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New Mexico Invents Gets ReEnergized


On February 16, 2018 a group of inventors met at the Bloomfield Multi-Cultural Center for a New Mexico Invents-Meet 'n' Greet. They were energized by the presence of a new member, George Walter, who left the corporate world and is now offering his time and expertise to help local inventors to make their ideas a reality---and to help improve the community where he lives. "Change doesn't come easy", he said, "but I couldn't sit idly by and watch our community go down." The group included John Martinez from New Mexico Small Business Assistance Programs and Denise Williams, Innovation Director for Northwest New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Bloomfield City Manager, Eric Strahl also attended and said, "Anything the city can do to help---that's why I'm listening to see what's going on".

Pam Gathings organized the group a couple of years ago when she was working with Sandia National Labs on one of her inventions. She was introduced to Mr. Martinez by Williams and regularly drove to Albuquerque to gain information and assistance. She introduced the first speaker, Mr. Walter, as "a force of nature". He spoke passionately about the need for "innovation through invention---we can employ people here---making products that come from here. The possibilities are endless!", he said. "When it comes to something I believe in, I cannot be stopped." He sees himself as a "data-hub or agent of change". Any effective group needs high-energy individuals like Walter---to bring fresh ideas and consistent effort.

Walter referenced local inventor, Frank Santoro, and praised his building material invention, which combines waste cardboard/paper with clay to form a proprietary, patented product, as "pretty ingenious". Turns out Santoro had approached---to no avail---the very corporation that Walter left in 2015, as a district manager for Waste Management Corporation. "He's a little deflated", Walter said of Santoro, "but we're going to build him back up".

Mr. Martinez described many inventions that NMSBA, who refers projects to either Sandia or Los Alamos National Labs have helped to become a marketable product. He also spoke about the impressive number of inventions emanating from creative New Mexicans. More than 5000 patented inventions have come out of NM since 2002. He revealed that "New Mexico is the only state that offers a no-cost program like that of NMSBA". Regarding the role of the Labs, he explained, "They are government contractors to the Department of Energy and in exchange for providing engineering, testing and design expertise, they get tax credits, up to $2.4 million per year. If you have an idea, a concept---jot it down to protect your intellectual property---and submit it", he suggested. The application is a simple, single-page form. Martinez offered a one-on-one, post-meeting consultation to those in attendance.

Local inventors at the event included Gary Lewis/The Rejuvenator, featured recently in the TALON; Steve Barker/ Intensifier Shield, who has received assistance from Sandia Labs; Middy McFarland/Strap-It, which utilizes recycled seatbelts and Velcro to secure objects in vehicles. She uses it for her oxygen machine and has sold some to a local pizza company. Mr. Lewis emphatically stated, "I've tried to go the government route and it's quite an ordeal---just to hear 'no'---people (inventors) need investors!".

Kim Tsosie/Glenhasbah Renewable Energy Technologies Inc. (www.gretliving.com), presented information about their building products (SIP Panels). She said a house can be built in a few days at a much lower cost than with typical frame construction. The company is seeking the right space to get manufacturing underway here in San Juan County. Their mission is: "Helping to empower the people, the land and the economy of our communities through renewable energy technologies".

NM Invents recently revised their mission statement: "To encourage innovation through invention by building a bridge of knowledge between inventors and available resources". Their goal: "To be the resource platform you use to see your creative ambition come to life"; with the core values: "Action, Partnership, Problem-Solving, Open and Available Resources". "The more we get uncomfortable, maybe that's what we should do", Walter suggested. "The more we talk and use the media---that's what generates the buzz. We could do it---things could change". His inspired message is---we can "build a better community!".

Contact Pam at: [email protected] or George at: [email protected]


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