Week in Review: The future

Andy Matthews

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

Each new year brings with it a number of changes, and it’s no different here at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. Often the change is good — it’s a chance to set new organizational goals for the year ahead, and to turn the page on the occasions in the previous year when you might have come up short.

But there are also those times when change can be hard to swallow, even if you know, from a big-picture standpoint, that the change is necessary to produce s a new and exciting opportunity. And we’ll be facing a couple changes here at NPRI this year that fall into that category.

This week, we at NPRI said goodbye to two members of our team who have provided immeasurable value to the Institute in recent years.

Geoff Lawrence, who for the past few years has quarterbacked NPRI’s policy research efforts, has accepted a new position as the policy director for the Nevada Republican Assembly caucus. Those of you who follow the Institute’s efforts closely are well aware of the incredible contributions Geoff has made to our body of work. His most notable publications have probably been the first two installments of our Solutions series, sourcebooks on dozens of policy issues that are designed to assist policymakers in crafting free-market-oriented legislation.

But that, of course, hardly scratches the surface. Geoff has authored a number of other exceptional works for us, including an alternative state budget (2009), our legislative report card (2009, 2011 and 2013) and our Piglet Book (2010, 2012 and 2014), among many others. He has also served as NPRI’s point man at the legislative session, and in 2013, in a historic development for the Institute, Geoff was stationed in Carson City full-time, giving us a permanent presence throughout the session’s activities.

Eric Davis is a name that might not be as familiar to you. But it’s a name you should know. Eric has held a number of positions at NPRI since joining us as an intern back in 2007, most recently serving as our web developer. He’s had many roles with us, but his greatest contribution has been the design, development and management of NPRI’s transparency websites — transparentnevada.com and transparentcalifornia.com.

These two sites, which rank among the most successful projects we’ve ever undertaken here at NPRI, have garnered 30 million page views combined during their lifetimes, with over 21 million of those page views coming this year alone. More important than the numbers, however, is the impact — the way the government-spending data on these sites has shaped the debate over public financing. Eric has been more of a behind-the-scenes man here at NPRI, but his work has certainly not gone unnoticed, and he has been offered, and has accepted, a new position as a systems engineer with the web-development company eResources.

It may go without saying that we hate to see Geoff and Eric go. In addition to being highly productive members of our team, they’ve been very dear friends to the rest of the staff here at the Institute.

But it’s important that we all recognize these developments as the success stories they are. One of the things we’ve always prided ourselves on here at the Institute is our success in identifying and cultivating talent — bringing in hard-working and skilled individuals and then giving them the chance to develop their skills and achieve greatness. Geoff and Eric have done exactly that, and as a result, they have both earned tremendous opportunities for further career growth and advancement. Congratulations are in order to both of these gentlemen.

And even in their new roles, both will continue to serve the cause that is at the heart of NPRI’s mission. He’ll be wearing a different uniform, but Geoff will still be fighting hard in Carson City to advance the kinds of free-market reforms our state needs. And eResources, the company where Eric will now be working, hosts our flagship website, npri.org, meaning we’ll continue to work closely with him in keeping our site up-to-date with the Institute’s latest work.

Still, these departures do present challenges. And fortunately, we’ve built a team here that has the strength and the versatility to meet them. You’ll learn a lot more about what that means in the weeks and months ahead, but in particular, I’d like to share with you that Victor Joecks, NPRI’s executive vice president, will be running the show for us in Carson City during the session this year. You’ve no doubt read plenty of Victor’s work over the years, and if you have, you’ll agree with me that our policy efforts are in very good hands.

Like I said at the outset, every new year brings change, and every year has a way of throwing a lot of surprises at us, too. But one thing you can count on to remain constant is NPRI’s unyielding commitment to our mission and our principles. Whatever the future holds, that truth will always persist.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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