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 of Counsel in Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A.’s New Mexico office.  His practice includes government finance law, economic development and state tax incentive law, government relations, financial institutions law, securities law and corporate law matters.  He has counseled private businesses in regard to a variety of matters pertaining to growth, corporate governance affairs and government relations.  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.

Davin Lopez

Davin Lopez

NMSA Board Member

Davin Lopez is the President and CEO of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA), which he joined in February 2009. Prior to joining MVEDA, he served as Vice President of the New Mexico Partnership, the private economic development business attraction arm of the State of New Mexico for 6 years. Mr. Lopez also spent 5 years in corporate real estate with two of the largest Real Estate Investment Trusts in the U.S.: General Growth Properties and the Macerich Company. Mr. Lopez sits on a number of state and regional economic development related Boards of Directors, to include the NM Partnership, Quality NM, Spaceport Authority, and Arrowhead Inc. to name a few. Educationally, Mr. Lopez holds an MBA from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, San Diego.

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.

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.

Laura Conniff

Laura Conniff

NMSA Board Member

Laura Mathers Conniff is co-owner/qualifying Broker for Mathers Realty, Inc. in Las Cruces, NM and an owner of Leveldale Farms and Conniff Cattle Company. Currently she serves on the Boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, El Paso Branch, First American Bank, and is a co-founder and co-chair of NMSU Aggies are Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Formerly she served on the NMSU Board of Regents for 11 years, 3 years as chair. A graduate of NMSU in Business she continues to serve on the NMSU Business Advisory Council, and has been appointed to the New Mexico Land Title Trust Fund Advisory Committee.

Michelle Coons

NMSA Board Member

Michelle Coons is the President of First National Bank of Santa Fe and First National Rio Grande, which are part of the Strategic Growth Bancorp family, a regional bank holding company focused on ongoing growth throughout the Southwest. She is the bank’s first woman president since its inception in 1870 and a 32-year New Mexico veteran in this industry. First National’s New Mexico presence includes Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces. Michelle is a graduate of UNM’s Robert O. Anderson School of Management and has contributed countless hours to her community. Currently, Michelle is the Board Chair for the UNM Foundation, immediate past chair of Acción NM, CO, AZ, NV and TX and board member of the Spaceport Authority, Albuquerque Economic Development, and UNM Hospital.

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.


Frances Luna

Chair, 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.

Kenneth Lyons

Sierra County

Ken Lyons was elected County Commissioner for District 2, Sierra County in 2014. 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 the Workers Investment Act Committee.


Benjamin L. Rawson

Vice-Chair, Doña 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.

Wayne D. Hancock

Doña Ana County

Wayne D. Hancock represents District 4 on the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners and took office on Jan. 1, 2013. Commissioner Hancock is a retired business owner who spent most of his career developing telephone systems, including six years living and working in Mexico. He is particularly interested in bringing the city and county together on issues that matter, promoting economic development, water policy, public transportation and the creation of jobs through attracting entrepreneurs and new business to the area.

Gerald LaFont


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


Dr. Terry McMillan


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