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40 Under 40
CONGRATULATIONS! FOR BEING ONE OF THIS YEAR’S
40 UNDER 40
CHRISTINA ELLIS DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
40 Under 40
—FROM THE EDITOR—
Halee Harczynski........... 80
Kevin Holyfield............... 81
Stephani Christensen.....76 Lacy Colson.....................76 Amanda Connor.............. 77
Brian Howard.................. 81 Le Hua.............................82 Nate Jacobs....................82
Nikki Steven....................85 Cory Summerhays...........85 Joseph Sunbury..............85
Jonathan Jossel..............82 Craig Tann.......................86
Matthew Cova................. 77 Zee Khan.........................82
Christina Ellis..................78 Jen Kramer......................83
Megan Fazio....................78 Augusta Massey..............83 Jennifer Forkish..............78 Elliot Gall........................78 Jonny Greco................... 80
Monica Moradkhan.........83 Patrick Nichols................83 Mark Price.......................84
James Trees.....................86 Cathy Vongnaraj.............88 JJ Walker.........................88
Karl F. Rutledge..............84
Jessica Halling............... 80
Snell & Wilmer congratulates all the 2019 Vegas Inc. 40 Under 40 award recipients.
ith a combination of smarts, skill, compassion and commitment to community, the honorees of our annual 40 Under 40 publication represent the best that Southern Nevada has to show the world. In our 19th annual publication, we’re recognizing people from a cross section of industries in the valley who have one thing in common — they’re making Las Vegas is a better place. As has been happening since 2001, nominations for the honor poured in. Our team of judges then review all of the nominations. They look not only for professional achievements, but also assess each candidate’s community service, entrepreneurial spirit and influence on their respective industries. How they shape the future manifests itself differently from honoree to honoree. More than one is helping our valley’s youth get a firm foothold on the path to greatness, perhaps setting them up to be future 40 Under 40 honorees. Take the time to read about these young leaders and their amazing accomplishments. This distinguished group plays a crucial role in Southern Nevada’s business development. We’re able to bring these exceptional Nevadans to you thanks in part to our sponsors — Stitched, Absolut Elyx, Ambros Banana Whiskey, Cox Business and Speed Vegas. A special thank you goes to Station Casinos and Green Valley Ranch Resort for hosting the soiree where we honor these leaders and innovators. Writer Danielle Birkin provided the profiles. Craig Peterson Editor of Special Publications Craig.Peterson@gmgvegas.com
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40 Under 40
Krystal Allan News anchor
KSNV NBC News 3 ■ 35
native of Kansas City, Mo., Krystal Allan found her calling when she was 6 years old. “Two news anchors stopped by my school and I got $5 for answering a question, said Allan. “Their visit left a lasting impression on me.” Allan earned her journalism degree from the University of Missouri and had a successful stint as a weekend anchor and reporter in Biloxi, Miss., before relocating to Southern Nevada in 2011. Currently, she’s a news anchor for both “Wake Up With the CW” and “News 3 Live at Noon.” Among her recent accomplishments, the Emmy-nominated anchor, along with her colleagues, received the Edward R. Murrow award for coverage of 1 October. “The resilience, selflessness and support our community showed during that unimaginable tragedy left a lasting impact and I was proud to be a part of that,” said Allan. She has also emceed the MLK Day parade for the past three years and has been instrumental in fostering the media partnership between News 3 and the King Week Las Vegas Committee for the largest MLK parade west of the Mississippi. Passionate about helping kids and those in need, Allan volunteers with Communities In Schools of Southern Nevada, Three Square, the Salvation Army and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and has adopted a class of first graders at Wendell P. Williams elementary.
Jenny ‘JennyO’ Calleri Owner
Huntington Jewelers ■ 39
Born and raised in Southern Nevada, Jenny “JennyO” Calleri was attending community college and working at a dry cleaners in 1999 when she told a friend she needed a new job. “We opened the phone book, and I decided, ‘Hey, why not…I like jewelry,’ and would you know, every kiss begins with Kay,” said Calleri, who took a sales position at the Kay Jewelers location at Fashion Show, and has been immersed in the industry ever since. A graduate gemologist, Calleri worked in sales at Simayof Diamond Cutters in the Grand Canal Shoppes, then studied at the Gemological Institute of America, after which she worked on the supply side selling loose diamonds and branded jewelry lines to retailers. She then spent five years at MJ Christensen, where she was a top sales professional, then served as store director and brand ambassador at T-Bird Jewels. In January 2018, she and her husband purchased Huntington Jewelers, which was originally established in 1950. Owner, designer, creator, curator, appraiser — there are many facets to her career. “Acquiring this business has been my dream, and a major focus this year will be our online influence and community outreach,” said Calleri, who is active with the Women’s Jewelry Association and the American Gem Society, supports Keep Memory Alive and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and recently connected with The Cupcake Girls. “We are really going to focus on the holistic sourcing of gems and jewelry and how we can leave a gem legacy. Jewelry is an artifact of life; let’s make a difference in what we adorn and all the amazing lives we have touched when this piece was created.”
Girls Night Out .com
ARE PROUD TO HONOR
CEO OF V E G A S G I R L S N I G H T O U T. C O M
VP OF SALES FOR S P I E N T E R TA I N M E N T
ON BEING RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF VEGAS INC’S “40 UNDER 40”. Through leadership and passion, Bri has continuously enhanced the Las Vegas industry. Being honored for this award is a true testament of her dedication.
40 Under 40
â€œIf I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.â€? - Isaac Newton
40 Under 40
“Uncommon service is made possible by an uncommonly dedicated group of individuals — the team behind me is the engine of our success, I am just fortunate to be in a position to steer the wheel” - Cory Summerhays
40 Under 40
Dr. Stephani Christensen
Hematologist and Medical Oncologist
Comprehensive Cancer Centers ■ 39
S Connor & Connor PLLC is delighted to congratulate
on being recognized as one of this year’s 40 UNDER 40 honorees.
C & C
Connor & Connor Pllc Attorneys at Law
tephani Christensen found her calling working with cancer patients as a fourth-year medical student at UNR. “Not only did I get to work with one of the best radiation oncologists in Nevada — Comprehensive Cancer Centers’ Dr. Raul Meoz, whom I now call my colleague — I also developed a passion for working with cancer patients,” Christensen said. “As a doctor, any patient you are helping becomes special to you, but in oncology, it’s more than just treating patients. I develop long-term relationships with most of my patients and their families, because we are in this journey together.” Christensen — who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Rush University in Chicago — joined Comprehensive Cancer Centers as a hematologist and medical oncologist in May 2017. “I see a combination of medical oncology, malignant hematology and benign hematology patients. Some of these patients have been newly diagnosed with cancer, some are in the middle of the treatment, and others have completed treatment and are following up. I am responsible for administering chemotherapy as well as other treatments,” said Christensen, who has been focusing more on breast cancer as her practice has grown and participates in a number of clinical trials, currently serving as the principal investigator for two Phase III trials. “I plan to open two more metastatic breast cancer trials in the next two months.” Christensen is on the board of directors of the Susan G. Koman Nevada and also a member of the Breast Center Leadership Committee at Sunrise Hospital.
