LCSN: Abundance of bright minds at major conferences no surprise in Las Cruces

October 17, 2012. Retrieved online October 18, 2012 from Steve Ramirez, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — It’s brain power squared this week in Las Cruces.

Both the 2012 ReEnergize the Americas conference and the eighth annual International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight have attracted the best of the best — intelligent, innovative and creative people from the fields of space, energy, telecommunications and military, to name just a few.

“I hope we remember that we have a lot of experts here this week that professionally and personally respect the people here in the community,” said Kevin Boberg, director and chief executive officer of New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center. “The reason all of those bright, gifted people are here is because it’s the people who are already here.”

Re-Energize the Americas is an exclusive two-day event that continues today at the Las Cruces Convention Center. The goal is to spur economic development of sustainable energy resources and activities in west Texas, southern New Mexico and northern Mexico, considering the region’s abundant natural resources, production capabilities and distribution networks.

None other than NMSU distinguished alumna Julie Dill, who serves as president and CEO of Houston-based Spectra Energy Partners Group, a $3 billion master limited partnership formed by Spectra Energy, was Wednesday’s keynote speaker.

A few miles away, at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum, the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight is that industry’s leading gathering for entrepreneurs and innovators.

Speakers today range from George Whitesides, CEO and president of Virgin Galactic, to Karin Nilsdotte, executive director of Spaceport Sweden.

Christine Logan, the city’s economic development coordinator, said it really shouldn’t be surprising that much brain power is in Las Cruces this week.

“Because of the synergy between New Mexico State University, our business community, our residents, our city, it really does make sense these types of events would want to come here,” Logan said. “There are a lot of good things going for our community, a lot of good people here, that make this a place where conferences and symposiums like this can, and do, happen. As a community, we have a growing interest in renewable energy, and going back to the earliest days of White Sands Missile Range we’ve had a good understanding of space flight and the growing opportunities that present themselves.”

There is a lot that can be learned and gained from what these out-of-town experts have to share. But Boberg and Logan agree there are new and interesting perspectives those scholars can discover from residents, military personnel and students who live in this region.

“We always have a ton of smart people who want to come here,” Boberg said. “It’s something we can be proud of. We’ve got plenty of New Mexicans who are recognized nationally. Those experts from outside our area know and respect the people that are here.”

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article

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