Loyal Contributor Spotlight | Ed Skonicki

Ed-Skonicki-3With a giving spirit and a passion for helping Las Vegas, throughout the years Ed Skonicki has been deeply involved in the community but says the one organization that holds a special place in his heart is United Way. With a history steeped in memories and community work, Ed has participated with United Way since it was “The Community Chest” in Chicago, and served as United Way of Southern Nevada’s (UWSN) board chair from 1994 to 1995. For the past ten years, he has been an active UWSN participant as a member of the Tocqueville Society.

The oldest of three boys, Ed was born in Chicago, Illinois. Much of his family still resides in Chicago including a brother and many nieces and nephews. Dedicated to helping others at a young age, Ed spent 10 years in a seminary program after grammar school and then enrolled in Loyola of Chicago, where he received his Masters of Education degree in 1963. Not too busy to fall in love, Ed married the love of his life, Olympia Raczkowski in 1964. They have an adopted Daughter, Michele (1970) and an adopted son, Jeffrey (1971).

With a career focused on consumer credit and banking, in 1983 the family moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Ed Joined Citibank and then his next stop was New York in 1987. While there, he participated in the national “People to People” program, introducing consumer credit theories to China – an effort which turned out to be ahead of its time.

In 1989 Citibank asked Ed to become the President of Citibank, Nevada NA where he remained until 1995 when they asked him to move to Brussels, Belgium to manage a credit card portfolio in Germany, Spain, Greece and Belgium as well as assist in the initiation of programs in Portugal and Italy. Ed retired and returned to Las Vegas in 1997.

Driven to make a difference in Las Vegas, one of the most memorable moments in Ed’s life came in January 2000, when he became the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada – which provides a variety of services for seniors, children and families. During his four years as Executive Director he helped facilitate the construction of a building for Catholic Charities.

After completion of the building project, Ed retired to spend more time at home, playing golf and traveling with Olympia who sadly passed away in 2008. His daughter Michele now lives in Connecticut with two granddaughters, one grandson and one great granddaughter. His son Jeffrey lives in Nevada along with two more granddaughters.

Reaching out into the community, Ed has served on a variety of boards including: “I Have A Dream” Foundation, Nevada Development Authority, UNLV Foundation and Nevada Banker’s Association.

Ed’s favorite move is “Singing in the Rain” and he is particularly fond of Vintner’s Grill and the variety of dining options at Tivoli Village and Downtown Summerlin.

Since 2011, Ed has resided at Las Ventanas Independent Living Facility on West Charleston but continues to participate in the United Way in any way he can, “I believe that it is one of the best ways to give back to the city that I love.”

Loyal Contributor Spotlight | Andrea Smith

Andrea-SmithBorn in Southern California as an only child in an Air Force family, Andrea Smith lived in 13 different places the first 12 years of her life. Nellis Air Force Base was only a stop along the way.

“So much had changed about Las Vegas when I returned here in 1987 from Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend UNLV,” said Andrea. “It took a few years after graduation to realize I was home.”

Growing up in the military, Andrea got used to moving around and meeting new people.  “UNLV and Las Vegas played a big part in changing that for me,” said Andrea.

Today, Andrea’s 12-year-old son Jaxson takes up most of her spare time with school, music and sports. “The latter is no hardship as I’ve always loved participating in and watching sports,” said Andrea. “Baseball and football are my favorites.”

Andrea tries to work out on regular basis, golf and is an avid writer with the hope of publishing a children’s book or fictional novel someday. Living close to her parents affords Andrea and her family the opportunity to connect and travel often.

“An annual fishing trip to Colorado for trout is a must every summer,” said Andrea. “Trips to the ocean are not nearly as frequent as I’d like, but we look forward to them at least once or twice a year when athletic schedules allow.”

Andrea’s favorite restaurant is Archi’s Thai and her movie pick is ‘Top Gun.’ “Being an Air Force fighter pilot’s daughter, I probably shouldn’t admit this – but in college I watched ‘Top Gun’ over and over again until the VHS was worn out,” explained Andrea.

With a career path as diverse as her upbringing, Andrea joined NV Energy on September 13, 2001.  One of her first acts at the company was to plan a short ceremony to honor those killed on 9/11.

“It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I was at the right place, with people who are as passionate about their community as they are to their jobs,” said Andrea. “Our resolve as a company was certainly tested over the next few years, and we’re better and stronger for it. And I dare say, our customers are better off as well.”

For most, electricity isn’t something that is top of mind until it’s not there, or when they feel like they are paying too much for it. “I have the privilege of working with folks who make this complex industry seem easy, and they do so always with our customers in mind,” said Andrea. “They deserve a lot of credit that they don’t always get because it’s so hard to put a value on it.”

The NV Energy communications team’s job is to help customers understand the industry, how to be more efficient in using energy, and to promote the tools and services NV Energy provides to help them do so.

“We haven’t found one perfect way to do this, but we constantly challenge ourselves to be creative and effective in how we go about it,” said Andrea.

