National Laboratories Receive 67% Favorability Rating Among New Mexico Residents
By The Garrity Group
New Mexico’s national laboratories rank 5th among 17 industries and institutions included in the 2020 Garrity Perception Survey
New Mexico’s national laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have a high level of favorability among the state’s residents. According to the 2020 Garrity Perception Survey, the national labs rank 5th among the 17 industries and institutions with a 67 percent favorability among New Mexico residents. The national laboratories in similar company with small business, farm and ranch, renewable energy and local banks in favorability.
Today, Tom Garrity, President and CEO of The Garrity Group Public Relations speaks with Kathy Keith, Director of the Community Partnerships Office at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Los Alamos Laboratory Contributes $3 Billion a Year to the State’s Economy. An independent economic impact analysis has found that Los Alamos National Laboratory is responsible for creating 24,169 jobs in New Mexico while contributing $3.1 billion a year—much of it in out-of-state dollars—to the New Mexico economy (https://www.lanl.gov/community/economic/index.php).
Sandia National Laboratory now has more than 14,000 employees in Albuquerque alone. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the Sandia Laboratory contributed than $3.7 billion dollars into New Mexico’s economy, with $2.1 billion going straight to payroll (https://www.sandia.gov/working_with_sandia/economic_impact/).
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group Public Relations [00:00:05] New Mexico’s two national laboratories account for more than three, 4000 jobs in our state today, favorability of the national laboratories is the focus of our conversation as we dig into the 2020 Garrity Perception Survey. This is Tom Garrity with the Garrity group Public Relations. Today, we have the opportunity to speak with Kathy Keith, the director of the Community Partnerships Office at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Kathy Keith, Los Alamos National Lab [00:00:30] Welcome and thank you for your time today. Well, thank you for having me, Tom. You bet.
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group Public Relations [00:00:37] Before we jump into the 20 20 findings, we please provide our viewers and listeners a little bit more insight about the Los Alamos National Laboratory and your role within the organization.
Kathy Keith, Los Alamos National Lab [00:00:48] Sure. So Los Alamos National Laboratories mission is to solve national security problems through science. The mission hasn’t changed since we were established in 1944 as part of the Manhattan Project that eventually led to the end of World War Two. But what has changed is our world, which has become much more complex. And so the mission of the laboratory has really changed as well. We now employ 13000 people in New Mexico and really across the country and the world who are working on some of the most important science, technology and engineering challenges of our times, including in areas like biology and life, science, energy research, materials development, computer modeling, space research, nuclear deterrence. The list goes on and on and on. Right. Currently working on many Kofod related projects. It’s a you know, it’s changed our all of our world’s covered. And luckily, the laboratory has in place a lot of people who have expertize in thinking about how we combat the pandemic. So the laboratories operator Triad LLC has a serious commitment to our communities and playing a role in New Mexico to give our time, talent and energy of both triad and its resources and our employees to make New Mexico a better place. And I have a great job of helping to enable network.
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group Public Relations [00:02:34] Well, I absolutely believe you. I mean, because it’s so whenever we have the opportunity to connect on New Mexico first, you’re always fresh and ready to go to talk about the topics of the day, which is only possible if you have a great employer to work for. So when we look at New Mexico’s national laboratories, they have a high level of favorability among the state’s residents. Well, and according to the 20 20 Garrity Perception’s survey, the labs in general ranked fifth among the 17 different industries and institutions in the survey, with a 67 percent favorability among New Mexico residents. Your initial take on why the labs are so favorable.
Kathy Keith, Los Alamos National Lab [00:03:14] So a couple of things come to mind. I think people appreciate the work that both Los Alamos and our sister laboratories Sandia do for the nation and the Mexicans especially, I think, pay a lot of attention to the work that the laboratory does on the national front because it happens in their own backyard as large organizations, both of laboratories, also have a very positive impact on the state’s economy. So we produce good paying jobs for New Mexicans. We support small business growth through subcontracts. So last year alone, Los Alamos spent almost 400 million dollars with New Mexico small businesses, which helps our economy, especially in these trying times. And both of our laboratories invest in community. So some of the things that both laboratories have in common, science and technology, education, have been a longstanding priority, especially working with young people and showing them the opportunities that are available there with good paying jobs. We both support small businesses through our subcontracting. And we also have programs that help provide technical assistance to small businesses in our state. And lastly, we both have programs that focus on non-profits in the state and helping them. I’ll give you a couple of examples. So Los Alamos recently in the last four months as Kovik came about, was able to harness our employee giving and our corporate giving to give about 60 thousand dollars to the food depot, which is the food pantry for northern New Mexico. Our food distribution system in a at a time of great need and crisis for them and our communities. We also pledged about forty thousand dollars to Koven response funds in northern New Mexico, run by our community foundations. So these are the kinds of assets that we’re able and resources we’re able to mobilize to contribute to our communities when they need us.
