In 2003, a small startup firm opened its doors for the first time in Del Rio. What started as a dream to build a business has turned into the reality of helping others improve their quality of life through financial education, awareness and implementation of sound financial practices. What started as Amistad Taxes Plus, which focused on providing tax preparation, bookkeeping and business services has developed into a firm specializing in holistic financial services.
Today that firm is known as Money Link Financial Services Inc. and Gilbert Mercado Financial Services Inc. Under their corporate structures, they offer services under the brand names of Money Concepts Wealth Management and Financial Planning, Liberty Tax and Money Link Financial Services. Each brand offers distinct services; however, to the clients and community they serve, the distinction is solely on paper. With a team of 15 plus employees, each with varying responsibilities and areas of expertise, clients are afforded services which include bookkeeping, payroll and business consultation, tax preparation and planning, representation before the Internal Revenue Service and financial planning, investments, and retirement planning!
The firm’s President and CEO, Gilbert Mercado, oversees the overall operations and provides guidance for the future growth and direction of the company. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree along with multiple securities licenses and designations including a series 7, 65 and 22, as well as the Master Registered Financial Consultant (MRFC) and Certified Fund Specialist (CFS). Irmarie Mercado, the firms COO and Executive Vice President, oversees day to day operations and also holds multiple industry designations, including the NTPI Fellow and Certified Bookkeeper (CB). Gilbert and Irmarie are also Enrolled Agents (EA). This is the highest credential offered by the Internal Revenue Service and are experts in the field of taxation. This license also allows them the same rights of representation as a CPA or Tax Attorney before the IRS.
The organization believes in educating their clients and community in financial matters so that they are empowered to reach the level of financial success they are seeking. This is evident in the firm’s motto, “We help transform people to achieve life’s freedoms!” The passion to help others is deep rooted in lessons Mr. Mercado learned from his mother and father.
(LUBBOCK, TX) – The designation of future Interstate 27 (I-27) became official on Tuesday, March 15 as President Biden signed into law the appropriation bill. The designation recognizes the Ports-to-Plains Corridor from Laredo, Texas to Raton, New Mexico as an addition to the Interstate Highway System.
“I am very excited that the I-27 highway expansion project is now written into law with the passage of the FY22 omnibus appropriations bill,” said Henry Cuellar, U.S. Rep. for District 28. This designation will make Texas and New Mexico eligible for increased federal funding to complete the I-27 highway expansion project, creating economic growth, jobs, trade opportunities across those two states. The I-27 expansion will grow the Texas GDP by $17.2 billion and create 178,000 construction jobs. It will also add 17,000 long-term employment opportunities in the new I-27 corridor. With this project, Laredo will also become the only port of entry that has three corridors: I-35, I-69, I-27—a boon for our trade economy. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fund projects in south Texas that bring good-paying jobs and ease quality of life for my constituents.”
“Establishing a four lane, federal highway for I-27 is a game-changer for our economy and quality of life in West Texas for decades to come and will strengthen our food security and energy independence for the entire country,” said Jodey Arrington, U.S. Rep. for District 19. “I had three big goals for a better and stronger West Texas when I took office in 2016 - get cotton back in the farm bill, secure the B-21 bomber at Dyess, and establish a federal highway for West Texas. I had a lot of help from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I’m humbled by the opportunities this will provide for generations of West Texans.”
Receiving the future interstate designation is the first step to begin fundraising for the extension of I-27. As TxDOT’s feasibility study determined, the extension of I-27 impacts the state of Texas in improving the safety of the roads by reducing the annual crash rate by 21% and providing more access and opportunities for rural America.
“I am ecstatic we received the future interstate designation for I-27 which will allow for the necessary infrastructure improvement to bring growth to our region and the state of Texas,” said Dan Pope, mayor for the City of Lubbock. “As with most momentous achievements, our thanks are due to many in their support of this project. From the Governor to our U.S. Senators and
Representatives, as well as our State Representatives, this will be a changing moment in Texas for decades.”
“This exciting news represents years of planning and collaboration by so many people,” said Ginger Nelson, mayor for the city of Amarillo. “The extension of I-27 is vital to our future growth.”
“One of the most significant events of today was the inclusion of the designation of I-27 in the appropriation bill,” said Brenda Gunter, mayor for the city of San Angelo. “We are seeing a project that will have a significant impact on the Texas economy as well as our national GDP. The hard work and effort to accomplish this designation is finally paying off with a tremendous impact on the future of our region and the state of Texas. Thank you to all who have been a part of the process.”
