Sacco stays dialed in to Albuquerque’s innovation

Stacy A. Sacco engaging in conversation with student, Emmanuel Yela, during a Thursday Shark Tank class session. Photo By: Mariah Rimmer

UNM lecturer and small business owner Stacy A. Sacco is spreading the word about New Mexico’s innovative economy — one email, networking session and class meeting at a time.

Sacco, 60, a native of Wisconsin, has created a business information platform called New Mexico NetLinks that displays new marketing and sales related job openings throughout New Mexico.

“I’m a community guy, and when I got here I thought to myself wow Albuquerque is a small town and a lot of people don’t talk to each other. That is a huge scarcity model.”

With more than 25 years of experience in marketing research, Sacco looked for a way to spread innovative opportunities through the community. “I was job hunting, and I would share that job list with anyone I met. Well that list now goes to 3,500 people,” Sacco said.

New Mexico NetLinks is updated monthly and sent to subscribers. The site includes 2,000 links to marketing and technology related job openings, information about small businesses, and fun activities to do in New Mexico.

“I have all the major employers in there. The Governor’s Office uses my list because they don’t do this anymore” Sacco said. “This is a huge resource for students coming right out of college, however, what I do isn’t just student based, it’s community based.”

Innovation in the community

Sacco is a full time lecturer for entrepreneurial studies at the University of New Mexico. He works in the Anderson School of Management as the director of the Small Business Institute (SBI).

Sacco has been nominated for the UNM Adjunct Faculty of the Year award annually since 2008. He focuses on teaching his students about sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

“I’ve taught entrepreneurial studies for 16 years. I’ve taught 87 classes here with over 2,000 students.”

Sacco is currently co-piloting a class called “Shark Tank” with master’s student Gavin Leach of the Communication and Journalism Department. Students learn how to pitch business ideas to real world investors as well as improve their public speaking skills for a business environment.

Shark Tank is inspired by the popular show on ABC and will be the first class in the Anderson Department to be apart of the Innovation Academy.

“We will be moving over to the InnovateABQ building downtown,” Sacco said.

The Anderson School of Management is running with the movement for a more innovative economy in New Mexico. The SBI is formalizing a project with five teachers and about 15 students to conduct economic research to help several small business be successful in improving New Mexico’s economy.

“We do have an economic impact,” Sacco said. “How many jobs are we creating through these research plans?”

The SBI has helped more than 700 businesses and has brought in large revenue for UNM. The SBI has been ranked number one out of 90 for the Small Business Institute National Organization.

“I’ve been in the community representing UNM,” Sacco said.

The community guy

Sacco and his family came to New Mexico in the 60s where he attended junior high and high school. In the 70s, Sacco was selected as one of six kids in the state to travel with an international global education program called Up With People, which aims to bring the world together through service and music.

“Our lead singer is Beyonce’s uncle and our drummer went on to become the president of the Grammys so these are some incredibly talented people,” Sacco said.

“I only bring that up because a lot of people know Up With People and they know how that influences and changes you for the rest of your life. It is truly about community service and you’ll see that play out in the rest of my career.”

A community driven mindset has definitely reflected throughout Sacco’s career.

Sacco is a management professional and educator. He has held senior marketing management positions for several Fortune 500 corporations in California. Sacco is the the former Regional Manager of the WESST Enterprise Center, a statewide small business development and training organization whose mission is to grow New Mexico’s economy through entrepreneurship. He was the program manager for the CNM Workforce Training Center, and the former of sales and marketing for the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. Sacco has also given a TedTalk where he tracked the amount of weeks he has left to live on Earth and illustrated how he would spend them progressively in the community and personally.

Sacco acquired his Bachelor’s Degree in marketing from the University of Arizona. He earned his MBA from Pepperdine University.

He has been named Best Networker in New Mexico in Albuquerque Magazine and Albuquerque Business First and the Power Broker 100 most influential people.

“I’ve come from an immigrant family with a lot of my relatives being from Italy or Canada. When I was growing up as a young man I didn’t know how to tie a tie for a long time. To go from that to being a dishwasher at a country club, to becoming the vice president of marketing nationally was a huge experience.”


Name: Stacy A Sacco

Age: 60

Title: Lecturer for  entrepreneurial studies, director of the Small Business Institute (SBI), publisher of New Mexico Directory of Professionals Association, host of NM Netlinks

Background: Sacco is a lecturer at the University of New Mexico’s SBI, located in the Anderson School of Management building on UNM’s main campus. Sacco also researches and publishes job openings and business resources for the access of the community on his website www.nmnetlinkscom.

What do you think is the most interesting part of the innovation economy in ABQ?

“I think there is a huge change if you look at the bigger picture of things and I think it’s all good. There is this entrepreneurial shift for a more qualitative lifestyle which actually fits into what people have been talking about as far as working from homes and not just working for “the man.” I think that it’s a good story that Anderson, InnovateABQ and other schools are being part of this movement, it’s huge. I think we are the secret, the treasure of the United States.”

If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?

“I would be an astrophysicist or a salsa dance instructor.”