Morrill Act, which contributed public lands to individual states to found colleges teaching agriculture and allied trades, as well as traditional academic subjects. In 1871, Texas followed up on this promise of an opportunity to democratize education by approving the creation of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.

Famous supporters have included the 41st President George H. W. Bush, who elected to house a presidential library on the Texas A&M campus.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Many Texans Lack Access to Education Needed for 21st Century Success

Thanks to Texas businessman and philanthropist Michael Albert “Mike” Hernandez III, a total of 10 young adults have been able to attend Texas A&M University on full scholarships this year. Mike Hernandez, a native of the South Texas city of Brownsville, has reached out to the underserved community where he grew up to fund new opportunities for youth who otherwise would have little chance of making their dreams come true.

The Brownsville Scholars Program is supported through a $1 million contribution from Mr. Hernandez, the semi-retired head of Dallas-based D & M Leasing. Each of the recipients will be able to complete a four-year degree through the program.

Studies have shown that Texans in general lag behind in their ability to access higher education and the higher-paying jobs that come with it. In 2015, for example, only one-third of Texans of working age had completed two or more years of postsecondary education. The problem is acute for low-income residents and adults already in the workforce. Within the next few years, about two-thirds of available jobs will require a college education.

And Brownsville is especially affected. According to the United States Census Bureau, less than two-thirds of the city’s adults possess a high school diploma, and only about 17 percent hold a four-year college degree – numbers that donors like Mike Hernandez can help change for the better.