High Desert Daily
(Victorville)– High Desert Daily is running a series of articles called Game Changers during the month of December. The individuals spotlighted as Game Changers have made a positive impact in our community this year, going above and beyond all expectations. We proudly present to you the next Game Changer of 2011: Mayor of the City of Victorville, Ryan McEachron.
“I was born and raised here in the High Desert, with the exception of a couple years between the ages of 4-7. I graduated from Apple Valley High School in 1991, did a year and a half at Azusa Pacific University, then transferred out to Arizona State and graduated from there in December 1995 with a Bachelors of Science in Communications. I came back to work here in the family insurance business beginning in 1996 and have been here ever since. I’m married to my wife Jennifer and we have two kids; my daughter Anya is 5 years old, and my son Gavin is three and a half.” McEachron recalled at the offices of ISU Insurance Services – ARMAC Agency in Victorville.
Now the President/CEO of ISU Insurance Services – ARMAC Agency, McEachron expressed his joy in getting to work with his family. “This is a family owned business, both my parents and one of my sisters work in the business. It was started in 1962 by my granddad, so I am third generation in the business.” McEachron is known by most for his other title: Mayor of Victorville. Having started his term as Mayor last December, McEachron has accomplished much alongside the City Council, including adopting a balanced budget in July 2011. Yet, no other accomplishment is as big as the La Mesa/Nisqualli interchange. By having the project handed over to the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), the interchange is already set for groundbreaking early next year.
“There is one project at the top for me for this year, and that is the La Mesa/Nisqualli interchange. The groundbreaking will happen on January 10th, 2012. That’s a big deal, because when I ran for city council, I talked a lot about traffic congestion and how that was impacting people’s quality of life. Getting it to this point where it could even go to construction was not an easy road for me. It took a lot of work; it took building relationships with the folks down at SANBAG, for them to have a comfort level with me and the city to take on this project. If the council had not handed the project to SANBAG, it would not be going to construction. Just getting that project through, approved, out to bid, awarding the bid, and now scheduling the groundbreaking was a huge feat and biggest accomplishment since I’ve been on the council but especially in 2011.”
The massive accomplishment of getting the interchange moving forward and on the road to the ground breaking is something felt not only in Victorville, but also throughout the High Desert. Former Mayor of Hesperia and current Hesperia Council Member Thurston “Smitty” Smith spoke about McEachron and this major achievement, “Probably the best thing he’s done in Victorville on the council is to give Nisqualli (interchange) back to SANBAG and get the project going forward. It was a tough battle for him, left with what he had, trying to work with almost nothing. He’s done a lot of good things over there, but Nisqualli is probably the biggest.”
As residents in the High Desert know, what happens in one city will affect us all. McEachron knows the importance of our regional community, and has worked hard to ensure great relationships with neighboring communities. “What goes on in Victorville affects everyone else, just like what happens in Apple Valley or Hesperia affects Victorville. I think continuing to work together with the other cities is going to be key to the future of the entire High Desert. The way things have been working over the last two years, we have all been working well together.”
Former Apple Valley Mayor Scott Nassif echoed the sentiment of all the local cities and towns working together, “From my perspective, being the Mayor and Council Member in Apple Valley, what I see what Ryan has done, in my opinion, he’s brought a different sense of unity to the Victorville City Council and more of a regional perspective on working with communities on regional solutions. He knows what’s good for Victorville is good for the Victor Valley, and what’s good for the Victor Valley is good for Victorville, that’s the kind of attitude he uses when working with the other communities. More of a sense of unity as far as working on common solutions and long term visioning.”
Nassif explained that Mceachron considers the entire Victor valley when making big decisions. “He looks at the decisions he makes when he works with other peers in the community; he looks at the decision process and how that impacts the quality of life not only for Victorville but also for the Victor Valley. It’s very refreshing from my perspective.”
As the new year fast approaches, McEachron has a busy road ahead of him as he continues his run for the newly created 8th Congressional District, which represents the High Desert. “I’ve decided to through my hat in the ring and run for congress, but that can’t take away from what is required of me as a Mayor, so I continue to focus on getting our city turned around, working with staff on getting through some of these issues that came about as a result of 2008 and the world falling off a financial cliff.”
McEachron said he felt the area is in the right path to economic recovery. “Although the city continues to face some pretty difficult times, we really feel that we turned that curb and that we are starting back in the right direction. I’m proud of that, I’m proud it has occurred while I’ve been Mayor and we will continue to move in that direction in 2012.”
Victorville City Council Member Mike Rothschild sees congress as a great next step for McEachron, “He’s a great candidate for congress, he’s a second generation and represents probably the most important asset the Victor Valley has: that is he is the Mayor of Victorville and running SCLA out there with the help of the rest of the council. He’s got a background, an interest and a knowledge level that no one else can touch. There isn’t a better person in the Victor Valley that could be running than Mayor McEachron.”
The future for both McEachron and the City of Victorville look bright as 2011 comes to a close, “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to serve this community as the Mayor of Victorville. I think there are a lot of great things on the horizon, and I see that as we go into 2012, things definitely going in a positive direction and I’m excited about that.”