Officials aim for business technology center

By Tony Parra

Kathy White of Rural Sourcing Inc. conveyed by speakerphone to a mixture of city, state and Eastern New Mexico University officials that she wanted to follow a timeline to implement a business technology center in Portales.
White spoke to them on Friday morning at the Sandia Room of the Campus Union Building at ENMU. University President Steven Gamble said he would like to see the new building on the ENMU campus, but said ENMU doesn’t have the capabilities to secure a temporary facility for it by January.
White said by January she would like to see Portales with 15 workstations for prospective employees for ‘virtual internships.’ She said the workstation would have to be state of the art with web cams and phones and it would cost approximately $75,000.
“We could use the Memorial Building for a temporary building,” Ortega said. “We look forward to seeing what we can do to help you. It sounds exciting. We are growing and progressing.”
Space in the Memorial Building opened up recently when the Chamber of Commerce and other businesses moved to a Business Welcome Center at the town square.
White said she would invest $50,000 for an experienced manager to help oversee the virtual internship.
“This will be homegrown,” Gamble said. “We don’t get many opportunities like these. She says what she means. The university will move as best we can but it will take community involvement.”
City, university and possibly state officials will make a trip to Arkansas to see a working facility on Sept. 13. She said she would like to see advertisements by September for 15 positions to work at the virtual internship. White said she plans to travel to Portales on Oct. 13 to go through more details over the project.
White said she would also like to see resumes of prospective students and residents interested in enrolling in the program and make selections in November and have ‘virtual internship.’
“She has connections with Fortune 500 companies,” Ronnie Birdsong, ENMU Vice President of university relations/enrollment, said. “We were the first outside of Arkansas she contacted.”
White started a Rural Sourcing program at Arkansas State University, Southern Arkansas University and the University of Arkansas-Monticello. White said Rural Sourcing helps keep jobs in the United States and in rural areas instead of sending them overseas. Jobs include applications help desks, web page specialists, data entry, programmers and computer specialists.
“I come from a rural area,” White said. “I don’t take it lightly, I want to be able to bring people on board. I want to see the skills you (ENMU officials) are teaching.”
Others present at the meeting included Frank Griego, community development representative of the economic development division of the state of New Mexico, and Manuel Duran, a program engineer for the Space Alliance Outreach Program in Santa Fe.