April 16, 2014

Udall Focuses on Work to Create High-Tech Jobs in Visit to Economic Forum, ATA

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall wrapped up a swing through Albuquerque and Northern New Mexico with a speech at the Economic Forum and a visit to Applied Technology Associates (ATA), a small company that has seen great success by building on technology developed at New Mexico's national labs.

Udall's message to the Economic Forum was that New Mexico needs to work together to build on its economic strengths and create jobs. Udall is working with a coalition of private businesses, the labs and military bases, the universities, and state and local government to leverage the cutting-edge research and development and entrepreneurial spirit - along with federal resources - to help New Mexico build a strong high-tech economic sector and create jobs.

"There are no quick fixes, no one-size-fits-all solutions. But I believe we have great strengths in New Mexico," Udall said in his remarks. "Working together is key. We have the talent. We have the opportunity. We need to go after it with everything we have."

Udall addressed a topic that many in Albuquerque have been talking about: "Why does New Mexico seem to be falling behind when the states around us are thriving?"

"Is it New Mexico's dependence on the federal government? Is it a deeper problem?" Udall said. "Here's the reality as I see it: New Mexico is at a crossroads now. The future should be our focus. And that means less hand-wringing and more hand-shakes. That's our challenge and our opportunity."

Directly after the Economic Forum, Udall visited ATA, which has worked closely with him on two initiatives:

- A bill to expand technology transfer and help entrepreneurs build businesses based on research developed at the national labs. Udall introduced the ATTAIN Act in March. More information is available HERE.

- And on an effort to locate one of the President's "Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation" focused on optics and photonics in the greater Albuquerque area. Udall led the delegation in promoting the public-private coalition's efforts with the White House. Creating an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation could bring New Mexico over $1.3 billion in federal economic development investment. More information is available HERE.

Udall toured ATA, one of the founding companies at Sandia Science & Technology Park, which manufactures precision measurement, sensing and controls systems. ATA works closely with the Air Force Research Lab, White Sands Missile Range, and Operationally Responsive Space at Kirtland Air Force Base to develop devices for lasers, satellites and other technology.

"ATA is a great example of a company that has taken research from the lab bench to the marketplace and created jobs and economic development as a result," Udall said. "There are countless examples of commercial applications for research at our labs, and we can do more. I look forward to continuing to work with ATA and businesses like it on tech transfer and on building a high tech manufacturing hub here in New Mexico."

"ATA is very encouraged by the leadership demonstrated by Senator Udall on the ATTAIN ACT and his strong support to the New Mexico coalition pursuing an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation," said Dr. Jim McNally, Director of Strategic Development for ATA and the Chairman of the New Mexico Optics Industry Association. "Establishing an expanded photonics-centric manufacturing base with applications in medical devices, communications, manufacturing process control, and national security in New Mexico is possible - all of the ingredients are here for an industry-lead successful private-public manufacturing hub. And, this will afford great possibilities for broadening our economic base consistent with the Senator's ATTAIN ACT goals. We look forward to continued strong support from Senator Udall."

Earlier in the week, Udall held events on improving child wellbeing and recruiting jobs and economic opportunity in Northern New Mexico. He will conclude the week by hosting a Women's Career Success Conference in Las Cruces and discussing trade and jobs at the Columbus Port of Entry.