Lab program celebrates ‘New Heights’

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By Roger Snodgrass

POJOAQUE – Paul Kedrosky, a CNBC television analyst and writer-investor-consultant, told a “New Heights” gathering of entrepreneurs and their supporters that the harsh economy was no reason to throw in the towel.

A Senior Fellow at the Kaufman Foundation, dedicated to understanding and enhancing American Entrepreneurship, Kedrosky said an interesting finding by the foundation was that many companies established during recessions, like Microsoft, Sun, Genentch, TCBY and SGI, went on to great national success.

“The lesson of history is we need you more than ever,” he said. “It’s the entrepreneur who’s most likely to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll take a flyer here.’”

In fact, the best time to start a bank was in the 1930’s, contrary to lessons that many might have drawn from the bank failures that occurred during the Depression.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean we should all go out and create credit default syndications companies,” he said, referring to the current credit crisis, “but the economy is speaking to us.”

Kauffman gave the keynote speech Wednesday evening, as New Mexico Connect held its second annual client recognition and award ceremony at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino.

NNM Connect is the overall name for a number of targeted programs sponsored by Los Alamos National Security, LLC that find, fund and provide specialized support for new companies and economic development in the region.

Joe Scarpino, who has guided NNM Connect as senior executive for LANS, said the program was modeled after a successful effort in San Diego, San Diego Connect that came together during severe cutbacks in the defense and space industries. Additional advice has come from the Research Triangle in North Carolina.

“Economic development is not easy,” he said. “You have to have a long term commitment and the lab has that commitment.”

Ultimately, said Belinda Padilla, of the LANL Technology Transfer Division, the goal is to create a community-based program in partnership with LANS to nurture fledgling businesses.

Padilla and Mariann Johnston of the LANL Community Programs Office introduced award winners and thanked the many people and allies who have contributed to the project, including key support from Ed Burkle and the Regional Development Corporation.

2008 Awards

• Link Community Award – Bob DeLaHunt, Chama River Valley Region

• Link Client Awards – Jolene Jessie, Sports Artist and Jonathan Naranjo, Northern New Mexico Technology

• Springboard Top Graduate – Marko Rodriguez, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Knowledge Reef Systems

• Big Bang Award – Rebecca and Steve Carter, VariStreamTV

• Venture Aceleration Impact Award, John Elling, Acoustic Cytometry Systems and Gary Selwyn, ApJet, Inc.