The New Mexico Spaceport Authority Board of Directors consists of eight members; six are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. The Lt. Governor and the Secretary of the Economic Development Department or his designee are also members. By statute, no more than three of the appointed members shall belong to the same political party. Members serve staggered four-year terms.

Richard Holdridge

NMSA Chairman

Chairman Richard Holdridge is a retired Air Force officer from Deming whose military service included a heavy focus on satellite program acquisition and overseeing the manufacturing, planning, and operation of United States Department of Defense satellite programs. After retiring from the Air Force, Holdridge was elected to the Deming City Council, where he served from 1998 to 2000. He currently manages his family’s real estate development and farming businesses in southern New Mexico. Holdridge earned his B.S. in Astronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, his M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Dayton, and his PhD in Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University.

David Buchholtz

NMSA Board Member

David Buchholtz is an attorney at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Albuquerque. His practice includes government finance law, economic development and state tax incentive law, financial institutions law, securities law, and corporate law. Buchholtz has been a private practice attorney since 1976. He is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of Think New Mexico and also served as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico Law School. He earned his B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Paul Deason

NMSA Board Member

Paul Deason, a director of the Science Technology Analysis Team, LLC, formerly served as a US Army Analysis Fellow, a Senior Operations Research Analyst and Homeland Defense Analyst for the US Department of Defense and a Senior Science Officer for the British Ministry of Defence. Deason has earned: from the University of California a BSc in Physics, an MA-Teaching in Physics and Physical Education, and an MSc in Educational Research; from New Mexico State University he has earned an MA in Anthropology and a PhD in Educational Administration with an emphasis in Experimental Statistics. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Air War College. Deason is active in many areas including economic development, youth development, cultural and historic preservation, environmental preservation, and emergency preparedness and security. Deason has been active in areas involving space and aerospace education, including service as an X-Prize “Ambassador.

Irvin Diamond

NMSA Board Member

Irvin Diamond is a Certified Public Accountant and a Senior Principal at REDW Stanley Financial Advisers in Albuquerque. He is also a Certified Financial Planner and chairs the Board of Directors at Amerinst Insurance Group. Diamond holds degrees from John Carroll University and the University of New Mexico.

Sid Gutierrez

NMSA Board Member

Sid Gutierrez is a former NASA astronaut who currently serves as Director of ES&H and Emergency Management as well as Chief of Safety for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. Gutierrez piloted the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1991 and served as Mission Commander for the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1994. He also served on NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel and International Space Station Management and Cost Evaluation Taskforce. Gutierrez earned his B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy and his M.A. in Personnel Management from Webster University.

Jerry Stagner

NMSA Board Member

Jerry Stagner is the President of Citizens Bank in Truth or Consequences. He also served as President of State National Bank and has an extensive background in the banking field. Stagner holds a B.B.A from Eastern New Mexico University. He previously served as a member of the Spaceport Authority Board of Directors.

Benjamin Woods

NMSA Board Member

Benjamin Woods serves as the Senior Vice President for External Relations and Chief of Staff at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, managing the Office of Government Relations as well as the University Communications and Marketing Services in that capacity. Woods has served as an administrator at NMSU since 1987, working in multiple fields for the university, including Planning, Physical Resources, and University Relations. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University and earned his M.B.A from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Woods previously chaired the Spaceport Authority Board of Directors.

Lt. Governor John Sanchez

NMSA Board Member

John Sanchez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and can trace his public service roots to his great, great grandfather who was a territorial legislator from San Miguel County, in 1860. Sanchez was elected to the office of Councilman for the Village of Los Ranchos, NM in 1997, and served in the New Mexico House of Representatives from 2000 to 2002. In 2005, he was recognized as one of the Top 40 Most Influential Hispanics in the Country. John and Debra Sanchez have built one of New Mexico’s most respected businesses. Twice, their company has been honored as Small Business of the Year. Sanchez has had diverse business interests, and maintained a New Mexico real estate license for over 20 years. The Lt. Governor and his wife are the proud parents of two grown daughters, and reside in Albuquerque.

 

Tax District Board

In 2005, the NM legislature established a “Spaceport America Regional Spaceport District” (the District) via the Regional Spaceport District Act (§5-15-1 et seq., Laws of 2005) as the entity to receive and distribute additional revenue from the Sierra County and Dona Ana County ¼% spaceport gross receipts tax. The tax passed in separate special referenda by the voters of Doña Ana and Sierra counties in 2007 and 2008, respectively, in order to fund a significant share of the spaceport’s development. In 2009, the District pledged 75% of the tax revenues toward the repayment of bond debt issued by the NMSA for construction, and the other 25% has flowed to local spaceport-related education.

The District’s Board of Directors consists of six members that includes four elected officials appointed by the respective county commissions of Doña Ana and Sierra counties. The board also includes two statewide delegates appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the State Senate. The District board is required to meet at least annually.

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Frances Luna

Sierra County

Frances Luna was elected County Commissioner for District 3, Sierra County in 2012. Her committees include: NM County Insurance Authority Multi-Line Pool, Regional Planning Organization, Regional Transit District, Sierra County Tourism Committee, Sierra Vista Hospital Joint Powers Commission, South Central Council of Governments, and South Western County Commission Alliance.

Walter C Armijo

Sierra County

Walter Armijo was elected County Commissioner for District 2, Sierra County in 2007. His committees include: American Lands Council, Jaguar & Wolf Reintroduction Oversight Committee, JLUS, Jornada RC&D, National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition, NM County Insurance Authority Multi-Line Pool, NM/AZ Coalition, Regional Planning Organization, Sierra Vista Hospital Joint Powers Commission, South Western County Commission Alliance, and Workers Investment Act Committee.
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Benjamin L. Rawson

Dona Ana County

Benjamin L. Rawson was appointed to the District 3 seat on the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 12, 2013 by Governor Susana Martinez. Commissioner Rawson is a professional businessman, currently the General Manager of Rawson Inc. Builders Supply. Included in Rawson’s portfolio is the Doña Ana County Government Center, where the company provided and installed not only doors and hardware, but also intricate arches and bullet-resistant glass. During his business career, Commissioner Rawson has experienced the peak of the construction industry in 2006 and the worst in 2012. His quick response to both situations is credited with the survival of Rawson, Inc. Born and raised in Doña Ana County, Commissioner Rawson received his master’s degree in Business Administration from New Mexico State University. Commissioner Rawson has been married to his wife, Kirsten, for eight years. They have three children: Heidi, William and Isabelle.

Leticia Duarte-Benavidez

Dona Ana County

Leticia Duarte-Benavidez represents District 5 on the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners. She is a lifelong native of Doña Ana County, who retired from Doña Ana County as a grant administrator to run for the District 5 commission seat in 2008, taking office on Jan. 1, 2009. She has a deep understanding of county issues from her perspective as a long-time employee, and she said she will bring her knowledge of the organization’s strengths and challenges to the job of Commissioner. Prior to mandatory redistricting in 2012, District 5 encompassed most of Downtown Las Cruces. It now encompasses a portion of northwestern Las Cruces and extends north to the Sierra County line, taking in all or part of the communities of Doña Ana, Radium Springs, Leasburg, Hatch, Salem and Garfield.

Gerald LaFont

State

Gerald LaFont is a City Councilor for the City of Elephant Butte.
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Dr. Terry McMillan

State

Dr. Terry McMillan is a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, representing District 37.