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Anatomy of a collaborative

The New Mexico COVID-19 Emergency Supply Collaborative‘s success in delivering much-needed supplies to medical facilities is a story worth sharing.

During the collaborative’s inception, our office was closed but NM MEP’s work kept going. MEP’s Innovation Directors (IDs) met weekly with businesses or regional partners. For example, Denise Williams was part of the Farmington group, which included the City of Farmington, 4-Corners Economic Development, Farmington Chamber of Commerce, SBDC, WESST and other service providers at San Juan College — and more. The meetings focused on what could be done for local businesses.

“First projections indicated there would be a shortage of 3,000 ventilators in New Mexico,” said Jennifer Sinsabaugh, NM MEP chief executive officer. “Our team tore apart the blueprint of ventilators to figure out how they could be made locally. We looked for alternative materials — would metal work if we couldn’t reproduce a plastic part? We identified clean rooms at manufacturing facilities in preparation for assembly. We inventoried local capabilities and pressed people into worst-case scenario preparation. Fortunately, the curve flattened and the worst case didn’t occur, but people were working in the background throughout. The human-to-human collaboration ensured that supplies were delivered when and where they were needed. And that ‘human touch’ of people working together saved lives.”

What began as a collaborative trio of AFRL, New Mexico Tech and MEP quickly grew to include the many companies that have made a difference. (https://newmexicomep.org/heartfelt-gratitude/)

IDs were and still are available for consultations, advice, connections and projects, and are providing guidelines for how to ramp back up safely. Most IDs are still working from home, but the  NM MEP Albuquerque office is open for appointments, using social distancing and other gating criteria.

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