Twenty Under 40 Q-and-A: Truckee Meadows Water Authority’s Lydia Peri
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?
Lydia Peri: I think for my industry, we see an increase in demand and capacity coming from a water and wastewater perspective. We really need to ensure that we have the water supply and that our area can handle the wastewater. And so, one thing that we look at, for example, is the effluent supply pipeline out to TRI center (Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center) to provide more process water.
So, as far as economic development, we must find a way to recycle the resources, which will open up more doors to technology-based companies relocating here. So I look at economic development from a supply and demand perspective of the resources. We have to respond to the demand and make sure that we can responsibly handle the wastewater and create a resource with it.
It’s hard and it takes a lot of collaboration. You have all these different agencies and entities involved — different interests — and in the end we want it (resources) to be used responsibly and managed well.
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?
Peri: I think we bring a fresh perspective. Things are always evolving and, sure, we learn new things in school and develop new perspectives. But, I think we bring in new motivation because I see in my industry, people get worn out after 30 years of going full speed. And when you bring in the newer generation, they’re motivated and ready to get going and they’re just really inspired. And maybe we look at things in a different way with more sustainability and innovation rather than maybe the way an older generation might look at things.
Q: What industry or industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Peri: Looking at it from a natural resource perspective, I think sustainable methods of how we’re delivering our energy and our resources, our water and wastewater. I mean, I think that’s huge. I think the technology in these areas are obviously just growing like crazy with TRI Center. I think the opportunities are out there including innovative new technology that can help us recycle and reuse a resource.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years?
Peri: Well, you know it’s funny you asked that because I’m definitely an outskirts-of-town kind of girl. I live on an acre, have livestock, so I like being detached from all the hustle and bustle. On my weekends, sometimes I won’t even see a single person and I go out to the middle of the state to explore. So it has been interesting seeing the changes and new development that has occurred recently. I think that’s going to bring a lot more to the city — you’re already seeing it with the new restaurants and development of giving Reno an interesting culture, which is pretty cool.
I think the good thing is I do see more younger people becoming a lot more involved. And so, I think at five years you’re just going to see this little city change in many ways. And it’ll be interesting to see the different opinions of people and where people are coming from.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better about your community, what would it be?
Peri: It seems like the homeless issue is growing. A local non-profit organization that I’m with, we get big game meat donations and then go feed meals to the homeless. And so, I think that seems to be on the radar of what most people think needs to change for the better. It’s a tough, tough issue.
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.