When we reviewed the nominations on our Web site for the Top 40 business leaders under the age of 40, we were surprised by the variety of their experiences in many different professions and cities throughout the state. Their contributions are even more impressive, both to the economy through their businesses, and to their communities through service and volunteer work. These are individuals who were not afraid to step out at any early age. Some of them established their own companies, disregarding the advice of their elders to play it safe. Others competed for choice corporate positions against people with more experience, and proved their worth by hard work and tenacity. We salute these 40 winners, the other nominees for our “Top 40 Under 40” and all the young business people in Nevada who are taking their place as the leaders of tomorrow.
Northeastern Nevada Museum, Elko
Stephanie Alberts/Weber oversees the day-to-day activities of the Northeastern Nevada Museum, managing a staff of three full-time and eight part-time employees. The museum, which includes the $1 million Wanamaker Wildlife Wing and Western Art Gallery, was recently named the best museum in rural Nevada by the readers of Nevada Magazine. Since moving to Elko two years ago, Alberts/Weber has become active in the community, serving several organizations, including the Elko Convention & Visitors Authority Marketing Committee, Western Folklife Center and the Elko chapter of the American Association of University Women. She has helped plan the Elko Motorcycle Jamboree, Elko Winter Celebration and other local events.
Vice President of Leasing
Lee Bros. Leesing, Reno
Since 1990, Reno native Chris Aramini has worked for Lee Brothers Leesing, the largest privately-held vehicle leasing company in the state. In 1997, after completing an advanced study program conducted by the National Vehicle Leasing Association, he received the title of certified vehicle leasing executive (CVLE). Aramini is a life sponsor of Ducks Unlimited, which he has supported since the age of nine. He has served as secretary of the Truckee Meadows Boys & Girls Club and chairman of its annual Ciappino Feed. He is an active member of several other local organizations, including the Reno Rodeo Association, Reno Rotary, YTBD Club and the Reno Italian Golf Association.
Bishop Air Service, Henderson
At the age of 26, Ron Bishop founded Bishop Air Service, which has grown into a multimillion dollar contracting firm, specializing in building control systems and large-scale air conditioning projects. His company was recently chosen from 130 firms as the 2000 dealer of the year by the Automated Logic Corporation, an international manufacturer of building automation systems. He is currently completing construction of a new headquarters building in Henderson for Bishop Air, which contains classroom space where he hopes to establish an accredited trade school. Bishop enjoys piloting his two planes and spending time with his wife and two young sons.
L.L. Bradford CPAs, Las Vegas
Lance Bradford founded his own CPA firm at the age of 24, and since that time he has gone on to start two other companies: Classic Media, an outdoor advertising firm, and Prepaid Advisor, which provides financial advice and products for a prepaid fee. In addition to his CPA work and assisting with the other two companies, he currently serves as president and CFO of Vestin Group, a Nasdaq-listed company. Bradford serves as an advisory member to the board of directors of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, and is on the board of directors for Keepers of the Wild animal sanctuary.
Principal, Construction Manager
Burnett Haase Construction, Henderson
Six years ago, Ross Burnett and Christian Haase co-founded Burnett Haase Construction, which has grown to complete over $100 million in construction and over 2 million square feet of commercial space. He also co-founded Pacific States Construction, a concrete sub-contracting company with annual revenues of over $5 million, and Business Properties Group, which is developing retail and industrial space in Henderson. Burnett serves on the advisory board of the Bank of Nevada, and is involved with the Boy Scouts and the advisory board of Goodwill Industries. He enjoys singing and playing the guitar for the music group “Restoration,” which donates its talent to fundraisers for charity, and also plays for local churches, rest homes, hospices and schools.
Chavez & Koch, CPAs, Las Vegas
Since starting his CPA firm in 1996, David Chavez has seen it grow from a solo practice to a firm with two offices and a staff of 23, offering consulting, accounting and tax services to both businesses and individuals. He is a past president of the Las Vegas chapter of the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants and a board member of Junior Achievement, and is active in several other charities in the community. He serves on the Outreach Committee for the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, assisting in its efforts to recruit new members and also to inform local schools about the business community.
