Board of Directors
- Ranson W. Webster, Chairman
- Nancy Croom, Vice Chair
- Bryan J. Dziedziak, Secretary/Treasurer
- George Balaban
- Bob Davidson
- Ben Farahi
- Sherman R. Frederick
- David Geddes
- Steve Hardy
- Gary Vause
- William P. Weidner
- Judy Cresanta, NPRI Founder
Ranson W. Webster is the founder and a managing member of Evergreen Capital LLC, an early stage investment company that focuses on and invests in start-up Internet, service-oriented and biotech companies.
A successful and innovative businessman, Mr. Webster founded Computing Resources, Inc. (CRI) in 1978 as a general purpose service bureau specializing in automating accounting functions. Over the years, Mr. Webster's vision allowed CRI to gain national recognition as the nation's fourth-largest quality payroll services provider, servicing over 32,000 businesses nationwide. In March of 1999, CRI announced it had agreed to a merger with Intuit, and Mr. Webster served as Chairman and CEO of Intuit's payroll division (CRI) until March 2000.
Mr. Webster currently serves on the boards of Heetronix, Inzap Inc, Athena On-line, and hCell Technology Inc. Other investments include Salu.net, Sand Hill Capital II, Customer Link, Turbo Coverage, Sierra Sciences, Bridge Bank of Silicon Valley and Heritage Bank of Commerce. A resident of Reno since 1972, Mr. Webster is currently Chairman of the Board for the National Automobile Museum - The Harrah Collection; a past Chairman of the Financial Advisory Board for the city of Reno; an Artown board member; and the Governor's appointee for The Commission On Education Technology.
Nancy A. Croom, a former professional golfer, is a 20 year veteran in golf and resort community development. Among her various accomplishments, culminating in her forming her own consulting business, Mrs. Croom was instrumental in the early conception and development of a multi-destination resort club called The Owners Club by ClubCorp, USA as well as the expansion of the 1760-acre Mission Hills Country Club community in Rancho Mirage, California, home of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the longest running major tournament on the LPGA Tour.
Long in love with the great outdoors and all that Nevada has to offer, Mrs. Croom married her husband George and became a Nevada resident in 2005. Among her many civic endeavors, Mrs. Croom is Chair of NPRI’s Lake Tahoe based Advisory Board and is a trustee of the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California where she focuses on insuring cultural arts education programs for K-12 students.
Mrs. Croom is a licensed pilot and real estate broker in both Nevada and California. She earned her MBA at Pepperdine University and undergraduate degree in Marketing Management at the University of Tulsa where she played on a golf scholarship with Hall of Famer, Nancy Lopez. Previously inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame in her hometown of El Paso, Texas Mrs. Croom was also honored with a national Rolex Achievement Award presented by Arnold Palmer in recognition of her business and civic achievements.
Bryan J. Dziedziak is a practicing certified public accountant and Vice President of Tax and Finance of the Ribeiro Companies. He was a tax partner with the international accounting firm of Deloitte before starting his own practice in 1998.
He is past president and an active member of the Las Vegas Southwest Rotary Club and has served as President, Treasurer and Trustee of numerous other non-profit organizations. Bryan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University.
He and his wife Caryll have three sons, two daughters-in-law and three wonderful grandchildren.
George Balaban is the president of Desert Cab Inc., a company originally acquired by his father in 1964 with only one taxi. The company had grown to nine taxis when Mr. Balaban took over in 1979, and now has 150 taxis. The business is owned equally by Mr. Balaban, his brother and his sister.
Mr. Balaban was born in San Diego, Calif., in 1958. He moved to Las Vegas shortly after that, but moved back to San Diego, where he lived from the ages of seven to 13. After spending his high school years in Wisconsin, and then heading back to San Diego for college, he moved back to Las Vegas in 1979 and has lived there ever since. He attended both San Diego State University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Mr. Balaban is a member of the Keystone Corporation, the Las Vegas Country Club, the UNLV Golf Foundation, the UNLV Football Foundation and the UNLV Educational Foundation He and his brother also started On Demand Sedan and Limousine Company 10 years ago, and the business has grown to approximately 100 vehicles.
Bob Davidson is a retired philanthropist living in Incline Village, Nevada. Bob cofounded the Davidson Institute, which supports profoundly gifted children in the United States through its many programs including the Davidson Academy, located on the campus of the University of Nevada in Reno.
Bob has degrees in engineering, law and business, and his career included patent law, corporate law, and senior executive positions with three public companies. Bob founded Davidson & Associates, an educational and entertainment software company, in 1983. The company went public in 1993 and was sold in 1997.
In addition to his charitable activities, Bob is an avid golfer and sports car racer.
