An Interview with Entrepreneur-in-Residence Gary Pankonien

‘What’s on the Horizon?’

You have ‘met’ NHF’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Gary Pankonien (Pankonien); we wanted to get his 10,000 foot view of “What’s on the Horizon?” for companies in the region looking to stabilize and grow over the next few years. Here’s what Pankonien is thinking:


NHF: Gary – Again, Welcome to Lea County! You’ve had some time now on-the-ground, having met with several companies, the NHF Board, the Federal Labs personnel, and likely have done the basic market research regarding opportunities; is there a ‘snapshot’ view of “what’s on the horizon?”

GP: A ‘snapshot’ is tough. One, I have only been involved for a short period of time; but two – and more importantly – there seems to me to be a great deal of opportunity for people and companies in Lea County.

NHF: Can you give us a couple of examples?

GP: Well, one opportunity has been in-the-works for some time and is ready to move to ‘development’; I am coming in on the tail-end of most of the hard work…now I get to be involved with the ‘fun’ part of proving-up the technology…readying it for market – that’s the “MUFFLER” technology that’s mentioned in this newsletter.

I will say, this is a great example of how NHF can, and will continue to support local companies and individuals wishing to grow a business opportunity. So in this instance, THIS example of opportunity is one of leveraging the NHF relationships with the FEDERAL LABORATORIES and putting new technologies to work to enhance, improve and grab an advantage in the marketplace.

NHF: So – to some degree, there are ready-made, tested technologies that may have application to industry that Lea County companies can exploit, and benefit financially from, if pursued…?

GP: Exactly. People interested in relatively inexpensive technology breakthrough opportunities should give us a call – we’re ready to help you grab market advantage, and make some more money!

NHF: Got it. What other thoughts do you have regarding Lea County opportunities?

GP: I’ll give you a quick “technologies to think about” rundown. First and foremost, everyone in this region should be thinking about “improvement” or “enhancement” technologies for the oil and gas industry. These technologies should address known issues in the field; i.e. things ‘costing’ the company…squeezing margins. These type technologies – good, old fashioned manufacturing, production type improvements – will keep companies competitive; so whether you’re an existing company, or an entrepreneur seeking a business opportunity, look no further than TECHNOLOGIES THAT IMPROVE PRODUCTION OR SERVICE IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY.

Next, people should be thinking about oil & gas industry-related technologies – technologies in water, as an example. Both Pioneer and Apache are making some strong investments in this area of technology, and for good reason. And in addition to the oil and gas industry, common sense tells you that WATER is a solid investment; it is a commodity that has quickly become treasured. A huge opportunity, water.

But my job is to work with people throughout the region – in all sorts of industries – to help them launch their BIG IDEA; and there are some great ones out there, no doubt about it. I have met with several people in Lea County who are working with me and NHF now to explore technologies and business strategies for realizing their dream.

Known ‘Key Industries’ in Lea County should be looked to for the opportunities ‘on the horizon’; example: food/consumer goods/packaging, mining, manufacturing, plastics, and ‘new’ energy.

NHF: “New” energy….?

GP: Yes. The words, ‘renewable’, ‘sustainable’, ‘green’…..they don’t really represent the nuances of the complex energy industry – in fact, ALL types of energy MUST be intertwined in order to develop and manage them; that’s why all of the Big Boys are in the game…Exxon to Shell on down…they’re ALL working in the “new” energy areas. AND – they’re looking to the technology development, start-up marketplace for answers! An opportunity, for sure.

NHF: Gary – this has been great. Thank you for your ‘snapshot’. Can people get in-touch with you directly if they have an idea to run by you?

GP: Absolutely. They should just call me, at: (575) 492-4712.

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