Following his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Casey Gunther earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Nevada, Reno.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In November, the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network announced the winners of its 14th annual Twenty Under 40 Awards. With the region’s economic future in mind, we are conducting interviews with each of the 2020 winners, to be published throughout the year.
Who are you?
Name: Casey Gunther
Profession/Title: Operations Manager at United Construction
Years in Reno/Northern Nevada: 18
Q: What do you see as the top one or two economic development opportunities in Northern Nevada in 2021 and beyond?
Casey Gunther: We will continue to grow in our role as a major distribution hub for a wide range of goods, including products manufactured and assembled here. The opportunity for tourism is very bright given our vast public lands and the increased desire for outdoor recreation. It would be great to see entrepreneurs further facilitate the ... responsible use of our public lands for the outdoor activities like horseback riding, hiking, camping, bird watching and more.
Q: Why is it important for young professionals to have a seat at the table when it comes to the business community in Northern Nevada?
Gunther: It would be great to have more young people at the table who are inclusive and open-minded. Because our political parties have become so polarized, we need new leadership that is respectful of differing points of view and willing to seek compromise.
Q: What under the radar businesses have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Gunther: The healthy food processing industry ... I think we will continue to see quality food and nutraceutical manufacturers move to Northern Nevada or expand their operations here. We are also seeing recreational equipment startups, and I think that trend will continue in support of outdoor enthusiasts nationwide.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in 5 years?
Gunther: We will have greater economic diversity as businesses from California and other states continue to relocate here for our favorable business environment. I have faith our school districts, our regional transportation commission and governing agencies will continue to responsibly respond to this growth.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better about your community, what would it be?
Gunther: I wish we could build homes that are more affordable. Our employees want to live in a community where their children will be able to buy homes and live comfortably in the future. Residential prices are on a trajectory that makes home ownership less likely in the future for young professionals.
Q: Why do you feel this region is better positioned to bounce back from the COVID recession than other parts of the state and country?
Gunther: As a major distribution hub, Reno-Sparks is seeing substantial growth in industrial, e-commerce, food processing and last-mile demand, because people are staying home and ordering online the goods and foods they can have delivered. This online product demand is driving distribution construction and employment. I think the convenience of online shopping will be the norm long past COVID.
Note: This interview has been edited lightly for length and clarity.