With a goal of setting an example of compassion and kindness for her son, Andrea believes in giving both time and resources.

“I’ve supported United Way since 2004 because the organization provides me with a level of comfort that the financial resources are being put to the best use, and I know I’m helping those in my own community,” said Andrea.

Loyal Contributor Spotlight | Dan Schwarz

Dan-SchwarzA Midwesterner through and through, Dan Schwarz may be  officially a native of Las Vegas by now, but his Midwestern roots are never far away.  Born and raised in the Chicago Suburbs, this father of four leads a robust life of philanthropy, creativity, faith and family. A loving and involved grandfather, Dan has worked in the broadcasting field in Las Vegas for nearly 30 years, working in Commercial Sales offering marketing and advertising solutions to local and national clients. Dan and his wife Cheryl have been married for 26 years and enjoy dining on Italian favorites at Ventano’s in Henderson.

In his spare time, Dan can be seen on the golf course or rooting for the Chicago Cubs or Green Bay Packers. It is no surprise that his favorite film is “Field of Dreams.” He is also very involved with his church, St. Thomas More Community in Henderson. For Dan, he LIVES UNITED in everything he does. Most importantly, he listens and has empathy for others.  He sees himself not as an island, but part of an ecosystem, in which we are all connected, and where our success directly impacts another person’s life. As Dan says, ..”Listen and don’t look the other way, we are all a family and need to help each other.”

Dan is a long-time supporter of United Way. With people like Dan on our side, we can do anything!

Thank you Dan for just being you!

Loyal Contributor | Rick Remington

Rick-RemingtonRick Remington wholly embodies the very characteristics that many people seek, especially as they set sights on healthy thoughts in the New Year. Active? Check. Dedicated? Check. Healthy, happy family? Check. Hard worker? Check.

Rick is the embodiment of longevity, passion and loyalty. Having been married to the same “wonderful” lady for 41 years, with 4 children and 14 grandchildren, Rick spends lots of time with his entire family who live in close proximity to him in the Pahrump area.

A Native Oregonian, Rick moved to Pahrump in 1984 and spends his free time, when he is not at work as a General Superintendent at National Security Technologies, LLC, outdoors in the fresh air.

A golfer, fisherman, and consummate grandfather, Rick can be seen reeling one in or cheering on one of his grandchildren at one of their games.

Rick has worked at NSTEC for 31 years, with a typical 16 hour work day supervising other Superintendents and the crafts from the local trade unions on construction projects. Rick occasionally treats himself to a good steak at the Outback Steakhouse.

A loyal contributor, Rick has supported United Way for 18 years through his contributions and community activities. Rick established the Pahrump chapter for Rebuilding Together Pahrump Valley (formally Christmas in April) in 1996. With the support of United Way, he and other volunteers renovated 22 homes in the Pahrump Valley for elderly and low income households. Rick told us that “the incredible change that it has made in these people’s lives is remarkable. Some of them had just about lost all faith that things were ever going to get better in their lives. These renovations have given them hope for a better future and an appreciation for the support from others who care about their wellbeing.” Rick has had the supreme opportunity to see the power of communities giving back and transforming lives.

Every year, Rick stewards his annual workplace campaign by co-sponsoring a Barbeque for the National Securities Technologies employees. He challenges every craft shop to have 100% participation in supporting United Way with their contributions. Those that achieve 100% participation get a free BBQ cooked and served by management. Rick has seen that engagement is a powerful tool. “We have been very successful with this program and have seen a positive impact on contributions to United Way.”

Rick Remington LIVES UNITED in everything he does. A family man, an outdoorsmen, a philanthropist and community advocate, as well as a dedicated employee, this Loyal Contributor seems to have life pretty well figured out. Thank you Rick Remington for all you do!

Loyal Contributor | Tony Raimondo

Tony-RaimondoTony Raimondo grew up in North Massapequa, Long Island as the middle child of two immigrants that migrated to America in the late 1940s. With a heart of gold, Tony volunteers his time to build homes for those in need and serve the homeless.

He attended Farmingdale High School and was involved in DECA, which prepares high school students for leadership. Tony went on to attend State University of New York and Farmingdale State College and received a bachelor’s of science degree from Western International University in Phoenix, AZ.

Tony leads a men’s study group and enjoys racquetball, woodworking and golf. With a deep and believable voice, Tony also does voice overs.

With a 32-year career for Southwest Gas, Tony manages Federal Energy Conservation Management projects and is a Certified Project Manager.

Tony has completed mission trips building homes in Mexico and volunteers annually for the Rebuilding Together Christmas in April national project. He also serves on the board of Transitions Services Inc. and has volunteered for community projects including cleaning up neighborhoods, feeding the homeless and donating to food and clothing drives.

Since the mid-1980s, Tony has been involved with United Way through his career and he served as a Loaned Executive for United Way in the 1990s in Phoenix.

“United Way helps support and nourish non-profit organizations who strive to serve the community in all possible ways to improve their standard of living,” said Tony. “They show that there is hope from people who care!”