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Ethics in Business Award Winner Mike Silva Strives To Be an Ambassador for Albuquerque

Mike Silva, co-owner of Rude Boy Cookies and Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory, is among five honorees for the New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards.
Ethics in Business Award Winner Mike Silva Strives To Be an Ambassador for Albuquerque
Mike Silva stands behind the ice cream bar at Rude Boy Cookies ready to greet new customers.

Apr 16, 2019

When Mike Silva was in the third grade, he and his family left Los Angeles looking for a new place to call home. He found that home here, in the Land of Enchantment. 

“I claim Albuquerque as my home. I’m committed to this place. I’m passionate about its people and the culture,” says Mike. “There’s no other place like it.”

Mike -- along with HB Construction, Silver Leaf Farms, Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless and Adriel Orozco -- will be celebrated as winners of the 20th Annual New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards on April 25 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque.

Decades after his arrival, Mike’s passion for Albuquerque sparked a business idea and his inner entrepreneur began to blossom. In 2009, he co-founded ABQ Trolley Co. (now rebranded as Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory), with his good friend and business partner Jesse Herron.

“Our confidence in each other encouraged us to leave the traditional nine to five job and strike out on our own,” Mike says. “I think the courage was born out of both us having a belief in each other and in this city.”

Mike and Jesse’s city tour business turned 10-years-old this year. Mike says he loves being able to show out-of-towners all the best parts of Albuquerque.

“Yes, Albuquerque has its problems but so does every other city,” he says. “I’m here to show people what an amazing place this is from the perspective of true Burqueño.”

As a seasoned musician and lover of all things sweet, in 2014 Mike launched a new business venture that would combine his love of cookies with his love of Ska and Reggae music. And so, Rude Boy Cookies was born, although Mike needed some help with the cookies.

“I don’t know how to bake,” he says. “So, I called my friend Kristin Dowling who graduated from CNM’s Culinary Arts program and I asked her if she wanted to be involved. She said yes.”

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Mike and Kristin are the owners and operators of Rude Boy Cookies in Albuquerque.

Kristin is successful in her own right. She competed in, and won, Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge in 2017. After her appearance on the show, Rude Boy Cookies saw a 200 percent increase in business.

Mike says his business ethics stem from the lessons he learned from his mother and his late mentor.

“I was taught to always follow through with my commitments and to always honor my word,” he says. “If you are going to set a high level of expectation for your employees, you better be showing them how it’s done by example.”

Cultivating a strong community and helping others is a large component of Mike’s business ethics. He says that in order to make Albuquerque a better place for everyone, he needs to do his part, be it large or small.

“For me as the individual, it’s important to strike out in the world and speak up for those who need a voice and to lend a hand if someone needs help getting up. I respect humanity and just want to do my part, and through my businesses I feel like I am helping,” Mike says.

Rude Boy Cookies launched a charity campaign called “Cookies for a Cause.” Each month, the company donates a portion of their profits to a selected organization. During the month of April, for every paw-shaped cookie sold at Rude Boy, a dollar will go to the Animal Humane Society. In May, the company will donate to Special Olympics New Mexico.

“We are truly committed to being a business of the people,” Mike says. “We have an open invitation to any nonprofit in town to contact us to collaborate on a Cookies for a Cause event. After the ‘cookie party’, we will donate 20 percent of our sales to that organization.” 

Mike says that after decades of conducting business, he will always hold on to his values. Being of service to our community is what continues to drive Mike’s passion for business.

“I’ve become more determined than ever to be an ambassador for this city and to help anyone who needs it,” he says. “I live my life by this mantra: ‘Be massive. Be of service. Be massive in your service.’”

To view all of the winners and for more information about the awards event, including ticket info, click here. This is the second year CNM has been operating the New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards.