Board of Directors
Michael J. Melarkey was a partner in the law firm of Avansino, Melarkey, Knobel, Mulligan & McKenzie for more than 35 years until the firm’s merger in 2015 with McDonald, Carano and Wilson, a statewide Nevada law firm (MCW). Following the merger, Mr. Melarkey was named Of Counsel with MCW. Mr. Melarkey is a trustee of the Bretzlaff Foundation, the Robert S. and Dorothy J. Keyser Foundation, the Roxie and Azad Joseph Foundation and the Edwin L. Wiegand Foundation. He is Vice President of Miami Oil Producers, Inc. and from 2015 until 2017 held management positions and ownership interests in the Pioneer Crossing Casino in Fernley, Nevada, the Pioneer Crossing Casino in Dayton, Nevada, and the Pioneer Crossing Casino in Yerington, Nevada. He also serves as a director of numerous mutual funds, including eight registered investment companies advised by Gabelli Funds, LLC, five registered investment companies advised by Keeley-Teton Advisors, LLC, and seven registered investment companies advised by Teton Advisors, Inc.
Robert L. Boughner is a Senior Partner with Global Market Advisors, an international hospitality and gaming advisory firm. He has more than 30 years of executive management and board-level experience in highly regulated industries, including casino gaming and financial services. He retired from Boyd Gaming Corporation in August 2016, most recently serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer. During various phases of his 40-year career with Boyd, Mr. Boughner’s roles included primary accountability for new market expansion, top line and profit margin growth and optimization of significant administrative and business processes. Mr. Boughner served as a director of Boyd from 1996 until 2021 and he served as an independent director on boards of subsidiaries of Western Alliance Bancorporation, including Bank of Nevada and Western Alliance Bank. Mr. Boughner is involved in various educational, philanthropic, and civic organizations.
José A. Cárdenas has been Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Arizona State University (ASU) since January 2009. From 1982 through 2008, Mr. Cárdenas was a partner in the Phoenix-based law firm of Lewis and Roca. He became the firm’s managing partner in 1999 and chairman in 2003. Mr. Cárdenas has been admitted to practice law in Arizona, California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court and is a member of various bar associations, including the Hispanic National Bar Association. Mr. Cárdenas serves on the boards of directors of ASU affiliated and related entities, such as the ASU Foundation, and was a director of Swift Transportation Company until 2017. He is a past chairman of the boards of Greater Phoenix Leadership, Valley of the Sun United Way, the Translational Genomics Research Institute, and O’Connor House, and is a trustee of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.
Stephen C. Comer is a retired managing partner with Deloitte & Touche. He began his career with Arthur Andersen LLP in Los Angeles and established the Las Vegas office, as its managing partner, in 1985. Leaving Arthur Andersen in 2002, Mr. Comer took a position as partner with Deloitte & Touche LLP and was promoted to managing partner of its Nevada practice in 2004. He retired in 2006. Mr. Comer served as a director of Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. until its acquisition in 2018. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants and holds a professional CPA license in the State of Nevada. He is also involved in numerous civic, educational and charitable organizations.
E. Renae Conley is the CEO of ER Solutions, LLC, an energy consulting firm. She has over 30 years of business experience in the energy industry, including leadership positions in finance, management, operations and human resources. Ms. Conley served as EVP, Human Resources and Administration and Chief Diversity Officer of Entergy Corporation from 2010 to 2013. She previously served as Chairman, President and CEO of Entergy Louisiana and Gulf States Louisiana (2000 – 2010). Prior to joining Entergy, Ms. Conley worked for 18 years for PSI Energy/Cinergy Corporation, where she held a variety of positions including President of Cincinnati Gas and Electric. Ms. Conley currently serves on the Ball State University Board of Trustees as Chair of the Board, and on the Ball State Foundation. She is a director of U.S. Ecology, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed integrated environmental services company, and of PNM Resources, Inc., an electric utility company.
John P. Hester has been President and Chief Executive Officer since March 2015. He joined Southwest Gas in 1989 and became Director/Regulatory Affairs and Systems Planning in 2002, Vice President/Regulatory Affairs and Systems Planning in 2003, Senior Vice President/Regulatory Affairs and Energy Resources in 2006, Executive Vice President in 2013, and President in 2014. Prior to joining Southwest Gas, he worked at the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources and the Illinois Commerce Commission. Mr. Hester currently serves on the American Gas Association Board of Directors, the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada Board of Trustees and the College of Southern Nevada Foundation Board of Trustees.
