Las Vegas Sun

July 26, 2014

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News isn’t all bad for Las Vegas companies

Layoffs, corporate bankruptcies, lawsuits and commercial loan defaults are in the news most days.

But some Las Vegas companies are in the news for positive reasons. A few recent examples:

-- Cox Communications stepped up and committed to a five-year sponsorship of the "Danny Gans' Partee Fore Kids!"

The First Tee of Southern Nevada announced that the 15th Annual Danny Gans’ Partee Fore Kids! will continue in honor of the late entertainer and will be held on Monday, Nov. 2. Cox is sponsoring the tournament to ensure the event will continue inGans’ name and continue to raise funds to support children in Southern Nevada.

The tournament draws entertainers and athletes to raise money for The First Tee of Southern Nevada and its Danny Gans Junior Golf Academy. The 2009 Celebrity Pro-Am Memorial Event will honor Gans and will be hosted by Strip headliner Rita Rudner. It will be held at DragonRidge Country Club in Henderson.

Several years ago, Gans joined The First Tee of Southern Nevada to create the Danny Gans Junior Golf Academy (DGJGA) where all kids are given the opportunity to affordably learn the game of golf and the positive core values that it instills. The DGJGA is operated by The First Tee of Southern Nevada, an organization that positively impacts, through the game of golf, the lives of thousands of youth in Southern Nevada.

"Our family looks forward to the ongoing outpouring of support for this wonderful community program, which enables young people a chance to learn the great game of golf, which Danny loved so much," saidGans' widow, Julie. "It is a sport that helps develop sportsmanship, character and discipline while building potential, encouraging confidence and individuality. We, as did Danny, value the opportunities this program offers the children of the community, their families and what it will mean to their future, whatever path they take."

"Danny was an incredible entertainer who was also very dedicated to helping our community, especially children," said Steve Schorr, vice president of public and government affairs for Cox Las Vegas. "We wanted to make sure his legacy continued and that children would be able to benefit from the shining example Danny set for years to come."

Sponsorships and spots in the Celebrity Pro-Am are available. Event information is available at www.parteeforekids.com or by calling Danielle Gladd at The First Tee of Southern Nevada at 433-0626 x204.

-- Nevada Federal Credit Union is one of 50 companies honored as being the best places to work among small and medium-sized businesses by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Great Place to Work Institute Inc.

"Top companies know how critically important it is to have a culture that empowers and motivates employees, particularly in this tough economy," said SHRM President and CEO Laurence O'Neil. "Knowing how to align and engage your employees is an essential part of keeping productivity high and your organization open for business. That's why these winners deserve our applause, now more than ever."

"Companies who are part of the process learn a lot about themselves and a whole community has developed over the years," said added MichaelBurchell, GPTWI's Vice President of Global Business Development. "The more an organization can leverage the talent of its people and tap into the potential of its culture, the more successful and efficient it will be."

More than 550 companies participated in the selection process, which included a 57-question survey sent to each organization's workforce and a separate questionnaire for management. GPTWI also reviewed annual reports, employee handbooks and other materials.

Nevada Federal Credit Union ranked No. 21 among the medium-sized businesses honored.

For more information, see www.greatplacetowork.com.

-- MGM Mirage's much-honored diversity initiative was recognized again, this time by BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine.

MGM Mirage was named one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity in the magazine's July issue.

The companies identified in the report demonstrated strength and outperformed their peers in one or more of four key categories: board representation, employee base, senior management and supplier diversity.

Of the 40 best, both McDonald’s Corp. and WGL Holdings Inc. met the BLACK ENTERPRISE criteria in all four categories. Among the companies that hit the mark in three of the four areas areAFLAC Inc., The Coca-Cola Co., Fannie Mae, MGM Mirage, Pepco Holdings Inc., PG&E Corp., Pitney Bowes, Sodexo Inc. and TIAA-CREF.

MGM Mirage met the criteria for minority board representation, the inclusion of minorities in its employee base and for supplier diversity.

BLACK ENTERPRISE noted that not only are these companies committed to diversity, they continue to hire for select positions. Of MGM Mirage, it said it's "hiring 12,000 new employees in all jobclassifications for CityCenter, a new hotel/casino/residential development on the Las Vegas Strip opening in fall 2009. Also hiring in several job classifications at 16 other properties nationwide."

