Holsapple to step down

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Chamber: Longtime ED plans to relinquish helm in April

By John Severance

Kevin Holsapple has made the decision to step down as executive director of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation/Chamber of Commerce.

Holsapple notified chamber staff of his decision this afternoon.

Holsapple, who has been the executive director for the past 15 years, plans to relinquish the helm in April.

“I am looking to step back and get down to a lesser-than-full-time activity so I can get some other projects done,” Holsapple said. “I turned 55 this year and I am looking to shift gears a bit. This is the last phase of work life.

“I am going to continue to work, but just on a part-time basis. I have not resigned or quit or anything like that. I am just drawing back on the amount of time and effort I put into this job.”

The LACDC Executive Committee has begun preparing a search for Holsapple’s replacement.

A memo from the executive committee to the full board last week stated, “Kevin has made the decision to pursue other career ambitions with his wife while they are still young enough to do so. While we value his service to the chamber and the community, we understand and respect his decision.”

Bill Enloe of Los Alamos National Bank and a member of the LACDC board said, “I have tremendous respect for Kevin. I have had the pleasure of working with him for many years and I have never met a person that puts more thought or work into the things he believes in.

“He is truly a unique individual and LACDC will have an impossible task finding a person with the skills to replace Kevin. I wish him the best at fulfilling his personal goals of expanding his experiences and horizons. He is a great asset to our community and his involvement will be missed.”

Holsapple moved to Los Alamos in 1989 and initially worked for the laboratory.

He has served on a number of boards including:
• High Mesa Institutes of Los Alamos
• New Mexico Chamber Executives Association
• Los Alamos-Sarov Sister Cities, Inc.
• Association of University Research Parks
• Treasurer, Board of Directors for the Coronado Ventures Forum
• National Business Incubator Association
• Program Oversight for the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Small Business Development Center

So what does Holsapple see for the future of Los Alamos?

“I think it’s really bright,” he said. “What had me initially moving here is still there. There is capability and talent that exists in this community to do some great things in the world. The people and facilities here are able to solve problems.”

He also foresees a seamless transition as he steps down from his post early next year.

“This is the world of shoestring budgets among not-for-profit organizations,” Holsapple said. “You move forward, keep positive things happening and you do it all on a limited set of resources.

“We have a strong staff and they bring together a lot of skills and work well together. They are able to get a lot of things done.

“We also have a very strong board, which is more than capable of taking the next step in this organization.”
Holsapple said it has been a challenge for economic development in this area with the fluctuating fortunes of the lab in town.

But he also says it beats the alternative.

“It’s definitely better than being in a place that has nothing to build off of,” he said.