From the March/April 2021 Issue
One of New Mexico’s greatest strengths is in the diversity of industries located within the state. Despite the challenges of 2020, New Mexico saw growth and success across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing and logistics, aerospace and cutting-edge space technologies, medical manufacturing, film and agriculture and food production. The state is building on those successes and preparing for even more growth in 2021.
New Mexico continued its history of fostering a cutting-edge aerospace industry in 2020 and saw the addition of several new aerospace projects to its growing cluster of companies. Ascent Aviation, an Arizona-based airplane repair and maintenance services company, is planning to expand to the Roswell Air Center and hire 360 employees in New Mexico. Sceye, a space and satellite company, is expanding its New Mexico operations to continue to develop and deploy a stratospheric platform that will provide underserved communities with internet access. The company has invested more than $50 million in R&D and building infrastructure in the state and the latest expansion will create 140 high-paying manufacturing and engineering jobs. SpinLaunch is another cutting-edge aerospace company that is expanding their New Mexico presence in a major way. The company is developing and testing a mass accelerator with the aim of launching satellites into space orbit, using kinetic energy instead of rockets. They signed a lease at Spaceport America in 2019 and are now set to hire an additional 59 highly-paid workers and complete the build of a suborbital centrifugal launch system for its next phase of development. These companies and others are taking advantage of the presence of two national labs—the Airforce Research Lab and the world’s first purpose-built Spaceport, Spaceport America—as well as a growing pipeline of experienced talent.
Film and television continues to be a growing industry sector for New Mexico, with major players like NBCUniversal and Netflix bringing significant operations to the state. In late 2018 Netflix chose New Mexico for its first ever U.S.-based production hub, and in 2020 they announced an expansion in the state. Netflix is adding 300 acres to its existing space in ABQ Studios and has committed to $1B in production spending. The $150M expansion will create 1,000 new production jobs in New Mexico over the next 10 years, and an additional 1,467 construction jobs to complete the expansion. This success is in part thanks to a hugely impactful incentive offered by the state, the Film and Media Tax Credit, which rebates up to 30 percent of eligible spending on film and digital media production in the state.
As companies continue to reevaluate their global footprint in the current economic environment, New Mexico has become a clear choice when it comes to foreign companies selecting a U.S. location. Three new companies from Taiwan (Admiral Cable, Xxentria and Cymmetrik) are all establishing a manufacturing presence along the border region, in Southern New Mexico. The most recent of these three companies to announce, Cymmetrik, is the largest label printer and converter in China and the New Mexico location will be the company’s first U.S. location. These companies and other manufacturers will benefit from the state’s strategic location, granting quick access to key consumer markets both nationally and internationally; relevant talent pool of over 180,000 experienced workers; and world-class business climate with a suite of strong state incentives.
Manufacturers, especially related to bioscience, medical and value-added agriculture industries, are continuing to find a home in New Mexico. There is a strong R&D ecosystem and pipeline of talent already present in the state, thanks to national and private labs, and low manufacturing and operating costs. NTx Bio, a vaccine and medicine development company, announced in 2020 that it is investing in a new Rio Rancho, NM location and will be hiring 116 highly skilled STEM professionals to develop new protein and mRNA manufacturing methods, the same technology now used in new COVID-19 vaccines. High Plains Processing is a meat-processing company that recently decided on Las Vegas, New Mexico for their new location. The company will be investing $1.6M and hiring 20 people.
New Mexico will be using past success as a guide for the future and continue to expand growing industry sectors, while proactively working to maintain a business-friendly environment with some of the strongest incentive programs in the U.S. One of the most impactful of these incentives is the state’s flagship program, the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP). This program funds on-the-job and classroom training for expanding or relocating businesses for up to six months. This funding comes in the form of cash reimbursement of 50-75 percent of wages. In addition, the state’s discretionary incentive, the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA), can be used toward the reimbursement of land, building or infrastructure costs (funding awards are determined on a project-by-project basis). These, coupled with a whole suite of industry specific incentives, have helped to generate over $2B in new investment over the past two years and will continue to be impactful as New Mexico plans for the future.
The New Mexico Partnership is designated by the state to be the single-point-of contact to help businesses locate in New Mexico. The organization offers a coordinated approach and a formal network of economic developers to simplify the site selection process. To get started on your project needs in New Mexico, visit www.nmpartnership.com.
THE LAS CRUCES ADVANTAGE
Nearly everyone understands what the three most important aspects of real estate are: location, location and location. This old truism is especially relevant when it comes to finding the best possible place for a new or expanding business. Important considerations such as critical industry supports and assets, existing business sectors and shovel-ready industrial sites are key factors in finding the right location, and they all come together to form the Las Cruces Advantage.
Las Cruces, New Mexico has a broad range of thriving business sectors already in place. One of the most exciting is the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs. Based at Las Cruces International Airport, New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory Flight Test Center was the very first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program to be certified in the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted a Certificate of Authorization that allows the Flight Test Center to operate within an area of 15,000 square miles. New Mexico’s diverse topography provides an ideal theater to conduct numerous types of flight operations within commercial airspace, all the way up to 18,000 feet above sea level.
Even more advantages can be found in the relationship between Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, and White Sands Missile Range, the nation’s premier testing site. The two facilities have an operational MOU between them that is ideal for commercial space operations and high-altitude UAV testing. UAVs can take off from Spaceport America and soar to space from the only location in the United States where air traffic is restricted from ground to space. Nearby is Holloman Air Force Base, which serves as a training area for the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper pilots and sensor operations.
There are industry-supported advantages in Las Cruces for a wide range of sectors, like the UAV community and more. At nearly every level, educational pathways are in place for students to pursue careers in fields that support local business sectors. As a community, the local schools work with higher-education partners to provide students with specific classes from high school through four-year degree programs in related fields. As for supporting the manpower needs of the high-technology and UAV sector, there are currently over 4,200 candidates enrolled in aerospace engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, materials engineering, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering courses at nearby New Mexico State University, the University of Texas—El Paso and New Mexico Tech.
Las Cruces also boasts an established and longtime agricultural business sector for ag businesses looking to locate in a bountiful agricultural region with quick access to year-round transportation options. When it comes to food processing, many large-scale operations have already capitalized on the Las Cruces Advantage. Stampede Meat, Olam SVI, Franco Whole Foods and Saputo Diary Products all process and produce food products in the area. Large-scale greenhouses also thrive in the mild local environment, with facilities managed by Masson Farms and Rich Global Hemp. Valley Cold Storage is a large-scale operation that provides logistics for the area’s agricultural industry.
Agriculture sciences benefit from advantages of the area as well. With support from New Mexico State University and other educational institutions, many firms have found an ideal location in the Las Cruces area. Las Cruces has become a focal point for animal and plant sciences research and development. Energetic young professionals study seed genetics and how animals’ digestive tracts can most efficiently absorb feed nutrients. The agricultural industry has benefitted from collaboration with area schools and colleges for decades.
Las Cruces is also no stranger to advanced manufacturing operations. Competition is a reality in the world of business, and progressive companies rely on innovative technologies to give them an edge. No matter what sector a company operates within, advanced manufacturing automation, computation, software and networking is well established in Las Cruces and infrastructure is in place to help support technologically adept operations. From robotics and rapid prototyping to renewable energy and up-to-the-minute CNC equipment, advanced manufacturing is enhanced in Las Cruces by the support of local drafting and design technologies, automation and manufacturing technology and aerospace technology programs at Doña Ana Branch Community College and other local educational institutions.
In real estate, location is important, and the advantages of the Las Cruces Innovation and Industrial Park perfectly complement today’s most dynamic business sectors. This shovel-ready, purpose-built industrial site encompasses 1,700 acres and is conveniently located just eight miles west of Las Cruces on Interstate 10, across from the Las Cruces International Airport. The Las Cruces Innovation and Industrial Park is an ideal location for light industry, general manufacturing and aviation-related and technology-based industries. All city-owned parcels at the Park are also eligible for consideration under the City’s Local Economic Develop Act, one of the most aggressive community incentives in the State of New Mexico.
Few things are as important as location, location, location when deciding where to locate a business, and few places are as ideally suited for business as Las Cruces, New Mexico. UAV programs, agricultural facilities, advanced manufacturing and more are perfectly suited for a region with a mild climate, great quality of life and business-friendly policies. That’s the Las Cruces Advantage.
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