LOS LUNAS — Ralph Mims, the recently retired economic development manager for the village of Los Lunas, became the newest council member for School of Dreams Academy.
Los Lunas Municipal Judge Avilio Chavez swore Mims into office.
Mims, who retired from the village in December 2020, said he hopes to bring his economic expertise to the council to help with potential funding for the school.
“With my background in economic development, I can help (SODA) with lots of funding,” Mims said.
He talked about helping fund a new school on the SODA campus through EDA funds and private investors, though that will take some time to work through, he said.
Michael Ogas, superintendent of SODA, said Mims’ experience and his contacts with the village will help with funding efforts.
“He’s very intelligent. He sees things and tries to make them better,” Ogas said. “I think he’s going to be a good voice and a fresh voice for the SODA community … He’s a very good grant writer himself, so those kinds of contacts and suggestions will be very helpful to us.”
Ogas said Mims was one of four applicants who applied for the council position, and that he met with the council for a formal interview on Monday, March 8, in which the board selected him as the newest member.
Mims filled a vacancy that was previously held by Valencia County Sheriff Denise Vigil. The position had been vacant since last fall.
Mims has been a lifelong developer, having worked for the city of Albuquerque for more than a decade before taking the job in the village’s economic development department in 2011.
He received a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the prestigious HBCU, Howard University, in the early 1980s. He received a bachelor’s in social work from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Mims was a big factor in the economic development boom Los Lunas has seen during the past decade, having a hand in bringing many industry businesses such as food and retail services — and most notably, the Facebook Data Center.
Outside of his new SODA council duties, Mims said he plans on working on economic development in the state, countrywide and globally. He is doing that work through his namesake company, R. Mims World Group, which has offices in Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean and in the United States.
Ogas said the board will be reorganizing in the coming months before the school year comes to a close, so Mims — who for now is just a council member — may have the opportunity to seek out a certain position within the council itself.
Currently, Kathy Chavez serves as president of the SODA Governing Council and David Schneider serves as secretary. The vice president’s role is vacant, since Vigil left her council position.