Vice President & Risk Management/Process Improvement Officer – Citizens Bank of Las Cruces
Celeste holds a master’s degree in business administration with a bachelor’s in accountancy, and is a certified public accountant. She has extensive experience in several industries, including healthcare, telecommunications and higher education. She has been responsible for strategic development, budgeting, and process improvement, and has led a business operations group supporting 25 locations and 470 employees. As a current Vice President and Risk Management/Process Improvement Officer at Citizen’s Bank her responsibilities include identifying, assessing, reporting and monitoring internal and external risks.
Craig Buchanan, Past Chair
Market President – U.S. Bank
Craig has 28 years banking experience as a commercial real estate lender, team lead, department manager, and market manager. He has worked in the markets of Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and El Paso and currently serves as the market president at U.S. Bank. Craig is actively involved in the community and also serves as a board member for The Bridge of Southern New Mexico, past chair of MVEDA, past president of Downtown Las Cruces Partnership, NMSU President’s Associates Scholars board, New Mexico First Treasurer, Borderplex Alliance board member, City of Las Cruces Economic Development Committee Vice-Chair and is a 2012 graduate of the Leadership New Mexico program.
Preston Mitchell, Vice Chair
President – The Hatch Chile Store
Preston grew up in Hatch where he spent the majority of his time in his parent’s pharmacy or on his grandparent’s farm. Starting in just 4th grade, he began helping to sell his family’s green chile on the weekends in Santa Fe. During his fourth summer working for his grandparents he launched the virtual version of Berridge Farms with the goal to expand their customer market through the use of technology–and it was successful! Preston later attended New Mexico State University graduating with accounting degrees. Preston bought a Las Cruces chile-roasting company and his grandparents’ online business to merge the enterprises into the couple’s online business, The Hatch Chile Store. He is passionate about improving The Hatch Chile Store by implementing the best business practices by staying current with website updates and striving to meet his goal of increasing wholesale and individual customers while also lowering the price.
Kathryn Morrow, Treasurer
Attorney – Mann Morrow PLLC
Kathryn (Katy) Brack Morrow maintains a diverse civil litigation practice, with a particular focus on the defense of healthcare providers in state and federal court, as well as before their licensing boards. Katy also represents clients in complex commercial litigation and environmental/land use litigation involving strict tort liability, toxic tort, breach of contract, fraud, negligence and intentional tort claims, and causes of action.
Katy speaks to industry groups on national and local levels on a variety of matters including healthcare law, toxic tort liability, federal lands issues, wind energy development, and land use/zoning matters. She has briefed and/or argued issues before state and federal district courts, the United States Courts of Appeal for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, the Wyoming Supreme Court, the New Mexico Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
While in law school, Katy was a member of the Baylor Law Review, and was a legal intern for the Honorable Jeffrey Manske, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Texas. During her educational career, she completed internships with the United States Department of State at its embassy in Paris, France, and with Senator Pete V. Domenici in Washington, D.C.
Melissa M. Diaz, Secretary
Engineering Manager – NASA White Sands Complex
Melissa is a twenty-year resident of New Mexico. After completing her undergraduate degree, she was offered an engineering position at the NASA White Sands Complex in Las Cruces, NM and has been a part of the community ever since. Melissa has coached young girls in the Las Cruces Christian Baseball League, started women’s groups for high school/college-aged young women, leads a women’s book club, teaches women’s bible study, organizes community service projects, and speaks at women’s conferences. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences and Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University. In her professional life, in addition to her engineering management position, Melissa also serves as the NASA White Sands Complex Ethics Advisor.
Gary Bruner, Board Member
Retired, Senior Director, Information Technology and Information Security – El Paso Electric
Gary has more than 30 years of service with El Paso Electric. As the senior director of Information Technology and Information Security, Gary works across the El Paso Electric service area to protect our electrical infrastructure. As an emeritus board member of the Ronald McDonald House, Gary has served our state community for decades. His love for numbers will serve him well on the CFSNM Audit Committee.
He shares his spare time at home with his loving wife, Luisa, his daughter, Ana, his son Andrew, his daughter-in-law, Shalini and his adorable granddaughter.
Dr. Dolores Gomez, Board Member
Chief Medical Officer – Memorial Medical Center
Dr. Gomez is board certified in family medicine and has been at Memorial Medical Center since 2009, working with the Memorial Family Medicine Center and the Southern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency Program. She is past president of the Memorial medical staff, past board chair and past president of the New Mexico Academy of Family Physicians and currently serves on their board. She also serves on the Board of NMSU Aggie Athletic Club. She is married to Dr. John Andazola, director of the Southern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency Program.
