Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Randy Garcia, generously gives back to the community in many ways. He currently serves the community in the following capacities: UNLV Foundation Board of Trustees, Chair of the UNLV Foundation’s Investment Committee, Board Director and Education Committee member of the Council for a Better Nevada, Board Director for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and Board Member of the Las Vegas Area Council of the Boy Scouts. He serves as an Honorary Commander for the Nellis Support Team, supporting our servicemen and women at Nellis Air Force Base. He formerly served as Chairman of the Nevada State Taxicab Authority (Governor Appointee), on the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission, also as Governor Appointee, and on the 2016 Presidential Debate Steering Committee.
In 2016 Randy Garcia was awarded the Golden Hands Award by the Cultural Diversity Foundation for his dedication and actions which have facilitated significant positive changes in southern Nevada. In 2016 he was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award by the Latin Chamber of Commerce. In 2015 he was honored to be the recipient of the Catholic Charities Heart of Hope Award for his generous support of their work for decades. He is a dedicated supporter of the many vital programs that Catholic Charities runs for refugees, the homeless, the food bank, meals for senior citizens and underserved Nevadans. Mr. Garcia was honored by the Latin Chamber of Commerce as 2007 Hispanic of the Year for his philanthropic efforts; in 2009 he was honored with the Nevada State College President’s Award for his contributions to improving education; in 2016 he received the Golden Hand Service Award from the Cultural Diversity Foundation; and in 2017 he received the Latin Chamber of Commerce Hispanic of the Year Lifetime Achievement for Philanthropy Award.
The Investment Counsel Company has committed to funding a full four-year scholarship for a student in the inaugural class of the newly created University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine. The firm also sponsors a series of seminars featuring industry leaders for the UNLV Lee Business School Finance Department.
Mr. Garcia and his wife of thirty years, Staci, have two sons and a daughter. As proud residents of Las Vegas, they generously give back to the community through numerous philanthropic endeavors. In addition to his participation on many boards, Garcia initiated and, for more than a decade, underwrote the Latin Chamber of Commerce Annual Career Day. He has sponsored supplemental enrichment programs in the Clark County School District. Mr. Garcia and his family focus on supporting the community in ways which enhance the lives of at-risk youth, with the goal of fostering positive, systemic change in Southern Nevada.
A summary of the myriad capacities in which Mr. Garcia serves the southern Nevada community are listed below:
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Foundation Board of Trustees, also serving on the Executive Committee and as Chair of the Investment Committee
- Board and Educational Committee Member of the Council for a Better Nevada
- Board Director for the Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada
- Board Director for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts
- Executive Committee Member of the Las Vegas Council of the Boy Scouts of America
- Board Director for the Latin Chamber of Commerce Foundation
- Member of the Nellis Air Force Base Support Team and Honorary Commander of the Nevada Test and Training Range
- Member of the 2016 Presidential Debate Steering Committee
- 2005 Friend of Education Award, Latin Chamber of Commerce
- 2007 Hispanic of the Year Award, Latin Chamber of Commerce
- 2009 President’s Award, Nevada State College
- 2012 Las Vegas Latino Leader recognition
- 2013 Honoree of the Distinguished Women and Men in Nevada
- 2015 Heart of Hope Award from Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
- 2016 Golden Hand Service Award from the Cultural Diversity Foundation
- 2017 Latin Chamber of Commerce Hispanic of the Year Lifetime Achievement for Philanthropy Award
- Former Governor Appointee: Chairman of the Nevada State Taxicab Authority
- Former Governor Appointee to the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission (SAGE)
- Former board member of the Nevada Community Foundation, Nevada Development Authority, Nevada State College Foundation Board of Trustees, and Las Vegas Southwest Rotary, Member of Nevada System of Higher Education Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board
A Very Bright Young Lady
By Danny Tafoya
Alexis Miranda is a 20-year-old student who graduated from CCSD’s Arbor View High School in 2016 with a 4.7 GPA and is now continuing her education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She was born in Mexicali, Mexico.
As an undergrad at UNLV, Alexis is working towards a BSBA in Economics and a BSBA in Information Management, and she is expected to graduate in the Fall of 2019. Alexis currently holds a 3.9 GPA at UNLV and serves as the Vice President for the Economics Club, exercising her leadership role within the UNLV community.
Alexis started working at the age of 16, and she recently obtained a paid-internship at the Investment Counsel Company of Nevada, wherein she assists in the operations department of this prestigious firm. She feels very fortunate and privileged to be under the mentorship of the Investment Counsel’s founder and CEO, and longtime Chamber member, Mr. Randy Garcia. She looks forward to continuing her studies in graduate school, and she is grateful for everyone who has helped her achieve her academic goals thus far. Please enjoy the following interview with this very bring young lady.
LCC: Tell us about your educational journey
My educational journey has had many ups and downs, but I’ve been able to succeed due to help from the people around me and from organizations such as The Latin Chamber of Commerce. I began my education in Mexico, where I was born, and continued there until the year 2013. Once I moved to Las Vegas, I continued my education at Arbor View High School, but was denied the access to Honor level classes because my English wasn’t good enough. A few weeks into my first year at Arbor View, I proved to my teachers that my English was not only good, but that I was also ready for more challenging courses. During the middle of my first semester, I got placed in Honors and AP level classes as per the request of my teachers, except that these classes were way ahead by then and I had to do double the work in order to succeed. Although the struggle I underwent at 15 years old was more than I thought I could handle, I finished the next three years with a perfect GPA, became Student Body Vice President, and graduated high school with 16 college credits completed. My transition into UNLV was an easier one, but I’ve still had to work to get to where I am, and I will continue to work hard to get to where I want to be. But thankfully, organizations such as the LLC have made it possible for me to place most of my focus on my studies and not have to worry about how I will pay for my tuition. I am grateful for the help I’ve received and I look forward to continuing this journey.
LCC: Did you get a lot of support from UNLV
In terms of scholarships, I received a great amount of support from UNLV as they committed to pay over half of my college tuition throughout my career as an undergraduate as long as I maintained the required grades. They have been phenomenal in supporting me with resources. I’ve had great mentorship from the Honors College as well as the Lee Business School, and my professors have guided me in all the right ways in order to succeed academically.
LCC: What was the biggest obstacle going to college and staying as you prepare to complete your degree?
My biggest obstacle to going to college has been not having my family by my side, more specifically, my mother and brother. I grew up with my mother in Mexico and I helped her raise my brother up until I moved here in 2013. Since day one, they’ve been my number one reason to keep going even when times get tough, and it’s been very challenging being able to only see them a few times a year.
LCC: What advice would you give young Latinos thinking about furthering their education?
I would encourage all young students, not only Latinos, to pursue a higher education and expand their knowledge to better themselves. I know it can be hard to be part of a minority group that to this day gets looked down on, but we must embrace our culture and realize that we’re not alone. There’s a great amount of organizations within our community willing to help Latino students, such as the LCC, that many people don’t know about. So I would encourage young Latinos to not only further their education, but to stay aware of the opportunities that are available to them, because these organizations can make a big difference in their lives.
LCC: Why did you choose Economics and a BSBA in Information Management as a career path?
When I first applied at UNLV, I was set on pursuing a career in Accounting because I enjoyed the art of mathematics so much. However, during my first semester, I met Dr. Wimmer, a professor at UNLV in the faculty of Economics that opened my eyes to a whole new world. It was after his class that I fell in love with Economics. However, the world of data analytics was also introduced to me during my first year, and I decided that by pursuing both careers I would have more opportunities in the future and be able to combine the skills from both those majors.
LCC: Tell us about your current position as an intern?
I am currently performing work for The Investment Counsel Company of Nevada under the mentorship of Mr. Randy Garcia, where I get to learn numerous things on a daily basis and get to experience the business world in real time. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Garcia has given me, and I look forward to keep on performing to the best of my ability during my time here.
LCC: What are your plans for the future?
As of now, I plan on focusing on finishing my Bachelor’s degree within the next year and then intend on pursuing a Masters in Economics at UNLV. However, I am in no rush of getting there. I am confident that I will always perform great work in any environment that I’m placed at, but I also know that I want to enjoy life as much as possible. I plan on staying in school, traveling, and enjoying the time I get to spend with my family. I also aspire to become a businesswoman, a mother, and a sister that my siblings look up to, but more importantly, I hope to one day be able to help others in a similar way the LCC has helped me.
LCC: Whatever future endeavors that Alexis Miranda pursues, one thing is certain – she is sure to succeed! The Latin Chamber of Commerce thanks her for her candor and valuable advice to all students thinking about pursuing higher education. Adelante!
ARTURO MONTES: HE PLANS TO GIVE BACK - July 31, 2018
As Arturo Montes, a 30-year-old second year medical student at the UNLV School of Medicine, walks in the Las Vegas Arts District, he points to the colorful street art impression of the Deadpool comic book character that fills the brick back wall of a downtown building.
“I call what you find on the walls of the buildings down here the art of the people,” he says. These trips downtown, he says, are one way that he relieves some of the stress associated with medical school, where 40 hour plus study weeks are commonplace.
