Cliff Cichowlaz once wrote, “I heard Rorke Devner, a Navy SEAL and star of Act of Valor, say, “Everyone can give an extra inch of effort. Your inch is your opportunity to constantly improve in and elite environment.”
Despite being the chairman for the Mineral County Board of County Commissioners, Clifford “Cliff” Cichowlaz began his career in Hawthorne long before throwing his hat into the political arena.
A Vietnam veteran, Cichowlaz earned a degree in Business Administration in 1975 from Chapman College. This business sense took him from California to Babbitt, Nev. where he entered employment in 1971 at the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot in the engineering department.
The ammunition depot, where Cichowlaz spent most of his working career, responded to the news of his passing with a statement from the government staff. “Lt. Col. Gibbons, the Hawthorne Command team and the entire Hawthorne Army Depot were saddened to hear of the passing of Clifford P. Cichowlaz. Cichowlaz had deep roots in the community and was a mainstay at the Depot for years and a staunch supporter of the military, as a whole. He was a Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Silver Star, which is exclusively awarded for combat valor.”
The statement continued, “Following his military service, Cliff began his federal civilian employment at the Naval Ammunition Depot as an Engineering Aid in April of 1971. He was promoted to Engineer Draftsman in 1972 and Civil Engineering Technician in 1974. In 1979, he became a Program Analyst. In January 1981, the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Plant changed from a Government Operated facility to a Contractor Operated facility. Rather than seek civilian service at another location, Cichowlaz opted to stay here in Hawthorne and work for the contractor.”
“Cichowlaz held various engineering and managerial positions at the installation. Then, from 1995 to 2008, he was President and General Manger of Day & Zimmermann Hawthorne Corporation, where he was responsible for more than 500 employees working at the Hawthorne Army Depot.”
When asked, “What does betterment mean to you?”
Cichowlaz answered, “Betterment is a process of continuous improvement in all aspects of one’s life. I believe it is important to look at the “whole” and be able to make the commitment to work together to execute and to maintain accountability toward a desired result.”
He continued, “In order to be an example of betterment, I personally commit to professional and personal development even at this stage of my career. More importantly, through mentor/protégé programs, I have made an effort to develop opportunities to share experiences and life stories with others in order to empower them to be their very best.”
His strive for betterment transitioned him to the position of senior vice president and general manager of SOC Domestic Services, Hawthorne Operations and then to SOC’s Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment and Quality prior to his retirement.
As Cichowlaz began his departure from SOC, this was written about him, “During his tenure, his dedicated leadership and innumerable contributions helped create SOC’s culture of safety and the programs that support this important value. His dynamic management style has made a significant and valuable impact at SOC.”
In the closing remarks from Lt. Col. Gibbons, it is stated, “Even in retirement, Cichowlaz continued his commitment to the Depot and the community in his service as a Mineral County Commissioner and an active voice for the military. The loss of this fine individual, who had such a profound effect on the Depot and the Mineral County community as a whole, will be deeply felt. The Depot owes a great deal of thanks and gratitude to Cliff Cichowlaz for what he did and accomplished for the Hawthorne Army Depot and for his service to the Country. Our thoughts and prayers are with is family. Cliff will be sorely missed by us all.”
Hal Yoh, Chairman and CEO of Day & Zimmerman responded to the passing of Cichowlaz by saying, “Oh behalf of Day & Zimmerman, and our employees at Hawthorne Army Depot, we are all very saddened by the loss of our friend and co-worker Cliff Cichowlaz. Cliff was a great leader who lived our values and was dedicated to his work and our employees. He was our colleague for just over 35 years and will be greatly missed. Each of us grieves at the passing of this tremendous individual. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Cichowlaz had wanted to venture into a larger political arena, with an eye on the Nevada Senate or Assembly.
In true Cliff fashion, it would be unfair to now allow him the last word. So in his own words…”Expanding my own personal horizons and stretching my comfort zone will allow me to continue to grow and learn in order to create a legacy of leaving the world a better place to live, work and play.”