Business leaders reflect on long-term industry impacts of virus

New Mexico industry leaders respond to the question: “What lasting impact do you believe the pandemic will have on your industry?”
ENERGY
Raye Miller

Raye Miller, president of Regeneration Energy Corp. in Artesia

“The oil industry has seen wide price swings in the past year. No one expected to see negative oil prices. While prices have recovered, capital investment has not. Drilling rig utilization is still greatly below a year ago level. Consolidation has occurred and some highly leveraged companies went broke. While new lockdowns could again reduce demand for oil, companies are in better shape to withstand it. Most are reducing debt currently. The greater worry for the future is the drive to stop domestic production of fossil fuels. This strategy is so shortsighted as the U.S. will continue to use fossil fuels for years and every barrel produced outside the U.S. results in more emissions and pollution than if it is produced here. Let’s hope our leadership realizes that fact.”
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
Scott Goodman

Scott Goodman, vice president, Goodman Realty Group

“Commercial real estate is arguably one of the most impacted industries by COVID. Hotels were shut, restaurants closed, and offices vacant. The pandemic reinvented the way consumers shop, work, and travel, creating innovative procedures that is sure to survive many decades longer than the virus. Work will be a hybrid of Zoom meetings and in-person meetings, remote working and live working, knowledge sharing will become ever more digital. Shopping will be done electronically through your mobile device or through a doubled stacked drive-thru. The push for dense, urban collision space may find its way back into suburbia America but in a more mixed-use fashion. The unwillingness to commute to a CBD office cluster will require developments that focus on merging the five pillars of commercial real estate. These disrupters will be here to stay not because of the fear for social distancing but because of the innovative ease they have put upon our lives.”
CANNABIS
Duke Rodriguez

Duke Rodriguez, CEO and president of Ultra Health

“Being immediately identified as an essential service was a huge affirmation for the cannabis industry going forward. But raising the level of compassion and patience became even more crucial. The art of pivoting, adjusting and overcoming was the definition of our business throughout COVID-19. We will be forever changed in making certain that forward progress is our only option.”
TECH
Lisa Kuuttila

Lisa Kuuttila, president & chief economic development officer, UNM Rainforest Innovations

“I think there are potentially both positive and negative long-term impacts from the pandemic. On the positive side, I think we will all be more efficient about our need for in-person meetings. We have learned much about having successful meetings and events online that will carry on beyond the pandemic. A negative impact is the loss of many of our small businesses that will take years to rebuild. We will all need to support and promote our entrepreneurial activities in New Mexico. To continue to grow and diversify the economy in the state, our small businesses are a key component.”
TOURISM
Tania Armenta

Tania Armenta, president and CEO of Visit Albuquerque

“The pandemic has made people recognize the importance of travel to our lives, and we will never again take travel for granted. The thrill of exploration, discovery and adventure that travel provides is one of life’s greatest joys. There is pent-up demand to travel, and our continued focus on health and safety, along with Albuquerque’s rich diversity and authenticity, put us in a strong position for recovery including bringing back workforce. A deeper understanding of the value that visitors bring to the city’s economy and quality of life will help to solidify the importance of tourism through recovery and beyond.”
ARTS
Royal Wood

Royal Wood, Albuquerque comedian

“I am a comic, host and promoter for numerous shows and open mics around town. A lot of the magic that is with stage performances is being able to say you were at the event when this or that happened. Many performers have done different avenues to still reach out to audiences (I.E. Zoom/Discord shows, TikTok/podcasts, etc.), but we have not been able to do any social distancing shows in New Mexico. I feel that one of the lasting impacts of coming out of the pandemic is that there will be more appreciation of the time on stage and the audience that we share that time with.”
HEALTH CARE
Dale Maxwell

Dale Maxwell, president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services

“Although 2020 was one of the most challenging years we’ve ever had, it was also one of our most inspiring and revealing years as an organization. Why? Presbyterian, along with health care systems across the country, learned just how quickly we can respond to new challenges. We learned we can be innovative and reinvent how we work and care for our patients and members. The pandemic made it clearer than ever that we must continually adapt to meet the needs of our patients and members — whether that’s expanding telemedicine and home health or creating COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites. We can’t stay the same if we are to fulfill our purpose to improve the health of our community.”
TRADE
Jerry Pacheco, executive director, International Business Accelerator
“Companies will redouble efforts to mitigate risk and disruptions in their supply chains. This could result in carrying extra inventory and locating distribution centers or production plants closer to customers. We will see reshoring and near-shoring continuing to occur. These factors will present opportunities to recruit new industry to New Mexico’s border region. Finally, there will be a lasting sense of how integrated the U.S.-Mexico border is in terms of familial ties, retail commerce, and cross-border trade, all of which have been disrupted due to the pandemic.”
ENERGY
Ryan Flynn

Ryan Flynn, executive director of New Mexico Oil and Gas Association

“Despite a historic dip in demand for oil and gas, the industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience and flipped New Mexico’s usual script of boom-bust cycles. In the past year, state budget revenue from oil and gas remains near record levels as 2020 production is projected at yet another all-time high. New Mexico’s prolific assets place us among the top petroleum-producing areas in the entire world, where producers are focusing most of their growth and investment. Misguided policy is the only limit. Otherwise, the economic and fiscal future of our state is very bright.”

HOSPITALITY

Adrian Montoya

Adrian Montoya, president of the Greater Albuquerque Hotel and Lodging Association:

“Thinking outside the box, consistently pivoting, and adapting to the constant changes has and will always be in our hospitality DNA. Re-strategizing and innovative thinking will become the “new norm” for our industry, as we reinvent common industry best practices. The pandemic has taught us that our associates and guests are invaluable and so important to our success. Our industry is resilient yet hospitable, which makes for a perfect path to recovery. Our doors are open and we can’t wait to showcase all that New Mexico has to offer!”

Special project: The pandemic, a year later

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