The New Mexico Economic Development announced last week that AJ Jones has been promoted to deputy director of New Mexico’s Outdoor Recreation Division (ORD).
Jones was hired as the ORD’s first marketing coordinator in August 2022 and transitioned into her new job at the end of October 2023. With a background in environmental and community planning and marketing, Jones will help lead the ORD team in its mission to increase access to sustainable outdoor recreation for all New Mexicans.
“AJ Jones combines a passion for the outdoors and environmental stewardship with professional experience building partnerships,” Department Deputy Secretary Jon Clark said. “We all look forward to seeing what the new ORD team can accomplish as New Mexico works to grow our outdoor recreation economy and the jobs that come with it.”
Jones received a bachelor’s degree in environmental planning and design from the University of New Mexico and holds a master’s degree in water resources and community and regional planning, also from UNM. While a master’s student, Jones was part of several studies, including the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program’s Advanced Internship to create protocol and curriculum recommendations for studying burn sites in the Middle Rio Grande Bosque and UNM’s Sustainable Water Resources Grande Challenge, completing a study of the challenges faced by rural water managers throughout the state.
“AJ’s contribution to the team has been essential to the overall success of the Outdoor Recreation Division in the past year,” ORD Director Karina Armijo said. “I look forward to AJ’s continued leadership and positive impact as our new deputy director.”
Jones has also worked on a hotshot crew fighting wildfires in the West and led a study to develop and analyze datasets on the changing patterns of agriculture and water use in New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande. Jones guided marketing and design for many New Mexico businesses, including Los Poblanos Inn & Organic Farm, with promotions seen in state, national, and international media. Jones also worked on promotion of the New Mexico OUT Business Alliance.
“I am proud to take on this role and continue the great work of the Outdoor Recreation Division,” Jones said. “The strong ethic of equity and conservation efforts of the division within sustainable outdoor access drew me to ORD. I am committed to furthering these endeavors, expanding our partnerships, and sustaining the incredible natural assets of New Mexico, this unique place we call home.”