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Head of Border Authority chosen

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Marco Grajeda, a public servant with professional and family ties on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, has been appointed to head the New Mexico Border Authority, Alicia J. Keyes, Economic Development Department cabinet secretary, announced Friday.

He assumes his duties on Aug. 26. Grajeda was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and has lived in El Paso and southern New Mexico. A New Mexico State University graduate, he grew up in a bilingual, bicultural household and often travels between the United States and Mexico to visit family and friends and to work.

The New Mexico Border Authority is an executive agency that facilitates trade, job training and economic development efforts along the New Mexico border and is a division within the Economic Development Department. It also coordinates with the federal government and business partners to improve travel and trade efficiencies at the Ports of Entry.

“We really want to focus on global trade and develop an ecosystem of businesses along the border that will create jobs and opportunity for New Mexicans,” said Keyes. “Marco has the background and expertise to help businesses that want to grow with imports and exports.”

Grajeda worked as a field representative with the Las Cruces office of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-Santa Fe, assisting on a broad range of issues from immigration to foreign trade. In that capacity, Grajeda helped fund construction of the new Columbus Port of Entry and worked to extend hours at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry.

“I am dedicated to promoting the diversity and interconnections of the border region and (to protecting and expanding) our business and cultural ties with Mexico,” said Grajeda. “That’s what makes our workforce so unique and why the border region is a great place to grow a business and create jobs.”

Grajeda received a degree in journalism and mass communications and began his career as a reporter and news director of a public radio affiliate in southern New Mexico.

The EDD also announced that the agency has entered into a one-year contract with Myles Culbertson Partners LLC of Las Cruces to work with the New Mexico Border Authority on strategic planning.

Culbertson is a business consultant and ranch manager who advises companies on international trade. He is also the former executive director of the New Mexico Livestock Board.