Senate Approves Sanchez, Martinez as Regents

Las Vegas, N.M. — The New Mexico Senate approved Leveo V. Sanchez’ reappointment to the New Mexico Highlands University Board of Regents on March 4 and also approved biology student Michael J. Martinez as the new student regent.

In February, Gov. Susana Martinez reappointed Sanchez to serve a second term on the Board of Regents through Dec. 31, 2018. The governor nominated Martinez for a two-year term that ends Dec. 31, 2014.

Leveo V. Sanchez
Leveo V. Sanchez

Sanchez brings decades of domestic and international business success and distinguished public service to his role as regent. The Northern New Mexico native returned to the state in 2006 and lives in Santa Fe. In 2008, Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Sanchez to the Highlands Board of Regents. He is the chair of the board.

“As a board, we look forward to continuing to improve the academic standards at Highlands and the infrastructure of the campus,” Sanchez said. “One key focus in the next 12 months will be filling some crucial positions, such as the vice president of academic affairs and two deans.”

“I think we have a good board that works well together, shares common goals, and complements one another in expertise. We also have an excellent relationship with President Fries, who has done a very good job for the university,” Sanchez said. ¬†

“The Board of Regents has been a key factor in our progress of recent years, and the governor’s action in reappointing Regent Sanchez will ensure the stability essential to continued progress,” Fries said. “Leveo brings both a wealth of experience and a love for Highlands to everything we do.¬†Michael Martinez is a fine young man and Las Vegas native who will continue the excellent leadership of our current student regent, Caitlin Syner, and others before her have brought to the board.”

Sanchez earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Highlands and a master’s degree in foreign affairs and Latin American studies from George Washington University School of Government in Washington, D.C. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Officer Candidate School in Fort Belvoir, Va.

“I’ve been actively involved in activities that support Highlands for nearly 30 years, first as a member of the alumni association in the Washington, D.C. area and then serving 21 years on the Highlands Foundation Board. I’m passionate about education, Highlands and Las Vegas. I’m grateful to the governor for reappointing me to serve as a regent,” Sanchez said.

Over the years, Sanchez has been a major donor to Highlands, including establishing the Victoria D. de Sanchez endowed scholarship in the mid 1980s named for his mother, also a Highlands alumna. She was one of the university’s first New Mexico Hispanic professors and a pioneer in teacher education throughout the Americas. The university’s School of Education building is named for de Sanchez. Sanchez also established the Leveo V. Sanchez endowed scholarship in the 1980s.

From 1968 through 2005, Sanchez established several successful businesses in government and management consulting, banking, real estate development and investment, property management, and export trading.

In 1969, Sanchez founded and was chairman of Development Associates, an international consulting firm specializing in social and economic development. Under Sanchez’ leadership, the firm became one of the largest minority-owned and operated consulting firms in the country with offices in eight U.S. cities and work in more than 100 countries. He sold the firm in 2005.

In 1974, Sanchez was a founding partner and chairman of Hemisphere National Bank in Washington, D.C. He also served as president from 1979 — 1981, when the bank was sold

Sanchez’ public sector service experience includes highlights such as: deputy director, Peace Corps, Latin American Region; director, U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, Mid-Atlantic Region; and Director, U.S. Office of Institutional Development, Latin American Bureau of Agency for International Development (AID).

His studies and work abroad provided Sanchez with living experiences in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru and France.

Sanchez founded the Santa Fe Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2007, and, in the course of his career, has shared his expertise as a board member with numerous organizations. Some examples include: president, Pan Am Development Foundation; board member, Greater Washington Business Center; board member, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; board member, Smithsonian Institution; board chairman, Latino Economic Development Corporation; and director, National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation.

Locally, Sanchez has served as president and board member of the Highlands University Foundation and director of the Las Vegas San Miguel Economic Development Corporation.

Michael J. Martinez
Michael J. Martinez

Martinez, 20, is a sophomore biology major with aspirations to become a cardiologist. The fifth-generation Las Vegas native is the founding member of the university’s new chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

“As a student regent, I want to see the progress underway at Highlands continue,” Martinez said. “Student success is extremely important, and I’ll be an advocate for programs and policies that support that success. I’d like to bring a student view to the Board of Regents to aid in decision making for the overall betterment of the university.

“It’s a tremendous honor for me to have the opportunity to serve as a student regent at a leading university like Highlands in my hometown,” Martinez said.

Martinez has been active in Las Vegas community service since his days at Robertson High School. He has participated in American Cancer Society Relay for Life, American Red Cross Blood Drive, Fraternal Order of Eagles Annual Children’s Fishing Derby, and Toss No Mas Community Cleanup, to name a few.

Martinez is an entrepreneur who established and owns MJAMz DJ Service. He works part time as an assistant for Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Sheryl McNellis-Martinez, no relation to Martinez.