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Lea Wise-Surguy, the co-founder, chair and executive director of Cruces Creatives, officially joined an exclusive group of entrepreneurs Thursday as the fourth inductee into the New Mexico State University Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.
Wise-Surguy earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from NMSU in 2015, and co-founded Cruces Creatives, a nonprofit makerspace located in downtown Las Cruces, in 2018. Wise-Surguy was nominated through a search organized by NMSU’s Arrowhead Center and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. The induction ceremony took place at Arrowhead Center Thursday afternoon.
“The idea of a makerspace as both a community toolbox and a platform for launching projects for charity, in the arts, in education, in sustainability, in technology, science and in economic development has succeeded beyond my expectations, thanks to hundreds of people incorporating their dreams and using Cruces Creatives to help make them happen,” Wise-Surguy said. “I hope that this award brings greater attention to all the incredible projects that Las Crucens have launched through the makerspace."
The NMSU Entrepreneur Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding achievement in entrepreneurship among alums representing colleges and disciplines across the NMSU system who have launched successful businesses, introduced innovative entrepreneurial concepts and practices into workplaces, and who have contributed to the entrepreneurial climates of their regions. Community members nominate outstanding alumni entrepreneurs who demonstrate these qualities every fall.
Cruces Creatives provides tool access, training and a community of makers in Southern New Mexico, making possible cooperative efforts to foster economic development, improve education, support the arts, advance science and technology, protect the environment, and more. Cruces Creatives opened to the public in June 2018 and has since established a network of over 7,500 people engaging with the tools, classes, and programs.
Cruces Creatives offers 50 to 60 classes and workshops a month, many of them free, that let community members learn skills from soldering to creative writing to 3D printing and more. It also offers hands-on educational projects for more than 3,000 students every year, supported by makerspace tools, instructors and mini-grant funding for classroom projects.
It also hosts the Hub Community Bike Shop, which teaches employable skills and offers free bicycles to children, the homeless and veterans, and the Job Shop, which offers custom design and fabrication services to organizations and individuals in Las Cruces while providing employment and on-the-job skills training.
And it offers agricultural work parties for sharing and implementing sustainable practices, supported by custom technologies developed at Cruces Creatives.
“We’re proud to have recognized the work Lea has done through Cruces Creatives,” said Kathy Hansen, director and CEO of Arrowhead Center. “Her contributions to the community and other business owners in the region are exemplary and have earned her a spot in the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.”