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Garcia shares marketing plan

John Garcia, state secretary of Economic Development, said Monday that as long as New Mexico thinks small it will remain small and stuck as the 49th poorest state.

Garcia proposed a plan including investing in innovation, people and infrastructure to the technology management and economic development class at the Anderson Schools of Management. He also touched on marketing strategies to attract new companies to the state.

Increasing entrepreneur programs in New Mexico universities and reducing personal income tax to 7 percent are ways to invest in innovation, according to the economic development packet that Garcia passed out. Garcia said that the state should be more business friendly to retain companies such as Microsoft, which got its start in Albuquerque.

Garcia, the only of seven children in his family to go to college, said investing in education will enhance people’s skills in the work force. He said raising academic expectations will produce better students, who will become better thinkers and workers.

He added that improving roads and airports is necessary to support the travel and communication of a large and productive economy.

Garcia said his marketing plan to increase New Mexico’s economic development includes using the media to promote the state, though he repreatedly said he couldn’t share personal anecdotes because a Daily Lobo reporter was in the room.

He said the development department’s advertising budget is now $450,000, smaller than the advertising budget of Lubbock, Texas. Garcia said the department is expecting $3 million from the Legislature to improve marketing.

New Mexico is a great place to live, work and play, Garcia said. He said his hometown lacks the blue skies and white fluffy clouds that make our state appealing to outsiders.

“I lived in New Jersey,” he said. “It sucks.”

In addition to aesthetics, Garcia said New Mexico has many marketable qualities, such as cultural diversity. He said the census has projected the state will have the fifth-fastest growing population during the next few years. It also has a wealth of emerging technologies, he said.

Tracy Stout, a student in the masters of business administration program, said New Mexico lacks business opportunities. She said she is not convinced that Garcia’s plan will work.

“There is this thing called magical thinking,” she said during a question-and-answer session. “You have ideas, but I don’t really see a connection.”

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Garcia told Stout that many New Mexicans feel the same way. He said that changing people’s perspectives on their state is as important for economic development as marketing to out of state companies.

“If we think small, we stay small,” he said.

Garcia showed a five-minute movie that he said would inspire Stout and others to change their views on the future of New Mexico. The film showed clips of Neil Armstrong on the moon and the Berlin wall falling to show that which seems impossible — like New Mexico being the next great place for economic development — is not.

Stout said the film did not inspire her to stay and that she plans to move to Atlanta to pursue a career.

Suleiman Kassicieh, professor of the new technology management and economic development class, said he was excited to see that his students stayed after the lecture to speak with Garcia. He added that he would like to make the class a permanent part of the department.system, the University’s large commuter-student population will still need to park at the north and south campuses unless 25,000 parking spaces are added to the main campus.

Dan Keller, a consultant for Campus Parking Management Associates, said that despite new technology, parking is not a simple problem to solve because of the engrained emphasis on individuals driving to work.

“It’s just part of our society and a lot of people’s way of life,” he said. “We’ve found that, unless it is mandated by state law like it is in Southern California, people are just not likely to carpool. We also found that improvements in public transportation are not likely to provide significant change in the way people can get to campus.”

Keller said UNM has provided adequate parking on the main campus for faculty, staff, residents, guests and the handicapped, but an inadequate number of spaces are available for commuter students.

“The spaces we defined as adequate are not always the best ones or the closest ones to the building, but they are spaces one would have a reasonable expectation of finding,” he said. “The University has provided adequate parking for the commuter students on the south and north campuses, allowing them to use the park-and-ride system.”

He said the University bus system works well, but expects parking on the main campus to remain a problem because of construction projects that will eliminate some parking spaces and the growing demand for parking spaces.

As a result, Keller said the University has a variety of options to address the growing need for parking and the reduction of spaces as more buildings are constructed on the main campus.

He said that with one exception, his firm strongly recommends that the University only use a parking structure as a last resort because of its cost and permanent Keller said the University can expect to pay between $7,000-$9,000 per space and would be a capital expenditure of between $17.5-$22.5 million.

“It’s just not a cost-effective solution with high prices and maintenance,” he said. “You would have to increase the cost of parking permits to about $135 to $165.”

Keller said the city reservoir north of the Central Avenue and Redondo Road entrance would be the only area where he would recommend a parking structure because it would offset parking lost near Popejoy Hall for the Architecture and Planning Building.

He said the temporary lease of the Bob Turner parking lot on the southwest corner of the University and Lomas Boulevards intersection is the easiest solution, adding 500 spaces.

Keller also urged the regents to continue acquisition of land north of Lomas Boulevard, where the University has some pockets of land.

Regent Richard Toliver asked Keller how cost-effective his acquisition plan is and Keller said that it was just a possible long-term solution that the regents should consider.

Keller said his company had not looked into the cost of buying the land.

He said his company talked to students during the past year, and they suggested lower Johnson Field south of the Student Residence Center as a possible parking solution.

“I know its not politically correct to suggest leveling a beautiful green area, but it is just one of the student suggestions and would not involve the main part of Johnson Field,” Keller said. “This is the point where the University has to decide whether the goal is to provide more parking for commuters or provide a better atmosphere for those students once they’re here.”

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