Meet the Team

Jaime Cruz

Jaime Cruz

Executive Director

Jaime Cruz serves as Executive Director for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Local Workforce Development Board.  Prior to his appointment as Executive Director in October 2017, Cruz served as Chief Strategy Officer for eight years and was instrumental in partnering with local libraries to expand WIOA driven workforce programs.

Cruz understands first hand the barriers many face when trying to improve their careers.  As a young man who immigrated to the United States, Cruz initially worked as a dish washer despite a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Escuela Nacional De Marina Mercante in Lima, Peru. By improving his command of the English language and capitalizing on the growth opportunities he was presented, Cruz was able to successfully return to the engineering field and later transition to the public sector.

Prior to his career at Workforce Connections, Cruz worked on sustainability initiatives for major hotel casino companies in Las Vegas, including overseeing the development and implementation of the energy management and building automation systems at MGM Resorts International’s CityCenter.   He is recognized as a Certified Energy Manager and Certified Sustainable Development Professional by the Association of Energy Engineers, as well as a Certified Public Manager by the State of Nevada.

Cruz became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1994 and has lived in Southern Nevada for thirty years.  He is the proud father of two children, Samuel and Sofia.

James (Jim) Kostecki

James (Jim) Kostecki

Chief Financial Officer

James (Jim) Kostecki serves as Chief Financial Officer for Workforce Connections (Southern Nevada Workforce Development Board). His areas of responsibility include direct oversight of federal agency funding under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)/Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Jim is also charged with providing oversight of the operations budget for the agency as well as resource funds placed within the community. Additional responsibilities include procurement, budgeting, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable and cash management, among others.

Prior to his assignment with Workforce Connections, Jim served as a finance analyst for the City of North Las Vegas, where he oversaw the Finance Department areas including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and grant accounting.

Jim is a licensed Certified Public Account and graduated from Illinois State University in May, 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Jim has served in various managerial accounting positions for manufacturing companies prior to moving to Las Vegas in early 2007 from the Chicago Suburbs.

Jan Pieri

Jan Pieri

Senior Human Resources Consultant

Jan Pieri, Senior Human Resources Consultant with Prism Global Management Group, LLC. Jan has over 20 years of Human Resources experience; her expertise includes recruitment, employee relations, compensation, benefits, training and development, OSHA compliance and workers’ compensation. She has provided Human Resources services to a wide variety of industries including a Fortune 500 telecommunications company, construction, economic development, non-profit, and government agencies.

Jan holds a degree in Business Administration from Southeast Missouri State University and is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Southern Nevada Society of Human Resource (SNVSHRM) organizations.

Irene Bustamante Adams

Irene Bustamante Adams

Deputy Director & Chief Strategy Officer

Irene Bustamante Adams serves as the Deputy Director & Chief Strategy Officer for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Local Workforce Development Board.

Prior to joining Workforce Connections in 2017, Bustamante Adams spent 18 years at MGM Resorts International, working her way up from clerk to a corporate position. From 2010 to 2018, she also represented District 42 in the Nevada Assembly, serving as Speaker Pro Tempore in her last leadership role.

Bustamante Adams was raised in the farming community of Kerman, California and woke before dawn to work the agricultural fields along side her siblings. She was the first in her family to attend and graduate college, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from California State University, Fresno. In 2007, Bustamante Adams became the first Latina in Nevada history to earn an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree from UNLV.

Bustamante Adams currently serves on the boards and councils of the Nevada Commission on Service, United Way of Southern Nevada and Uplift Foundation of Nevada.

She is married to Army Sergeant Brad Adams, and has two daughters, Olivia and Alaina.

Ricardo Villalobos

Ricardo Villalobos

Chief Programs Officer

Dr. Ricardo Villalobos currently serves as the Chief Programs Officer for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Local Workforce Development Board, which oversees WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Workers, and Youth Programs. Dr. Villalobos received a Bachelor of Science degree from BIOLA University and a Master of Arts degree from the University of San Diego.

In 2017, he graduated with a Ph.D. in Workforce Development from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, and a proud father of two sons, Ricardo A. Villalobos and Daniel P. Villalobos.

Brett Miller

Brett Miller

Strategic Analysis Manager

Brett Miller is the Strategic Analysis Manger at Workforce Connections.  He joined Workforce Connections in 2013 and has 20 years of analysis experience in the private and public sector. Previously, Brett held positions in the casino industry ranging from casino accounting auditor to director of financial planning at the Mirage.

Passionate about data and analysis, he enjoys using his skills to answer questions and improve systems.