Lacy Colson Realtor
Signature Real Estate Group ■ 38
A Grand Canyon Development Partners congratulates Executive Vice President, VINCENT TATUM, on his inclusion into the Vegas Inc. Class of 2019 40 under 40 Program! Grand Canyon Development Partners is a construction and real estate development management company that offers a full spectrum of services to facilitate all processes for our clients’ projects including, but not limited to: real estate development, construction, project and program management services. The company has ofﬁces in Nevada and Arizona. 6841 S Eastern Ave Ste 103 • Las Vegas, NV 89119 Nevada: (702) 492-5300 • Arizona: (602) 725-9200 www.grandcanyoninc.com
s a kid, there was nothing Lacy Colson wouldn’t do. “I was always a hard worker and started at age 13 mowing lawns and babysitting to earn money, then got jobs working at a fruit stand and concession stands, and went on to become a waitress, which was my childhood dream,,” said Colson. Born in Kanab, Utah, and raised in Fredonia, Ariz., she moved here at age 21 to attend Dahan Institute of Massage Studies. That education led her to open a massage business in Utah; once that was thriving, she decided to expand into the real estate arena and got licensed in Arizona and Utah, selling wild land parcels, trailers, houses and commercial properties. Eventually, it was time for a change and she came back to Las Vegas. “I was a massage therapist at The Spa at Encore for nine years before getting back into real estate, setting the goal to sell enough in one month to provide for a year so I could let go of massage,” said Colson, who sold more than $4 million in 2016, her first year at Signature Real Estate Group, and sold more than $6 million in 2018. She is also an entrepreneur, having created a hands-free diaper bag called Roo-Go. “It took me years to get the perfect prototype made, and I travelled to China by myself to get the design just right, but it was such an impactful experience in never giving up and creating my product,” she said.
40 Under 40
Connor & Connor ■ 37
MountainView Hospital ■ 38
Co-founder and Partner
rowing up in New Mexico, Amanda Connor’s parents used to joke that she was destined to become a lawyer because she liked to argue. It was an argument laid out by her husband, however, that led her to her current role as an expert in cannabis law. “He came home one day and stated that he had a practice area that I would be good at,” said Connor, who holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Pepperdine University; a master’s degree in education from University of California, San Diego; a master’s of administration from New Mexico State University; and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law. “I had never seen or used marijuana, but when he told me it was all about figuring out and following rules, I decided to give it a shot.” Connor, who previously taught dual-language kindergarten, and her husband founded Connor & Connor PLLC in May 2102, and the firm has since helped to shape Nevada marijuana-industry regulations with the goal of providing safe products and clear guidelines. “Since our inception where it was just my husband and I working out of our house, we have expanded to a firm that provides more than 15 good-paying jobs with benefits,” said Connor, who sits on the board of the Children’s Advocacy Alliance and the leadership board of the Southern Nevada chapter of the American Cancer Society, and also represents kids in the foster system through the Children’s Attorney Project. “We are moving our headquarters into a larger space and we look forward to continuing to expand our operations.”
ith a background in financial, strategic and operational leadership, Matthew Cova, a native of Santa Maria, California, landed his first CFO position nine years ago at a hospital in Sparks. “I always knew I wanted to work in health care, but I knew I didn’t want to do it clinically, so I chose the business path,” said Cova, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business management with minors in accounting and political science from Loyola Marymount University and a master’s degree in health care administration from UNLV. Having previously worked in leadership capacities at University Medical Center and the Valley Health System, Cova joined MountainView Hospital as CFO in April 2017. Cova oversees all financial aspects of the hospital along with case management, pharmacy and respiratory therapy services, and also assists the CEO in the development of long- and short-range hospital operations plans. During Cova’s tenure, MountainView has experienced double-digit growth in admissions and surgical cases, while at the same time, operational costs have decreased. Cova also assisted and supported in the opening of a hospital-based ER, ER at Aliante, and worked on the expansion of the Las Vegas Institute of Robotic Surgery with the addition of robotic systems. He also works outside the financial arena, working directly with physician offices and case managers to develop and implement a directadmission improvement plan, and also helps to manage the Sunrise Health Graduate Medical Education Consortium and helped launch the MountainView Pharmacy Residency Program. Outside of the hospital, Cova coaches youth baseball and basketball.
40 Under 40
Ellis Island Casino, Hotel & Brewery ■ 27
Neon PR ■ 30
Director of Marketing
hristina Ellis began working at Ellis Island — the family business — when she was 12 years old. “I was a hostess with a mouthful of braces,” said Ellis, who found her niche in marketing at the property, owned by her father, Gary Ellis. Christina Ellis, who obtained a degree in fine arts from the University of Southern California and is currently pursuing an MBA at UNLV, took on the role of director of marketing in June 2014 for all properties, including Ellis Island, Village Pubs and the Mount Charleston Lodge. “I oversee all advertising, events, branding, promotions, community partnerships, direct mail, public relations, design and social media,” Ellis said. “Daily responsibilities include the standards, like checking our Twitter and monitoring event sales, but can also include fun projects like sampling our seasonal beers, picking out interiors or driving up to the Mount Charleston Lodge for a photo shoot.” Ellis has been instrumental in raising the property’s visibility through community events and beer festivals, and has also grown the company’s online presence through social media and advertising. She played an integral role in last year’s 50 anniversary as well as in the acquisition of the Mount Charleston Lodge. She’s also tackling from nuts to bolts the launch of a new beer garden at Ellis Island. “This year we’re opening The Front Yard, our new beer garden concept and the largest expansion on the property since 1997,” said Ellis, who is active with Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, serves on the advisory board for the Mayor Goodman’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, and is a member of CreativeMornings Las Vegas and Nevada Women’s Philanthropy.
