Alumni Spotlight: Jaime Diez '14

Jaime Andrés Díez has accomplished a lot since his graduation from Saint Joseph Academy in 2014.

The Southern Methodist graduate is currently starting up the first scrap tire recycler in the Rio Grande Valley in an effort to eliminate the numerous abandoned tires seen through out The Valley.

With Valley Tire Recycling, Díez hopes to eliminate the problem and public health issues that abandoned tires cause.

Water collected inside tires is used as a breeding ground for vermin and insects like mosquitoes which can spread West Nile, Dengue, and Zika Virus.

The operation plans to collect and intake scrap tires in order to convert them into rubber granule and sold in various markets, including asphalt crack sealer, surface treatments and steel to be sold to foundries and nylon fibers to be sold as cement aggregate.



In June, he competed in the StartUp Texas Pitch Competition to get funding for his scrap tire recycling project. Out of 9 teams, Valley Tire Recycling was selected as the winner and received $25,000 to use towards permitting, machinery installation, and electrical.

Most recently, Díez completed his campaign for Texas Railroad Commission. Although unsuccessful in winning the election, he was the most successful third-party Statewide candidate. At 26, he was the youngest candidate to run for statewide office in recent state history. His campaign was focused on groundwater protection, particularly dealing with the orphaned wells and the problems they cause. 

Q: What has life been like after graduating from Saint Joe?

A: There’s a quote that goes, “It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” I graduated from Saint Joe almost 9 years ago and a lot has happened since, some things good and other things bad, however, Saint Joe taught me the skills to always be able to make the most and get value out of each experience I’ve had. 

Q: How has Saint Joe contributed towards your success thus far? 

A: When I started my college application process with Mrs. Cisneros, my college counselor, my plan was to only apply to UTB and stay in Brownsville. Mrs. Cisneros motivated me to apply to other school so that if I changed my mind I would at least have other colleges to choose from. With her encouragement I ended up applying to other schools and I was able to get into other universities. After graduating from SJA, I initially decided to attended George Washington University in Washington, DC. I had the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Capitol with Congressman Filemón Vela Jr. However, I ended up transferring out of GW to attend SMU and changed my major from International Affairs to Mechanical Engineering, I grew tremendously during my time in DC and Dallas and I would’ve never had this opportunity without the encouragement of Mrs. Cisneros. Thank you!

Q: What is one achievement you accomplished while attending SJA?

A: While at Saint Joe, my favorite class was always art. In high school my art teacher was Mrs. Rodriguez. My senior year I took art portfolio as one of my electives. The purpose of this class (since I’m not sure it’s still offered) is to give student the chance to complete art projects and compile a collection of works that they can then submit to art colleges for admission. I was able to complete my portfolio and get accepted into an art school. Although I ended up going down a different path, I have always been extremely proud of the art portfolio I was able to complete while in this course. Reminiscing about this time, I always feel very happy.

Q: What were some of your favorite things about Saint Joe?

A: Without a doubt my favorite thing about Saint Joe was the lifelong friends I made. To this day, I’m still friends with a lot of the people I was friends with while in high school. Having a group of people, you can lean on during hard times is invaluable especially because those people always have your long-term best interest at heart. When things get complicated it can get difficult to discern the things that truly matter vs the things that simply don’t and sometimes all you need is a good friend to help you restore that clarity.

Q: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

A: Honestly, I have no idea but I’m optimistic about the future.