The Questa Economic Development Fund has invested millions of dollars in community projects since its inception in 2008. Committed to help strengthen and grow the long-term economic vitality of the Questa area, the nonprofit is governed by a board of five trustees, with day-to-day operations administered by a paid director, recently recognized by the State.
On Tuesday, September 12, QEDF Director Lynn Skall was awarded the New Mexico Economic Development Organization Certification at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development. The certification is earned by demonstrating success in specific economic development programming, events, and activities, along with a three-hour interview with community leaders.
Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, talked about the work being done on the green hydrogen production facility in partnership with QEDF, the Village, and Chevron. He added, “Questa is fortunate to have a dedicated economic development director; Lynn ensures that Questa is part of the regional conversations and part of the teams working on the economic development solutions.”
Board Chair Malaquias Rael spoke of the many initiatives that QEDF has accomplished around business support services, tourism, workshops, networking, and community communications. “The welding lab, and other sponsored classes at the high school, enable our youth to learn a skill they can use immediately upon graduation. It is our goal to have our kids stay in our community and work where they live.”
The QEDF projects and operations are funded through annual contributions from the Chevron Mining Co. Many of the goals identified in the 2015 Questa Economic Development Strategic Plan have been explored, accomplished, or are still in the works, such as the development of the Agricultural Co-op and the area-wide Acequia Association, both currently being proposed to help protect local land and water, and safeguard these cultural traditions.
Additional funding is received through grants for specific projects, such as the Questa Business Center currently being developed, support for the Questa del Rio News, Questa “New Mexico True” out-of-state advertising, advancement of outdoor recreation attractions, including the Questa to Red River Trail, and proposed trails and climbing in Largo Canyon.
“It is humbling to be recognized as an organization that is working tirelessly to serve Questa and its surrounding communities. This could only be possible with the leadership of the QEDF board of directors and its partners who truly believe that Questa and its people are truly authentic. I would be remiss if I did not recognize Lynn Skall for moving this organization to new heights. Lynn has been a catalyst like her predecessors to move us forward,” says Chairman Malaquias Rael.
QEDF works with the Village of Questa, providing matching funds for capital improvements, and special projects like the business park that is ready to welcome new businesses. All QEDF funding is leveraged to maximize its value and investment in the community.
Direction for QEDF initiatives is led by a five-member board, which includes a non-voting fiscal trustee and Chevron representative. At the September 5, 2023 board meeting, each of the current five board members were reappointed to their seats for 3- or 5-year terms. (See the sidebar for a list of board members.)
The QEDF board meets monthly on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m., in person at the Questa Visitor Center and also via Zoom. The community is welcome to attend.
Director Skall invites residents and businesses to get involved and get in touch, “We encourage the Questa community to share their feedback and ideas with us around economic development and the projects we’re working on. Our board meetings are open, and our board members are approachable — let us know what questions or suggestions you have for the QEDF.”