Founder and CEO
exas native Megan Fazio has owned and operated an award-winning PR agencies in Las Vegas since the age of 24 and is responsible for leading hundreds of successful marketing campaigns consumers see that continue to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists to Las Vegas. “I’ve always identified as being über right-brained, which certainly lends itself to being able to tell brand’s and people’s stories,” said Fazio, who holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and social sciences from the University of Houston. She worked for several years at a boutique public relations firm in Houston before moving to Southern Nevada in early 2012 to take a PR position at a Las Vegas agency, prior to founding Neon PR in September of that year. The firm represents clients in the hospitality, entertainment, travel and tourism, and nonprofit arenas. An early adopter of the Downtown Las Vegas movement — with offices located downtown for the past three years — the agency also works with DTP Companies (formerly Downtown Project). “Neon PR is proud to be making waves with DTP Companies, a $350 million investment initiative funded by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas,” Fazio said. “It’s been incredible to watch the area change from a dilapidated, forgotten area of town to a downtown-chic urban oasis right before our eyes – and have a role in that.” This year, the company is relocating to brand-new digs on South Main Street, according to Fazio, who represents a mixture of Strip and downtown properties including non-profit 9th Bridge School, also supports the Las Vegas Firefighters Benefit Association and gainfully employs UNLV grads.
Caesars Entertainment ■ 39
Credit One Bank ■ 35
Vice President of Corporate Communications
fter earning a degree in political science from the University of Arizona, Jennifer Forkish was working in her hometown at Los Angeles City Hall when she got her first taste of the communications field. “I saw the work the communications director was doing and I was intrigued,” Forkish said. “I loved how he mixed in the adrenaline of working with the media with intellectual issues like public safety and budgeting while weaving it into a story people cared about. When he left to take another job, I was selected to take his place and I’ve never looked back.” Forkish joined Caesars Entertainment as vice president of corporate communications in 2016. “I oversee all aspects of company-wide messaging with traditional, digital and social media on topics such as development, online sports betting, earnings and corporate social responsibility,” said Forkish, who also oversees crisis management for the corporate office and senior management as well as for more than 50 Caesars Entertainment properties. Forkish, who served on the board of NPR, recently took the lead on two major projects, including the company’s announcement of a first-of-its-kind sponsorship with the NFL and Caesars as the first founding partner of the Las Vegas Stadium, the future home of the Las Vegas Raiders. “It was truly a career highlight to announce Caesars as the first ever official casino-partner of the NFL,” said Forkish. “Over the next few months we have major announcements in the works and we’ll continue to announce major developments with our existing partners.”
Vice President of Risk Management
math aficionado who hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Elliot Gall found his professional calling when he took a position as a new-student orientation leader at the University of New Mexico, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. “My job was to represent the Anderson School of Management and sell students on the idea of becoming a business student, but I ended up selling myself on the idea of becoming a finance professional and never looked back,” said Gall, who earned his MBA from the University of South Dakota. He relocated to Southern Nevada in 2007 and joined Credit One Bank as a risk analyst, assuming his current position as vice president of risk management in August 2017. With a focus on using data to develop industry-leading service strategies, he manages a team of four analysts. Since assuming his current title, he has been instrumental in the execution of two major projects. “The first involved developing a credit-application decision system that allowed us to expand our business online, and the second project involved the implementation of an advance-decision engine platform used to drive marketing and communications with our existing card members,” said Gall, who through Credit One Bank supports Las Vegas Rescue Mission, Three Square and HELP of Southern Nevada. “In 2019, my priority is to develop new focus on customer experience for our 10 million-plus card members, and to continue growing. We’re also excited to continue our partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights and start a new partnership with the Las Vegas Aviators.”
Perfect for a Career Where Leaders Flourish Congratulations to Elliot Gall. His dedication, leadership, and hard work have made him one of Vegas Inc.’s “40 Under 40” and one of Credit One Bank’s rising stars! Ready to put your leadership skills to work where they’ll be recognized and appreciated? Apply today at: CreditOneCareers.com
Elliot Gall Credit One Bank Vice President, Risk Management
40 Under 40
Vice President, Entertainment Production
Vegas Golden Knights ■ 39
natural born story-teller who as a kid made home movies for fun, and talked his high school teachers into allowing him to create visual stories rather than written ones for assignments, Jonny Greco attended Full Sail University in Florida for film and video, putting his skill set to use for some 20 years in the sports entertainment arena. “I’ve worked with the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB and WWE,” said Greco, who has garnered awards such as Emmy’s, Addy’s and Telly’s. He’s been a producer and editor for the Florida Marlins; manager of video production for the Columbus Blue Jackets; director of video production for the Cleveland Cavaliers; and senior director and live entertainment producer for World Wrestling Entertainment. In 2017, a few months before the Vegas Golden Knights dropped the puck, Greco was tapped to take the inaugural season of the team to unchartered waters as vice president, entertainment production, leading a full-time team of nine storytellers, with some additional 90 helping to put on the show. “I’ve been fortunate to work and collaborate with inspired individuals who are relentless in improving the fan experience and creating engaging content that leaves indelible marks on your fans, from creating a forever-memory for a father and son or an aunt and her nephew, and so on,” said Greco, who takes an equally humble approach to philanthropy. “I feel that wherever we can take a moment to share our love with anyone, any place, any time and inspire something, a label to one organization or another isn’t what matters. Give a granola bar or a pair of shoes to a homeless person, speak to a classroom of children and open your doors and arms to other souls.”
Jessica Halling Program Director
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children ■ 39
essica Halling strives to connect with youth on a fundamental level in her role as program director for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a position she assumed in November 2017. “I once felt like I was a victim of the system, a stack of mental diagnosis, police reports and hospital visits — instead of a victim of domestic violence, human sex trafficking and homelessness,” said Halling, who decided to tell her story in order to help others in vulnerable situations find the courage to continue. “I decided I wanted to dedicate my life to advocating for those who are hurting in our community and use my experiences as a medium to champion change.” To this end, Halling received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from UNLV and a master’s degree in social work from USC, launching her career at Acelero Learning Head Start. She then joined the Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning as an educator and information officer for the Nevada Silver State Stars QRIS prior to assuming her current position with St. Jude’s, where she is responsible for oversight of operations for the Boulder City campus. “I work with numerous community agencies and oversee my department’s budget, data collection, programming, reporting, grants, licensing and compliance,” said Halling, who has created new policies and procedures to have a more standardized approach to operations. “I have also leveraged personal experience to develop programs. St. Jude’s Ranch for children is working to build a healing center with homes for child victims of sex trafficking.” Halling is on advisory boards for the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada and Power On through Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth.