There are times, Montes says, when he talks about medical school that even he still has a difficult time believing that he’s on his way to becoming a physician. “I’m the first in my family to even graduate from high school. I wasn’t that good of a student back then. I didn’t even think of going to college until I was 18.”
That he’s getting the chance to become a physician, he says, is a testament not only to his hard work but to UNLV professors, a Cleveland Clinic neurologist and a UNLV donor — all of whom have mentored him.
Montes says Dr. Lloyd Stark, in the UNLV School of Life Sciences, and Dr. Janet Dufek, in the UNLV School of Allied Health Sciences, both gave him confidence in his scholastic abilities during his undergraduate work. “They gave me necessary direction,” he says, adding that they assured him he was capable of the work.
As his interest in becoming a physician grew during undergraduate school, Montes shadowed Dr. Dylan Wint, a neurologist with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, “He gave me a sense of what being a doctor is all about and even was helpful in how to apply.”
It still seems like a dream to Montes that he received a full scholarship to the UNLV School of Medicine paid for by longtime Las Vegas and community leader Randy Garcia, a 1977 UNLV grad.
“I try to help at-risk youth dream bigger than they probably believe they can,” says Garcia, founder of The Investment Counsel Company of Nevada. “I grew up in the old part of Las Vegas, and it was a little dicey. I think mentoring young people to rise beyond their circumstances is what puts the biggest smile on my face.”
The path Montes took to medical school was far from smooth.
When he was a child, his family of four moved to Las Vegas from East Los Angeles to find jobs. “We were as poor as you can get in America before we moved here. We had little food to eat — tortillas with salt and beans... We were hungry a lot.”
His father jumped at the chance to work 80 hours a week in Las Vegas as a custodian and dishwasher. His mother worked full time as a casino porter.
With his father from Mexico and mother from El Salvador, Montes grew up with his siblings speaking Spanish. “I didn’t start to speak English until I entered kindergarten.”
As his parents studied to become citizens, Montes got through high school, but he admits to concentrating more on football and wrestling than his studies. “My only purpose was to get some kind of job to make a little money... I did learn something important from a football coach, though, something I always remember. The coach told me, Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn’ — you don’t lose.”
It was when he nearly lost his mother — she suffered a heart attack when Montes was 18 — that he found a real purpose for his life.
“Her heart attack was devastating. I went to the hospital and she was flatlining.” He watched as a medical team went to work on her and a cardiologist brought her back to life. “It was amazing.”
As his mother recuperated over the next several weeks, Montes thought about what he had seen, about her amazing recovery. He now had a purpose. “I realized I wanted to help people in much the same way as that doctor helped my mother. I wanted to be a doctor.”
While working as either a busboy or custodian, Montes went to the College of Southern Nevada for almost four years. “I really had to work hard there,” he says. “Nobody really thought I’d be able to be a doctor. I was having to overcome a lifetime of educational deficiencies.”
Once he says he “learned how to study” at CSN, he transferred to UNLV, where he graduated with dual majors in kinesiology and biology. Still, family obligations forced him to work full time before applying to medical school.
Montes plans to follow the lead of his mentors and reach out to help others.
“I love this city more than I can put into words,” he says. “I want to give back to this community, and I want to help the most vulnerable people... there are so many people in this town who need good healthcare, who can do much more if they understand the opportunity is there for them.”
Alumnus and donor Randy Garcia, left, and medical student Arturo Montes.
This is part of the In UNLV We Trust series. These stories explore the reasons donors give to UNLV and the direct impact they have on the beneficiaries of their gifts.
When Arturo Montes was a child, his family moved to Las Vegas from East L.A. to find jobs. “We were as poor as you can get in America before we moved here,” he says. “We really had no food.”
In Las Vegas, his parents got service industry jobs — in fact, his dad got two and worked 80 hours per week and his mother worked full time.
“I thought my parents were superheroes,” he says. But when he was 18, his mom had a heart attack. “It was devastating,” Montes says. “I went to the hospital and she was flat-lining.”
He watched as the ER team went to work on her and the cardiologist “brought her back to life.”
“Right then, I thought, 'I want to be a doctor.' It was amazing. I wanted to help people.”
Montes started community college while working as a porter at the Riviera. Two years in, he transferred to UNLV.
“At UNLV, you become a part of a community; you meet people and you stay with them. I was loving school.” He’d been a football player in high school, a volunteer youth flag-football coach at his community center, and he joined the men’s rugby team at UNLV. “Sports have always played a central part in my life. I learned so much from sports that applies to the rest of life — accountability, working hard, and how to bounce back from a hard loss.”
Montes graduated with dual majors in kinesiology and biology and began applying to medical schools. Although he applied widely, the new UNLV School of Medicine was his first choice.
