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          Front Page

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Varied Backgrounds, Wealth of Experience

By David Steinberg
Journal Staff Writer
    The foundation, board and staff of the National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico reflects a rainbow of experiences, backgrounds and abilities.
    Edward Lujan, the chairman of the center's board of directors, said five board seats come from each of the state's three congressional districts.
    The center's board of directors oversees programming, while the foundation's board is directing the people in charge of fund-raising for the center, Lujan said.
    Executive Director Eugene Matta, who said he still is building his staff, said the center is intended to be unique in the world.
    "I don't believe there is a center anywhere which is being built to celebrate, promote and educate about a particular culture that has had such an influence in so many parts of the world," Matta said.
    Here is a look at some of the people who have been instrumental in getting the center going:
Hispanic Culture Foundation
    Mary Peña-Noskin, chairwoman
    Noskin was born and reared in Old Town, Albuquerque. She has been involved professionally in television broadcasting for more than 25 years. She produced and hosted the award-winning "Ya Es Tiempo," New Mexico's first program on network TV dealing with issues concerning women and minorities.
    Noskin has served as public affairs specialist for the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation.
    She is a member of a number of professional organizations, including New Mexico Press Women, National Association of Broadcasters and American Women in Radio & Television. Her civic affiliations include Albuquerque Committee on Foreign Relations, Women Against Cancer and Las Mujeres.
    Eliu E. Romero, president
    Romero, an attorney, is a member of the New Mexico Bar Association for Revision of the Probate Code and has been honored by the New Mexico Supreme Court for Outstanding Service to the Judiciary.
    He was co-organizer and general counsel of the New Mexico Federal Savings and Loan Association. He is chairman of the board of Centinel Bank of Taos and a board member of the Bank of Santa Fe and the American Bankers Association's Committee on Minority Banking.
    Alex O. Romero, trustee
    A native of Ranchos de Taos, Romero is an executive vice president of Bank of America.
    He serves as commission member and vice chairman of the Albuquerque Development Commission, is a faculty member of the BMA School of the Bank Marketing Association and a board member of the St. Pius High School Foundation.
    Demesia Padilla, secretary
    A certified public accountant, Padilla was a senior accountant for the firm of Deloitte, Haskins & Sells in Las Vegas, Nev., a revenue agent with the Internal Revenue Service in Albuquerque and later established her own public accounting business.
    Padilla served as fiesta chairperson for the Church of the Ascension, was an event volunteer with the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, Nev.
    Francisco Figueroa, treasurer
    Figueroa is the vice president and chief financial officer at Sandia National Labs. He also has held the post of vice president and chief financial officer for the Lockheed Martin Energy Systems in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
    He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Financial Executives Institute, the National Contract Management Association, the National Property Management Association and the Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis.
    The honorary president of the foundation board is His Royal Highness, the Prince of Asturias, Don Felipe de Borbón, of Spain.
Cultural Center Board of Directors
    Edward Lujan, chairman
    Lujan, a Santa Fe native, also is chairman of the New Mexico Economic Development Commission. He is a member of the Governor's Business Advisory Council and the New Mexico Governmental Ethics Oversight Committee and a board member of the Albuquerque Economic Forum.
    He also serves as a board director of Norwest Bank New Mexico and as a board member of the Robert O. Anderson Schools of Management Foundation, the University of New Mexico Foundation and the Albuquerque TVI Foundation.
    Lujan is a former chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party and of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Blue Ribbon Task Force.
    Herbert Fernandez, treasurer
    Fernandez is vice president for institutional development at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. He came to Tech nine years ago as a consultant in high explosives. After one year he organized and later directed the school's Energetic Materials Research and Test Center. Previously, Fernandez had headed the Nuclear Systems Division at the Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base.
    Matt Martinez, secretary
    Martinez is in his 11th year as mayor of Las Vegas, N.M., and also works as a victims' advocate for the District Attorney's Office in Las Vegas. Martinez has served as county assessor of San Miguel County, was a member of former Gov. Garry Carruthers' Business Advisory Board and was on the state Human Rights Commission under former Gov. Bruce King.
    Abelicio "Abe" M. Peña, co-chairman
    Peña, a Grants resident, is the author of the collection "Memories of Cibola, Stories from New Mexico Villages." The book is in its third printing. Born in San Mateo, Peña was reared on a sheep ranch. He received a degree in animal science from New Mexico State University then went to Australia under a Fulbright scholarship to study sheep and wool production. He later worked for Frank A. Hubbell Co. then managed his father's ranch, which is now a family corporation, P & P Peña Ranch Inc., of which he is secretary-treasurer. Peña also served as an administrator for the U.S. government in Latin America. He directed the Peace Corps in Honduras in 1972-74, then directed it in Costa Rica 1974-76. Peña then directed the U.S. Agency for International Development in Paraguay and Bolivia.
