The following industry leaders are available to members of the media as resources. To find professionals by topic, hit Ctrl/F on your keyboard and type in the keyword you’re looking for. If you are a member of the media, please don’t hesitate to contact Tiffannie Bond at 702-837-8996 to get in touch with any of the professionals listed below.
National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC
A native of Pittsburgh, Dave Bernett has been in the sheet metal industry for nearly 30 years, beginning his apprenticeship in 1987 after serving four years in the Marines.
As a journeyman, he concentrated on planning and ran jobs as a field foreman.
On the union side, he served as an organizer and a business representative.
From 2012 to 2015 – just prior to becoming administrator of NEMIC – he served as the business manager/financial secretary-treasurer for Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 12, his home local in Pittsburgh.
President and CEO
Words by a Pro
Brevity has always been important in business. But with the advent of the Internet and the evolution of Web-based communication, the written word is, arguably, more important than ever before. That’s why Marek Biernacinski and his wife, Melissa, founded Words by a Pro in 2010.
Originally established as Edited by a Pro, the company’s services quickly expanded from editing to include writing, consulting and translating. With Marek at the helm, Words by a Pro today serves as an outsourced writing and editing company primarily for Web programmers, marketing/public relations firms and SEO companies. As such, Marek and his team excel at becoming quick “experts” on subjects and industries across the board, writing and editing content in such a way that is both interesting to the reader and optimized for search engines.
A writer, editor and former journalist, Marek has an entrepreneurial spirit that runs in the blood. (His parents and grandfather are entrepreneurs as well.) Originally from Poland, he is bilingual (fluent in English and Polish). He has lived in the United States since 1986, in Las Vegas since 2000.
Marek, who holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, attended the University of California, Davis and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, going to the gym and reading pretty much anything.
Shortly after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1992, Jeff Bigelow joined Hubbard Supply Co. as the program development manager. After several years of jointly managing the business under its prior ownership, Bigelow and business partner Tim Brooks acquired Hubbard Supply Co. in 2007.
In addition to being a member of the Industrial Supply Association Board of Directors, Bigelow also is chairman of the Industrial Supply Divisional Board of Affiliated Distributors and a member of the Membership Committee for the Industrial Supply Association, the supplyForce board, the Public Policy Committee for the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce and the campaign committee for the United Way of Genesee County.
He lives in Flushing, Mich. with his wife, Stephanie, and two children, Brandon, 25, and Megan, 15.
Brooke M. Borg, Esq.
Borg Law Group
While Brooke Borg, Esq., specializes in helping entrepreneurs, she is also one herself. Amidst the worst recession Las Vegas has ever seen – and while pregnant with her second child – Borg left the firm for which she worked and started her own company in early 2010. She focuses her practice on corporate, estate planning and probate law. Because these can all be very personal subjects, she provides one-on-one, approachable and knowledgeable legal services not often found in traditional firms.
Borg Law Group is a consultative firm that specializes in designing efficient and cost-effective strategies and plans that protect clients and provide them with peace of mind.
A native of Michigan, Borg understands tough economic climates and focuses on business law, helping company owners with everything from starting a business, to establishing a succession plan, to closing it if need be. Considering many business owners are tied closely to their companies personally as much as professionally, she also works with her clients to establish an estate plan.
If a client needs assistance with probate matters after the death of a friend or family member, Borg provides representation on behalf of the estate to ensure property of a deceased family member ends up in the right hands and the process is handled professionally from start to finish so that family members and friends can grieve the loss of their loved one instead of worrying about legal proceedings.
Borg earned her law degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas and has nearly 13 years of experience in her field. She belongs to the Nevada State Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan, the Clark County Bar Association, and the Probate and Trust Section of the Nevada State Bar. She also is a member of Business Networking International.
Borg and her husband have two children.
Owner and general manager
La Paloma Funeral Services
Ryan Bowen is a native Las Vegan. He enjoys serving members of his community as owner and general manager of La Paloma Funeral Services, a company he opened in 2006. With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in management, Bowen started in the funeral services industry without any previous experience, which he believes has served the company well as it allowed him to set tradition aside and provide families with services not typically found in the industry.
Bowen, a licensed funeral director as well as certified crematory technician, oversees the management of the facilities and personnel at La Paloma. Since 2010, Bowen also has served as an advisory board member for the Nevada Donor Network. He also enjoys spending time with his family in and out of the office.
Chief Operating Officer
Hubbard Supply Co.
Tim Brooks’ experience with Hubbard goes back nearly 30 years. In 1984, he graduated from Baker College with an associate’s degree in electronic technology and joined Shand Electronics, which was owned by the same family as Hubbard Supply Co. He worked his way up in the company from the manager of the electronics retail store to account manager for Delphi, which became the company’s largest customer.
