Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Meet Bob Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers

What was your first job?

Driving an ice cream truck during the summertime in Montana. I was 16 years old and I was a great ice cream salesman. I made $100 plus commission.

What was your best-selling item?

Definitely popsicles in those days. They were cheap and everyone loved them. But I would always try to upgrade people to ice cream sandwiches. (laughing)

What was your worst job?

Being an engineer for Texaco. I didn’t like being an engineer and it was just a terrible bureaucracy. I took the job right out of college. I was the first college graduate in my family. I quickly realized engineering wasn’t for me at all.

If you could change one thing about Las Vegas, what would it be?

I would ban passing out the nasty literature they do on the Strip. It shapes what outsiders think of us. The other day my wife was in the Wynn garage and a bunch of guys drove past her and threw all of those cards out the window. She was upset and yelled at them: “What are you doing?” Their answer: “We’re not littering, we’re marketing!” That drives me crazy.

The best advice your mom gave you?

God helps those that help themselves. She must have told me that 30 years ago. Put another way: If it’s to be, it’s up to me.

Do you think you follow that advice?

I do. I’m a believer in the American Dream and rugged individualism. I’m a believer in the power of the individual.

You’re trapped on a desert island. What two CDs would you bring with you?

Anything by Leonard Cohen. You can’t live without that. And jazz by Freddie Cole.

What’s the one show you have to DVR?

It was "Entourage." Now it’s "In Therapy." It’s basically the opposite of Entourage. It’s a show about a psychologist that sees patients, but needs therapy himself. It’s wonderfully written.

Las Vegas World Market Center recently combined with the markets in High Point, NC, to create a single company. You’re the new CEO. How will this change impact Las Vegas?

Number one, it saves the business platform here. It takes us to a position of being able to invest in the future. Housing will rebound and we believe we should be the West Coast home of the furnishings business. In the furnishings business we’re in a depression, but it’s also a really, really intriguing time to be in our business because of the change.

What’s your favorite piece of furniture that you own?

It’s an Oscar de la Renta expandable dining table. It’s round, which is the best kind of table because everyone feels involved in conversation. It seats 6-12, so it’s perfect for a dinner party.

If you were throwing the ultimate dinner party and you could pick any chef in the world, who would it be?

Wow. That’s a really tough question. I’d have to say it’d be Thomas Keller or Jean-Georges [Vongerichten].

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