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Havelock Wool growing strong since 2013 launch in Reno

RENO, Nev. — Before the coronavirus pandemic pumped the brakes on the U.S. economy, Northern Nevada was on a roll.

Thanks to greater Reno-Sparks’ business-friendly climate, deepening talent pool, and access to a high quality of life, companies from across the country have been flocking to the region like clockwork over the past several years. 

Though the growth stalled for a few months because of the COVID crisis, the economic engine is revving back up in Reno-Sparks as the state continues to gradually reopen.

With that in mind, the NNBW is checking in with CEOs of some of the companies that launched here, or migrated to the region, over the years to find out exactly why they chose Northern Nevada, and what opportunities and challenges they have faced since launching in Reno-Sparks.

Q: Why did you decide to establish Havelock Wool in Northern Nevada?

Andrew Legge: It seemed to me that small business in California, where I was living at the time, could be a real challenge. We knew that Nevada would be a better place to do business, and we have been nothing but surprised by the upside in our experience — and we started with lofty expectations. We are huge fans of doing business in Northern Nevada. We love the location. We love the potential for employees. And, frankly, we love how easy it is to work with the business community, whether it be EDAWN or the tax authority or the business licensing. It’s just a wonderful place to do business and we’re thrilled that we’re here.

Q: What is it about Nevada’s favorable tax climate that makes doing good business in the Silver State possible?

Legge: To be honest, it doesn’t have much to do with tax for us. It’s mostly how business-friendly the local community is all the way through to the governor’s office.

Q: What’s the biggest thing that’s changed about your company since first starting here?

Legge: I think we found our place in the revenue equation. I feel like, and this is all in the last couple years, more and more of the conversation across all industries is to talk to the people who make the product, they don’t want to mess with anybody in the middle, and we’re structuring our business, accordingly. We have a great relationship with distributors — we value them. Being in Reno, we can sell right out of our door quite easily across the Western U.S. and Mountain U.S. We’ve got some partners on the East Coast, but we’re constantly looking at how we can do better, get more material on the East Coast for more people to have access to. 

Q: What kind of job growth has your company experienced since first starting here?

Legge: We’ve gone from a couple people up to 11. And to be honest, I’d like to be 15 to 20 by the end of this year. We would have more people now if we could find them. 

Q: What levels of financial success has your company enjoyed since first starting / relocating here?

Legge: We’ve doubled our revenue the last three years. We’re just going to keep down that path and do the best we can to match production with demand.

Q: What opportunities for growth are on the horizon for your company here in Northern Nevada?

Legge: One is just plain old organic growth. The reason we started this business is this insulation market is $16 billion. Half a percent of that is $80 million — that’s my goal. And that’s a huge shift from where we are today, so the sky’s the limit for us. The last couple years have been really active, and that tells us that there really is a market out there. And we now spend all of our time trying to figure out how to reach more of it. 

Q: What challenges, if any, does your company address when it comes to recruiting a strong local workforce that’s paid well and can comfortably live here?

Legge: I think it’s hard to find people and find where they are. We’ve been through a couple of temp agencies. The temp agencies are a good source for us but we’ve been struggling to find the right kind of people. We’ve just gotten involved again this year with the UNR internship program. I don’t know that you could usually attract a four-year undergrad student to working in the insulation industry. And I think the fact that we had a lot of people looking to be a part of what we’re doing is further proof that we’re addressing a shifting demand profile. 

Q: If you could change anything about your decision to plant your flag in Northern Nevada, what would it be?

Legge: I wouldn’t change anything. We were in Sparks for four years, and there was an opportunity to buy a building south of the river. So, we’re in Reno and we love our facility. We spent almost a million dollars repurposing it and had a great time with the local community on that effort. There is no place I would rather be.

After 7,461 casino inspections, 111 cases opened for non-COVID compliance

The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced July 1 that it’s opened 111 investigative cases looking into allegations of non-compliance with COVID-19-related health and safety policies since Nevada casinos were allowed to reopen June 4.

That’s a pretty tiny percentage, considering regulators conducted 1,453 inspections of non-restricted licensees and 6,008 inspections of restricted licensees conducted over the past month.

“The Gaming Control Board is committed to work with our state and local partners to enforce Gov. Sisolak’s emergency directives and the board’s health and safety policies,” board Chairwoman Sandra Douglas Morgan said in a statement.

Non-compliance with the rules can result in disciplinary action against a licensee. However, due to state laws, no details about the cases ­— including potential violations and where in the state they allegedly occurred — are being released.