Brooks became the general manager at Hubbard Supply Co. in the Shand Electronics division in 1993 and served in that capacity until 1999. During this time, he also completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan, Flint. In 1999, he was brought on to serve as Hubbard Supply Co.’s chief operating officer, a position he maintained even after he and Jeff Bigelow purchased the company in 2007. Hubbard Supply Co. runs in the family as Brooks’ wife, Julie, has worked as the company’s human resources director since 2001.
Tim and Julie Brooks have two children and two grandchildren with a third due in December. Tim Brooks and his sons, Jeff and Joshua, are all licensed pilots with multiple ratings. Other than flying the friendly skies, Tim Brooks also is a marathon runner, logging 1,500 miles annually and a total of eight marathons and hundreds of smaller races.
Aviva Gordon, Esq.
Attorney and founder
Aviva Y. Gordon established Gordon Law in 2015 to provide small- and medium-sized businesses with a boutique law firm that could address all of their business law needs.
Gordon has more than 20 years’ experience practicing business law in Southern Nevada. She has successfully argued before the Nevada Supreme Court and has several reported cases. In 2011, she obtained a multimillion dollar judgment for a local general contractor.
Gordon has been repeatedly named a “Legal Elite” by Nevada Business Magazine. She was included in The Distinguished Women in Nevada book and designated by Martindale-Hubble as a Member of the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.
In addition to her private practice, Gordon serves as general counsel for Terra West Management Services. She was also general counsel for the Nevada State Democratic Party from 1998 to 2002 and served on the Nevada Judicial Conduct Commission. She has been a featured speaker on Nevada Receiverships, both for attorneys and for the judges of the Eighth Judicial District Court. Additionally, Gordon has provided seminars for the Nevada Legal Aid Center’s Small Business Project Seminar, SCORE and the Nevada Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Gordon is a Leadership Henderson graduate as well as a member of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce board of directors and all three of its government advocacy committees: the IMPAC Committee, the Legislative Committee and the Issues Committee.
Gordon’s relationship with – and information acquired from – the Henderson Chamber of Commerce business community over the years has proven to increase her effectiveness as an attorney for her clients.
In addition, Gordon is a board member of the Josh Stevens Foundation, chairwoman of the Community Advisory Panel of the Nathan Adelson Hospice, and a board member of Midbar Kodesh Temple.
Gordon graduated from Boston University in 1990 and with distinction from California Western School of Law in 1993. She is a member of both the Nevada and California Bars.
Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT)
Randall Krocka has been a sheet metal worker for more than 34 years. A graduate from the sheet metal apprenticeship in 1985, Krocka worked in residential, architectural, commercial and industrial shops throughout his career.
He served as a Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 18 union trustee for one three-year term before being elected to Financial Secretary-Treasurer in 2003, a position he held for a decade. Krocka also served on numerous safety committees, which piqued his interest and raised his awareness of safety issues in the shop and on the job site. He saw workers taking shortcuts to get work done, and in return, putting themselves at risk of injury and/or illness.
Krocka became the administrator of the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT), based in Fairfax, Va., on Oct. 14, 2013.
Charles “Chuck” Mohler, CPA, CGMA, CEPA, CVGA
As president and founder of Eagle Corporate Advisors, Charles “Chuck” Mohler uses his vast experience in several areas of business to serve as the trusted advisor for business professionals who’ve realized they can’t always do it all.
Originally established as Eagle CFO Consulting to provide on-demand chief financial officer expertise, Eagle Corporate Advisors today works with business owners to improve and streamline all areas of their businesses, from mission and vision, to market and operational drivers. Examples include helping business owners strategize to improve processes as well as increase profitability and cash flow. Other benefits are value enhancement, transition planning, due diligence and strategy, to name a few.
Motivated by helping people achieve their dreams, Mohler has almost 25 years of experience in business operations, financial consulting, real estate lending and trust deed investments. He began his career as a staff accountant in a CPA firm before ultimately joining the family CPA business. From there, he branched out into financial consulting for businesses, property management, and handling trust management. He also was involved in a mortgage company handling private money lending, which lead him to serving on the legislatively appointed Advisory Council on Mortgage Investments and Mortgage Lending for about five years. He is a certified public accountant, a chartered global management accountant, a certified exit planning advisor and a certified value growth advisor. A certified merger & acquisitions advisor designation is in progress. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
During the Great Recession, Mohler realized he had a gift for giving business owners sound, thoughtful advice. Because of his vast business background, people throughout the community — including hundreds from his own large family — for years had been coming to Mohler for his advice on decisions for their businesses. The demand finally became so much he had to begin charging for the time and effort he put into giving people counsel, and Eagle Corporate Advisors was born. Mohler comes from a long line of business owners, including his grandfather, father and uncles.
Mohler is a member of the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors, the Mid Market Alliance, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Global Management Accountants, the Exit Planning Institute, the Henderson Chamber of Commerce and its economic development arm, the Henderson Development Association.
