Borderplex Alliance Announces Mary Kipp as Vice-Chair of the Board

March 11, 2015


Mary Kipp of El Paso Electric appointed as Vice-Chair of the Board

EL PASO, Texas – The Borderplex Alliance, a regional non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic development and prosperity in the Ciudad Juarez, El Paso, and southern New Mexico region, announced today that 7 key regional leaders have been appointed to the organization’s board of directors. Additionally, Mary E. Kipp, President of El Paso Electric, was appointed as Vice-Chair of the Board.

They will be joining the current board members that provide strategic direction and input into the organization’s regional development efforts. 

“We’re fortunate that our board of exceptionally talented individuals keeps growing and capturing new perspectives from across the region,” said Rolando Pablos, Chief Executive Officer of The Borderplex Alliance. “Each individual brings deep and valuable experience in various dimensions of economic development to the North American Borderplex region and will be a tremendous asset to us."

The newly appointed board members are:

  • John E. Balliew, President and Chief Executive Officer, El Paso Water Utilities
  • Rick Baugh, General Manager, Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
  • Lance Kearbey, Site Director - Juarez Operations, Electrolux
  • Rod Mitchell, President, Las Cruces Machine, Manufacturing & Engineering
  • Marcela Navarrete, VP of Strategic, Financial & Management, El Paso Water Utilities
  • Gary Paul Porras, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Garick Group, Inc
  • George Ruth, President, Citizens Bank of Las Cruces

“I welcome our new colleagues to the Board as we set off on what will be a productive year. In 2014, The Borderplex Alliance focused its resources on bringing new businesses, infrastructure and jobs to the region, and we hope this year will build on those successes. I’m confident that with our newest board members, we are on the right path to seeing more growth,” stated Woody Hunt, Chairman of the Board of The Borderplex Alliance.

For a Spanish version of this press release, please click here.

Biographies of the Board Appointees: 

John E. Balliew, President and Chief Executive Officer, El Paso Water Utilities 

John E. Balliew has been President and Chief Executive Officer of El Paso Water Utilities since January 2013. Mr. Balliew served as Vice President of operations and technical services at El Paso Water Utilities from 2007 to January 2013. He started his career at the utility more than 30 years ago and has held several senior management positions. Mr. Balliew earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University then began working at EPWU as laboratory technician in 1983. He served on the board of directors of both the American Membrane Technology Association and its Austin-based affiliate, the South Central Membrane Association.  His achievements were recognized by the El Paso Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, which named him Engineer of the Year in 2012.  

Rick Baugh, General Manager, Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Rick Baugh’s career in the racing and gaming industry spans over a combined thirty years. He began his career at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack in 1991 as the Director of Facilities, and within five years was named the General Manager. During that time he proved himself as a skilled leader in the legislative process, as he assisted in the eventual approval of gaming at racetracks in the state of New Mexico in 1994.  

Mr. Baugh’s sixteen years of casino experience combined with his vast knowledge of horse racing, proved to be a desirable commodity. He was not only involved in the construction of Zia Park Racetrack in 2002 and subsequently opened the Zia Park Casino in 2004, that led to the property’s immediate success. Penn National purchased Zia Park in April of 2007 and he was named the Assistant General Manager.

As General Manager at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, Mr. Baugh continues to bring new and innovative ideas to both horse racing and gaming.  

Lance Kearbey, Site Director - Juarez Operations, Electrolux

Lance Kearbey originally from Illinois has lived in El Paso for 21 years.  He graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology; he also earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  Kearbey has over 22 years of experience in the manufacturing industry to include leadership positions with various organizations in General Mgmt., Quality, Production, Engineering, Materials and Warehousing.  

Kearbey oversees the Juarez Operations for Electrolux, a leading global provider of home appliances. He has been part of the Electrolux team for over 12 years. The Juarez Operations comprises of four plants, including Refrigeration, Laundry, Plastics & Stamping, and employs more than 6,000 workers. Kearbey’s responsibilities include general plant management, human resources, finance, security, supply chain, warehousing and logistics, as well as environmental, health & safety functions.

