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Sandia Science & Technology Park gives local economy a major boost

The Sandia Science & Technology Park (SS&TP) has generated $2.6 billion worth of economic activity and produced more than $103 million in tax revenue for the state of New Mexico and $15.2 million for the City of Albuquerque since it was established in 1998. That’s the conclusion of a new report by the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG).

Jobs associated with the research park, which houses private companies and some Sandia National Laboratories sites in a collaborative environment, have paid out $4.4 billion in wages, contributing significantly to the local economy, the report said.

In 2014 and 2015, the park’s economic impact was $315.2 million and it produced $13.6 million in tax revenue for the state and $2.3 million for the city. Wages in the two-year period totaled $635.1 million, according to the report.

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ALBUQUERQUE MAYOR RICHARD BERRY during a news conference last week  talks about the economic impact of the Sandia Science and Technology Park.         (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry announced the report’s findings Friday, Dec. 2, at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in the 300-plus acre master-planned SS&TP.

Berry said the park “is a great example of a successful public-private partnership. Its impact on local and regional economic development is a reflection of Albuquerque’s robust collaborative efforts that ultimately result in valuable jobs for our residents. The City of Albuquerque is honored to be an active partner in the SS&TP.”

The park is a partnership of Albuquerque Public Schools, Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, DOE/NNSA, Lockheed Martin Corp., the Mid-Region Council of Governments, the New Mexico congressional delegation, the New Mexico State Land Office, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories, the Sandia Science & Technology Park Development Corp., the state of New Mexico, Technology Ventures Corp., Union Development Corp., and the US Economic Development Administration.

Jobs, economic activity, wages

“Since its creation, the Sandia Science & Technology Park has provided a home where innovation and technology can thrive and grow,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins. “The companies located here are committed to the creation of high-quality jobs, stimulating the local economy and establishing long-term economic prosperity for our community. Bernalillo County is proud to partner with SS&TP in these efforts.”

MRCOG assessed the research park’s economic impact on the local and state economy from its inception through the end of 2015. The report also measured the number of Albuquerque-area jobs created in the park, economic activity in the community, and wage and salary levels.

“The park has elevated the regional economy as a whole, and its impacts are felt at the city, county, four-county, and state levels,” said Dewey Cave, MRCOG’s executive director. “The report draws upon a regional economic modeling tool, the REMI model, which is a widely used and respected analytical tool for measuring local economic impacts.” He said the demographic and employment data in the REMI model are updated annually for the region and state.

The report found that salaries for the full-time employees of companies and organizations in the SS&TP last year averaged $83,100. The park is home to 42 companies and organizations and 2,163 jobs, including about 1,000 Sandia jobs. The park’s activities have created more than 4,000 indirect jobs throughout the regional economy, according to the report.

“This science and technology park is the best example New Mexico has of long-term, high-quality job creation,” said Sherman McCorkle, chairman of the board of the SS&TP Development Corp. “We remain excited about the opportunity for future growth.”

Widespread investment in the park

Public investment since the park was established has been more than $89 million, including DOE’s contribution for the Master Development Plan, land from Albuquerque Public Schools and the New Mexico State Land Office, and landfill cleanup by Bernalillo County, the report said. Other federal, state, and local government entities helped the park by providing grants or matching funds, the report said. For example, the US Economic Development Administration provided significant grants for secure fiber-optic communications and security network infrastructure. The City of Albuquerque also contributed to infrastructure improvements in the park.

“Investment in the park has been over $375 million with more than 75 percent coming from private sources,” said Rob Leland, Div. 1000 vice president and chief technology officer. “This kind of public-private partnership has a very beneficial impact on the community, and

Sandia is committed to continuing to build the park’s success through collaboration leading to business growth.”

The SS&TP is located next to Sandia Labs and Kirtland Air Force Base, giving park companies the ability to collaborate more easily with scientists and engineers from Sandia, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and other Air Force units. Many park companies supply Sandia and AFRL with goods and services or have commercialized technologies that originated at the federal laboratories.