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July 30, 2014

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The B.S.:

Getting together with business, civic leaders

Bruce Spotleson

Bruce Spotleson

Beyond VEGAS INC

Local real estate organizations often seem to be best known by their acronyms. It always seems that a broad part of the business community knows who you’re talking about whenever they hear the initials NAIOP, CCIM or GLVAR.

One membership organization whose acronym is growing in familiarity and recognition is SIOR — the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

An international professional group that certifies qualified commercial real estate service providers, SIOR promotes high levels of accountability and ethical standards. It’s headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has a local chapter here.

At last count, there were just 21 commercial real estate brokers in Las Vegas with the SIOR designation. They meet monthly at Maggiano’s, and I was fortunate to be in a crowd of about 80 who attended Feb. 8.

Soozi Jones Walker

Soozi Jones Walker

The hard-working Soozi Jones Walker of Commercial Executives is the current president, and she was surrounded by a roster of other industry leaders — including president-elect Tom Naseef of Colliers International, Dan Doherty, Mike Mixer, Bridget Richards, Bob Potter, Michael Dunn, Tony Dazzio, Charles VanGeel, Arnold Lopez, Keith Russell and Bobbi Miracle.

Warren Hardy

Warren Hardy

The speaker was Warren Hardy, a former legislator who has his own lobbying practice and counts the Associated Builders and Contractors as a client, which means he has been to battle with organized labor in the construction industry.

His detailed presentation centered on labor issues that he said were hampering construction projects, and in turn hindering our overall economic recovery. He gave a primer on three topics: project labor agreements; increasingly aggressive union tactics, such as campaigns against non-unionized corporations; and “prevailing wage” laws, which he called “the issue right now.”

It would be difficult in this amount of space to adequately summarize Hardy’s presentation, which it’s safe to say is critical of at least a few current union practices and tactics. And I’d of course have to take into account his obvious agenda and perspective as a paid lobbyist. But I appreciated the patient explanation of terms and practices that are in the news so often lately. Big help.

VEGAS INC Coverage

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Here’s another acronym, one an even broader section of the community is familiar with: UNLV, as in University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

As always, the annual Business Hall of Fame dinner put on by UNLV’s newly named Lee Business School went off without a hitch on Feb. 16 at the Mirage. And as always, it had in attendance some serious community and business leaders.

This was the 11th ceremony for the school, which was appropriately named after Ted and Doris Lee and their family after their recent $15 million gift. The incredible donation is one of the single largest gifts to a college or school in UNLV’s history and certainly the largest private donation in support of faculty endowments.

Families were a big theme for the evening, and the Lees were seated up front. They watched as videos and presenters honored the Engelstads and the Gibsons, two longtime Southern Nevada clans, and the omnipresent former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.

Kris Engelstad McGarry greets friends Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2009 after the announcement of a new scholarship endowed by the Engelstad Family Foundation.

Kris Engelstad McGarry greets friends Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2009 after the announcement of a new scholarship endowed by the Engelstad Family Foundation.

The Engelstads’ award was accepted by the soft-spoken Kris Engelstad McGarry, daughter of Ralph Engelstad, the late owner of Imperial Palace and co-developer of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The family’s foundation gave $12.65 million to UNLV to establish its largest active scholarship program, and has donated more than $217 million to charitable causes here and in other states.

The Gibson family’s contributions to Southern Nevada could be considered historic. The American Pacific Corp. produced chemicals used for space programs and fire suppression, and there’s of course a rich legacy in politics and community activism. Acceptance comments came from Fred D. Gibson Jr. and John R. Gibson. Watching from the audience was James B. Gibson, the former three-term mayor of Henderson who heads up Vegas.com these days, and a few other generations of the family.

And then there was Oscar, last but never least, who had his wife-mayor Carolyn Goodman alongside. He is credited for much of the progress made in downtown redevelopment in the past couple of years, along with his efforts for and with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which now has him chairing its Host Committee, a recent initiative.

Host for the evening was Paul Jarley, the business school’s dean, and masters of ceremonies were Jessica Moore and Jim Snyder of KSNV-TV News Channel 3. It was a special evening, the tone set by UNLV President Neal Smatresk, who somehow managed to shake almost every single hand in the room.

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