Steve Neighbors



Steven “Steve” G. Neighbors has over 50 years of experience in innovative business start-ups and ventures, management, restructures and corporate sales. After successfully launching, and managing a heavy highway construction company for decades, Steve founded Strategic and Operational Solutions, in 2001. He continues to serve as President. From inception, Strategic and Operational Solutions has assisted in the successful revitalization and turnaround of over 50 business entities.

In 1986, Steve earned the Idaho Governor’s “Businessman of the Year” Award. That same year, he received notoriety when he was featured in an article in Inc. Magazine which highlighted his achievements. At the request of casino owner Mae Adams, in 2008, Steve was selected to serve as Trustee to the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation, a non-profit organization established to assist the community of Carson City, Nevada. In 2013, Steve furthered the efforts of the foundation by creating a unique partnership with the Northern Nevada Development Authority to establish the Nevada State EB-5 (NVEB-5). Currently, he serves as President of the NVEB-5 Board of Directors.

Steve earned his Bachelor of Science and Master Degree in Business Management and Organizational Management from George Fox University. He maintains certifications as: Certified Forensic Financial Analyst, National Association of Certified Business Valuators, Certified Turnaround Practitioner and Certified Mergers and Acquisition Professional.  Additionally, he has received post-graduation certification in “Strategy and Innovation” from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a certificate in “Turnaround Management Strategies” from Harvard Business School. Steve currently holds a Nevada Gaming License and Idaho Real Estate Agent and Broker License.

Chris MacKenzie

Chris MacKenzie NVEB-5 Board of Directors Treasurer and Secretary


Christopher “Chris” MacKenzie is a distinguished Nevada attorney with extensive experience in business law, including entity formation and transactions, as well as legislative lobbying. Additionally, Chris provides counsel on a broad spectrum of legal matters including green energy, construction and water law. He is a partner in the Carson City law firm of Allison MacKenzie, which he joined in 1994.

Active in the community, his associations include extensive involvement with Nevada wildlife issues, including a current member and vice-chairman of the Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem, as well as having served six years on the Nevada Wildlife Commission, whereon he served as chairman. Chris’s community leadership also includes: Carson City Wildlife Management Advisory Commission (member and past-Chairman), Carson City Downtown Consortium, Business Action Group Chairman (2008), Nevada Waterfowl Association Board of Directors and past Treasurer, Carson City Charter Review Committee (2010 & 2012). In 2014, Chris was elected Treasurer and Secretary for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center in Carson City.

Chris obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1990 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Idaho School of Law in 1993. He was admitted to practice law in Nevada later that same year. His professional experience includes the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada and U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit as well as a clerkship to the Honorable Michael E. Fondi, First Judicial District Court. He is a member of the Washoe County Bar Association, First Judicial District Bar Association, American Bar Association and the State Bar of Nevada.

Ed Ahrens

Ed Ahrens NVEB-5 Board of Directors


For over 40 years, Edward  D. Ahrens (“Ed”) has practiced law as an accomplished attorney specializing in estate planning for a variety of clientele. Currently, he serves as Partner with Ahrens DeAngeli Law Group, LLP (ADLG) and has received national recognition for his efforts. Ed has been honored by the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, Best Lawyers in America (Trusts and Estates & Litigation – Trusts and Estates) and has achieved an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell. Prior to the formation of ADLG, Ed led the estate planning practices of several highly respected law firms, and, as a director at Arthur Andersen, was a member of the accounting firm’s national family wealth planning specialty team.

Complimenting his exceptional legal career, Ed is an accomplished author and speaker. Also, he has served on numerous boards for public charities and private foundations. His community service capacities are varied and include: the Idaho Community Foundation, University of Idaho College of Law Advisory Boards and the Capital Campaign Committee, for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska. In 2010, Ed was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

Ed received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Idaho in 1968 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from University of Idaho in 1971. Ed is admitted to practice in Idaho, Washington, the United States Tax Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Court of the District of Idaho.

Al Jurkonis

Al Jurkonis NVEB-5 Board of Directors


Alan Jurkonis is a Northern Nevada area business professional with decades of experience in the manufacturing industry including particular experience in materials management. Since 1995, he has served as President of the American AVK Company, a U.S. manufacturer of resilient gate valves and fire hydrants which are utilized throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.

Previously, in 1982, Alan was appointed Materials Manager of Smith-Blair, Inc. where his exceptional vision and management style helped him succeed to the President of the organization in 1988.

Active in the community, Alan has served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Nevada Development Authority since 2006 and acted as President since 2011.  Additionally, he serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the Business Council of Douglas County and is a member of the Board of Directors for Dream It Do It of Nevada.  In 2014, he was elected as a member of the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

Al obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1971. He continued his education and subsequently graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1973, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy.  In 1974, Al was certified by the State of Illinois as a Public Accountant.

Gerald Gardner

Gerald Gardner NVEB-5 Board of Directors


Gerald Gardner has extensive legal experience in government, public and private sectors. Since 1992, Gerald Gardner has been a practicing attorney in the state of Nevada representing businesses and individuals in securities fraud and consumer protection litigation. Currently, Gerald is General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for Resorts World Las Vegas, a member of the Malaysian-based Genting Group.

Gerald was with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office from 1992 to 1999. He continued serving the public as Las Vegas Office Chief and Chief of the Criminal Division with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office from 2002 until 2006. From 2007 to 2012, he was the Assistant District Attorney of Carson City, and from 2012 to 2014, Gerald served Governor Brian Sandoval as the Chief of Staff for the State of Nevada.

