EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – What do you get when you bring 4,000 jobs to a region in the middle of a pandemic?

In the case of El Paso’s Borderplex Alliance, you get the top award from an international economic development organization. You also increase your clout when courting manufacturers considering reshoring their operations in Asia closer to home.

“This is a significant, major award for our region. It solidifies our position as the economic development organization of choice for companies and site selectors and it definitely allows us to represent our region in a very significant, credible manner,” said Jon Barela, chief executive officer of the Borderplex Alliance.

The 5,000-member International Economic Development Council on Tuesday bestowed the Economic Development Organization of the Year Award on the Borderplex Alliance. The award recognizes the world’s best economic development organizations every year.

The Borderplex Alliance in 2020 had a hand in luring a 700-job Amazon Inc. fulfillment center and a $150 million TJ Maxx distribution center to El Paso. Aside from the direct jobs those projects bring, they reinvigorate the construction industry at least in the short term.

“It was a significant year, a landmark year for our organization in difficult and challenging economic times. The award is a testament to the hard work of our staff and board of directors and I look for an even more prosperous 2021 and beyond,” Barela told Border Report.

Jon Barela (Border Report file photo)

The Borderplex Alliance is pursuing a record amount of leads when it comes to businesses looking for new places to expand or relocate, he said.

“We continue to set a new bar month after month. About one-third of those opportunities are shoring or reshoring opportunities from China. We have been talking about this for years and now it’s starting to come to fruition. This is what’s keeping our organization busy,” Barela said.

Because of non-disclosure agreements, Barela said he couldn’t name some of the companies looking at the El Paso-Las Cruces-Juarez region for expansion. However, he said some include some specific industries.

“We are competing very well for major industrial projects in the aerospace industry and in the consumer electronics manufacturing sector. And, we are developing a very nice strategy – I call it a vertical strategy – for electric vehicle production,” he said. “I see very good potential in each of those manufacturing sectors in the short term and in the long term for our region.”