- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce’s Portales Leadership group is preparing for their second year after what participants call a wildly successful first run.

Portales Leadership is a class that teaches 20 business professionals about Portales, being a leader and the inner workings of a small community.

Karl Terry, the chamber of commerce director, said their first Portales Leadership group last year was more successful than he could have dreamed.

“I think it went really well,” he said. “For our first year, it was super.”

Noelle Bartl, a 2014 participant and this year’s committee chair, said she learned a lot about being a leader and about Portales itself during the all-day, once-a-month sessions held for the class.

“It’s not all talking about the best of Portales; it is talking about the needs of Portales,” Bartl said.

Over a nine-month period, the class covers topics, such as community issues, culture and history, government and politics and education. The class also takes field trips to see the different parts of the community, such as Canon Air Force Base and the hospital.

Bartl said the program will be using many of the same topics this year, because last year’s committee organized the event so well, it has made planning the event easier for her.

“We do not have to change the wheel; we just have to add the chrome,” Bartl said about organizing the event.

Bartl said the purpose of the event is to help ambassadors of the community better represent Portales and Roosevelt County.

She said the classes have allowed her to understand the inner workings of Portales that she did not previously understand.

“I thought that being back in Portales for 15 years, I knew a lot about my community and quickly found out I didn’t,” she said.

Veronica Cordova, a student in the program last year and a member of the committee this year, said the major advantage she got from the class was meeting people.

“It was a great networking opportunity,” she said.

During the class, they were exposed to speakers, such as Sen. Stuart Ingle, city Treasurer Marilyn Rapp and past mayor Orlando Ortega.

While the networking has stayed with her, Cordova said her favorite lesson was about the water treatment plant.

She said as a Portales native, she knows that water is a problem, and it was interesting and hope-inspiring to see them working towards fixing it.

“I enjoyed learning about it. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I want my kids to be able to stay here,” Cordova said. “If we don’t take care of our water issues, we will dry up and be gone.”

Terry said Cordova and Bartl returning to the program to teach what they learned was a part of the original intention of the program.

“Our big goal was to have the class take ownership of the program. We wanted to see them have leadership in respect to the program,” Terry said.

Terry said applications are being accepted for the 2015 class until Aug. 3.


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