For Immediate Release

Date: June 9, 2021

Contact: Danielle Casey,

Nominations Now Open for the Third Annual 505 Awards to be Bestowed at Inaugural AED Annual Dinner

Albuquerque Economic Development Inc. will host its first Annual Dinner which will feature the 505 Leadership in Economic Development awards.


[GREATER ALBUQUERQUE, NM, June 9, 2021] – Nominations are now open for the annual 505 Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations that have made exceptional contributions to economic growth and prosperity in the Albuquerque metro area. The annual awards are presented by Albuquerque Economic Development, Inc. (AED) and the Albuquerque Forward Fund. Unique in 2021 will be the bestowing of these awards at an event Thursday, December 9, that will celebrate the awardees in style and serve as the culmination of AED’s work throughout the entire year in advancing the regional economy.

“The community has been through so much over the past 18 months; by December we will also have spent a year doing tremendous work developing and launching the implementation of a comprehensive regional strategic plan which is also a huge cause for celebration,” said Danielle Casey, President & CEO of AED.

The awards program includes seven categories, which are designed to highlight exceptional efforts in community leadership, workforce development and economic development. Three categories will honor the work of organizations and four categories will honor the work of individuals. Individual categories include the Community Leadership Award, the Excellence in Workforce Development Award, and the Small Business Champion Award. Categories recognizing individuals for their contributions to economic development include the Advocate of the Year Award, the Public Service Leadership Award, and the Rising Star Award.

Special thanks are due to this year’s 505 Awards Premier Sponsor. “True Health New Mexico (TRUE) is proud to be the premier sponsor of this year’s AED 505 Awards program and joins AED in celebrating the outstanding individuals and organizations who so meaningfully contribute to the health and vitality of our economy and communities,” said Mark Epstein, CEO and President of True Health New Mexico.

Rathi Casey, Partner and CEO of UKUU Creative said “The 505 awards is a special recognition in our business community that celebrates the passion we have to lead our state to economic growth and success. It was an honor to be a recipient of the Rising Star award last year during a global pandemic. Looking back, being an honoree especially inspires me to build something great in Albuquerque that will be an example to other communities all around the world. AED is a huge source of support to local businesses and uniquely celebrates leaders in the community. That makes this city a great place to start and grow your business!”

In addition, a Lifetime Leadership Award honoree is selected by the Awards Selection Committee each year and recognizes an individual whose ongoing commitment to economic development has made a significant and lasting impact on the Albuquerque metro area.

“The 505 Awards are a celebration of the hard work, collaboration and vision that the Albuquerque metro area has demonstrated for decades,” said Leean Kravitz, Board President of the Albuquerque Forward Fund. “We are looking forward to the enhanced experience and recognition that these deserving winners will receive by celebrating them at a new, signature Annual Dinner event.”

Nominations open Monday June 14 and will close Friday July 23. A selection committee organized by the Albuquerque Forward Fund will review all nominations and make final award decisions. To access the online nomination forms and additional information regarding eligibility requirements and judging criteria, visit

Award winners will be notified by Friday, September 24, and recognized at the Inaugural AED Annual Dinner on December 9, 2021, from 6 – 9 p.m. at Hotel Albuquerque. To register for the program or explore sponsorship opportunities, visit ABQ.og/2021Dinner.

About the Albuquerque Forward Fund

The Albuquerque Forward Fund is a 501c3 nonprofit which educates employers and connects them to the resources they need in order to innovate, expand and thrive; empowers the region by conducting and publishing research on the region’s workforce, employment data, industry trends and economic outlook; and expands the mission of Albuquerque Economic Development, Inc., to attract new employers to the area, help existing employers grow, generate jobs, and expand the economy. For more information visit

About AED

AED is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to recruit business and industry, help local companies grow and generate quality job opportunities throughout the Albuquerque metro area. AED provides confidential assistance to businesses considering the area for expansion and new investment. Since its creation in 1960, AED has recruited more than 250 companies and more than 35,000 jobs to the Albuquerque metro area. AED also provides retention and expansion assistance to existing industry. For more information about AED, visit


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