Steve Neighbors

President

President

Steven “Steve” G. Neighbors has over 50 years of experience in innovative business start-ups and ventures, management, restructures and corporate sales. After successfully launching, and managing a heavy highway construction company for decades, Steve founded Strategic and Operational Solutions, in 2001. He continues to serve as President. From inception, Strategic and Operational Solutions has assisted in the successful revitalization and turnaround of over 50 business entities.

In 1986, Steve earned the Idaho Governor’s “Businessman of the Year” Award. That same year, he received notoriety when he was featured in an article in Inc. Magazine which highlighted his achievements. At the request of casino owner Mae Adams, in 2008, Steve was selected to serve as Trustee to the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation, a non-profit organization established to assist the community of Carson City, Nevada. In 2013, Steve furthered the efforts of the foundation by creating a unique partnership with the Northern Nevada Development Authority to establish the Nevada State EB-5 (NVEB-5). Currently, he serves as President of the NVEB-5 Board of Directors.

Steve earned his Bachelor of Science and Master Degree in Business Management and Organizational Management from George Fox University. He maintains certifications as: Certified Forensic Financial Analyst, National Association of Certified Business Valuators, Certified Turnaround Practitioner and Certified Mergers and Acquisition Professional.  Additionally, he has received post-graduation certification in “Strategy and Innovation” from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a certificate in “Turnaround Management Strategies” from Harvard Business School. Steve currently holds a Nevada Gaming License and Idaho Real Estate Agent and Broker License.

Chris MacKenzie

Chris MacKenzie NVEB-5 Board of Directors Treasurer and Secretary

Treasurer/Secretary

Christopher “Chris” MacKenzie is a distinguished Nevada attorney with extensive experience in business law, including entity formation and transactions, as well as legislative lobbying. Additionally, Chris provides counsel on a broad spectrum of legal matters including green energy, construction and water law. He is a partner in the Carson City law firm of Allison MacKenzie, which he joined in 1994.

Active in the community, his associations include extensive involvement with Nevada wildlife issues, including a current member and vice-chairman of the Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem, as well as having served six years on the Nevada Wildlife Commission, whereon he served as chairman. Chris’s community leadership also includes: Carson City Wildlife Management Advisory Commission (member and past-Chairman), Carson City Downtown Consortium, Business Action Group Chairman (2008), Nevada Waterfowl Association Board of Directors and past Treasurer, Carson City Charter Review Committee (2010 & 2012). In 2014, Chris was elected Treasurer and Secretary for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center in Carson City.

Chris obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1990 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Idaho School of Law in 1993. He was admitted to practice law in Nevada later that same year. His professional experience includes the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada and U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit as well as a clerkship to the Honorable Michael E. Fondi, First Judicial District Court. He is a member of the Washoe County Bar Association, First Judicial District Bar Association, American Bar Association and the State Bar of Nevada.

Ed Ahrens

Ed Ahrens NVEB-5 Board of Directors

Member

For over 40 years, Edward  D. Ahrens (“Ed”) has practiced law as an accomplished attorney specializing in estate planning for a variety of clientele. Currently, he serves as Partner with Ahrens DeAngeli Law Group, LLP (ADLG) and has received national recognition for his efforts. Ed has been honored by the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, Best Lawyers in America (Trusts and Estates & Litigation – Trusts and Estates) and has achieved an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell. Prior to the formation of ADLG, Ed led the estate planning practices of several highly respected law firms, and, as a director at Arthur Andersen, was a member of the accounting firm’s national family wealth planning specialty team.

Complimenting his exceptional legal career, Ed is an accomplished author and speaker. Also, he has served on numerous boards for public charities and private foundations. His community service capacities are varied and include: the Idaho Community Foundation, University of Idaho College of Law Advisory Boards and the Capital Campaign Committee, for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska. In 2010, Ed was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

Ed received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Idaho in 1968 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from University of Idaho in 1971. Ed is admitted to practice in Idaho, Washington, the United States Tax Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Court of the District of Idaho.

