The November meeting of the Las Cruces Utilities Board of Commissioners was the first for the new Commissioner Raymond Hickman. It was a busy schedule, with a work session before the regular meeting, but Hickman didn’t mind. His eclectic engineering career – from working with NASA’s wind tunnels to mixing rocket fuel in California – prepared him to understand the utility needs of Las Cruces residents and businesses.
Hickman moved to Las Cruces the same year the board was formed, both in 2006. Since then, Hickman has come to appreciate the city and now wanted to play a role that would enable him to make a difference.
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“My wife and I chose Las Cruces as our retirement home and I have numerous hobbies that enable me to enjoy the beautiful weather in Las Cruces, such as becoming a master gardener and my model airplanes at the Las Cruces Model Airplane Field at the LCU Foothills Clean to fill fly facility, “said Hickman. “The city has become our home”
As the new commissioner, Hickman will help ensure oversight of LCU operations for the public. “I have experience in piping systems, electrical distribution and control, construction management, and plant engineering,” said Hickman. “But the most rewarding thing was managing the assets – some of the equipment was from the 1950s, and troubleshooting a bug was a challenge.”
The board consists of seven commissioners, two of whom are city councilors. Commissioners have a four-year term and are not compensated for their services. The other current commissioners are William Little (Chair), Edmund Archuleta (Vice Chair), Councilor Gill Sorg, Councilor Johana Bencomo, Dr. Harry Hardee and Dr. Harry Johnson.
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“Because the board deals with complex devices and systems, my experience can be applied to problems in these areas to provide sound technical advice on maintaining existing systems and planning future expansions,” he said. “Wise decisions are needed to support this growth, plan for the future, and maintain current utilities to provide citizens with reliable gas, water and electricity.”
Hickman stated that he understands the creeping cost concerns affecting residents, especially those on fixed incomes. He knows the transition to cleaner energy options is in the future of the city, but wants to explore options beyond sun and wind, including hydrogen, which could run in the same ways as natural gas. He said, “Las Cruces is beautiful and I want to help make it better.”
The public is encouraged to attend the LCU board of directors meetings held every second Thursday at 3 p.m. in the LCU Utilities building, 680 N. Motel Blvd. Public comments or questions can be emailed to [email protected]
The LCU Customer Central can be reached Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 575-541-2111. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at las-cruces.org/180/Utilities. In an emergency, call Dispatch at 575-526-0500.
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