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.

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.

Ava Umanos, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Human Resources Director

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. 

Tiffany Stanbury

Member Liaison

Tiffany Stanbury joined the Nevada Association of Employers in September 2022. In her role as the Member Liaison, Tiffany is charged with building and maintaining relationships with members, as well as highlighting the benefits of membership with prospective Nevada businesses. Before joining the team at NAE, Tiffany worked as a Sales Representative & Account Consultant, partnering with schools across Northern California.

Tiffany was raised in Lake Tahoe and later moved down South to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration and Hospitality Management. After completing her internship with the Caesar’s Entertainment Employment Center, she was offered the position of Employment Coordinator and found a passion for Human Resources.

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.

Kelly Read

HR Consultant

Kelly Read joined the Nevada Association of Employers in October 2022.  Kelly has over 23 years of Human Resources experience. She worked at the world’s largest dialysis company in Boston before moving to Las Vegas in 2019.  Kelly’s expertise includes benefits administration, training, compensation, customer service and recruitment.  She has been trained in leadership and conflict management, and a wide range of knowledge with HR systems and technology.  Kelly is enthusiastic and eager to contribute to team success through hard work, employee engagement, career development and recognition.

Outside of work, Kelly is a busy mom of three daughters.  When she has spare time, she enjoys attending music and sporting events.

Lesli Grieve

HR Consultant

Lesli Grieve joined the Nevada Association of Employers in December 2022. Lesli has over 20 years’ experience in accounting and human resource management with a focus on operational improvement and relationship development. She received her Bachelor of Science Business – Human Resource Management from Western Governor’s University in 2020.  Lesli has experience in the mining, construction, and casino industries. 

She is a native Nevadan and has lived across Northern Nevada from Reno to Wendover. Lesli and her husband have 4 grown children, and now travel happily without children whenever they get the chance.

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