Candidate wants to help businesses

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Ron Selvage advocates stronger support for local businesses

By Carol A. Clark

Ron Selvage wants county council to do more for local business owners and is seeking one of four vacancies to help make that happen.

Selvage, 44, is a hotelier and restaurateur.

“One of my main goals as a councilor will be to have the county work better with the local small business owners. I want to make it easier for small business owners to start up and run their business,” he said. “The county should work in conjunction with these owners, not against them.”

Los Alamos has a great small town feel and the schools are some of the best around, Selvage said, adding that he particularly enjoys the fact that residents here know most of their neighbors and even most of the town.

“The lack of crime makes it a great place to raise kids. I think there are some things about Los Alamos that could be improved,” Selvage said. “The town is lacking in basic necessities. I think all of the residents would benefit from additional retail stores, restaurants and nightlife. That is one of the things I would like to work on improving as a county councilor. Towns of this size across the United States support many more businesses than we currently have.  Right now, approximately 88 percent of every dollar made in Los Alamos is spent off the hill. I think it is critical that the county council work to reverse this trend.”

One thing that the council lacks is a member with business experience, he said. His experience operating local businesses is something he said “can be a great benefit to the council and the town.”

Selvage was born in Madrid, Spain, and moved to the United States six weeks later. His father was a Non-Commissioned Officer in the United States Air Force, so the family moved a lot. Selvage spent several years in Abilene and finally San Antonio, Texas, before attending college.  

He earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Texas A & M. It was during college that he met his wife.  

“Kim and I met through mutual friends and immediately fell in love. I proposed to Kim four months after meeting her and we were married less than four months later,” Selvage said. “We’ve been married for nearly 18 years.”  

While working on his master’s degree, Selvage was offered a six-month graduate research assistantship at Los Alamos National Laboratory performing safety analysis.  

The family packed up all of their belongings, including their dog Sadie and drove to New Mexico.  

With the exception of leaving the lab and moving back to Texas in 1999 to work as a contractor, that six-month research appointment turned into 17 years of working for LANL and other Department of Energy sites.

“We found we missed Los Alamos so I accepted another job with LANL and we moved from Texas to White Rock.

Selvage completed his master’s degree in nuclear engineering at Texas A&M during his initial years in Los Alamos.  

Their son Derek was born at Los Alamos Medical Center in 1998. Daughter Ruby Anne was born in Texas in 2000.

“In 2004, I decided that the town was missing something and opened Trinity Beverage Company. I found that I liked the life of an entrepreneur, and in 2005, with the help of several investors, bought the Best Western Hilltop House Hotel,” Selvage said. “Ever the glutton for punishment — and for the lack of a kid friendly restaurant in White Rock — we opened the Bandelier Grill.”

In 2008, he accepted an offer to serve as group leader of LANL’s Safety Basis Technical Services group.  

“I am very happy with my position and work at the lab; I also enjoy spending time with my family and coaching football for my son,” he said.

Selvage and his wife were active in the Los Alamos Mountaineers Club, climbing regularly in Los Alamos, Colorado and other places during their early years in town.

He served as president of the local club and also vice chair of the Lodger’s Tax Advisory Board. Selvage is a Leadership Los Alamos graduate and served as chair and vice chair of that organization.