Per the July 1 statement, the gaming board also is working in conjunction with Nevada OSHA, Clark County Business License Department, and the City of Las Vegas Business License Department to monitor and enforce gaming licensees’ compliance with the Governor’s Directives and the Board Health & Safety Policies.

Nevada OSHA officials are also conducting spot checks throughout the Silver State at various businesses, large and small, to check with compliance for Gov. Sisolak’s recent mask mandate.

People: Eli Cavazos promoted to VP of Technology at PBS Reno

RENO, Nev. — PBS Reno has promoted Eli Cavazos to Vice President of Technology. Cavazos joined PBS Reno in 2018 as an engineer, bringing more than two decades’ worth of experience to the station and overseeing numerous technological advances and improvements, according to a June 12 press release.

“We are very pleased to have Eli as our VP of Technology,” Kurt Mische, PBS Reno President and CEO, said in a statement. “His tenure in our business, his base of knowledge and his connections in our local market give him the experience he needs to lead this critically important part of our operation.”

Across his 25-year professional career, Cavazos has TV and radio broadcast experience in several large markets, including Fresno, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, San Jose, San Francisco and Vallejo.

“I’m thrilled to be part of an amazing team as the new VP of Technology for PBS Reno,” Cavazos said in a statement. “I welcome the challenges of heading into the future of broadcast technologies with Next Gen TV/ATSC 3.0 and other emerging technologies, and I’m pleased to be part of an award-winning organization with a solid reputation for outstanding programming and community outreach.”

UPDATE: Nevada OSHA’s July 2 sweep of businesses shows decreasing mask compliance

UPDATE — 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 3:

The Nevada Division of Industrial Relations issued an updated press release late Friday morning that indicates the number of Southern Nevada businesses in compliance with Gov. Sisolak’s mask order is decreasing.

Of the 204 state-wide businesses observed on July 2, 49 percent complied with the face covering requirements, according to a press release.

“Fifty percent of the 180 bars and restaurant bar areas visited by officials were found to be in compliance, with the remaining establishments including automobile sales and maintenance, gyms, hair and nail establishments, and tattoo shops demonstrating a 61 percent rate of compliance,” the press release reports.

Since enforcement of the governor’s mask directive began June 26, the overall business compliance rate is 85% in Northern Nevada and 65% in Southern Nevada. Business sectors with the highest rates of statewide noncompliance include:

  • home improvement stores, 61 percent noncompliance
  • bars, 48 percent noncompliance
  • grocery stores, 40 percent noncompliance
  • casino hotels, 33 percent noncompliance

More than 850 observations have been conducted in gaming establishments, bars, restaurants, casino hotels, gyms, hair and nail salons, automobile sales and maintenance establishments, grocery stores, home improvement stores, clothing stores and other locations where large groups of people may be congregating for longer periods of time, which can lead to a heightened risk of spreading COVID-19.

“Future observation and inspection activity may target industries and business establishments that demonstrate high rates of noncompliance or those where high volumes of complaints have been received by Nevada OSHA,” according to the release.

The original story from Friday morning is below:

Roughly 25% of businesses in and around Las Vegas were found not complying with Gov. Sisolak’s June 24 order for people to use face coverings in public places to stem the spread of COVID-19, officials said July 2.

Statewide, mask compliance was about 80% since the order took effect June 26, according to Nevada OSHA. That was after about 650 site visits conducted as of July 1, according to a press release from the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations.

That day alone, OSHA went to nearly 350 places statewide. Officials report that while Southern Nevada sites had a 75% compliance rate, Northern Nevada businesses came in at 84%.

According to the state, if non-compliance is found, the business is given a warning. If a violation is found a second time, a notice of citation and penalty will be issued.

The maximum penalty that can be assessed is $134,940. Complaints can be filed with Nevada OSHA online at osha.gov/pls/osha7.

According to the Associated Press, agency officials did not immediately say whether any fines have been issued to non-compliant businesses.

The July 2 news comes after a report one day prior from the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations that indicated of 259 Nevada businesses surveyed prior to July 1, 85.3% were complying with the mask order.

According to the state, OSHA are conducting observations at large and small retail establishments across the state, including grocery stores, home improvement stores, clothing stores, gyms, hair and nail salons, “and other locations where large groups of people may be congregating for longer periods of time, which can lead to a heightened risk of spreading COVID-19.”

