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Local leaders honored for achievements in business, leadership
by Tribune Staff
Sep 25, 2011 | 1772 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada (JANN) will celebrate its 26th annual Business Leaders Hall of Fame Gala on Oct. 29 in the Peppermill Resort Casino’s Tuscany Ballroom.

JANN 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). The gala will provide funding for in-class programs offered to all northern Nevada students.

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

For nearly 38 years, Mayer, a native Nevadan, has worked as a real estate broker. 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 graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a bachelor of science in management and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

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 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.

The 26th annual Business Leaders Hall of Fame Gala will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Peppermill Resort Casino. Table sponsorships and individual tickets can be purchased by calling 323-8084 or visiting
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