Valley Electric Association members in districts 5 and 6 have the opportunity this year to vote on board members to serve three-year terms.
District 6 incumbent David Dawson, who has served on the VEA Board of Directors since 2008 and is currently the board treasurer, is running for a third term representing the area in Pahrump north of Highway 372. The election takes place during the annual District 6 meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 20 at Nevada Treasure RV Resort, 301 W. Leslie St. Dawson said he received his credentials as a Certified Cooperative Director by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) his first year in office, which requires attending 10 eight-hour classes. He then attended another 10 classes to earn an NRECA Board Leadership Certificate.
Dawson retired from United Technologies with more than 35 years of experience as a front line employee, manager and strategic planner. Dawson served in the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1966, and he went on to serve in the Navy Reserve until 1968. He also served in the California Air National Guard’s 261st Combat Communications Squadron from 1982 to 1987. Dawson has been a member of the VEA Ambassador Program since its inception in 2006.
Dawson said the over $100 million in contracts VEA signed with federal facilities like the Nevada National Security Site and Creech Air Force Base added jobs through infrastructure upgrades and avoided double-digit rate increases.
“Those contracts are bringing in revenue to our membership. It’s one of the things that help us grow,” he said. “You can see our growth has doubled since 2008. We’ve not had a rate increase. We anticipate we put smart things in place to not have a rate increase until 2018 as we see it right now.”
Dawson said the Valley Electric ambassadors were heavily involved in planning for the new operations, dispatch and engineering building, which will house the control center. The existing engineering building will be used for community meetings. He said when it’s all finished the campus expansion plan will be a big win-win not only for VEA but the community.
“We’ve doubled our assets. We’ve put the company into a strong position as we move forward,” Dawson said.
Bill Renshaw has been a VEA member since 1995 and has owned and operated Pro Shed in Pahrump since March 2007. He ran in the 2011 election, garnering 218 votes to Dawson’s 557. Typically only a small portion of the members vote, in the 2011 election for District 6 only 1.25 percent of the 6,197 cooperative members in that district voted.
Prior to opening his own business, Renshaw worked in construction as a supervisor/journeyman electrician for Clark Electric and University Medical Center in Las Vegas. He worked as a crane and forklift operator for Southern California Edison and completed various classes focused on safety and information security. He has experience in steam plant generation, construction and labor relations. Renshaw received an Associate of Applied Science degree in electronics engineering technology from ITT Technical Institute in Henderson, Nev.
Renshaw said Chief Executive Officer Tom Husted’s position on the board of directors for the Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, a company that sells power to VEA, is a conflict of interest. VEA replied it’s a member of AEPCO, whose board is comprised of cooperative member organizations.
Renshaw criticized VEA for closing the drive-through payment window. He said Pahrump is a community where a lot of people don’t use the Internet.
“They’re going to spend $10 million on remodeling the building, giving them huge offices and big desks. I don’t think that’s right when we’re 20 years behind paying our capital credits back,” Renshaw said of the campus expansion plan.
Mary Taylor-Marsh is from Medina, N.Y., and has lived in Pahrump since 1981. She serves as the activities director for Preferred RV Resort. A licensed dietitian, Taylor-Marsh was the director of food services for the Nye County School District from 1982 to 1993 and worked for Preferred Equities as an activities director from 1994 to 1995.
From 1997 to 2000, she worked as a dietitian for the Economic Opportunity Board of Clark County. Taylor-Marsh is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Pahrump Valley and serves on the advisory board for the Salvation Army. She graduated from Buffalo State with a Bachelor of Science degree in health and nutrition. She also earned a Master of Education degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Taylor-Marsh said it’s wonderful the cooperative continues to grow by expanding into servicing the federal facilities.
“I don’t really know a lot about what they do. I’m a person who’s willing to learn,” she said.
Voting by District 5 members, which includes Sandy Valley, Mountain Springs and Trout Canyon, takes place during their district meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at the Sandy Valley Senior Center, located at 690 W. Quartz Ave. in Sandy Valley.
District 5 candidates include incumbent Dave Lowe, who was born and raised in Southern Nevada. He graduated from Las Vegas High School and the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. He served in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., as a public information officer.
Lowe has worked as an editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, personnel administrator at the Nevada Test Site, personnel director for Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital and appeals referee for the State of Nevada. Lowe and his wife, Barbara, moved to Sandy Valley in 1998 and are members of the Old Spanish Trail Association. Lowe was elected to the board in 2008. He is credentialed as a Certified Cooperative Director by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Lyal S. Darrel has been a Clark County resident since 1962. He is a 1975 graduate of Rancho High School in Las Vegas and has been a resident of Sandy Valley since 2007. Darrel became a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 357 in 1990 and retired as an electrician in 2012. Darrel has been a steward for Little Red Rock since 2005. He also serves as a member of the DT|LV Dynamos, which offers information about the downtown Las Vegas area to visitors. He has been with the organization since its inception in September 2013.
Ken Derschan has been a resident of Sandy Valley for more than 17 years. He is the owner of Trails End General Store in Sandy Valley. Derschan is also a director for the Keystone Enrichment Foundation and sits on the Citizen Development Advisory Committee for Clark County. Derschan serves as president of the Sandy Valley Schools Booster Club. He has served his community as a volunteer firefighter and as an emergency medical technician for the Sandy Valley Fire Department. He also held the positions of ambulance coordinator and assistant chief.