New Mexico Business Coalition talks manufacturing

San Juan College energy dean cites curriculum updates

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
New Mexico Business Coalition President Carla Sonntag speaks Thursday during a gathering of local members at Merrion Oil and Gas in Farmington.
  • The New Mexico Business Coalition recently became affiliated with the National Association of Manufacturers.
  • The San Juan College School of Energy is developing an internationally accessible energy resource curriculum.
  • "We don't have the infrastructure ... but we have opportunities," NMBC President Carla Sonntag says.


FARMINGTON — The president of the New Mexico Business Coalition told local members of the organization that the group is looking at ways to help expand manufacturing and to create jobs in the Four Corners region during a gathering on Thursday at Merrion Oil and Gas.

NMBC recently became the state affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers, which NMBC President Carla Sonntag said has proved to be a powerful force, not only in state and federal legislation, but also for individual business owners.

The partnership with NAM give NMBC members access to an online portal called Manufacturers Marketplace, a web-based search engine for members associated with NAM or its affiliates, according to the marketplace website. Sonntag said the marketplace helps smaller manufacturers reach potential clients from around the country. 

Sonntag also cited the manufacturing certification program at San Juan College. 

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but I think Farmington is a good place,” Sonntag said. “I know we don’t have the infrastructure with major freeways connecting (and) we don’t have the train that comes up here, but we have opportunities.”

Community members listen as San Juan College School of Energy Dean Barbara Wickman speaks Thursday during a New Mexico Business Coalition event at Merrion Oil and Gas in Farmington.


Sonntag gave an update on issues relevant to her organization, including the defeat of a proposed sick leave ordinance that Albuquerque voters rejected on Tuesday. Sonntag said the ordinance was a “really, really bad” for the business community. She credited the ordinance’s defeat to 30 associations that came together to oppose it. 

“The fact that we defeated it was a huge victory,” Sonntag said. “The fact that the business community came together like that was even bigger, because they’ll be back."

Barbara Wickman, dean of San Juan College’s Department of Energy, also spoke at the event, giving an update on the school’s programs, including the school’s work to comply with the college’s mission statement and vision.

“When I look at the vision statement and mission statement together, what I see is the need for us to be making sure that we are educating people with useful knowledge so that they can go out and inspire this community and their friends and other people to come here and make it as vibrant, exciting and financially successful as it wants and as it can be,” Wickman said.

Wally Drangmeister, president of Path Three Marketing, is introduced as a guest speaker Thursday during a New Mexico Business Coalition event at Merrion Oil and Gas in Farmington.


Wickman said the School of Energy is developing an “internationally accessible energy resource curriculum” to meet the new standards, while keeping traditional industry relevant in the school.

“I don’t want anybody to think that we don’t still love our traditional industries in this area,” Wickman said.

Local NMBC members also had a social media training with Wally Drangmeister of Path Three Marketing in Albuquerque at the event.

Megan Petersen is the business and education reporter for the Farmington Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.