The New Mexico Spaceport Authority Board of Directors consists of eight members; six are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. The Lt. Governor and the Secretary of the Economic Development Department or his designee are also members. By statute, no more than three of the appointed members shall belong to the same political party. Members serve staggered four-year terms.
Richard HoldridgeNMSA Chairman
Chairman Richard Holdridge is a retired Air Force officer from Deming whose military service included a heavy focus on satellite program acquisition and overseeing the manufacturing, planning, and operation of United States Department of Defense satellite programs. After retiring from the Air Force, Holdridge was elected to the Deming City Council, where he served from 1998 to 2000. He currently manages his family’s real estate development and farming businesses in southern New Mexico. Holdridge earned his B.S. in Astronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, his M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Dayton, and his PhD in Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University.
Davin LopezNMSA Board Member
Davin Lopez is the President and CEO of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA), which he joined in February 2009. Prior to joining MVEDA, he served as Vice President of the New Mexico Partnership, the private economic development business attraction arm of the State of New Mexico for 6 years. Mr. Lopez also spent 5 years in corporate real estate with two of the largest Real Estate Investment Trusts in the U.S.: General Growth Properties and the Macerich Company. Mr. Lopez sits on a number of state and regional economic development related Boards of Directors, to include the NM Partnership, Quality NM, Spaceport Authority, and Arrowhead Inc. to name a few. Educationally, Mr. Lopez holds an MBA from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, San Diego.
Rebecca LathamNMSA Board Member
In January 2015 Governor Susana Martinez appointed Rebecca as the Cabinet Secretary of the Tourism Department. With more than a decade of experience in advertising and marketing, Rebecca is a passionate tourism professional who has served New Mexico’s hospitality industry since 2006. She brings a wealth of experience across all aspects of the marketing spectrum including economic development, strategic messaging, brand development, public relations, and communications. Under her leadership the Tourism Department is focused on building awareness and driving travel to The Land of Enchantment through the New Mexico True campaign, which delivers a 7:1 ROI at the tax base level (Longwoods Intl 2015).
Nathan LaFontNMSA Board Member
Nathan LaFont is the general Manager of Elephant Butte Inn & RV Resort. He has been in the hospitality industry all his life, serving on many tourism & economic boards and committees. Living in Sierra County he has seen and been a part of the benefits of Spaceport America. He is proud to be part of the Spaceport Authority, developing and sharing the economic and educational benefits of the space industry.
Laura ConniffNMSA Board Member
Laura Mathers Conniff is co-owner/qualifying Broker for Mathers Realty, Inc. in Las Cruces, NM and an owner of Leveldale Farms and Conniff Cattle Company. Currently she serves on the Boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, El Paso Branch, First American Bank, and is a co-founder and co-chair of NMSU Aggies are Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Formerly she served on the NMSU Board of Regents for 11 years, 3 years as chair. A graduate of NMSU in Business she continues to serve on the NMSU Business Advisory Council, and has been appointed to the New Mexico Land Title Trust Fund Advisory Committee.
Michelle CoonsNMSA Board Member
Michelle Coons is the President of First National Bank of Santa Fe and First National Rio Grande, which are part of the Strategic Growth Bancorp family, a regional bank holding company focused on ongoing growth throughout the Southwest. She is the bank’s first woman president since its inception in 1870 and a 32-year New Mexico veteran in this industry. First National’s New Mexico presence includes Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces. Michelle is a graduate of UNM’s Robert O. Anderson School of Management and has contributed countless hours to her community. Currently, Michelle is the Board Chair for the UNM Foundation, immediate past chair of Acción NM, CO, AZ, NV and TX and board member of the Spaceport Authority, Albuquerque Economic Development, and UNM Hospital.
Lt. Governor John SanchezNMSA Board Member
John Sanchez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and can trace his public service roots to his great, great grandfather who was a territorial legislator from San Miguel County, in 1860. Sanchez was elected to the office of Councilman for the Village of Los Ranchos, NM in 1997, and served in the New Mexico House of Representatives from 2000 to 2002. In 2005, he was recognized as one of the Top 40 Most Influential Hispanics in the Country. John and Debra Sanchez have built one of New Mexico’s most respected businesses. Twice, their company has been honored as Small Business of the Year. Sanchez has had diverse business interests, and maintained a New Mexico real estate license for over 20 years. The Lt. Governor and his wife are the proud parents of two grown daughters, and reside in Albuquerque.