Technology & Workforce

It is hard to envision a Southwestern region with a brighter technology future than the Middle Rio Grande Valley.

Led by the newly minted Center for Leadership in Technology Commercialization (CLTC) at New Mexico Tech (NM Tech) in Socorro, New Mexico, the region looks to support young entrepreneurs, students and faculty in helping them move their innovative ideas from first vision to their full commercial potential.

NM Tech is the perfect partner location for the CLTC. Recent rankings by College Factual place New Mexico Tech No. 1 among all public universities in Computer Science, and Physical Sciences, and No. 2 among all universities. It ranks among the nation’s elite universities in academic value and quality of education in a number of science and engineering disciplines.

When it comes to the best colleges for the money or best value, NM Tech is ranked No. 1 nationwide among all universities in Engineering and Physics and No. 1 nationally in Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Responding to identified industry needs, NM Tech recently began offering state-of-the-art, Ph.D. programs in Biotechnology, Cyber Electronic Systems and Intelligent Energetic Systems.

Past research in these fields at NM Tech have resulted in products like the Nicotine Patch, and both computer security and biotechnology are identified as growth industries not only in the State of New Mexico but worldwide as well.

Looking to capitalize on its technological expertise and working to connect students and young entrepreneurs to commercial opportunities, New Mexico Tech hosts the annual Inventors and Entrepreneurs Workshop each April. The workshop attracts more than 30 professional speakers, including venture capitalists, licensing executives, patent attorneys, successful entrepreneurs and others from Silicon Valley, Boston and New York.

The Inventors and Entrepreneurs Workshop Wolves Den provides an opportunity for 5 New Mexico start-ups to vie for funding and feedback for product viability in front of a panel of industry experts.

The cutting-edge quality of NM Tech academic programs and Tech’s accessibility for collaboration is attracting technology businesses like Solaro Energy, an innovative manufacturer of solar powered solutions for residential and commercial environments.

NM Tech’s nationally ranked programs in physics, energetic materials sciences, chemistry, mechanical engineering, astronomy and other STEM degrees, support partnerships and collaborations with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO), the Incorporated Research Institute for Seismology and Portable Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (IRIS-PASSCAL), and the Energetic Materials Research and Training Center (EMRTC).

EMRTC partners to host approximately 40, week-long U.S. Department of Homeland Security First Responder Trainings annually.

Thirty-one miles southeast of Truth or Consequences is the first purpose built commercial spaceport in the world. While best known for being the home of Virgin Galactic and its plan to launch the first space passengers in 2018, Spaceport America plans for a commercial future for the coming decades that includes suborbital travel, commercial rocket launches, solid rocket motor development and manufacturing, and a place for space load analysis products and communication.

One of the many ways that Spaceport America supports STEM education and space technology is to host the annual Spaceport America Cup competition. In 2017 they hosted 110 student teams from 12 countries and 6 continents in a rocket launch and recovery contest.

Given the burgeoning importance of commercial space applications, it came as no surprise that there were twenty-two aerospace organizations recruiting from among the 1,100 contestants. The number of commercial and research organization tenants are growing on-site and Spaceport America can expect to be a port from which future technologies will be launched for decades to come.

The combination of an elite technology university and Middle Rio Grande Valley quality of life opportunities make the Middle Rio Grande Valley an excellent choice for technology companies. The New Mexico Economic Development Department offers both business start-ups and relocating businesses incentives that can include tax credits, Local Economic Development Act funding (LEDA), and job training incentives.

The job training incentives may fund not only classroom and on-the-job training for newly created jobs in expanding or relocating businesses for up to 6 months, but can also reimburse a qualifying business for 50%-75% of employee wages during the training period. A highly skilled technology workforce and generous local and state business incentives combine to make the Middle Rio Grande Valley a growing place to be.

Resources and Information

New Mexico Tech
Center for Leadership in Technology Commercialization, NM Tech
Inventors and Entrepreneurs Workshop, NM Tech
Solaro Energy
National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Very Large Array
The Incorporated Research Institute for Seismology and Portable Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (IRIS-PASSCAL)
Magdalena Ridge Observatory
Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center
Western New Mexico University, Sierra Co.
New Mexico Economic Development Department
New Mexico Workforce Connection (Information on employee training and OJT reimbursement.)

Space Technology

Spaceport America

Spaceport America Technology tenants:

Virgin Galactic
SpaceX
UP Aerospace
Pipeline 2 Space, Inc.
Solstar Space Co.