LC Bulletin: Arrowhead Park courts industry clusters

October 24, 2014. Retrieved online October 27, 2014 from Alta LeCompte, Las Cruces Bulletin

Building process begins with health-related companies

[Excerpts below reprinted with permission: Read the complete Las Cruces Bulletin article]

New Mexico State University engineering alum and Spaceport America project manager Wayne Savage has been named executive director of Arrowhead Business and Research Park. (Submitted photo)

Wayne Savage. (Submitted photo)

Wayne Savage may harbor a secret wish Arrowhead Development LLC had a different name.

Savage, executive director of Arrowhead Park, acknowledges there are a potentially confusing number of entities with Arrowhead in their names, all seeking in separate yet related ways to drive innovation, technology commercialization and economic development in New Mexico. As executive director of the on-campus research and business park at New Mexico State University, he gets to tie the various Arrowheads together, and explain their identities to the outside world.

“My major effort is outward-facing,” said Savage, who leads a process to identify the kinds of businesses that would flourish in Arrowhead Park, and then bring them into the park.

In lieu of a land rush, Savage’s vision is to grow the park – industry cluster by industry cluster.

A healthy start

Bases on which to build a health cluster include the new Arrowhead Park Medical Academy early college high school and Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, which Savage called “a significant draw and a major work force development component.”

Businesses in the health cluster include General Genetics which evolved out of a university incubator and continues to be headquartered in Arrowhead Park.

“All of a sudden we’re seeing a number of pieces in the cluster — health care and bio tech companies,” Savage said.

To build on the base, he recently pulled together current and future tenants to meet with representatives of the university, Arrowhead Center and Arrowhead Park to start a dialogue in the cluster. Topics included who to recruit next and what are the supply chain opportunities.

Other possibilities include pilot training and work related to the physical impact on space travelers.

He said he hopes future clusters will evolve around aerospace and water technology.

“Those are key areas of economic and social development we need here in southern New Mexico,” he said.

Envisioning the future

Commenting that Google and HP have their headquarters on the Stanford University campus, Savage said university research parks no longer are just for research, but encompass “all aspects of technological and economic development for an area, a community.”

Savage said 150,000 square feet of the park is currently occupied, but his crystal ball tells him in three years it will be about 350,000. The employee population could swell from 160 to 400.

A master plan due to be completed in 2015 will focus on tenant growth and the park’s connections with the main campus and the Las Cruces community.

But promoting must go on simultaneously with planning, he said.

“We need to act now.”

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