Students participate in a tour of Insight Lighting in Rio Rancho.
courtesy photo

Manufacturing is a key contributor to New Mexico’s economy, producing state-of-the-art electronics, industrial and residential building products, food and beverages, and a variety of everyday and seldom-seen components.

Economic developers are keen to attract manufacturers to the state because of the well-paying jobs they create. Local leaders anticipate increased tax revenue, especially when local products are exported beyond city limits and bring new money into the community to enhance public services.

“Manufacturing and jobs created by manufacturing are vitally important to the Rio Rancho economy,” said Mayor Gregg Hull. “Rio Rancho is home to many manufacturing companies, such as Intel, Insight Lighting, Lectrosonics and U.S. Cotton. The jobs created by these manufacturing companies fuel both the local and state economy.”

Once a year, mayors, city councilors and commissioners get a chance to show their support of local businesses by participating in Manufacturing Day activities.

Manufacturing Day is a national initiative that aims to enhance public knowledge about the economic impact of manufacturing and to introduce students to careers in manufacturing. Companies open their doors by hosting facility tours.

The public, business associates and clients attend. Students see materials transformed. Elected officials champion their local businesses.

Insight Lighting of Rio Rancho has been a participant since 2014. The maker of exterior and interior lighting products for high-end architectural projects has conducted tours of its facility for students, prospective buyers and community groups.

Glenn Wright, vice president of operations, said the tours have been beneficial.

“The majority of our products are for out-of-state projects, but we have actually had several local contacts as a result of the tours we have conducted in the past,” Wright said.

Insight Lighting also participates in job fairs as part of Manufacturing Day.

New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NM MEP) sponsors events in New Mexico. The nonprofit organization empowers companies and workers by helping them become more competitive.

“We work with MEP coordinating tours and presentations for Manufacturing Day,” Wright said.

NM MEP provides logistical support to participating companies willing to open their facilities to students, elected officials and the public.

And it doesn’t stop there.

“Our mayor usually introduces a resolution to the governing body to support Manufacturing Day,” said Annmarie Garcia, public information officer for the City of Rio Rancho. “We participate in events that have been organized by MEP and help coordinate tours and presentations.”

While the national initiative is slated for the first Friday in October, New Mexico celebrates the entire month of October. Last year, 31 events took place around the state, including 25 facility tours and presentations hosted by manufacturers and resource organizations.

About 150 students participated in tours and 3,700 attended career fairs. Eleven proclamations were issued by the governor and mayors.

Hosts included architectural woodworking factories, food and beverage producers, solar component manufacturers, medical-device makers and more.

NM MEP event organizers are encouraging participation by more companies and cities to ensure that students in every part of the state are introduced to clean, well-paying jobs at home. Businesses interested in participating can email [email protected].

To learn more about the national initiative, visit For events in New Mexico, visit

(By Roger Makin for Finance New Mexico. Finance New Mexico connects individuals and businesses with skills and funding resources for their business or idea. To learn more, go to