    Board members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions. Here's a sampling:
    Loretta Armenta, member
    Armenta is the president/CEO of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce. She has been an administrator with the chamber since 1992. Armenta started as director of the chamber's Special Projects/Cultural Office, then moved up to vice president, then interim president. She has been in her current post since August 1997. Previously, Armenta was a special agent for Prudential Financial Services, the owner/operator of Snow Goose Gift Baskets, an account executive at a local radio station and was executive director and state director of the New Mexico March of Dimes.
    Ana Pacheco, member
    Pacheco, of Santa Fe, is the founder, publisher and editor of La Herencia magazine. She started the magazine in 1994 after spending 15 years in the publishing business in New York City. The magazine recently published a special issue devoted to the opening of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
    In New York, Pacheco worked for a series of Hispanic, financial and general-interest magazines. Pacheco also hosts a weekly radio show called "Herencia" that is aired on KOB-AM, KOB-FM and KHTL-AM every Sunday. She was a theater major at the College of Santa Fe.
    Hector Pineda, member
    Pineda is the municipal judge of Roswell. Appointed to the bench in 1996, he is serving a four-year elected term. A native of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, he came to Roswell as chief Reserved Officer Training Corps instructor at New Mexico Military Institute. He retired from the U.S. Army as a sergeant major after 28 years. Pineda is a board member of the Camp Sierra School for Boys in Fort Stanton.
    Canuto "Newt" Sanchez, member
    Sanchez is a longtime Santa Rosa businessman. He has owned a service station, a motel and is currently the owner of the Dairy Queen. Sanchez received a bachelor's degree in agriculture from New Mexico State University and attended the University of Nevada at Reno and the University of the Americas in Mexico City.
    Bernardo Gallegos, member
    Bernardo "Bennie" Gallegos was born and reared in Barelas, where he still resides. He has served on the State Fair Commission, on the state Human Rights Commission and has been a delegate to four national Republican conventions, including the most recent one in Philadelphia. Gallegos retired from Sandia Labs after 35 years as a purchasing analyst.
    Sharon Richards, member
    Sharon Richards has owned and operated Earl's Restaurant in Gallup for 26 years. She was a city councilor for five years and a McKinley County commissioner for four years. Richards has been on the New Mexico Restaurant Board for 25 years and was on the Friendship Services board that started the first alcohol rehabilitation facility in Gallup.
Cultural Center Staff Members
    Eugene Matta, executive director
    Matta, a native of Santiago, Chile, attended Vanderbilt University and Fordham University's graduate business school.
    Subsequently, he was with the New York State Agency on the Arts for 11 years. Then he worked for the U.S. Information Agency giving seminars to artists in Latin America on issues of special importance to them, such as fund raising and managing arts organizations.
    Matta then spent six years working for the City Center in New York as director of government relations and capital planning, followed by a three-year stint as an administrator and adjunct professor at City University of New York.
    Gene Henley, deputy director
    Henley manages the center's administration operations and finances. He worked more than six years for the state Licensing Division.
    "Gene knows procurement law in New Mexico, nationally and internationally," Matta said.
    Helen Lucero, director of the Visual Arts Program
    Lucero just completed a two-year stint at the Smithsonian Institution, where she was co-curator of the new traveling exhibition "Arte Latino."
    Before that, she taught a class at the University of New Mexico called A Survey of Hispanic Arts and Culture and worked as a curator at the UNM Art Museum.
    Lucero also worked for nine years at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, where she was co-director of the Hispanic Heritage Wing.
    Reeve Love, director of the Performing Arts Program
    Love is developing an international roster of performing artists who represent Hispanic culture and is supervising booking, public performances and educational programs for the cultural center. She also writes grant proposals for programming in theater, music and dance.
    Love has had a varied professional background. Among her positions were programs coordinator for the Hispanic Culture Foundation, executive director of Common Thread Educational Resources Foundation in Española and education consultant to the Intercultural Development Research Association of San Antonio, Texas.
    Carlos Vasquez, director of research and literary arts
    A native of Chimayó who was reared in Santa Fe, Vasquez received a bachelor's degree with honors in political science from the University of California-Los Angeles and a master's degree from Stanford University. He was a contributing editor of "Aztlán: International Journal of Chicano Studies" for eight years and edited two bilingual newspapers in Los Angeles Sin Fronteras and El Foro del Pueblo.
    Vasquez taught at UC Berkeley, Cal State-Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount and UCLA. At UCLA, he directed the UCLA-California State Government Oral History Program. In 1991, he established the Oral History Program at the University of New Mexico. Over the past seven years, Vasquez has directed research projects dealing with the impact of Los Alamos National Laboratories on northern New Mexico.