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Chamber Breakfast Examines Employee Theft

CHAMBER News:

  • One out of every 30 retail workers has been arrested for workplace theft

The Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Breakfast Aug. 25 at which Los Alamos Police Cmdr. Oliver Morris will discuss ways to prevent employee theft and fraud.

The Rosebud Café is catering the 7:30 a.m. breakfast at UNM-LA in Building 2, room 230.

Employee theft and fraud costs businesses more than $3.5 trillion worldwide. The typical organization loses 7 percent of its annual revenues to employee fraud, according to a report from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). And, the National Retail Federation found that employees stole 5.5 times more than shoplifters.

Los Alamos, with its better-than-average education level, is not immune to the problems of employee theft. The ACFE study found that while 34 percent of office thieves only had a high school diploma, 21 percent had some college, 34 percent had a bachelor’s degree, and 11 percent held a postgraduate degree.

More than 37 percent of frauds were committed by managerial staff; however, one out of every 30 retail workers has been arrested for workplace theft.  

Employee theft and fraud can take many forms:

  • stealing cash or inventory;
  • falsify time cards; steal credit card information;
  • commit workers compensation fraud;
  • steal identities or data from customers;
  • steal office supplies;
  • copy company digital assets;
  • influence business transactions; and
  • many more scenarios. 

According to the ACFE the average office fraud is not detected for two years. 

Chamber members can reserve a seat for the Chamber Breakfast on Employee Theft and Fraud on the events page of the Chamber website or by emailing nancy@losalamos.org or calling 505.661.4816. Chamber Breakfasts are a benefit of Chamber membership. The LANL Community Programs Office is the Chamber Breakfast sponsor.

Registration Open For Chamber Golf Tournament

Courtesy/LACC

CHAMBER News:

The annual Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament benefitting United Way of Northern New Mexico is Friday, July 31 at the Los Alamos County Golf Course.

The Chamber Golf Tournament is an awesome opportunity to wrap up your workweek by having fun while raising funds for a good cause. Players can also do a little business networking at the same time. The tournament is a four-person scramble and will feature prize holes, contest holes, and door prizes. Mulligans will be available for a small fee.

Golfers are invited to register to play in the tournament as individuals or as foursomes. Registration is $100 per person ($80 for golf club members) and includes golf and cart. Sign up now at losalamoschamber.com/events. The event begins with a 9 a.m. shotgun start, lunch and awards will follow the tournament at Bathtub Row Brewery Co-op.

The Chamber Golf Tournament is a fundraiser for United Way of Northern New Mexico. A $500 sponsorship can support six detention groups educating inmates on relapse prevention through Inside Out Recovery Center. A $1,000 sponsorship can provide 364 visits or 728 hours of service at the Family Resource Center through the Family Strengths Network. A $2,000 sponsorship provides ~52 loaves of bread, 212 lbs. of beans, 520 lbs. of potatoes and 208 lbs. of ground beef for the San Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen in Espanola.

Sponsorships ranging from $100 to $2,000 are still available. For more information, contact Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge at 505.661.4816 or email: Nancy@losalamos.org. Sponsors can register at losalamoschamber.com/events.

Major Sponsors already include Los Alamos National Bank, the Rio Grande Sun, KRSN, The Monitor and Bathtub Row Brewery Co-op. Hole sponsors include Strategic Management Solutions, New York Life, KRSN, The Monitor, LANB and The Finishing Touch.

United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM) is a grant making organization dedicated to engaging human and financial resources to help meet the needs in our communities through Education, Financial Stability, and Health. The Community Action Fund benefits local nonprofit organizations serving Los Alamos and Rio Arriba Counties.

The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce is a program of Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation; a private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization serving the Los Alamos area since 1983. LACDC serves as the umbrella organization for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet, the Los Alamos Meeting & Visitors Bureau, Los Alamos Small Business Center and the Los Alamos Research Park.

 

Speakers Discuss Monetizing Business at Chamber Breakfast

Ted Lopez, Director of the Small Business Development Center at UNM-LA, discusses the elements of a business plan during the Chamber of Commerce breakfast on July 29.

Experts from the Regional Development Corporation and the Small Business Development Center discussed financial resources and options at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast on July 29. About two dozen Chamber members attended the monthly breakfast meeting at UNM-LA.

Ted Lopez, Director of the Small Business Development Center at UNM-LA, explained that monetizing your business is absolutely critical. The most common problem with small businesses is that they are under-capitalized, Lopez said. He pointed out that business failures often are the result of the owner not anticipating the funds required to start a business or grow a business.

Lopez outlined the importance of writing a business plan and having documents for the funding agencies. “Programs like the SBA, RDC, etc… are out there but it doesn’t take away the pain of having to convince a lender that you or your business or service or product is a good risk. And you need to have money backing you,” Lopez said.

He advised that in addition to having a business plan, business owners should also have a clearly defined idea of what their ideal customer looks like, have a marketing plan, and have done sufficient research in the market to know if there is a need for which you can provide a solution.

Val Alonzo, Business Development Manager for the Regional Development Corporation, agreed with Lopez.  He shared with the Chamber members success stories of small businesses that the RDC was able to help grow into multi-million dollar companies using a variety of state economic development tools.  He emphasized the importance of business owners understanding their finances and taking free classes at the SBDC so they can read their financials.

Alonzo said his job is to connect businesses with resources such as the state’s job training tax incentives.  “Businesses don’t look up to see what is available out there,” he said.

All services of the SBDC and the RDC are free for small businesses; membership in the Chamber of Commerce is not required to obtain their services.

The next Chamber of Commerce breakfast will be on a date yet to be determined in August. The topic will be Preventing Employee Fraud and Theft.

Shelly Wiemann Cuts Ribbon On New Edward Jones Investments Office On Oppenheimer Drive

Shelly Wiemann of Edward Jones Investments cuts the ribbon to officially open her new office at 555 Oppenheimer Dr., Ste. 206. From left, Susan Kestell of James A. Dinkel CPAs, Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge, Wiemann and Wiemann's assistant Martha Whitt. Courtesy photo

Lawmakers Discuss Jobs And Economic Growth At Today's Los Alamos Chamber Business Breakfast

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, left, and Sen. Mary Kay Papen discuss increasing employment in New Mexico during this morning's Business Breakfast at UNM-LA. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com

Chamber Breakfast attendees this morning at UNM-LA as Sen. Mary Kay Papen and Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard discuss the New Mexico Jobs Council. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com

By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post

New Mexico State Sen. Mary Kay Papen and State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard addressed guests on the subject of employment in New Mexico this morning at the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast at UNM-Los Alamos.

Papen and Richard serve together on the New Mexico Jobs Council, which Papen co-chairs.  The Council, formed in 2013 is a special legislative committee because it includes five members of the public, including representatives from business and labor, as well as legislators, Richard said.

The Jobs Council helped to draft the bipartisan jobs legislation signed by the governor  in June. It increases tax credits for companies involved in technology as well as incentives for investments in start-ups and other incentives intended to encourage both start-ups and existing businesses to come to New Mexico and to help existing New Mexican businesses.

The goal of the Jobs Council is to facilitate the creation of 164,000 jobs, Papen said. June marked the 32nd month of job growth in the state, however growth has been very modest so far, Papen said.

On bright spot is Dona Ana County, Papen’s district, which has seen substantial development in Santa Teresa on the Mexican border. “Development is booming in Santa Teresa,” Papen said.

Bringing this kind of economic growth to the rest of New Mexico is hampered by lack of funds, Papen said. “Oil futures have gone down and we’re going to have to develop new sources of funds,” she said.

One area that requires investment if New Mexico is to compete for businesses is education. “We need an educated workforce,” Papen said.

Gillian Sutton of KRSN Radio asked Papen about vocational education. Richard and Papen said most of the education dollars are going to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Papen and Richard both expressed hope that community colleges can step in to fill the gap in vocational training.

Los Alamos School Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus pointed to the District’s collaborations with Los Alamos National Laboratory and UNM-Los Alamos to provide high school students with vocational training for high-paying jobs.

“One of the best auto mechanics programs in the state is right across the street at the high school,” Steinhaus said. “When kids can see real jobs in all areas, it makes a huge difference.”

Carol Rutton of the LANL Community Programs Office said in a recent meeting that Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan made the point that he wishes to see skilled craft workers at the Lab receive the same respect as technical staff members.

“The Jobs Council needs to hear from educators like you,” Papen said.

Another needed change to recruit business is improvement to decaying roadways, Papen said. She suggests raising the gas tax to fund highway refurbishment.

County Councilor Pete Sheehey asked the speakers to carry the message to the legislature that “roads and education are part of economic development.”

According to the speakers, a third stumbling block to attracting and sustaining business is the current tax system. “We need a comprehensive overhaul of the tax system,” Richard said. Calling the tax code “Swiss cheese” because of the many loopholes, Papen said it was hard to get the legislature to work on the tax code because of benefits it gives to their various constituencies.

Jobs Council meetings are open to the public and interested persons are invited to attend, Papen said.

 

Legislators Discuss State Jobs Plan At Chamber Business Breakfast At UNM-LA June 30

CHAMBER News:

All businesses in Los Alamos are invited to attend the Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast 7:30-9 a.m. Tuesday, June 30 in Building 2, Room 230 at UNM–LA, 4000 University Dr.

