BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Karen Spencer, Board Chair

I was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming and entered the banking field directly out of high school where I worked for 5 years. I then fell into the real estate profession (which was pretty natural given that my father, his brother and their father were in the construction and development fields). I became a Licensed Real Estate Broker in the late 70's and opened a small office, selling residential, new construction, development land and some commercial. I moved to Yuma in 1987 with my husband and first child who was 6 weeks old at the time and commenced selling real estate that same year. I have been with Realty Executives and then opened my own firm under Realty Executives, GMAC Real Estate and ultimately Karen Spencer & Associates, Inc. where I was instrumental in the formation and development with my husband of The Development Group, a local construction and development company responsible for the development and construction of thousands of home sites in newly created neighborhoods throughout the Yuma area, including: The Bluffs, Desert Fairways, Estrella at Mesa del Sol, Ironwood Townhomes, Oasis del Este Townhomes, The Terraces and more. Housing, home design and finding that perfect match have always been the heart of who I am as a businesswoman and remains that way to this very day. I am currently more involved in the local community than ever before, participating in The Dream Team for Yuma's Castle Park to assist in fundraising and communication for the general public to aid in the construction and expansion of our Park that was burned in December of 2014. I am also a member of the ABWA Yuma Chapter, and several other local boards in Yuma. I have two wonderful children: Lucas, lives in Colorado and is a father 2, a little boy and a little girl. Lane, who, has is in the real estate business, works by my side in all things real estate.

Steve Irr, Past Chair

Jacob Miller, Strategic Planning/Past Chair

City Council Member of Yuma, DPE, Construction, Inc.

Born in Tucson, Arizona, Councilman Jacob Miller moved to Yuma in the first grade and has lived in Yuma for the past 28 years. He graduated from from Kofa High School in the year 2000 and shortly after married his high school sweetheart Denice Allen in 2004. Together, Jacob and his wife have three children. Born in 2005 - Jade Renae is their eldest child and only daughter. In October of 2008 they were surprised with twin boys Jonah Craig and Chase Michael. The Miller family has long been active in the Christian church, serving often and in various capacities including a mission trip to Honduras. In April 2014, Jacob and his wife Denice were ordained as Pastors and serve today at Church for The City. Jacob has worked in construction industry here in Yuma since 2007 as a Quality Control Manager, Construction Manager and Business Manager. Currently, Jacob is the Project Manager at DPE Construction Inc. and responsible for managing multiple projects.

Stephanie Laborin, Secretary

Electric Service and Planning Supervisor, Arizona Public Service (APS)

Stephanie Laborin is currently leading a group of Construction Project Managers for APS. She has been employed by APS for 17 years and has a background in Human Performance, behavioral analysis, and is a green belt in Lean Six Sigma process improvement.  Stephanie is a Yuma native and completed coursework in the field of Huma Services at the University of Phoenix after graduating from Kofa High School in 2000. She is the mother of 3 very entertaining children; two amazingly intelligent boys and one brilliant, kind hearted, sassy little princess.

 

Stephanie has a strong passion for community service that stemmed from her own experience of hardship. Overcoming the challenges of being a single mom at a young age to attain individual and professional success has created a drive to encourage and provide opportunity to others to obtain prosperity in their own lives. Becoming a United Way Board member has allowed her to be part of an organization and team of individuals that share these same values and goals for our community.

Steve Irr, Past Chair

Steve Irr, Treasurer

Fire Chief City of Yuma

Steve Irr is the Fire Chief for the City of Yuma Fire Department. Steve has been with the fire department for 28 years and was promoted to a leadership position in 1993 and has served on the Command Staff since 2006. Steve was in the first paramedic class in Yuma. Steve has continued his education throughout his career and has a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science Administration and is credentialed as an Executive Fire Officer through the National Fire Academy. Steve was born and raised in Yuma. He is married to Bonnie and has two boys that serve in the Air Force.

Terre Catanzaro, Planned Giving

Terre Catanzaro is a native Arizonan, raised in Buckeye, Arizona, where she attended high school and went on to attend the University of Arizona.  She moved to Yuma in 1992 and raised her family here. Terre Catanzaro is the Chief Administrative Officer for the JV Smith Companies headquartered in Yuma Arizona.  She began her employment with the JV Smith Companies in 2005 after working for the Gowan Company for nine years in their Regulatory Department. In 2010, she was appointed to the Arizona Agricultural Employment Relations Board by then Governor Jan Brewer and continues to serve on that board today.   

 

Terre serves on the boards of the Yuma Community Food Bank and Amberly’s Place, where she is currently serving as Board Chair.  She also serves on the Crane Elementary School Board and is an Advisory Member of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Career Board.  Terre was the proud recipient of the Athena International Award in 2016. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her husband Joey and her children and grandchildren.

Joseph Reynoso, Board Member

Joseph was born in Yuma, Arizona and raised in San Luis, Arizona. He attended San Luis High School and was part of the first graduating class in 2005. After graduation Joseph moved to Dallas, Texas where he attended Christ for the Nations and earned an Associates in Practical Theology. After graduation in 2007, Joseph married his high school sweetheart Elizabeth and transitioned into business where he worked as the Director of Operations for various Fortune 100 companies. Joseph led operations in North America, Latin America and Asia for over 10,000 employees. Even though Joseph enjoyed business he always knew that one day he and his wife would become Pastors. In 2017 Joseph and his wife Elizabeth relocated to Dallas, TX where he earned his Bachelors degree in Pastoral Ministry and Counseling. 

 

The people of Yuma County has always had a special place in Joseph’s heart which was one of the major reasons he moved back in 2018 and transitioned into working as an Executive Pastor at Agua Viva Church. Joseph volunteers his time with several local non-profit organizations such as The Yuma Area Prayer Breakfast, No Orphan Left Behind Foundation, A21 and the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Court where he serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) because he believes that every person was created with a unique purpose. Joseph and Elizabeth’s life motto has always been to speak life and believe that every person has gold inside of their hearts waiting to be found! It's an honor for Joseph to be able to serve Yuma County through the United Way of Yuma County and continue to make a difference in our city! Yuma, TOGETHER WE ARE BETTER!

Gowan Deckey, Board Member

I was raised in the Yuma Valley among a team of cousins where our family had homesteaded over a hundred years ago.  Growing up initially in Gadsden, my family then moved and I attended Crane School and Yuma High School. I enjoyed family, 4-H, riding horses and the border town culture of Yuma and always knew I wanted to return to Yuma after going away to school.

 

Planning to become a doctor from a young age, I attended Claremont McKenna College in Claremont CA, then went on to Tufts University in Boston for medical school.  In medical school I met my future husband, George, we married and after graduating, we moved to Phoenix for our specialty training: mine in pediatrics, his in surgery.

 

We moved back to Yuma in 1993 with one child and both of us went to work, joining separate practices.  We were blessed with 3 more kids over the next 6 years and we now have 3 wonderful boys and a lovely daughter, all who appreciate Yuma and feel a strong connection with family and this community.

 

I worked halftime to allow more hands on parenting and volunteered for their school activities.  I served on the Yuma Catholic High School board for a number of years, helping plan and open the high school.

 

I took a sabbatical, of sorts from pediatrics and worked with my family’s company, Gowan Company for 8 years as the Human Resources Manager, and got to know more about the company and appreciate how involved it is with our community as well.  After 8 years it was time to return to my true passion: kids, and I went back to my pediatric practice.  

 

Now our own ‘kids’ are all out of the home and I find myself yearning to do more.  I am excited to join the United Way board to see how I can help improve our great community.