Noelle HaddadMcCann President and CEO
TNG Models ■ 33
orn in Mission Hills, California, Noelle Haddad-McCann was fascinated by the supermodels of the 1990s, perfecting her Cindy Crawford impersonation for her elementary school’s in-house TV show. It was a harbinger of things to come as Haddad-McCann was signed by Ford Models Chicago in 2008. “Working as a model for one of the best agencies in the world helped me understand the modeling business,” said Haddad-McCann, who founded The Noelle Group in summer 2006, rebranding the agency as TNG Models in 2012 and bringing her sister on board as her business partner. In her role as president, Haddad-McCann — who holds an associate of arts degree from College of Southern Nevada — leads a team of models, booking agents, scouts and model developers, helping to guide them as well as her other clients to success in the modeling industry. “In 2016, we converted our business model from a non-exclusive booking agency to an exclusive model management and booking agency,” said Haddad-McCann, who supports Dress for Success Southern Nevada and Donors Choose, and also has an ongoing internship program with UNLV. “This change has given us freedom to develop our models’ careers, represent a higher caliber of talent, increase rates for our models, create partnerships with larger agencies worldwide, and offer better services to our clients.” In 2019 and beyond, Haddad-McCann plans on growing new connections with major Las Vegasbased corporations, and will also be expanding with more booking agents and scouts.
Halee Harczynski Marketing Director
Downtown Summerlin/ The Howard Hughes Corp. ■ 33
aised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Halee Harczynski grew up in shopping centers. “I would often go to work with my mom, who oversaw marketing for Scottsdale Fashion Square, and spent Saturday mornings playing in the fountain secretly stealing change, and Christmas Eve with the mall Santa at my house,” said Harczynski, who holds a degree in fashion-merchandise management from the Fashion Institute of Technology in new York City. Harczynski, who moved to Southern Nevada in 2008, has held her current position of director of marketing for Downtown Summerlin/The Howard Hughes Corp. since July 2016. Along with her team, Harczynski organizes, executes and hosts more than 150 events each year. “In its second year, the 2016 17-day holiday parade generated over 40 million media impressions, an 846 percent increase over 2015, with over 70,000 visitors attending the kick-off celebration,” said Harczynski, adding that attendance of the festivities exceeded 1.2 million visitors, up more than 16 percent from 2015. It’s currently all hands on deck in anticipation of the Downtown Summerlin April 9 opening of Las Vegas Ballpark, a 10,000-seat stadium that will be home to the Las Vegas Aviators. “Beyond this, we are welcoming over a dozen retail and restaurant partners including Nevada’s first True Food Kitchen,” said Harczynski, who supports Las Vegas Animal Assisted Therapy, Nathan Adelson Hospice, Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada and Nevada Ballet Theatre.
40 Under 40
Park MGM ■ 37
Sparrow + Wolf ■ 37
Vice President of Hotel Operations
riginally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Kevin Holyfield got his start in the hospitality industry as a passenger services representative with Princess Cruises and Tours, having been introduced to customer service when he worked with Hallmark. “Yes, the greeting card company,” said Holyfield, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. “After a number of years with Princess, I realized I loved hospitality but I didn’t want to be working on a cruise ship forever, so I figured hotels were the next best thing, and moved to Las Vegas in 2002 in pursuit of expanding my hospitality goals.” Holyfield joined MGM Resorts International in April 2008 and currently serves as vice president of hotel operations at Park MGM/NoMad Las Vegas. “One of my most recent professional accomplishments is the transition and cultural shift from Monte Carlo to Park MGM,” said Holyfield, adding that the company invested more than $550 million in this process. “As a result, we have seen increased revenue and outstanding customer satisfaction. Looking ahead, “MGM Resorts International has been my home for almost 11 years and I look forward to continuing to learn, grow and contribute to the organization in any way I can,” said Holyfield, who serves on the board of trustees for Discovery Children’s Museum. “Cultural shifts often take two to five years to execute and we are just finishing the second year, so the work has just begun.”
Owner and Chef
s a kid in suburban Detroit, Brian Howard felt cooking was in his blood. He grew up watching and emulating chefs such as Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, and discovered a fascination for the craft. “From around age 8, I would cook food and arrange it nicely on a plate and take pictures of it,” said Howard. Having spent nearly 20 years in Southern Nevada working his way through some of the top kitchens in town — starting as a dishwasher and ascending the ranks to executive chef — he formed Brian Howard Hospitality in 2016, and now serves as chef and owner of Sparrow + Wolf, a restaurant that has seen national acclaim. “We have successfully established an amazing concept that focuses on delivering great hospitality and delicious food — that’s it,” said Howard. “I believe my professional accomplishments come from within my organization and my family: I curate and develop the ideas but they are the reaction of that. But my accomplishments go beyond that, and that’s having a full dining room 90 percent of the time. That’s a win in my eyes.” Howard is always looking to the future and scouting locations for future projects. “For me it’s not about moving fast but making an impact, and only time will tell what that is,” said Howard, who supports Three Square, KNPR, Green Our Plant and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
A leader in your field, And across our community. COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTERS congratulates our own Dr. Stephani Christensen, as well as all those being honored as VEGAS INC’s 40 Under 40. Dr. Christensen, from your dedication to your patients and practice, to your outreach efforts across the community, we are honored to have you as part of our team. You’ve already made such an impact in your young career. We can’t wait to see what the future holds
Stephani Christensen, MD
Medical Oncologist Comprehensive Cancer Centers
cccnevada.com • 702.952.3350
40 Under 40
Dr. Le Hua
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health ■ 38
McCarthy Building Companies ■ 33
Director of Mellen Program for Multiple Sclerosis
Director of Project Development
Plaza Hotel & Casino ■ 34
UNLV Hockey ■ 37
e Hua always wanted to be a doctor. “I had accompanied my grandparents to their doctor’s appointments and helped translate, which allowed me to see how physicians can heal and provide comfort, and I knew this was the career for me,” said Hua, who holds a degree in biochemistry from the University of Arizona, attended medical school at USC, completed a residency in neurology at Stanford University and completed a fellowship in neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis at Barrow Neurological Institute. “I became interested in neurology after learning how the brain works, and eventually specialized in neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis because it was a merge of all my interests.” Hua joined Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in August 2013 and became director of the multiple sclerosis program in September 2014. In addition to seeing patients, she also works on research, clinical trials and education. “We’ve been able to bring to Las Vegas drug trials looking at repair and restoration function in patients with MS,” said Hua, who was awarded the Eric and Sheila Samson Chair for MS research in 2016. “While there are current MS medications that can help delay progression of the disease, there are none that can actually restore and repair function that is lost during disease progression, so to have a drug that could do this would be monumental for the MS community, so I am particularly excited about this research.” Hua — who supports Three Square, KNPR and Planned Parenthood, and serves on the education task force of the American Academy of Neurology’s MS section — will also be starting an MS fellowship training program in addition to continuing to grow the program at the center.
