One of the most successful and common economic development models seen across the U.S. is the public-private partnership model that utilizes ​ combined resources and efforts of the public and private sectors.

Sandoval Economic Alliance was set up using this type of model. Having worked in economic development on both the public and private side, I believe in the importance and value of the partnership model.

When a company is looking to relocate to a new community, typically one of the first calls they make is to the local economic development organization. There are several reasons for this; one is that these companies know they can get a broad range of information related to real-estate options, potential incentives, labor statistics and other data points with one contact.

It also allows them a level of confidentiality during their search and decision-making process. Recently, SEA was approached by a company that wanted to discuss a potential project in the region but required a non-disclosure agreement before they would meet with us.

While not every company has this requirement, when the situation does arise, SEA can and does meet that need.

Last week, ClearSky Health announced its decision to open a new inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Rio Rancho, where they plan to add about 100 new health-care jobs. The recruitment of such companies to our region is one of SEA’s jobs.

We also focus on local industries as part of our retention and expansion program,​ and assist with local entrepreneurship. Three three aspects play an important role in expanding and diversifying our economy.

Typically, our success is measured by the amount of investment we are able to attract to the region and the number of jobs created. I believe SEA’s success and influence goes beyond the number of companies we recruited or the total number of jobs created.

We also do our best to assist smaller businesses, including some that are home-based, to share programs and opportunities that might be advantageous to them. Whether it is a home-based business trying to navigate expansion to its first facility outside the home or any firm trying to acquire new contracts to continue to grow, we act as a resource partner and offer direction during the process.

We recently ​co-hosted an event for smaller manufacturers and technology-based companies to introduce them to a no-interest loan fund. We were excited to learn that two Rio Rancho-based companies we assisted were recipients of this opportunity to help them acquire new equipment as they grow their small businesses.

In these challenging times, we stand committed to our partners and stakeholders to continue to assist local industry, whether small or large, and to help grow the local economy. We are proud of what we have done and look forward to continuing to help grow our community.

(Fred Shepherd is the president and CEO of Sandoval Economic Alliance.)

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