Danielle Duran/Courtesy photo
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos County’s newly-hired Intergovernmental Affairs Manager Danielle Duran brings with her a wealth of unique experience and a strong desire to create regional partnerships for the County in Northern New Mexico.
She comes to the position from her most recent job at the Office of the Deputy Director of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. She has worked as an independent energy consultant and grant writer for multimillion dollar grants in the climate change area, and spent four years as the Government and Industry Program Manager for PNM for the Albuquerque Metro Region.
A native of Espanola, Duran’s local government experience includes a stint as an Espanola City Councilor, however, she has also spent five years as an International Trade Specialist for the New Mexico Economic Development Department working with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and is fluent in Japanese.
“I’m originally from Espanola and I love New Mexico and I especially love Northern New Mexico so when I saw this opportunity I was thrilled. When Los Alamos County Manager Steve Lynne called me and told me I got the position, I had this kind of glow for weeks because I was so excited about it,” Duran said.
She said she thinks the position is completely unique.
“Los Alamos is a unique County anywhere and especially in New Mexico to find a council like the County Council in Los Alamos that really wants to partner with its regional governmental neighbors, it’s incredibly important,” Duran said.
She thinks a lot of people in Northern New Mexico confuse the Los Alamos National Laboratory with the County.
“One of the reasons that I was excited to apply for this job was because having been a City Councilor in Espanola, I know the difference between what the County has to do and just the regular people who live in Los Alamos County versus the overarching policies and activities at the Lab,” Duran said. “My entire interview group was just these amazing people who work at Los Alamos County, who had nothing but great things to say about working there. So I was excited about the idea, the attitude about the position, about really working with regional partners and having a comprehensive view of what the County actually wanted to attain through having this position. Seeing all of these people who would be my coworkers saying they love working for Los Alamos County blew me away.”
Duran noted that the County has already started reaching out to the Pueblo de San Ildefonso about particular projects and trying to find out the status of things with their government.
“We’re also just being open and providing a single point of contact for them through me. And also making sure that they know that we want to have regular meetings with them so that we know what’s important to them and that we really respect their boundaries and what they need for their own community,” she said. “I’m from Espanola, so I’m excited to work with that community as well. I have also been talking with some people from Santa Fe County. Espanola is divided between two counties, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe. There are a lot of Northern communities that are served by North Santa Fe County, so making sure that we reach out to that County as well and we understand the big difference between the City of Santa Fe and the County of Santa Fe I think is important for us.”
Duran said a lot of people in different regional governments want to work with Los Alamos County and by the County creating this position and providing them with this single point of contact, they know they can always get in touch with her and that she will take their concerns very seriously.
“I think relationships with them are significant and it’s an important statement by Council too. Just the fact that this position exists is still thrilling for me so I’m excited to make sure that this year we find some avenues where we agree on some projects or priorities with our neighboring communities and set some things in,” she said.
Duran graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Economics – Public Policy and went on to earn her master’s degree in Business Administration and Management at the UNM Anderson School of Management. She is also working on a master’s in International Policy & Practice from Elliott School of International Affairs.