Council Members

Michelle Lujan Grisham is Governor of the State of New Mexico, and chair of the State Investment Council.

Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lujan Grisham was elected by New Mexicans on November 6, 2018, as Governor for the State of New Mexico. She is a 12th-generation New Mexican who has dedicated her life to serving her community while fighting for families, seniors, and veterans, and building an economy that works for all New Mexicans.

Previously she held three terms as a U.S. Congresswoman in the U.S. House of Representatives. There she served as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and served on the Budget Committee and Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has passed legislation to help local tribes, public schools and pay for training for law enforcement. She also took on the VA to increase veterans’ access to health care, convinced the Social Security Administration to hire more judges, and held bureaucrats accountable for cleaning up a jet-fuel spill that threatened Albuquerque’s drinking water.

After graduating from the University of New Mexico’s law school, Michelle worked providing free legal services for seniors with the state bar’s lawyer referral for the elderly program. She served as director of the state agency on aging for 14 years, pioneering innovative practices now used nationwide, including undercover inspections of nursing home facilities. In 2004, Michelle was appointed Secretary of the Department of Health where she expanded the number of school-based health centers and instituted teen pregnancy prevention programs. She was elected to the Bernalillo County Commission in 2010, serving for two years before winning an open seat in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in 2012.

Tim Eichenberg, State Treasurer

Tim EichenbergTim Eichenberg assumed office on January 1, 2015, becoming the 29th State Treasurer of New Mexico. Raised in Albuquerque, NM he attended Albuquerque Public Schools and graduated from the University of New Mexico. Eichenberg and his wife reside in Albuquerque and have two adult children and two dogs.

Eichenberg’s career in public service began in 1974, when he was elected Bernalillo County Treasurer. After serving two terms as Bernalillo County Treasurer, Eichenberg went to work in the private sector. He operated a small business in Albuquerque for over 30 years as a Property Tax Consultant, State Certified Appraiser, General Contractor (GB-98) and as a Real Estate Broker.

In 1994, Eichenberg was elected to the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority Board, a position he still holds today. In 2004, Eichenberg was appointed by Governor Richardson to the position of New Mexico State Property Tax Director.

In 2008, Eichenberg was elected to the New Mexico State Senate. During his tenure, Eichenberg served on the Public Affairs and Judiciary committees; and served as Chair of the Restructuring Committee and as Chair of the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee. In 2010, Eichenberg carried the Governmental Conduct Act, establishing a code of ethics for all government employees.

Stephanie Garcia Richard, New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands

Stephanie Garcia Richard(1)Stephanie Garcia Richard is the first woman and educator to be elected to the position of New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands to oversee the State Land Office responsible for raising revenue off state trust lands to pay for New Mexico’s schools and hospitals.

Born in Tucumcari and raised in Silver City, Stephanie learned at a young age the importance of serving others. Her father, a WWII veteran was a teacher; her mother was active in their church and community. Stephanie grew up in a family that operated ranches on the eastern plains and northern mountains of New Mexico, giving Stephanie a strong connection to our land. After graduating from Silver High School, Stephanie went on to receive her undergraduate degree from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York.

During her tenure as a New Mexico State Representative and Chair of the House Education Committee, Stephanie championed laws to increase access to a quality education, transparency, and investments in renewable energy, job training, and economic development.

As Land Commissioner, Stephanie will ensure we maximize the revenue earned from our land, while diversifying our investments, promoting outdoor recreation, and encouraging renewable and commercial development on state trust lands. With the largest continuous oil and gas resource potential ever assessed in the world sitting in Southeast New Mexico and some of the greatest potential for solar and wind energy development, Stephanie is excited to get to work and make more money for all New Mexicans while protecting the health of our land.

You can learn more about the State Land Commissioner and the State Land Office here.

Debbie Romero, Department of Finance and Administration Secretary

Deborah-RomeroSecretary Debbie Romero is a dedicated public servant nearly 40 years of state government experience. TShe has spent the majority of her career working at the Department of Finance and Administration, focusing on public policy, budgeting, capital outlay and capital outlay reform. In addition to having worked in budgeting and finance across a wide variety of fields relating to public government, Romero most recently served as the Director of the State Budget Division at DFA. She also previously served as Chief Financial Officer for the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and as the Director of Boards and Commissions for Governors Anaya and Richardson. Romero received a degree in Public Administration from the College of Santa Fe.

The Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) is appointed to the State Investment Council by Statute. The Secretary is the Governor’s top budget official and is responsible for the operation of the Department’s five divisions. As the chief executive at DFA, the Secretary leads a staff of 173 employees. The agency performs a range of financial services by crafting the state budget, processing payroll for 22,000 state employees, managing the state’s two main bond finance programs and conducting oversight of state agencies and local governments.