More inspections, including those at casino and gambling properties, are expected over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

“Ensuring compliance with the governor’s directives and guidance issued by Nevada OSHA is a vital component of ensuring the health and safety of Nevada’s workers and helping businesses stay open,” Victoria Carreon, Division of Industrial Relations Interim Administrator, said in a statement. “The Division of Industrial Relations is taking a proactive and cooperative approach by canvasing businesses to make them aware of the requirements before taking enforcement action.”

Inaugural Reno Restaurant Week boosts business at area eateries

RENO, Nev. — When Cheree Boteler conceived of the inaugural Reno Restaurant Week, she hoped to stir up support for area food and drink establishments and help them reconnect with regulars and reel in new patrons.

Done … and done.

“From what I hear, the establishments are all pretty happy about it,” Boteler, founder of Hungry in Reno, a food and drink brand and organizer of the event, told the NNBW last week. “I think, ultimately, it was a great awareness for these restaurants and it kind of gave them a little boost for the week.”

Running June 17-24, Reno Restaurant Week saw 58 food and drink establishments across Reno, Sparks, Fallon and Carson City offer patrons reduced or fixed-price menus and specialty items. With the coronavirus pandemic in mind, Boteler said all restaurants were COVID compliant and offered the option of either dining in or takeout, and some offered delivery orders.

“There were a lot of options so people could feel safe in whatever space they were in,” Boteler said. “All of the restaurants were happy to comply with the restrictions in place.”

Many of the participating establishments felt the inaugural event helped shine a spotlight on the eclectic local food and drink scene

“Reno Restaurant Week is bursting at the seams with flavor and culture. This event truly highlights the many tastes of Northern Nevada cuisine,” Mari Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen, in Reno’s midtown, said in a statement provided by Hungry in Reno.

Ijji Noodle House and Poke Don, based in south Reno, said the event served as an opportunity to “meet and connect” with many members of the community.

“Getting to see both new customers and returning regulars after the COVID-19 shutdowns reminded us of the amazing and strong community that is Reno. We would not exist without their support,” the noodle shop said in a statement. 

The event also had a philanthropic component. A portion of the participating restaurants’ registration fee went to three local nonprofits: Reno Ice, Veterans Guest House and STEP2. Notably, Botelter is the chief communications officer of STEP2.

As of this story’s writing on July 1, Boteler said several participation fees are outstanding, and she is waiting for the food and drink establishments that chose to donate a portion of their sales to report charitable amounts.

As of July 1, the amount to be donated to the nonprofits from Reno Restaurant Week, in addition to other Hungry in Reno events and fundraisers that occurred throughout the past several weeks, is a little over $5,300.

She said the three aforementioned nonprofits would receive their portion of the proceeds toward the end of July.

“As with any event, there are always things that could have been done better,” Boteler said of Reno Restaurant Week. “However, I am absolutely thrilled with the success of this year’s event and very excited to start planning Reno Restaurant Week for 2021, which will most likely be 10 days.”

Hospitality Industry Partnerships volunteers serve meals this spring outside Liberty Wine & Food Exchange in Reno.

HIP winds down meal distribution after 3,000 servings

Boteler also volunteers as the president of the nonprofit Hospitality Industry Partnerships (HIP), which launched April 30 and over nine weeks handed out more than 3,000 meals to furloughed or laid-off hospitality and service workers in Reno and Carson City.

With participation dwindling in recent weeks due to businesses reopening and people going back to work, the HIP Management Team suspended distribution at Liberty Wine & Food Exchange in Reno and The Union in Carson City on June 26, according to a June 30 press release from Boteler.

“We are happy to see our economy opening up and people getting back to work; however, we know there are still many out there who may need assistance,” said Mark Estee, the local chef and owner of both restaurants who also serves as vice president of HIP.

With that, HIP has launched an online request for assistance form that can be completed by “anyone living in the Reno area who has been or is currently employed in the hospitality or service industry (including independent contractors),” according to the release.

“The HIP Team would be honored to have the opportunity to provide food relief and/or basic needs assistance to those individuals and families that are not currently receiving other assistance, receiving assistance but still unable to make ends meet and/or simply need a meal or some groceries to tide them over until they can find a full-time position,” per the release.

The form can be accessed by visiting NevadaHIP.com/request-assistance, or by emailing info@NevadaHIP.com. Go to NevadaHIP.com to learn more and support the overall initiative.