orn in Johannesburg, South Africa, and raised in the United Kingdom, Jonathan Jossel has been fascinated by gaming since he wrote his senior thesis on the topic. “I had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas and work for Tamares Real Estate, which owned several properties in downtown Las Vegas,” said Jossel, who holds a business commerce degree with a focus on the UK gaming industry from Birmingham University, and also worked for Tamares in London and NYC before moving to Southern Nevada in 2007. “That opportunity developed into a permanent position at the Plaza overseeing its first major renovation project in 2011.” Jossel, named CEO of the Plaza in 2014, takes a hands-on, high-visibility approach to management, regularly walking the property, greeting employees by name and meeting with guests, in addition to reviewing financials, discussing operations and developing new ideas. “We recently opened the Core Arena, the first and only outdoor equestrian center in downtown Las Vegas,” said Jossel. “We will host the Las Vegas Days rodeo in conjunction with the Helldorado parade this May. As a multipurpose outdoor facility, it will host a variety of other events too, including the first demolition derby downtown, diversifying the downtown experience and attracting more business and people to downtown Las Vegas year-round.” There are currently some 120 hotel rooms being remodeled and the property is adding entertainment options, slot machines, players club promotions and other upgrades, according to Jossel, who supports Keep Memory Alive and Young Jewish Professionals.
ate Jacobs has always been fascinated by how things work — he was constantly building forts and bridges when growing up in rural Montana. “In elementary school, I saw a movie with children playing on a zipline and immediately knew I needed one, but my parents thought it was too dangerous, so I took it upon myself to build one… from the third-story deck to a tree in the yard,” said Jacobs. It didn’t work — but his perseverance was enough to convince his parents to purchase one. Jacobs holds a degree in construction engineering from Montana State University and first came to Southern Nevada in 2007 for a summer internship at McCarthy Building Companies, joining the company full-time as a project engineer the following year after graduation. He assumed the position of director of project development in 2018 and is responsible for managing McCarthy’s strategic client relationships and market visibility in Nevada, as well as fostering relationships with industry partners. His business development efforts in 2018 led to the Nevada office’s most successful sales year to date, resulting in nearly $850 million of project awards. “We have several high-profile projects underway in Las Vegas and are looking forward to continuing to change the landscape of our great city,” said Jacobs. “As our team continues to grow, it will be paramount that we stay true to the culture and values that make McCarthy such a great partner. It’s not just about building projects; it’s about building a stronger community that will stand for generations to come.”
ee Khan has ice hockey in his blood. “I grew up playing hockey in Los Angeles, moved away at age 16 to pursue hockey at higher levels, and eventually went to Arizona State University for college, getting a B.A. in political science,” said the California native. “I didn’t get involved in the business of hockey until after graduation. I was brought into UNLV hockey in February 2015 to revive the program, along with Head Coach Anthony Vignieri Greener, Assistant Coach Nick Robone and Director of Operations Arturo Castro.” A Southern Nevada resident since 2012, Khan is responsible for oversight of the team and efforts to embed the program into the community. He is also tasked with raising funds to support the fully self-funded program, through community outreach and partnership, including a partnership with Vegas Golden Knights to practice and play games at City National Arena. He also led the team’s transition from Division 2 to Division 1 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, with back-to-back National Tournament appearances and a top-10 ranking to finish its first season in Division 1. “Since myself and the current coaching staff began in 2015, we have seen the best four-year run in program history,” said Khan, who supports the KLUC Toy Drive and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. “We have established UNLV hockey as a program that will compete annually for the national title. Our immediate goal is to continue to build the program and lay the foundation for the future, because we want that national title.”
40 Under 40
‘The Magic of Jen Kramer’ at Westgate Las Vegas ■ 26
Massey & Associates Law Firm ■ 35
hen Jen Kramer’s uncle gave her a magic book for her 10th birthday, her professional fate was sealed. “I became fascinated by magic,” said Kramer, who holds a degree in theater studies from Yale University. “I joined a young magicians’ group, went to magic camp and began performing anywhere and everywhere I could. I remember being on an Amtrak train with my family when I was 11 or 12, and spending the entire ride walking up and down the aisles doing magic for people. I had a blast performing and making new friends.” Kramer interned for Nathan Burton’s magic show during two summers and moved to Southern Nevada in 2014 following graduation, and did weekly shows for guests at Wyndham’s Grand Desert Resort and Marriott’s Grand Chateau, while also performing at corporate events, private parties and college campuses. She has also appeared on television, including on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and “Masters of Illusion.” She opened The Magic of Jen Kramer at Westgate Las Vegas in May 2018, and has been headlining four shows a week since then. “Each day is a balance between working on the content of the show, which is continually evolving as we add new illusions and tweak existing elements, and working on the business side, marketing the show and spreading the word with the help of my amazing team,” said Kramer. “I also serve on the advisory board for Magicians Without Borders, which is dedicated to entertaining, educating and empowering people in refugee camps, orphanages and hospitals around the world through magic.”
Vice President of Community Relations
Wynn Resorts ■ 38
onica Moradkhan was a shy kid who didn’t come out of her shell until she got involved in student organizations in high school. “Now I talk to everyone anywhere, which is a necessary skill to engage and inspire Wynn employees to participate in our community initiatives,” she said. The 25-plus year Las Vegas resident attended UNLV where she earned a bachelor and master in hotel administration. Today, she holds the distinction of being the only two-term female student body president in the university’s history. Moradkhan joined Wynn Resorts as vice president of community relations in November 2017. Initiatives that Moradkhan has helped drive include The Shade Tree Revitalization Project, which has developed into a partnership with more than 90 businesses engaged in renovating The Shade Tree and Noah’s Animal House. The company also raised more than $120,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at an employee-conceived benefit performance, and assembled a panel of Wynn executives to participate in round table discussions advising nonprofits and identifying collaboration opportunities. “This year, we are excited to build on the momentum of increasing employee participation in our community,” she said. “The Shade Tree Revitalization Partnership will be completed, the second annual Spring Fling at Encore Beach Club will be held to engage employees with nonprofits, and we will introduce several key company-wide programs.”
