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Tech companies make presence in Santa Fe known at jobs fair

April 5, 2018

Sarah Cheney, right, with AmeriCorps VISTA, talks to a visitor about New Mexico Tech Works on Thursday during the Santa Fe Business Expo and Job Fair at the Santa Fe Convention Center. As part of a technology corner at the expo, Checney discussed the program seeking to expand technology access and education. Elayne Lowe/The New Mexican

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican

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April 5, 2018

Locally based technology companies for the first time occupied their own corner, under their own banner, at Thursday’s Santa Fe Business Expo and Job Fair at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

The annual expo featured a cluster of about 14 high-tech companies in a “technology corridor” — exhibitors that included Los Alamos National Laboratory, Flow Science, Meow Wolf, OpenEye and Capitol Computer and Network Solutions. In all, more than 125 Northern New Mexico companies signed up for space at the annual event.

Many tech companies posted a “hiring” sign on their tables, but their representatives said they expected to do more public outreach than applicant screening — in part because the bar they set for applicants is too high to expect promising prospects to simply walk in off the street. The primary mission, said many tech firm representatives manning expo tables, was to raise awareness that they are part of the Santa Fe community.

“I don’t expect to find that many people, but we want to spread the word,” said Krisztina Boda, a senior scientific developer with OpenEye Scientific Software, a Santa Fe-based company that specializes in drug discovery and design. OpenEye over the past six months grew by six new hires to about 60 employees, with another six to eight positions available, she said.

“We’re looking for people with higher education,” Boda said. “At least a master’s degree.”

Many of the high-tech firms, including Descartes Labs, took part in the expo for the first time, said Simon Brackley, president and CEO of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the expo and job fair. Others, like Meow Wolf, also in the tech corridor, have taken part in prior expos.

“I think, in general, the economy is doing well in Santa Fe,” Brackley said. “Because of that, those three and others are being much more aggressive in terms of hiring.”

Meow Wolf took part this year not necessarily to fill openings but to steer applicants to its website. The company has fielded about 3,500 applications to date; it employs about 300, said Megan Roniger, an administrator for the arts production company.

Meow Wolf has two paths open for prospective hires and at some level is nearly always hiring, she said. One path involves the “public facing” part of the company: ticket agents, docents, food and beverage service. The other path is for creative and technical talent that produces the immersive experience for which the company is best known.

“You’re not coming to a dead-end plan in Santa Fe,” said Meow Wolf human resources assistant Stephanie Deutsch. “There are highly skilled tech jobs coming to New Mexico…”

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