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: Bryce Warner Age: 30 Profession/Title: Employee Benefits Consultant at AssuredPartners Years in Reno/Northern Nevada: 30
Q: What do you see as the top one or two biggest economic development opportunities for Northern Nevada in 2021 and beyond? Bryce Warner: I think some of the biggest economic development opportunities, primarily right now, are still in manufacturing. I think even though we’re in a time of a pandemic, there’s a big push for manufacturing here and I think that it’ll continue to grow. I think Nevada still is a great business climate for a lot of companies and I think we’re going to continue to see manufacturing expand in our area. Q: Why is it important for younger professionals to have a seat at the table when it comes to the business community in Northern Nevada? Warner: I think it’s important to have younger professionals that have a seat because I feel like Reno — and Nevada — has kind of been in a position where it’s seeing the same thing over and over again, year in and year out. And I think having these younger professionals is going to continue to diversify the business community, and I think that’s what we need right now. I think it’s important to have different views and different ideas come to the table that may not be the traditional way of thinking in our business community, but bringing new opportunities to our area. So, with younger professionals just having a different mindset and even different skill sets, I think that’s important for us, as Reno, to continue growing and continue expanding and adapting. Q: What under the radar industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Warner: I think the technology space. We are neighboring California, so I think that, especially given the nature of what California is going through, there are going to be a lot more tech companies who come to our area. And with the pandemic, too, I think it’s kind of shifted the way a lot of companies might think. They may think that they don’t need their employees in the office space as much so they can have their home base in Nevada and take advantage of all that Nevada has to offer, but have a broad employee base all across the country.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years? Warner: I see this area continuing to expand and grow. I think even five years ago to today, the Reno-Sparks area has changed so much. I think we’re going to continue to see that growth and we’re going to continue to see companies move into our area. I think even some of the more rural areas are going to be more populated. While Reno-Sparks has seen a lot of growth, I think you’re going to see growth in the Carson Cities, the Garnervilles, the Fallons, the Fernleys. Just because I don’t know if I necessarily see Reno-Sparks growing up as far as the building size, but because we have so much land around us, I see us continuing to expand widthwise.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better or improve one thing about your community, what would it be?
Warner: That’s a hard question. I love this community, I love growing up here, and I think there are some amazing things happening. The homeless population, I would really like to see that get a lot better. And with as many people are coming into our area, it seems as though the cost of housing continues to increase, which isn’t doing our homeless population any favors. Especially in the homeless youth arena, it’s not great right now, and I would love to see that continue to get better. There are really good nonprofits in our area that are working on this, but early childhood literacy, that needs to improve as well. If a child is reading at grade level by the third grade then they’re going to be able to read to learn instead of learn to read, which will improve high school graduation rates, which is going to improve incarceration rates and so many other factors.
Those are two things right now that I think can still have room for improvement in our community.
Q: Why do you feel Northern Nevada is better positioned to bounce back from the COVID recession than other regions?
Warner: I think over the last couple years we’ve definitely diversified. We still have gaming, we still have manufacturing, we have a little bit of a tech scene that’s continuing to grow. As some of the other states might not be doing as hot, I think a lot of people are coming here to start their lives and almost start over. And I think that’s just going to help our economy and help our state, overall. We didn’t have all of our eggs in one basket. And a lot of people do see the benefits of living in Nevada, where we’ve got Tahoe as our backyard, we’ve got so many different things going for us. We might be down for a little bit right now, but I think that we have the resilience, the Nevada grit, to get back to an even better state than we were before. Note: This interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity. Go here for the full list of Twenty Under 40 winners.