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group Public Relations [00:05:27] And that’s a great kind of lead to talk about the geographic aspect of the results of the perception survey, because residents in north central New Mexico have the highest level of favorability for the national labs than any other part of the state. Can you talk about the Los Alamos National Laboratory footprint in north central New Mexico?
Kathy Keith, Los Alamos National Lab [00:05:47] Well, the laboratory is the largest employer in northern New Mexico, and it may surprise people to know that not only do we employ in Los Alamos, we may be physically located there. But our workforce comes from a seven county area in New Mexico. So 40 percent of our employees live in Los Alamos, 60 percent of our employees live outside of Los Alamos. And I think in that people know us through our employees. So our employees are your friend, your next door neighbor, the person who coaches your child’s basketball team. So many people, I think, identify with the laboratory through our employees who live in and our active part of our community. I think they also identify with us as a business partner. So we do a lot of subcontracting in the region. I’ll highlight one of our subcontractors and Espanola own family business Performance Maintenance, Inc., who just this year was named as one of the state’s top subcontractors in the nation by the U.S. Department of Energy because of the kind of work they do for us. We also invest in STEM education programs and in education programs as a whole in the region. So I think people recognize us through those programs. We have been involved with in a partnership with New Mexico Highlands University and Kawauchi Valley Middle School for the last two years in developing a new model of education. And we’re really happy that the state of New Mexico just announced last week they’ll be joining us in that partnership and we’ll be able to expand that model into four additional school districts in the state to really help rethink the way that we train teachers to come into our classrooms. We also we run a scholarship fund at the laboratory. Let me backtrack. We don’t run it. We contribute to a scholarship fund. The Lenthall Foundation runs that scholarship fund. Last year, working together, we were able to raise enough money to award 116 scholarships of about seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars to students in northern New Mexico. So many families have connections with a laboratory through that scholarship fund. And lastly, our employees do volunteering in the community, which which we promote. They’re on boards of local nonprofit organizations and they’re very generous with their giving. So two point six million dollars was donated by our employees last year to about 750 nonprofit organizations. So I think people who are affiliated with those nonprofit organizations understand the reach that a laboratory has and the commitment that we have to our communities.
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group Public Relations [00:08:52] Wow. Well, and I imagine that’s very impressive. And I imagine part of the challenge of connecting with residents in north central New Mexico is that most, if not all of your operations are behind the gate, not accessible to the general public. Can you talk about the outward facing programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory uses to connect with the community?
Kathy Keith, Los Alamos National Lab [00:09:15] So first of all, we do publish a lot of the work that we do. I think folks have read about our initiatives on cover, the research that our scientists are doing and trying to just look at how the disease has mutated over time. We also have just done some new announcements about the Mars rover and the equipment that the laboratory has designed and launched onto the Mars rover, which recently happened. But this is our second generation of equipment. And all of those things are very public facing. You can find information on our website about the research that the laboratory is doing to support the nation in these ways. Under normal circumstances, we also are operating a museum. The Bradbury Science Museum, which helps tell our story and helps people understand not only Los Alamos, his role historically, but more important, what we do now and how that impacts the nation since the doors to the museum aren’t open currently. All that work can be found online where you can take virtual tours of the museum now and understand some of the work that we’re engaged in and the relevance to the nation. We also regularly host community conversations. So this is a chance for us to convene with local elected officials, school board members, our tribal leadership. To let them know what we’re doing and also discuss really important issues to all of us, because we do share a community. Things like housing, economic development, and how together we support education and nonprofits in our region are. Points of those conversations. And we do that three to four times a year. So I think those are ways that the general public can find out more about what the laboratory is doing and how we can work together.
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group Public Relations [00:11:24] Any additional insights about the industry that you’d like to share?
[00:11:29] Sure, for everyone to know we are hiring. Yes, we are. So we hired a little over a thousand people last year. We expect to be on track to do the same next year. And I think the the myth, the myth buster. I want to put out there the myth. You must be APHC to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The fact is that the majority of the positions that we have open now don’t require an advanced degree.
Kathy Keith, Los Alamos National Lab [00:12:02] We have a big need for technicians and for people in the construction industry with any of the building trades in their background. Those are both high demand areas for us right now. Currently, about half of Los Alamos employees are native Mexicans. And we’re really working hard with our higher education institutions in the state to develop what we call pathways so so that people could start it to a degree program at the college level and understand what education and training they would need to come to work at the laboratory, because our goal is to hire more New Mexicans in the future.
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group Public Relations [00:12:46] What a great goal. Kathy Keith, director of the Community Partnerships Office at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Thank you for your time today. Thank you, Tom. It’s always a pleasure. For more insights about the Garrity Perception Survey, visit GarityPR.com.
Published August 23, 2020
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Among New Mexico residents polled, National Laboratories received 67% favorability.
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