Mesquite's Finest Recognized: Highlights from the 2023 BRE Annual Awards

On January 25, 2024, the Mesquite Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Task Force took center stage at the  Mesquite Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, presenting a total of eight prestigious business awards. Recognizing both outstanding Mesquite businesses and community members, the BRE Awards celebrated their notable contributions. Here is a glimpse of the 2023 Award Winners. 

Elements International was honored with the Business Legacy Award by The City of Mesquite Economic Development Department, presented by Kim Buttram, Director of Economic Development. This recognition underscores their outstanding contributions to the local business landscape, with President Mike Wurster accepting the award alongside his leadership team. 

In 2018, Elements International embarked on a visionary endeavor, consolidating three Texas locations into a groundbreaking 487,000 square feet facility at Skyline Dr. This strategic move not only redefined industrial spaces but also marked the establishment of their new Corporate Headquarters. 

In 2021, Elements International made the decision to start manufacturing their own products. This initiative led to operations in the Urban District 30 business park development, propelling Mesquite's business culture into a new era as a prime location for manufacturing and for the furniture industry. The Business Legacy Award serves as a testament to Elements International's enduring impact and unwavering commitment to shaping Mesquite's business legacy for years to come.

From left to right: Front row: Javier Hernandez, Director of Manufacturing and Distribution; Carly Weiner, EVP of Operations; Andrea Solis, AVP of Operations; Maria Lopez, Director of HR. Back row: Mayor Daniel Alemán Jr., City of Mesquite; Mike Wurster, President of Elements International; Susie Weiner, EVP of Marketing for Elements International, Kim Buttram Director of Economic Development, City of Mesquite

Downtown Mesquite, represented by Downtown Development Manager, Beverly Abell, was delighted to award Hector Vela of MVP Nutrition & Energy with the Downtowner of the Year Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the Downtown Mesquite Community. Hector was applauded for his efforts in hosting Fitness Fun Socials at the Downtown Mesquite Farmers Market, conducting classes in McCullough Plaza, and acting as a devoted advocate for the area. His unwavering commitment earned him this well-deserved accolade. 

From left to right: James Johnson, Downtown Mesquite Coordinator; Mayor Daniel Alemán Jr., City of Mesquite; Hector Vela and wife Roxana Torres, Owners of MVP; Lisa Haar, Downtown Development Board Chair; Beverly Abell, Downtown Mesquite Development Manager

The Visit Mesquite Partner of the Year Award was proudly presented to The Alexander Ballroom by The City of Mesquite Convention & Visitors Bureau. Opening its doors in March 2022 as a premier event venue, The Alexander Ballroom has not only achieved remarkable success but has also become a magnet for visitors from across DFW and the State of Texas. 

Owners Homero Lopez and George Morris attribute their success to their distinctive decorating style, which has given them a business advantage and placed them as a top-tier event venue. They host a diverse array of events, from intimate baby showers to large-scale corporate gatherings. Their specialty lies in organizing unforgettable Quinceañeras, showcasing their expertise in creating memorable experiences for all attendees. 

From left to right: Mayor Daniel Alemán Jr., City of Mesquite; Homero Lopez and George Morris, owners of The Alexander Ballroom with their parents; Kim Buttram Director of Economic Development, City of Mesquite

Dallas College presented PepsiCo as their 2023 Partner of the Year for their impactful contributions to the PepsiCo Uplift and S.M.I.L.E scholarship program. Since 2021, the PepsiCo Foundation has invested $600,000 in Dallas College, supporting nearly 300 students in obtaining associate degrees or trade certificates in high-growth industries. An additional $1.5 million has been provided to Dallas College graduates pursuing bachelor's degrees at four-year universities, with an impressive 90% of scholars on track to graduate. 

Jeremy Johnson, Vice President of Supply Chain for PepsiCo Foods North America’s Southwest Region, expressed gratitude for being named 2023 Partner of the Year by Dallas College. He highlighted the foundation's commitment to education and scholarship programs, emphasizing their impact on students from underserved communities. Johnson shared success stories, including Esperant Mputu, an Uplift scholar now contributing to PepsiCo's Mesquite facility, exemplifying the tangible outcomes of their mission to create educational opportunities and meaningful careers for students. The partnership between PepsiCo and Dallas College, as underscored by Johnson, is a joint investment in futures, dreams, and the leaders of tomorrow.

From left to right: Front row: Dr. Eddie Tealer, Dallas College Eastfield Campus President; Meredith Shull, PepsiCo Foundation; Mayor Daniel Alemán Jr., City of Mesquite; Jeremy Johnson, Supply Chain Vice President for PepsiCo Foods North America’s Southwest Region; Esperant Mputu, PepsiCo; Jesse Prioleau, PepsiCo. Middle row: Rebecca Acuna, Director of Government Affairs & Policy Communications at PepsiCo; Lori Jaide Watson, Dallas College Foundation. Back row: Moises Ramirez, Dallas College Director of Business Engagement, Janet Foreman, Dallas College; Brandon Morton, Dallas College; Josh Skolnik, Dallas College Foundation; Dr. Tran, Dallas College; Jonathan George, PepsiCo Foundation; Nikki Jolly, PepsiCo

Vickey Jackson, Business Services Representative for Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, revealed Canadian Solar as the recipient of the 2023 Workforce Solutions Employer of the Year for the  City of Mesquite. The company, a global player with successful operations in countries like Canada, China, Brazil, Thailand, and Vietnam, is currently constructing its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Mesquite—a significant investment exceeding $250 million. 

