UTPA celebrates Broncs at Work at IBC Bank
Posted: 10/17/2012
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To reconnect with its alumni, The University of Texas-Pan American has started to visit its Broncs at work.

The University of Texas-Pan American and its Office of Alumni Relations recently started the Broncs at Work program to reconnect with alumni and praise area employers that have hired UTPA graduates. UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen, pictured front far right, and mascot Bucky Bronc, pictured front far left, show their Bronc pride with employees of IBC Bank.

The University celebrated its Broncs at Work community outreach program Oct. 2 with a breakfast reception for its alumni employed at International Bank of Commerce (IBC) in McAllen.

"This breakfast is a recognition of our graduates from UTPA," said David Guerra, president and CEO of IBC. "There are a lot of you here at IBC; a lot of the young men and women here today are celebrating their pride for UTPA. It's great to hear our employees tell each other 'I didn't know you graduated from UTPA.'"

UT Pan American started Broncs at Work to recognize the accomplishments of UTPA graduates and students in the workforce and celebrate the businesses that hire them.

Guerra said he believes it is essential that local companies and corporations hire from UTPA.

"It's extremely critical. There are arguments both ways, but if you hire someone who graduated locally, and has taken a serious approach to their education, when they hit the ground they hit the ground running. They don't have to re-adjust culturally or relocate and they have a strong familiarity with the region," Guerra said.

IBC has 80 former and current UTPA students who work at different capacities with the bank and at different branches in Hidalgo County. Their positions range from senior vice presidents, branch managers, and teller supervisors, to all kinds of management positions.

Sonia Casas, (BBA '93, general business), works in management at IBC and has been with the bank for 18 years. She said she is grateful for what the University has done for her.

"UTPA has given me many opportunities in my career and personal growth. Being so close to home, it gave me the opportunity to be able to live at home and attend a great university at the same time," Casas said.

Casas says she still refers to what she learned during her time as a student at UTPA in doing her work at IBC.

"I feel that all of the classes I took helped me understand a lot of what I do now. I am in management and I have my degree in business. My education gave me a sense of what to expect in the real world and I still refer back to some of my management classes," she said.

Debra Grant, director of Alumni Relations, searches for local companies that hire or are hiring UTPA alumni.

"We are frequently finding businesses with alumni working for them," Grant said. "Broncs at Work fosters university pride, plus demonstrates the value the alumni have to create community prosperity across the South Texas region."

The Office of Alumni Relations provides a UTPA T-shirt to each alumnus and takes a group photo of UTPA Broncs employed at the business. The photos are used to recognize Broncs in news outlets such as their alumni newsletter and website.

An alumnus is defined as a person who graduated from UTPA or attended at least one class.

"I tell everyone, when UTPA comes up in general discussion, that we have a great university. People don't realize the quality of education UTPA provides," Guerra said. "We have hard working men and women who are very loyal to the companies they work with and work for. I am just glad we have the university here because they are producing great talent."

For more information on the Broncs at Work program, contact Grant at (956) 665-2500.