Al Jurkonis

Al Jurkonis NVEB-5 Board of Directors

Member

Alan Jurkonis is a Northern Nevada area business professional with decades of experience in the manufacturing industry including particular experience in materials management. Since 1995, he has served as President of the American AVK Company, a U.S. manufacturer of resilient gate valves and fire hydrants which are utilized throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.

Previously, in 1982, Alan was appointed Materials Manager of Smith-Blair, Inc. where his exceptional vision and management style helped him succeed to the President of the organization in 1988.

Active in the community, Alan has served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Nevada Development Authority since 2006 and acted as President since 2011.  Additionally, he serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the Business Council of Douglas County and is a member of the Board of Directors for Dream It Do It of Nevada.  In 2014, he was elected as a member of the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

Al obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1971. He continued his education and subsequently graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1973, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy.  In 1974, Al was certified by the State of Illinois as a Public Accountant.

Bob Crowell

Bob Crowell NVEB-5 Board of Directors

Member

Nevada attorney, Robert L. “Bob” Crowell, has over 40 years of experience as a legal professional. Currently, he is a stockholder partner in the statewide law firm of Kaempfer Crowell and was recently awarded the prestigious State Bar of Nevada Presidential Award (recognition of a member whose conduct, honesty and integrity represents the highest standards of the legal profession). An active community member and distinguished statesmen, Bob was reelected for a second term as Mayor of Carson City in 2012.

He has served a variety of organizations including: the Carson City School Board of Trustees (two time president), past President of the Carson Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors of the Northern Nevada Development Authority, and past president of the Rotary Club of Carson City. Currently, he serves as a director of the Capital City Circles Initiative, an organization of business and religious leaders seeking to address poverty in Carson City, and he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center in 2011.

At the state level, Bob is past president of the State Bar of Nevada and past chairman of the Nevada Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board. Bob has also served as chairman and member of the Colorado River Commission (a gubernatorial appointment).

Further, Bob is proud to have served in the US Navy, achieving the rank of Captain, and is a Vietnam Veteran.

Bob earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University in 1967 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1973. That same year, he was admitted to the Nevada State Bar. He is a member of the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and included in Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Government Relations and Energy Law.

Gerald Gardner

Gerald Gardner NVEB-5 Board of Directors

Member

Gerald Gardner has extensive legal experience in government, public and private sectors. Since 1992, Gerald Gardner has been a practicing attorney in the state of Nevada representing businesses and individuals in securities fraud and consumer protection litigation. Currently, Gerald is General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for Resorts World Las Vegas, a member of the Malaysian-based Genting Group.

Gerald was with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office from 1992 to 1999. He continued serving the public as Las Vegas Office Chief and Chief of the Criminal Division with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office from 2002 until 2006. From 2007 to 2012, he was the Assistant District Attorney of Carson City, and from 2012 to 2014, Gerald served Governor Brian Sandoval as the Chief of Staff for the State of Nevada.

In addition to being elected a member of the Board of Directors of the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center in 2014, Gerald has served on the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board, on the Attorney General’s Legislative Committee, as Co-Chair of the Interstate Identity Theft Advisory Council, as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Coalition on Impaired Driving, and as a Senior Attorney with the Clark County Trial by Peers Program.

Gerald received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Philosophy, with honors, from Kenyon College in 1987 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Cornell University in 1991. He is admitted to practice law in Nevada, New York, the Federal District Court of Nevada, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

Alan Tiras

Alan Tiras NVEB-5 Board of Directors

Member

E. Alan Tiras is a private practice attorney with over 20 years of experience focusing on transactional and organizational business law with extensive experience in start-up and nascent companies.  Alan has also represented commercial enterprises such as multinational corporations, domestic, publicly held corporations and family businesses.

Additionally, Alan has served in an executive or management capacity for many entities including: CenterPoint Corporate Services, Inc., HealthDirector.com and ConvergenceHealth.com.

