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Local community leaders honored for their achievements in business and leadership



Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada will celebrate its 26th annual Business Leaders Hall of Fame Gala where it will honor incoming Laureates, Joseph Mayer, president of Mayer and Associates Realty and Walter M. Higgins III, former chairman of the board for Sierra Pacific Resources (now NV Energy). This year’s event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Peppermill Resort Casino’s Tuscany Ballroom. The gala will provide funding for in-class programs offered to all northern Nevada students. Table sponsors and individual tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 775-323-8084 or visiting renoja.org.

“The business leaders we honor each year have a tremendous impact on the growth and development of our local education system,” said Bill Heitman, executive director for Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada. “We couldn’t be more excited to honor Joseph Mayer and Walter Higgins, two outstanding individuals who have helped shape local leadership and education.”

A native Nevadan, Joseph Mayer currently serves as president of Mayer and Associates Realty. For nearly 38 years, Mayer has worked as a real estate broker serving communities throughout Nevada. In addition to his work experience, Mayer is a board of governors’ member for Northern Nevada Medical Center, a member of the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors and the Nevada Association of Realtors, and has served on a variety of planning commissions, Chambers of Commerce and Citizens Advisory Boards for Reno and Sparks. Mayer also served as past chair and member of the Board of Trustees for the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority. Additionally, Mayer is a local leader for the Say Yes for Kids Committee, a coalition of local business and community leaders, parents and Washoe County School District employees, dedicated to improving K-12 education in northern Nevada through community engagement and strategic support. Mayer is a graduate from the University of Nevada with a Bachelor of Science in management and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

“I am honored to be inducted into a group of well-respected leaders who have paved the way for our students,” said Joseph Mayer, president of Mayer and Associates Realty. “I believe wholeheartedly in making education a top priority for our community and look forward to being part of future initiatives.”

Former chairman of the board and CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources (now NV Energy), Walter Higgins is a longtime public utilities executive and retired U.S. Naval Reserve captain. After five and a half years of active duty on a nuclear submarine, Higgins began working in the utilities and energy industry. His first position was with Portland General Electric (PGE), eventually becoming president of the company’s first energy conservation and co-generation division and later as senior vice president of generation and transmission. After several years as a top executive for PGE, Higgins worked for Louisville Gas and Electric Co. and AGL Resources in Atlanta, Ga. as Chairman and president and CEO, respectively. In addition to his vast experience in the utility industry, Higgins has served on the board of directors for United Way in Reno, Las Vegas and Atlanta; was a board of trustees member for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Foundation; served on Desert Research Institute’s Foundation board as well as the Sierra Nevada College board of trustees, to name a few. Higgins graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in nuclear science and also completed graduate studies in business from Stanford University and George Washington University. He is a graduate of the Stanford University Executive Business Program and served as a business consultant to Junior Achievement in Portland, Ore.

“I am glad to be part of a community who continues to enhance its standards of education and how we are teaching and preparing our future leaders for real-life practices,” said Walter M. Higgins. “Organizations like Junior Achievement help raise the bar for local education and I am honored to receive such an award.”

The 26th annual Business Leaders Hall of Fame Gala will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Peppermill Resort Casino. To purchase a table or individual tickets for the Business Leaders Hall of Fame Gala and to learn more about Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada, visit www.renoja.org.

About Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada

Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada (JANN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating every child in northern Nevada about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. Each year, more than 5,000 local K-12 students are taught Junior Achievement programs by volunteers from the business and local community. To learn more about Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada and its mission to further enhance local education, visit www.renoja.org.


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