Sceye Inc., a company developing an airship capable of stratospheric flight to conduct earth science observation or provide communications systems for remote locations, will receive a $2 million loan to help it to rebuild following a March windstorm that damaged its hangar and airship, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico Secretary of Economic Development Alicia Keyes announced at a Saturday news conference at the Roswell International Air Center.
“This is a good, effective economic partner,” said Grisham, “such a good economic partner that they have businesses all over the world that are aimed and designed at humanitarian efforts.”
Sceye is a venture of the global company Vestergaard based in Switzerland that has developed such products as water filtration systems, pest-resistant food storage bags and insecticidal bed nets. The airship being developed by Sceye is envisioned as having the ability to monitor crop conditions, climate change, human trafficking or other matters of concern to public health and wellness.
The company will receive a $2 million, no interest bridge loan for up to two years so that it can have funds to rebuild in Roswell as well as lease facilities in Moriarty, New Mexico, until its insurance funds or other reimbursements are received.
It employs about 35 people now and could employ up to 70 workers at average salaries of $70,000 a year if the airship proves viable, Sceye Director of Flight Operations Stephen Tomlin said.
Keyes and other Economic Development Department staff said that Sceye presented a unique opportunity to use Local Economic Development Act funds, but they added that the department is willing to talk to other businesses in Chaves County about providing recovery assistance if possible.
On March 13, Chaves County experienced wind gusts of up to 70 miles an hour and sustained high winds for many hours, damaging a number of homes and businesses. The day before, a tornado hit the Dexter region, causing significant damage to commercial and residential properties. Both the county and the city of Roswell issued disaster declarations on March 14.
Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh thanked Lujan Grisham for her administration’s efforts to assist Roswell and Sceye.
“This is a demonstration not just of $2 million but a demonstration of the degree of your commitment,” he said. “It does not go unnoticed. It does not got unnoticed by the community, and more importantly it does not go unnoticed by the industry.“