Founder and Managing Partner
est Africa native Augusta Massey’s passion for justice and helping others helped draw her to the legal profession. She earned a juris doctorate in addition to a degree in English from the University of Memphis and moved to Southern Nevada in 2008, working as an associate attorney with Holley Driggs Walch Fine Puzey Stein & Thompson and Anthony A. Zmaila Ltd. PLLC prior to branching out on her own. “I started Massey & Associates Law Firm in April 2012, and haven’t looked back,” said Massey, whose practice area focuses largely on business law, individual bankruptcy and contracts. “I have been able to help several clients open international businesses this year and increase their income five-fold after working with me. I have saved clients a quarter of a million dollars in the last year alone from mitigated business losses.” Since January 2016, Massey has also served as a judge pro tempore in small claims court, where she presides over civil matters involving businesses and pro-se litigants concerning breach-of-contract, landlord-tenant and other jurisdictionally limited matters, listening to the arguments of both parties, rendering decisions and issuing orders. She is also an adjunct professor in business law, legal environment, probate and international business at College of Southern Nevada, serving in this capacity since January 2012. “I hope to create a firm that gives back to the community in tangible ways through philanthropy, youth empowerment and a commitment to community, family and justice,” said Massey, who is active with the local chapter of the National Bar Association, serving as vice president, and the Las Vegas chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc.
Patrick Nichols Chief Strategy Officer
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas ■ 33
native of suburban Minneapolis, Patrick Nichols said Las Vegas wasn’t even on his radar until he started seeking gainful employment during his senior year at Cornell University, where he earned a degree in hospitality management. “I stumbled on a job posting for a financial analyst position at the Venetian, so I applied, had a few interviews with a couple of great young executives who were also Cornell alums, and they sold me on the gaming industry, Las Vegas and the Venetian,” said Nichols, who relocated to Southern Nevada in 2008. His duties would send him to Singapore to assist with the opening of Marina Bay Sands before joining The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in October 2010 as director of strategic planning, a few months before the property opened. “At the time, I knew what an opportunity it would be to open an integrated resort on the Strip, much less a luxury brand with indy spirit like The Cosmopolitan,” said Nichols, who assumed the position of chief strategy officer in April 2018. Today, he is responsible for strategy development and execution, business development, design and construction, retail, entertainment and aviation operations, and financial planning and analysis. “We’re wrapping up the major re-development phase at The Cosmopolitan, so 2019 will be focused on operational improvements and offering more value for our guests,” said Nichols, who supports Junior Achievement.
40 Under 40
HealthCare Partners Nevada ■ 39
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie ■ 39
Partner and Chairman, Gaming Industry Group
Dr. Emily Schorr
ith a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in engineering and a business degree from Northwestern University, Indiana native Mark Price had already become a successful engineer with Eli Lilly before switching gears. “I felt a pull toward a larger purpose, and a desire to pursue a career with a more direct connection to helping the community, so in my early 30s I shifted my focus to health care,” said Price. Early in his career he spent two months in Southern Africa working on infectious disease research with Northwestern University’s Global Health Foundation. He relocated to Southern Nevada in 2017 and assumed his current position as president of HealthCare Partners Nevada in March 2018. Under Price’s leadership, HealthCare Partners has grown significantly in terms of physicians as well as patients, with a team of more than 1,700 employees currently providing medical care to more than 340,000 Southern Nevadans. “Also in 2018, HealthCare Partners Nevada introduced a revolutionary medical clinic concept with our 24 ‘myGeneration’ clinics, which focus specifically on the care of seniors on Medicare Advantage,” said Price. “We limit our physicians in this model to a maximum number of patients that is only one-third of the number of patients an average primary care physician in America takes care of. Additionally, these clinics have extended care teams that help patients improve their health and wellness by coordinating care, educating patients on how to live their healthiest lives, and connecting patients to resources and services. The early returns have shown remarkable results in patient outcomes, patient satisfaction and the satisfaction of our care teams.”
Shepherd Eye Center ■ 36
mily Schorr always loved using her hands, going so far as to study classical piano at the preparatory division of the New England Conservatory. But over the years, her interest shifted toward eye surgery, where she was still able to use her hands while helping save people’s vision. Schorr, a suburban Boston native who hails from a long line of physicians, attended medical school at Tufts University, completed an ophthalmology residency at Baylor, and a fellowship in cornea cataract and refractive surgery at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, where she continues to serve as an adjunct professor. She moved to Las Vegas in the fall of 2018 and joined Shepherd Eye Center. She specializes in cataract surgery, lens exchanges, cornea transplants, iris reconstruction, ocular surface tumors and refractive surgery. She was among the first surgeons in Manhattan to perform a new type of cornea transplantation called Descemets Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty, and has brought this expertise to Southern Nevada. She is involved in clinical research studies to improve surgical outcomes. Outside of the eye center, Schorr serves on the board of the Nevada Museum of Art and is involved with Jewish Nevada. Schorr’s interests include opera, gardening and tennis. She is the wife of Seth Schorr, a Las Vegas native, and stepmom of Dax, 9, and Mia, 7.
ailing from a small ranching and farming community in Montana, Karl Rutledge was a rodeo clown and bullfighter before increasing visits to the ER prompted a change in profession. Fortunately, he had a back-up plan. “Throughout my childhood, I was fairly certain I wanted to be a lawyer,” said Rutledge, who holds a degree from Montana State University and a J.D. from UNLV. “As for practicing in the area of gaming law, I believe this was pure luck. I was fortunate enough to take a class at the Boyd School of Law taught by Bob Faiss and Tony Cabot, which I parlayed into a job opportunity with Tony, former gaming attorney at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, which I joined in September 2007.” Rutledge has been a partner with the firm since June 2013, and has served as chairman of the gaming industry group since last spring and is responsible for managing and further developing the firm’s gaming practice and providing counsel to clients and the business community about the nuances of gaming, particularly eSports, fantasy sports, sports betting and promotional marketing. He also helps clients navigate the gaming regulatory framework of other states, and sees nothing but continued growth ahead. “It’s a great time to be in Las Vegas with the influx of professional sports, cultural diversification and new industries, all which bring an abundance of opportunities,” said Rutledge, a VGK GoldSuitGuy who is also active with the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Nevada. “With the eSports industry expected to cross the billion-dollar threshold in 2019 — with revenue projected to hit $1.1 billion — Nevada has made an aggressive push toward eSports. This burgeoning relationship between skill-based eSports and traditional gaming will be intriguing in the coming years.”
Director of Public Relations
MGM Resorts International ■ 35
atharine Sherrer was a senior at Emerson College in Massachusetts majoring in theater studies with a focus in costume design and marketing when she developed an interest in public relations. “I interned at Focus Features in its PR department, where I was part of the PR campaigns for movies like ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ ‘The Constant Gardener’ and ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ assisting with special events and press junkets,” said Sherrer, who moved to Southern Nevada in 2010 to join MGM Resorts International, where she has served as director of PR since July 2018. “I work with the team who oversees the publicity for all entertainment, nightlife and sports venues and events for MGM Resorts,” said Sherrer. This can include handling media activities, events and requests for T-Mobile Arena, the MGM Grand Garden Arena and Park Theater, as well as working with PR teams for other shows and nightlife venues. One of her most recent accomplishments was the launch of Lady Gaga’s residency at Park Theater. She said 2019 will bring other events like boxing, UFC, award shows, concerts and festivals. “I’m also looking forward to seeing how the rest of the Vegas Golden Knights season at T-Mobile Arena plays out and I’m excited to help launch of our new resident artists, Aerosmith and Janet Jackson,” said Sherrer, who is originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and supports anything animalrelated, Opportunity Village and Three Square.
