SSTI Digest

Geography: New Mexico

Research Park Round Up

The following overview is a synopsis of select recent announcements from research parks across the nation, including groundbreakings and development plans to support vibrant regional economies based on science, technology and innovation. 

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part III

The third installment of the Tech Talkin' Govs series includes highlights from state of the state, budget and inaugural addresses from governors in Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, and New Mexico.

People & TBED Organizations

Publisher's Note: SSTI notes with much sadness the March 5 passing of Indiana State Sen. David Ford, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. David was a good friend not only of SSTI's, but also of the tech-based economic development community across the nation. In addition to being a tireless and cheerful advocate for investing in science and technology, he was also a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and we miss him greatly.

New Mexico Governor Signs Budget Bills, Vetoes Capital Package

New Mexico’s 2008 legislative session wrapped up last week, resulting in no final action on several TBED-related bills and leading Gov. Bill Richardson to call a special legislative session to address his health care reform agenda.


Gov. Richardson signed the General Appropriations Act of 2009 and the Junior Budget Bill with minimal vetoes but vetoed a Capital Outlay package, which included $2 million to the board of regents of Northern New Mexico for a proposed solar energy research park ($1 million less than requested) and $3.5 million for clean energy grants to public entities for innovative energy projects within the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. The legislature passed the capital bill again, giving the governor until March 5 to approve it with individual line-item vetoes, if he deems necessary.


Lawmakers approved $14 million last year for the state’s new Supercomputer – $11 million to purchase the computer and $3 million to set up gateways at the state’s research universities. This year, $2.5 million was appropriated for staffing and operating expenses for the New Mexico Computing Applications Center, the operating force for the supercomputer, with an additional $300,000 in the junior budget earmarked for the center.


The legislature stalled, however, on a measure designed to provide an economic development tool for the state relating to the supercomputer. HB 262, the Research Applications Act, would have set up operations of the supercomputer as a nonprofit entity, able to accept public and private investment so that businesses and organizations could pay the state to use the system.


An effort to relax state laws regarding stem cell research also failed to pass this session. SB 23, the Biomedical Research Act, would have allowed research on embryos that are slated for destruction at fertility clinics. The governor also asked lawmakers to approve $2 million for the University of New Mexico (UNM) to recruit researchers to the program.


A proposal to replace the Technology Research Collaborative with a Technology Development Authority and establish a $10 million technology development fund also died in session.


The fiscal year 2009 main budget bill signed by the governor includes $1.2 million for the Renewable Energy Efficiency program, $663,600 for the Spaceport Authority, and $276,500 for the Technology Commercialization program.


The junior budget bill provides funding for several projects at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, including $150,000 for the Small Business Innovation Research outreach program, $50,000 for student outreach in science and engineering, and $28,000 for a statewide initiative to provide training on the supercomputer for middle and high school students.


Gov. Richardson also signed the General Obligation Bond Act, which requires voter approval for several university capital projects, including $17 million to the UNM Health Sciences Center cancer research and treatment center and $4.5 million for the UNM Health Science Center neurosciences research building.


John McIver is serving as interim vice president for research and economic development at the University of New Mexico while the school searches for a permanent replacement to Terry Yates, who passed away in December.


Carlos Romero, a University of New Mexico employee who previously oversaw the university's governmental affairs office, is now its associate vice president for research administration.

People & TBED Organizations

The New Mexico SBIR Outreach Center exists again, following a year's hibernation.

People & TBED Organizations

Rick Homans announced that he will step down as executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, effective July 27.


New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Fred Mondragon as the director of the state's economic development department. Mondragon had been economic development director for the city of Albuquerque.


Rick Homans will step down as secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department to become executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, effective May 1.

New Mexico Legislature: Tax Credits, Energy Initiatives among Successes of 2007 Regular Session

With the close of its 2007 regular session, the New Mexico State Legislature wrapped up "one of the most productive sessions in state history." Those were the words of Gov. Bill Richardson, following the legislature's adjournment last month. The governor had outlined a number of economic development and energy initiatives in his 2007 State of the State Address that he hoped would be brought to bear (see the Jan. 15, 2007 issue of the Digest). While not all of the initiatives were realized during the regular session, there were a few victories providing the governor cause to celebrate:


New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has appointed Stephan Helgesen as director of the Office of Science and Technology at the state Economic Development Department.