Tesla’s five-state poker game left New Mexico short of much needed jobs. But the months-long competition highlighted issues of economic development and opportunity across the West. As news that Nevada gained 6,500 new jobs (at a high cost, no doubt) and the New Mexico blame game dies down, the conversation about economic development and New Mexico’s future is picking up again.
Conservative columnist Rob Nikolewski penned an interesting piece in the Santa Fe New Mexican today and it included this dramatic assessment from one of New Mexico’s most successful economic development experts:
“The state has never needed economic-based jobs as bad as they need them right now,” Albuquerque economic development expert Mark Lautman told me just a few days before Musk gave the nod to Nevada. “We’ve got cancer….”
And he should know. According to his website:
“Mark has three decades of experience as a professional economic developer, and has designed and managed four economic development programs having procured more than 80 corporate locations, accounting for more than 15,000 new jobs, 6 million square feet of industrial space and $11 billion dollars in new investment. Most recently, Mark was Vice President of Economic Development at Mesa del Sol where his business unit was responsible for recruiting Albuquerque Studios, Schott Solar, Fidelity Investments and several others. Mark’s previous New Mexico economic development assignments included Santa Teresa, Rio Rancho and Grants. Mark’s recent consulting projects include: Spaceport America, Live Work New Mexico, Artesia Chamber of Commerce, San Juan County, Cibola County, Rio Rancho Economic Development Corporation, WorkKeys Based Labor Market Model, New Mexico EB5 Regional Center, OKC Land Inventory Analysis, and Ft. Bayard masterplan.
So what’s the remedy? The Las Cruces Sun-News featured competing plans today; one from progressive entrepreneur Alan Webber and the other from conservative Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation. Who is right?
We’re featuring both Alan and Paul Monday night in Albuquerque in a live debate titled “Duel in the Desert.” Tickets are just $5 each and benefit ProgressNowNM or the Rio Grande Foundation (you pick!). Reserve your seat now for this exciting debate moderated by NM In Focus’ own Gene Grant.