Candie Lorenzo works in the Office of the Civil Service Commission for the City of Reno.
Who are you?
Name: Candie Lorenzo
Profession/Title: Management Analyst at City of Reno
Years in Reno/Northern Nevada: 20
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 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?
Candie Lorenzo: The biggest opportunity, by far, is the development of affordable housing. I know that the challenge is there are many factors that come into play, but it is disheartening to see many longtime residents of our state are unable to afford housing. I can see that this is because many people want to move to our beautiful state, but it seems as though this is a detriment to our locals who are being pushed out of the American dream of homeownership.
Another opportunity that I feel we can more easily mitigate is the need for additional training and educational opportunities. We have fabulous education here locally with UNR and TMCC. We have wonderful trade schools that provide additional opportunities. I don’t feel we’re really fully taking advantage of those. We as a society have to recognize that education and training is of the utmost importance, and can provide a pathway to career advancement, not just through the traditional college method. I would like to see our area provide additional training and educational opportunities, as well as provide a broader spectrum of university-level opportunities.
This would include expanding online education, and the amount of graduate level classes available for working adults. I recently finished my master’s degree and I can attest to how difficult it is to find a program that would work for someone who works and volunteers and has a family.
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?
Lorenzo: I think we bring our diversity of ideas and fresh perspective to the workforce. I believe our generation has an appreciation for others’ experiences and, most importantly, we’re willing to have difficult conversations. Open and honest conversations about uncomfortable situations have to happen in order to create understanding and lead to stronger relationships, both in our personal lives and in the workplace.
I’m looking at all of the other Twenty Under 40 nominees, and I see the recurring theme of service to others and valuing the community that we live in. These genuine relationships make Reno a place I’m proud to call home.
Q: What under the radar industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Lorenzo: I’m big on education — in case you couldn’t tell. I didn’t come from a lot of money so I believe education is the equalizer. So when people think of growth in our area, few people stopped to think about the impacts to education. Education in our area has been impacted by the growth, and I’m in awe of the awesome teachers that we have in our local schools. I truly believe that we should work to attract and retain more teachers to our area.
I would also like to see an increase in educational opportunities for our students. This could come in the form of more hands-on curriculum and real-life trainings, such as internships and work-study programs. I firmly believe in the power of mentorships and how those relationships can help guide our youth.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years?
Lorenzo: I think Reno will see continued growth in many different aspects, but I don’t think that we’re going to be known for casinos and gambling. I think Reno will be known for its innovation and for various employment opportunities available. We will have a bigger, more diverse population.
Thanks to the continued infrastructure improvements, we will continue to have the quality of life Northern Nevada is known for. Reno will still be a vacation destination for people looking for beautiful sights, delicious food, original art and family-friendly recreation.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better or improve one thing about your community, what would it be?
Lorenzo: I would create more inclusive opportunities for education, training and career advancement. As more businesses come to the area, we have to ensure that our population is fully trained and ready to contribute to the workplace. We need to ensure that we’re providing the proper training and opportunity for growth.
Q: Why do you feel Northern Nevada is better positioned to bounce back from the COVID recession than other regions?
Lorenzo: We’re the Battle Born state — Nevadans are resilient people. We have a strong business climate with friendly tax laws, which will help retain businesses. But, most importantly, it’s our people. We all live here so we will work hard to ensure that Reno remains the place we know and love. I see a strong culture of servant leadership, and I work with so many people who genuinely care about our community, whether it’s caring for those affected by COVID or signing up and driving people to vaccine appointments. Many of us are stepping up to help where we can, we will all work together to bounce back and help our neighbors along the way.
Note: This interview has been edited lightly for length and clarity.