By Cassie McCLure
The Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Board of Commissioners, established in December 2006, initiates each new member in the depth and breadth of its operations to be able to provide oversight of the operations for the general public. The Board consists of seven Commissioners, two of whom are seated City Councilors. The most recent addition to the Board, Harry Hardee, who has a doctorate degree in engineering, took two, half-day tours to see different Utilities facilities and meet associates who help provide services to the community.
Hardee received his engineering degrees (Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and doctorate degree) from the University of Texas, at Austin and spent a year of post graduate work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a registered professional engineer in New Mexico since 1967. Dr. Hardee spent nearly 30 years working at Sandia National Labs, in Albuquerque. He worked on nuclear weapons, primarily, for about 10 years and became head of the Heat Transfer Division. When the energy crisis of the 1970s occurred, he transferred to become head of the Advanced Geothermal Energy Division.
“The work centered around a plan for large-scale energy development from deep molten bodies in the earth. Most of the experimental work was done on active volcanoes and I became very involved in this,” he said. “The intent of this program was to prove the scientific and engineering feasibility of this potentially large energy source for the future, although we knew this was at least 50 years into the future. This is the background where some of my interest developed for later things like city utilities.”
After his first retirement from Sandia in 1991, Hardee came to New Mexico State University as a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department where he taught courses and did research in the thermal sciences for 22 more years. He finally had his second retirement in 2013.
The other current LCU Commissioners are William Little (Chair), Edmund Archuleta (Vice-Chair), Councilor Gill Sorg, Councilor Johana Bencomo, James Carmichael, and Dr. Harry Johnson. Commissioners serve a four-year term and are not compensated for their service.
The public is encouraged to attend the LCU Board of Commissioners meeting which is at 3 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. Meetings are typically held at LCU Administration, at 680 N. Motel Boulevard. However, board meetings are currently conducted remotely, via Zoom, and are livestreamed on the City of Las Cruces’ YouTube channel, YouTube.com/clctv20. Public comment or questions can be emailed to: UtilitiesCustomerComments@las-cruces.org.
LCU can be reached at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
City Councilor, Tessa Abeyta Stuve; LCU Water Production Supervisor, Pascual Rodriguez; and Commissioner Dr. Harry Hardee tour the Griggs-Walnut Superfund Treatment Facility.
Note: This story was recently published in the Las Cruces Bulletin.