Dawn Gibbons


After a career as a Reno businesswoman, state legislator, member of the Washoe County Airport Authority, and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, and a radio and television personality in Las Vegas, Dawn Gibbons this year was appointed as one of three members of the Nevada Transportation Authority, the second transportation post she has held. But her time on the airport authority and her service on the Assembly Judiciary Committee are aiding her in her new position.

How has the adjustment to the job been?

The governor called me. I was living in Las Vegas. He told me about the position, and I was excited about it. I would move back to Reno to work in the Reno office. It’s been really interesting. I deal with Nevada Revised Statutes 706, Nevada Administrative Code, the Uber Lyft law 706a, and NRS 233b. So I kind of had to knuckle down and really study the law, because I wasn’t the expert. … But I’m getting it pretty well. Part of the job is making sure the office is running smoothly, even though we have a deputy commissioner who does that. It’s expected the commissioners will do their part, and be sure it’s running efficiently and employees are happy. I came in when it had just passed a bit of a bad situation that had happened to NTA in Reno. … So I found myself going through records that were as old as 1974. We’re only required to keep them for three years. So we had file cabinets all over. You couldn’t even walk in this place. … We were walking over each other. … That was kind of a good accomplishment. The other part of the job is being an administrative law judge, or hearing officer, other people call it. That’s where you hear cases. So that was the intimidating part because I had no experience in that. Basically, though, it gets down to common sense, because these people who come before us, they’re just trying to make a living. So people, you know, break the law on purpose, but a lot of people aren’t aware of all the laws. And they’re there to keep the public safe, so they’re important.

You’re less visible here. How do you feel about being out of the public eye?

It’s kind of nice. It’s a good atmosphere. I like the people that I work with. They’re very supportive. We don’t really look at what the job description is, because in these office, whatever needs to be done, we do it.

How is your son?

Jimmy went to a military academy, the merchant marine academy. He’s been in the Navy since 2010.

You have an unusual resume. What do you do with a range of experience like that?

Well, I ended up in the NTA, where I have no experience at all. [Laughs] … I have a lot of confidence that I can run any business, or even come into something that I don’t know or understand. The governor—he was a judge, a federal judge before he became governor, and he trusted me in this position. So it kind of helped that the governor believed in me. And I appreciate that so much that I work really hard to make sure he’s going to be proud of the work I’m doing. … And I’ve been able to do it. It’s a great job. I love it. I love interacting with the people. And I’m making sure that they get fair hearings.