Ray Neilsen was appointed as Co-Trustee and Chairman of the Board of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation upon the passing of his father, Craig H. Neilsen in 2006. In these roles, Ray is actively involved in overseeing the investment of the Foundation’s assets; determining the strategic direction, budget and allocation of the Foundation’s grantmaking activities; establishing procedures for the objective review and assessment of grant applications; approving staffing plans; and, overseeing the Foundation staff in the implementation of its grant programs.
In addition to his work with the Foundation, Ray is the President of Neilsen and Company, a real estate development company responsible for a number of major commercial, residential, educational and municipal buildings. Originally founded and operated by his grandfather in the 1960s and led by his dad for the next three decades, Ray continues the Neilsen family legacy of creating exceptional real estate projects. Neilsen and Company is developing projects ranging from hotels and restaurants to mixed use projects in various roles from investor-partner to co-owner.
Ray’s professional career began as a busboy at Ameristar Casinos, Inc., the company founded by Craig H. Neilsen. His father insisted Ray immerse himself in and learn about all levels of the organization, so he worked through the ranks and was with the company for 20 years. Ultimately, Ray served as Chairman of the Board of Directors, as well as Senior Vice President and Board Cochairman and Vice President of Operations and Special Projects.
Ray earned a Bachelor of Science degree in history from the College of Idaho and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.