Even though he was born in Provo, Utah while his parents were still in college, Mohler’s a longtime Southern Nevadan (more than 40 years). By 1947, both sets of his grandparents had moved to Las Vegas and begun raising their families. Upon his parents’ graduation from college, they made Southern Nevada their permanent home as well.
In his spare time, Mohler, an Eagle Scout himself, volunteers for the Boy Scouts of America and is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He also volunteers for In12Days, a nonprofit, through his Leadership Henderson class (Class of 2016), among other organizations.
Mohler and his wife, Diane, have seven children, ranging in age from 7 to 22. They also have one grandchild.
Henderson Chamber of Commerce
In any community, strong local business leadership is important. During tough economic times, it’s critical. So it’s no wonder the community was excited when Scott Muelrath was named as the Henderson Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director in September.
A long-time chamber volunteer, member, Board of Directors member and Henderson Chamber Foundation board member before his appointment, Muelrath has done much for Henderson’s business community since he moved to Southern Nevada in 1991.
In 2004, he became the general manager of the Galleria at Sunset, where his intimate understanding of the local community helped lead the 1,051,000-square-foot-complex to a 20 percent increase in sales per square foot – a key health indicator in the industry.
When the recession hit in 2008, Muelrath got creative as he lead the mall through one of America’s worst recessions. He partnered with both Henderson Libraries to open Southern Nevada’s first library within a retail setting and the Henderson Space and Science Center to host science-related exhibits for the community.
Under Muelrath’s watch, “Henderson’s mall” became closely tied to the community as well, hosting more than 100 community events annually. Muelrath also worked closely with the City of Henderson to develop and open the first police Community Relations Office in a retail setting in the state of Nevada, a venture that has proven successful for both the city and the mall – something other governments nationwide have used as a model.
Prior to his work at the Galleria, Muelrath blazed a trail of success throughout the real estate development industry. He worked for Great American Capital, a local real estate developer who, at the time, specialized in the development of grocery-anchored retail and office centers. He also worked for seven years in the San Francisco Bay Area at various real estate holding companies and for municipal government, focusing on waterfront development and marina management and providing consulting services to those areas.
Muelrath graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in history.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family in Boulder City and fly fishing. Together, he and his father co-authored “The Hunt, Flyfishing’s Greatest Adventures,” a coffee table photo book on fly fishing the world.
In 2013, in the middle of a conventional senior lifestyle – busy with work, family, friends and an overall grand life – a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease took Nancy Nelson by surprise. The diagnosis changed her life in a way no one (even she) expected: she became a poet and published author.
“There are so many people who handle the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in different ways,” she said. “You will never hear me say, ‘I have Alzheimer’s.’ You’ll hear me say, ‘I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.’ I don’t let it define me. It’s not who I am.”
All of her life, Nelson says she was “nudged” to do things she didn’t think she was capable of doing. In 2000, at the age of 60, she learned to swim and ride a bicycle in order to participate and finish a triathlon. So, when she immediately started to write poetry – another unfamiliar activity – almost immediately after her diagnosis it wasn’t completely surprising. Oftentimes at 3 or 4 in the morning, she would awake and begin writing as if the words were channeled to her. Her feelings of intermittent fear, frustration and scarcity in struggling with such a dreadful disease, one that took her father, transformed to feelings of inner strength, resolve and sometimes awe.
The determination that pushed her to learn to swim in order to complete the half-mile water portion of the triathlon also forced her to not take her diagnosis lying down. And she wasn’t about to blindly take medications, just because a doctor handed them to her.
When she walked into her holistic physician’s office, she couldn’t recall how to draw a clock – from the circle to the hands to the numbers. She had drawn a blank. Through these and other similar encounters with all sorts of practitioners, Nelson found a Mediterranean diet, coconut oil, herbs and exercise has increased her functionality. She sought after and found the balance that worked for her – something she encourages all people to do, regardless of health.
“I can now draw you that clock,” she said.
Nelson grew up and was living in a small bedroom community outside Seattle when her family enticed her to migrate to Las Vegas nearly 50 years ago. She spent 26 years of her professional life working for a major airline, which also allowed her to travel worldwide. Recently retired from a well-known insurance company and ready to relinquish her fast and furious pace, she now claims a calmer, quieter life as a writer. She has taken several writing classes, worked with a writing coach, attended the Wordcrafters Writing Conference this year in Eugene, Oregon, and attends two bi-monthly writing groups.
