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Longtime Roswellian to head state economic development efforts

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Mark Roper says his agricultural roots and his love of economic development will serve him well in his new position. (Submitted Photo)

A longtime Roswell economic developer has been named head of the state’s economic development division.

“I think New Mexico is poised to make a major move,” said Mark Roper. “We are at a great spot where revenues, policy and opportunity are meeting together and we can take ourselves to record heights.”

As division director of economic development for the New Mexico Economic Development Department, Roper will oversee programs for economic assistance, job training, MainStreet, international trade and science and technology, according to an EDD announcement.

Named to the position June 1, he replaces Therese Rivera, who retired from state government in January.

Roper had been the team lead of the Community, Business and Rural Development unit since October 2015. His job was based in Albuquerque, but he and his wife, Monica, continued to call Roswell home.

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He first came to the city from his hometown of Raton in August 2008 to get married. He had prior economic development experience, including as an elected official in Raton and as a member of the New Mexico Municipal League Board of Directors, but he joined Noalmark Broadcasting Corp., KBIM, as an account executive.

When the District 6, or southeast New Mexico regional representative position, for the state Economic Development District opened, he “jumped at the opportunity,” taking the position in July 2011.

“Having been planted in agriculture as a child, (I) quickly found success,” he said.

He assisted Fatman’s Beef Jerky with its move to Hagerman and also worked on other projects in Roswell, Artesia, Clovis, Lovington, Hobbs and Carlsbad.

The Economic Development Department said that, as team lead since 2015, Roper has worked on some of the state’s biggest deals with Facebook, Intel, Flagship Foods, Lavu, 3D Glass and Advanced Network Solutions.

He also was one of the leaders in the recent decision to give a loan to Sceye Inc. based in Roswell to enable it to rebuild the hangar and airship that were destroyed during March windstorms, the first time that Local Economic Development Act funds have been provided as a loan.

“Mark has deep knowledge of the state, its culture, politics and economy,” said Alicia J. Keyes, cabinet secretary of the Economic Development Department. “Mark has provided great leadership to the division in his work with the regional reps, his oversight of LEDA projects and his relationships with local governments. He has my complete confidence.”

Roper said that he intends to help his team grow jobs in every corner of the state.

“The really good news,” he said, “is there is an exceptionally strong team in place to move Main Street, science and technology, JTIP (the Job Training Incentive Program), international trade, finance development and, of course, the Community, Business and Rural Development Team, more commonly known as regional reps, forward and continue to create opportunities and generate wealth in New Mexico.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

 

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.