Port of Subs Corporate Office, Reno
As director of marketing for Port of Subs, Inc., Gail Conkey manages strategic planning, sales incentive programs, community relations, advertising and company branding for the Reno-based firm, which has both company-owned and franchised sandwich shops in six western states. Conkey is chair-elect of the board of directors for the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce. She is a 1995 graduate of the Leadership Reno-Sparks program, and chaired the Leadership Reno-Sparks Alumni Advisory Board last year. Other community activities include memberships in Rotary, Kiwanis, the Advertising Association of Northern Nevada (A2N2) and American Marketing Association. She also serves as the chamber liaison on the Western Industrial Nevada (WIN) board of directors.
Kummer Kaempfer Bonner & Renshaw, Las Vegas
Joe Coppedge is a trial attorney, practicing primarily in civil litigation with an emphasis on business and insurance litigation. He is past chair of the State Bar of Nevada Young Lawyers Section and has served on numerous state, local and national committees. Coppedge currently serves on the boards of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Community Council. In 1999, he received the Community Achievement Award for Professional Services from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Big Brothers Big Sisters named him Program Volunteer of the Year in 1998 and Big Brother of the Year in 2000.
Senior Vice President
Colliers International, Las Vegas
Daniel Doherty is senior vice president in the industrial division of Colliers International, where he has been the top producer in the firm’s Las Vegas office for the past two years. He was honored by the Southern Nevada chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) with its Industrial Broker of the Year award in 1999. He has served on the board of directors for the Lied Institute of Real Estate Studies and also on the NAIOP board. He is also a member of SIOR, Society of Office and Industrial Realtors. He enjoys outdoor activities with his two daughters, including coaching their soccer team.
Vice President, Brand Services
R&R Partners, Las Vegas
Dale Erquiaga joined R&R Partners in 1999, and currently oversees its public relations, account services, media and interactive divisions. A native Nevadan, Erquiaga served in Gov. Kenny Guinn’s cabinet as director of the Nevada Department of Museums, Library and Arts. He also was Nevada’s chief deputy secretary of state and deputy secretary of state for elections. In 1985, Erquiaga was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the public affairs staff of the White House Conference on Small Business, and in 1986, he joined a United Nations delegation supervising free elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Community involvement includes work with the City of Asylum, Golden Rainbow and the Governor’s Committee to Conduct a Fundamental Review of Government.
Envision Advertising & Marketing, Reno
At the age of 22, Edward Estipona borrowed $7,000 from his parents and started Envision Advertising & Marketing in a spare bedroom of their home. Just three years later, he was named Reno Advertising Person of the Year, the youngest winner in the award’s history. In 2001, he was honored with the Marketer of the Year award by the Northern Nevada Chapter of the American Marketing Association, at 30 years of age the youngest recipient of that award as well. Estipona serves on the board of Truckee Meadows Tomorrow and received a community service award in 2000 from A2N2 for donating $70,000 in pro bono services to non-profit organizations.
Frank J. Fertitta III
Station Casinos, Las Vegas
Since Frank Fertitta was chosen to head his family’s hotel/casino business in 1993, it has grown from one property to nine, and is now a publicly-traded company with 11,000 employees and net revenues of over $991 million in fiscal year 2000. Its newest venture, Station Casino at Green Valley Ranch, is currently under construction. Fertitta was named Hotelier of the Year for 1999 by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. He is also a co-founder and principal owner of ZUFFA,LLC, which owns and operates the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He donates his time to several charitable groups in Southern Nevada, including Catholic Community Services, Opportunity Village and the Las Vegas chapter of the I Have A Dream Foundation.
Vice President, Sales
Astoria Homes, Las Vegas
Astoria Homes’ sales tripled during 1997, the first year Geoff Gorman was with the company, and tripled again the following year. From 30 homes in 1996, the company is now on track to close 800 homes in 2001. Prior to joining Astoria, Gorman spent several years in banking, ending as vice president of retail sales for Nevada State Bank. He is in his second year as president of the board of directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and has encouraged Astoria Homes to become actively involved in the organization as well. During the past year, he and his team raised over $1.1 million for research in curing the disease.