Two other players in the Las Vegas hotel industry made the list. They are Marriott International of Bethesda, Md.; and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide of White Plains, N.Y.

The 2009 40 Best Companies for Diversity were determined by analyzing responses from a survey administered to major corporations. The magazine conducted an outreach effort to the CEOs and diversity executives of the top 1,000 publicly traded companies, as well as the diversity executives of the 50 leading global companies with strong U.S. operations.

For more information, click here.

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While unemployment has soared in Las Vegas, there are still a few occupations with good job prospects.

A company called WANTED Technologies has calculated the number of available jobs in various occupations around the country, and compared those numbers to the pool of qualified applicants.

According to its rankings, Las Vegas tops the nation in job prospects for registered nurses; and for hairdressers/cosmetologists.

The company's job supply/demand ratios are posted here.

"The best place to look for work is where there are many jobs advertised and also where there are very few qualified applicants," said company CEO Bruce Murray.

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Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza of Pompano Beach, Fla., opened its 18th location since premiering in 2002. The newest restaurant, and the first outside Florida, is at Town Square Las Vegas.

The restaurant says it uses 800-degree "anthracite" coal-burning ovens. It said anthracite is the cleanest of coals, burning smoke-free with extremely high heat for well-done pizzas.

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Separately, Ciao Ciao, described as an "old school" pizza joint and cocktail lounge offering flame-fired pizza, opened at 4460 S.Durango Drive north of Tropicana Avenue.

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Beyond the Sun

Colliers International – Las Vegas released its latest Las Vegas Quarterly, a set of market reports that detail the performance of Southern Nevada’s commercial real estate market and overall economy.

The second quarter report is posted here and at the company Web site, www.lvcolliers.com.

There's no sugar-coating the troubles in the local commercial real estate market. Colliers reported the Las Vegas-area office vacancy rate is 22 percent, followed by industrial vacancies at 12.4 percent and retail at 8.5 percent.

"While the recession has persisted for 19 months now, few economic indicators point to the market’s stabilization," said Michael Campbell, managing partner of Colliers’ Las Vegas office.

Click to enlarge photo

Suzette La Grange

Also at Colliers, Suzette La Grange was promoted to senior vice president of the firm’s Industrial Division.

La Grange has been specializing in landlord and developer representation in the office and industrial segments.

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The Commercial Real Estate Women of Las Vegas luncheon in July features guest speaker Patricia Nooney of CB Richard Ellis, who will discuss "coping skills for today's market." The event is set for 11:30 a.m. July 9 at Del Frisco, 3925 Paradise Road.

For more information, see www.crewlv.org.

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Click to enlarge photo

Kathleen Drakulich

At the law firm McDonald Carano Wilson LLP, Managing Partner George F. Ogilvie III announced that Kathleen Drakulich was named a partner. She joins the firm’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice Group.

Prior to joining McDonald Carano Wilson, Drakulich served as a partner at Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner, Renshaw & Ferrario. With more than 15 years experience in the energy and public utility industry, she previously served as assistant general counsel for Sierra Pacific Power Co. and Nevada Power C. (now NV Energy) and served as their legislative counsel during numerous sessions of the Nevada Legislature.

In private practice, Drakulich has represented local, national and international energy and public utility firms in procurement matters, supply and purchase contract negotiations, as well as permitting and construction of renewable energy and fossil fuel plants. She also represents some of Nevada’s largest energy users in rate case applications, environmental permitting and line extension proceedings, renewable energy initiatives and other regulatory matters.

Drakulich was appointed to Sen. Harry Reid’s Renewable Energy Blue Ribbon Panel in 2008.

Drakulich is a member of the Nevada, Clark County and Washoe County Bar Associations, the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association. She is also a member of the board of directors for the Nevada-based, not-for-profithealthcare organization Renown Health.

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Keep Memory Alive has appointed Maureen Peckman as chief executive officer. Peckman has served as the chief operating officer since 2007 in preparation for the new role at Keep Memory Alive, the organization for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

"The organization has worked tirelessly to raise money in support of the mission and building of the Ruvo Center and it is with great pride I step into my new role within this inspiring initiative," Peckman said.

Prior to her involvement with Keep Memory Alive, Peckman was the founder and owner of Peckman Outdoor Media, which specialized in the acquisition, development and sale of outdoor advertising structures. That company was sold in 2008.

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