Strengthening Relationships for Economic Prosperity


COSTEP’s new Vice President of Economic Development for Domestic & Foreign Direct Investment Initiative

The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is known for its rich culture filled with fantastic food, music, and history. Further enticed by its rich economic potential and the uniquely close relationship with Mexico, over the years, many people from throughout the world have flocked to the RGV. European native Matt Z. Ruszczak is one of them, having arrived in our sun kissed corner of Texas in 1997. As of July 2021, he is leading COSTEP’s regional Domestic & Foreign Direct Investment Initiative as the Vice-President of Economic Development.

COSTEP has been working to improve the economy and education within the RGV and beyond for the past 49 years, most importantly having assisted thousands of students and their families access millions of dollars of financial aid, scholarships and holding free financial literacy education programs. COSTEP recently embarked on a data-driven and market-validated approach to regional economic development, leveraging their existing expertise in education and bolstering their domestic & international investment recruitment efforts with Matt’s addition to the team.

“COSTEP’s goal is to improve the economic prosperity of the Rio South Texas region,” Matt said. “We will pursue a multi-faceted strategy to accomplish this goal. This strategy is supported by two main pillars: education and economic development.” The Rio South Texas region is defined as the southernmost seven-county area on the U.S – Mexico border in deep South Texas as well as the ten adjacent municipios of Tamaulipas, Mexico, on the southern bank of the Rio Grande river.

As Vice-President of Economic Development for COSTEP’s regional Domestic & Foreign Direct Investment initiative, Matt understands how important it is to continue to build and strengthen the Rio South Texas region’s relationships on both a domestic and international level. “As we are emerging from the pandemic and as global supply chains are being realigned, companies are exploring new options. Many are looking to enter and expand in the now even more lucrative and even more vibrant North American market. Leveraging COSTEP’s data-driven and market-validated economic development strategy and doing my part to elevate its scale and impact, I am looking forward to capitalizing on this opportunity for our region. COSTEP’s express goal is to be a strong advocate on behalf of our region and to use our strength to attract investment.”

Patricia Beard, COSTEP’s Chief Executive Officer, said of Matt, “Matt’s passion for the Rio South Texas region, his extensive experience in economic development, as well as his grasp of global business dynamics will serve COSTEP and the entire region well. He is a great fit for the task at hand.”

Beard added that there are several projects already on the near horizon for COSTEP that will create active engagement throughout Rio South Texas and impact the social welfare benefit of the citizens living in the region.

Faith Chua