Leonard Lee Rawson, Public Member

Leonard-Lee-RawsonLeonard Lee Rawson was appointed to the State Investment Council by the Legislative Council in 2010.  He is a native New Mexican and long time Las Cruces resident who graduated from Las Cruces High School and New Mexico State University.

Lee is President of Rawson, Inc., a successful contracting and builder-supply company in Las Cruces, which he has operated for more than 35-years.  He has an extensive history of community involvement and has assisted or participated with more than two-dozen advisory boards, planning groups or volunteer organizations in the last quarter century.

His political career began in 1987, when he was elected to the State House of Representatives, where he stayed until elected to the New Mexico Senate in 1993.  He served four terms in the State Senate, serving as Senate Minority Caucus Chair, and most recently as Senate Minority Whip in from 2001-2008. During that time, he was also active member of the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) and the Investments and Pensions Oversight Committee.

Harold W. Lavender Jr., Public Member

Harold W. Lavender Jr.Harold W. Lavender, Jr. was appointed to the State Investment Council in August 2011 by the Legislative Council.  He was re-appointed in March 2013, and then again in March 2019.

As a former member of the Chicago Board of Trade, Mr. Lavender’s experience and expertise in the futures and options markets as a trader and broker spanned more than three decades. While a member of the CBOT, Mr. Lavender was involved in governance and management, and served on various oversight and conduct committees. Twice elected a CBOT Director, he served three terms as a member of the Executive Committee.

Employed currently by Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), Mr. Lavender serves in a role of finance and business development for CNM Ingenuity.  A graduate of the University of New Mexico and the University of New Mexico School of Law, Mr. Lavender practices law focusing on business development, government relations, and business and commercial law.

Tim Jennings, Public Member

Tim-JenningsTimothy Z. Jennings was appointed to the State Investment Council by the Legislative Council in 2013. He is the son of an oil and gas attorney, and a native New Mexican, born and raised in Roswell. Tim is a graduate of the New Mexico Military Institute High School, attended New Mexico State University, and graduated from Creighton University with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Tim has a long history of public service, which began in 1974 when he was elected to the Chaves County Commission at the age of 24. In 1979, he entered the legislature and began his career in the New Mexico State Senate, which included nine consecutive terms, leadership roles as majority whip (1989-1996), majority floor leader (1997-2001), and president pro tempore (2008-2012). As a fiscal conservative, Tim worked hard to collaborate with Senate colleagues across both sides of the aisle, and do what was best for New Mexico.

Tim is a rancher by profession, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for Pioneer Bank in Roswell.

L Michael MesinaL. Michael Messina, Public Member

Michael Messina joined the New Mexico State Investment Council in June 2019.  Michael is an attorney who has worked extensively on financial transactions since beginning his career in securities law more than 50 years ago. He has worked in private practice in New Mexico for more than 30 years, emphasizing financial and commercial transactions, commercial litigation, business organization and commercial real estate, among other areas. Previously he was the director of the National Health Law Program at the University of California at Los Angeles and worked on securities law as well as civil rights cases. He earned an economics degree from Dartmouth College and his law degree from the Yale Law School.

Nicolas M. Telles, Public Member

Nicolas M. Telles was appointed to the State Investment Council on January 21, 2020 by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham fulfilling the requirement that a chief financial officer of a state institution of higher education be a Member of the Council.

Nick head Shot for screenNick has dedicated nearly two decades of his career to public service in the areas of public finance, legislative education policy, higher education and leadership. Nick currently serves as the Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO for Santa Fe Community College where he has led transformational change in the college’s financial stability and performance.

Nick also served as Director of Finance for Valencia County where he was recognized by the NM Office of the State Auditor for accountability and excellence related to the county’s annual audit. The Valencia County Commission also appointed Nick, by a unanimous vote, to serve as Interim-County Manager.

Nick also has extensive legislative experience working for NM Senate leaders on the Senate Education Committee and in the Senate Majority Leadership Office. In this capacity, he worked directly on education public policy and finance matters related to early childhood education, K-12 education, need based scholarships, dual credit, adult basic education, and higher education.

Nick earned an M.B.A. and Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, both from the University of New Mexico, Anderson School of Management.

Catherine A. Allen, Public Member

Catherine Allen was appointed to the State Investment Council on March 3, 2021. For more than 30 years, Catherine Allen has been an outstanding leader in technology, strategy and corporate board governance and a key thought leader in business innovation, cybersecurity and risk management.

Catherine AllenCatherine is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of The Santa Fe Group (SFG), based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The SFG is a strategic advisory company focused on cybersecurity and risk management, specializing in briefings to C-level executives and boards of directors at financial institutions and other critical infrastructure companies. The SFG provides management for the Shared Assessments Program, a membership organization focused on best practices and assessment tools in third party risk management. Shared Assessments has over 325 corporate members, including many of the Fortune 1000. The SFG has received many awards from Cyber Defense Infosec and SC Media for their contributions to cybersecurity and risk management. Catherine was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women in Cybersecurity in 2019 by Cyber Defense Magazine. SC Media named her one of the 2019 Visionaries in Cybersecurity of the Last 30 Years.