The new plant, situated in a 91-acre industrial park at 3000 Skyline Drive, positions Canadian Solar as a major player with state-of-the-art technology to better serve U.S. customers. With plans to become the second-largest private employer in Mesquite, surpassed only by UPS, Canadian Solar will create over 1500 jobs for manufacturing production operators and various other positions. The company's proactive collaboration with Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas has resulted in impactful initiatives like Workforce Center Hiring Events and participation in job fairs, including the Judge County Clay Jenkins Job Fair.

From left to right: Front row: Vickey Jackson, Business Solutions Leader; Scott Quinlan, Senior Recruiting Supervisor Canadian Solar; Katherine Wang, Canadian Solar; Chateau Keys, Canadian Solar; Kaylah Ryan, Canadian Solar; Camuriel Carpenter, Canadian Solar. Top row: Mayor Daniel Alemán Jr., City of Mesquite; Cathy Breedlove, Canadian Solar; Steven Bridges, Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas Industry Communications Manager

Vanguard High School Dean, Clint Elsasser, presented Chesmar Homes the Career and Technical Education Partner of the Year award  for their exceptional collaboration on a community project. The partnership involves the construction and architecture of a tiny home for a deserving veteran. Chesmar Homes has generously donated the trailer and essential materials for the tiny home, while MISD students are actively engaged in the hands-on construction process. Elsasser highlighted the company's commitment to fostering meaningful community initiatives and their dedication to supporting MISD in providing valuable learning experiences for architecture and construction science students through real-world projects.

From left to right: Clint Elsasser, Mesquite ISD's Vanguard High School Dean; James Ramirez, Sr. Director of Design; Eric Smith, VP of Operations both with Chesmar Homes; Mayor Daniel Alemán Jr., City of Mesquite

Alexander Helgar, President of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, announced Dallas Regional Medical Center as the 2023 Partner of the Year. Established in 1964, the medical center has grown steadily, employing over 650 individuals in the community. Joining the Mesquite Chamber just two years after its inception, the medical center elevated its community involvement in 2015, becoming a crucial supporter for the chamber. 

The Partner of the Year recognition acknowledges the Dallas Regional Medical Center's commitment to cultivating a healthy workforce, refining their service mindset, and addressing community healthcare needs. In 2023, they distinguished themselves through extensive event sponsorships, active participation in monthly gatherings, and a commitment to empowering employees to take on leadership roles within the community.

From left to right: Front row: Melissa Graham; Becky McIntire; Vince Falsarella all three with Dallas Regional Medical Center; Alexander Helgar, President Mesquite Chamber of Commerce. Top row: Heather Watson, Dallas Regional Medical Center; Mayor Daniel Alemán Jr., City of Mesquite

Alberto Rivera, Economic Development Coordinator with the City of Mesquite, presented Canales Furniture Mesquite with the 2023 Retailer of the Year Award for its exceptional growth and community engagement. Despite tough competition in the DFW market and beyond, Canales Furniture Mesquite has consistently excelled. Starting with a modest team in 2010, the store has expanded significantly, moving to a larger facility in February 2020 and currently ranking among the top three in the company's 22 locations. The award acknowledges businesses actively contributing to the community and fostering vibrant shopping environments. 

Owner Francisco Torres and wife Blanca accepted the award, stressing the importance of commitment to community through events like "Noche Buena en Canales" and Cinco de Mayo, collaboration with Unidos for "Noche de Fiesta," and participation in the Thanksgiving Fest turkey giveaway. 

From left to right: Mayor Dan Alemán Jr., City of Mesquite; Francisco Torres and wife Blanca, Owners of Canales Furniture Mesquite; Alberto Rivera, Economic Development Coordinator City of Mesquite

The 2023 BRE Annual Awards ceremony drew a crowd of 101 attendees, including notable dignitaries such as Mayor Dan Alemán Jr., City Councilmember District 2 Kenny Green, City Manager Cliff Keheley, and Mesquite ISD Superintendent Dr. Ángel Rivera. We express our gratitude to the Mesquite ISD Education Foundation for sponsoring the luncheon, and  Dallas College Eastfield Campus for providing the venue. 

The Business Retention & Expansion Task Force is a partnership of Mesquite’s core economic development stakeholder organizations, including the City of Mesquite, Mesquite Independent School District, Dallas College, Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, Forney Independent School District, and the University of Texas at Dallas. The task force is dedicated to empowering and supporting existing employers, employees, and entrepreneurs within the community. For additional information, the City of Mesquite Economic Development Department can be contacted at 972-216-6446.

Mayor Dan Alemán Jr. of Mesquite speaks at the 2023 BRE Annual Awards Ceremony