Twenty Under 40 Q-and-A: Courtney Pino of Assured Partners Consulting
Who are you?
Name: Courtney Pino
Profession/Title: Employee Benefits Consultant at Assured Partners Consulting
Years in Reno/Northern Nevada: 13
RENO, Nev. — In November, the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network announced the winners of its annual Twenty Under 40 Awards.
We at the NNBW feel it’s important for people of all ages, background and professions to have a voice about the current state of business in Northern Nevada.
With the region’s economic future in mind, NNBW Reporter Kaleb M. Roedel is conducting a Q-and-A with each of the 2019 winners; interviews will be published throughout the year. Go to renotahoeypn.com to learn more about Reno-Tahoe YPN. Read this week’s Q-and-A below:
Q: What do you see as the top one or two biggest economic development opportunities for Northern Nevada in 2020 and beyond?
Pino: The growth and expansion of companies here is the biggest thing. Those big name companies that have moved here have really put us on the map. And so, other companies are seeing that. We’re not California yet, so it’s still more affordable to be here. I think that’s the biggest drive for us. Obviously, now it’s, how do we handle all of the people coming here? So it’s been great for construction because there’s obviously been a lot of development in town, as well. But I think it’s great for everybody — it’s expanding our economy. And everything they’ve been doing to clean up our downtown and midtown area and all of the development has been really fun to watch, and it’s just making this a better place.
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?
Pino: Personally, I’ve seen Northern Nevada as a good ol’ boys town, and it has been for a really long time. And so what’s been fun being young professionals, we’re kind of shaking things up and we’re challenging. Just because it’s always been done that way doesn’t mean that it needs to continue to be done that way. Especially for what I do, it’s a very male-dominated, relationship-based industry. And it’s been really fun being a young female coming in and I’ve been able to kind of break into relationships that have been 30 years deep. Because, as long as you can get the company to actually talk to you and listen to you, we’re bringing ideas and technology and just updating what has been such an old-school way of doing things. That’s why it’s been really fun to get involved in all of the organizations around town. And the young professionals are just bringing a new look.
Q: What fledgling industry or industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Pino: Manufacturing. We have a lot of manufacturing here, so that’s probably No. 1. But, also tech — a lot of tech has come here. And with the (UNR) Innevation Center downtown, it’s kind of like a little new Silicon Valley. And construction is huge here now with all of the growth — where are we going to put them? I think those are probably the biggest industries.
I hate to say this, but I kind of like that the gaming industry is not our biggest industry here anymore. We still need casinos for our economy, but it’s not the casino industry anymore, and that’s not what Reno is known for anymore. Now, we have all of these other industries that are thriving and building up our economy.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years?
Pino: I see it definitely more urban. The downtown area, with all of the construction behind the Sands (Regency), there’s a lot of development there. I definitely see more of an urban population, where it’s going to attract younger professionals and just expand. It’s an exciting time to be here.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better about your community, what would it be?
Pino: Homelessness. The homeless population has gotten better, but it still needs a lot of work. Just driving down Fourth Street, which has had a lot of development, and there are the breweries down there and all of these fun bars, but then right behind the ballpark there’s the homeless shelter. There’s still so much more that we can do.
I love the Karma Box (project), that has been really cool, and I think there’s more that we can do like that. I don’t know what, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity to clean up the streets. Reno, for our small tiny little community, we have a lot of non-profits. So, there’s a lot of resources out there that we just need to continue building up and supporting, because a lot of them are for people that are struggling financially. And how can we help them so they’re not ending up on the streets?
I love this town because there is so much people do, but there’s always room for improvement and room for people to do more.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.