Hot August Nights’ new leader

Classic cars, live entertainment and local food are the essence of the annual Hot August Nights. This year marks the 29th year of the event in the northern Nevada community and the transition from current executive director of the organization, Tony Marini, to the new guy — Mike Whan.

Whan started his temporary position as assistant executive director May 25. He will use the 2015 edition of Hot August Nights to learn from Marini before officially taking over on Aug. 31.

“For me, this year is all about learning the event from the inside,” Whan said. “I will be shadowing Tony and learning as much as I can from the staff and board. After the 2015 event, I’ll work with the team to assess the event and plan for 2016 and future (ones).”

The event attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year. According to Marini, the 2014 Hot August Nights brought in an estimated 400,000 attendees, more than 500 volunteers and had an estimated $100 million economic impact on the Reno/Sparks area.

This number reflects revenue not only from the event itself, but revenue generated by local businesses during the event.

“I’ve been a fan of the event since its inception,” Whan said. “Over the years, I’ve attended the event both as a public official and spectator, and I’ve always been attracted to the camaraderie and energy of the many volunteers and fans.”

Whan was selected from a group of 50 applicants from around the world for his strong community ties and wide range of experience.

Whan received his degree in criminal justice from the University of Nevada, Reno and served as a Reno police officer for 23 years before retiring in 2012. Prior to joining the Hot August Nights team, Whan worked as the regional security manager for Charter Communications.

These experiences have helped prepare him to take over the top spot.

“During my time with the Reno Police Department, I worked the northern Nevada special event circuit providing traffic control and safety measures to ensure the success of the events, including Hot August Nights,” Whan said.

The event has more than 75 event sponsors from businesses in the northern Nevada area and 6,000 classic car registrants each year. Each year, the board works to improve and reinvent Hot August Nights while maintaining the traditions of the event.

“We keep whatever is working and then look to either create new offerings or improve on something that we already have,” Marini said. “This year, we’re excited to introduce our Virginia City event, taking our nostalgic event to a historic city, a bigger Autocross and sought-after auction.”

Virginia City Hot August Nights will take place Friday, July 31 and Saturday, Aug. 1 between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The organization began the 2015 events with its Spring Fever Revival Classic Car Show, which was held May 29 and 30 in downtown Reno.

“Spring Fever Revival is our kickoff to the main event in August,” Whan said. “The event offered car enthusiasts with a celebrity Show-n-Shine, free live entertainment and food, beverage and booths filled with memorabilia and merchandise.”

The event was Whan’s first official involvement with the organization. It gave him the opportunity to meet many of the volunteers, attendees and sponsors.

Hot August Nights will be held Aug. 4-9 at various locations in Reno and Sparks. For more information about the event, visit


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