Announced candidate for Regents visits Fallon
Sara Lafrance has been on a fact-finding mission to learn more about the Western Nevada College system and what it offers at its three main campuses including Fallon in order to meet the needs of a changing workforce.
The Incline resident has announced but not officially filed for the Board of Regents’ position currently held by Robert Davidson, who decided not to run for election. Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Davidson in March 2015 to succeed Ron Knecht, who had been elected Nevada state controller in November 2014.
Filing for local and statewide offices begins March 7.
LaFrance said she has been on the road for several weeks meeting with constituents and learning more about the issues pertaining to WNC. She met with community leaders and residents on Thursday after attending a short meeting at the Fallon campus with members from the Restore Our College Campus Committee which was formed to address personnel, student and budget shortages at the local educational facility.
Lafrance said she is planning to visit Fallon again next week and meet with key people to discuss the college and economic future of the area in regards to higher education. Likewise, she will also spend more time in Carson City and Douglas.
“Two weeks prior to filing, I will be very busy,” she said of her campus and community visits.
So far, she has meet with WNC President Chet Burton and Fallon’s director Sherry Black. So far, Lafrance said she is impressed with Burton’s background and Black’s vision and energy.
LaFrance said Nevada is facing a “whole new economy” with a technological boom of employers coming into the state looking for employees who have been trained and educated to meet the demands. She said the colleges and universities must be proactive.
“It would be unfortunate if we don’t train our own,” she said.
A friend of Lafrance encouraged her to seek the open position, which represents Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Esmeralda, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Storey and Washoe counties.
LaFrance has served on the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Board for many years, earning top honors for her service. Lafrance said she is willing to listen and put in the hard work necessary to serve the district that also includes Carson City.
According to her resume, Lafrance co-founded and served as president of Century Analysis, Inc., a software manufacturer that provided integration solutions to large commercial, industrial, and healthcare enterprises, from 1975 until its sale to New Era of Networks, Inc. (NEON) in 1998.
Under her leadership, the company achieved a preeminent position in the enterprise application integration marketplace, with a product line and customer base that became a vital component of NEON’s growth strategy.
In 2011, Lafrance was named the University of Nevada’s “Alumna of the Year” and spoke at the commencement for the University of Nevada Colleges of Engineering and Science graduation ceremony in May 2015.
Lafrance and her husband, Leonard, established in 2005 Educational Pathways International, a charitable foundation that provides comprehensive university scholarships for gifted students of need in Ghana. The organization also provides scholarships for select National Merit and Presidential Scholars enrolled at UNR in engineering and computer science.
Lafrance holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English/Journalism from UNR and a Master’s of Arts in Organizational Change from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.