Bridge Announces New Board Members in 2018

Published by the Las Cruces Sun-News, Dec. 19, 2017

LAS CRUCES – As The Bridge of Southern New Mexico begins 2018 with an increased focus on making and strengthening the connections to support academic and economic success for those who live here, it will also have a new set of influential community leaders joining its board of directors.

US Bank Market President Craig Buchanan, Omega Trucking President Miriam Kotkowski and MountainView Regional Medical Center Assistant Administrator Ben Woods will replace three business members whose terms end on Dec. 31, including Kiel Hoffman, president of Pioneer Bank; J.B. Pruett, retired business owner and former professor; and Rico Gonzales, director, New Mexico External Affairs for El Paso Electric. Joe Bullington, Commercialization Manager at Jacobs Technology, joined the board earlier this year when George Ruth retired a few months before the end of his term.

Complementing these additions are other new members who recently joined the board as leaders in their respective fields, including Assistant Doña Ana County Manager Chuck McMahon, Gadsden Independent School District Superintendent Travis Dempsey and Las Cruces Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Erlinda Martinez. One of the organization’s original members, Dr. Michael Morehead, associate dean at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, also returned to The Bridge recently as board vice-chair.

“The Bridge has succeeded in creating ground-breaking change and advancing innovative solutions, simply because we always kept what was best for the students in the center of our conversations,” said Wanda Mattiace, board chair of The Bridge of Southern New Mexico. “Regardless of what sector we operate in on a daily basis, we are absolutely united supporting proven interventions for moving youth, families and this community forward.”

The Bridge of Southern New Mexico is the county’s precedent-setting collaborative between business, economic development, education and government focused on improving graduation rates and building the skilled and ready workforce Doña Ana County needs. Since the organization began its work, countywide graduation rates have skyrocketed from 50 percent to now 80 percent and is nearing completion of the state’s first regional workforce development plan.

For a complete list of current board members or to learn more, please visit and click on the “Who We Are” tab.