Mesalands forms economic alliance

By Ryan Lengerich

Mesalands Community College announced this week that it has formed an alliance with the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation.

With the agreement, the college will provide an office and secretarial services for the GTEDC Director of Economic Development.

For the GTEDC, this alliance will aid budget and bring the director, who’s yet to be determined, closer to the city’s small business development resources. For Mesalands, the move sends a message to the city that the college is a major community resource.

As part of the college being chosen for the Rural Community College Initiative, a grant has been given to Mesalands to provide the office space, equipment and secretarial services for the GTEDC director. The office will be located on 11th street along side the Small Business and Development Center office.

GTEDC president Leo Thrasher said working near the small business center will ease the flow of information between the two groups and he added being near the college will expand options when new businesses consider Tucumcari.

“The other thing we gain since Mesalands is accredited is that it is a good place for companies to tour,” Thrasher said. “Mesa has a pretty experienced staff as far as helping us with news releases and consulting.”

A nationwide search has been conducted to fill the GTEDC Director of Economic Development position. Thrasher said the list has been cut to three but he could not release the names until reference checks are completed. Those candidates will undergo on-site interviews and Thrasher said the candidates will be made available to the community. A final decision could be made as early as mid-October.

For Mesalands president Phillip Barry, the alliance will not only benefit the college but also the community.

“It sends a message to the community that the college is more than a degree granting institution and that it is actually a community resource,” Barry said. “It shows that the college is maturing.”

The RCCI is a two year demonstration backed by the Ford Foundation encouraging rural community colleges to stimulate economic development in their area.

When the two years are complete, Thrasher said the agreement between his group and the college is subject to negotiation.

“Our plans are to be involved and use Mesalands’ resources and expertise as much as we can,” he said.