Chamber Chat: The city of Aztec needs you

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Vangie Neil
Aztec Chamber of Commerce
Vangie Garza Neil

As with any city or town, the goal is to continue to grow and in the process, evolve by investing in various types of business developments – small business, farming, healthcare, quality of life, education, resources for seniors and housing, it’s natural environment, support for open spaces, and groundwater protection, to name a few. 

One factor that moves a town to be successful (or not), are its elected officials and city staff. With the announcement of the resignation of Aztec City Manager Josh Ray, the town will now begin to search for a replacement for the City Manager position with a skill set that includes technical skills, such as budgeting, human resources, project administration, and technology. Most importantly, the city will need an individual that possesses skills in team leadership, team-building, conflict resolution, listening, communication, supervision, and other people leadership skills. 

Although a bit early, elections will take place in March of 2018 for City Commissioners. Citizens of Aztec should begin to look for candidates that possess much of the same skill set. Equally important, are those candidates who have a passion for the City of Aztec; a candidate that is voted in not because they are pushing their one issue or their agenda, but because they have the ability to handle a multitude of issues (sometimes thousands) on an ongoing basis; one that knows about the bottom dollar; business; about teamwork; has varied interests; and ultimately, consider a selection of leaders who understand and can lead according to morality and righteous observance of the law and in the best interest of the City of Aztec.

Get ready Aztec. Look hard, be selective, do your homework. This is not a popularity contest. 


The City of Aztec and Four Corners Economic Development (4CED) have won prestigious awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).The City of Aztec won the Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award for The HUB Incubator Revitalization, a project in the category of Real Estate Redevelopment & Reuse and 4CED won the Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for its Real People, Real Jobs Campaign, a project in the category Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Single Event.

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17 - 20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the City of Aztec and 4CED. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.”  - Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair

 The Aztec HUB is an innovative redevelopment and reuse project that took a downtown core building that was in disrepair and in need of significant renovation and turned it into a thriving tool for creation and incubation of new businesses in the city. Operated by the city, it serves as a business incubator which houses incubation, co-working, business training and meeting space, an outdoor market for pop-up businesses and a home for the Aztec Chamber of Commerce.

 This collaborative project brought together the many entrepreneurial resource partners from the region to provide services in the Aztec area. Likewise, San Juan College and Four Corners Economic Development worked to support the project through community surveying and applying for grant funding for the project. The HUB provides a convenient and much needed business education, training and services in a location in the heart of Aztec’s business center and downtown core. The added benefit is continued revitalization and renovation of our downtown core.

 4CED’s Real People Real Jobs (RPRJ) was a public relations and media campaign launched to fight to save San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) and San Juan coal mine from early closure. The mission was to send a clear message to the commissioners of State Public Regulation Commission (PRC) that their approval was needed pertaining to a proposal from the SJGS to shut only a portion of the plant as opposed to shuttering it completely in order to save hundreds of jobs and avoid millions of dollars in negative impact to the local economy.

 It was vitally important for local voices to be heard to prevent a potential double in the unemployment rate for the area. The Real People Real Jobs ‘Opportunity Expos’ were also held to assist those individuals that did get laid off due to the downsizing of the plant to find new positions, make connections for retraining, find entrepreneurial opportunities, retire, or find investment resources leading to new opportunities in the area. The initiative is still used to this day.

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. Among many activities which benefit the economy, IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs and develop vibrant communities.


The Aztec Chamber of Commerce Board unveils their new logo at their Annual Banquet, “Meet Me at the Diner,” Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Aztec Community Center. The logo depicts a modern-day version of New Mexico’s Kokopelli which denotes birth; evolvement; and now a newness for the Chamber and its growing base of Members. 

Members will be given the new chamber logo decal the evening of the event. Chamber Members, stop by the Chamber office on Wednesdays to pick up your decal or call the chamber at (505) 334-7646 to collect your decal.

Don’t forget the Chamber has a new benefits package for Chamber members. Please call to schedule your orientation to review your new benefits package at (505) 215-9888 or contact us via email at


• Oct. 18 - Aztec Chamber "Marketing/Speed Networking" at Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, 623 Phoenix Ct., Aztec, NM, 11:30 to 1 p.m.

• Nov. 8 - Dr. Summer Graham, Aztec Chiropractic at the Aztec Municipal Golf Course, 29 Road 3025, Aztec, NM, 11:30 to 1 p.m.

• Dec. 20 - TBA

Thank you to September’s lunch Speaker and Nurse Practitioner, Nancy Brooker, San Juan Health Partners Family Medicine, with her topic, “Staying Healthy As A Business Owner … And Keeping Your Employees Healthy Too,” and the Aztec Municipal Golf Course for the use of their event meeting room.

Bring your business cards to our next luncheon for Speed Networking and Marketing Tips. For more information to host a luncheon or to reserve your spot, call the Chamber at (505) 334-7646 or via email at


• Oct. 20 – Tuff Shed, 2430 W Aztec Blvd., Aztec, NM, 5 to 7 pm

• Nov. 16 - Finish Line Graphics, 5 to 7pm

• December - TBA

Thank you to the Friends of Mosaic Academy for hosting the Business-After-Hours, Thursday, Sept. 21 at Microtel Inn & Suites. Friends of Mosaic Academy are still welcoming donations for their second phase for their new school building (20,000 sq. ft.) on HWY. 550 across from Microtel. Consider making a donation to help them with their goal of $200,000. If you can see your way to help them meet their goal or any part of it, call (505) 334-6364, mail your investment to Friends of Mosaic Academy at 450 Llano Street, Aztec, NM 87410 or email them at We are nearing the end of 2017. Consider a donation now towards your end of year tax exemptions. You won’t regret it and what a worthwhile cause. Every little bit helps!

Ornaments hang on a tree at Minium Park in Aztec. The annual Aztec Sparkles celebration kicks off on Thursday. Ornaments hang on a tree at Minium Park in Aztec, which kicks off its annual Aztec Sparkles celebration on Thursday.
Crystal Tradup, left, Justice Farrell, Dalton Eaton and Kamry Johnson enjoy a tractor ride provided by the Four Corners Antique Power Association's Greg Tradup Saturday during the second annual Aztec Sparkles event.
Crystal Tradup, left, Justice Farrell, Dalton Eaton and Kamry Johnson enjoy a tractor ride provided by the Four Corners Antique Power Association's Greg Tradup Saturday during the second annual Aztec Sparkles event.


Are you one of the few who has not attended Aztec’s Christmas destination in December, “Aztec Sparkles?” 

Well get ready to be entertained by an arts and craft show at the Aztec Community Center, activities for youth at the Aztec Public Library, and evening of lights at the Aztec Ruins, the traditional Christmas Parade down Main Street, fun and exciting activities at the Aztec Boys and Girls Club, hayrides throughout downtown Aztec, holiday shopping on Main Street at retail shops full of goods as well as artisans and vendors located throughout downtown Aztec. But come early to see a flash of red and green kick off Saturday’s events with the Santa Dash, a regulation 5K chip run down Main Street, plus much, much more. 

Events begin on Thursday, Dec. 7 through Saturday evening, Dec. 9. Planning is still underway and volunteers are needed as well as a call out to vendors seeking to sell their wares. Call (505) 947-4143 for information, to volunteer or to become a vendor for this great fun-filled event.