In addition to being elected a member of the Board of Directors of the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center in 2014, Gerald has served on the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board, on the Attorney General’s Legislative Committee, as Co-Chair of the Interstate Identity Theft Advisory Council, as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Coalition on Impaired Driving, and as a Senior Attorney with the Clark County Trial by Peers Program.

Gerald received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Philosophy, with honors, from Kenyon College in 1987 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Cornell University in 1991. He is admitted to practice law in Nevada, New York, the Federal District Court of Nevada, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

Alan Tiras

Alan Tiras NVEB-5 Board of Directors


E. Alan Tiras is a private practice attorney with over 20 years of experience focusing on transactional and organizational business law with extensive experience in start-up and nascent companies.  Alan has also represented commercial enterprises such as multinational corporations, domestic, publicly held corporations and family businesses.

Additionally, Alan has served in an executive or management capacity for many entities including: CenterPoint Corporate Services, Inc., and

Outside of his legal and business endeavors, Alan is an involved and dedicated public servant.  He has served numerous community organizations including as President/Chairman of: Incline Village/Crystal Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Incline High School Boosters Club, the Incline Village Citizen’s Advisory Board and the Rotary Club of Tahoe-Incline.  Alan, also, has served as a member of the Boards of the Incline Schools Academic Excellence Foundation, Cymbal and Incline Star Follies.  In 2010, Alan was elected a member of the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

In recognition of his service, Alan was honored as a North Lake Tahoe Bonanza “Local” in 2005.  He is a former City Councilman in Seminole, Oklahoma and was awarded Citizen of the Year in 1985.

Alan obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance from the University of Texas in 1982. In 1990, He graduated with a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Houston. Alan is admitted to practice in all State and Federal Courts within the State of Nevada and the Ninth Court of Appeals.

Karen Abowd


Karen Abowd has a diversified and accomplished background in business, leadership and service through a myriad of experiences. A talented business woman, she has co-owned Café at Adele’s in Carson City with her husband (Charlie) since 1993. Additionally, she has successfully worked in the field of interior design for more than 20 years. Continuously serving her community, Karen is a current Carson City Supervisor on her second term and sits on the Arts and Culture Commission in that capacity. Further, she serves as a Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority Board Member, the Carson Water Subconservancy District Chairman, the Redevelopment Authority Chairman, and is acting Carson City Mayor Pro-tem.

Since 1981, Karen has lived in Carson City and has been inspirational in her breadth of service to local charities and organizations. Her extensive contributions include: The Greenhouse Project (Founder and President); Carson City’s Flower Basket Sponsorship Program; Concert Under the Stars and Harvest Dinner; SART -Tripartite Board for Health and Human Services; Nevada Works Board of Directors; Cross-jurisdictional Sharing Project Stakeholders Committee for Environmental Health. Additionally, in 2018, Karen was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center.

Currently, Karen collaborates with area non-profits Ron Wood Family Resource Center, Food for Thought, Inc., the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada, and has been an active youth mentor at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community for over two decades. Tirelessly working to aid the food insecure in the area, she and her husband engage with local food outreach groups in Carson City. Further, Karen coordinates with local city officials and private citizens to provide transitional housing coupled with wrap around services for those in need.

She has received numerous awards for her civic contributions including: Human Service Network – 2012 Politician of the Year; Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada – 2013 Triumphant Honoree for Environmental Leader of the Year; Ron Wood Family Resource Center – 2013 Community Leaders of the Year Co-recipient (along with her husband, Charlie Abowd); Nevada Business Magazine – 2014 Family Owned Business Community Involvement.

In 1993, Karen graduated from University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interior Design.

Corrado De Gasperis


Corrado De Gasperis is an accomplished business executive and a former certified public accountant. He has over 30 years of manufacturing industry experience, including operational and project management, quality systems, restructurings, capital markets and public company governance. Corrado’s financial achievements have directly led to over $2 billion in new capital financings. He is currently the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Comstock Mining Inc. (NYSE American: LODE).

Corrado was previously the CEO of Barzel Industries Inc. (NASD: TPUT), a regional manufacturer of steel-based products, and its predecessors from 2006 to 2009. From 2001 to 2006, he served as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of GrafTech International Ltd., a global manufacturer of industrial graphite and carbon-based materials. Along with his responsibilities as CFO, Corrado began serving as Vice President and Chief Information Officer from 2000, and served as Graftech’s Controller from 1998 to 2000.

From 1987 to 1998, Corrado was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with KPMG LLP, an international provider of financial advisory and assurance services. As a Senior Assurance Manager in the Manufacturing, Retail and Distribution Practice, he served clients such as General Electric Company and Union Carbide Corporation. In 1998, KPMG announced his admittance as a Partner.

Corrado is active in various Nevada organizations. He is a current member of the Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA) and the Northern Nevada Network (NNN) and a former Board member of NevadaWorks. He is a founding member and the Chairman of the Board of the Comstock Foundation for History and Culture, a 501(c)(3), and the Chairman of the Board of the Virginia City Tourism Commission. He was elected to the Board of the Nevada State EB-5 Regional Center in January 2019.

Corrado was a director of GBS Gold International Inc., where he was Chairman of the Audit and Compensation Committees and a member of the Nominating Committees.

Corrado graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, with honors, from Western Connecticut State University’s Ancell School of Business in May, 1987. He passed the Uniform CPA exam in Connecticut in November, 1987, and was licensed in Connecticut, as a CPA, in 1990.