Board of Directors
Brent Lunt, Chairman
Mr. Lunt is retired from twenty years with Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, AZ. Prior to Fairmont, he work for the Del Web Corporation for fifteen years. Upon retirement, Mr. Lunt went back to school, attained a teaching certificate, and volunteers his time teaching for the Balsz and Scottsdale Unified School Districts. Currently, Brent volunteers as a fifth grade teacher at Griffith Elementary in Phoenix. Mr. Lunt is also involved with the Veterans History Project. This program is arranged through the Library of Congress where veterans are interviewed about their military service and their lives. Mr. Lunt received his B.A. in Accounting from Fort Lewis College and is an accredited CPA as well as a Certified Hospitality Account Executive.
John Black, Vice Chairman
Mr. Black is a partner in West Wood Realty which is an independent commercial real estate brokerage and development company. Mr. Black has a Bachelors degree in Finance from the Anderson School of Business at UNM and a CSM degree from the International Council of Shopping Centers. During his career, he had developed over 750,000 square feet of commercial retail and office buildings, and has master planned and zoned over 9,000 acres of mixed use projects in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.
Mr. Black worked for the State of New Mexico, Don Chalmers, numerous partnerships, and his family real estate holdings. He planned, zoned, and sold the 95 acre tract of land for the Simon Group who built the existing 1.2 million square foot Cottonwood Regional Mall as one of his featured developments.
Thomas Aro, Board Member
Tom Aro recently retired from an extensive career of more then forty years in the hospitality and gaming industry during which time he held executive positions in finance, development and operations. Positions included serving on the Finance Committee of the Del Webb Corporation, general management responsibilities for operations at several gaming and non-gaming properties, and senior operations director during the development of major gaming projects in Reno, Atlantic City, Mississippi and New York.
Since his retirement, Mr. Aro has remained active in his community serving on several boards including the alumni board of the Mesabi Range CC, Care Partners, a local non-profit organization assisting cancer victims and their families, president of a condominium board in Sanibel, Florida, and holding the elected position of Township Supervisor for his home community.
Mr. Aro holds a B.S. degree from the University of Arizona and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Don Power, Board Member
Don Power is former Chairman and Chief Operating Officer at Jaynes Corporation. Mr. Power began his career at Jaynes Corporation in 1969 and over the years worked his way up to laborer, concrete estimator, vice-president, and, finally, president. He serves on numerous boards including the UNM Anderson School of Management Foundation Board, the ABQ Core Chapter 1 Advisory Group for the UNM Alumni Association, Albuquerque Economic Development, American Marketing Association, Economic Forum, Executive Growth Council, Kirtland Partnership, United Way of Central New Mexico, the New Mexico Bowl, Central New Mexico Community College Foundation, and National Association of Industrial and Office Parks.
Shyla Sheppard, Board Member
Shyla Sheppard was raised on the Fort Berthold reservation in North Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes. She earned her economics degree from Stanford University and completed Oxford University's Said School of Business Impact Investing Executive Program. In 2005, she joined the founding team of New Mexico Community Capital ("NMCC"), an Albuquerque-based venture capital firm, where she was involved in all aspects of development and fund management, including fundraising, deal sourcing, due diligence, deal structuring, investing and post-investment oversight and governance. In that time, Shyla invested in early and expansion-stage companies across a variety of industries including energy, water, agriculture, safety/security, and aerospace.
Shyla also led NMCC's investment effort in Indian Country to promote business development and expansion by Tribes and Native American entrepreneurs. Her investment in a reservation-based, Native American, woman-owned oilfield services company was nominated for the Native American Finance Officers Association's Deal of the Year in 2012. In 2011, she was recognized by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development as one of Indian Country's 40 under Forty outstanding young leaders and in 2012 by the New Mexico Business Weekly as one of New Mexico's 40 under Forty. Shyla's community involvement includes serving on the boards of First Nations Development Institute, First Nations Oweesta Corporation and on the Three Affiliated Tribes Investment Committee.
After nearly a decade of venture capital experience and a great deal of thought, Shyla elected to leave her position with the investment fund to pursue her own entrepreneurial endeavor currently under development.
Ryan Riley, Board Member
Ryan Riley is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna (NM) and has served Native American communities in various capacities for over 22 years. Currently, he is a professional consultant for Native Community Development Associates in New Mexico, where he provides training and mentoring to Tribes across the United States in the areas of strategic planning, policy development, federal contract negotiation, environmental/land use planning and business/economic development.
Prior to Ryan’s consulting work, he served as the Deputy Director for the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs - Southwest Regional Office in New Mexico. His former Deputy Director position included working directly with Tribal Nations and their leadership to promote tribal community programs and business-oriented opportunities in areas such as economic development, gaming/retail enterprises, housing, real estate services, human services, and land management as examples. In addition, Ryan had the honor to serve 8 years on the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Council where he was active in budget, finance, economic development, education and government liaison activities for the Pueblo.
