My name is Jesse Murray and I am originally from Las Vegas. I first moved to Reno in 1998 to go to school at the University of Nevada. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in 2002 with high distinction in Chemical Engineering. I went on to also attain my Master’s in Business Administration in 2007 from Nevada. I am the first generation in my family to attend and graduate from college.
I have a wonderful wife and two boys who are the center of my life. My wife is an excellent mother and our boys keep us busy with lots of activities, including baseball, soccer, basketball, glee club and other school events. We instill the importance of a well-rounded education in our own kids, and foster a sense of community in them by ensuring that they volunteer in many different community events and participating in some of the organizations that I support.
Professionally, I have been fortunate to work in many different roles in my career. Variety in my work has kept me challenged and has also allowed me to grow in ways I never would have imagined. While in school, I started as an intern at Sierra Pacific Power Company (now NV Energy). I then graduated from school and lived in Idaho for a brief time working as a hazardous waste engineer helping to clean up nuclear and chemical waste at the Idaho National Laboratory. I then returned to Reno after 18 months and began working for IGT while in graduate school. There I worked in the facilities group, managing construction projects and a real estate portfolio throughout North America. I learned a lot about business and contracting in this role, and as a real estate manager was able to get a taste for responsibility early in my career.
Just as I was finishing my graduate degree, I changed direction again went back to work at NV Energy at Tracy Power Plant as the plant engineer. I honed my technical skills in this role, developing expertise in water treatment, gas turbines, and process engineering and was able to get my professional license in 2011. NV Energy then gave me an opportunity to grow into management positions, taking on several roles in the power generation group. In 2015, I was asked to lead the rooftop solar program at NV Energy just as the industry had started growing explosively in Nevada. I quickly found myself at the frontline of a major policy discussion in the state, having to provide information and expertise to state and local leaders, the media, political advocates and solar customers. Much of the issue played out on the front pages of local news sites and on TV, and my work at this time was especially challenging. Lost in that confrontation was an extensive history of NV Energy’s support of renewables and specifically rooftop solar programs, things that I worked on daily. Eventually, we were able to settle the questions around solar and provide for a sustainable environment for the industry while also protecting all electric customers. I am very proud of that achievement. At the end of 2017, I then moved into another new direction as the Vice President of Gas Delivery for the company. This has been a fantastic role, a job that I truly love. I oversee the natural gas utility for NV Energy, serving 400,000 people that live in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area. I work with an incredible team that places public safety, reliability and affordability at the forefront of all that they do.
My community focus centers on education. I truly believe that it is the ticket to the American dream and is the way to create opportunities to grow and succeed. I currently serve in two organizations that work to improve educational opportunities. I am the vice chair of the board of the Truckee Meadows Community College foundation and have been on this board since 2016. The entire focus of this foundation is to better the college, its students, and the programs that they offer. I am most proud of the annual scholarships given through the foundation to TMCC students. TMCC is a sorely needed resource in our changing economy. Their vocational, technical, and trade programs are creating the workforce that is needed in our developing manufacturing and technology sectors. I also serve on the board of the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra. I joined the board this year after working on the NV Energy workplace funding campaign as co-chairman in 2018. The more I learned about United Way, the more I wanted to help. They focus on early literacy and education of children ages 0-5. Conclusive studies have shown that this is a critical age to ensure that reading skills are developed. Literacy is tied to many other success indicators. Children that fall behind tend to stay behind for the rest of their lives. I’ve volunteered with United Way as well, seeing firsthand how their literacy programs are delivered to thousands in our community. There is nothing better than a child’s smile who was just handed a book that they can read. I have also volunteered for Junior Achievement, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, and coached little league for several years.
I really appreciate the opportunity to be considered as a RTYPN 20 Under 40 Award winner. I am humbled that I was nominated and then selected as a finalist. I am further honored that it was my little sister who nominated me. I have always tried to set a good example for her, and to have her support and encouragement means the world to me. She is an exceptional person herself, blazing her own successful trail while also starting a beautiful family of her own.