Jane Lewis-Raymond has served the natural gas industry as an attorney and executive for nearly three decades. She is principal of Hilltop Strategies LLC, a strategy and consulting firm engaged with corporate legal leaders on strategic leadership. Ms. Lewis-Raymond was an attorney with Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein LLP from 2017 to 2019. In 2016, she retired from Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., where she was a senior officer and member of the Executive Management Team since 2006. Earlier in her career, she was with the American Gas Association, as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. Ms. Lewis-Raymond is Immediate Past Chair of Teach For America Charlotte-Piedmont Triad Advisory Board and serves on the National Advisory Council for Teach For America, the Board of Directors for MeckEd, the Steering Committee for The Keystone Energy Board, and is a member of Women Executives.
Anne L. Mariucci is a retired executive with over 30 years of experience in homebuilding and real estate. Prior to 2003, Ms. Mariucci held a number of senior executive management roles with Del Webb Corporation and was responsible for its large-scale community development and homebuilding business. She also served as President of Del Webb following its merger with Pulte Homes, Inc. in 2001 until 2003. Since 2003, she has been affiliated with the private equity firm Hawkeye Partners (Austin, Texas). She serves as a director of CoreCivic, Inc., Taylor Morrison Home Corporation, Berry Petroleum, Banner Health, Arizona State University Enterprise Partners, and the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. Ms. Mariucci is a past chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents and served on the board from 2006 to 2014. She is a past director of the Arizona State Retirement System, HonorHealth and Action Performance Companies, as well as a past trustee of the Urban Land Institute.
Carlos A. Ruisanchez is the co-founder of Sorelle Capital and Sorelle Hospitality, firms investing in and developing hospitality and consumer businesses. Prior to Sorelle, he served as President and Chief Financial Officer of Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc., a leading gaming entertainment company, until its sale in 2018. He joined Pinnacle in 2008 as Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning and Development. He became Pinnacle’s Chief Financial Officer in 2011, President and Chief Financial Officer in 2013, and Board Member in 2016. Prior to joining Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc., Mr. Ruisanchez was Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns & Co., Inc., an investment banking firm, where he held various positions from 1997 to 2008. He is an independent Board Member of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.
A. Randall Thoman is principal of Thoman International, LLC, a business advisory and consulting firm. He has been a Certified Public Accountant for more than 40 years. He began his career with Deloitte & Touche LLP and became a Partner in June 1991. For 15 years, Mr. Thoman had primary responsibility for the technical interpretation and application of accounting principles and audit standards and the review of all reporting issues and financial statements for Nevada-based companies registered with the SEC. He retired from Deloitte in October 2009. Mr. Thoman serves on the board of Boyd Gaming Corporation and previously served on the board of SHFL Entertainment, Inc. until its acquisition in 2013.
Thomas A. Thomas is the Managing Partner of Thomas & Mack Co., an investment management and commercial real estate development company with properties and developments in Nevada, California, Arizona, and Utah. After obtaining his law degree, he joined Valley Bank of Nevada and held various executive positions with the bank until its merger with Bank of America in 1992, after which he became managing partner of Thomas & Mack Co. Mr. Thomas is a member of the board of directors of Switch, Inc. He is actively involved in numerous charitable organizations including the Opportunity Village Foundation, the UNLV Foundation Board, the Las Vegas Rotary Club and the BYU President’s Leadership Council. He was instrumental in establishing the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic and Moot Court Facility at the UNLV Boyd School of Law.
Leslie T. Thornton is a retired utility company executive and former law firm partner at two Washington D.C. based national law firms. In the Clinton administration, she served in various senior roles including Chief of Staff to the U.S. Secretary of Education and Deputy Advisor for the 1996 Presidential Debates. She started with WGL Holdings, Inc. in 2011 and served in elevated roles including Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, and Merger Transition Counsel, before retiring in 2018. During her WGL tenure, Ms. Thornton earned her Master of Laws degree in National Security Law with a cybersecurity focus. She provided legal and strategic counsel on a broad range of issues including critical infrastructure cybersecurity and data protection, litigation, governance, employment and labor matters, among others. Since 2005, she has been a member of the board of directors of Perdoceo Education Corporation. Ms. Thornton is a Board Leadership Fellow for the National Association of Corporate Directors where she is a frequent speaker on governance, compliance, cybersecurity and data protection, and diversity and inclusion. Ms. Thornton also serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, and is on the Advisory Board of the Association of Corporate Counsel Leadership Academy.