40 Under 40
Vegas Girls Night Out ■ 36
Ideal Foods ■ 37
Founder, Owner and CEO
Southern Nevada native who studied entertainment and marketing at UNLV, Bri Steck combined her life-long Las Vegas know-how with her previous experience in marketing, public relations and advertising to launch Vegas Girls Night Out — a boutique concierge service offering insider access to the local party scene — in January 2015. “As a Vegas native, and growing up here in my early 20s, I realized there was a market for planning girls’ trips/activities,” Steck said. “I took my knowledge around the city, coupled with my relationships, to form the perfect business for planning a girls’ getaway to Vegas.” Steck oversees all operations, sales and marketing for VGNO, which is staffed entirely by women, and offers customized party packages ranging from bachelorette parties, divorce celebrations or moms’ nights out. Steck monitors Google analytics and different trends, works with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and monitors all social channels in search of new ideas and updates for the site. “We continue to secure exclusive packages and offerings for our customers,” said Steck, who also serves as the vice president of group sales for SPI Entertainment, oversees the annual “SPI Gives Back” campaign, and also supports research for childhood cancer. “Vegas Girls Night Out is exclusive to selling shout-outs and shots at Thunder From Down Under — and are responsible for driving one-third of the ticket sales for the show — and we also created a new package called the Queen B. It offers shout-outs and shots, an open bar at Buca di Beppo, tickets to Thunder From Down Under and a limo ride. In 2019, we are focusing more on social media and influencers, and will continue to evolve and create new and creative packages for our customers.”
Founder and CEO
Unforgettable Coatings/ Blue APE Painting ■ 38
lthough he is CEO of a $36 million business, Cory Summerhays still drives a truck, carries tools and can often be found with paint on his fingers. “It’s in my nature to take time each week to be on the job site,” he said. Quality and service are central to Summerhays’ business philosophy, which he feels has helped create a loyal customer base and employees. “I place high value on people and building relationships. Company-wide, in four states, we have only lost one individual from our management team in 11 years,” Summerhays says. “Over 70 of our painters have been with us for over five years, some have eclipsed the 10 year mark – something almost unheard of in our industry. ” Summerhays launched Unforgettable Coatings in January 2008 and now operates in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho, with Summerhays founding other companies along the way. “In 2009, we launched an eco-friendly recycled paint manufacturing company, UCI Green Coat, which creates the product used to cover graffiti across Las Vegas,” he said. “A 2017 acquisition of Final Touch Painting solidified our position in the new construction market, and recently we’ve launched Blue APE Painting, an automated, web-based system providing homeowners with an easy home-repainting experience that we believe will be just as unforgettable as the rest of the products and services our other companies provide.”
Las Vegas native who attended UNLV and graduated with honors from the Professional Fitness Institute, Nikki Steven was a fitness expert as early as 22, when she owned and operated a personal training studio. “Then I was inspired to create a food program that would complement my clients’ fitness regimens, and I created my first food product with $150,” said Steven, who founded Ideal Foods, which provides packaged meals, in 2014 and serves as CEO. “My passion to develop food products for my clients now shapes my driven success with Ideal Foods. As a child one of my ‘dream jobs’ was to pretend to have my own business. I would collect my parents unused check registers and expired credit cards and make pretend business transactions. However, I never thought that I would own and operate a USDA- and FDA-regulated food business.” In 2015, Ideal Foods became certified with the National Women Business Owners Corporation as a women-owned and controlled business. Soon after, the company received its grant of inspection with the USDA, which took sales from approximately $300,000 to approximately $3 million in just one year. “Recently, we received certification to manufacture kosher and halal food products,” said Steven, who supports Shade Tree, and also founded the nonprofit Children’s Fitness Foundation in 2009, implementing her fitness and nutrition program, “Move with Us” at several at-risk schools throughout the Las Vegas valley. “Continuing to grow Ideal Foods will allow us to build our dream building. Then we will have the foundation we need to continue to grow and establish Ideal Foods as a national food brand.”
Chief Internal Auditor
Nevada System of Higher Education ■ 38
orn and raised in Ohio, Joseph Sunbury admittedly had rather dry career aspirations. “I realize no kid growing up ever says ‘I really want to be an auditor,’ but I swear that was me,” said Sunbury, who received his degree in accounting from Ohio State University and is a licensed Ohio CPA. “We had an assignment in seventh grade to write an essay about any profession, and I interviewed a partner from a public accounting/audit firm, while my friends were doing essays about much more interesting professions.” A Southern Nevada resident since 2015, Sunbury joined the Nevada System of Higher Education as chief internal auditor in August of that year, responsible for oversight of a statewide team of internal auditors. He also works closely with the board of regents and NSHE management with the goal of enhancing and protecting the system’s value. “We do this a handful of ways, but we attempt to align our resources and skillsets with areas of risk and complexity, focusing on areas where we feel we can add value or help with cost-savings,” Sunbury said, adding that he is most proud of his team’s collaboration around the system. “When I first started, I noticed some misaligned expectations with key stakeholders at each of our institutions. In the spirit of aligning those expectations, we are executing more relevant projects, and that has been mutually beneficial to my department and, hopefully, the system as a whole.” Away from NSHE, Sunbury volunteers as a coach in his neighborhood i9 sports program.