The breakfast will feature State Sen. Mary Kay Papen and Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard discussing the State Jobs Plan. This is an opportunity to learn first-hand about this recently signed legislation.

Registration for the Chamber Business Breakfast is open to all Los Alamos Chamber members and their guests. For more information, call Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge at 505.661.4816 or email nancy@losalamos.org. To register visit: losalamoschamber.com/events.

The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce is a program of Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation; a private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization serving the Los Alamos area since 1983. LACDC serves as the umbrella organization for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet, the Los Alamos Meeting & Visitors Bureau, Los Alamos Small Business Center and the Los Alamos Research Park.

Calling All Golfers ... Los Alamos Chamber Of Commerce Golf Tournament Benefits UWNNM

White Rock Visitor Display Cases Available For Local Business Advertising

Space is available in these display cases inside the White Rock Visitor Center for business advertising. Courtesy/WRVC

WRVC News:

The White Rock Visitor Center now has two separate glass display cases available to showcase Los Alamos and White Rock businesses products and services.

There are 12 designated shelf spaces that rotate as needed, but there currently is no waitlist. To sign up for the month of July or to find out more information about this program, contact Melanie Peña at 505.661.4836 or email melanie@losalamos.org.   

Hundreds of visitors come into the White Rock Visitor Center each day wanting information on what there is to do in Los Alamos County and these displays will encourage them to also shop at local businesses. The Los Alamos Meeting and Visitor Bureau manages the business display rotation schedule. There is no cost to businesses to display and the only requirement is that businesses be based in Los Alamos County. The Meeting & Visitor Bureau and its employees do not sell merchandise on behalf of retailers.

The Los Alamos Meeting and Visitor Bureau is a program of Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation; a private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization serving the Los Alamos area since 1983. LACDC serves as the umbrella organization for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet, the Los Alamos Meeting and Visitors Bureau, Los Alamos Small Business Center and the Los Alamos Research Park.

 

Save The Date: Los Alamos ScienceFest July 15-19

Courtesy/Los Alamos Creative District

CREATIVE DISTRICT News:

Los Alamos is a place of world-changing, creative ideas and science. Los Alamos ScienceFest celebrates that heritage with history and science-based events for the entire family.

Last year, more than 6,500 attendees attended the festival designed to highlight the groundbreaking science that still happens in Los Alamos. This year, Los Alamos MainStreet, in partnership with the Los Alamos Creative District, will produce ScienceFest to promote the ongoing scientific excellence that contributes to solving national challenges.

Los Alamos ScienceFest celebrates the history and science of Los Alamos through engaging activities and events for people of all ages. With the success of WGN’s Manhattan television series and the Manhattan Project National Park designation, celebrating our town’s history is fundamental to its success.

  • Thematic programming is scheduled throughout July 15-19.
  • Festival Day 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at Ashley Pond in downtown Los Alamos from It is the festival’s culminating event with exhibitors providing interactive, hand-on activities showcasing science, technology, engineering and math from across New Mexico. A very popular event feature is the beer garden with live music and entertainment that runs 12:30-6 p.m.

Los Alamos is the ONLY Science Festival in the state. Organizers are looking for interactive exhibitors that can share with the public their enthusiasm for science and technology. If you or someone you know would like to register, go our website http://www.losalamossciencefest.com./ For more information on how to become involved, sponsor or register for events, call 505.661.4807 or visit losalamosmainstreet.com/events.

Los Alamos MainStreet is a program of Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation; a private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization serving the Los Alamos area since 1983. LACDC serves as the umbrella organization for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet, the Los Alamos Meeting & Visitors Bureau, Los Alamos Small Business Center and the Los Alamos Research Park.

 

Something For Everyone At Chamberfest June 13

CHAMBER NEWS:

Make plans to attend Chamberfest 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 13 in downtown Los Alamos. Chamberfest is a festival celebrating all that Chamber of Commerce members have to offer to the Los Alamos community.

Central Avenue between 15th and 20th streets, and Main Street between Central and Nectar will be lined with booths and filled with entertainment and activities. Businesses and nonprofits will be grouped in themed areas making it easier for visitors who have a specific interest.

Showdown at High Noon Water Balloon Fight

  • On Central Avenue, the Del Norte Credit Union Showdown at High Noon Water Balloon Fight will feature County VIP’s facing off against local business people, followed by the opportunity for children to face off against DNCU’s mascot Baxter the Bear.

LANB Sandpile

  • Children will have the opportunity to play in LANB’s Sandpile in the middle of Central Avenue.

Eddy and the Nomads

  • Eddy and the Nomads will provide musical entertainment from the stage at the intersection of Main Street and Central. KRSN will also be broadcasting music from in front of the Chamber of Commerce offices, in the Central Park Square parking lot.

Car Show

  • The Car Show at Chamberfest will feature a variety of cool, muscle, vintage and exotic cars.

Snacks, Meals, Beverages

  • On Main Street, food vendors will offer snacks, meals, and beverages. Beverages also can be found at UnQuarked and Bathtub Row Brewing.

Central Park Square Bubble Pit & Inflatable Bounce Toys

  • In the park at Central Park Square, Play in a bubble pit and jump around on inflatable bounce toys.

Central Park Square Drop-In Health & Exercise Classes

  • Zumba and other drop-in health and exercise classes

Central Park Square Splash Pools For Dogs

  • In Central Park Square on the north end of Main Street in front of Pet Pangaea, there will be an animal area with pools for dogs to splash in, the Sheriff’s Posse horses, the Friends of the Shelter, Animal Clinic of Los Alamos and a greyhound rescue group. 

Chamberfest Sponsors

  • Del Norte Credit Union;
  • LANB;
  • LANL Community Programs Office;
  • First National Bank of Santa Fe; and
  • COMPA.

Parking for Chamberfest

  • Central Park Square parking lot at 15th and Nectar Street;
  • Metzger’s parking lot;
  • Deacon Street parking lot behind CB FOX; and
  • Mesa Public Library parking lots.

 

Chamber Breakfast On Payment Technologies May 21

CHAMBER News:

Merchants, restaurants, hotels, home-based businesses, and professionals alike will want to attend this Chamber Breakfast that focuses on the latest Payment Technologies with Gingergaye Hollowell, author of "Secrets of Credit Card Processing Fees Revealed."

In addition to talking about technologies such as Paypal, Apple Pay and Square, Hollowell will discuss the EMV Chip deadline coming up in October and what it means for merchants who rely on magnetic strip technology. Hollowell will have a special message dedicated to restaurants.

Breakfast is catered by Ruby K's.

The Chamber Breakfast is at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Campus, Building 2, Room 230 at 4000 University Dr. Tickets are $15. Register by calling 505-661-4816, email nancy@losalamos.org or online at http://losalamoschamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/chamber-breakfast-may-21-payment-technologies-42.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Officially Opens New Community Building At Los Alamos Golf Course

Local dignitaries led by County Council Chair Kristin Henderson, holding scissors, cut the red ribbon Thursday on the new Community Building at the Los Alamos Golf Course on Diamond Drive. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

 

Los Alamos County Council Chair Kristin Henderson addresses the crowd gathered Thursday at the grand opening dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Community Building at the Los Alamos Golf Course. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

 

Staff Report

A large crowd gathered Thursday afternoon for the grand opening dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Community Building at the Los Alamos Golf Course at 4244 Diamond Dr. 

The new Community Building will accommodate golf operations as well as provide the community with a multi-functional meeting room, banquet space, restaurant and large outdoor decks.

The Los Alamos County Council and the Pajarito Golf Group hosted the event and provided refreshments for the crowd.

A project budget of $5,390,000 was approved by County Council July 12, 2010. In early July 2014, the County took steps to terminate the Contract with the general contractor for construction, after which County staff performed or used on-call contracts for the tasks necessary to make the building ready for occupation.

The contract for a restaurant vendor was awarded to the Pajarito Golf Group, comprised of owners Patrick Mockler-Wood, Catherine Mockler, Pawel Listwan and Dorota Listwan. While this is a separate entity, the partners also own Pajarito Brewpub And Grill at 614 Trinity Dr. They named the new restaurant "Cottonwood on the Greens".

Following Thursday's ceremony, community members took self-guided tours of the building, which includes a new Pro Shop, underground cart storage and "Cottonwood on the Greens" with a large patio overlooking the course. There also is a new large community room, available to reserve for events. Catering is provided exclusively by Cottonwood on the Greens, which is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For more information on community room rentals or the restaurant, contact the Pajarito Golf Group Events Manager through Cottonwood on the Greens, which is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For more information on community room rentals or the restaurant, contact the Pajarito Golf Group Events Manager through Cottonwood on the Greens at 505.662.0404 or cottonwoodonthegreens@gmail.com.

 

Los Alamos Chamber Members Learn How New Mexico True Is Increasing Tourism

New Mexico Tourism Secretary Rebecca Latham speaks to Chamber Breakfast participants Wednesday at UNM-LA. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com

By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post

New Mexico Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Rebecca Latham was the featured speaker at the Chamber Business Breakfast Wednesday at UNM-Los Alamos.

Latham took over the post in January. She was formerly the public information officer for the Tourism Department.

Latham explained that she and her team will be in Los Alamos June 11-12 to work with businesses, the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce and County staff to help grow tourism in Los Alamos County.

The Tourism Department’s flagship marketing campaign, New Mexico True, is a coordinated effort to promote tourism in New Mexico.

“We can provide a unique experience that you cannot have anywhere else,” Latham said. “We offer adventure that feeds the soul.”

Los Alamos fits the bill, she said, because of the town’s unique history and connection to the Manhattan project.

“Los Alamos has a big piece of culture that no one else has,” she said.

Tourism raised $1.3 billion tourism dollars that were spent in New Mexico last year, Latham said, generating $600 million in taxes for an average tax savings of $800 a year for each taxpayer.

Northern New Mexico generated 22 percent of that revenue, although only 13.7 percent of the state’s population live there.

The New Mexico True campaign emphasizes “site doing rather than site seeing,” Latham said, adding that while other campaigns have stressed scenery, the new campaign stresses people doing things. The ads have produced a 3-1 rate of return on the advertising investment.

The state has a two-pronged strategy, one targeting in-state residents and the other outside tourists. For New Mexicans, state pride is emphasized. For outside visitors, the uniqueness and opportunities for adventure are stressed. To get past the idea that New Mexico is an arid desert, the campaign shoots streams, forests, farms and other features.

Ad campaigns include airport dioramas that have been praised for their beauty, Latham said. TV commercials, print ads, online ads and special 30 second videos for the web, as well as the program New Mexico True Television are part of the marketing campaign.

“We see ourselves as a tourism generating agency,” Latham said.

The agency has the goal of helping communities build tourism and benefit from it, she said. Visit New Mexico True online at /www.newmexico.org/.

 

 

Marketing Expert Shares Customer Service Tips

 

Peter Shankman, author of Zombie Loyalists, Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans, presents tips on how to give such good customer service that your customers promote your business for you. Photo by Alan LaSeck, Greater ABQ Chamber of Commerce.
 
About 150 members of the Albuquerque and Los Alamos Chambers of Commerce packed the room for a presentation by PR and marketing expert Peter Shankman at the Albuquerque Sheraton last week. Photo by Alan LaSeck, Greater ABQ Chamber of Commerce.
 

CHAMBER News:

Chamber members recently learned that while 80 percent of businesses think they are giving good customer service, only 8 percent of customers think the businesses are giving good customer service.

Public Relations and marketing expert Peter Shankman shared the 80-8 statistic with 150 New Mexico business owners over lunch Wednesday, April 1. Members of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce traveled to Albuquerque to attend Shankman’s presentation, which was hosted by the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

Shankman is an adjunct professor of marketing at New York University, and sits on the advisory boards of several companies. He is the author of four books: Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans, Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management is Over, and Collaboration is In,  Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work--And Why Your Company Needs Them, and Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World and is a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter at conferences and tradeshows worldwide. His customer service and social media clients have included American Express, Walt Disney World, and Harrah’s Hotels, among others.

 “Shankman left me thinking that we all need to be more self-reflective about our customer service to all patrons and make an effort to consider things that might keep some visitors from becoming customers,” said Chamber member Nancy Coombs of Fuller Lodge Art Center. Some people come to buy, some to look and some for an experience. A great experience leaves a visitor feeling good, encourages them to want come again, or even buy something to remember their experience.”

Shankman asked the crowd if anyone had recently had a good flight experience. LeAnne Parsons of Walk Your Talk Legacy Coaching spoke up and shared she had a good experience on United - they had checked her carry on for free and gotten it right back to her at the end of the flight.

Shankman jumped on her reply. He pointed out that United actually had not done anything more than what was in their contract, but because that is better than what usually happens, Parsons thought it was great customer service. Her luggage wasn’t lost, her gate wasn’t changed at the last minute, and her flight wasn’t delayed or cancelled, so she thought she received great customer service.

It was an illustration of his point that customers have come to expect terrible customer service. Parsons said Shankman drove home his points that you need to let go of assumptions and that you need to do 2 percent better than you are doing now.

“The thought I keep coming back to is ‘all you need is to be one level above crap,” Chamber member Jude Heimel said, regarding what stood out in Shankman’s presentation. “I think it might be true, and I find that very sad,” observed Heimel, who is an organization consultant and leadership coach.

The keys to customer service, Shankman said, is to start with identifying rules and procedures that prevent employees from providing good customer service. When a company treats employees as their most important asset, and empowers them to make decisions to resolve customer service issues, they will treat customers better. Listen to customers. Make eye contact. Ask open-ended questions. Care about what your customer wants. Occasionally go way above and beyond for no reason. When you make a mistake, own it and go above and beyond in correcting it.

Shankman was realistic and recognized that it is impossible for businesses to be perfect, but he urged them to strive to pay attention to details in customer service that make a difference.

Chamber member Ellen Rodda from Zia Credit Union said one of the details Shankman discussed was communication. “It is important to communicate with your customers in the method they prefer,” Rodda said. “If they prefer electronic, use electronic, if they prefer snail mail, use snail mail, etc. Don’t make the mistake of communicating to everyone in the same way. Ask your customer what their preference is. When you communicate using channels your customers don’t use, you are wasting time and money. Reach out on a quarterly basis to keep them aware of your brand; you only have 2.7 seconds to grab their attention.”

Shankman shared the story of Barry Diller, head of Paramount Pictures in the 1970s, who took the company from bankruptcy to billion dollar success story by using his Rolodex. He would call 10 people in his Rolodex every day – rotating through all of his contacts every three months, keeping his brand in the top of everyone’s mind.

“Peter is a dynamic and humorous speaker,” Coombs said. “I loved his success story about selling Titanic t-shirts that said ‘It sank. Get over it.’ When USA Today ran a story about his online t-shirt business, three AOL servers crashed and almost a fourth. His stories all had an element of fortuitous timing but he emphasized that it’s the element of action that really leads to success.”

Shankman will be appearing June 4 on Parson’s “Walk Your Talk With LeAnne” radio program on Life Coach Radio Network. Information on the radio program can be found here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lifecoachradionetwork/2015/06/04/walk-your-talk-with-leanne-and-peter-shankman

The Chamber members who attended the event each received a copy of Shankman’s book Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans. Del Archuleta, chairman of the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors thanked Nancy Partridge manager of the Los Alamos Chamber for arranging to have Shankman come to New Mexico and speak at the event. The event was sponsored by UNM Health Sciences Center, Comcast, Century Link and the Hartman and Majewski Design Group.

Chamber Hosts Air Medical Base Ribbon Cutting

Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Manager Nancy Partridge gives the countdown for Classic Air Medical's Director of Operations Kory Hale, left of center, and Los Alamos Medical Center CEO Feliciano Jiron, right of center, to cut the ribbon on the new Air Medical Base this afternoon behind the hospital. The remodeled Air Medical Base will house Classic Air Medical's $3.8 million helicopter that has been parked at Los Alamos County Airport since the company began local operations in January. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

 

Local Panel Gives Customer Service Tips

During the Chamber's Business Breakfast in February, local business owners Claire Roybal, Cyndi Wells and Cheryl Sowder discuss customer service. Courtesy photo

By NANCY PARTRIDGE, Manager
Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce

A panel of local business experts agrees, the customer experience depends upon attention to detail and managing expectations.

The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast featured a panel discussion Feb. 19 on customer service with panelists Cyndi Wells, owner of Pet Pangaea; Cheryl Sowder, owner of Finishing Touch; and Claire Roybal, owner of Claire Roybal and Associates. About two dozen Chamber members attended the event, which was catered by Peggy Pendergast.

Wells advised those in attendance to “fall out of love with your products and services and fall in love with your customer.” She said in her own business she trains her employees to say “please” and “thank you,” and she rewards employee behaviors that lead to good customer service. She also invited her employees to help write the customer satisfaction policy, which guides how things are handled at the pet store.

Sowder said she also allows her employees latitude in making customer service decisions, as long as they fall within company quality standards.

“It’s all about that initial experience walking in the front door, where you feel comfortable – almost like a family,” Sowder said.

She attributes the 36-year success of her company to relationships built on attention to detail, getting to know her client as an individual and learning their personality style.

Roybal, whose company focuses on coaching businesses in marketing and customer service, advised training employees in recognizing their own body language and being aware of what they are communicating by the nonverbal messages they send to customers. She suggested business owners train their employees in recognizing that customer complaints are not personal attacks.

“Teach your employees conflict management skills,” she said, have them learn to empathize and sympathize.”

The trio presented a few exercises for business owners to try with their employees. Roybal recommended at the beginning of the day or shift, have your employees write a list of things they need to do. The list may include items such as: smile, be nice, etc… and at the end of the day, review the list to re-evaluate what was accomplished.

Wells took the group through a “Wiggle Words” exercise, which demonstrated how miscommunication and mismanaged expectations can occur through vague language. She illustrated that the following words should be avoided in customer service: often, usually, rarely, sometimes, probably, occasionally, almost always, typically, frequently, and hardly ever.

During a question and answer period after the presentation, a discussion arose about the shortage of experienced retail employees in Los Alamos. Sowder advised the group to hire for attitude, because skills can be taught.

Wells wrapped up the event with a Maya Angelou quote: “I learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.”

The next Chamber of Commerce Breakfast is 7:30 a.m., March 19 at UNM-LA. It will be a panel discussion on the Economic Outlook for Los Alamos, featuring panelists Patrick Sullivan, executive director of Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation; Eric Vasquez, REDI manager for the Regional Development Corporation; and Jeffrey Mitchell, PhD, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico. Tickets are $15. Register on the events page of the Chamber of Commerce website www.losalamoschamber.com or call 505.661.4816.

 

 

CMS Announces Special Health Care Enrollment Period For Tax Season

CMS News:

  • Eligible consumers have March 15 to April 30 to enroll 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM).

This special enrollment period will allow those individuals and families who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the FFM.

For those who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of the fee for not enrolling in coverage, CMS will provide consumers with an opportunity to purchase health insurance coverage from March 15 to April 30. If consumers do not purchase coverage for 2015 during this special enrollment period, they may have to pay a fee when they file their 2015 income taxes.

Those eligible for this special enrollment period live in states with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace and:

  • Currently are not enrolled in coverage through the FFM for 2015;
  • Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014; and  
  • Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (Feb. 15, 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.

The special enrollment period announced today will begin March 15, 2015 and end at 11:59 p.m. EST April 30, 2015. If a consumer enrolls in coverage before the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective on the first day of the following month. 

Carol Singer, a local Independent licensed agent can assist those who qualify in finding and selecting coverage that fits their needs. Singer can be reached at 505.310.1474 or s3@q.com.

This year’s tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns. Individuals who could not afford coverage or met other conditions may be eligible to receive an exemption for 2014. To help consumers who did not have insurance last year determine if they qualify for an exemption, CMS also launched a health coverage tax exemption tool today on HealthCare.gov and CuidadodeSalud.gov.

“We recognize that this is the first tax filing season where consumers may have to pay a fee or claim an exemption for not having health insurance coverage,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said. “Our priority is to make sure consumers understand the new requirement to enroll in health coverage and to provide those who were not aware or did not understand the requirement with an opportunity to enroll in affordable coverage this year.”

Most taxpayers, about three quarters, will only need to check a box when they file their taxes to indicate that they had health coverage in 2014 through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans care or other qualified health coverage that qualifies as “minimum essential coverage.” The remaining taxpayers - about one-quarter - will take different steps. It is expected that 10 to 20 percent of taxpayers who were uninsured for all or part of 2014 will qualify for an exemption from the requirement to have coverage. A much smaller fraction of taxpayers, an estimated 2 to 4 percent, will pay a fee because they made a choice to not obtain coverage and are not eligible for an exemption.

Americans who do not qualify for an exemption and went without health coverage in 2014 will have to pay a fee – $95 per adult or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater – when they file their taxes this year. The fee increases to $325 per adult or 2 percent of income for 2015. Individuals taking advantage of this special enrollment period will still owe a fee for the months they were uninsured and did not receive an exemption in 2014 and 2015. This special enrollment period is designed to allow such individuals the opportunity to get covered for the remainder of the year and avoid additional fees for 2015. 

The Administration is committed to providing the information and tools tax filers need to understand the new requirements. Part of this outreach effort involves coordinating efforts with nonprofit organizations and tax preparers who provide resources to consumers and offer on the ground support. If consumers have questions about their taxes, need to download forms, or want to learn more about the fee for not having insurance, they can find information and resources at www.HealthCare.gov/Taxes or www.IRS.gov. Consumers can also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1.800.318.2596.  Consumers who need assistance filing their taxes can visit IRS.gov/VITA or IRS.gov/freefile

Consumers seeking to take advantage of the special enrollment period can find out if they are eligible by visiting https://www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage

 

Congressional Delegation Shares LA Celebration Of Manhattan Project Nat'l. Historical Park

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall speaks to the importance of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park as Council Chair Kristin Henderson and Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan listen at left. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Los Alamos Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Members of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation including Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Luján and retired Sen. Jeff Bingaman joined with County leaders and community members Feb. 14 to celebrate passage of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The turnout for this special event filled the upstairs rotunda of Mesa Public Library as the delegation participated in a short program about the importance of the park and its importance to Los Alamos.

Udall commended Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan and her members for raising $3.5 million for this historic project, he acknowledged his colleagues Bingaman, Heinreich and Luján and said most of all he wanted to thank the community of Los Alamos for getting behind the park.

"This is an important place ... important to history ... important to New Mexico," Udall said. "It is an epic story with great consequences. A story we are still trying to fully understand. The historical park makes sure that story gets told."

Udall described the Manhattan Project's history as complicated and said that the park will educate generations to come -- through the stories of those who made it all possible.

"For this community it also tells the story of incredible creativity and the power of science," he said. "LANL continues to attract the best and the brightest researchers and innovators ... in national security, in energy and in technology. LANL is crucial to our past -- and to our future. When the Mars Curiosity Rover landed on the surface of Mars, it was powered by batteries developed at LANL. When U.S. Navy ships are powered by bio-algae fuel, it is in part thanks the work at LANL. So I am pleased to be here today ... we are standing here at the center of history ... which folks will visit and study for years to come."

Heinrich spoke about the lengthy process involved in getting a project like a national park through Congress and mentioned that people ask him how a place like Los Alamos got a National Preserve and a National Park.

He tells them, “We just wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Luján said the park will tell all sides of the important story of the Manhattan Project.

“Thank you for making sure these voices will not be forgotten,” he said.

Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge addressed the potential economic impact from the park that may be expected in the community from all of the new visitors coming to town.

“The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce and Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation are extremely pleased that Los Alamos has a tool in its tool box for diversifying the economy,” Partridge said. “The Manhattan National Park will bring to Los Alamos a demand for hotel rooms, restaurant tables and retail merchandise.”

Partridge added that the park, along with the Valles Caldera National Preserve and the Bandelier National Monument with place Los Alamos in the center of a trifecta of high-demand simultaneously new and old tourist destinations.

“The Manhattan National Park is still three to five years in the future … but, close your eyes for a moment and imagine that future,” she said. “Imagine the impact of 200,000 tourists a year spending between $73 and $225 per person in Los Alamos hotels, restaurants and retail shops. That’s almost $30 million a year in new money coming into the cash registers of local small businesses.”

Partridge thanked the members of the Congressional Delegation, the Historical Society and the many others involved in the effort to bring the Manhattan Project National Historical Park to Los Alamos.

“Los Alamos is no longer a one company town with its economy tied to one industry …,” she said. “We appreciate you and all you have done for the future of Los Alamos.”

Los Alamos County Council Chair Kristin Henderson said the creation of the national park will truly be a sea change for the County of Los Alamos.

“If done right – and we will all work together so that it will be done right – it offers a real potential for economic development and expansion for our community, with 100,000 to 200,000 people coming to our town,” Henderson said. “As a Council, we are profoundly committed to its success and to bringing all the interested parties together to ensure a great experience for both the visitor and our community.”

Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott directed his remarks toward the monumental importance of setting up the park properly from day one.

“We’re going to set up this park for perpetuity … a park that will serve visitors 100 and 200 years down the line,” he said. “We are going to take our time and we are going to do it right. We’ve got to prepare our community for the impacts this park will have here.”

He has recently been appointed by the Park Service to a nationwide group that is working to figure out just what the park will look like. His enthusiasm for the project and understanding of the inner workings of the Park Service are considered to be huge assets for the community.

McClenahan recognized the many partners who worked through the years to make the Manhattan Project National Historical Park a reality.

“It starts with Cindy Kelly, president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation who first helped propose the idea of the park and has worked on it longer than anyone,” McClenahan said. “In Congress, she had help first from Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici and their successors Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, as well as Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard worked tirelessly in last year’s legislative session to get a memorial in support of the park – and it passed unanimously.”

McClenahan said the park would never have happened without the support of the following local people and organizations:

  • Fran Berting – former county councilor who testified in front of Congress for the bill that passed…;
  • Councilor David Izraelevitz – who was unable to attend but has served on the ad hoc committee that’s been looking at logistical interfaces between the County and the national park;
  • County Manager Harry Burgess – who recognized the importance of the park as soon as he arrived in town in 2011, and his staff and his staff that has supported the efforts to get the park here, including Brian Bosshardt, Dan Erickson, Philo Shelton and Greg Fisher;
  • The Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, headed by Patrick Sullivan, and its family of agencies including Katy Korkos and then Nancy Partridge from the Chamber of Commerce and Suzette Fox from Los Alamos MainStreet;
  • Ellen McGehee, historic buildings manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory;
  • Linda Deck, director of the Bradbury Science Museum;
  • Mark Rayburn who is chair of the Fuller Lodge Historic Districts Advisory Board as well as his entire committee;
  • Georgia Strickfaden, a native of Los Alamos, historian, and tour guide extraordinaire as well as her husband Gerry;
  • Ron Wilkins, president of the Los Alamos Historical Society;
  • The board of directors, members and dedicated staff of the Los Alamos Historical Society who have supported the park since its inception;
  • Community cultural service providers, including Los Alamos Fuller Lodge Art Center, the Arts Council, PEEC and others who have helped with these efforts over the years; and Hedy Dunn, Los Alamos Historical Museum director emeritus.
  • Doc Hastings, congressional representative out of Hanford, Wash., who chaired the House Natural Resources Committee;
  • Gary Peterson of Tridec in Washington;
  • Colleen French of the Hanford DOE office;
  • Ray Smith, historian at Y12 in Oak Ridge;
  • Energy Communities Alliance;
  • National Parks Conservation Association; and
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“While we don’t yet know what the park will look like, we do know that the National Park Service and Department of Energy are working on it right now,” McClenahan said. “The Park Service has said it wants a visitors center somewhere in downtown Los Alamos and from there it will send visitors out to other sites such as Bathtub Row and the Historical Museum, the Bradbury and even 109 East Palace in Santa Fe.”

McClenahan said the Park Service and DOE hope to have a memorandum of Understanding ready early this summer that will describe what will be included in the park and how, for example, World War II-era buildings behind the fence at the laboratory will be accessed. That MOU will be open for public comment.

“So we are looking forward to an active, transparent and inclusive process where the community has a big say in what the park looks like,” she said.

Following the program, the Los Alamos Historical Society provided tours of the historic Hans Bethe House on Bathtub Row.

 

SBDC: Los Alamos Daily Post Is Success Client Of The Year And Will Be Honored At NM Legislature

Members of the Los Alamos Daily Post news team from left, Kirsten Laskey, Sal Zapien, Carol A. Clark, Tyrone Nigel Clark (news hound), Bonnie Gordon and Chris Clark gather for a photo Wednesday at the newspaper's headquarters in downtown Los Alamos. Photo by Leland Lehman/ladailypost.com

SBDC News:

The Los Alamos Daily Post has been selected to receive the Los Alamos Small Business "2014 Success Client of the Year" award and will be honored March 9 on the floor of the New Mexico Legislature.

Director Ted Lopez of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UNM-LA made the surprise announcement to the newspaper staff Tuesday, adding that a special reception will be held March 8 at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe for the Los Alamos Daily Post and other award recipients from around the state.

SBDC Director Ted Lopez surprises the Los Alamos Daily Post news staff Tuesday with the award announcement. Courtesy photo

The Los Alamos Daily Post is owned and operated by Publisher/Editor Carol A. Clark, who launched the online newspaper Feb. 7, 2012 from her Los Alamos home. The Los Alamos Daily Post now delivers “Los Alamos News at Lightning Speed” throughout New Mexico, across the nation and around the world from its headquarters at 1247 Central Ave., in downtown Los Alamos.

"This is quite an honor and we are very pleased to accept it," Clark said. "The SBDC resources were invaluable to us as we laid the groundwork leading up to launching the newspaper three years ago. We received expert advice that has held us steady during the startup phase and allowed us to enjoy continued growth every year since."

With Lifestyles Editor Bonnie J. Gordon, Social Media Editor Chris Clark, writers Kirsten Laskey and KayLinda Crawford, photographers Sal Zapien and Leland Lehman, numerous columnist and contributors and assistance from a growing army of community volunteers, the Los Alamos Daily Post has expanded its readership into 129 countries.

"To achieve an accomplishment such as this really does take the participation of an entire team all striving for excellence everyday as well as the incredible support we have received from the community and I want to extend my appreciation to everyone," Clark said. 

The paper’s number one goal is to bring readers the best in local news coverage through print, photographs and video, she said. With its focus on the events occurring throughout Los Alamos and White Rock, the news team is reporting from the neighborhoods, schools, businesses, financial, cultural and faith-based communities along with the science and engineering divisions at Los Alamos National Laboratory. On its site, readers also find the latest news from Los Alamos County and the Los Alamos Police Department and Los Alamos Fire Department.

As one resident stated, “I’m enjoying your media format for its dynamic presentation (daily, hourly updates)…I enjoy keeping up with the news up on the Hill.”

Clark credits the excellent start-up assistance she received from the Los Alamos SBDC Counselor for her success. The Los Alamos Daily Post strongly advocates for small businesses in the community and she recommends that other business owners contact the Small Business Development Center for assistance in growing their business.

SBDC

The mission of the SBDC is to provide quality assistance, education and resources to potential and existing small businesses in partnership with UNM-LA. The SBDC office is located on the UNM-LA campus and provides business assistance services for entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and existing small businesses in Los Alamos.

 

Chamber Honors The Finishing Touch 35th Anniversary

Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge, right, recognizes The Finishing Touch owner Cheryl Sowder on 35 years in business and as a Chamber member. Courtesy/LACC 

CHAMBER News:

With a degree in interior design, a background in custom home design and construction and no retail business experience, Los Alamos natives Cheryl Sowder and her husband Joe Brophy bought the paint side of Netuschil Paint and Glass from Tom Netuschil in 1979. Netuschil retained the glass portion of the business, and Sowder added flooring and window coverings to her product mix at The Finishing Touch.

She soon realized that a background in business would have been preferable, but she “loved the challenge and the opportunity for creative expression that owning a design store would give me.”

At the time, Netuschil was chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Board and he recommended that she join the Chamber.

“I realized that a small business, alone, has very little influence on building a successful business community, but, by banding together there can be a significant impact on determining the direction a community will take. A chamber of commerce can, and should, provide that. Serving on the board allowed me to develop relationships and work with business leaders to have a positive influence on our community. My business benefitted from the contacts I made—I learned a lot from more experienced business owners.”

The Finishing Touch has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce for 35 years.

Sowder attributes her company’s success in Los Alamos to a wonderful sales and installation staff, a focus on excellent customer service, a quick response to problems, and a broad knowledge of the products offered.

“We spend a lot of time learning about what we sell; we want to know the answers before our customers ask the questions. Los Alamos customers ask complex and detailed questions. Where else would a salesperson get a question about the chemical composition of paint?” she said. “I just love doing business in Los Alamos. My customers are wonderful. We build relationships over the time it takes to complete a flooring or window covering job; it’s often sad when the project is over. But, we see many of our customers over and over.”

While she acknowledges the special character of the community, she also feels that it is vital for business people to understand the dynamics of its economic environment. She believes the future of retail business in Los Alamos is based in offering services people cannot obtain elsewhere, products are often secondary.

“People have to have a realistic expectation of how to do business in this community,” Sowder said. “Los Alamos is unique and doing business in Los Alamos is a unique experience. I think understanding that is important, no matter what business you plan on developing.”

Sowder is still enjoying what she does, but is considering succession planning for her business. She said she would like to see the business continue after she retires and is thinking about finding someone who would like to take it over. She envisions working side-by-side with that person for several years, training them as they make the transition.

 

SBDC At UNM-LA Offers Social Media For Small Business Workshop

UNM-LA News:

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UNM-LA will be conducting a workshop for small business owners who want to leverage the power of social media to promote their businesses.

The workshop is 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Feb. 5, in room 306 on the UNM-LA campus. Workshop attendees will learn to engage their customers online and grow their business by using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress.

Los Alamos marketing consultant and copywriter, Mandy Marksteiner, will lead the workshop. Marksteiner specializes in creating web content and utilizing social media to market small businesses.

“Before making a decision on what to buy, or who to hire, customers often reach out to their friends on Facebook and other forums for advice,” Marksteiner said. “Every day, people use social media to post compliments, reviews and complaints about businesses. If your company isn’t a part of this online conversation, you could be in trouble.”

Nancy Partridge, the manager of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, will teach a special bonus session on how to automate a Twitter campaign.

The fee for the workshop is $30, and participants can pay with cash or check at the beginning of class. The Social Media Workshop will be held in a computer-equipped classroom so that each student can actively participate on his or her own computer with Internet access under the instructor’s guidance.

Advance registration is required. Those wishing to attend should call the Los Alamos SBDC at 505.662.0337 to reserve their seat as soon as possible.

The SBDC office is located on the UNM-LA campus and provides business assistance services for entrepreneurs, start-up businesses, and existing small businesses in Los Alamos. Included in the list of services offered by the SBDC are business plan development, accounting, finance, technology, training, marketing, government procurement, e-commerce, social media, legal structures, and research.

The mission of the SBDC is to provide quality assistance, education, and resources to potential and existing small businesses, through a partnership with UNM-LA.

For more information about the SBDC, or starting or expanding a small business, contact Ted Lopez at 505.662.0337 or by email, tedlopez@unm.edu.

 

Video: County Manager Presents 2014 Highlights

Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess presents of 2014 Thursday at UNM-LA. Screen Shot

STAFF REPORT:

Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess presented the highlights of County activity in 2014 during Thursday's Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast at UNM-LA.

Click here to watch a video of his presentation, taped by PAC 8 Executive Director Jean E. Gindreau.

Burgess also unveiled the print and online versions of the “Los Alamos County 2014 Annual Report” at Thursday's breakfast. To review the County's 2014 Annual Report, click here. To read more about the Council's goals and vision for Los Alamos County, click here.

 

Burgess Covers 2014 Highlights During Chamber Breakfast At UNM-LA

County Manager Harry Burgess

By NANCY PARTRIDGE
Chamber of Commerce Manager

County Manager Harry Burgess unveiled the print and online “Los Alamos County 2014 Annual Report” and presented the highlights of County activity in 2014 at Thursday's Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast. About two dozen people attended the Chamber’s regular monthly networking and business event.

Burgess kicked off his discussion of the year with the July ribbon cutting for Smith's Marketplace, noting the views from its deck. He also touched on the financially beneficial land deal with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the County and the Los Alamos School District, which made it possible for Smith's to develop the land.

In a lighthearted but professional manner, the County manager explained to the business owners present about the road construction on Central Avenue. He noted that the County generally has to rebuild Central Avenue about every seven years, and then joked that he is set to retire in seven or eight years and the County will not be touching the road again before then.

Construction activities were featured in Burgess’ presentation including the road improvements in Western area, HVAC improvements at the Aquatic Center, new Golf Course facility, Nature Center, White Rock Library and Teen Center remodeling. The ongoing effort to improve Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, efforts to bring in fiber communication lines, and the recently canceled commercial airline service were the few unresolved County projects Burgess touched upon.

Although they are upcoming projects rather than 2014 highlights, Burgess also mentioned the planned construction of a Del Norte Credit Union facility at the corner of Rover Boulevard and N.M. 4, and potential housing developments on the 60-acre A-19-a parcel along N.M. 4 extending from the White Rock Visitors Center to Pajarito Road. He stated the County has been negotiating with developers on the projects and details are yet to be finalized.

Looking further to the future, he built upon the opportunities presented by the recently legislated Manhattan Project National Heritage Park and Valles Caldera National Park. Burgess commented the parks could potentially double or triple the number of tourists coming to Los Alamos and change many things for the town in the years to come.

The Chamber of Commerce holds monthly business breakfast meetings at UNM-Los Alamos. On Thursday, Feb. 19, the business breakfast will include a panel discussion on customer service. On Thursday, March 19, there will be a panel discussion on the Economic Outlook for Los Alamos. The breakfasts take place at 7:30 a.m. and tickets are $15.

 

MainStreet Hosts 'Living Los Alamos' Kiosks Art Contest

MAINSTREET News:

Los Alamos MainStreet announces a call for original photographs or artwork that represent “Living Los Alamos”.

Winning art will be displayed in the four directional kiosks along Central Avenue. The only qualification is that the art should be representative of living in Los Alamos or the surrounding area.

To be considered, email artwork to ryn@losalamos.org. Deadline to submit artwork is Feb. 15. The MainStreet Futures Committee will judge entries and selected artists will be notified by email. For details visit losalamosmainstreet.com/contest.

Contest Rules:

  • Eligibility: The contest is open to any artist, professional or amateur. Drawings, paintings, printmaking, photography, digital art, and mixed media are eligible. All works submitted must be original in design and concept and appropriate for general audiences.
  • Image size, Format and Resolution: Please submit works that are 11.5″ x 17” and are portrait oriented. Images must be in jpg format only. The resolution should be at least 150 dpi.
  • File size limitation: The file size for each image is limited to 7MB.
  • File name: Label images with artist last name and title: ArtistTitle.jpg
  • Entry procedure: Art may be submitted by email in jpg format to ryn@losalamos.org.

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT: Feb. 15.

Selected Artists: Selected artists will have their art displayed indefinitely in the four directional kiosks along Central Avenue. Los Alamos MainStreet reserves the right to all images for promotional purposes, with credit given to the artist.

Notification: Selected artists will be notified by March 13, 2015 and will also be announced on the Los Alamos MainStreet website: losalamosmainstreet.com.

Los Alamos MainStreet is a program of Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation; a private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization serving the Los Alamos area since 1983. LACDC serves as the umbrella organization for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet, the Los Alamos Meeting & Visitors Bureau, Los Alamos Small Business Center and the Los Alamos Research Park.

 

Intro To Entrepreneurship Returns To UNM-LA

Instructor Nik Seet will teach Intro to Entrepreneurship (Business Plan Development) at UNM-LA during the spring semester. Photo by Mandy Marksteiner

Instructor Nik Seet, third from left, with his students who raised more than $15,000 for their startups in a few weeks. Photo by Mandy Marksteiner

By Mandy Marksteiner

Have you ever wanted to start your own business? Learn the process of starting a successful company from someone who has both academic training in entrepreneurship and the experience of turning his garage-invented technology into a multimillion-dollar business.

“Everybody has an idea,” said Nicholas Seet, who will teach Intro to Entrepreneurship (Business Plan Development) at UNM-LA during the spring semester. “During this class I will give you the steps you need to take to turn your idea into a profitable business.”

Intro to Entrepreneurship (Business Plan Development) is open to everyone and runs noon to 4 p.m. Fridays, Feb. 20 to May 1in Room 625. Lectures will be videotaped, so students who may have to miss a session can still access the material.

Seet has taught entrepreneurship classes at UNM-LA and through the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation since 2013. His students have created business plans, produced working prototypes of their innovative products, and raised seed money to start their companies.

Access to early stage funding is often what makes the difference between a successful business and a failure. Last fall, Seet helped eight business owners raise more than $15,000 for their startups using the www.mainstreetcrowd.com crowd funding portal.

Biodidact raised $1,667, Daisy Chain USB raised $2,735, Los Alamos Atomic Play raised $2,201, More than a Mile Behind raised $1,650, Boozhound Laboratories raised $2,327, Pajarito Lactation raised $1,480 to buy breastpumps for new moms, Legacy Now Lived raised $1,546 and Launch Endurance raised $1,515.

The class’ combined efforts made it possible for them to have a high success rate. Eighty percent of the projects were fully funded. Most of the money came from friends, family and future customers, but the ventures also received generous support from sponsors: LANL Community Programs Office sponsored three projects by contributing a total of $1,500 and Carol A. Clark, publisher of the Los Alamos Daily Post, sponsored Biodidact by matching every dollar that was raised.

Students who enroll in Intro to Entrepreneurship will be introduced to the principles of entrepreneurship, write business plans, gain hands-on practical skills, and learn from the experience of others. Seet plans to bring in various guest speakers and engage the class in goal-oriented exercises and small group discussions to supplement the reading assignments. 

Seet is the founder of www.sivi.com, an online venture accelerator for entrepreneurs. He is the founder of Auditude®, which was acquired by Adobe® in November 2011 and is the fourth largest video ad network in the world. In 2005 he won the Rice University Business Plan Competition for his business concept. 

UNM-LA students can sign up for Introduction to Entrepreneurship (Business Plan Development) through the UNM Lobo network.

Non-Students should register in person at UNM-LA Student Services, 4000 University Blvd, or call UNM-LA Student Services at 505.662.0332. Space is limited, so register early.

Oh the possibilities for a new business are endless... Photo by iStock

 

Ribbon Is Cut At Unquarked The Wine Room

Anasazi Fields Winery owner Jim Fish and Black’s Smuggler Winery owner Tony Black cut the ribbon at today's grand opening of Unquarked The Wine Room in Central Park Square with help from servers and family members including Christelle Sanchez, Louie Holcomb, Brianna Wagner, Scott Beguin, Kyle Elliott and Mary Ann Black. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
 
A special ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce marked the official grand opening of UnQuarked The Wine Room at noon today in Central Park Square.

Owners of the new establishment at 145 Central Park Square were on hand to meet the public and provide samples of their wines from Anasazi Fields, Black’s Smuggler and Vivác wineries. Light snacks from local restaurants and caterers were served to complement the wines.

"I'm very, very excited and so happy that we were able to get everything started and now showcase our wines ... it's fabulous," Black’s Smuggler Winery owner Tony Black said.
 
"We are just so excited about being here and the support we are getting from the community ... it's been tremendous," Anasazi Fields Winery owner Jim Fish said.
 
Fish added that a solar company has reserved the space Sunday for a private party for 75 people.

"We will begin hosting a new series starting Sunday, Feb. 22 called Poetry on the Hill and we will host these poetry readings from noon to 5 p.m., the third Sunday of each month thereafter," Fish said. "We'll have poetry readers from 1-3 p.m. and open mic from 4-5 p.m. and we're kicking it off with myself and famous Placitas poet Larry Goodell."

Local poets interested in participating in Poetry on the Hill should contact Fish at fish@anasazifieldswinery.com. 

Today's grand opening event continues until 8 p.m. with live music by Fletcher and John from 5-8 p.m. and a short poetry reading by Fish during intermission.

The owners of UnQuarked The Wine Room first announced their intention in the Los Alamos Daily Post last April to open their establishment. Their journey began when they answered an interest seeking letter sent to wineries across the state from the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (LACDC).

LACDC and Central Park Square owner Philip Kunsberg are credited with being important catalysts in making it possible for the owners to have a space for the wine room in downtown Los Alamos.

UnQuarked The Wine Room is open 2-9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and for special events Sundays.

About the Wineries:

Anasazi Fields Winery sits on the western edge of the old village of Placitas, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Orchards and vineyards surrounding the winery are watered by a spring-fed irrigation system that dates back over 1,000 years to a time when the Anasazi people farmed the Placitas Valley. Nearby are petroglyphs, which have been reproduced on Anasazi Fields’ wine labels. Visit http://www.anasazifieldswinery.com.
 
The Black's Smuggler Winery is a small boutique winery 18 miles to the northeast of the Ladron (Thief) Mountains in Bosque. Notorious for being a “smuggler's refuge,” these mountains have served as a hideout for bandits and thieves since the 18th century. Local folklore is full of tales of these desolate, rugged mountains, of dangerous men, outlaw adventures, and of treasures stashed in mysterious caves. It is these "Thief Mountains" that have inspired the Black's Smuggler Winery name. Visit http://www.blackssmugglerwinery.com.
 
Vivác Winery in Dixon is the creation of brothers Jesse and Chris Padberg, along with their wives, Michele and Liliana Padberg, respectively. In November of 1998 the brothers embarked on a new mission ‘to make the best wine possible and have a good time doing it!’ This meant professionally crafted, world-ranked, dry red wines-a first for New Mexico. They found inspiration in France and Italy, and were especially drawn in by the Old World wine culture, where winemaking is a dance between art and science. Though extensive travel around the world and mentorships with other local winemakers, they learned about the wine business in general and more specifically about the wine business in Northern New Mexico. Visit http://vivacwinery.com .
 
In support of his fellow winemakers, longtime White Rock winemaker John Balagna attended today's grand opening event. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com 
 
Although competitors, Unquarked The Wine Room co-owners from left, Chris Padberg of Vivác, Jim Fish of Anasazi Fields and Tony Black of Black's Smuggler Winery clearly enjoy each others company and wines. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
 
Local small business owner LeAnne Parsons congratulates Unquarked co-owner Jim Fish and Operations Manager Veronica Black-Stepp. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 

President Signs Manhattan Project National Historical Park Bill Into Law!

Members of the Los Alamos Historical Society and supporters celebrate the President signing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Bill into law this afternoon. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
 
President Obama sign the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Bill into law this afternoon and the Los Alamos Historical Society is celebrating right now at the historic Hans Bethe House on Bathtub Row.

"The Los Alamos Historical Society is thrilled with the passage of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park through Congress and now the President signing it into law today," Executive Director Heather McClenahan told the Los Alamos Daily Post. "We have been working on this for a decade, and we are proud of the work we have done with our partners in Oak Ridge, Hanford, and Washington, D.C., to get through the political process. We are excited about the prospect of so many more people learning about our world-changing history through a national park. We also believe all the visitors coming to town will mean more restaurants and other businesses that benefit our residents and our tax base. It's an exciting time to be part of Los Alamos history!"

By a vote of 89 to 11, Congress passed the Manhattan Project National Historic Park Act Dec. 12. The bill preserves and interprets properties at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford. The new Manhattan Project Park will also be one of the few that focus on American science, technology and industry.

 

Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess

Hear State Of The County At Chamber Breakfast Jan. 15

CHAMBER News:

The Chamber of Commerce Breakfast meeting Jan. 15 will feature County Manager Harry Burgess delivering the State of the County address.

The Chamber Breakfast is at UNM-LA Building 2, Room 230 and is for Chamber members and anyone interested in learning more about the Chamber.

Register on the Chamber website events page by clicking here. Tickets are $15.

 

Two Quickbook Classes Offered in January

 

Plateau Property Management Cuts Ribbon At Grand Opening And Unveils New Apartment Names

Cutting the ribbon at Wednesday's grand opening include Plateau Property Management staff from left, Hope Jaramillo, Jeanne Bridge, PPM partner Bruce Norman, Mike Lippiatt, Mike McNiel and Julie Smith. Photo by Carol A.Clark/ladailypost.com

STAFF REPORT

Plateau Property Management and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce hosted a grand opening ribbon cutting event Wednesday for the newly named Ponderosa Pines Apartment Complex and The Cottonwoods at Gold Street.

The event was held at the former Los Cerros apartments, now Ponderosa Pines at 3000 Trinity Dr.

The winners were announced in the renaming contest for apartments, recently purchased and undergoing major renovations also were announced at the event:

  • Valerie DeWulf won $250 in Chamber Checks for suggesting Ponderosa Pines;
  • Melissa Smith won honorable mention and $50 in Chamber Checks for suggesting Whispering Pines; and
  • Brandi Engeman won $250 for suggesting The Cottonwoods at Gold Street as the new name of the former Gold Street apartments.

There was a 3-way tie for honorable mention in renaming the Gold Street apartments Mountain View:

  • Elisa Enriquez won $25 in Chamber Checks;
  • Brandy Putt won $25 in Chamber Checks; and
  • Michelle Debardeleben won $25 in Chamber Checks.

 

Fusion Multisport Provides Ski/Snowboard Tuning

The ski and snowboard tuning shop at Fusion Multisport, 106 Central Park Square. Courtesy photo

Spotlight On Fusion Multisport

Staff Report

Well the snow is finally falling. Could this be the year Los Alamos breaks out of its 3-year snow drought? Predictions say yes but regardless, there will be snow somewhere. 

This means it’s time to get those boards in shape. Fusion Multisport at 106 Central Park Square in the heart of Los Alamos provides ski and snowboard tuning. Fusion Multisport does all manner of base and edge work from a simple hot wax to base and edge replacements. Tuning is done with a Wintersteiger Base and Edge Grinder and the store features waxes from Sun Valley Ski Tools and FastWax. Fusion Multisport also is the place to get Nordic skis tuned and waxed, with no appointment necessary.

Fusion Multisport co-owner Rose Nyenhuis

Rose and Brad Nyenhuis own Fusion Multisport. Rose is an accomplished runner, usually on the podium and often on the top step. She is a national class masters competitor who has an infectious love of running, outdoor sports, and fitness in general. She is a RRCA certified running coach and has been an AFAA certified personal trainer for 16 years.

Fusion Multisport co-owner Brad Nyenhuis

Brad is an avid mountain biker who has been competing for 20 years in races such as the 24 Hrs of Moab and Leadville 100. He is certified as a bicycle mechanic through Barnett Bicycle Institute.

He and Rose both enjoy skiing and mountain sports in general. Together they have a deep love of sports and, more importantly, the communities that are part of it. Their goal is to make Fusion Multisport the center of the running, skiing, and cycling communities in Los Alamos.

Fusion Multisport hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more infrmation, call 505.662.5000 or visit www.fusionmultisport.com.

 

LeAnne Parsons' Unique Tool Measures Energy Level

LeAnne Parsons. Courtesy photo

By MANDY MARKSTEINER

For some, the holidays can feel like an emotional roller coaster.

At times you’re bursting with generosity and positive energy. You look forward to connecting with loved ones, sharing good times and enjoying the season. But it can be easy to slip into negative thinking, depression, grief and loneliness. It’s almost as if your personality changes depending on your level of stress and energy.

It does.

Your energy level plays an enormous role in how you show up in the world. It can make the difference between people being motivated and inspired by you, or people avoiding you like the plague. Your energy shapes whether you take purposeful action to reach your goals and live to your fullest potential, or whether you are stuck feeling frustrated with life. Your energy levels affect your physical and mental health as well.

When people live their lives experiencing negative (or catabolic) energy, it’s impossible to connect with others on a healthy level. Their thinking is foggy, they have a hard time making decisions, and they may be stuck in conflict mode. Being at this level zaps you of energy and tears you down at a cellular level.

Living in positive, or anabolic, energy level does the opposite. People who are operating at a higher energy level feel compassion for others, they see opportunities around them, and they are bursting with creativity and feel connected to others. They are fully engaged with life.

If you’ve ever felt like your energy level is preventing you from living the life that you want, there is a way to change things. LeAnne Parsons, a Certified Life and Leadership Coach in Los Alamos, helps her clients recognize their current energy levels and find out how to shift to a higher energy level using the Core Energy Coaching™ model.

Parsons, who is a professional member of the International Coaching Federation, uses a tool called the Energy Leadership Index Assessment, which begins with a series of questions. The questions accurately measure the energy level that people normally operate under and the energy level that they revert to during times of stress. It also measures how an individual perceives and approaches work and life

This assessment tool makes it possible for people to see where they are and learn how to live life more fully by moving into higher, more positive, energy levels. The Energy Leadership Index is a one-of-a-kind assessment that enables people to hold up mirrors to their perceptions, attitudes, behaviors and over all effectiveness in the workplace, community as well as at home.

The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), that created the Core Energy Coaching™ process, conducted a study that statistically showed that people with higher levels of energy had greater satisfaction in 14 areas of life. The Zajonc Corporation, a leading expert of statistical research, used the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) assessment to measure the energetic composition of 1,361 participants.

After taking the assessment tool, the next step is to discuss the results with Parsons. The test gives you an energetic frame of reference that makes it possible to find out what is working well, how engaged you are with life and how you see the world.

“We have 100 percent energy,” said Parsons, who focuses on helping her clients reach their full potential, “but how do we spend it? Over time catabolic energy injures us, but anabolic energy helps us to grow.”

Parsons' Coaching Café is at 1475 Central Ave. Suite 210B in Los Alamos. She can be reached at 505.412.1817 or visit www.thewalkyourtalkcoach.com

 

LAVNS Hosts Chamber's Business After Hours

Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service Executive Director Georgina Williams and Peggy Pendergast of Peggy P’s Delicacies share a smile at Wednesday's Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at the Visiting Nurse Service’s facility on Canyon Road. About 60 people attended the gathering. Visit the Chamber's Los Alamos Business page here. Courtesy photo

 
Los Alamos Retirement Community Patient Navigator Mary Yamada and KRSN 1490AM Chief Operating Officer David Sutton are entertained by Yamada’s granddaughter River Yamada at Wednesday's Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at the Visiting Nurse Service. Santa dropped by the business gathering to spread cheer and listen to holiday wishes. Two-year-old River visited Santa several times. Courtesy photo

 

Local Strategic Partnership Expands Business News

Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge, left, Los Alamos Daily Post Pubisher Carol A. Clark and LACDC Executive Director Patrick Sullivan shake hands on their strategic partnership to expand coverage of local business news through 'Los Alamos Business,' a Los Alamos Daily Post page devoted to business coverage. Courtesy photo

BUSINESS News:

Today, the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce and Los Alamos Daily Post are announcing a strategic partnership to launch Los Alamos Business, a page on the LA Daily Post that is dedicated to local business news. This page carries news and feature stories about Chamber members, member announcements, and all things Chamber-related.

Frequently, business stories will start on the front page of the LA Daily Post and jump to the Los Alamos Business page, where they can be enjoyed by LA Daily Post’s more than 66,000 unique viewers, who account for the paper's approximately 500,000 monthly hits.

Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge said, “This strategic partnership allows the Chamber to support one locally owned, home-grown business while offering visibility and opportunities to many other local businesses.”

"Since its inception in February 2012, the Los Alamos Daily Post has been a strong advocate for local businesses and this partnership with the Chamber is an exciting opportunity to expand our coverage of the business community even further," Publisher Carol A. Clark said.

Los Alamos Business can be reached through its branded button on the upper right side of the LA Daily Post, or directly through the URL www.LosAlamosBusiness.com.

The Chamber will offer advertising opportunities in Los Alamos Business for Chamber members only. The partnership agreement stipulates that businesses with current advertising contracts with the LA Daily Post may not move their current advertising to the Chamber’s Los Alamos Business page - but are very welcome to advertise in the Los Alamos Business page in addition to the LA Daily Post.

“We are not looking to compete with the LA Daily Post for advertisers, but instead to offer opportunities to those businesses that may not have been able to afford advertising as part of their marketing plan,” Partridge said. “This is a member benefit for Chamber members only.”

Chamber members may recall Essence, the bimonthly printed Chamber publication that offered visibility through articles and advertising. Los Alamos Business is an expansion of the Essence concept, updated with the immediacy and accessibility of web communication.

For more information about Los Alamos Business, to obtain a Media Kit, or to submit a story, contact Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge at 505.661.4816 or by email at nancy@losalamos.org.

 

Local Business Community Briefed On Legislative Agenda

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard gives a legislative report at Thursday's Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast at UNM-Los Alamos. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
 
Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce members listen to Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard's legislative report at Thursday's Business Breakfast. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
 
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Rio Arriba counties, briefed the local business community on the 60-day session opening next month.

Garcia Richard presented her talk at the December Chamber Business Breakfast Thursday at UNM-Los Alamos.

Garcia Richard concentrated on legislation affecting business owners and touched on other legislation as well. She said she works closely with the Los Alamos Chamber, as well as other entities, including Los Alamos County government.

“I want to build an even stronger relationship with the business community,” she said. 

The deadline for introducing new legislation is Feb. 19 and Garcia Richard urged citizens to approach her about legislation they would like to see her put forward. She touted the recent passage by the U.S. Senate of legislation to establish the Manhattan Project Historical Park, which will be located in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Hanford, Wash.

Although establishment will take three to five years, the Park should have a positive impact on tourism in Los Alamos, Garcia Richard said.

Garcia Richard said the executive and legislative branches of government both want to build a business friendly climate in New Mexico, which is a hopeful sign for the upcoming session.

Hopeful signs include:

  • The non-partisan Tax Foundation recognized New Mexico’s successful bi-partisan approach with its prestigious award for “Outstanding Achievement in State Tax Reform”;
  • A new study by Ernst and Young determined that New Mexico has reduced tax rates for manufacturing by nearly 60 percent - the greatest drop, by far, in the western states; and
  • New Mexico’s after-credit manufacturing rate is now at 3.3 percent is the best in the region.

The state is working to establish a One Stop Portal, through which business owners could work with various agencies through a “one-stop shop” to negotiate the state regulatory system, Garcia Richard said.

Garcia Richard serves on the New Mexico Jobs Council, a group which includes labor, government, business people and economic developers. The group has conducted an in-depth economic study and its proposals had to be passed unanimously before being released. Some of those proposals included the following funding increases to state initiatives:

  • New Mexico Partnership - $500,000 increase in FY ‘16 and $1 million in FY ’17;
  • LEDA (Local Economic Development Act)  (Closing Fund) $50 million;
  • Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) $12 million;
  • Co-Op Advertising/Marketing $2 million; and
  • Economic Development Grant Fund (Staff Augmentation) $4.5 million.

The State’s goal should be to encourage outside businesses that “bring in new dollars - not just recycle what we already have,” Garcia Richard said.

“Workforce development is one of the most important things we can do to create a healthy business climate,” Garcia Richard said. “We need significant investment in jobs and the economy.”

Garcia Richard pointed to the State’s Forest Restoration Program as one such initiative. Solo businesses run from home or small offices will benefit greatly from broad-band initiatives as well, she said.

Other proposed legislation of interest to business owners that Garcia Richard is following closely include legislation concerning liquor license changes and other changes to liquor legislation that may affect breweries, wineries and distilleries as well as restaurants; and adding all nicotine products to the Tobacco Tax Act and prohibiting sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Other items on Garcia Richard’s proposed legislation agenda include:

  • DUI Legislation;
  • Class size limits;
  • Education reform;
  • Procurement reform;
  • Changes to LEDA;
  • Campaign finance reform;
  • Omaree’s Law (child abuse protection);
  • STEM initiatives;
  • Possible LANL legislation; and
  • Regional water plans.

Garcia Richard noted that Dave Fox of CB FOX has begun organizing a group to investigate the possibilities of improving the road through the Jemez to Cuba that connects Los Alamos to the Four Corners region.

“If even 5 percent of the million visitors to the Four Corners come through Los Alamos, the impact would be huge,” Fox said. Reducing travel time from 2.5 hours to one or 1.5 hours would bring significant traffic to the town, he said.

“It needs to be a regional effort,” Garcia Richard said in reply. “Legislators need to hear from business owners.”

Although the revenue forecast is “not looking good” for this year, Garcia Richard said Gov. Susana Martinez “has given her stamp of approval” to four of the top pieces of legislation proposed by the Jobs Council, which is a good sign for businesses in New Mexico.

The 60-day session runs Jan. 20 to March 21.

Garcia Richard urged constituents to visit http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/ to keep up with what’s happening at the N.M. Legislature and to contact her at stephanie.garciarichard@nmlegis.gov, PO Box 4657, Los Alamos NM 87544 or 505.500.4343 with their questions and concerns.

 

Plateau Property Announces Apartment Contest Winners 

Newly renovated Plateau Property apartment. Courtesy photo
 
By NANCY PARTRIDGE
Los Alamos Chamber Manager

Plateau Property Management is holding a grand opening and ribbon cutting for two of its apartment properties 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17. The grand opening and ribbon cutting will be held, snow or shine, at 3000 Trinity Dr. #62.

Signs for Ponderosa Pines and the Cottonwoods at Gold Street will be unveiled during the celebration that will include tours, music, refreshments and a special presentation of awards to the winners of the apartment complex naming contest.

The new names for the apartment buildings were selected through a community-wide survey conducted by the Los Alamos Daily Post. Contest winners Valerie DeWulf and Brandi Engeman will each be presented with $250 in Chamber Checks at the grand opening. Melissa Smith, Elisa Enriquez, Brandy Putt and Michelle Debardeleben be presented honorable mention awards of $25 in Chamber Checks.

The apartment properties, formerly known as Los Cerros and Gold Street Apartments, are undergoing renovation and remodeling. As units become vacant, they are gutted and revamped with new windows, counters, sinks, toilets, tubs, vanities, range hoods, carpets and tile. According to Property Manager Mike Lippiatt, the process of remodeling all 144 apartments will take more than a year to complete.

Lippiatt said Plateau Properties is using local contractors and suppliers for as much of the investment in the properties as possible.

“There’s a lot of money being spent locally and we are really happy about that,” Lippiatt said. “It is surprising what you can do with local businesses and local contractors.”

The energy efficiency of the apartment buildings is being improved through installation of double pane solar panel windows. New insulated siding is being installed on the former Gold Street Apartments.

“They are all much more energy efficient and better looking,” Lippiatt said.

Additionally, Plateau Property Management, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a Chamber member this month, has more than doubled its staff for the facilities. The maintenance crew has been increased to 10 workers under the leadership of Maintenance Manager Mike McNeil. The office personnel also have been doubled to better serve the tenants. “We feel it’s a nice impact on employment for Los Alamos,” Lippiatt said.

Next Spring additional renovation work on the exterior of the complex will add a dog park outside the pet-friendly units at Ponderosa Pines, a new playground, a splash pad, and three grilling areas. Decks and pavilions will be added to create outdoor recreation and dining areas.

“They will be a really sought-after location when all the work is done,” Lippiatt said.

The public is invited to attend the grand opening, tour the renovated units, and help Plateau Properties celebrate its 25th anniversary as a Chamber member.