The University of New Mexico Board of Regents appointed five new members to the recently-formed board of directors for Innovate ABQ, Inc., a New Mexico nonprofit research park corporation.

The new appointees, named by the regents, include John Sanchez, New Mexico lieutenant governor; Jessica Eaves Matthews, founder and chief executive officer, Leverage Legal Group; Carlos Perea, board member, former president and chief executive officer, MIOX Corporation; Waneta Tuttle, chief executive officer and president, Southwest Medical Ventures (SMV) and co-founder of Exagen Diagnostics Inc.; and Jeff Apodaca, executive vice president, Entravision Communications.

“The regents believe these new appointees to the board of directors reflect the diversity of perspective as well as the depth and breadth of business backgrounds that will greatly enhance the efforts of Innovate ABQ,” said Jack Fortner, president of the UNM board of regents. “Their ideas, skills and guidance will be key in the development of this important entrepreneurial endeavor.”

The current board consists of six members including Terry Laudick, president and chief executive officer, New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union, is the chair. Patricia Vincent-Collawn, president and chief executive officer, PNM Resources, is vice chair and Charles I. Wellborn, former president of STC.UNM, is secretary/treasurer.

Other members include R.J. Berry, mayor, City of Albuquerque; David Harris, executive vice president for administration, UNM; and Richard Larson, executive vice chancellor and vice chancellor for research, UNM Health Sciences Center. 

The board, which will guide development and renovation of the Innovate ABQ property, recently announced that it is soliciting a Formal Request for a Statement of Interest and Qualifications (RFI) for the initial development phase.

The RFI seeks developers or teams with the expertise, commitment and business philosophy needed to be a strategic partner in rapidly and effectively advancing the development of the Innovate ABQ site at Central and Broadway downtown. Statements of interest will be accepted until Tuesday, Feb. 20.

“We’re excited to welcome our new board members,” Laudick said. “We look forward to the skills, knowledge and perspective they’ll bring to Innovate ABQ. We’ll onboard them in an expeditious manner as we have already issued the RFI to local and national developers and expect to review a completed master plan in early March.”

Perkins and Will, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in entrepreneurial site development, is currently working on a master plan and will be presenting its latest recommendations in February. Plans call for the board to work with business leaders to encourage an economic infrastructure of restaurants, support services and recreational activities around the site.

President Robert G. Frank who led UNM’s push for an innovation hub said, “I believe the regents have selected really exciting representatives who have the types of backgrounds that will help us quickly accomplish our goals. With this step, Innovate ABQ moves closer to building a model that could be replicated in cities along the Rio Grande corridor from Santa Fe to Las Cruces.”

Contributions from New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union, the city of Albuquerque, the UNM Regents and a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to STC.UNM allowed for the purchase last year of a seven-acre property, which will serve as the core site within Innovate ABQ’s larger research and innovation district. Bernalillo County has committed funding to be used for future development of the property.

The regents also agreed to expand the board by one position to a total of 12 to allow for a representative from Bernalillo County. That position will be named after a memorandum of agreement has been established between the county and the Innovate ABQ board.