In 2013, the year of her diagnosis, Nelson served on the Leadership Council with the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and was the chapter’s volunteer of the year in 2016. On the national level, she served on the National Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Advisory Group (ESAG) directed through the Alzheimer’s Association headquarters in Chicago. Nelson and all of the ESAG members (2006-2016) were honored with the Outstanding Advocate of the Year award during the Advocacy Forum, applauding the group’s work to raise awareness of the disease and advocate on behalf of the millions of people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
It is through sharing, stepping up and speaking out that Nelson finds her solace and her calling to emancipate the stigma attached to the people relegated to a diminishing memory. The cause, she says, bolsters the “roguish, stubborn ruggedness in me for a worthwhile fight” and to maintain dignity, honor and respect through all of it.
Nelson has two daughters, Michelle and Jennifer, and four grandchildren, Brayden, Delaney, Rachel Anne and Jack. She is currently working on a children’s book with Delaney about how to talk with children about a grandparent getting dementia.
International Training Institute
James Page is the administrator of the International Training Institute, the education arm of the unionized sheet metal and air conditioning industry.
He was previously employed by the ITI from 2007 until he was hired as the administrator for the National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC), a position he took over in 2012.
Page has more than 30 years of experience in the HVAC industry. He completed his apprenticeship training in 1984 at Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 108 in Los Angeles. He earned his associate’s degree in sheet metal apprenticeship technology from Ivy Tech College and his associate’s degree in liberal studies from Long Beach City College.
His professional career includes training and certification in basic and advanced testing, adjusting and balancing for TAB certification; air conditioning and service levels I, II and III; indoor air quality, service and TAB instructors training; basics in advanced professional development; and advanced professional development in teaching. He also was a past trainer in OSHA 10 and 30 and holds numerous industry certifications.
Page grew up in Southern California with his wife Tina of 33 years. Together, they have raised three grown children. Their son has continued the tradition of working in the sheet metal industry by becoming a journeyman, signatory to Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 105 in Glendora, California.
Alex Raffi is a husband, father, business owner, creative director, author and illustrator. He has also worked as an editorial cartoonist, animator and caricature artist.
A multiple first-place winner with the Nevada Press Association for his illustrations, Alex joined Imagine Communications (then Imagine Marketing) in 2001. Since that time, the firm has grown to 11 employees and become one of the valley’s most respected and creative full-service communications firms.
Imagine’s design team has created and assisted in the development of branding materials for numerous organizations locally and nationally. As partner and creative director, Alex has led Imagine’s evolution into a firm whose philosophy has consistent, open-minded creativity rooted in focused business strategy at its cornerstone. Under Alex’s direction and leadership – along with that of his business partner, Brian Rouff – Imagine has maintained a high retention rate among clientele and employees.
Alex’s work has helped to shape the community. A true advocate for creativity, Alex has made it his goal to demystify the creative process with as many people as possible through his highly acclaimed Creative Courage program. As a result, he is a sought-after guest speaker who has conducted his workshops and seminars for a variety of organizations and schools throughout Southern Nevada, including Zappos.com, the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, the Charter School Association of Nevada, SMPS Las Vegas, The American Institute of Architects Las Vegas, the American Marketing Association of Nevada, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada State College, Clark County School District, Orange Coast College, the LABMAN2014 event and many more schools and businesses throughout Nevada.
A longtime Nevadan, Alex is actively involved in the community. He currently sits on the Henderson Chamber of Commerce Foundation board and is on the committee for the Narrative Illustration Program at Orange Coast College. He is also a mentor and presenter for the Children of the Arts program and has served as a big brother for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Additionally, since 2007 Alex has been a proud fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s, a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and giving survivors long and healthy lives.
An award-winning graphic designer and editorial cartoonist, Raffi collaborated on and illustrated “Conventional Gestures: Meaning and Methodology” and also illustrated Richard L. Epstein’s “Critical Thinking” book series.
Additional information about Alex can be found at www.alexraffi.com and at his Creative Courage blog site, www.yourcreativecourage.com.
Brian Rouff, who opened his first Southern Nevada-based advertising firm in 1987, has provided numerous clients with an array of marketing services to help them achieve their goals. In 2003, Imagine Communications (then Imagine Marketing) acquired his firm and he now serves as Imagine’s managing partner.
With more than 30 years of marketing experience, Brian oversees the firm’s day-to-day operations and serves as one of the firm’s primary business marketing strategists.
Brian, a UCLA graduate, has facilitated hundreds of advertising related workshops throughout the country in addition to teaching a variety of advertising and marketing classes at the College of Southern Nevada. He is also a bestselling novelist and his book, “Dice Angel” is one of the top-rated Las Vegas books on Amazon.com.
President and CEO
Valley Bank of Nevada
Currently serving as president and CEO of Valley Bank of Nevada, York is its founding principal. He possesses an extensive background in the banking industry and has served in executive and senior management positions at various banks in the Las Vegas market for over 30 years.
York has also managed commercial and corporate loan portfolios for a variety of institutions including Bank of America, First Security Bank, and First Interstate Bank. York is a native Nevadan and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Pacific Coast Banking School.