Rio Arriba County Discusses Partnerships for Local Economic Growth

Throughout the past few months, Rio Arriba County (RAC) Officials have met with the Los Alamos National Security (LANS) Community Programs Office (CPO) to speak about economic development opportunities by exploring a three-pronged approach: technology, small business and education.  “We would like to partner up with the Lab (LANS) to show that we support them, as they do employ many of our citizens, but also to form a partnership in sharing the opportunities they have to offer in order to prosper as a county,” said Commissioner Alfredo Montoya.

In the most recent meeting with Community Programs staff on February 21, RAC management and several RAC directors were also joined by LANS Small Business Program and Technology Transfer Program staff. “Having meetings such as these help us determine how we can be of service to you and it also gives us insight to which avenues might be most beneficial,” said Johnny Martinez of LANS-CPO.

LANS staff presented RAC reps with information pertaining to their specific programs designed to assist local economic growth and even specific examples of that assistance going to the County in past years. Information included dollar amounts in scholarships specifically benefiting local students, small businesses within the County that received financial support and collaborations with other entities in which technical growth programs were being utilized locally. Upon receiving information, County reps suggested that the assistance being offered by LANS could possibly be molded to fit interests, resources and needs of RAC taxpayers.

Additionally, agreements to improve communication were also put into place, as the suggested avenues would not only help kick-start businesses and programs locally, but they would also assure their long-term success. For example, if financial assistance presented itself to a local small business, a collaboration would take place between LANS and RAC to assure that the business was operating within a capacity that was in compliance with County ordinances before financing was offered. This assures that businesses can continue to operate within legal boundaries and financial assistance was not given in vain. Also, because LANS is taking several methods to assist economic development, RAC officials also suggested a joint meeting be planned with all pertinent entities from within the Española Valley to encourage collaboration        

“Huge strides are going to be made within our County,” said RAC Manager, Tomas Campos. “There are exciting things for our people ahead and providing an avenue that presents economic stability and growth is something that is necessary given these trying times.” 

-Erika L. Martinez, February 2013