The Corridor represents three of the eight border crossings along the Texas-Mexico border: Laredo, Eagle Pass and Del Rio. As the next steps to fund and construct the extension of I-27 begin, the economic benefit for the U.S. is the addition of 1.7 million jobs and a $287 billion increase in GDP along the Corridor.
“The impact of this designation is tremendous as it allows for the enhancement of infrastructure for domestic and international markets, creates safer roads for leisure and business travels, and connects underrepresented communities throughout the Corridor with outside markets,” John Osborne, chairman of the board for Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “We would not be celebrating this historic moment without the support of Congressman Arrington and Cuellar and Congresswoman Granger, Senators Heinrich and Lujan, as well as our team of advocates at Hance Scarborough. We are grateful for their leadership and support of this project.”
Ports-to-Plains Alliance Ports-to-Plains is a grassroots alliance of over 200 communities and businesses, including alliance partners Heartland Expressway and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, whose mission is to advocate for a robust international transportation infrastructure to promote economic security and prosperity throughout North America’s energy and agricultural heartland including Mexico to Canada. Additional information on the Ports-to-Plains Alliance is available at http://www.portstoplains.com/.
Carmen Gutierrez Past President of the Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was recognized at TAMACC’s 2022 Women of Distinction Award Ceremony in Austin on June 17, 2022. Carmen’s nomination below was submitted by DRHCC Past Vice Chair Ms. Dora G. Alcala and Past President Ms. Otila Gonzalez. Joining Carmen at the table of of honor included her husband of 43 years Ruben C. Gutierrez Jr., son Ruben Gutierrez, cousin and San Antonio businessman Miguel Gutierrez and wife Maria, close family friend George LeGrande of San Antonio, Ms. Dora G. Alcala BFCU Board Vice Chair and Ms. Otila Gonzlaez, Vice Chair of the BFCU Supervisory Committee, President and CEO of the Border Federal Credit Union Maria J. Martinez and Val Verde County Surveyor Abner G. Martinez.
Carmen donates her time in volunteering to advance the quality of life in our community. She uses her professional background to help accomplish goals. One example is her tireless efforts to ensure ADA compliance at a local City of Del Rio public venue known as Historic Brown Plaza, located in the Hispanic neighborhood known as San Felipe. Brown Plaza is important as it is a center of cultural activities and annual celebrations throughout the year such as the Cinco De Mayo and 16 de Septiembre. Although these activities and celebrations attract a major part of the Del Rio and surrounding area population, it is not accessible to the hundreds of disabled veterans, elderly and children with physical limitations. Carmen researched FEMA and ADA Compliance regulations and made a presentation to the City Manager and after no results, approached the Del Rio City Council with photos and suggestions that would ensure compliance and most importantly provide physical access to those with mobility issues. The City of Del Rio is presently correcting this need by installing ADA Compliant access at Brown Plaza, all due to Carmen’s relentless efforts. Another example is utilizing her social capital in marketing the need to establish a Kids Art Center for children from all areas in Val Verde County. Her work on the Falcon Art Center Board of Directors will benefit the underserved in the barrio for the first time because of its location in the barrio. Carmen donates her time and skills in promoting the work of other non-profits such as Los Amigos del Cemeterio de la Loma de la Cruz which is responsible for documenting, maintaining and preserving the first Hispanic and Historic Cemetery in Del Rio by helping publish a book which documents the grids and history of the only cemetery to serve the Hispanic community until 1932 and was abandoned for 90 years. Despite her own physical limitations due to an accident in 2015, which caused her to have 9 surgical operations, Carmen actively volunteers in the community. Incredibly Carmen who was employed with U.S. Congressman Will Hurd at the time of the accident, returned to work in a wheelchair, followed by a walker, rollator, cane and finally some independent mobility. Currently Carmen serves as Board Chairwoman of the Border Federal Credit Union, volunteers with International Good Neighbor Council and is a volunteer with the Catholic Charities Retired Senior Volunteer Program with the Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Los Amigos de la Loma de la Cruz.
Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) is a nonprofit 501C (6) organization created to promote business leadership, create economic opportunities and provide legislative advocacy for the Hispanic business community in Texas.