Briefcase: Applause for New Mexico workers, companies - Albuquerque Journal

Briefcase: Applause for New Mexico workers, companies

Erika Estrada-Quezada and Norma Estrada, owners of Twins Learning Center, were honored at this year’s “Virtual Roundhouse” series sponsored by the New Mexico Small Business Development Center and the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. The state’s 18 Small Business Development Centers select Star Client businesses each year for the honor. Owners of the businesses, selected from every region of the state, are individually recognized by state legislators for their successes. Later, all are honored at the SBDC’s Annual Star Client state dinner with Lt. Gov. Howie Morales.

This year’s selections and appearances were held virtually due to the COVID pandemic. The SBDC at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque selected Twins Learning Center as its Star Client Business for 2020. With the help of the SBDC at CNM, the mother-daughter business owners have grown the business from a small home childcare business in 2018 to a successful commercial enterprise with multiple locations in just three years. More information is available at


The 2021 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Ballooning Commission International Hall of Fame inductees were announced during the March 2021 plenary meeting.

The Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, the home of the FAI CIA Hall of Fame, has announced that Wilhelm Eimers of Germany and Jim Winker of the U.S. are this year’s inductees.

Eimers has flown more than 1,400 gas balloon flights since he received his license in 1979. He has spent about 10,000 hours aloft. An active instructor, Eimers has trained pilots from 13 countries including the U.S., Canada and Russia. Eimers is probably best known as a Coupe Gordon Bennett pilot. He has participated 27 times, more than anyone else. In those races he has flown a total of 30,551 km in 1,270 hours 33 minutes. In 25 flights that is an average of 1,222 km and 50 hours 49 minutes (2 days, 2 hours, 49 min). He won the Gordon Bennett four times and placed second nine times. Some additional achievements include his two world duration records, AA07 at 92 hours, 11 minutes (1995) and AA02 at 23 hours, 18 minutes, and 5 seconds (2011). In 1993 he was awarded the prestigious FAI Montgolfier Diploma for best performance in gas balloons. And now he will be inducted into the FAI CIA Ballooning and Airship Hall of Fame.

Jim Winker, the 2021 posthumous inductee, made significant engineering contributions to ballooning, and was a champion of the sport’s history. Winker was introduced to ballooning as a crew member for the launch and recovery of Don Piccard’s flight in a converted Japanese FUGO bombing balloon in February 1947. His ballooning career officially began in 1951 as an engineering intern and then Junior Engineer at the General Mills Corp. in their Scientific Balloon program. Winker’s contributions to ballooning are great. He participated in the preparation, inflation, free flight and recovery of the first modern hot air balloon flight by inventor Ed Yost in Bruning, Nebraska, on Oct. 22, 1960. He held over a dozen patents for scientific balloons, parachutes and hot air balloons. He was instrumental in the groundbreaking work of certifying hot air balloons as a certified aircraft in the U.S. The Balloon Museum has a Winker Collection, which includes an experimental fiberglass gondola he designed at Raven Inc. in 1969.

The 2021 induction ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Balloon Museum this October before the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta commences, the planning for which is underway and will be held as long as COVID-19 protocols allow.

Items for consideration for Applause should be typed and sent to Business Outlook, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103. They can also be e-mailed to

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