Gaddy to get Hub award for Downtown innovation

Calling Lane Gaddy one of El Paso’s up and coming entrepreneurs isn’t news. People are noticing his endeavors, which is why his name is on the Hub of Human Innovation’s award for Innovation in Downtown Redevelopment.

It’s one of three awards to be presented in March, as the nonprofit business incubator recognizes and celebrates outstanding entrepreneurs in the community.

“I’ve observed what Lane’s done in the community for some years,” said Joe Wardy, Hub president and CEO. “Downtown redevelopment has been kicked around for over 25 years; we saw lots of talk and no action.

“So, Lane is a good example of a handful of people who brought capital to the ideas and are responsible for Downtown. They’ve looked for innovative ways to make things work Downtown.”

Gaddy’s résumé includes president of W Silver Recycling, a scrap-metal recycling business, and president of Silver Farms, a pecan operation in New Mexico.

But it’s his work as a Downtown entrepreneur that’s garnered the Hub honor. Gaddy and his fellow entrepreneurs are among the younger business people actively resculpting El Paso’s Downtown. Through purchases and renovations of historic buildings, Downtown’s appearance continues to change.

Gaddy’s work here started in 2010 with an overhaul of the old Coronado Tower in West El Paso, and continued Downtown with reconditioning and transforming the historic Martin Building into the Martin Lofts. The restoration of the landmark Roberts-Banner Building is expected to begin soon, turning it into offices and retail space, while the iconic Bassett Tower is getting a massive makeover as an Aloft hotel.

Gaddy, 34, grew up in Albuquerque but had family ties to El Paso through his grandfather, El Paso businessman Bernard Fenenbock. “I’d come down for family stuff,” Gaddy said, admitting he didn’t know that much about El Paso. “But I started to see opportunities here, and I started getting excited.”

Even though he has a degree in finance and entrepreneurship and an MBA, Gaddy figures he inherited his business sense and interest in entrepreneurship from his granddad.

He’s also a founding member of Progress321, a nonprofit organization, that connects young professionals in El Paso and Juárez as they work to make the Paso del Norte region the next “best place to live and work.” They’ve run into some bumps in the road.

Like how misunderstood the El Paso region is – by residents and out-of-towners alike – who have misconceptions about the city, its business climate, and sometimes an “it’ll never fly in El Paso” mindset.

“We just saw a need for action, and for action in Downtown El Paso,” Gaddy said. “That had not been happening. We wanted to create the conditions so that it would happen.”

“You’ve heard the movie line ‘If you build it, they will come.’ That’s what we had to do. You just can’t study things to death.”

Gaddy remains on the go, putting in 80-plus hours a week. He says that “seeing people who share in our visions for Downtown El Paso” is quite satisfying, which includes El Pasoans and others who aren’t from here.

The upcoming Hub award caught Gaddy by surprise. “Obviously, it’s very flattering and I’m real appreciative to be the recipient,” he said. “The El Paso community has really noted the efforts we’ve made Downtown.

“But even though our projects get a lot of attention, they’ve taken a lot of monumental efforts by lots of folks.”

Wardy said Gaddy is not being honored just for his work Downtown, but also because he is good contributor to the community in a number of areas.

“Innovation is the key here,” Wardy said, “looking for different ways to attack challenges.”

The March 21 awards breakfast is sold out, Wardy said, with a full house of 130 attendees. “We’re pleased at the support for this function,” he said. Wardy will be the emcee, with Hub board chairman Tripper Goodman presenting the awards.

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