Community and Economic Development Specialist

Mr. Ornelas has over 26 years of local government experience with the cities of Sparks, Nevada, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mr. Ornelas has also worked in higher education, the nonprofit affordable housing field, and for a private planning consulting firm. He has extensive experience and skills related to city planning, real estate development, economic development, affordable housing, and capital projects. Most recently, Mr. Ornelas served the City of Sparks, Nevada, for 23 years as Grants Administrator, Advance Planning Manager, Redevelopment Manager, City Planner, Assistant Community Services Director, and Community Services Director, retiring in 2023. As Community Services Director, Mr. Ornelas led a department of nearly 200 full-time positions that provides planning, code enforcement, building, redevelopment, engineering, capital projects, public works maintenance, and wastewater treatment services. Mr. Ornelas was also a member of the City’s executive leadership team. He routinely interacted with and presented to elected and appointed officials, citizens, stakeholders, and the media.

Mr. Ornelas has broad experience managing people, programs, and projects. Prior to his service for the City of Sparks, Ms. Ornelas provided consulting services to affordable housing developers for the Affordable Housing Resource Council in Reno, Nevada, as the Director of Grants and Contracts and Title III programs for Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico, as a planner for the redevelopment agency and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development for the City of Albuquerque, and as a planner for Architectural Research Consultants, Incorporated, an Albuquerque facilities planning and programming consulting firm.

A proficient Spanish speaker, Mr. Ornelas earned both a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning degree and a Bachelor of Arts in History degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

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“I really want to express my appreciation for this work that’s been done in a collaborative way in which the study was put together. . . . I’ve seen a number of studies start in the fire department and this is the first one I can remember that has actually been fully completed and brought to the council, and it was done in a very thorough fashion. This is the best assemblage of comprehensive information about the fire department today, as well as what our needs might be in the future, that I have seen. So thanks to everyone. Thank you, Stewart, for giving us our money’s worth on our consultant contract with you.”

Ken Hampian

City Manager City of San Luis Obispo

“I am really, really impressed. I am impressed at the exhaustiveness of your study, impressed at the honesty and candor with which you expressed your findings; I am very impressed at the constructive tone of it, and that you came in under budget as well. So, thank you very much. I think that this document is going to be a cornerstone for us really moving forward for the next five, ten, twenty [years], half a century.”

Luke Garrott

Salt Lake City Council Meeting

“I wanted to offer my compliments to Citygate, to Mr. Gary for this very comprehensive report.”

John Ashbaugh

San Luis Obispo Council Member

“I really, really enjoyed reading your Word product. I appreciate the fact that it was direct, it was constructive, and . . . it wasn’t finger-pointing, it was just . . . the facts. And I think that the money was well spent.”

J.T. Martin

Salt Lake City Council Meeting

“Thank you very much for a comprehensive report. Thank you.”


Palm Springs

“I was absolutely thrilled with the report because it was very comprehensive, very detailed. I call it the ‘time-in-motion study’ almost and some of the aspects [are] ‘how does your paper flow? How can you make your processes better? . . . As a government agency, how can we provide better service to the constituents?’ And to us we think that this study identifies those things down to all of the small paper processes and flows.”

Rita Geldert

Retired City Manager City of Vista, CA

“Thank you so much for this training. This was the best PIO training I’ve ever received.”

Lorrie Brewer

S-403 Information Officer class participant

“Thank you so much for all you have done. And it’s so comprehensive, I know it’s going to take a while for us to digest it all, but I think you’ve come up with some really good recommendations.”


Pro Tempore City of Vista, CA

“I think Citygate has done a great job. It seems like you’ve been most thorough and even-handed in your evaluations and you’ve given us certainly a lot of suggestions and guidelines to work with.”

Council Member

City of Vista, CA

“I think this is one of the most comprehensive reports and I think probably one of the best presented reports I’ve seen in my years in government service. I want to start off by commending you for that and acknowledge that the work that you were able to do with cooperation from all of the different firefighting agencies in this region was second-to-none.”

Greg Cox

Supervisor First District San Diego County


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