Joel Peixoto is a native Nevadan who grew up in Fallon and attended the University of Nevada, Reno, from 2000 to 2004.
Who are you?
Name: Joel Peixoto
Profession/Title: Principal at G.L. Dilworth Middle School
Years in Reno/Northern Nevada: 29
EDITOR’S NOTE: This past 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 2021.
Q: What do you see as the top one or two biggest economic development opportunities for Northern Nevada in 2021 and beyond?
Joel Peixoto: From an educational standpoint, we have a lot, and ones that we recognize because of the partnerships that we built, like Tesla and all of those in the USA Parkway area. So, anything that involves automation, robotics, hands-on skills. There are just so many fast moving technological and hands-on opportunities for residents today and then certainly for our youth to start getting involved in now.
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?
Peixoto: I think that with every generation coming in, we young professionals always just offer a fresher, new, probably more socially dynamic perspective of the world. People in my generation, we’re all just so active and involved in our community.
We’re social people. I think that we are the last group of people, of the millennials, that were around without computers, and so we still rely so much on that social aspect of connecting with one another, but then also still recognize the technological advances of the workforce.
I think that we are a great generation of people to come together and offer both perspectives. But just like every generation that comes a little bit after us, I think that they’re just more socially involved and aware of what’s going on in our world and in our communities.
Q: What under the radar industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Peixoto: I think the art scene in Reno is just going to continue to take off more and more. I just think that the art scene is always underrepresented in any community. But in Reno, it’s just so cool to see up-and-coming artists, local artists just starting to make it pretty big, and artists coming into Reno because they hear it has a great art scene.
I also think like the local breweries and restaurant industry is really going to start taking off more and more, too, and I know it has been for the last few years. People are just getting creative with food and drink it’s been really cool to be a part of that, too.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years?
Peixoto: I think that we definitely have a lot of work to do. I think that Reno is still a little bit of the old wild, wild west. So, I think as we’ve pushed to get more involved and work together as a true community — and I see it more and more every day — that we support our local city councils to clean up the place to make it inviting. And to make things affordable. I think that I can really see Reno-Sparks being a place where people want to come to live and work and play.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better or improve one thing about your community, what would it be?
Peixoto: I don’t know if it’s to change, but I would love to just see more and more people just communicating, working together, and just embracing kindness. I think if anything, for this year, is to continue coming together, working together for the greater community, recognizing that we are in the same community and just being kind to one another.
Q: Why do you feel Northern Nevada is better positioned to bounce back from the COVID recession than other regions?
Peixoto: I’ve always said that we’re lucky to live in a place like Reno because it offers so much. We have our gaming industry, which is pretty unique and almost proprietary to Nevada. We’re an affordable place to live, relatively speaking in terms of California versus Nevada. It’s attractive for people who like to go outdoorsy things, so there’s tons to do, whether it’s right on the river or Tahoe.
You can get away to places like Carson or Truckee. I think that we’re just really well positioned to invite a whole bunch of people here economically and socially, and just make this place more and more dynamic every year.
Note: This interview has been edited lightly for length and clarity.