Chris Mitchell, Board Member
Producer & Lab Director – Electronic Caregiver and Addison Home Care
Chris Mitchell is a producer and mobile lab director with Electronic Caregiver and Addison Home Care. In addition, he is a corporate magician and lighting designer responsible for using motion capture 3d software and pressure mat walkway software for the first-ever mobile gait analysis lab. He is a lighting designer, and a speaker currently with a talk titled “Anorexia, a family’s journey”.
Dr. Loui Reyes, Board Member
Emeritus Faculty – New Mexico State University
As an Emeritus NMSU faculty member, Dr. Reyes was an assistant professor with early childhood and bilingual education as his specialty areas from 2000 to 2006. Reyes also served as an associate professor in early childhood, bilingual education and educational technologies from 2006-2012 and Dean of the Graduate School from 2011 to 2017 when he returned as faculty to the College of Education. His background as an educational professional spreads from being a field-based instructor for Wheelock College in Boston from 1997-1999, a visiting bilingual teacher at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica in 1996, a part-time instructor at the University of Texas at El Paso in 1994 and a part-time instructor at El Paso Community College from 1991-1993.
Reyes completed post-doctoral work in educational learning technologies at NMSU in 2003 and earned his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, with a focus in early childhood education and bilingual education, at NMSU in 1997. He holds a master’s degree in teaching: curriculum and instruction as well as a bachelor’s degree in social work, both from NMSU. Prior to his career in academia, Reyes served as director of the Children, Youth and Family Program’s Home Education Livelihood Program from 1977-1997.
Loui shares his love for southern New Mexico with his large family including 8 siblings that live throughout the southwest. We are honored to have his expertise in strategic planning and his time as a retired faculty member. His time will be filled with creating good BBQ and volunteering with the CFSNM over the next 3 years.
Christina Salazar, Board Member
Chief Nursing Officer – Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico
Christina Salazar is the Chief Nursing Officer for the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico. Christina is a long-life Las Crucen who graduated from Onate High School (now Organ Mountain High School) and received a nursing degree from New Mexico State University. During her tenure, Christina, had the ability to care for her grandmother in the same hospital that she now supports her team to take care of our community.
Christopher Salcido, Board Member
Partner – Beasley, Mitchell & Co.
Christopher Salcido has been with Beasley, Mitchell & Co. since 2008. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Christopher earned his Master and Bachelor of Accountancy from NMSU and was a member of Beta Alpha Psi. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, has served as president and treasurer of the Dona Ana Chapter of CPAs, served on the committee for NMSCPA Leadership Academy, a graduate of Emerging Leadership Academy, and treasurer and Vice President of Education of Gene’s Gesters Toastmasters. Christopher provides individual and corporate tax preparation and tax consultation services.
Christopher Schaljo-Hernandez, Board Member
Owner – Salud! de Mesilla
Christopher was born in St. Louis, MO. Christopher started working towards his Bachelor’s degree at University of Missouri before he moved down to Las Cruces in 2010. He completed his degree program in Government at New Mexico State University in 2012. After college, Christopher was able to get involved in local and statewide politics while continuing to support his community, including chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County where under his leadership they won every election possible. Christopher has been a member of community nonprofits around Las Cruces and surrounding areas, ranging from being involved with Red Ribbon Bash, the Chair of the Democratic Party, working one on one with the Trevor Project, and receiving the accolades of being Eagle Scout. Chris continually enjoys being involved in the community by fundraising for local nonprofits through their business venture, Salud! de Mesilla, where he is Owner and Operator, with his partner Russell Hernandez.
Michael Smith, Board Member
President & CEO – Bravo Mic Communications, LLC
Michael A. Smith serves as President and CEO for Bravo Mic Communications. In his role he oversees the daily management, business management, mergers and acquisitions for the company. Prior to joining the company in January of 2005, Smith served as General Manager of Radio Property Development. Before moving back to Las Cruces in 2000, Smith was a PGA Golf Professional in Lake Tahoe, Nevada at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. Smith received his bachelors’ degrees in Accounting and Marketing for New Mexico State University and his MBA in 2001 from NMSU. He is also a member of the Beta Alpha Psi, national honors society for Financial Professionals and Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. Smith currently serves on the board of New Mexico Broadcast Association and Bravo Mic. Smith formally served on the boards of Coats for Kids and White Sands International Film Festival. Smith lives with his wife – Shelli, Daughter – Tessa, Son – Laine and four dogs, in Las Cruces, NM.