Ryan’s diverse work experience and academic career includes several years of scientific research involving tribal natural resources, economic development as well as leading a small-business firm. Notably, Ryan has extensive executive leadership experience in the areas of tribal government, project management, finance/investments, education, federal regulatory compliance, and human resource/employment laws, to name a few. Ryan holds degrees in Business Administration and Wildlife Science, a Master’s in Public Administration and is presently pursuing a Doctorate in Psychology with an emphasis in industrial and organizational psychology.
Tim Maland, Board Member
Tim Maland has a broad background in the hospitality industry. He has worked in senior roles at the corporate and property levels in several companies including Hilton, Sheraton, Ramada, Trump and Caesars Entertainment. Much of his past experience was in international hotel operations and development in Europe and Asia. Recent work was primarily operational in Northern Nevada and development work in Massachusetts. He has served on numerous boards in his past including the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He has been married for 29 years and has one son.
Jerry Smith,President and Chief Executive Office, LDC
Mr. Jerald "Jerry" D. Smith is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Laguna Development Corporation (LDC) of Albuquerque, New Mexico. LDC is a wholly-owned Section 17 (U.S.C. 477) corporation of the Pueblo of Laguna.
Mr. Smith has more than twenty-five years of executive and economic development experience with expertise in Native American business and community improvement. He has developed and managed for-profit tribal operations, tribal administrative operations and facilitated advancement of housing opportunities for tribal communities through federal, state and tribal programs. As the President and CEO of LDC, Mr. Smith has helped foster an aggressive growth path for the company currently managing all gaming and retail businesses for the corporation. Presently LDC consists of three casino locations including Route 66 Casino Hotel, Dancing Eagle Casino and Casino Express. The company operates two major travel centers/truck stops along Interstate 40 with locations in Casa Blanca and Rio Puerco, New Mexico. LDC also manages Dancing Eagle Supermarket, Dancing Eagle RV Park and two convenience stores in the Pueblo of Laguna. Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from New Mexico State University. He serves on a number of boards and commissions including the Cibola County School District Board of Education. He is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and has served three terms on the Laguna Tribal Council.
Kevin Greer, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, LDC
Mr. Greer became Chief Financial Officer of the Business Operations in 2004. Mr. Greer has over 20 years of accounting and finance experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to his tenure at the Casino, Mr. Greer was Senior Director of Finance at the Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, Indiana. Mr. Greer also served as Chief Financial Officer for ten years at the Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton, Louisiana, a tribal casino. Mr. Greer holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio.
Kathy Gorospe, Secretary and Chief of Government Relations, LDC
Ms. Gorospe serves as Legal Counsel and Chief of Government Relations for LDC and is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna. Ms. Gorospe has been practicing law for over 15 years with previous employment at the Nordhaus Law Firm in Washington, D.C. and as Director of the American Indian Environmental Office with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ms Gorospe is a member of the New Mexico Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association and the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Indian Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Gorospe holds a B.S. in American Studies from Oregon State University and a J.D. from Williamette University College of Law.
Howard Funchess, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, LDC
Mr. Funchess has over eleven years of accounting and finance experience related to the gaming industry. Mr. Funchess worked for the national public accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP, where he specialized in gaming industry audits, prior to joining LDC. Mr. Funchess holds a Bachelor of Accountancy from New Mexico State University.
Skip Sayre, Chief of Sales and Marketing, LDC
Mr. Sayre has over twenty-five years of senior executive level management experience in sales and marketing in casino, resort and entertainment industries. Mr. Sayre majored in journalism at California State University at Long Beach and completed the executive education program in marketing management at Stanford University.
Earl Carrasco, Chief of Development for Fuel Operations, LDC
Mr. Carrasco has over twenty-seven years of diverse experience within the grocery and general merchandise industry. These include management position within Furr’s Supermarkets, Inc. and Bag N Save Warehouse Foods in New Mexico and West Texas.
Jorge Brasil, Chief of Food & Beverage Operations, LDC
Mr. Brasil has over twenty-five years of management experience. Prior to working at LDC, Mr. Brasil worked at Grand Casino Mille Lacs where he was Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations. Jorge’s passion for working in the hospitality industry began with the start of his own catering company Bon Vivant in 1986.
Abel Cardenas, Chief of Risk Management, LDC
Mr. Cardenas graduated from Cooper High School and attended college at Texas Tech University. He worked twenty-three years at Furr’s Supermarkets starting at the line level and worked himself up to the Risk Manager position. During this time he gained extensive experience investigating, interviewing and interrogating employee theft and other risk management issues. Mr. Cardenas has been with LDC for over ten years as the Director of Risk Management.
Steve Chovanec, Chief of Human Resources, LDC
Steve Chovanec received a Bachelor of Arts from Albion College, majoring in Economics/Accounting. He earned his J.D. from Wake Forest School of Law in 1987. He has worked in Senior Human Resources management for the better part of two decades, including the last four years in Indian Gaming. In addition, Steve has also held his S.P.H.R. designation since 1993.