Corpus Christi EDC Expands Opportunities to Regional Manufacturers

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The Corpus Christi Regional expands Economic Development Corporation (CCREDC) Business Retention and Expansion to connect manufacturers with innovative solutions, including Sustainment Technologies and the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC).

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“The Coastal Bend region is not immune to global challenges, but we encourage our local businesses to take advantage of resources that may provide opportunities for growth or modernization,” says Brittany Sotelo, CCREDC Vice President of Business Retention and Expansion.

The Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation (CCREDC) Business Retention and Expansion program is expanding opportunities for its regional manufacturers though its participation in the new Texas Manufacturing Network, a rapidly growing online community of Texas manufacturers, suppliers and support organizations. The network is sponsored by the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) and the innovative technology behind the network is designed, built and maintained by Austin-based Sustainment Technologies, Inc.

John and Miguel Hernandez, owners of Universal Tool and Die in Corpus Cristi, have experienced first hand the benefits of both leveraging the experts at TMAC and using the tools available to US manufacturers on Sustainment. Universal has seen its share of recessions and challenges over the years, but this time, it’s different. “It’s been difficult managing the loss of our employees on both a personal and professional level. We have lost a great level of specialized skills at a time when we have greater demand for manufactured parts due supply chain interruptions,” said Mr. Hernandez.

Miguel, an Airforce Veteran, opened Universal Tool and Die in 1996 to meet the demand for aerospace components required for the Corpus Christi Army Depot. The company provides manufacturing services including tooling, jigs, fixtures, special-prototype tooling as well as modification, repairs, and overhauls of existing products, a lost art in the machining world. His son, John, helps manage the business and is consulting with experts at TMAC on how to best implement new technologies in business operations and capabilities to to meet future industry requirements.

“In February, TMAC consultants visited our office and provided recommendations to improve our business operations. They will evaluate our bidding process and current job schedule as well as other objectives to increase revenues in the near future.” said John.

TMAC has 400 locations nationwide and is an affiliate of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program that has served over 27,000 manufactures in the U.S. TMAC based in the Rio Grande Valley covers the Coastal Bend region and provides technical management, consulting and training services for companies in pursuit of accelerating profitable growth and improving products, processes and people statewide.

Sustainment helps U.S. small to medium-sized manufacturers to present their unique capabilities, to find and connect with commercial and government suppliers, and access support resources. Its process-based search technology was developed for the U.S. Air Force initially to help them gain access to a larger pool of local US SME manufacturers who could meet their requirements regardless of traditional industry affiliation. The technology is proving to be more efficient and effective at matching suppliers and manufacturers.

CCREDC is often contacted by local businesses looking for solutions to challenges stemming from inflation and recent supply chain disruptions. “The Coastal Bend region is not immune to global challenges, but we encourage our local businesses to take advantage of resources like TMAC and the Texas Manufacturing Network that may provide opportunities for growth or modernization,” says Brittany Sotelo, CCREDC Vice President of Business Retention and Expansion.

“The Sustainment network accommodates the entire Texas manufacturing ecosystem on one platform to reduce research time for vendors looking for shops with specific machining capabilities and services. Businesses currently purchasing supplies internationally may be able to find a manufacturer in the United States that could provide a competitive price for the same job,” said Sotelo.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 346,000 manufacturing establishments operate in the United States. Nearly 99 percent of those establishments are small and medium-sized manufacturers with fewer than 500 employees.

Reshoring of manufacturing operations back to the U.S. could inject as much as $443 billion into the economy over the next several years, according to, an online manufacturing newsletter and data source. The 2021 Thomas State of North American Manufacturing Report states that 83% of manufacturers planned to add North American suppliers to their supply chains in 2022, a significant increase from 54% in the March 2020 report.

“Our goal in the next year is to implement a succession plan for the business. We plan to increase production with the help of our current manpower and soon-to-be hired personnel. We plan on changing our reputation as a mom-and-pop machine shop to one of the best and most respected businesses in the region. We look forward to remodeling our shop and updating our businesses practices with the help of TMAC, Sustainment and Del Mar College,” added Hernandez.

To learn more about TMAC or Sustainment, visit

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