Catherine has served, or continues to serve, as a corporate board member of Synovus Financial Corporation, El Paso Electric Company, Stewart Information Services, NBS Technologies, RiskSense, Belief Agency, Houlihan Lokey and CRI Advantage.  She has set up and chaired, or served on, risk, security and technology committees of boards, as well as serving on compensation, nominations and governance, energy and natural resources and public policy. In 2018 she was named one of the NACD 100 Most Influential Directors. Catherine sits on the audit committee of Women Corporate Directors, the advisory board of the Executive Women’s Forum and is President-Elect of the New Mexico International Womens Forum.

Catherine’s nonprofit work crosses the areas of arts, social justice and higher education. She was tri-chair of the University of Missouri’s $1.4 billion capital campaign and sits on the Board of Visitors.  She sits on the board of trustees for the New York Institute of Technology. She is also a member of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, International Folk Art Alliance and Resilient New Mexico nonprofit boards. Prior nonprofit boards have included New Mexico Appleseed, Communities in Schools, the Lensic Center for Performing Arts, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the Valles Caldera Trust, the New Mexico State Investment Council and the Mark Twain Research Foundation.

In 2007, Catherine stepped down from her role as the founding CEO of the financial services industry consortium, BITS, after a decade of service, to continue her work with The Santa Fe Group and pursue her passion to serve on corporate and nonprofit boards. During her tenure at BITS, Catherine worked closely with CEOs, CIOs and executives at the nation’s 100 largest financial institutions on strategic issues facing the financial services industry, from payments strategies to risk management.  BITS’ accomplishments under Catherine’s leadership include creating best practices in more than 30 areas of financial services management.

Earlier in her career, Catherine served in several senior executive positions at Citicorp in the Retail, Bankcards, and Corporate Innovation and Technology divisions.  She represented Citibank as founding chair and president of the multi-industry Smart Card Forum.  Prior to joining Citibank, Catherine was director of corporate planning for Dun and Bradstreet, where she created and chaired the Electronic Yellow Pages and Information Association.  Catherine was also a consultant to CBS, Inc. on new technologies and international trade while she was a professor at American University’s Kogod College of Business Administration.

Catherine is active politically in national and local spheres and is an advocate for getting more women and people of color onto corporate boards, into the C-Suite and into public policy.  Catherine has received many awards for her contributions to financial services, technology and mentoring of women. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Missouri in 2007. She has co-authored four books and is a sought-out speaker at industry conferences and in the media.

Catherine is married to Paul Rooker and they live between Santa Fe, NM and Cape Cod, MA. Together they share five step-children and ten grandchildren.

John Bingaman, Public Member

John Bingaman was appointed to the State Investment Council in March 2021 by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

John is Managing Principal of Iron Creek Partners LLC (“Iron Creek”), a private investment partnership based in Santa Fe, NM.  John founded Iron Creek in 2009. During his early tenure at Iron Creek, John also served as Executive Chairman of SambaSafety, a leading provider of driver risk management software and data to fleets and insurance carriers, based in Albuquerque.  Under John’s leadership, SambaSafety grew from approximately 20 employees to 150 employees and grew its revenues and earnings by an order of magnitude.

John currently serves as Board Chair of Iron Creek’s software portfolio companies, including CAI Software, SlickText, and Prism Visual Software.  Prior to founding Iron Creek, John was with Quadrangle Group LLC, a New York City-based private equity firm, and Salomon Smith Barney in the Investment Banking Division.

In January 2019, Governor Lujan Grisham appointed John to serve as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Governor, where he served until November 2020, taking a leave of absence from his responsibilities at Iron Creek.

John resides with his wife and children in Santa Fe.  John earned his B.A, magna cum laude in Economics, from Harvard College.

The terms of the six public members appointed by the Legislature and Governor are five-years long, and the term lengths are staggered starting with the initial appointments in 2010.

Members chose random lots to determine the following initial Council terms. Some members have been reappointed for additional 5-year terms, while others were appointed to finish the remainder of partial terms. There is no limitation on the number of terms to which a Council member may be reappointed:

  • Public Member Leonard Lee Rawson: 2010-2022
  • Public Member Harold Lavender: 2013-2023
  • Public Member Tim Jennings: 2013-2023
  • Public Member Michael Messina: 2019-2024
  • Public Member Nicolas Telles: 2020 (CFO of a state institution of higher education)
  • Public Member Catherine Allen: 2021-2025
  • Public Member John Bingaman 2021-2026

Members must be confirmed by the Senate and may be re-appointed.  The public member/CFO of a state institution of higher education serves at the pleasure of the Governor, and also must be confirmed by the state senate.