Nevada Business Hall of Fame Speech 2012

On February 16th, the Lee Business School inducted the Englestad Foundation, Gibson Family and Oscar Goodman into the Nevada Business Hall of Fame. The event drew more than 450 people to the Mirage. The inductees join the likes of Bill Boyd, Barbara Greenspun, Jim Rodgers, Steve Wynn, Claudine Williams, and Don Synder to name just a few. As part of the evening’s festivities the Dean comments on the state of the School and highlights some of our accomplishments. This year’s speech is provided below……

This is the time in the program where I get to highlight some of the School’s successes over the past year and introduce you to some of the people who make important contributions to these efforts.

Some of you may have heard that we became the Lee Business School this past year. Thanks to a very generous gift from Ted and Doris Lee, the Lee Business School will be adding ten endowed professors to our ranks over the next few years. The gift also provides significant scholarship monies for students and dollars to fund a variety of community initiatives. Ted, Doris and their family are here with us tonight. I would ask them to stand and be recognized. If you haven’t already met the Lees, please stop by and say hello. They are a delightful family and we are proud to carry their name: Thank you Ted, Doris, Greg, Ernie and the rest of the Lee family for such a transformational gift.

Each of tonight’s NBHOF honorees has made significant civic and charitable contributions to this community. I know Ted and Doris want LBS to be an important resource for the community, a place where people can come to get solutions to their problems and further their career goals. So I would like to take a few minutes to highlight some of the ways in which LBS is partnering with others to make a difference in Las Vegas.

The biggest impact of LBS comes through its 13,000 alumni, 70% of whom live in Las Vegas and hundreds of whom operate businesses here. Several alumni are in the audience tonight. Among them are:

Linda Rheinberger. Linda is a graduate of our MBA program, a member of the LBS Alumni board and owner of One Source Realty and Management. She is the past president of both the Nevada Association of Realtors and the Nevada Women’s Council of Realtors.

Rossi Rolenkotter really needs no introduction. He is, of course, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Like Linda he is a graduate of our MBA program, and has offered his time, money and expertise to a variety of charitable organizations including St. Jude’s Ranch, United Way, March of Dimes and Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.

Pam Egan. Pam is a graduate of our Executive MBA program and currently serves as vice president for Strategic Operations at the Public Education Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing quality educational opportunities for all children here in Nevada. She is also a member of several community groups and the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board. Pam has been invited to speak on workforce development issues to several groups including the Brookings Institution. Oh, and she puts up with my good friend Chris Hudgins, Dean of Liberal Arts here at UNLV.

Paul Biafore. Paul is our 2011 Alumnus of the Year and a graduate of our management program. Paul is VP and residential director for Merrill Lynch. He is lifetime member of the UNLV Legends and the UNLV Alumni Association and a member of the LBS executive advisory board. His humility, sincerity and commitment to the community are qualities we seek to instill in all of our students.

Let me mention one more: Coach Dave Rice, another proud alum of our MBA program and a guy who seems to understand how to recruit, motivate and lead a successful team….he learned that from us, not Tark (okay maybe Tark had a little to do with it too.)

Our alumni are supported by a number of faculty and staff who also make a huge difference in our community. Let me also introduce you again to Andrew Hardin. Andrew is Director of our Center for Entrepreneurship, which has partnered with the Las Vegas Business Press and local entrepreneur Dominic Anthony Marrocco to sponsor the Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition. The competition is open to anyone in southern Nevada with a new business idea and offers cash and start-up assistance for the winners. This year’s winners were Geyser Flow Control, a metal disk that can be affixed to a sprinkler rise that limits water flow in case of malfunction. The team included a former gaming executive and students from our MBA and MS in MIS programs. It is a great example of how experience can partner with youthful enthusiasm to make great things happen. It is also yet another example of how important education is to innovation and valuable Andrew Hardin is to entrepreneurship here in Las Vegas.

Then there is our dynamic duo of Nasser and Rennae Daneshvary. Nasser is director of the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies. His wife Rennae is Nevada director of Kids Count and associate director of CBER at UNLV. Kids Count is the definitive source of information on the well-being of children in Nevada. The project is underwritten by the Anne E. Casey Foundation and the annual report brings together a wide range of people from organizations and agencies involved with children and families in Nevada.

Nasser is everywhere: live, in-print, on television and the internet. If you haven’t seen him, you are not paying attention. He has been at the forefront of the housing policy debate and efforts to help homeowners. Real estate professionals and government officials across the state are drawing on his expertise to craft policies and implement changes that may mitigate the foreclosure crisis and help more Nevadans hold on to the dream of home ownership.

Nasser and Rennae are now involved in a joint effort to study the impact of financially distressed homes on juvenile crime here in Clark County. They are great examples of how applied research can shape public policy and make a difference in the lives of Nevadans.

This commitment to civic engagement extends to our students. Let me introduce you to Dr. Dan McAlister and two members of our Students in Free Enterprise Team, Jeremy Hosetter and Zack Buchanan. Dr. McAlister is one of our most beloved instructors. Not a semester goes by without me receiving testimonials from students about his commitment to their learning experience. Among his many contributions, he is the faculty mentor to our SIFE team. Each year the SIFE students perform a number of community-based projects and highlight their efforts in regional and national competitions. My favorite project this year is “Fishing for the Future.” A partnership with the Clark County School District and Division of Welfare that provides a sustainable curriculum that focuses on budgeting, positive self-image, goals, resume writing, financial literacy, and college preparation. The SIFE team has made it to the national finals the last two years and we expect great things from then again this year. Good luck to Zack, Jeremy and the entire team.

Finally, let me introduce you to two business students who are also Engelstad Scholars, named in recognition of the generous contribution of one of our honorees tonight. The Engelstad scholars program requires students to complete 100 hours of community service each year. Scholars have worked with a variety of local charities including Three Square, Goodie Two Shoes, and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. I’d like to introduce Mayra Dominguez, who is volunteering at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, and Aldrich Sinampaga who’s learning about the nonprofit world while serving others at Three Square Food Bank.

To quote Herbert Spencer, the great aim of education is not knowledge, but action. The Lee Business School and UNLV are deeply committed to putting our ideas into action to create jobs, influence government policy and help those in need. In this way, our alumni, faculty, staff and students embrace the same values as the people we honor here tonight: People who have given back in an effort to provide a more vital, inclusive and compassionate community. It is to their stories that we now turn.

I now turn the microphone back over to Jim and Jessica to continue tonight’s festivities. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your evening.


One thought on “Nevada Business Hall of Fame Speech 2012

  1. Thank you guys.I really wish happiness for you all friends. Nasser always wanted to see all smiling.
    Arash Daneshvary

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