Gallegos puts spring in your step

A business plan assignment at Adams State College became the roots for a nationally known Albuquerque, New Mexico shoe company. Andres Gallegos '91 and his father, Alvaro Gallegos, founded Z-CoiL in 1993.

A Z-CoiL shoe is a specialty shoe, which has a spring in place of the heel. According to the Z-CoiL website, Alvaro Gallegos designed the shoe because of the constant pain he suffered from running. After teaming up with Yong Oh Lee from South Korea, they produced the first prototype. Working closely together, they refined the shoe's design and patented it in 1995.

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Alvaro Gallegos

Andres said the spring shoe was the brainchild of his father who had pain associated with years of running. "Starting a company like Z-CoiL requires tremendous faith and work,' Andres said. "There was no manual for something as revolutionary as a spring shoe. Raising money was probably the most challenging component."

According to Andres, manufacturing the product was a challenge. It took them five years to get it right. "We made hundreds of mistakes," Andres said. "We learned adapted and moved on. But then we had our work cut out trying to get consumers to wear the product. The shoe looked strange, but once consumers tried it on and it felt great, they remained loyal."

"Andres exemplifies what an Adams State alumni can do," said Lori Laske, director of Alumni. "He was a leader on campus and is now a successful business leader in the Albuquerque business world."

As a student at Adams, Andres Gallegos was a member of alpha kappa psi fraternity, played intramural football, was an AS&F senator and AS&F president his senior year. Andres has contributed significantly to the Adams State community. During his term as AS&F President, AS&F campaigned for and implemented student to teacher evaluations. Previously, teachers evaluated other teachers; Andres said the senate believed that was too political. In addition, he helped pass a bond referendum requesting money to renovate buildings at the school.

"Andres was a neat person," said Gary Jones, retired director of facilities services. "Under his leadership, AS&F was instrumental in helping pass the bond referendum designed to complete necessary repairs and renovations to housing, the Rex Activity Center and the Student Union Building. The students approved the bond with an 84 percent vote in favor, much like the capital fee current students just passed in March 2008. The renovations boosted student life and moral."

"I have fond memories of living in the dorms, the great teachers, the crisp air and great friends," Andres said. "I really enjoyed my four years at ASC and am still in touch with many of my ASC buddies and teachers."

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Andres and Doc Ogden

Among the professors that Andres remembers, is Dr. James R. Ogden, former professor of business at Adams State College. "Doc could really relate to the students through his energy, excitement, and possibility thinking," Andres said. "He was always very funny and responsive to questions. He also did many extra-curricular activities with the students. He was a joy to listen to and made business fun."

Ogden said Gallegos was a friendly student, easy to get to know and very personable. "When we first met Andres said, 'Hi Dr. Ogden, my name is Andres Gallegos, What's up Bud?'" Ogden said. "I will always remember his intro. Andres was a wonderful student to have in class."

The relationship between Andres and Ogden has remained strong. Ogden sits on the board of directors for Z-Tech, Inc. "I was not surprised Andres Gallegos started Z-CoiL with his father. Because of his energy, interest, intelligence and an entrepreneurial spirit, I knew that Andres was going to be very successful," Ogden said. "He was always interested in how things worked, and although I was a very tough professor, he took every class I offered."

"ASC was great bases for confidence and fundamental skills," Gallegos said. "I often refer to specific knowledge in accounting economics or business strategy I learned at ASC. I am a big believer in continuing education and learning. It serves to keep an individual sharp and young at heart."

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Andres and daughter, Rachel

Andres lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He and his wife, Frances, have three daughters Adela, age 9, Rachel, age 12 and Lindley, age 14.

"I think ASC is a great school," Andres said. "If I could give advice to students I would say, get involved, work hard and expect more out of yourself. In this global market, you are competing against the world. GO GRIZZLIES."

Ogden said, as a member of Z-tech board of directors, he continues to enjoy Andres challenging questions and comments. "I can say that he is one of my closest friends and colleagues and I treasure the friendship I have with him and his family. Andres is a 'Great Story' from ASC."

Article By Marni Zabel