New Mexico Partnership
Doing business in the ‘Land of Enchantment’
Business View Magazine interviews Melinda Allen, Interim Pres. & CEO of the New Mexico Partnership, for our focus on Economic Development Best Practices
Affectionately known as the ‘Land of Enchantment’, New Mexico is the ideal location to start or grow your business and the New Mexico Partnership is the state-wide economic development organization here to show you why. Among its sought-after attributes, the state is affordable, pro-business and provides a highly-skilled and productive workforce with expertise in everything from cutting-edge science and engineering, to business and finance, manufacturing, logistics, and a wealth of other skills that businesses need in today’s economy.
If that isn’t enough to attract attention, New Mexico is home to world-class scientific research institutions and universities, robust international trade, extraordinary culture, and extensive rail, road, and air infrastructure. Major industries have established themselves in the state, including aerospace and defense, advanced manufacturing, data centers, value-added agriculture, logistics and distribution, technology commercialization, energy and renewable resources, and digital media. And New Mexico is also home to a vibrant and innovative start-up ecosystem.
The New Mexico Partnership is an organization designated by the state to be the single point of contact to help businesses locate in New Mexico. Through a coordinated approach and a formal network of economic developers, the Partnership helps simplify the site selection process by providing expertise on talent, critical infrastructure, educational and R&D institutions, real estate and facilities, incentives – all the factors that go into a business location decision. Melinda Allen, Interim President & CEO of the New Mexico Partnership, recently spoke with Business View Magazine about how the organization promotes everything the land of enchantment has to offer and the reasons why so many businesses have chosen to call New Mexico home. The following is an edited transcript of the conversation.
BVM: Can you give us an overview of the New Mexico Partnership?
Allen: “We are a private, non-profit organization that is contracted by the state Economic Development Department to market and recruit new businesses to the State of New Mexico. We have goals related to job creation and business recruitment that we aim to hit every year.
“We do that in a variety of different ways, including a very robust and aggressive sales mission and tradeshow schedule. We typically participate in 25 to 35 events per year, many of those being industry focused shows, where we try to educate and recruit companies to New Mexico. We also do sales missions in targeted cities or locations across the U.S. where we meet with a wide range of site selectors, who manage entire pipelines of projects, and company contacts.
“While we do a lot of outreach this way, we also have a significant social media and digital presence. Given current events, we are now doing much more virtually than we’ve done before and are seeing some promising results, even in these difficult times. The Garrity Group came on board on Jan. 1, 2020 and have really helped us to take our presence in digital, traditional, and trade media to the next level.”
BVM: Are there state incentives available and what type of industries are you interested in recruiting?
Allen: “New Mexico’s incentives are administered by the New Mexico Economic Development Department (NMEDD) and are largely statutory. So as long as a company qualifies, they’ll receive that incentive – one of these being our flagship incentives, JTIP (the Job Training Incentive Program). The one discretionary incentive the state offers is LEDA, which is a cash grant that can be used to reimburse the cost of land, buildings, or infrastructure improvements. NMEDD determines the incentive amounts on a project-to-project basis but we work closely with them all along the way.
“As an organization that is contracted by the state, the Partnership targets the government’s current high priority industry sectors, industries such as advanced manufacturing, biotech, aerospace, defense, computing, and outdoor recreation. We also target a wide range of supporting industries in those categories and go after companies of all sizes, new companies, and established companies.
“Once a specific location has been selected inside New Mexico, we work with the local economic development organizations until the project is announced. The local EDOs then lead the project through construction, opening, and with any long-term assistance. We stay involved as needed to help support our communities, but we take a secondary backup position which frees us up to do more recruiting.”
BVM: What does the New Mexico economic development landscape look like for the future?
Allen: “The pandemic hasn’t impacted our ability to recruit, it’s more about how it’s impacted the global economy in relation to our efforts. The type of projects moving right now are very different than they were in early 2020. Today, New Mexico is focusing on target industries such as food manufacturing, medical manufacturing, biosciences, and high tech. The state is very well positioned for companies that are looking for wide open spaces, rather than a packed urban area. Companies want to be able to spread out. So, we’re getting a lot of good attention for that and I think it will continue to be important. We’re also seeing an increase in companies that allow employees to work from home, and with the quality of life in New Mexico that has become a very attractive selling point.”
BVM: Are you involved with workforce training initiatives?
Allen: “We have great relationships with all the universities, the workforce training groups, the communities, the different state departments, so we can help identify where potential talent that companies need is coming from. We can also make introductions to community colleges and universities to help companies establish training programs specific to them. We know all the players throughout the state, so we can help connect companies to the resources they need to be successful. We have a network of economic developers throughout the state as well. Every community has someone designated to help in their economic development efforts and we are directly tied into all of those teams.”
BVM: What other aspects of the New Mexico Partnership would you like to share?
Allen: “One of the unique assets New Mexico has is our international border with Mexico. We have had a lot of projects being drawn to that area because businesses can take advantage of the benefits of a U.S. location on the New Mexico side, as well as some of the supply chain and lower cost manufacturing on the Mexico side of the border.
“Another sector we have seen significant growth in is value-added agriculture and food manufacturing. There is a lot of talent available for that sector in the state, thanks to our long history in agriculture. Foods like onions, cheese, carrots, and, of course, green chili which are all a staple for the state. The industry has been trending upward recently, as the need for more locations to process food grows.
“The most important point about the New Mexico Partnership is that we were designated to be a company’s single point of contact to help them get established and be successful in New Mexico. Whether it’s finding the right site location, negotiating incentives, or connecting to resources, we’re here for them. All our services are confidential and free of charge. And we look forward to working with any company that has an interest in locating in our state.”
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AT A GLANCE
New Mexico Partnership
What: State-wide economic development organization
Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico