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VEA considering partnership with Chamber of Commerce for Pahrump conference center

Updated July 7, 2019 - 12:04 pm

Valley Electric Association Inc’s board of directors is working on a proposal that could lead to its conference center in Pahrump being managed by the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Jenney Sartin, who was named executive director of the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce in June, gave a presentation at Valley’s regular board meeting on Wednesday at the co-op’s conference center on the topic of the chamber possibly entering into a memorandum of understanding with Valley on managing its conference center.

“The Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce is committed to serving the businesses of this community and welcomes the opportunity to work with Valley Electric Association to assure the success of the collective goal, which is one that we all share in this room: to make Pahrump a better community,” Sartin said at the end of her comments to Valley’s board and a room full of Valley’s member-owners and others at the conference center.

Sartin spoke about the benefits of organizational collaboration over going it alone during her presentation.

“Effective partnerships leverage the strengths of each partner and apply it strategically to the issue at hand,” she said. “It may take more work. It may take a little longer, but stronger partnerships and strategies help those relationships share an understanding and collective focus in making lasting, long-term progress.”

Valley’s Interim Chief Executive Dick Peck spoke about what led to considering this proposal during the meeting.

Peck said he’s been looking for how Valley can “decrease expenses and also increase revenue opportunities,” during the meeting.

“What I have been looking at is this facility that we as a company only use two to three days a week,” he said. “How can we better use this for the business community and for the community at large? How can we turn around and manage this more effectively?”

Peck said employees from Valley’s marketing group used to care for the conference center prior to the reduction of staff at the co-op. More than three dozen employees were laid off or entered the co-op’s “Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan” in the last several months.

“Again, I looked around, looked around …,” he said. “As a member of the chamber of commerce in the Pahrump Valley, I thought, gosh, what a good way for business to take care of business — maybe getting the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce to manage this building for us on a full-time basis.”

The presentation was just the beginning of the process.

“There’s a lot for us to consider, and Dick’s brought a lot of good ideas to the table,” Dave Hall, president of Valley’s board of directors, told Sartin during the meeting. “We need to really go through those ideas and make sure for the long-term benefits of all of Valley Electric, not just here in Pahrump—Sandy Valley, and Fish Lake Valley, so there’s some discussion that needs to be had.”

One of the newest members to Valley’s board, Michelle Caird, commented on getting the process moving with having the “decision makers together and try to iron out, get any concerns addressed.”

“If maybe we could plan a date and also have anybody that can’t attend in person to listen in on the phone and be able to ask their questions or send their questions in,” she said. “It just seems like it would be nice to get this off our agenda and move on and get this facility used by the members of our community because it does have great potential to be used by everybody and anybody.”

Sartin said she “would absolutely encourage my board to participate in such a meeting.”

Wednesday was Caird’s first regular board meeting she had attended since being appointed by Valley’s board. Caird replaced Peter Gazsy for Valley’s District 1 board seat following his resignation in May.

Caird is also a member of the board of directors at the chamber of commerce in Pahrump.

Terrie D’Antonio, new board member for Valley’s District 5 (Sandy Valley), was also in attendance of the June meeting. D’Antonio replaced former board president Ken Derschan, who resigned from Valley’s board in May.

Hall addressed questions from a member-owner in attendance at the meeting about potential uses of the facility.

He said, to one of the questions, as Caird indicated, “I think we really need to sit down and view all the stuff for the people involved, get a good handle on what they’re proposing and why and get a good handle on how it’s going to benefit all the members of Valley Electric.”

“When we get to that point, I’ll make sure we have a meeting to discuss all of that,” Hall said.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

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