Barela joins Borderplex after leading New Mexico’s unprecedented trade efforts, successfully reducing the state's unemployment rate, quadrupling exports to Mexico, and creating a business-friendly climate during his tenure as cabinet secretary


EL PASO, Texas – Today, The Borderplex Alliance announced that Jon Barela would serve as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective October 1, 2016. Barela, currently New Mexico’s Economic Development Cabinet Secretary, helped transform New Mexico’s economy into one which is more competitive and diverse. During his tenure as cabinet secretary, he led unprecedented efforts to develop and attract investments to the North American Borderplex and exponentially increased trade with Mexico. Jon brings a unique set of experience to The Borderplex Alliance having served in the public sector, as a Fortune 100 company executive, and as a small business owner.

“The Borderplex Alliance, its board of directors, investors, and staff are excited to welcome Jon Barela, a leader with proven economic and business results during his years in public service,” said Woody Hunt, Board Chair of The Borderplex Alliance. “Through his leadership, Jon Barela will build on the successes and inroads The Borderplex Alliance has made in the last three years by unifying our region, creating new jobs, and elevating The North American Borderplex to national and international audiences.”

“It is a privilege to be selected to represent The North American Borderplex, an area where my family roots go back many generations. I grew up in this area and my heart remains here,” Barela said. “I understand the unique assets that make this region well-positioned to be a leader in commerce and provide 21st-century jobs. I look forward to working to attract investments to the region, continue to strengthen binational relations, further develop the workforce and help create jobs and prosperity for all.”

During Barela’s tenure, New Mexico became a national leader in export growth; this includes quadrupling exports from New Mexico to Mexico and doubling the international exports from the time he took office. According to the United States Department of Commerce, New Mexico became the No. 1 state in export expansion and export-related job creation. As a result of these trade initiatives, more than 16,000 jobs were added in the state. His efforts to improve the business climate also led to private-sector job growth reaching its highest level in nearly a decade and New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropping 2.5 percentage points.

“Secretary Jon Barela knows how to spur economic growth and work with investors, government officials, and potential businesses to create jobs and bring investments,” said Alejandra de la Vega Foster, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. “Jon is a native of the Borderplex, born and raised in Las Cruces, and his career in public service has given him a deep understanding of our regions. We welcome him as the new Chief Executive Officer of The Borderplex Alliance.”

As secretary, Barela reached out to business and community leaders to make New Mexico more business-friendly and diversify its economy. His outreach and advocacy led to the state’s most significant tax reform in more than a generation - the 2013 “New Century” Jobs Package. This landmark legislation lowered the state's business tax rate by 22 percent - from 7.6 to 5.9 percent and implemented a single sales factor, which virtually eliminated the business tax on manufacturers. Barela established the Office of Business Advocacy to assist businesses navigating the state regulatory, licensing, and permitting process. As a result, more than 105 business expansions and relocations occurred including Union Pacific, Safelite AutoGlass, TE Connectivity, Honeywell Bendix/King, Comcast, Flagship Food Group, Fidelity Investments, Convergys, and CN Wire.

Garrey Carruthers, Ph.D., President of New Mexico State University, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, said, “Those of us who live and work in New Mexico have seen his success firsthand. Under Secretary Barela’s leadership, private-sector job growth reached its highest level in nearly a decade, and we look forward to having his experience at the helm of this organization. He will help The Borderplex Alliance and our partners create an environment that welcomes new businesses and investments.”

Jon Barela is a native of the North American Borderplex, born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After graduating from Las Cruces High School, Barela received an international relations degree with honors from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. 

He began his career in public service as a senior aide to the late New Mexico Congressman Joe Skeen on the House Appropriations Committee, and he earned his law degree from Georgetown while working for Congressman Skeen. He served as New Mexico’s Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Civil Division, where he led unprecedented efforts to enforce and educate the public about New Mexico’s open meetings and public records laws. Barela also worked at Intel Corporation as its government and community affairs manager and as an attorney with Modrall-Sperling Law Firm.


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