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Ides of April

Posted 4/16/2018

April 15, 2018

Danny Gerard’s vision faces workforce challenges in Socorro.

Gerard Distillery an estimated $10M legacy project of Danny Gerard has a great vision for Socorro to bring a world class distillery and winery to our local economy. Largest challenge is the uncertainty of the work force availability for the hundreds of jobs needed to make the dream a successful reality. Danny’s dream is an economic ecosystem surrounding the distillery which includes placing Socorro on the map and tap in to tourist who travel for an experience which will include live music and performances in an enclosed courtyard amphitheater. Danny expressed his vision during an April 12th public meeting at NM Tech well attended by Socorro’s business and community leaders interested in the future of Socorro. Danny had the audience engaged as we discussed his vision and the need for vocational education to build a workforce, the need for incubator real estate where small businesses could get started with low rent with step increases over time and how while there maybe better water elsewhere there is no other place with the potential in Socorro that is fond to Danny’s heart. Another meeting is scheduled this summer to continue to the conversation on how together business leaders in Socorro can work together to make Socorro prosper for everyone and encourage our white collar professionals to call Socorro their home and live where they work.

Aerotek layoffs looming this summer

Rumor is some of Aerotek’s skilled work force will be laid off this coming July. Employees are looking for other work in Socorro but good paying skilled work force jobs are scarce. Retail and restaurants offer prospects to stay in Socorro at a reduced pay with less career fulfillment for technical folks.

Training conferences pulling events from Socorro for lack of amenities

During a community business meeting this past week it was revealed many of the large conferences that have patronized Socorro are starting to go elsewhere citing a lack of amenities and activities to support conference and training attendees after the events. Attendees often drive out of Socorro for social activities and hotels and restaurants may be over capacity during some large events. Discussed was the need for an annual publication of scheduled training and conferences and estimated attendee counts to allow local businesses to plan accordingly. However, business can’t open, hire and close around events. Question remains how to make Socorro continue to be a destination central in New Mexico for training and conferences while being able to host and entertain more visitors.

Rodeo Complex doing great but diesel fuel turns to dust at the pump

Jim Dewey Brown is circulating on people’s lips as doing a great job with Socorro’s great new Rodeo Complex out on the 60. You can drive by on the weekends and see the complex filled with trucks, horse trailers and folks having a great time with those Western sports so unique to our region at this great facility. However, those trucks require diesel in many cases to pull those trailers and the local gas stations are having a difficult time keeping up with the demand for diesel here locally. One gas station is down for remodeling as the ownership has changed but finding those gas stations that a truck and trailer over 25ft in length can pull through and fill up is becoming a noticeable challenge to hosting folks at Socorro’s Rodeo Complex and one that local business owners will have to resolve if folks are going to be able to travel here and buy diesel fuel to take their trophies and memories home! The City of Socorro has presented an opportunity by drawing folks to the Socorro Rodeo Complex, but now the private sector needs to find those entrepreneurs to turn the dust in to diesel fuel.

Socorro Job Fair and NRAO wasn’t there.

An astrophysicist attend the job fair but NRAO wasn’t there! Friday’s job fair had a lot of local businesses attending and offering jobs from Floyd with Subway offering starting jobs from $9-$11hr with free cookies at his table to Workforce Connections, NM Tech and many others. However, even with current openings at NRAO they were not present and as a former employee that was disappointing because the youth of the community who came by need to know about the current openings with projects like ngVLA as well as the careers available right here in Socorro. I was amazed that students visiting didn’t even know where the Science Operation Center was! How are we to encourage STEM careers and show our youth opportunities when one of our high tech employers is absent?

What to do in Socorro visitors biggest question?

Does the City of Socorro need to hire or recruit City Ambassadors? Locals know signage isn’t the greatest to our attractions in the region and without local radio and a way to reach travelers in more places and directions than a billboard promoting the county and city becomes even more challenging. If someone stops you at the pump or in the store and ask you what is there to do in Socorro, do you know? Can you tell them how to get down to the trails along the Rio? Do you know about the great books and gift shop at the Mineral Museum or the Bosque del Apache of local treasures and memorabilia? Can you tell them we have internationally acclaimed art at the Vertu Fine Art Gallery one of the top 5 things to do in the region on Trip Advisor? Can you tell them about the great gift and New Mexico home items at Casa de Regallos or the Socorro County Art Gallery? Do you know New Loma Theater is showing the latest movie releases every Thursday through Sunday nights right down town? Next time your out enjoying all the things that make Socorro your home, think about how you got there, what you found, what you enjoy and the next time some one comes to town and ask what is there to do in Socorro, gush with pride and give them an ear full of all the great things to do in Socorro.  Have you seen the famousTrost architect building in Socorro with a legacy back to Frank Llyod Wright and all those other great things that are not in plain sight?

Ranger Rhys