Principal & Manager
Burnett Haase Construction, Las Vegas
Christian Haase co-founded Burnett Haase Construction and helped grow the design/build construction company to its present status, with over $100 million in annual sales volume. He also co-founded Pacific States Construction, a concrete subcontracting company, and Business Properties Group, a commercial development company that currently owns or develops over 250,000 square feet of commercial buildings in Southern Nevada. He is involved with the UNLV Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies mentoring program, NAIOP, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Young Presidents organization. Burnett Haase donated construction of ball fields and a park to Child Haven.
Business Bank of Nevada, Carson City
Lori Haney started her banking career with First Interstate Bank in 1981, working her way through the ranks to become financial services manager for the bank’s three Carson City branches in 1993. She went on to become a vice president and branch manager with Pioneer Citizens Bank in 1997. She currently manages Business Bank of Nevada’s Carson City branch, which opened in 1999. She serves on the board of directors for the Carson City Rotary Club, Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada, Northern Nevada Development Authority and Western Nevada Development District. Haney is married and has two sons, 11 and 14.
Manpower Inc. of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas
As vice president of Manpower’s professional division, Dawn Hathaway specializes in the temporary and permanent placement of information technology, engineering and executive-level management professionals. In the past year, she has grown her division of Manpower by over 171 percent. As company spokesperson for Manpower Inc. of Southern Nevada, she is often quoted in print and filmed for news segments on employment-related topics. She serves on the board of advisors for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, and is investor relations chair for the Nevada Development Authority. She is on the board of directors for M.A.S.H. Village shelter. Hathaway is also a city of Henderson resource partner and a Clark County School District “We Care” partner.
Exquisite Impressions Special Events, Las Vegas
At 21, college student Floyd Henderson began earning money coordinating and promoting high school and college parties. The company he founded eventually developed into a multimillion-dollar special events business with a 10,000-square-foot showroom and office. Exquisite Impressions handles everything from entertainment to decorations, transportation and catering for hotels, conventions and corporate meetings. Each year Henderson’s company sponsors a Little League baseball team and youth group at the Doolittle Recreation Center. He is also involved with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Nevada and the YMCA. In his spare time, he enjoys horseback riding, mountain climbing and reading.
Senior Vice President
CB Richard Ellis, Las Vegas
CB Richard Ellis declared Kevin Higgins its top-producing industrial broker for 2000, out of 2,200 sales and leasing professionals worldwide. The Southern Nevada chapter of NAIOP honored him as Industrial Broker of the Year for 2000 and also for 2001. He is a founding member of the Nevada chapter of the Society of Office and Industrial Realtors (SIOR) and has served on its board since 1999. He has been on the board of directors for NAIOP for the past four years. Higgins serves on the executive committee of the Victory Valley Land Company Cure Asthma Golf Classic, as a member of the Las Vegas Founders, and director of the Invensys Golf Tournament.
Systems Research & Development, Las Vegas
Jeff Jonas dropped out of school to make his fortune, founded a programming company that received venture capital funding, ran out of money and resorted to sleeping in his car – all while still a teenager. Since those early days, he has rebounded in a big way. In 1983, Jonas founded Systems Research & Development (SRD), which has been significantly involved in over 50 system development projects, from paperless employment systems to an Internet-based surveillance network, to technology that detects potentially collusive relationships. He recently completed a half-Ironman triathlon and enjoys snowboarding and rock climbing. He used his own funds to establish a nonprofit organization called LEAP to promote literacy in local schools.
Chief Operating Officer
Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Las Vegas
Kara Kelley, chief operating officer of the third-largest metropolitan chamber of commerce in the United States, will succeed Pat Shalmy on January 1 as president. She will be the first woman to hold the position, and at 35, will be the youngest president. Prior to joining the chamber in 1995, Kelley was actively involved in public policy in Carson City and Washington, D.C., consulting for campaigns and lobbying for the private sector. She serves on the Nevada State Commission on Cultural Affairs, and on the board of directors of the Western Association of Chamber Executives. She mentors high school students, sits on the board of Success by Six and volunteers for other community organizations.