Outside of his legal and business endeavors, Alan is an involved and dedicated public servant.  He has served numerous community organizations including as President/Chairman of: Incline Village/Crystal Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Incline High School Boosters Club, the Incline Village Citizen’s Advisory Board and the Rotary Club of Tahoe-Incline.  Alan, also, has served as a member of the Boards of the Incline Schools Academic Excellence Foundation, Cymbal and Incline Star Follies.  In 2010, Alan was elected a member of the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

In recognition of his service, Alan was honored as a North Lake Tahoe Bonanza “Local” in 2005.  He is a former City Councilman in Seminole, Oklahoma and was awarded Citizen of the Year in 1985.

Alan obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance from the University of Texas in 1982. In 1990, He graduated with a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Houston. Alan is admitted to practice in all State and Federal Courts within the State of Nevada and the Ninth Court of Appeals.

Karen Abowd

Member

Karen Abowd has a diversified and accomplished background in business, leadership and service through a myriad of experiences. A talented business woman, she has co-owned Café at Adele’s in Carson City with her husband (Charlie) since 1993. Additionally, she has successfully worked in the field of interior design for more than 20 years. Continuously serving her community, Karen is a current Carson City Supervisor on her second term and sits on the Arts and Culture Commission in that capacity. Further, she serves as a Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority Board Member, the Carson Water Subconservancy District Chairman, the Redevelopment Authority Chairman, and is acting Carson City Mayor Pro-tem.

Since 1981, Karen has lived in Carson City and has been inspirational in her breadth of service to local charities and organizations. Her extensive contributions include: The Greenhouse Project (Founder and President); Carson City’s Flower Basket Sponsorship Program; Concert Under the Stars and Harvest Dinner; SART -Tripartite Board for Health and Human Services; Nevada Works Board of Directors; Cross-jurisdictional Sharing Project Stakeholders Committee for Environmental Health. Additionally, in 2018, Karen was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

Currently, Karen collaborates with area non-profits Ron Wood Family Resource Center, Food for Thought, Inc., the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada, and has been an active youth mentor at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community for over two decades. Tirelessly working to aid the food insecure in the area, she and her husband engage with local food outreach groups in Carson City. Further, Karen coordinates with local city officials and private citizens to provide transitional housing coupled with wrap around services for those in need.

She has received numerous awards for her civic contributions including: Human Service Network – 2012 Politician of the Year; Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada – 2013 Triumphant Honoree for Environmental Leader of the Year; Ron Wood Family Resource Center – 2013 Community Leaders of the Year Co-recipient (along with her husband, Charlie Abowd); Nevada Business Magazine – 2014 Family Owned Business Community Involvement.

In 1993, Karen graduated from University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interior Design.

Member

Nicholas “Nick” Marano has over 30 years of experience providing exceptional leadership to government and private entities. His unparalleled management skills have made him successful in the administration of large, complex organizations. Nick has served as owner and consultant for a mechanical construction firm which coordinated with US military branches to enhance the Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program. VIP is a United Associations of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union (UA) Program designed to teach returning veterans valuable work skills for transition into civilian life. Currently, he serves as the City Manager for Carson City, Nevada.

Additionally, Nick has an accomplished and distinguished military career serving in the US Marine Corps for over 32 years. From 2003 to 2007, Nick led a highly decorated infantry battalion which completed four combat tours in Iraq. From 2009 to 2012, he was the commanding officer for the Marine Corps’ largest base-Camp Pendleton, California. As Mayor and City Manager of Camp Pendleton, he managed city planning, construction and developed energy conservation plans. Nick retired from the US Marine Corp in 2012 achieving the rank of Colonel.

Dedicated to serving others, Nick is a mentor at the Adams Hub for Innovation in Carson City and a member of the Western Nevada College Institutional Advisory Council (IAC). Further, he has been an active member of International City Managers’ Association (ICMA). In 2015, Nick was elected a member of the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

In 1984, Nick obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from the St. Joseph’s University. Additionally, he graduated from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense College, an international military college located in Rome, Italy, in 2007.