A group of UNM-Gallup students who are members of the Gallup Land Partners, LLC (“GLP”) Entrepreneurship Program funded by Robert W. Roche were recently treated to a tour of City Hall by Mayor Jackie McKinney.

GLP organized the trip to city headquarters to give these future entrepreneurs the opportunity to see how local businesses operate within the city and to personally walk through the departments that assist new businesses in establishing themselves within the community. 

Mayor McKinney took time to sit with the students to talk about his vision for Gallup and the role entrepreneurs play in the growth of the city. He let them know how impressed he was by their efforts to take coursework to better themselves in the workplace environment and to broaden their horizons. “Education is key," he said. "I have hopes that each of you will later contribute to this community once you have received your degrees.”

McKinney is also optimistic about the revitalization efforts underway in Gallup. “I am working together with UNM-Gallup to provide the right classes and skills so the Gallup community can be a more prosperous town. I believe in Gallup and the people that live here, he said.”

Roche worked closely with UNM-Gallup to establish the internship and scholarship program that supports students academically and financially in their entrepreneurship studies. Through these mentorship efforts, qualifying students are placed with local businesses that match their fields of interest. The partnerships allow the students to experience “hands on” business scenarios that enrich their classroom work. There are currently 12 internship partners that include the Mason & Isaacson law firm, Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce and Ramah Care Center.

Although Roche resides in Shanghai, China, he stays closely connected to the students and the program through the work of Program Managers Aaron Kowalski and Adam Wilkey. They monitor the day-to-day activities of the students and involve them in some GLP activities such as work with their rail facility, subdivision and marketing projects.

“I am proud of how far the program has come over the last year," Kowalski said. "We are excited about the future opportunities of the program and its positive impact on the local business community."

The GLP business office is housed on the UNM-Gallup campus. For more information about the program or to inquire about being an internship partner, call (505) 879-9759 or (435) 703-4829.