Leadership Los Alamos Holds Session On Economic Development

Los Alamos economic discussion panel (from left to right): Real Estate Agent & Developer Janet Lovato, Los Alamos County Planning Manager Sobia Sayeda, County Community Development Director Paul Andrus, and County Economic Development Administrator Dan Ungerleider. Photo by Kateri Morris.

Little Studio on the Mesa business owner, Joanne Kozuchowski, hosts the LLA class and shares her experience starting and maintaining a business in our community. Photo by Kateri Morris.

Leadership Los Alamos

On March 17, Leadership Los Alamos (LLA) met for an Economic Development session chaired by Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Director, Ryn Herrmann and Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation Executive Director, Lauren McDaniel.  

The morning kick-off began at the Little Studio on the Mesa in White Rock, hosted by owner Joanne Kozuchowski.  Los Alamos County Manager, Steve Lynne, introduced the topic by sharing about the economic vitality and dynamic within the county; followed by LA County Economic Development Administrator, Dan Ungerleider, who spoke about the economic barriers and various tools for workforce development. While enjoying refreshments provided by Pig and Fig Cafe, owner Laura Crucet, shared her experience in starting and sustaining a vital business by primarily investing in her staff. Little Studio on the Mesa owner, Joanne Kozuchowski, continued the conversation by how she is continuing to learn the pattern and dynamics of the community, while being flexible to customer needs and striving to stay vital by providing unique and creative experiences. 

After a short break, the class moved to the Los Alamos Fire Department in White Rock for a panel discussion on the future of economic development in Los Alamos County. The panel included Real Estate Agent & Developer Janet Lovato, LA County Planning Manager Sobia Sayeda, LA County Community Development Director Paul Andrus, and LA County Economic Development Administrator Dan Ungerleider. Together, they addressed various topics including new housing and business development plans and challenges, adhering to various codes and ordinances, maintaining partnerships, and providing insight on the major goals of the Economic Vitality Strategic Plan. To learn more, please visit the LA County Economic Development website: Economic Development – Los Alamos County (losalamosnm.us)

Lindsay Mapes from NM Lab-Embedded Entrepreneur Program (New Mexico LEEP) shared about the program’s continued collaboration with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation and Sandia National Laboratory to attract deep tech innovation to the state and how their contribution is making a regional economic impact. 

At noon, the class went into town where they were given a presentation by SALA owner, Allan Saenz. He took them on his journey acquiring the venue after the closing of the Reel Deal Theater, with business partner, Sammi Owens. Using PowerPoint on the big screen, he shared about their vision in renovating and repurposing the venue as a community gathering space -as well as keeping the movie theater- for all ages to enjoy. 

At the Small Business Center, the afternoon schedule included an overview of the LACDC, MainStreet, and Chamber of Commerce provided by Ryn, Lauren, and fellow classmate Jacquelyn Connolly; an informative discussion on the new plans for the MariMac Development by Greg Gonzales, Columbus Capital; and a walking tour around Central Park Square visiting and learning more about the various small businesses, and even participating in Rose Chocolatier’s grand reopening ribbon-cutting ceremony with owner Melissa Arias. They finished off the tour at the Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op, where they were given a brief preview of the upcoming Environmental session to be held on April 21 in the Valles Caldera.

Leadership Los Alamos is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify current and emerging leaders in Los Alamos and surrounding communities, to enhance their leadership skills and deepen their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the community. Each class learns about a variety of topics like community organizations, culture and history, youth, education, local government, economic development, and environmental issues. For more information, please visit: Leadership Los Alamos – An educational organization dedicated to the future of Los Alamos

Lindsay Mapes, center, NM LEEP, speaks about the program’s economic impact in the region. Also pictured are session chairs, Ryn Herrmann, left, and Lauren McDaniel. Photo by Kateri Morris.

Allan Saenz, co-owner of SALA Event Center shares his journey in acquiring the local theater and his vision on renovating and repurposing the venue. Photo by Kateri Morris.

LLA students gather in the Small Business Center for an overview of the LACDC, MainStreet, Chamber of Commerce, and MariMac development. Photo by Kirsten Bell.

LLA students participate in the grand reopening ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Rose Chocolatier with owner Melissa Arias. Photo by Kirsten Bell.