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Economic development director hits the ground running


Griselda Martinez has taken over as director of the City of Las Cruces Economic Development Department (EDD). She had been interim director since last March, succeeding Phil San Filippo. She had served as the EDD’s deputy director since July 2017, when the department was created.

 “We’re very excited. We have a lot of good things happening,” Martinez said.

EDD includes Las Cruces International Airport, the West Mesa Industrial Park, Visit Las Cruces, Main Street Downtown and the city’s Sustainability Office, along with the city’s business concierge program, business consultation, land and real estate services and the Las Cruces Film Office.

One of the department’s most important functions, Martinez said, is the retention and expansion of local businesses. It also looks to create new business opportunities in commercial space, agriculture, outdoor recreation and other industries.

The city wants to “grow business and make it sustainable,” she said. That means working closely with New Mexico State University, Doña Ana Community College, the Bridge of Southern New Mexico, the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA), the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, local chambers of commerce, banks and other local, state and regional partners to train the workforce needed to attract high-paying jobs and make the city a destination not only for relocating and expanding businesses but also for conferences and for tourists.

“We’re focusing not just on job relocation but also job development,” targeting businesses “that are already in our community,” Martinez said on a recent city podcast. “We want to make sure we help them grow.”

The department’s mission also includes providing support services to connect new and existing small businesses in the city with the resources they need.

On her radar is development of a small business lending program to “fill an important financing gap,” Martinez said. “One of my personal goals is to increase household median income,” she said. “We have the assets to help our community get there.”

The EDD also works with city departments to enhance economic development, including museums and libraries, she said. “Quality of life is very important.”

EDD’s mission also includes sustainability, like the agreement approved by the city council in December for the purchase of electricity generated by solar power facilities in Arizona to help the city meet its goal of purchasing 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources.

The airport and industrial park are important opportunity zones for the city, she said, adding that local commercial flight service is a city goal by 2022.

A native of Mexico, where her father owned a lumber business, Martinez has been in Las Cruces for nearly 10 years. Before joining the city, she was an entrepreneurial and community coach and senior program manager with NMSU’s Arrowhead Center. As a private business consultant, she played a role in the development of Spaceport America. She also has been a member of the New Mexico Museum of Space History Commission, an intern with MVEDA, a grant planner for the El Paso Police Department, a researcher for two universities and an accounting manager for a nonprofit.

Martinez has a bachelor’s degree in administration economics and international business and a master’s degrees in public administration from UTEP, as well as a master’s degree in public administration border studies from the Istituto di Sociologia Internationale di Gorizia) and a doctorate in economic development from NMSU.

EDD is located in suite 1100, on the first floor of Las Cruces City Hall, 700 N. Main St.

For more information, contact Martinez at 575-541-2425 and gtmartinez@las-cruces.org. Visit www.las-cruces.org/183/Economic-Development.


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