• Mar 22, 2023
  • 3:45 PM

NDVS Leadership

Fred Wagar - Director

The NDVS Director oversees and manages the department, which is responsible for the oversight of two State Veterans Homes, two State Veterans Cemeteries, as well as an array of programs, grants and initiatives aimed at meeting the needs of Nevada’s veterans, service members and their families.

He has been with the Department since 2017. He served as the Deputy Director for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services prior to accepting appointment as the Director.

Director Wagar is a U.S. Army veteran. He initially served as a Combat Engineer prior to changing his military occupational specialty to Military Intelligence Linguist/Interrogator. Following service, he served as a National Service Officer with the Disabled American Veterans, then as a Rating Specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Director Wagar is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

Contact: Wagarf@veterans.nv.gov
Contact: chavezl@veterans.nv.gov

Vivian Ruiz- Deputy Director of Healthcare Services

Vivian Ruiz oversees and manages two State Veterans Homes as well as the department’s programs and initiatives involving healthcare, wellness, caregiver/survivor support, adaptive sports, and suicide prevention. Ms. Ruiz joined NDVS in September 2022.

Ms. Ruiz comes from a military family with her father and grandfather both honorably serving in the U.S. Army. She has devoted her entire professional career and personal life serving others and her community. She comes to the department with more than 15 years of management experience, serving most recently as Executive Director of Disabilities Resources, Inc.  The nonprofit serves individuals with disabilities in northern Nevada, ages 18 and older. Its mission is to assist participants in developing their own personal set of goals to reach their highest potential, including living independently. Ms. Ruiz is credited with obtaining the very first VA grant to hire veterans for the on-the-job training program, New2U Computers, which is a division of Disability Resources.

Ms. Ruiz was nominated among the Top 40 Most Powerful Women in Reno by Northern Nevada Business Weekly in 2018. She has served as a Diplomat for the Sparks Chamber of Commerce and as a Board Member and Board President of Soroptimist International Truckee Meadows, and as the Communication Chair for the Northern Nevada Association of Service Providers. Additionally, she is a graduate of both the Sparks Chamber of Commerce P.A.C.E. Leadership and Leadership Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce programs.

Contact: Ruizv@veterans.nv.gov
Contact: taylort@veterans.nv.gov

Evan Rush - Deputy Director of Benefits

Evan Rush oversees the Northern and Southern Veterans Memorial Cemeteries, Veterans Advocacy and Support Team, and the Community Outreach Team. He also serves as a liaison for Emergency Management Operations.

Evan brings vast experience in connecting veterans to needed services and maintains strong ties to organizations that support veterans in Nevada. He was named “Employee Veteran of the Month" for the State of Nevada in August 2021 for his superb collaboration with veterans' organizations and other groups to assess and then meet the needs of the veterans' community.

He has served as a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program specialist for the Department of Education, Training and Rehabilitation in Las Vegas. He also managed the Combat Stress Recovery Program for Wounded Warrior Project in Seattle, Washington and Honolulu, Hawaii.

Evan served in the Navy from 1986 to 2006. He was a hangar/ flight deck aircraft director on the USS Nimitz (CVN-68). Evan changed military occupations and served as a Master-at-Arms (Military Police) during his military career. He was involved in several deployments around the world before retiring as a Chief Petty Officer from naval service in 2006.

Contact: rushe@veterans.nv.gov
Contact: monarrezm@veterans.nv.gov

Joseph Theile - Executive Officer/Chief Financial Officer

Joseph Theile oversees four key administrative areas that play a central role in the operation of NDVS including Financial Services, Human Resources, Grants and Contracts, and Information Technology (IT) Operations. He joined NDVS in October of 2015 and has over 20 years of experience in business analytics; grant and contract management; and policy development.

Before joining NDVS Theile served as the point of contact for the Medical Marijuana Program for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and was instrumental in the creation of regulations to govern medical marijuana establishments. He also was responsible for the oversight of the application review process for the awarding of licenses to new establishments.

He also spent a little over 3 years with DHHS developing and administering a comprehensive health program through a grant from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate healthcare providers and the public about safe injections. He was responsible for every aspect of the safe injections program also known as the “One and Only Campaign”.

Theile holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. He has over a decade and a half of experience working with the State Legislature, including working for the Legislative Counsel Bureau as a Research Analyst giving him a unique understanding of the legislative process.

Contact: Theilej@veterans.nv.gov

Terri Hendry, Communications Director


Terri Hendry joined NDVS as Communications Director in December of 2016. She has spent more than a decade in strategic communications, public relations, and public affairs for private companies, public entities, and advertising agencies.

Previously she spent more than 25 years in media, serving as a main anchor for the Reno, ABC-affiliate, KOLO-Channel 8 and as an investigative reporter at the Reno, NBC-affiliate, KRNV-Channel 4. She is an award-winning broadcaster and an inductee in Nevada’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

While not a veteran herself, her father and husband were combat veterans, with her father serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II and her husband serving in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Army Ranger. She enjoys writing about and sharing veteran's stories as well as the department's successes.

Terri received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida with a specialty in Public Relations.

Contact: Hendryt@veterans.nv.gov
Contact: Rizof@veterans.nv.gov 

Blanche Dieket - Human Resources Officer

Blanche Dieket oversees Human Resources for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. She is responsible for the management of the department’s HR systems and handling of employee relations. She ensures compliance with regulations, assesses staffing needs, hires employees, manages payroll processes, as well as supports and develops employee training and compensation plans.

Blanche has been with the State of Nevada for over 19 years, serving in a human resources capacity. She began her Human Resources career at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2003 where she spent 10 years and moved to the Department of Health and Human Services for 9 years before joining NDVS as Human Resources Officer in February of 2022. Blanche brings with her a breadth of personnel experience, and in addition, she taught English as a Second Language at Truckee Meadows Community College for 10 years.

While not from a military background, Blanche has a personal and professional background in the diplomatic field and understands military family. On a personal note, Blanche has a passion for cooking and hosting friends and family.

Blanche holds a master’s degree in Philology from Moscow State Linguistic University, Russia and a Human Resources Management Certification from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Contact: dieketb@veterans.nv.gov

Brandon Torres - IT Manager

Brandon Torres joined NDVS in 2011, becoming the agency’s IT Manager in 2021. Born in Oahu and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, Brandon moved to Nevada ten years ago after accepting his first position with NDVS as an IT Technician. Over the past decade, Brandon has worked his way up from a technical position into management. In his current role, he serves as the lead for the NDVS IT team to support the completion of projects and the achievement of the department’s technology goals.

Brandon has more than twenty years of experience in various IT positions, including starting his own business in Hawaii. At NDVS, Brandon most recently provided key IT support to the Southern Veterans Home and the Southern VAST Teams serving as an IT Technician and IT Professional.

Brandon does not call his colleagues co-workers; he refers to them as family. As an NDVS leader, he brings that same energy to the entire department, doing what he can to help others and their IT needs. Currently a resident of Las Vegas, Brandon lives with his wife, two girls, a dog, and a cat. He also has a daughter in Hawaii and a grandson he’s looking forward to spoiling, every chance he gets.

Contact: torresb@veterans.nv.gov