Meet the Staff

Interview with Zetdi Sloan, Director of Arrowhead Technology Incubator (ATI)

by Lauren Goldstein, Arrowhead Technical Writer and Researcher

Did you grow up in Las Cruces?

I’m actually originally from the interior of Alaska, around Denali National Park. My parents raced sled dogs—when they retired, we first traveled south to Mexico, then later traveled north and landed in Cliff, New Mexico, outside of Silver City, in time for my siblings and I to start school in the fall. I went to high school in Cliff and then moved to Las Cruces to attend NMSU as an undergrad.

What made you interested in local business?

My parents were both self-employed, so that had an influence, but what really fed my interest was marrying a local business owner, a farmer. I see the successes and challenges of being in local business every day in both my personal and professional life.

How did you become associated with Arrowhead Center?

I was a GA at Arrowhead as a student. It was a huge part of my life and the support I found here was key. After graduating with my MBA, I decided to pursue my Masters of International Business Certification from Université d’Angers in France. Dr. Boberg was very supportive, and it was through an Arrowhead scholarship that I was able to attend that program. After my international certification I came back to NMSU and joined Arrowhead as a full-time staff member in 2010.

Your experiences studying abroad seem to have had a big impact on you. Can you speak more to what you learned through those programs that you may not otherwise have learned by staying stateside?

Yes, the study abroad programs had a big impact. As an undergrad I also traveled to Costa Rica and Peru as part of a study abroad program for Spanish language learning. I’d say that one of the biggest aspects I gained was confidence—through traveling on my own—and I learned how to be resourceful. I wanted to study abroad, so I worked, saved, and found scholarships—I was financially independent, so I figured out how to fund myself.

Another interesting bit of knowledge I gained was the notion of cultural differences and similarities—that “foreign” really isn’t that foreign when you are in the middle of it. Does that make sense? That people are people and places are places regardless of the location. There were unexpected similarities to my home in all of the places I traveled.

In this month’s newsletter, we are featuring the companies you have been working with for the CrucesKick campaign. Can you talk a little bit about the CrucesKick? Is this the first year it is taking place?

Sure, yes, this is the first year it is taking place. It’s a collaboration with the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance The initial aim from Arrowhead was to collaborate with the Las Cruces community and evaluate community needs. It was definitely a team effort from multiple colleagues at Arrowhead and at MVEDA to get it off the ground. The current cohort of small businesses—Bow Wow Blends, EcoSeal, New Mexico Shrimp Co., and Roots Leather Company—all started together in the fall of 2015.

And you are lead on the program?

Yes, I put the programmatic piece in place, but it was based on prior success with Kramer’s (Dr. Kramer Winingham) Kickstarter campaign for his solar technology. Arrowhead Center had been involved in the licensing process for his technology when he was a graduate student.

What is the most interesting aspect of working with this cohort and running CrucesKick?

It’s truly a unique opportunity for everyone who participates. For the business owners in the cohort, they learn from each other in a sort of non-traditional way. During meetings and presentations, the business owners were able to trade information on best practices, funding opportunities, financing, customer channels, and other aspects. Part of this arose because they found unexpected similarities between one anothers’ businesses. For example, Eco-Seal is a plant-based product, Bow Wow blends uses naturally derived, simple ingredients, New Mexico Shrimp Co.uses eco-friendly practices, and Roots Leather employs ethical business practices regarding fair trade and fair pay and treatment of artisans that produce their goods. This common ground allowed for a lot of ideas to circulate. It was the ground for innovation.

Zetdi Runyan Sloan serves as the Director for the Technology Incubator. She is responsible for overall incubator operations, including the development and implementation of business support programs to help start-up businesses maximize growth and success. Zetdi also serves as the Arrowhead Innovation Network Coordinator, creating ecosystems that link inventors, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors. She is a board member for the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, and the Las Cruces Young Professionals.

NMSU Arrowhead Center seeks to promote local companies with crowdfunding campaign

Date: 03/02/2016

Writer: Dana Catron, 505-358-4039,

This year, four companies are participating in CrucesKick, a partnership between Arrowhead Center and the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA). CrucesKick, which launched Feb. 29, is a fast-moving crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise funds and awareness of local companies’ products and offerings

Working together, MVEDA and Arrowhead are combining their expertise in economic development and business assistance to get these crowdfunding campaigns off the ground.

The four participating companies, which include EcoSeal, New Mexico Shrimp Co., BowWow Blends, and Roots Leather Company, have been busy creating their crowdfunding pages and short campaign videos.

“CrucesKick participants have been working with our video production team, campaign strategists, editors, and marketing advisors for months,” said Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead Technology Incubator. “I can’t wait for them to unveil their crowdfunding campaigns to all of their supporters.”

