Our people: Looking to grow Roosevelt County

Apr. 22—While she was helping with the Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation's Hiring Event on Thursday, RCCDC Director Jodi Diaz took a little time to talk with the News about her job, which she has held for less than a year, as well as her career and her off-hours pursuits.

Diaz is a Portales resident who lived in northern New Mexico during her middle and high school years, then returned to Portales to attend Eastern New Mexico University, where she earned bachelor's and master's degrees, then never left.

Here are our questions and her responses.

Q. What would you like to see in Roosevelt County's economic future?

A. We definitely want to see growth and progression. Our mission is to protect and extend our regional economy through business expansion and retention, entrepreneurial development, business recruitment, and community-oriented marketing.

Q. What is community-oriented marketing?

A. We work with the city of Portales, Roosevelt County, and ENMU, as well as with private sector businesses, just working with the whole community. And community-wide means county-wide. We're the Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation. We have to make sure we're addressing the needs of our businesses throughout the county.

Q. What are the county's greatest strengths in attracting businesses?

A. We've been talking about that within the organization. Our strengths are that we are diverse in that we have a lot of land that has strong business potential. We have vacant properties and buildings for recruitment of businesses. It's definitely beneficial to have the university here, and our industries as well as our hospital. These are all strengths that we offer in trying to recruit businesses.

Q. Have you set specific goals?

A. We're putting together marketing plans and goals now in strategic planning, but we have not set definite numbers as goals. We have to be mindful of our resources, and that's a big consideration. We want to see new business and we want to see growth, being mindful of our resources.

Q. What did you major in at ENMU?

A. My major was Elementary Education as an undergraduate. My master's degree is in Sports Administration.

Q. What did you do as recreation director for the city?

A. I did several things, and I think they all led up to my position here. I did youth sports and after-school programs. I wrote New Mexico Clean and Beautiful grant for the city and county. (This grant is funded through the New Mexico Tourism Department. In 2022, Portales received $9,064 and Roosevelt County received $4,000. Grant funds are used for programs that contribute to beautifying communities.)

Over the years I also oversaw the senior citizen center for a short amount of time. And for a short while before I left the city, I oversaw the airport and the mechanic shop. It had to do with organizational restructuringe. My main position in the city was always recreation director.

I was able to work with students and the county on various things, and I was part of the Employee Association board.

Q. You said some aspects of your job as recreation director helped you in this job. What were the most important?

A. Probably the relationships I made over the years working with city and county administration and connections at ENMU. It was being a community member and working in the community and working with the schools and the (state) Healthy Kids program on the community garden. I worked with Karl (Terry, executive director of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce) and I still have a good relationship with him. Those were probably the biggest benefits that I passed on to this job: the relationships and experience.

Q. What got you interested in this job?

A. A couple different people let me know this position was open and I really felt like it was a position where I could grow and really be able to connect with the entire community. In my city job, I worked mostly with youth and parents. This was an opportunity to expand and be able to grow, diversify and build our community, working collaboratively with all the major industries and organizations, and government entities.

I didn't want to just live in the community, I wanted to be part of it, actually be a person who takes part in activities and events that make this community one that people are proud to be from.

Q. What do you like best about the job?

A. I like working collaboratively with different groups to fulfill the potential we can build our community to attain.

Q. What are some of your other community involvements?

A. I do volunteer coaching, especially basketball. I like being with my kids and watching them play.

Q. What do you do with your leisure time?

A. I like walking, cycling, fun runs and playing volleyball. I like sports both as a spectator and a participant. I like any leisure activity you do outdoors, and I'm not much of a TV watcher.

Q. Have you lived in Portales all your life?

A. I was born in Portales, but from sixth grade to high school I lived in Des Moines, N.M., where my father was working. I lived there until I graduated. ENMU brought me back and I've lived here ever since.

Q. What can you tell me about your family in Portales?

A. My husband Luke works for Yucca Telecom and we have four children.