We know New Mexico has more than its fair share of government jobs and our region has far more nonprofits than one would expect for a community our size.
I often talk about the need to create a stronger private, for-profit sector and more jobs that create wealth, and therefore the ability to pay taxes and donate funds to support nonprofit missions. However, let me be clear that there are several strong partners to New Mexico’s business community seated in the nonprofit and public sectors. These are individuals working diligently to create jobs or recruit companies or educate our children to allow them to become job creators one day.
As we move quickly into this legislative session, the public, for-profit and nonprofit sectors must operate as allies, each of us shouldering the necessary burdens to propel our state forward. If too much weight is placed on the for-profit sector, it will have immediate negative consequences for our friends in the nonprofit community. If too much is asked of our nonprofits, we will see the populations they serve suffer and New Mexico’s quality of life with them.
There is a delicate symbiosis that must be maintained among these three organs that keep the body of New Mexico strong and growing. Here are three New Mexicans to know from the nonprofit and public sectors who are great partners of the business community.
1. Matt Geisel, New Mexico secretary of economic development. Geisel, who took his post in October, spoke at Economic Forum Wednesday about the growing strength of New Mexico’s economic development abilities. We are fielding more offers and generating more success than 10 years ago, he told the executive audience, and the momentum is strong. However, if the Legislature cuts back on economic development incentives, it will take New Mexico out of the running for many considerations, he said. Geisel was formerly Rio Rancho’s economic development and business relations manager. Geisel also previously served as vice chair of the New Mexico Economic Development Partnership.
2. Erin Hagenow, president, Junior Achievement of New Mexico. As a brand-new board member of Junior Achievement, a nonprofit that helps children with financial literacy, I am thrilled with the appointment of Erin Hagenow as the group’s new leader. Hagenow has worked with nonprofits for over a decade. Most recently, she worked at Christina Kent Early Childhood Center and Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce. Helping our children understand and own, fearlessly, their financial futures is a critical step in building a strong workforce and entrepreneurial mindset.
3. Gregg Hull, mayor, Rio Rancho. Are you feeling the Rio Rancho theme yet? Last year marked a big year for jobs, retail and housing in the state’s third-largest city. “We’re pushing away from a bedroom community concept to becoming a stand-alone city,” Hull told more than 100 attendees at the recent NAIOP New Mexico meeting there. Safelite continues to work toward its hiring goal of 900 contact center jobs for its location in Rio Rancho’s former Sprint building. He said along with PCM adding over 200 jobs in 2016, Rio Rancho would see a payroll increase of $34 million for companies within the city limits.
FROM CANDACE BEEKE PUBLISHER OF ALBUQUERQUE BUSINESS FIRST