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.