From left, LACDC Executive Director Lauren McDaniel, projectY cowork Los Alamos Membership and Program Manager Alice Holtclaw, Los Alamos MainStreet Event and Social Engagement Coordinator Vai Reddy-Kruse and Los Alamos MainStreet Executive Director Jacquelyn Connolly. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
Vai Reddy-Kruse and Alice Holtzclaw are not just new faces to Los Alamos MainStreet and projectY cowork Los Alamos, which are under the umbrella of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (LACDC), they are bringing new ideas to the operation.
Reddy-Kruse started as MainStreet’s event and social engagement coordinator in January along with Holtzclaw who began as projectY’s membership and program manager.
Holtzclaw explained projectY’s work and the community is what attracted her to the position.
“I saw the space and I saw it was connected with a nonprofit, which I was interested in,” she said.
Plus, Holtzclaw described the community as “passionate” and working at projectY was a great fit to meet the public.
Holtzclaw explained one program that she was involved in was organizing the Atomic City Entrepreneurial Round-Robin – a speed dating event held Feb. 7 at projectY. Another major project Holtzclaw is involved in is promoting the release of the Oppenheimer movie. Additionally, she is the first point of contact for any questions about projectY.
As MainStreet’s event and social engagement coordinator, Reddy-Kruse said, “I want it to be easier to connect with and learn about the many services provided by Los Alamos MainStreet and the Creative District.”
Her work involves managing MainStreet’s engagement with the business community and public through social media, branding and marketing. One major objective, Reddy-Kruse said, is to reach out to the younger demographic in town.
A way MainStreet is hoping to do that is by connecting and engaging where businesses and the community are, MainStreet Executive Director Jacquelyn Connolly said.
“We are connecting our website to the many platforms we use currently and are developing,” she said. “It will be more accessible, streamlined and cohesive.”
Reddy-Kruse said she sees an untapped potential in the community and there are a lot of ways for people to take advantage of those opportunities.
Businesses and local entrepreneurs can have a multitude of opportunities at projectY. Holtzclaw said it is an option for people to work outside of their house and the space is available 24 hours, seven days a week.
There are numerous amenities available at projectY including sound-proof phone booths, a conference room, professional-grade wifi, free coffee and snacks. projectY also can serve as something as simple as a mail stop for businesses.
“We cover all bases,” Holtzclaw said. “We fill a need people don’t realize they have until they run out of options.”
She added that “small amenities all lead up to being more productive and flexible.”
LACDC Executive Director Lauren McDaniel said following the COVID pandemic, Los Alamos National Laboratory and many of its contractors are allowing more of their workforce to work remotely, and as a result, projectY is a great alternative to working from home.
Connolly expanded on this, saying the coworking space has the potential to serve as a community hub.
Holtzclaw said projectY offers a variety of memberships. They range from $250 a month, which includes a dedicated desk, 24/7 access to the space, usage of the soundproof phone booth and discounts on conference room and event space rentals, to a $20 day pass, which allows for access to the space 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and usage of the soundproof phone booth. For more information on the memberships, visit projectYLosAlamos.com.
Holtzclaw said they currently have 40 members. Whether it is providing office space or injecting some social engagement in the community, the LACDC is here to offer its services and Holtzclaw and Reddy-Kruse said they are excited to join the team.
“I really like working with the LACDC,” Holtzclaw said. “I think its mission is exactly what Los Alamos needs.”
She pointed out that she has heard a lot of people say how much they love the town but leave it to shop or to do other activities. LACDC is working to address this issue by helping to grow the local economy, Holtzclaw said.
“We are really growing our economy … this is a great opportunity to grow and work with everyone on this common goal is something I really like,” she added.
Reddy-Kruse added she appreciates how community-oriented LACDC is, something she missed at her previous job working at an art gallery in Santa Fe.
McDaniel said she is happy to have both women on the team.
“We have a strong team that works to do bigger and better things to grow the Los Alamos economy, help execute the vision of the downtown master plans, capitalize on the new Metropolitan Redevelopment Area for White Rock as well as offer new programs like the Los Alamos Business Accelerator. We want to encourage development and small business activity for not only our residents but also our visitors to shop locally and stay locally.”
McDaniel added Los Alamos is getting more newcomers to town and having new staff brings different expertise and ideas. Before arriving in Los Alamos, Holtzclaw explained she attended Miami University in Ohio. Her father, Dr. Michael Holtzclaw, accepted the position as UNM-LA Chancellor and she decided to follow him out to Los Alamos.
“I’m really loving it,” she said.
Reddy-Kruse explained she graduated from Cornell University in New York with a degree in art and design. She and her husband moved to New Mexico when he was hired by the laboratory.
McDaniel said a lot is changing in Los Alamos and everyone at LACDC is ready to respond to the expanding dynamics for businesses and help them with their needs.
“We are at a critical juncture for a lot of growth and development in Los Alamos County and that’s what is exciting,” she said. “There’s been tremendous interest from developers and entrepreneurs who want to enhance our infrastructure and properties, or start a business here, and we are eager to connect them to the right resources to enable their success.”