Brett received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kansas in 1999.

Jeannie Kuennen

Jeannie Kuennen

Program Manager

Jeannie Kuennen serves as a Program Manager for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Workforce Development Board. She performs contract oversight, training and technical assistance for grant awardees.

Prior to joining Workforce Connections in 2009, Jeannie spent over 10 years working with non-profit agencies providing workforce development services. She has over 20 years of experience working in workforce development programs.

She attended the University of Idaho and Western Governors University and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and is a Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP).

MaryAnn Avendano

MaryAnn Avendano

Senior Financial Analyst

MaryAnn Avendano serves as a Senior Financial Analyst for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Local Workforce Development Board. She performs high-level internal accounting duties and provides training and oversight for grant sub-awardees.

Prior to joining Workforce Connections in 2006, MaryAnn spent six years doing non-profit and grant accounting at several local non-profit agencies.

MaryAnn was raised in Las Vegas. She graduated from Bonanza High School and attended UNLV where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Accounting.

She is married to Ramon Avendano and is the proud mom of two daughters, Maya and Isabel.

Robbie DeBuff

Robbie DeBuff

Project Coordinator

Robbie DeBuff serves as Project Coordinator for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Workforce Development Board. She provides projects management and coordination, serves as a liaison with local library districts in Southern Nevada and works with the local Operator.

Prior to joining Workforce Connections in 2019, Robbie spent more than more than 20 years working with non-profits, most of this working in public libraries; she has over 15 years work experience in public service in libraries.

Robbie has been a Nevada resident since 2001, she brings her knowledge of libraries, community engagement, adult literacy and more to our team. Robbie holds a BA in Liberal Arts and a master’s degree in Library Science.

Malik M.L. Williams

Project Coordinator

Malik M.L. Williams currently serves as a Project Coordinator for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Local Workforce Development Board. He manages oversight of the Employ NV Business Hubs and the Southern Nevada ACT Work Ready Communities initiative, along with other employer engagement activities. Prior to joining Workforce Connections in 2021, Malik accumulated experience in a wide variety of industries in the private and public sectors. Most recently he spent several years as a Specialist and Program Coordinator in the College of Southern Nevada’s Division of Workforce and Economic Development. He is an experienced presenter, facilitator, and public speaker, and is a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).

Malik received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Western Governors University, is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Learning & Technology, and is a Certified Program Planner (CPP).

Faith Cannella

Faith Cannella

Senior Financial Analyst

Faith Cannella currently serves as a Senior Financial Analyst for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Local Workforce Development Board, which oversees WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Workers, and Youth Programs. Faith received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

During COVID she took advantage of the shut down and study hard and in early 2021, she received her CPA license. Faith is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, and a proud mother of two sons.

Sheila Carver

Sheila Carver

Project Coordinator

Sheila Carver currently works as a Project Coordinator for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Local Workforce Development Board. As a project coordinator, she is responsible for assisting WIOA Title I Adult and Youth programs and initiatives.  Prior to joining Workforce Connections in 2021, Sheila previously worked at a non-profit organization where she provided workforce development services to individuals involved in the criminal justice system.

Sheila was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Vicente Nacario

Vicente Nacario

Program Manager

Vicente Nacario is a Program Manager at Workforce Connections.

He joined Workforce Connections in 2021 with over 25 years of Workforce Development experience in the private and public sector. He has extensive experience in program, contracts, and grants administration working for different Workforce Development Boards, municipalities, and training agencies in California. He is passionate about public service, sound policy analysis, and developing innovative solutions.

Vicente received his Bachelor of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1994.

Adrina Ramos‑King

Strategic Initiatives Manager

Adrina Ramos-King serves as the Strategic Initiatives Manager for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s Workforce Development Board. She joined the team in 2021 and manages the execution of the organization’s strategic initiatives with local, state, and federal elected officials to strengthen and expand support for the One-Stop Delivery System.

Her experience includes a ten-year public service career with the City of Las Vegas in Economic and Urban Development in various roles in business attraction, workforce development and redevelopment. Additionally, she spent three-years working for local non-profit organizations to include The Mob Museum and DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, with an emphasis on corporate philanthropy and stewardship.

Adrina attended Trinity College in Washington, DC and earned a BA in Political Science. She has a graduate certificate in Public Management and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Greenspun School of Public Policy and Leadership, at UNLV.

She is a native of Southern California and is married to her husband Duane. Together, they have two children Marcus and Jade Camille, as well as a Lhasa-Apso Poodle named Beckham.