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Master Marketer Retires After 30 Years with NMSU

LAS CRUCES - Bealquin "Bill" Gomez, an economist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, has retired after nearly 30 years of marketing New Mexico products from alfalfa to wine.

Bealquin "Bill" Gomez, economist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, has retired after a 29-year career marketing New Mexico products from alfalfa to wine. (06/13/2003) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

"When you look at Bill's career, the trail of accomplishment is remarkable, and the tremendous variety of work he has done is amazing," said Bob Coppedge, interim associate dean for Extension.

Gomez, perhaps best known for creating five annual wine festivals, has personally managed and produced more than 45 events. He has served on boards of numerous commodity associations such as the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society, the New Mexico Wine Growers Association and the Winery Association of New Mexico.

Gomez was the local government work specialist for 24 years. One of his major accomplishments was creating handbooks to familiarize county commissioners, clerks, assessors, treasurers and sheriffs with their responsibilities. He helped initiate NMSU's Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project, based in Alcalde. RAIPAP helps rural residents in northern New Mexico start or stay in business, offering expertise on sustainable agriculture, food processing and marketing, small business development, and organizational and leadership skills.

Gomez's expertise led him to chair Tierra Del Sol, a nonprofit group that built more than 100 houses for farmworkers. He created the Anthony Sanitation District and coordinated water, park and sewage system development in Truth or Consequences
Gomez was co-chair of the northern New Mexico Small Farm Task Force and a driving force in creating the New Mexico/Texas Chile War. He started the New Mexico Cotton Conference and helped organize the New Mexico Pink Bollworm Control District and the South Central New Mexico Boll Weevil Control District. Gomez wrote and published the weekly New Mexico Hay Market Newsletter each summer for more than 10 years.

Gov. Gary Johnson appointed Gomez to the New Mexico Tourism Commission, where he still serves as a commissioner for Gov. Bill Richardson. Gomez brought his knowledge of tourism to the classroom at NMSU. "He has passed on his incredible expertise to students of our hotel, restaurant and tourism management department, and they are truly richer for it," Coppedge said.

The New Mexico Business Journal named Gomez "El Jefe" for his work supporting the state's agriculture. He won the Distinguished Service Award from the New Mexico
Association of Counties for his work educating county government officials statewide. In 1999 NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics honored Gomez with its Distinguished Service Award for his efforts in promoting New Mexico products.
"He leaves an incredible footprint on this state, because he believes in doing things and seeing them through to completion," Coppedge said. "I seriously doubt that we will ever have another specialist who cuts such a broad swath across so many industries as Bill Gomez."

At a retirement party, Coppedge summed up Gomez's contributions by saying, "Bill, whenever we throw hay to a horse, put on a cotton T-shirt, turn on a faucet in T or C, attend a county commission meeting, or drink a glass of New Mexico wine, we will think of you."