Jim Loya

Officially, Jim Loya is an Associate Research Engineer at the WERC/Institute for Energy & the Environment (IEE). However, his responsibilities extend far beyond what his title indicates. Loya has over 30 years of experience in analyzing, designing, planning, developing, coordinating, conducting/managing and evaluating educational and technical training and programs/projects within government and educational institutions.

Jim Loya

After a release from the U.S. Army as a Captain with disabilities, Loya earned his master’s degree in Environmental Engineering, a degree program created through WERC: a Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development (WERC). The veteran began employment for WERC as a graduate student in 1993. Upon graduation, he became a project manager and has since managed educational as well as research projects. He continued these responsibilities when, in 2006, WERC joined with other Centers of Excellence at New Mexico State University to form IEE.

Loya takes little for granted and attributes his accomplishments to the grace of God. “I have been blessed by Senator Pete V. Domenici, who had the foresight to believe in and support the WERC program, and Dr. Abbas Ghassemi who had faith in my abilities to successfully accomplish almost anything that is worthwhile,” Loya said.

More recently, Loya has had occasion to manage another program blessed with Senator Domenici’s foresight: the Inland Water Quality Desalination program. “They [senators and representatives] had enough foresight to see that water is a significant issue. Essentially, water controls everything. It controls your standard of living, it controls your economic growth. It controls the visibility of small, rural communities—which, if you look at New Mexico, that’s what we’re largely made up of,” Loya said. He shows a great appreciation for student contributions to research, saying that they are a valuable resource to program efforts. “They are bright people, untainted, who will think outside the box,” he said.

Apart from his professional life, Loya and his wife, Mindy, love to travel, participate in their church’s programs and activities, garden, and raise tropical and saltwater fish. Their granddaughter, Jaden, prompts frequent visits to Mesa, Arizona.

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New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute
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