Helping others, assisting with economic development
By Vern Hee
On a typical day, Valley Electric Association Key Accounts Coordinator Beth Lee talks with 20-30 member-owners, trying to resolve issues or answer question.
After her long day taking on Valley Electric challenges, you might think Beth would seek the peace and quiet of home, but she doesn’t. Instead, in her off time she helps the businesses and people of Nye County as a Pahrump Regional Planning Commission member.
Beth, a two-year VEA employee, began working with the RPC in 2017 and enjoys every challenge they send her way.
Beth’s knowledge of planning helped her get an invitation to join the RPC. Board members are appointed by the Nye County Commission. At first, she was reluctant to join the planning commission.
“I was a county employee for nine years and then left,” she said. “Just after I left, I received a request to join the commission, but I just thought it was too soon.”
But a year later another chance came, and this time she was ready.
“The reason I accepted was because one of the aspects of planning that I liked was the economic development part,” Beth says. “So, I said I would give it a try. This is really the first time I have been this involved in the community.”
Beth’s husband, Mike, who is the supervisor of VEA’s IT department, says helping others is in Beth’s blood.
“She has a caring concern for the community,” Mike says. “I think she has always been a responsible person. She tends to take ownership and sees things through from start to finish. She has a strong work ethic, and she just cares about other people.”
Mike says having his wife work with the RPC just makes sense.
“She worked with planning when she was with the county, and she really enjoyed that job,” Mike says. “Now that she is a commissioner, this is an extension of that role.”
Beth says she became a commissioner because she wanted to help people.
“I like a lot of the people that I had met and dealt with while working with the county,” Beth says. “But I also enjoy helping the businesses, and I like trying to get businesses to open and to see them succeed.”
Beth says she draws on all her past experiences and knowledge as a planning commissioner.
“Besides the county, I have worked in companies involved in the real estate industry and the construction industry, so planning was the next logical step for me,” she says. “Once I got on the commission, it drew on all my experience across the board. It was really interesting and fascinating, and once I got into it I really enjoyed it.”
John Koenig, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and the board’s liaison to the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission, says Beth’s knowledge of code from her years in planning has made her an asset to the board.
“During my six years on the Regional Planning Commission, I came to know Beth Lee very well. She was always very professional and helpful,” John says. “In my dealings with others who had the opportunity to visit the Planning Department they all recommended her highly. When I was elected county commissioner an opening was created on the RPC. I discussed this with Beth and made the decision to move forward with appointing her to the board. She has, so far, done an excellent job.”
The commission takes time, but Beth considers it time well spent, and it just fits her.
Beth says she enjoys the work she does for the commission.
“It does involve homework,” Beth says. “I read through staff reports and the agenda and then do additional research. Depending on the property, I can actually go out to look at it. Sometimes a project can take up to three to four hours of research but not too often. It doesn’t take me too much away from the family.”
Traditionally people looking to get into politics have used the RPC as a springboard, but Beth says that isn’t her intention.
“As far as political aspirations, I am not looking to get that involved,” she says. “This is it.”
But her husband disagrees.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she is one day county manager or if she ends up running for county commissioner,” Mike says. “I know she enjoys working with the county.”