Los Alamos County Councilor Melanee Hand has announced her candidacy for election to Council. Hand was appointed to Council in January to fill the seat vacated following the resignation of James Robinson. Courtesy photo
BY MELANEE HAND
I declared my candidacy to become elected a Los Alamos County Councilor in 2022 for a full term starting in 2023. I am currently serving on County Council filling James Robinson’s vacancy.
Here is a little background about me if you are interested. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and lived there until after I graduated from the University of New Mexico (UNM) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Design from the School of Architecture and Planning with a minor in Art.
I found an opportunity to work in Los Alamos as an employee of the support services subcontractor for Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1984. I remained working in Los Alamos ever since. I became a New Mexico licensed Landscape Architect when licensing for Landscape Architects was first introduced in New Mexico, issued license number 38. I completed a Master of Arts in Organizational Management while working full-time, thanks to the support of my employer, Johnson Controls, Inc. I eventually transitioned from a subcontractor performing landscape architecture, site design and land use and facility planning to a Los Alamos National Laboratory (University of California) employee supporting master site and facility planning, construction, environmental stewardship including NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) compliance, subcontract management forsite clean-up, wildland fire management, and storm water management. During that time, I performed in leadership roles as a team leader and subcontracts manager in several organizations.
My parents were both teachers who moved to New Mexico from the Midwest before I was born. My extended family consists of many teachers. My mother was a certified Home Economist who worked for the University of New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program for many years of her career. My father was the Director of Education at Vo-Tech and taught courses at TVI (Technical Vocational Institute) while I was growing up.
My siblings and I were taught the value of hard work and education, which played out in different ways for each of us. My sister currently owns and operates a small business for the training, boarding, and showing of horses, in addition to rescuing horses.
I raised two daughters in Los Alamos. My oldest became a partner in a food truck start-up in Albuquerque that eventually transitioned to a brick-and-mortar establishment (although her career path has changed since then). My younger daughter’s career is in the mass communications unscripted TV industry in Hollywood, California. Both my daughters benefited from the excellent school system in Los Alamos.
I experienced two town evacuations due to the Cerro Grande Fire and the Las Conchas Fire which were significant tragedies in our town that had a big impact on me, my understanding of emergency management, and the challenge of living through disasters.
My husband David Hand owns and operates Jona Manufacturing Services, Inc. in Los Alamos, which is a family business started by his father in the 1980’s. Since my retirement from LANL after 22 years, I now support the family business on a part-time casual basis. My husband’s nephew Steven also currently operates HPM,another machine shop in Los Alamos, previously owned and operated by my husband’s brother Robert.
For decades I volunteered for numerous non-profit Boards and Los Alamos County Boards and Subcommittees. I am currentlyPresident of the Los Alamos Mountaineers and previously Chair of the Los Alamos Parks and Recreation Board.
Los Alamos is a unique and beautiful County with many opportunities for various types of recreation and outdoor enjoyment within a beautiful, safe, culturally rich, and historic atmosphere. My husband and I want to stay here during our retirement because this community is special to us.
The top goals I hope to achieve while serving Los Alamos County Council include:
- Support planning and execution of the County Council Priorities and Plans,
- Advocate for small businesses,
- Support environmental conservation and sustainability, and
- Communicate and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve results.
I am a long-term resident who believes Los Alamos is a great place to live and I hope that I can contribute a positive approach formoving forward together. I appreciate your support to elect me to County Council.