LaPour Partners, Las Vegas
In January 2001, Jeffrey LaPour founded LaPour Partners, a commercial real estate development firm specializing in strategic alliances with investors. The new company is currently working on three business park projects in Southern Nevada. Prior to forming his own firm, LaPour served as development partner for Jackson Shaw Company, where he was responsible for developing and leasing nearly 2 million square feet of speculative office space in the Las Vegas and Phoenix markets. LaPour is involved with NAIOP’s member relations committee, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute. He enjoys motorcycle riding, hunting and snow skiing.
impress communications, Las Vegas
After working for six years as a newspaper reporter in San Diego, and another four years on the staff of Las Vegas-based MassMedia, Holly Lobelson decided this year to start her own public relations and advertising firm, impress communications. She was recently appointed to the new advisory board for the UNLV Marketing Department. She is also on the board of the Las Vegas Advertising Federation and of the Positively Kids Foundation, where she donates her services to help create a facility in Southern Nevada for medically fragile and terminally ill children to stay during the day when their parents are at work. Hobbies include travel, writing, photography and golf.
Education Studio Manager
JMA Architecture Studios, Las Vegas
John Lopeman specializes in the architectural design of educational facilities. Since joining JMA in 1995, he has managed the design of more than 40 elementary schools in the Clark County School District, including the recent design of a prototype for a two-story elementary school. Lopeman has received numerous awards, including the 1998 NAIOP Design Honor Award and the 1997 Design Award of Distinction from the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI). He has served as an active member of CEFPI for six years. He plays the guitar, writes and records his own music, and enjoys four-wheeling.
Travis and Troy Means
HomeCrafters LLC, Reno
Travis and Troy Means, third-generation Renoites, are part of a family that has been in the construction industry in Northern Nevada for over 50 years. Older brother Troy founded Homecrafters LLC in 1996, after several years of experience with local homebuilders, including coordinating over 600 home sales. Troy has served on the board of directors for the Builders Association of Northern Nevada for eight years, including the past two years as president. He has served on the chairman’s council of the American Cancer Society and is a member of the Leadership Reno Alumni program and EDAWN. Interests include hiking, camping, fly-fishing, golfing, ice hockey, hunting, reading and fine wines. Younger brother Travis received a BS in construction management from the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, and obtained work experience in the Bay Area with Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction. He is now a co-owner of Homecrafters LLC. He currently serves on Caughlin Ranch’s Architectural Control Committee and is a member of EDAWN. Interests include rock climbing, fly fishing, ice hockey, golf, snow and water skiing. Homecrafters houses received a People’s Choice Award and a Grand Award in Reno’s first Parade of Homes.
SMI Joist Nevada, Fallon
Wes Myers has managed SMI Joist’s Fallon plant for four years, and also serves as vice president of SMI’s Joist Division, with facilities in five locations across the country. The Fallon plant, with 280 employees, produces steel trusses used in the floors and roofs of commercial and public buildings. Myers serves on the Senior Citizens Coalition Board and is a board member for the Churchill Economic Development Authority Business Council. A licensed professional engineer, he has served on the Engineering Practice Committee of the National Steel Joist Institute for 10 years, and is on the board of the Structural Roof Erectors Association. He enjoys water sports at Lake Lahontan, skiing, snowboarding and camping.
HealthSouth, Las Vegas
Alan Olive oversees HealthSouth’s Valley View Surgery Center, as well as the company’s integrated medical plaza on Tenaya, which includes a surgery center, a diagnostic center and a physical therapy facility. Prior to joining HealthSouth a year ago, Olive served over five years in management positions with HCA, and was involved in opening MountainView Hospital in 1996. He has volunteered with the Boy Scouts for many years, and heads a post of Medical Explorers, composed of boys and girls ages 14 to 21 who are interested in medical careers. He enjoys racquetball, tennis and outdoor activities with his five children, ages 2 to 9.
