8 Questions For David Hinkle: Executive Director for Gallup-McKinley County Chamber of Commerce
By Fowler Roberts
Q. David, what got you interested in the Executive Director’s position at the Gallup Chamber?
A. Chamber work in general gives me the opportunity to work at what I like most, which is assisting people. Specifically, what got me interested in Gallup were three things. First, the incredibly favorable climate that you have. Second, is the right business climate and third, and most importantly, are the warm, friendly and productive people.
Q. What have you enjoyed most about your job so far?
A. It has to be, once again, the people. I’ve met a group of people that want to achieve more, that is excited about making the improvements in the community and have a hopeful and exciting vision for the future.
Q. What is the biggest challenge that you face?
A. The biggest challenge is my personal challenge of saying the right words and coming up with the right programs and initiatives in order to excite, engage and inspire the citizens of our region.
Q. What is your top priority at this point in time for the Chamber of Commerce?
A. My number one priority is always to improve the conditions for the members of the Chamber of Commerce, but I see myself accomplishing that by improving the conditions for all the citizens of Gallup and McKinley County. A rising tide will lift all boats.
Q. Ultimately, what do you see as the highest potential in our area?
A. The greatest potential that I see is for inspiring people to increase their educational and learning aspirations, and improving the human capital of the citizens of the area, because the only thing that has ever been statistically correlated with increased economic activity of all kinds is increased education. Workforce development is the term. Education to me is not just K-12. It’s not a university degree. It is a technical trade. It is skill set improvements and it can be obtained both inside and out of formal educational environment.
Q. So what do you enjoy doing in your off time?
A. That is a very long list but it’s outdoor activities of all kinds. I am an avid hiker, runner, biker, horseback rider and the Southwest is perfect for me in all those regards.
Q. What is your favorite book?
A. I’ve got a wide variety of interest in books. I’ll give you a few. I’ll tell you about some that I’ve always loved, that I can always go back and read and read again. That would include Beau Geste by Wren and Two Years Before the Mast by Henry Dana. I continually reread Musashi’s Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
Q. If you could trade places with one other person, either living or dead, who would it be and why?
A. (Long contemplative pause) That’s a tough question for me, because I like being exactly who I am. Just this morning, though, I read Socrates’ first and second defenses. I would never have pretended to have been someone like Socrates, but if I could have been one of his students, that would have been extremely extraordinary to me.