Nevada Volunteers, the Governor’s Commission on Service, recently announced the finalists of the 2017 Governor’s Points of Light Awards, the highest honor bestowed on a volunteer in Nevada. Mesquite resident, George Gault, was selected as one of three finalists in the Individual Volunteer: Rural Nevada category.
Winners in each of the seven categories will be announced at the Governor’s Points of Light Award Ceremony on Oct. 5 at the Flamingo in Las Vegas.
Gault’s nomination points to his role as a co-founder of Mesquite Regional Business, Inc (MRBI) in 2012. The charter for MRBI encompasses the entire rural area of northeast Clark County including the rural communities of Overton, Logandale, Moapa, Bunkerville and Mesquite.
Before the formation of MRBI, economic development in Mesquite was a function of the city government and had floundered for years. In fact, at one time Mesquite was one of the most business un-friendly communities in the state. Based on Gault’s extensive experience in economic development, he helped devise, build and manage MRBI from the beginning.
Once MRBI became the official private-public partnership for economic development in Mesquite, he helped recruit its first and second Chief Executive Officer while retaining his position on the Board of Directors.
The companies MRBI has helped relocate to Mesquite will have cumulative and projected capital expenditures exceeding $14 million in the next two years. These business ventures are or will be employing over 500 new employees by the end of 2017.
The nomination goes on to say that Gault recognized that economic development is dependent on adequate and affordable workforce housing as well as jobs. To that end, he led the effort to obtain a grant from the USDA and Nevada State Housing Authority to conduct a survey of housing needs in late 2016.
Mesquite Works, VISTA Volunteers, and Mesquite Opportunity Regional Fund (MORF) are also part of Gault’s achievements that have helped make rural northeast Clark County and parts of Arizona a much better place to live, work, and thrive.
The region with over 30,000 people had no state or federally sponsored workforce development organization to assist businesses and potential employees. The nearest workforce development program is in Las Vegas, 85 miles away.
Gault recognized that without an adequate and trained workforce in Mesquite, recruiting new businesses was problematic. He was a founding member of the non-profit organization called Mesquite Works.
This fully-functioning workforce training organization has placed over 35 people in new jobs in the first five months of 2017. Mesquite Works is primarily funded by businesses and individuals and does not rely on state or federal funding.
It is managed by a 21-person volunteer board of directors including local businesses, College of Southern Nevada, three high schools, churches, city council, local media, and the communities at large.
Mesquite Works services Mesquite, Overton, Logandale, and Moapa and the Arizona communities of Beaver Dam, Littlefield, and Scenic.
As part of the Mesquite Works organization, Gault recruited volunteers to enroll in and be certified as VISTA Volunteers. He continues to serve as a volunteer supervisor for the VISTA volunteers who are available to Mesquite Works clients for training, counseling, and job placement.
Gault saw a need for a non-profit volunteer organization whose mission would be to beautify and improve outdoor recreational amenities to enhance Mesquite’s social connectivity. He founded the Mesquite Opportunity Regional Fund and chairs its Board of Directors.
To that end, Gault and MORF have worked with consultants specializing in philanthropy and charitable giving to determine appropriate goals and the best methods to achieve the identified projects. Gault further coordinated with community and economic development specialists from the USDA, Rural Development offices in Las Vegas to determine processes to meet the goals.
Gault’s nomination says his “lasting legacy is the volunteer organizations he has been instrumental in creating. He has insisted on established best practices by creating written policy manuals for each organization.
MRBI has existed for five years and is now a thriving and influential part of the region’s growing business community. Mesquite Works has been expanding and this year opened a job center that includes computers, job boards, and counseling for job-seekers. The newest organization, MORF, has continued to grow and promises to fulfill its goals for a more livable community within the next two years.”
The Governor’s Points of Light Award is given in seven categories: Northern Nevada Individual; Southern Nevada Individual; Rural Nevada Individual; Nonprofit and Community Organization Volunteer Program; Corporate Volunteer Program; Volunteer Program Serving Veterans; and Volunteer Manager.
The October ceremony will honor individuals, community-based organizations and businesses for their contribution to communities through volunteer service. Award recipients are selected by a panel of leaders in business, government, and nonprofits from across the state based on criteria showing how their volunteerism exemplifies achievement, need, innovation, mobilization and endurance.
Tickets to the luncheon may be purchased online at https://nevadavolunteers2017.auction-bid.org/microsite/