Sandia Science & Technology Park celebrates 20 years, announces positive economic impact

By Manette Newbold Fisher

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Park responsible for $3.1 billion in economic activity since 1998

The Sandia Science & Technology Park, home to 26 buildings, 47 companies and organizations and more than 2,050 jobs, celebrated its 20th anniversary last week and highlighted the park’s economic impact through 2017.

Sandia Director Steve Younger joined Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller at SolAero Technologies Corp. to release findings of a new report by the Mid-Region Council of Governments.

Albuquerque mayor speaks at tech park anniversary celebration
20 YEARS AND COUNTING — During the Sandia Science & Technology Park economic impact news conference on Aug. 24, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced the park has paid out $5.4 billion in wages since 1998. Behind him, Labs Director Steve Younger, NNSA Sandia Field Office Manager Jeff Harrell and SS&TP Executive Director Jackie Kerby Moore listened in. The news conference highlighted the park’s 20th anniversary, successful partnerships, job creation and growth.  (Photo by Randy Montoya)

The SS&TP, a 300-plus acre master-planned park located outside Sandia Labs and Kirtland Air Force Base, has generated $3.1 billion in economic activity since it was established in 1998, the report concluded. Called taxable personal consumption in the report, economic activity refers to spending on goods and services, government expenditures and private investments.

During the same period, the park also produced more than $123.4 million in tax revenue for the state of New Mexico and $22.5 million for the City of Albuquerque.

Steve congratulated the park on 20 years of success. He said the Labs benefit from the SS&TP, empowering Sandia researchers with increased access to partners.

Labs committed to park partnership

“The Sandia Science & Technology Park is a successful public-private partnership that has had a positive impact on the community,” Steve said. “Sandia is committed to continuing to grow the park through collaboration, bringing long-term, high-quality jobs and economic prosperity to the city, county and state.”

“This park is an example of a project that hits the mark on placemaking and ensures we’re creating areas that will make our city succeed.”

Keller said the city is proud to be active in the park, which generates tremendous economic impact for Albuquerque and surrounding communities.

“The Science & Technology Park has spurred growth in the Southeast Heights while providing a gateway to science and technology for our community,” Keller said.

“This park is an example of a project that hits the mark on placemaking and ensures we’re creating areas that will make our city succeed.”

From groundbreaking to growth

Celebrating at SolAero was significant because the SS&TP broke ground there in May 1998, said Jackie Kerby Moore, Sandia’s manager of Technology and Economic Development. The site initially housed EMCORE, the first park business. EMCORE transitioned to SolAero through an acquisition in 2014.

Sherman McCorkle, chairman of the board of the SS&TP Development Corp., said, “From a recovered brownfield to the premier science and technology park with more than $3 billion in economic impact in less than 20 years is a feat every state will envy. Our success comes from the outstanding collaboration from the many partners who make up the park.”

Along with celebrating the 20th anniversary and announcing the park’s economic impact, SS&TP recently received a Star of the Southwest Award at the Southwest Region Economic Development Association’s Conference in July. The award recognized the park for its economic impact success and for playing a meaningful role in Albuquerque’s future.

Jobs, wages and widespread investment

Jobs associated with the research park, which houses private companies and some Sandia National Laboratories sites in a collaborative environment, have paid out $5.4 billion in wages from 1998-2017, contributing significantly to the local economy, according to the report.

The report found that salaries for full-time employees of companies and organizations in the SS&TP last year averaged $98,000. The average salary for full-time employees in the Albuquerque metro area is $46,000.

“High-paying jobs have a benefit for the city of Albuquerque and for the region as a whole,” said Dewey Cave, executive director for the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “The park continues to bolster the economy by providing competitive salaries, long-term employment and first-rate jobs.”

In 2016 and 2017, the park’s economic impact was $388.7 million in taxable personal consumption, and it produced $15.4 million in tax revenue for the state and $6.6 million for the city. Wages in the two-year period totaled $747.7 million, according to the report.

Investments in the park since 1998 total more than $384.8 million, with $295.8 million coming from private sources and $89 million coming from public investment.

The park is a partnership of Albuquerque Public Schools, Bernalillo County, City of Albuquerque, Mid-Region Council of Governments, New Mexico Congressional Delegation, New Mexico State Land Office, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories, Sandia Science & Technology Park Development Corp., State of New Mexico, Union Development Corp., U.S. Department of Energy/ National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Sandia Science and Technology Park arial view
A PREMIER TECH PARK — Since it was established in 1998, the Sandia Science & Technology Park has grown from one company to 47 and has generated $3.1 billion in taxable personal consumption for the state of New Mexico.  (Photo by Norm Johnson)