Rod Mitchell, President, Las Cruces Machine, Manufacturing & Engineering

Rod Mitchell graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He joined The Dow Chemical Company, Freeport Texas site as a Rotating Equipment Engineer. He served at The Dow Chemical Company for over ten years. At the time of his departure, Rod ran several service divisions that operated in the US and international locations.

In 2000, he purchased Las Cruces Machine, Manufacturing, & Engineering, Inc. and has since tripled the size of the company and significantly expanded the customer base. The company is currently the largest contract machining company in Southern New Mexico and the premier choice for many fortune 500 companies.

Rod serves in an advisory capacity to NMSU college of Engineering and to the Technical Services division Dona Ana Community College. 

Rod Mitchell is also a founding member and currently on the executive committee for the New Mexico National Tooling and Machining Association which represents over 30 different contract manufacturing companies in New Mexico.

Marcela Navarrete, VP of Strategic, Financial & Management, El Paso Water Utilities

Marcela Navarrete graduated from UTEP with a Bachelor’s degree in Business (Accounting) in 1989.  She joined the City of El Paso in November 1992 as an Accountant I, eventually transferring to EPWU in August 1993, where, she worked her way up in the Utility’s Accounting department, from an Accountant I to the Utility’s Chief Accountant position in 1996. In 2003, Ms. Navarrete was promoted to the position of Chief Financial Officer for the Utility and held that position for eight years until her promotion in January 2012 to Vice President of Strategic, Financial and Management Services.

As Vice President, she is responsible for the administrative management and coordination of EPWU’s Strategic, Financial and Management Services Division which includes Finance, Customer Service, Accounting, Human Resources, Information Services, Purchasing and Contracts Administration, Land and Water Rights Management and Communications and Government Affairs.  

Ms. Navarrete has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1995.  She is currently a member of the Texas Society of CPA’s and the Government Finance Officers Association. Ms. Navarrete also serves on the boards of the United Way, El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (Board Chair), Evolve Federal Credit Union, and Keystone Heritage Park Association (Treasurer).

Gary Paul Porras, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Garick Group, Inc

Garick Electrical and Mechanical, Inc., has been the leader in its industry since its inception in 1977. The company has enjoyed great success with national and regional contracting firms on major projects which include the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, U.S. Military Bases, U.S. State and Local Government Agencies, Universities and Local School Districts, Hospitals, National and Local Outlet Retail Malls, and Housing and Commercial Facilities throughout the United States.

Under the leadership of Gary Paul Porras, the corporation has evolved into a diversified company under the name of “The Garick Group, Inc.”. The Garick Group, Inc. has expanded its client services to include Construction Management and Real Estate Development, in addition to continuing to be the largest and the premier choice for all electrical and mechanical contracting needs for most national and local contractors doing business in this region. 

Gary Paul Porras continues to lead the company to meet the construction growth challenges presently in this market. Under his leadership, the company has moved forward with new corporate directives. He has made significant investments in establishing best practices. His vision and leadership is building a foundation at The Garick Group, Inc. that will meet the current industry growth and the national and local economic challenges.

George Ruth, President, Citizens Bank of Las Cruces

George Ruth has been a resident of the State of New Mexico since 1981, having moved here from Pennsylvania with his family to pursue his career as a New Mexico banker. He and his family have lived in all four corners of the state, and have been in Las Cruces since 1998. This year marks Mr. Ruth 42nd anniversary in banking, having served with several different banking groups in the State in various capacities. He currently is President with Citizens Bank here in Las Cruces.

Mr. Ruth first came to New Mexico from Pennsylvania in 1968 to attend the University of New Mexico on a baseball scholarship. After three years, he transferred to Adams State College and graduated in 1972 with a Business Administration degree. His education includes graduation from the Pennsylvania School of Banking at Bucknell University in 1977, graduation from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University in 1980, Duke University Executive Management School - certificate of completion 1991, and the BBVA Executive Management School at the University Texas - certificate of completion 2007.  

As a Las Cruces resident, Mr. Ruth has served in several leadership positions with various organizations in our community. He served as Chair of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, Chair of The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, and Chair of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance. He currently is Chair of the Board for The Bridge of Southern New Mexico, a board member of The Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico, serves on the New Mexico State University Town and Gown Committee, and as an advisory board member of the Arrowhead Center at NMSU. Mr. Ruth also served as President of the New Mexico Bankers Association in 2004.