Countrywide Commercial Investments, Inc., Las Vegas
After serving as controller at E.A. Collins Development, 25-year-old Kristi Owens started her own consulting firm, Preferred Financial Consultants, which specialized in development and construction accounting for Southern Nevada developers and contractors. Now, at the age of 30, she is a partner with Countrywide Commercial Investments along with her mother, Samm Owens. Recently she brokered a 175-acre, $14 million land transaction in southwest Las Vegas. She volunteers her time helping the Positively Kids Foundation, which is raising funds to build a facility for medically fragile and terminally ill children in Southern Nevada. In her spare time, Owens enjoys traveling, golfing, cooking and camping, and also breeds Labrador retrievers.
President and CEO
Ripple Strategic Design & Consulting, Las Vegas
After graduating from Otis/Parsons School of Art & Design, Ray Perez owned and operated Gmeiner Design in Los Angeles and Las Vegas before co-founding Ripple Strategic Design & Consulting. Starting with publication design and specialty invitations for exclusive events, he branched out into corporate communications and worked on advertising campaigns for major hotel-casinos. Trained in both traditional media and computer design, Perez also studies the art of typography. He serves as the programming chair for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Las Vegas chapter and donates his time to his alma mater, Whittier College. Hobbies include jazz, high-tech gadgetry, Zen quotes, custom Harleys and fast computers.
Area Vice President
XO Communications, Las Vegas
Clark Peterson, with more than 14 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, currently oversees all XO operations in Southern Nevada, Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego. Prior to joining XO, Peterson was director of sales and marketing for AT&T Wireless Services. A native of Las Vegas, Peterson is a member of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors, Henderson Chamber of Commerce and the advisory board for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas. He is also an executive member of the Boy Scouts, a member of the board of trustees for the Nevada Development Authority and belongs to the Las Rotary Club and NAIOP.
President and Broker
Coldwell Banker Plummer & Assoc., Inc., Reno
Coldwell Banker Plummer & Associates, founded in 1979 by Darrell’s father, Hal Plummer, has consistently been a leader in the Truckee Meadows real estate arena. Darrell Plummer has received many professional awards from the real estate industry, including being honored with the e-PRO 500 Internet Professional Certification by the National Association of REALTORS, one of the first 500 brokers nationally to achieve this new professional designation based on using the Internet to aid his real estate business. He is a member of the professional standards committee and the board of directors of the Reno/Sparks Association of REALTORS, and serves on the Leadership Development Board of Trustees of the Nevada Association of REALTORS.
Travelscape.com, Las Vegas
In 1990, while a student at the University of Southern California, Tim Poster started Las Vegas Reservation Systems by placing a small ad in California newspapers promoting discounted rooms in Las Vegas. The company began offering online room reservations in 1998 and changed its name to Travelscape.com. The company proved very successful, and in 2000 it was sold to Expedia.com, one of the world’s top Internet businesses, for $95 million. Poster was named eLeader of the Year at the eNevada Awards held this spring. He was recently appointed to the board of directors for Station Casinos. Poster enjoys investing in the stock market, which he says satisfies his urge for risk-taking.
IntoHomes LLC, Reno
Tom Powell has 14 years of finance experience in both commercial and residential lending. IntoHomes LLC, a retail mortgage company, generates in excess of $130 million in annual production. He speaks regularly to civic and other groups on success, motivation and leadership and has co-authored a book, 101 Stress Busting Strategies. Powell serves as a board member for the Nevada Association of Mortgage Brokers, the Truckee Meadows Boys & Girls Club and the Leadership Reno-Sparks Alumni Association. He is a member of WIN, EDAWN and Truckee Meadows Toastmasters. A father of four, he is active in the schools his children attend, and enjoys biking, scuba diving, skiing and other fitness activities.
Sandoval Law Office, Reno
After serving two terms in the Nevada Assembly, where he introduced 16 bills that became law, Brian Sandoval was appointed by Governor Bob Miller to the Nevada Gaming Commission in 1998. The following year, Governor Kenny Guinn appointed Sandoval to serve as chairman of the commission. At age 35, he was the youngest person in Nevada history to serve in that capacity. He recently resigned from the Gaming Commission to practice law in Reno. He is a member of the University of Nevada Alumni Council, the Service Academy Selection Committee for U.S. Senator Harry Reid and the boards of trustees for the Children’s Cabinet of Reno, KNPB public broadcasting and the Washoe County Law Library.
