Discussion of energy-related issues planned

'Social hour' atmosphere envisioned for event bringing together public, energy officials

Leigh Black Irvin
Ken McQueen, New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources secretary, will be the speaker for the New Mexico Business Coalition’s Energy BASH event on Thursday at the Courtyard by Marriott in Farmington.
  • Admission for the event is free, but registration is required by Wednesday.
  • The Albuquerque-based New Mexico Business Coalition is staging the social hour.
  • The keynote address by Ken McQueen will provide an energy road map for New Mexico.

FARMINGTON — Community members and industry officials will come together to discuss energy-related issues during a social hour on Thursday.

The New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC) Energy BASH will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott here, and is being co-sponsored by ConocoPhillips, XTO Energy, WPX Energy, PESCO, and Merrion Oil and Gas. The featured speaker for the event will be Ken McQueen, secretary for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department.

Although admission is free, organizers are asking that those wishing to attend register by Wednesday.

Carla Sonntag is president of the Albuquerque-based NMBC, which she described as a nonpartisan, pro-business association.

"Our purpose is to foster good public policy that will promote job creation and a better life for all New Mexicans," she said.

While the group's main office is in Albuquerque, Sonntag said there are also NMBC branches in Ruidoso, Las Cruces and Rio Rancho. Members of the organization travel throughout the state each year to organize business-related events like the Energy BASH.

"Energy is a big issue in Farmington," she said. "We want to help with diversification efforts, and we're taking an active role in that, but we're also very supportive of the extractive industries. They're good employers and are a big part of New Mexico's budget."

Sonntag said officials from organizations such as Four Corners Economic Development (4CED) and San Juan College, city and county leaders, and employees from local oil and gas companies are planning to attend the event.

"Secretary McQueen will talk about an energy road map for New Mexico," she said. "I'll be providing a general legislative update on energy issues."

Sonntag said her group has been coordinating with the San Juan College School of Energy to plan the event, which will also feature a cash bar and snacks.

4CED CEO Warren Unsicker said his office has been helping to promote the upcoming Energy BASH.

"I think this will be a good opportunity to learn more about how the energy industry impacts our economy," he said. "It's an integral part of our landscape here, and this will provide a chance to learn more about how the industry creates jobs."

Unsicker said that since he took over as the head of 4CED in January, he's been working on connecting with community partners and has built some successful professional relationships. He said he has come up with some ideas that will contribute to economic development in the county.

"I've got some things I'm going to be implementing, and I plan to speak about them at our upcoming member's luncheon on April 6," he said. "That will also provide an opportunity for all of our members to share what we've been up to."

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.

If you go

What: NMBC Energy BASH

When: 5-7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Courtyard by Marriott, 560 Scott Ave. in Farmington

For more information: Registration is required by Wednesday. To register or to find for more information, visit wwwnmbizcoalition.org, email nmbiz@nmbizcoalition.org or call 505-836-4223.