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Six seated on Innovate ABQ board

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico regents on Wednesday gave their unanimous approval to six of seven inaugural members of the Innovate ABQ board of directors.

The board will guide the development of the Innovate ABQ business district, a nonprofit research park just getting off the ground at the area of Broadway and Central Avenue.

The board members are: Mayor Richard Berry; David Harris, UNM’s executive vice president for administration; Dr. Richard Larson, executive vice chancellor and vice chancellor for research at the UNM Health Sciences Center; Terry Laudick, president and CEO of the New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union; Sherman McCorkle, past president of Technology Ventures Corp..; and Charles I. Wellborn, retired president of STC.UNM.

The seventh board member is likely to be Pat Vincent-Collawn, CEO of PNM Resources, but the regents wanted more time to evaluate her background and any potential for conflicts of interest since Innovate ABQ will be a prime user of electricity.

Innovate ABQ got started two years ago with a commitment by UNM’s new president, Bob Frank, to involve the university more directly in the economic development of the community. Frank has said that UNM graduates need a strong business environment that can provide jobs and serve as an incentive to put their new skills to work in New Mexico.

Albuquerque officials and local business leaders jumped at the chance to form the research center. A site, the seven-acre First Baptist Church complex at Broadway and Central, was chosen to be the hub of Innovate ABQ. The $7 million purchase was aided by contributions from the New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union, the city of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and the UNM Board of Regents, and a federal grant to STC.UNM, formerly the Science & Technology Corp. @ UNM, a nonprofit owned by the UNM Board of Regents.

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The property is about a mile west of UNM. Frank has said he expects the university to grow in that direction.

“We envision a high-energy district where people live in closer proximity,” Frank said. “We want it to be pedestrian-friendly and offer a place for students and entrepreneurs to work and live.”

A master plan for the property is expected to be complete in early 2015.

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