GA Trade July-Aug 2014 - page 28

W
henmost people think of
NewMexico they picture
broad vistas, brilliant blue skies, high
mountains, deserts, skiing, hiking,
history, theWildWest, Billy the Kid
and Kit Carson. Their minds invari-
ablywander to Santa Fe, the U.S.’
oldest capital city and to fine food,
art and Indian pueblos.
NewMexico is, certainly, all of those
things, but it is ever somuchmore.
Nearly the size of Germany but with
only a little over 2million people
compared to Germany’s 80-million-
plus population, NewMexico’s vast
expanse of land is home to two of
the U.S.’ finest national laboratories:
Los Alamos and Sandia. Los Alamos
or LANL as it’s called, is run by the
U.S. Department of Defense and
earned its reputation duringWWII as
the site of the ‘Manhattan Project.’
Today, the sprawling institution
employs thousands of scientists and
researchers, some of whomwere
German citizens before they gave up
their citizenship in order towork on
top secret projects. Los Alamos’
research crosses several scientific
disciplines making it a very diverse
laboratory. Its international relation-
ships and projects are extensive.
Its ‘cousin’ lab to the south in
Albuquerque, some 90miles away, is
SandiaNational Laboratorieswhich is
run under contract for the U.S.
Department of Energy. Sandia’s
research is also diverse but is also
intensely focused on, not surprisingly,
energy. The lab specializes in renew-
able energy like passive and concen-
trated solar. Its concentrated solar
tower is truly impressive (as is its
hugemirror) and is in constant use.
The lab has its ownnano research
facility and frequently partnerswith
its neighbor, KirtlandAir Force Base,
on sophisticated laser projects.
TheWhite Sands Testing Facility
near Alamogordo in the south and
three state research universities
(University of NewMexico, New
Mexico State University and New
MexicoMining and Technology or
‘Tech’) also contribute to New
Mexico’s science ‘footprint.’ It is
estimated that the federal govern-
ment contributes about $6 billion to
NewMexico’s economy every year,
and its return on that investment is
substantial. Much of NewMexico’s
industry is service-relatedwith only
a few large companies calling the
state home. Intel is one of themwith
amassive chip fabrication plant
located in neighboring Rio Rancho. It
is estimated that Intel alone accounts
for slightly over 50% of New
Mexico’s exports.
During the last decade, NewMexico
hasworked to strengthen tieswith its
neighbor to the south, Mexico.
Significant investment has beenmade
in the southern corridor toMexico
near the town of Santa Teresawhere
millions of dollars have been devoted
tomaking that area a transportation
hub for commerce to/fromMexico.
The UnionPacific Railroad is one of
the prime transportation ‘movers,’
havingmade a commitment some
time ago to play a key role in
catalyzing growth in ‘the south.’
NewMexico is also home to ‘Space-
port America,’ amulti-million dollar
joint venturewith Sir Richard
Branson of VirginGalactic that will
transport private citizens 62miles
into sub-orbital space. Thewaiting list
for the $200,000 tickets are long and
anticipation is high as the Spaceport
NewMexico
Land of Enchanting Science
S T A T E S P E C I A L
byStephanHelgesen, HonoraryGermanConsul inNewMexico
AlbuquerqueBalloonFest
28
GermanAmerican Trade July/Aug 2014
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