Albuquerque Business First
PUBLISHED: August 17, 2016

I just returned from the obligatory summer family vacation, which, for the Beekes, means a three-day road trip with three kids to the Wolverine State.

My husband and I, as well as our kids, spent many of our formative years in Michigan, and it’s where most of our extended family still resides. It was our first time back in four years. We met four new nieces and nephews, got a refresher in the extended-family drama we’ve been missing and celebrated our youngest child’s seventh birthday with waterslides, sunburns and roller coasters.


In short, I was ready to come home. To New Mexico, I mean.

After a year in the Land of Enchantment, I didn’t quite feel at home here until I made that trip back to where I grew up. Everyone there asked a lot about New Mexico — it was obvious they didn’t know much about our state. I bragged about the humidity-free weather, the shocking lack of mosquitoes and showed off my iPhone video of a roadrunner in action. But one difference that really stood out to me between Michiganders and New Mexicans is our woeful lack of showoffs and braggarts.

Nearly every store in Michigan seemed to play to the tremendous state pride there — most cars had a Michigan bumper sticker, every other person wore a state-promoting T-shirt or ball cap, I saw multiple friends sporting state-shaped necklaces.

I rarely see that here, but I was sure happy I had just purchased and packed my first New Mexico T-shirt and slapped on a New Mexico bumper sticker. While we may not have the proliferation of state-focused retailers I found in Michigan, we can find products that promote our state, and I encourage you to stock up before your next out-of-state trip. Because we are the best marketers for our state, and there’s plenty to brag about.

Here are three New Mexicans who do a great job of encouraging state pride, if you need any help loving where you live.

1. Antoinette Vigil, manager of the office of business development & tourism, Sandoval County. Vigil spends a lot of her time encouraging Sandoval and Bernalillo county business leaders to cross the river and work together. As part of the Sandoval Economic Alliance, Vigil knows how imaginary the boundaries between these municipalities truly are, especially to out-of-state companies considering moving to our region. That was one of my first surprises as a new resident here — that many in ABQ consider Rio Rancho as far away as Santa Fe. Think again, and think how working together can benefit all of us.

2. Esparza“>Del Esparza, founder, Esparza. Esparza leads one of the largest advertising agencies in New Mexico, and spent plenty of time outside the state before deciding to bring his talents back home. Even the lure of oil and gas riches and the Houston high life couldn’t prevent Esparza from returning, and lucky for us. He works with a long list of New Mexico companies to help them get the word out and serves on the board of Albuquerque Economic Development. As a not-so-long-ago 40 Under Forty, he’s also up for the distinction of being named most-impactful alumni in his class. You can vote on that and the most impactful alums from all our 15 years of 40 Under Forty. He also just served as an Albuquerque Business First judge for our inaugural C-Suite Awards, helping us recognize other visionary leaders who will be announced in the coming weeks.

3. Jessica Taylor, co-owner, Realty One. If you haven’t heard of Realty One, you may be texting while driving instead of looking around at all the for-sale and sold signs in the area. Taylor opened the residential company with her husband in 2006 and just won ABF’s Fastest Growing Companies Award with more than 1,000 percent growth over three years. In March, Realty One expanded to Santa Fe and now has eight offices. In speaking with Taylor at our event last week, I was impressed with her and her husband’s genuine love of what they do and where they do it.


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