Millenium Three Venture Group, LLC, Reno
In 1999, at the age of 22, Robb Smith co-founded Millennium Three Venture Group (M3VG), the state’s first venture capital fund and the only Nevada member of the National Venture Capital Association. He also founded the Reno High-Technology Development Group, the predecessor to the TechAlliance of Nevada. He is currently raising Nevada Ventures, a $40 million venture capital fund that will supersede M3VG as the leading venture fund in the state. Smith is working with the University of Nevada, Reno to fund, establish and staff a cutting-edge high technology program. He is a director of Alere Medical, Inc., Power Domain, Inc. and Optreon, Inc. Recently married, Smith is an avid skier and loves gourmet food and fine wine.
Fair, Anderson & Langerman, Las Vegas
Karen Stephenson was made a partner in the CPA firm of Fair, Anderson & Langerman (FAL) at the age of 31. A CPA since 1994, she serves as the company’s audit and accounting manager. Her promotion makes FAL the largest female-owned CPA firm in Las Vegas. Stephenson’s career includes public accounting experience in construction, gaming, nonprofit organizations, and employee benefit and retirement plans. She belongs to several industry groups, including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Construction Financial Management Association. She donates her time to local charities, serving as the treasurer of an organization that provides substance abuse counseling and housing to women with children.
President & CEO
Centra Properties, LLC, Henderson
In 1993, Jim Stuart founded Stuart Mixer Commercial (now Colliers International), one of Nevada’s largest and most successful commercial real estate companies. After spending two years in an Internet venture, Stuart has returned to his roots and founded a traditional real estate development and management company with four large projects in the works. Stuart is also a founder and past board member of Nevada First Bank. He served as chairman and founder of Real Trends, a conference forecasting trends in the real estate and business community. He founded Links for Life, an annual charity golf tournament, serves on the advisory board of Family and Child Treatment (FACT), and is a director of Camp Haven, benefiting Child Haven.
Jim Q. Winer
Coldwell Banker Nannini Realty, Elko
Jim Winer has been with Coldwell Banker Nannini Realty for seven years, and has achieved Coldwell Banker’s President Elite status, awarded to the top 1 percent of agents in the nation. He served two terms as president of the Elko County Association of Realtors (ECAR) and was on the board of directors of the Nevada Association of Realtors from 1994 to 1997. Winer was recently recognized by ECAR for his contributions to the real estate industry. He is the president of the Elko County Lions Club and was named Lion of the Year for 2000-2001. He is the second vice president of the Elko Chamber of Commerce, and chairs its government affairs committee. Winer is also a trustee of Great Basin College.
ATC/Vancom, North Las Vegas
Jim Wolf was recently appointed General Manager of ATC/Vancom, which operates the Citizens Area Transit (CAT) bus system in Clark County under a contract with the Regional Transportation System. He has worked for ATC/Vancom for seven years, most recently in the position of assistant general manager. Wolf also serves as president of the North Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the chamber’s Community Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides financial support to community projects. He is also director of the North Star District of the Boy Scouts of America and vice president of the North Las Vegas Center Ring Boxing Club. Hobbies include golfing and spending time with his two young sons.
MassMedia|Vanguard, Las Vegas
In 1997, at the age of 25, Paula Yakubik started MassMedia, a public relations and advertising firm that now has offices in Las Vegas and Reno. MassMedia recently merged with Utah-based Vanguard Media, giving the combined company greater access to resources, as well as a presence in Salt Lake City and Boise. The Small Business Administration named Yakubik its 2001 Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the state of Nevada. She donates her time to Child Haven, Central Christian Church and Goodwill of Southern Nevada, and has been involved in marketing the Links for Life charity golf tournament. Yakubik enjoys skiing and shopping, and teaches weekly classes through Junior Achievement at Gibson Elementary School.