Thoran Towler

Chief Executive Officer

Thoran Towler is the Chief Executive Officer of Nevada Association of Employers.  Thoran possesses extensive knowledge and experience in wage and hour rules, employment law and labor issues.

Thoran served as the Nevada Labor Commissioner from 2011 to 2014, where he administered and enforced Nevada’s wage and hour laws, set and enforced the state’s minimum wage and investigated complaints related to violations of Nevada labor law. Thoran was admitted to practice law in the State of Nevada in 2006.  He earned a Bachelor of Science in Technology from Walla Walla University and he earned his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington.

Thoran is an Ambassador for Donate Life, a non-profit working to save and heal lives through organ transplantation. In addition, Thoran serves on several boards including Nevadaworks, which provides funding to qualified service providers who work directly with a diverse population of individuals who are seeking employment.  Additionally, Thoran served as the 2020 Board Chair of Employer Associations of America, a non-profit whose core purpose is to collectively advance the success of America’s employers.

Brian L. Bradford, Esq.

General Counsel

Brian Bradford joined Nevada Association of Employers in October 2021.  In his capacity as General Counsel, he provides practical and sound legal advice to solve complex employment issues and ensure compliance with federal and state employment laws. Brian counsels employers in a wide variety of employment law matters, including discrimination and harassment prevention, terminations, managing ill or injured workers, wage and hour practices, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training and COVID-19 workplace response. Brian has had more than 15 years of experience practicing law. Prior to joining NAE, Brian had nine years’ experience as an employment litigator for national employment law firms in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Air Force Academy and served with distinction as a commissioned officer in the Security Forces Career Field.  He earned his law degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was selected as the William S. Boyd Outstanding Graduate.  

Cara Sheehan, Esq.

Legal Counsel

Cara Sheehan joined the Nevada Association of Employers in March 2021. Prior to joining NAE, Cara assisted individuals with forming small businesses as well as nonprofit corporations, provided representation in numerous workers’ compensation hearings, and has advised business owners regarding a variety of legal issues.  

Cara is a born and raised Nevadan. She attended the University of Nevada Reno for her undergraduate degree and then went on to obtain her law degree from Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. Cara was admitted to practice law in the State of Nevada in 2016.

Audra L. Parton, JD

Member Services Coordinator

Audra Parton joined the Nevada Association of Employers in December 2016. Prior to joining NAE, Audra worked in legal and regulatory compliance for a nationwide workers’ compensation insurance carrier and served as the Deputy Labor Commissioner for the State of Nevada from 2013 to 2014. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding regulatory compliance to NAE.

Audra earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Reno and her law degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California.

Amy Matthews, SPHR

Human Resources/Business Development

Amy Matthews joined the Nevada Association of Employers in June 2017, with a focus on Southern Nevada. Amy brings a unique perspective to our members, having been a private sector executive level HR employee as well as operating as an independent HR consultant.

She is a native Las Vegan with 20 years of experience in Human Resources, Operations, Training and Compliance, and is certified in Human Resources Management and Employment Law.

Alyssa Parodi

Office Administrator/Executive Assistant

Alyssa Parodi joined the Nevada Association of Employers in September 2021. Alyssa graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in May of 2021 receiving her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies.

During her time as a student, she was an intern for the University of Nevada’s football program in the recruiting department. She also spent much of her undergraduate time volunteering for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and participating in philanthropic events throughout the city of Reno. In her free time, she enjoys being surrounded by her family and friends, attending sporting events, and going to concerts.

Michelle Carranza, SHRM-SCP

HR Consultant

Michelle Carranza joined the Nevada Association of Employers in January 2022. Michelle was born and raised in Nevada and has strong ties to both Southern and Northern Nevada.  Michelle is a certified Human Resources leader who develops trusted relationships with the people and any business she works with. She has expertise in every aspect of human resources: employee relations, legal compliance, leave management, talent acquisition, total rewards, training, leadership development, coaching/counseling, and all other disciplines that fall under the HR umbrella. 

Michelle is married to a very supportive husband, and they are raising two teenagers.  When the family isn’t focused on soccer for the kids, they love to travel and spend time with their two rescue boxers, Max and Bunny.  

Patty Kress, PHR

HR Consultant

Patty Kress joined the Nevada Association of Employers in December 2021. Patty has over 20 years of HR experience, starting her career in payroll. Patty has knowledge and experience in many aspects of human resources, including the recruiting, on boarding, drafting job descriptions, disciplinary action, unemployment claims/hearings, recognition and acknowledgement program, affirmative action plans, compensation analysis, negotiating and administrative healthcare benefit plans as well 401k administration. 

Patty has held her PHR certification since 2015.

Ava Umanos, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

HR Consultant

Ava Umanos joined the Nevada Association of Employers in September 2022. An alumnus of DePaul University, SHRM-SCP, and SPHR certified, Ava has over 20 year’s experience helping companies connect their people power. She works compassionately with clients to find positive outcomes and create solutions for budding companies. Ava specializes in compliance, employee relations, benefits, training, recruiting, and HRIS implementation but has worked in all aspects of HR over the course of her career. Ava has worked in many industries, including real estate, hospitality, health care, sports management, construction, and manufacturing.

Outside of work, Ava is a culinary enthusiast, crafting her own versions of Chicago-style cuisine from her hometown and exploring dishes from other cultures. 

Lindsay Hill, CCP, GRP

Director, Compensation Services

As the Director of Compensation Services, Lindsay provides professional level compensation support with a focus on understanding business needs to develop and implement comprehensive compensation solutions. Her experience with compensation in a variety of industries enables her to effectively tailor compensation strategies to specific employer needs.

Lindsay earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business – Human Resources Management from Portland State University. She holds a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) certification and a Global Remuneration Professional (GRP) certification from WorldatWork. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, camping, and traveling.


Board of Directors

Jeanne McMillian Abraham
Bank of George
Chair

Bevin Eagle
Bonanza Casino
Vice Chair

Pete Gilbert
Employer Benefits
Director

Aiko Hatano
Sega Sammy Creation USA
Director

Bill Houghton
Horizon Print Solutions
Director

Judd Merrill
Aqua Metals
Director

Kathy Picollo
Nugget Resort Casino
Director

Michelle Sanchez-Bickley
Renown Health
Director

Vicki Sertic
Ormat Systems
Director

Cliff Sorensen
Campagni Automotive Group
Director