April 30, 2013 by Zetdi Runyan Sloan, NMSU News Center
New Mexico State University’s economic development hub, the Arrowhead Center, is welcoming a new tenant from the north that demonstrates the growing importance of southern New Mexico.
The Albuquerque-based environmental science and planning firm, Marron and Associates, opened a satellite office in Las Cruces at Arrowhead’s technology incubator on the NMSU campus earlier this year. The office opened on Jan. 2, but an official ribbon cutting is scheduled for May 7 at 4 p.m. at the incubator.
“We had done enough market research on our end that we knew Las Cruces was a good fit and we knew we were going to start with just one person and add resource staff at such time as it made sense,” said Shelly Herbst, president and CEO of Marron and Associates.
Herbst already had hired her Las Cruces employee, NMSU alumna Hilary Brinegar, and the two set about looking for office space.
“We did that for about six hours one day and the Arrowhead Center was actually our last stop of the day,” Herbst said. “It just seemed to be the best fit for us cost-wise and otherwise. When you look at all the economic factors, it was a pretty easy decision to make to be at the Arrowhead Center.”
Marron and Associates was founded by Herbst’s father in the late 1980s. Over the years, one of the company’s largest clients has become the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Increasingly, Marron and Associates began doing more work for the department in southern New Mexico, which opened up possibilities to market to other industries in the area.
“The Department of Transportation is a big client of ours and their District One office is in Deming and their South Regional Design Division is in Las Cruces,” Herbst said. “We’re currently working on two projects in Las Cruces and have a lot of work, not just in Doña Ana County, but also in the southeast part of the state. Having this satellite office will help facilitate all of our projects in the southern part of New Mexico.”
Some of the agencies Marron and Associates coordinates with include the New Mexico State Land Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
By having an office in Las Cruces, Herbst said the company could better service the clients it has and market itself along the border, especially to organizations such as the International Boundary and Water Commission. That’s where Brinegar and her connections come into play.
Brinegar worked for six years as a water and natural resource policy specialist for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
“The Paso del Norte border region has so much going on at any given time,” Brinegar said. “With the connections I have with different water and natural resource-based groups, I’m well-positioned to market Marron’s services to southern New Mexico and the border region.”
The Arrowhead Center also is an ideal place for Marron and Associates’ first office in southern New Mexico. It supplies affordable office space in a cost-effective and professional environment. It also provides the company with connections to NMSU activities and faculty.
Equally important to Herbst is that Arrowhead also provides her first Las Cruces employee with a strong support network.
“The environment of the incubator is interesting for me,” Brinegar said. “I am surrounded by Arrowhead staff and other entrepreneurs, which creates a synergistic energy for me as a startup. As I work my way into the private sector, incubator staff has been very supportive.”
Fostering that kind of cooperation has been a valuable byproduct of the incubator, said Zetdi Runyan Sloan, program manager at the Arrowhead Technology Incubator.
“That collaborative environment, combined with a supportive business community, makes the incubator a perfect place for both expanding companies and entrepreneurs,” Sloan said. “Having another company in the environmental industry at Arrowhead allows us to build an even broader network, and encourages cross-collaboration amongst incubator clients in this field.”
For Herbst, Marron and Associates’ Arrowhead office is just the first step in its quest to grow in southern New Mexico.
“Our goal is to grow the Las Cruces office to include biological and cultural resource staff, at least to begin with. As we hopefully grow, we will add additional staff to meet our clients’ needs,” Herbst said. “Eventually, I would like to see at least five or six staff at the office, enabling us to provide all services from this office.”
For more information about the May 7 ribbon cutting, please contact Hilary Brinegar at email@example.com.