Nevada gaming boards to review $17.3B Eldorado, Caesars merger July 8

RENO, Nev. — Caesars Entertainment Corp. announced June 26 that the Federal Trade Commission has accepted a proposed consent order, which concludes the FTC’s Hart-Scott-Rodino review of Caesars’ pending merger with Reno-based Eldorado Resorts, Inc.

According to a June 26 press release, the FTC’s acceptance of the consent order “satisfies all required antitrust clearances for the merger.”

One of the conditions the FTC imposed in order to secure approval was for Eldorado Resorts to sell properties at Lake Tahoe and in Kansas City, Mo., and Shreveport, La.

Eldorado Resorts previously announced in April it was offloading the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in Stateline and Eldorado Shreveport Resort and Casino in Shreveport to Twin River Worldwide Holdings for $155 million in cash.

“We are pleased that the FTC’s approval of our planned merger with Eldorado paves the way for securing the remaining consents and approvals…” Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said in the June 26 statement. “All of us at Caesars are committed to completing the merger, which is expected to create the largest U.S. gaming company.”

The $17.3 billion merger, however, is still subject to satisfaction of various closing conditions, including approvals from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission, as well as the New Jersey Casino Control, Indiana Gaming and Indiana Horse commissions.

The Nevada reviews on the merger are scheduled for July 8, according to a joint meeting agenda released July 1 for both the Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission, which will meet back to back starting at 9:30 a.m.

The Indiana and New Jersey commissions have regularly scheduled board meetings on July 10 and July 15, respectively.

According to previous NNBW reports, the merger was initially expected to occur by the end of March this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Considering that, according to a July 1 story from the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Richard N. Velotta, the issue is time-sensitive because the deal is costing Eldorado Resorts an estimated $2.3 million a day in “ticking fees” that began April 1 because the transaction wasn’t completed by that predetermined deadline.

“That means the price tag for the deal by July 10 would be about $232.3 million higher than before, a benefit to Caesars shareholders,” according to the story, which adds that, “Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg has said the deal still makes financial sense for his company despite the higher cost and wouldn’t renegotiate the fees.”

Should the merger be approved, it would umbrella roughly 60 casinos and resorts in 16 states under a single name.

The company, which would retain the Caesars name, will be led by Reeg, along with Eldorado Chairman Gary Carano. It will be based in Reno, where Eldorado is based, with a significant corporate presence in Las Vegas, where Caesars is based.

SNC owners Eren, Fatih Ozmen honored with BENS Eisenhower Award

SPARKS, Nev. — Eren and Fatih Ozmen, owners of the global aerospace and national security conmpany Sierra Nevada Corporation, were honored in June with the Eisenhower Award for their lifetime contributions to U.S. national security.

The Ozmens were among “many of the nation’s pre-eminent current and retired military leaders” who attended the virtual celebration, according to a June 12 press release from Sparks-based SNC.

The semiannual Eisenhower Award, presented by Business Executives for National Security (BENS), recognizes extraordinary Americans who embody the values and principles of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his holistic definition of national security, which he described as “…the total product of our economic, intellectual, moral and military strength.”

“It is a true privilege to serve our nation and protect lives through technology that SNC builds,” Fatih Ozmen, co-owner and CEO of SNC, said in a statement. “From underwater to space, SNC technology like our jammers and piloting systems keep American warfighters safe and help ensure the continued strength of this great nation. We want to pay it forward to future generations so we might inspire young people the way we were inspired as kids.”

 “It is an honor to be recognized by an organization whose purpose, principles and leadership philosophy so closely align with SNC’s, in protecting our precious country, our people, American liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” added Eren Ozmen, co-owner and president of SNC, in a statement. “We sit here as living proof that the American Dream is alive and well.”

The Ozmens were honored alongside U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein and DC Capital Partners Founder and Managing Partner Thomas J. Campbell for their contributions to U.S. national security.

The Ozmens and other 2020 award recipients join a distinguished list of past recipients including Jeff Bezos; Ross Perot, Jr.; and Gen. Paul M. Nakasone.

People: Parsons Behle & Latimer’s Rew R. Goodenow named a ‘Super Lawyer’

RENO, Nev. — Parsons Behle & Latimer attorney Rew R. Goodenow was recently named as a “Super Lawyer” in the 2020 issue of Mountain States Super Lawyers, in the practice area of Business/Corporate.

Goodenow, Parsons Behle & Latimer’s Reno managing shareholder, has repeatedly been recognized by the publication, according to a June 15 statement from the law firm.

