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Growing companies cite ABQ’s values as reason to invest

Workers with Affordable Solar install a system on the roof of a Los Lunas home in 2014. The company is planning to add 95 additional employees over the next decade (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal).

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A pair of business leaders cited Albuquerque’s focus on improvement, embrace of renewables and can-do culture as reasons they’re expanding in the city.

During Albuquerque Economic Development’s quarterly luncheon on Thursday, Katy Keim, CEO of LQ Digital, a digital marketing firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, discussed the company’s plans to hire around 100 employees in Downtown Albuquerque later this year. Keim said she was impressed with the city’s can-do attitude and focus on improvement.

“You guys value what we value,” Keim said during the luncheon. “And this decision started with values, because we want to build a culture that can service those customers.”

Keim added that the 100 employees in Albuquerque will work in the company’s contact center, which reaches out to potential clients. The company plans to move into First Plaza, and is hoping to open its facility by October.

Keim said she appreciated that the city was willing to work with LQ on parking and employee safety to help Downtown grow.

“Downtown knows that there’s some grit, there’s some rough edges,” Keim said. “And you know what, you’ve got to start with something big and go after it, and they have a plan to revitalize the city.”

The Journal reported in January that LQ Digital would receive $417,164 in state funding through the Job Training Incentive Program to support the expansion.

Affordable Solar chief financial officer Shawn Ricketts said the Albuquerque-based solar installation and wholesale company is planning to add 95 additional employees over the next decade, a larger increase than had previously been announced.

“As we endeavor to fulfill our mission of a renewable energy future, we can also expand our local economy,” Ricketts said.

The Journal had previously reported that Affordable Solar will receive $625,000 in Local Economic Development Act funding to help the company find a larger facility in Albuquerque and hire 70 new employees. Ricketts confirmed that Affordable Solar will consolidate its operations at 3900 Singer NE, the former home of New Mexico Mutual.

Ricketts said lofty projections within the solar industry and aggressive goals for renewable energy at the state level give him confidence that the company can continue growing in New Mexico and neighboring states.

“We really are at the forefront of this industry,” Ricketts said.

During the event, AED also introduced a new database tool, called ABQSites, designed to make it easier for businesses to search for a new property.

The program combines location, demographic, business, and economic data to help companies identify properties that suit their needs, according to AED.

AED president and CEO Danielle Casey said the organization is planning to host a program launch and training session on July 7.

“It’s going to benefit the entire region,” Casey said.

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