“I love this city more than I can put into words,” he says. “I want to give back to this community, and I want to help the most vulnerable people.”
It seemed like fate, then, that Montes received a full scholarship to UNLV School of Medicine paid for by longtime Las Vegan and community leader Randy Garcia, ’77 BSBA, who shares that pride in Las Vegas.
“I try to help at-risk youth dream bigger than they probably believe they can,” Garcia, founder of The Investment Counsel Company of Nevada, said. “I grew up in the old part of Las Vegas, and it was a little dicey. I think mentoring young people to rise beyond their circumstances is what puts the biggest smile on my face.”
Not long after Montes and Garcia met, Montes invited his new benefactor and mentor to a celebration at his parents’ home – complete with mariachis, all of his local relatives, and even his grandmother who came in from Guadalajara.
“It was very moving,” Garcia says. “When Arturo’s mother hugged me, I almost cried. She would not let go. She was so happy that Arturo was going to medical school.”
Montes says, “I thank him not only for the scholarship, but for his mentorship…
“We share the dream of making Las Vegas an even better place.”
As reported by John Przbys in the Las Vegas Review Journal on January 30, 2018
Smith Center board member channels love of philanthropy, music
Randy Garcia, local philanthropist and investment counselor, at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, January 25, 2018, in Las Vegas. Benjamin Hager Las Vegas Review-Journal @benjaminhphoto
Randy Garcia loves music.
So much so that he’s been taking piano lessons — currently via Skype with a professor from Yale — for 40 years. So much so that he considers as a special talent his knowledge not just of classical music (his favorite genre) but just about any genre of music from the ’40s to the ’70s. So much so that he’s a member of the board of directors of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
OK, maybe that last one isn’t all that unusual, because Garcia’s philanthropic efforts encompass many organizations around Southern Nevada, many of which have as a focus helping and inspiring at-risk youth.
Garcia, 63, has lived in Las Vegas since age 3, after a bout of double pneumonia a year earlier elicited a doctor’s advice to the family to move to a more atmospherically agreeable climate. He’s a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and UNLV, and founder and CEO of the Investment Counsel Company of Nevada.
Garcia’s many honors include being named UNLV’s Lee Business School alumnus of the year. He’s a member of the UNLV Foundation board of trustees and served on the 2016 Presidential Debate Steering Committee, and his philanthropic activities include, most recently, funding a four-year, $100,000 student scholarship at the UNLV School of Medicine.
Garcia is a former member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Foundation — and still provides scholarships through the foundation — and was honored in 2007 and 2017 by the chamber for his philanthropic work. For Garcia’s work ethic, credit his father, who regularly held down two or three jobs while Garcia was growing up.
“He always worked, for the most part, two full-time jobs all his adult life and he worked three at the holidays because he wanted his family to have the best Christmas they could,” Garcia says. “And he’d still make time for us.” Garcia and his wife, Staci, have three children, ages 22 through 27.
Review-Journal: Why do you devote so much of your time and effort to charitable efforts?
Garcia: (Laughs) I ask myself that very question. But I guess the common thread among all of my involvement in this community, going back many decades, is that I’ve always wanted to help others and give others the opportunity to improve their life, their families and things around them. When I look at the Smith Center, for instance, I didn’t want to just write a check when I was asked. I wanted to make sure there was something specific to help kids in school, that they would be able to have an opportunity to share and participate in an experience. That’s a great gift.
What criteria do you use in deciding where to direct your time and effort?
It’s those areas that have been overlooked and/or needs that most greatly exceed the help they’re getting in the community. So where I’m needed most, so to speak, where I can make the biggest impact.
That seems to mesh well with your interest the Smith Center’s educational outreach programs.
I was just at a board meeting a few days ago and I counted 18 buses of kids from the Clark County School District, allowing them that experience of seeing what the Smith Center has to offer. That’s what the Smith Center does on a daily basis. It allows kids to want to reach and strive and try to be something greater than they currently have in mind.
What led you into a career in finance?
I was very, very fortunate to find my way into accounting because of a particular teacher, a professor. He took an interest in all of us. He wasn’t just there to teach, he was there to help us be successful. He went above and beyond. That’s why I majored in accounting, and along the way he taught a B student how to be an A student. That was the gift he gave me, and I ended up getting a 4.0 several years and ended up getting scholarships.
How do you envision your responsibilities as a Smith Center board member?
As a board member, I serve as an ambassador to help others better understand the value of the Smith Center to our community. … I like to think what my hidden talent perhaps would be is striving to identify the right questions to ask when it’s outside my range of competency and having the answer when that issue falls within my range of competency.