Sylvia Zamponi is District Director of the SBA’s Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office in Harlingen, Texas. Sylvia accepted her second appointment to this position in August 2009, having been first appointed in July 1998, and then retired in March 2006.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley district, composed of fourteen counties which form the triangular tip of South Texas, borders Mexico on the south and west side along the Rio Grande River; the Gulf of Mexico on the east known as the Coastal Bend and across the north is rural ranch land, including the famous King Ranch. The district is serviced by a team of eight professional and support employees in the Harlingen office and three additional professionals in the Corpus Christi Branch Office. Together they reach out to over 115,000 small businesses, often in collaboration with any of two Small Business Development Centers, two SCORE chapters, two Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, a Women’s Business Center, a Veterans Business Outreach Center, a Business Resource Center and an International Trade Center.
While retired, in addition to spending time with her grandchildren, Sylvia volunteered as a SCORE counselor and, as a founding board member of a 501(c) 3. non-profit Community Development Corporation, helped with fund-raising activities in support of a county-wide Teen Center for at-risk youth. She took the lead, organized a group of business men and women, elected officials and public servants, and formed an Advisory Council to provide on-going community guidance and support of the CDC’s programs such as scholarships, mentoring, college readiness and financial aid. Her fund-raising efforts included an Annual Pledge and Partnership Drive which was kicked off by a three-Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, followed by a reception and silent auction. The teen center which opened with fewer than 20 kids, is now serving over 400 on a regular basis. Scholarships are awarded every year to deserving high school graduates from across the county area. The Teen Center has also been equipped to readily convert into a temporary shelter for displaced victims following a disaster or during times of extreme weather conditions.
Sylvia completed all her formal education in the Rio Grande Valley, taking accounting and business courses at UTB/TSC, ABA and real estate classes at TSTC. She is the proud parent of two married daughters, Angie successfully self-employed and Monica a registered nurse; four precious grandchildren and one adorable great granddaughter.