Super Lawyers selects nominees from a peer-nominated, national list of more than 200,000 attorneys. Nominations undergo an evaluation process by a highly-credentialed Blue Ribbon Panel of attorneys. Only 5 percent of those nominated achieve Super Lawyers status. 

In addition to Goodenow in Reno, Super Lawyers recognized 30 other Parsons Behle & Latimer attorneys the company’s six offices throughout the Intermountain West.

Dickinson Wright attorneys

Meanwhile, Dickinson Wright PLLC on June 15 announced that four attorneys in the firm’s Reno office were included in the 2020 Mountain State Super Lawyers lists.

One attorney has been named to the 2020 Mountain State Super Lawyers — John P. Desmond, in the area of Commercial & Business Litigation — while three attorneys have been named 2020 Mountain State Super Lawyers Rising Stars: Justin J. Bustos, Commercial & Business Litigation; Steven A. Caloiaro, Intellectual Property Litigation; and Anjali D. Webster, Commercial & Business Litigation.

Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding attorneys from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Rising Stars are the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state — those who are 40 years old or younger, or who have been practicing law for 10 years or less.

Ira M. Gostin: Marketing your business out of a pandemic (Voices)

With the reopening of our economy slowly in progress, business owners are asking themselves “where do I start on my marketing?” There is no one-size fits all answer, but there are some must-do tasks to get started.

Identify what you were doing and assess what worked with actual results and discard what didn’t. But realize that times are different than they were last year, so you might give certain tactics a second look.

One of those areas is Facebook. According to some studies, Facebook has experienced a 50% to 70% growth in market since the beginning of the pandemic. This includes a broadening of audience to include more millennials and Gen Zers.

I have been skeptical on over-reliance on Facebook, but this may be a better opportunity than in the past.

Instagram stories are reportedly up over 200%, and YouTube is the second most visited website in the world. Regardless of the growth of social platforms during the pandemic, basic principles still apply.

You have to carefully identify who your customer base is and establish this is the correct audience for your business.

You must use multi-faceted campaigns to have impact into your target audience. Marketers use the phrase “touch points” to describe every time your message or story “touches” a prospect. Your campaign must have multiple touch points in multiple mediums for it to be effective.

You have to be authentic in your approach. Overly “salesey” campaigns, cheesy approaches or anything that comes across as insincere will be ignored.

Telling your story is the greatest tool a business has in establishing marketing. It’s what sets you apart; it brings the personality of your business or company to life and through the telling of the story, highlights your competitive advantage.

By creating a story, you will also create your marketing message, which is at the heart of your company’s story.

But don’t trade in your authenticity for a sales attitude. The number one tool in sales is simply asking the question, “How can I help you?”

At the core of these five words is an offer of your skillset to elevate someone else’s business. In my consulting practice, we use the phrase “move the needle,” and how we do it is through a strategically designed marketing and communications plan. But at its core, we always start with this question: “How can we help you?”

So as you start to look out the window and envision our free marketplace come back to life, here are some specific tips to help you get started:

  • Start with your internal customer/client list. These are already warm leads and they already know you. Sure, you could do a mailer or a postcard, but working your list with a phone call and asking how you can help will be so much more effective in closing deals.
  • Identify your social media preferences and determine which platform is the best place to tell your story. Your posts should be specific and tell your story in bite-size pieces. Again you are asking, how you can help them.
  • If you need a creative approach, hire a professional! Homegrown design rarely works and will just frustrate you with a lack of return.
  • Lastly, be bold and don’t be afraid in the telling of your story. Sincere offers of help and personal engagement will spearhead your efforts to share your expertise with your customers and clients and help your business move the needle.

Ira M. Gostin, MBA, APR, is a Reno resident and strategic consultant specializing in communications, marketing and stakeholder engagement for industrial and mining companies.

Reno-Sparks businesses encouraged to take 2050 transit plan survey

RENO, Nev. — The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County is seeking community and business feedback as part of its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

An online survey will accept responses through July 20. Go to rtcwashoe.com/mpo-projects/rtp to watch a video and take part in the survey.

As previously reported, the 2050 RTP will build upon the 2040 RTP adopted in 2017.

“This community-based plan will be developed through a robust outreach process and conducted in collaboration with partner agencies and public input,” according to a recent press release from RTC. “The plan will address the safety, mobility, connectivity and traffic-operations issues that are resulting from increased population and employment growth in the region.”

Federal regulations require that the long-range planning document be updated every four years.

According to the RTC, the RTP is on an 18-month schedule for the development and approval process. It is anticipated to be complete by or before May 2021.