Shannon Murray, owner of BowWow Blends, created a Power Fruit Dog Smoothie after her Golden Retriever Ruby had continual gastrointestinal issues. She sees CrucesKick as a wonderful opportunity and is excited to see where it will take her small business.

“It’s great to be on the ground floor of this type of project, working with Arrowhead and their resources,” Murray said. “We certainly couldn’t have pulled something like this off without all of their help and guidance.”

Another participant, Maria Colato, was born and raised in Guatemala City and created Roots Leather Company to showcase her culture in handbags, boots and accessories.

“CrucesKick is the perfect nursery for our business ideas,” she said. “With their help, now we are reaching high and ‘our roots’ are starting to grow deep and strong.”

Kathryn Hansen, Arrowhead’s director, is eager for the exposure CrucesKick will bring to these companies.

“CrucesKick provides a great opportunity for product promotion and fundraising for our local businesses,” she said. “Arrowhead is dedicated to providing its resources as part of an entrepreneurial environment that supports startups, young firms and expanding businesses.”

Davin Lopez, president and CEO of MVEDA, expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming crowdfunding campaign.

“MVEDA is excited to be part of what we believe to be a first of its kind economic development effort,” said Lopez. “We realize that we cannot just duplicate other programs found elsewhere if we are truly going to foster growth. Instead, we need to be just as innovative as those companies we hope to support, and that is exactly what CrucesKick accomplishes."

CrucesKick is sponsored in part by the U.S. Economic Development Department’s University Center Program.

To follow the crowdfunding campaigns, visit the CrucesKick page:

Couple takes dog smoothie business to the public with NMSU-based campaign

Date: 03/09/2016

Writer: Dana Catron, 505-358-4039,

Shannon Murray and Vic Villalobos created Bow Wow Blends after their golden retriever, Ruby, began having ongoing issues with reflux and inflammatory bowel disease. Murray decided to take matters into her own hands and created the Power Fruit dog smoothie after Ruby had a seizure thought to be a reaction to one of her antibiotics. The couple is working with Arrowhead to market their product.

“We immediately took her off the drugs and started researching what we could give Ruby’s sensitive belly so she could eat and keep her food in on both ends long enough to get the nutrients she needed,” said Murray. “The Bow Wow Blends Power Fruit dog smoothie was born. We drizzle it over her food and her sisters’ food, and sometimes freeze it for a frozen treat. It supports digestion and their urinary tract with pumpkin, blueberries, bananas, carrots and cranberry.”

Working with Rachel Schneider at Ol’Gringo Chile Products and Willis Fedio at the New Mexico State University Food Science Laboratory, Murray was able to create a shelf stable product that was developed at home and taste-tested using her own dogs. Murray and Villalobos’ company, Bow Wow Blends, is one of four participating in this year’s CrucesKick, a partnership between Arrowhead Center and MVEDA. CrucesKick is a fast-moving crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise funds and awareness of local companies’ products and offerings.

“We would take off days from work (my husband and I both have full time jobs) to go over to Ol’Gringo and we would make test batches, contact bottle companies looking for USA-made and BPA-free bottles, and discussed the right size, packaging and lid,” Murray said.

While the initial plan was to make a product that worked for Murray’s dogs, a visit to Ol’Gringo after Schneider took over operations led her to consider the commercial opportunity.

“I happened to be visiting her one day to see her processing plant and that's when we decided hey why not make this for others to try,” said Murray. “A lot of pet food is unfortunately made in China or with ingredients from China and have caused animals to get sick, and I know there’s a big push from a lot of industry pet food manufacturers to move towards products made in the USA.”

Bow Wow Blends only uses ingredients sourced in the U.S. other than bananas, and they take pride that the manufacturing and materials, down to the easy-pour-lid and bottle, are U.S.-based. The Power Fruit Dog Smoothie is currently being sold in specialty pet food stores throughout New Mexico.

After being invited to participate in CrucesKick by the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA), Murray expressed her excitement to be involved because “it's such a wonderful opportunity and we are so excited to see where this will take our small business.”

To follow Bow Wow Blends’ campaign, please visit:

For more information about Bow Wow Blends email them at, or visit their website

NM Shrimp Co. utilizing NMSU-based crowdfunding campaign to raise product awareness

Date: 03/14/2016

Writer: Dana Catron, 505-358-4039,

Tracey Carrillo, assistant director for Campus Farm Operations at New Mexico State University and co-owner of New Mexico Shrimp Co., is participating in CrucesKick, a crowdfunding campaign sponsored by Arrowhead Center and Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA).

The NM Shrimp Co has been making waves in southern New Mexico and is sought-after for their locally produced, farm-fresh shrimp. Their shrimp are grown without antibiotics, preservatives or chemicals, and provide a healthy alternative to imported, frozen shrimp.

