By Cassie McClure
Published in Sun-News 11.18.21
The November meeting of the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Board of Commissioners (Board) was the first for the new Commissioner, Raymond Hickman. It was a full schedule, with a work session before the regular meeting, but it didn’t faze Hickman. His varied career in engineering – from working with NASA’s wind tunnels to mixing rocket fuel in California – has prepared him to understand the utility needs of Las Cruces residents and businesses.
Hickman moved to Las Cruces the same year the Board was established, both in 2006. Since then, Hickman has grown to appreciate the city and wanted to now step into a role that would allow him to make a difference.
“My wife and I chose Las Cruces as a retirement home and I have numerous hobbies that allow me to enjoy the fine Las Cruces weather, like becoming a Master Gardener and flying my model airplanes at the Las Cruces Model Airplane Field at the LCU Foothills Clean Fill Facility,” said Hickman. “The city grew to be our home.”
As the newest Commissioner, Hickman will help provide oversight of LCU operations for the public. “I have experience in utility piping systems, electrical distribution and control, construction management, and facilities engineering,” Hickman said. “But most rewarding was managing plant facilities – some of the equipment was from the 1950s, and troubleshooting a fix was a challenge.”
The Board consists of seven Commissioners, two of whom are seated City Councilors. Commissioners serve a four-year term and are not compensated for their service. 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.
“Since the Board deals with complex equipment and systems, my experience can be applied to problems in these areas to provide sound technical advice for the maintenance of existing systems, and planning for future expansion,” he said. “Wise decisions are needed to assist that growth, plan for the future, and maintain present utilities to ensure reliable gas, water, and power to the citizens.”
Hickman explained that he understands the concerns about the creeping costs that impact residents, especially those with fixed incomes. He knows that the transition to cleaner energy options are in the city’s future but would like to explore options beyond just solar and wind, including hydrogen that could run in the same lines as natural gas. He said, “Las Cruces is beautiful, and I want to help in making it better.”
The public is encouraged to attend the LCU Board meetings, held every second Thursday at 3 p.m. at the LCU Utilities building, 680 N Motel Blvd. Public comments or questions can be emailed to: UtilitiesCustomerComments@las-cruces.org
LCU Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500.
PHOTO 1: Raymond Hickman is the newest member of the LCU Board of Commissioners, which meets every second Thursday at 680 N Motel Blvd.