Ben Farahi, married and blessed with four children, has been active in various private and public companies and partnerships in the purchase, financing and management of residential and retail real estate. He currently is the managing partner of a number of public and private real estate partnerships. He is a board member of the Nevada Policy Research Institute as well as the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy. He was a director of the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra from 1999 to 2004 and of the Bank of North Las Vegas from 2006 until 2011.
He was Co-chairman of the Board, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer of Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. (Nasdaq ticker: MCRI), which through its wholly owned subsidiary Golden Road Motor Inn, Inc., developed and operates the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, NV, from its inception in 1993 until May 2006. His responsibilities at Monarch involved the financing and development of the property.
Mr. Farahi holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a MBA degree from California State University, East Bay.
Sherman R. Frederick is a longtime Nevada journalist. He currently owns Battle Born Media which in Nevada publishes the Sparks Tribune, the Ely Times, the Eureka Sentinel, the Lincoln County Record, the Mesquite Local News and the Mineral County (Hawthorne) Independent News. In the San Francisco area, Battle Born publishes the Novato Advance, the San Rafael News Pointer, the Mill Valley Herald, the Twin City Times, the Ross Reporter, the Sausalito Marin Scope and the Pacifica Tribune.
Mr. Frederick worked for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 1976 to 2010. He is a member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame and active in Las Vegas civic and charitable organizations. He is also an ordained Episcopal priest. He and his wife, Christina, have five children.
Steve Hardy was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved to Northern Nevada in 1981. He was the President and Founder of Zephyr Associates, which licenses portfolio analytical software to over 1,000 major institutional investor clients, including pension plan sponsors, money managers, consultants and financial advisors. Prior to forming Zephyr Associates, Steve was a co-founder of Balch, Hardy, Scheinman and Winston, a money management firm. During the firm’s 21-year history, it pioneered the use of quantitative stock and option strategies for large tax-exempt funds. Mr. Hardy began his investment career with Dean Witter in 1968, where he became a vice president. He graduated from Whittier College with a degree in business administration.
Steve has been a lifelong libertarian, a benefactor and Club 200 member of the Cato Institute, a contributor to the Friedman Foundation and a number of other free-market think tanks.
He sold Zephyr Associates in 2007. He spends his time managing his personal investments and pursuing his creative interests, designing and making furniture and contemporary art work. He lives in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, with his wife, Lana Hardy.
Gary Vause, a native of Las Vegas, is a graduate of the University of Utah. He and his wife, Linda, are owners of Lit'l Scholar Child Care Pre-Schools and Kindergartens in Las Vegas. He is a partner in the Aztec Inn Casino.
Gary is active in many community organizations, including Keystone, the Las Vegas Rotary, the Las Vegas High School Alumni Association (class of '56), the Boys' Club, and is a life member and past President of the Las Vegas Jaycees.
His professional affiliations include serving as past President of the Child Care Association of Nevada, past President of the Clark County Child Care Association, and past Vice President of the National Child Care Association. He currently is a Director of the National Child Care Association representing the state of Nevada.
Gary is a former trustee of the Las Vegas City Centre Development Corporation, and was an organizer and Board Member of the Valley Bank of Nevada. Gary has been a member of the Nevada Policy Research Institute since March 1998.
William P. Weidner is the former president and chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Previously, he has served as assistant professor of Business Administration and Hotel Management at Paul Smith's College; vice president of hotel operations and marketing at Caesars in Atlantic City; executive vice president of the Greate Bay Casino Corporation; and president of the Pratt Hotel Corporation.
A native of Northville, Mich., Mr. Weidner earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Hotel Administration and an M.B.A. from Michigan State University.
Judy Cresanta founded the Nevada Policy Research Institute in the early 1990s following a life-changing trip to the former Soviet Union to educate pro-democracy leaders about free markets and free elections. Her inspirations included Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation; Jeff Coors of Coors Brewing and the Castle Rock Foundation; Bill Bennett, former secretary of education under President Reagan; and Morton Blackwell of the Council for National Policy. Ms. Cresanta served as the Institute's president until 2001.
NPRI was established as Nevada's first free-market think tank, with the goal of confronting the state's many eroding institutions, including government, the education establishment, the media and academia, with straight-forward, well researched information that would keep the public armed with the truth. The absense of truth, Ms. Cresanta learned while in the former Soviet Union, allows the state to enslave its citizens. Under Ms. Cresanta's leadership, NPRI worked with some of the top individuals and organizations from around Nevada and the nation to perform compelling research and provide it to the Silver State's citizens and policymakers.
Ms. Cresanta has an undergraduate degree from St. Louis University and Masters Degrees in Public Policy and Public Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.