October 19, 2015 by Adriana M. Chavez, NMSU News Center
New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center recently welcomed a new staff member who will help boost economic development and community engagement efforts.
Michael Patrick is the center’s new Extension Specialist and Economic Development Coordinator. Patrick has served as the director of NMSU’s Doctor of Economic Development program for the past fours years, and as a Community Resource and Economic Development Specialist for NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service since 2007. He has also served as a Western Rural Development Fellow since 2012, working to strengthen rural communities, and help them thrive economically and become self-sustaining. His interests are in Native American economic development activities as well as community, economic and business development throughout the region.
“NMSU is adopting a holistic model for economic development and community engagement, in which parties from across campus are working together, merging their assets and networks to benefit New Mexicans,” said Kevin Boberg, NMSU’s Vice President for Economic Development. Boberg also noted the increasing importance of collaborative work in this area.
Patrick received his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from California State Polytechnic University, a master’s degree in community development from Southern Illinois University, a master’s degree in economics from Michigan State University, and a doctorate in agricultural economics from Michigan State University.
Patrick plans to leverage his contacts in Extension, particularly with county Extension agents, to expand access to Arrowhead Center resources. Connections with these agents, who work directly with people and communities in every county statewide, will provide Arrowhead Center with firsthand information on needs for resources and assistance.
“County agents engage daily with farmers, ranchers, business leaders, families, youth, local officials and community leaders through a broad range of educational activities to improve the quality of life in their communities,” Patrick said. “County agents understand the needs of their communities and are in a unique position to bring the resources of Arrowhead Center and NMSU’s colleges, departments and student organizations to bear on the economic development opportunities and challenges of their communities.”
Kathy Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center, said the center has looked forward to partnering with Extension for some time.
“We’ve enjoyed a solid working relationship with (Extension) for many years, but having Dr. Patrick on the Arrowhead team will allow us to move several important initiatives forward,” Hansen said.
Arrowhead Center is involved in a number of programs aimed at extending the organization’s business development and innovation resources throughout the state. For example, Arrowhead is a U.S. Economic Development Administration-designated University Center for Regional Commercialization, working with entrepreneurs and small businesses across New Mexico to create and expand businesses and capitalize on innovative ideas.
Patrick’s connections in the state’s tribal communities will fuel another Arrowhead Center emphasis: bringing entrepreneurial and business development resources to New Mexico’s American Indian population. Patrick is involved in a number of initiatives with Native American communities, including the Navajo Nation, Zuni Pueblo, and Southern and Northern Pueblos. Patrick’s interests include local food production and food sustainability, development of a Navajo farmer and rancher congress, entrepreneurial education for high school seniors and training for regional economic development planning.
“While we’re currently working with clients in 12 of the state’s 33 counties through the University Center, we’re hoping to expand our reach significantly in the coming year,” Hansen said. “We’re confident that Dr. Patrick’s connections will help us assist more clients in more places.”
Arrowhead Center is presently executing grant awards that include increased involvement in American Indian communities in youth entrepreneurship education, procuring funding for innovation-based small businesses, and creating and expanding technology-based entrepreneurial ventures.