Twenty Under 40 Q-and-A: Paterson Pacific Parchment’s Josh Grace
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?
Josh Grace: I would say probably continuing to diversify the local economy and really integrating more industries and getting away from the gaming and mining. I think that’s really something that the city can focus on. I think we’ve had a lot of new industries come in. I’d really like to see more industries that are higher pay because we’re having a huge issue with homelessness. And a lot of the jobs … you can’t afford to live here on them. It’d be nice attract some more stuff in the tech sector. And then, obviously, infrastructure and construction are big. Just with the amount of growth that we’re getting, obviously, we have to build places for people to live. And I think that’s another area that kind of goes hand-in-hand with the economic diversification and new businesses coming in — it brings in new people and they need somewhere to park.
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?
Grace: In order to get any sort of change to happen, it’s good to get new fresh ideas moving forward. And I think the younger professionals in the community are definitely full of new ideas and we really care about the community a lot because we’re going to be living in it for the longest amount of time. So, our decisions that we make and how we decide to run things really impacts the future and the long-term. I feel like my peer group, at least, is very cognizant of that and mindful of what decisions we’re making and their long-term implications rather than just focusing on their short-term.
Q: What under-the-radar industry or industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Grace: I have been reading a lot about entrepreneurial technology companies moving over from San Francisco and starting to set up shop here because of the better business community. And I like that. I think that’s cool. I don’t really think of Reno as a tech haven but we have the university, which I think is a great resource. I think it’s neat that we’re getting that overflow. It’s so crazy expensive over there (in San Francisco) to do business and to live that I think it’s nice that we’re situated close enough to all the action that it’s just an easy move over the mountain.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years?
Grace: I think — I hope — we’re going to be a lot denser and more transit-friendly and we actually grow responsibly instead of sprawling out like a lot of other southwestern cities. I think there’s a lot of opportunities to infill in the downtown area. I’m really excited to see all of the projects that are going on down there and see how they pan out. I think we have a lot of potential to really become and feel like an actual city.
I do think we need to step up the transportation game a little bit, though. It’s really hard to get around Reno without a car right now. And I think having non-car, non-auto-related transit would be a great addition. And that might be more of a 10-year (plan), but if that could happen in 5 years that would be a game-changer.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better about your community, what would it be?
Grace: I think that would definitely be the homelessness issue. I really think that as we’re redeveloping and building new projects and taking away lower-income housing, leaving people who have jobs with nowhere to live, is really a critical factor there. That’s in combination with general chronic homelessness, which I think is often related to other issues. I think that’s the $10 million question facing all communities in the United States, probably not just Reno.
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.