Twenty Under 40 Q-and-A: Vinnie Lucido of CoAuto in Reno
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?
Vinnie Lucido: I would say, for me, it would be new business startups, just due to the ease of access to Reno, the beauty of Reno and the cost of living when compared to California. Obviously, the cost of living isn’t low here, but comparing it to our neighboring state, it’s really easy to start a business in Reno or Northern Nevada. The laws make it simple and it’s a fairly simple process — at least it was for us six years ago.
And probably tourism would be the next opportunity due to these massive corporations coming in, and there’s large conventions happening because of that. With the new shaping of Midtown I imagine that’s going to bring in more tourism. With the arts and culture that Reno has, that I know brings in more tourism. Obviously, with Lake Tahoe being so close and such a beautiful place to visit, that brings in more tourism. So, I feel tourism is on the rise. I know the casinos are doing a better job of putting on events. Reno is just incredible when it comes to the summertime and nearly having an event every weekend, so I don’t see that slowing down.
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?
Vinne Lucido: My opinion, young professionals need to build relationships and strengthen their social outreach. For me, our business is built on relationships, as most everybody’s business is. And building relationships with surrounding business professionals is going to benefit them and lead to more success. So, for me, it’s relationships, relationships, relationships — that ultimately is why they need to have a seat at the table.
Q: What under the radar or industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Vinnie Lucido: Probably the marijuana industry or even the hemp industry. Not just marijuana, but hemp — it’s the most renewable resource in the world. Now that federally it’s becoming more and more legalized, I see that both the marijuana and hemp industry has a huge opportunity for growth here.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years?
Vinnie Lucido: In five years, I see the rents leveling out and becoming more normal as Reno grows. I kind of see us in the top-five places to live in the U.S., due to our proximity to the mountains, lakes, rivers, the desert, the ocean — we’re literally in proximity to everything. We’re close to the Bay Area, we’re close to whether you like to ski, snowboard, mountain bike, water ski, kayak, rock climb … it doesn’t matter what outdoor sport you like to do, we have it available.
I see our community continue growing and collectively working together. I know the Reno community is really close-knit — a lot of generosity from the locals here. When they say the Biggest Little City in the World, it kind of feels like that when you go out in Reno. You’ll see people you know sometimes and sometimes you’ll go out and won’t see anyone you know. But everybody’s always kind. I’ve lived here a long time and it’s just a generous community that we have.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better about your community, what would it be?
Vinnie Lucido: Probably the same thing everybody says: I would like to see a better plan for the homeless, and finding a solution for the folks in need. They’re people, too. We can make tiny homes for them and the city can pay for that, but maybe the city needs to work on a better plan of further educating our homeless and giving them opportunities to work in the trades or in a position that will allow them to make money.
I know we have a lot programs out there for them, and a lot of them choose to be on the street, because to be in the program you have to be drug- and alcohol-free. And a lot of them choose to just continue doing the drugs and alcohol and not want to function in society. I know it’s a difficult situation but, ultimately, I would like to see a better plan for the homeless, giving them more opportunity, whether it’s education or a roof over their head.
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.