Carrillo heard about CrucesKick through his involvement with Arrowhead Technology Incubator, where he is a client. CrucesKick, a partnership between Arrowhead Center and MVEDA, launched Feb. 29. This year, four companies are participating in CrucesKick, a fast-moving crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise funds and awareness of local companies’ products and offerings.

“We want everyone in the U.S. to be able to get fresh shrimp produced locally in an all-natural manner using a sustainable, environmentally conscience method,” Carrillo said when asked about his campaign. “We want to create a system to harvest and ship overnight fresh salt water shrimp to consumers so that people even in remote areas can have access to a fresh seafood product, never frozen and produced in the US.”

NM Shrimp Co. is creating a nutriponic system that uses the nutrient-rich waste produced from shrimp processes. The waste will be used to grow all-natural vegetables and produce in an aquaponic-like system. The plants absorb the nutrients and also filter the water in an all-natural system. This creates another added value product created from waste, emphasizing NM Shrimp Co’s sustainability mission.

“This leaves little waste,” said Carrillo. “We know exactly what goes into our water so that we can produce a product free of chemicals.”

NM Shrimp Co. is increasing its shrimp harvest capacity through the creation of a new production facility, located in Mesquite, N.M., that will use NMSU cotton and aquaculture technology. The new facility will house 12 above-ground pools for shrimp production in a 12,000 square foot building.

“Our shrimp are a healthy alternative to imported frozen shrimp,” Carrillo said. “Shrimp are a good source of nutrients and are loaded with protein, vitamin D, vitamin B3 and zinc, and shrimp are an excellent, carbohydrate-free food for anyone determined to shed pounds.”

To follow NM Shrimp Co.’s campaign,

NMSU alumna working with Arrowhead to develop technology for senior citizens

Date: 03/18/2016

Writer: Dana Catron, 505-358-4039,

For Tiara Grant, relocating from Albuquerque to Las Cruces for an intensive 12-week pre-incubation program at Arrowhead Technology Incubator (ATI) was an easy move.

“I knew that New Mexico State University had a strong engineering program,” said Grant. “After researching numerous incubators, I decided ATI could best help me achieve my goals.”

Grant is an NMSU alumna and has worked in the information technology field since 2008, studying areas in information security, secure coding practices and object oriented programming languages, database and network design, IT project management and unified modeling language, or UML. While earning her master’s in computer science, Grant knew she wanted to develop a technology that would focus on senior care.

Her company, Omnius Technologies, will allow her to focus on the development of a technology that will help senior citizens stay independent at home through the use of a personal emergency alert system.

“While at ATI, I hope to explore the market potential of my technology, create a white paper and market/communications plan, and explore SBIR/STTR (Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer) funding opportunities,” said Grant. “I have an intense desire to help senior citizens while reducing the costs associated with hospital stays.”

Grant’s technology is comprised of a personal emergency alert system that will work with wireless sensors to transmit information to a secure cloud server and monitor for potential emergencies 24/7. If an emergency should occur, a trained call representative will first assess the situation through video or a phone call, then contact emergency services if the emergency is deemed critical.

“As the older adult’s transitions through the personas, the application will promote a higher quality of life in an independent living setting, reduce trips to the ER, and take a more proactive approach than the current personal emergency alert devices in fall detection, dementia and Alzheimer location management, treatment management and health and wellness management,” Grant said.

The application will collect data including bathroom usage, wakefulness, food preparation (in case an oven or stove is left on), home temperature, medication adherence and the monitoring of vital signs such heart rate, weight scale, body temperature, blood pressure, respiration and glucose levels, as well as the sensors built into the home to administer and monitor prescription usage.

Grant is also working with Arrowhead Center’s NM FAST program to submit a Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) proposal to fund the development of this technology.


Entrepreneuring #6: Victor Villalobos

Entrepreneuring #7 Marina Cardon


Gaining Assistance with the SBIR/STTR Programs

When: April 1, 2016

Where: New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place Socorro, NM 87801

Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

SBIR / STTR Phase 1 Proposal Development Workshop with DoD emphasis

When: April 12, 2016

Where: NMSU-A Small Business Development Center Room TE 103, 2400 Scenic Dr Alamogordo, NM 88310

Time: 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Exponential Innovation Workshop

When: April 14 - April 15

Where: Technology Hub, Av Adolfo López Mateos 924 Cuidad Juárez, Mexico


When: April 15 - April 16

Where: Macey Conference Center 801 Leroy PI Socorro, NM 87801

SBIR / STTR Phase 1 Proposal Development Workshop

When: April 19, 2016

Where: Western New Mexico University, Light Hall, 1000 W College Ave Silver City,, 88062

Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Studio G Networking Hour

When: Every Wednesday

Where: Arrowhead Center 3655 Research Drive, Las Cruces, NM 88003

Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

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