40 Under 40
Craig M. Tann
Huntington & Ellis, A Real Estate Agency ■ 35
Grand Canyon Development Partners ■ 39
Derby Spirits ■ 32
Timeless Cuisine ■ 38
Founder and Broker
raig Tann started building his career when the young Long Island native became fascinated with architecture and creating wealth through real estate. “I watched a friend of mine start in the business under his father’s guidance, and knew that it was my opportunity to learn from a guy who dominated our town in residential and commercial real estate,” said Tann. “I had the good fortune of finding my passion while I was still in school, found my path and stuck with it.” He launched his career in real estate in New York in 2003, relocating to Southern Nevada the following year and landing at one of the largest residential brokerages in town, sharpening his skills until he founded Huntington & Ellis in 2016. “I currently oversee 40 of the most productive real estate agents in Southern Nevada while maintaining and serving a large personal client base,” Tann said. “Since I launched Huntington & Ellis, A Real Estate Agency, we have built an organization that has the highest amount of sales per agent in Southern Nevada. This was a vision I had since Day One, and in 2019, I plan for exponential growth for all of our agents. I have no plans to be the biggest agency in Las Vegas, but we will be known as the most productive.” Active with Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth and a member of the board of directors since 2016, “Since the day we opened, we have donated a portion of every single transaction to NPHY,” he said. “Homeless youth is an epidemic in our city and there is no better place to give back than in your own backyard.”
eff Tomastik’s idea to innovate the spirits industry might’ve sounded bananas at the time, but it has paid off. His company — Derby Spirits, which he cofounded with company CEO Sami Omar in August 2016 — launched its first product, Ambros Banana Whiskey, last year. “I have always gravitated to the enjoyment I get from curating experiences, and there is no better way to be involved in people’s lives than creating a product that genuinely resonates with them,” said Tomastik, Derby’s president. The company created a process that allows spirits to be infused with only 100-precent real fruit, with no added flavoring, syrups or sugars of any kind. As the most popular fruit in the world, bananas were a natural choice for Derby’s first offering, Tomastik said. “Our company is brand new so our biggest accomplishment so far is really getting Ambros from just an idea to a thriving product, and completing our state-of-the-art facility right here in Henderson,” said Tomastik, who has previous experience in the nightclub industry at The Light Group and Hakkasan Group, and for the past two years has participated in the Hakkasan Group Golf Tournament, which raises money for Keep Memory Alive. “We have some of the most sought-after venues in the world carrying our product, and our focus in 2019 is expansion. We have recently launched Ambros in California with New York launching April 1 and Arizona coming later this year.” Tomastik holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in luxury business and services from the International University of Monaco in Monte Carlo.
Executive Vice President
incent Tatum — who holds a degree in international studies and Japanese from Old Dominion University in Virginia — joined Grand Canyon Development Partners in May 2014 as vice president and became executive vice president about a year ago. He made his initial foray into the construction industry while serving in the U.S. military in Japan, working on projects that included constructing temporary and permanent facilities. The Virginia native put this experience to practical use, moving to Southern Nevada in 2006 and finding himself immersed in the construction and real-estate development arenas. He’s worked on a wide range of projects from mixed-use commercial/residential to hospitality and casinos. “I am responsible for the day-to-day management of several corporate business functions to include training, process controls and personnel hiring,” said Tatum. “I’m also responsible for the oversight and management of several portfolio projects for the firm, including the multi-billiondollar Strip project The Drew, where I serve as project executive.” He also served as the project executive for the Credit One Bank commercial project, which not only created hundreds of new jobs, but also won several local and regional awards for design. Tatum, who anticipates additional growth and new business ventures from Grand Canyon Development Partners in the year ahead, recently launched Utility and Permit Services, a business that focuses on expediting permits and consulting for owners who are developing new projects.
Owner and Chef
rowing up in Southern Nevada, James Trees learned about Italian cooking and cuisine in the kitchens of friends and family, honing his skills at the Culinary Institute of America and earning an associate’s degree in culinary arts. He perfected his craft working under chefs such as Michael Mina, Anthony Carron, Steven Fretz, Bradley Odgen, and “for a few unforgettable years, with Gordon Ramsey on his TV shows,” said Trees, who relocated back to Las Vegas in 2017 to open Esther’s Kitchen in January 2018. “When I came back to Las Vegas, my goal was just to bring something I thought was missing to the city, and my response was a simple seasonal neighborhood Italian restaurant that has honestly been far and beyond my expectations,” said Trees, who named the restaurant after his great-aunt Esther, whom he credits as a great inspiration, along with his childhood best friend Alfio. “Having publications call us ‘Restaurant of the Year’ and ‘Best Italian’ and ‘Best of the City’ has been very humbling, but what really matters is making sure every customer has the best experience we can give that, and we have to earn that every day, so I do whatever needs to be done, from breaking down pigs or fish, to expediting food, washing dishes, or taking design meetings for new projects.” Among these new endeavors, Trees recently opened 108 Eats on the 108th floor of the Stratosphere. In addition, Ada’s will open in Tivoli Village in late spring. “And there will definitely be other projects announced before the end of the year,” said Trees, who supports Three Square, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Green Our Planet and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
MARK PRICE President of HealthCare Partners
and the other outstanding 40 Under 40 honorees Thank you for your leadership and commitment to making Southern Nevada a better place!
40 40 UNDER
©2019 HealthCare Partners
40 Under 40
Tuscany Suites and Casino ■ 36
Cannabition Cannabis Museum ■ 38
Director of Marketing
athy Vongnaraj is a self-described South Jersey girl who’s been immersed in the gaming industry since childhood. “My parents were first-generation immigrants who dealt blackjack in Atlantic City, and since I was a little girl I would play casino with them,” said Vongnaraj, who holds a degree in marketing from Rutgers University. Having served as a marketing executive for major casinos such as Aria and Wynn, Vongnaraj is also a Realtor with the Jennifer Franco Group at Simply Vegas. She joined Tuscany as director of marketing in 2018, responsible for player development, marketing, promotions, advertising and public relations. “Tuscany is a privately owned casino, but with my knowledge on how larger casinos run their player-development operations, I am able to bring big-picture operations on a smaller scale but with quicker results,” said Vongnaraj, who revised the players’ club program and incentives. “The process of modernizing Tuscany has been a top priority of mine and I was able to recruit key marketing employees from competitive Strip properties to make that a possibility,” said Vongnaraj, an advocate of no-kill shelters. “Tuscany has been a best-kept secret for a long time, and I’d like to end that.”
J Walker got his start in event promotions as a student. “I learned that I really enjoyed promoting parties, but of course, in high school you have to deal with angry parents, cops and rowdy teenagers,” said Walker, a native of Colorado who has a degree in marketing and public relations from Colorado State University. “Once I entered college, my hobby of throwing parties transformed into a career.” In 2009, with just a $10,000 investment, Walker co-founded a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado. He sold his shares in the venture in 2012 and founded My 420 Tours, one of the world’s first successful cannabis tourism companies. “I never expected to live anywhere else until the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada brought me to Las Vegas in September 2017 to open Cannabition Cannabis Museum,” said Walker, who serves as CEO. The immersive downtown attraction extols cannabis culture from seed to celebration. “I am actively involved in the legal and political process of expanding the recreational cannabis industry into mainstream tourism, particularly providing places for tourists and locals to consume in a public setting,” said Walker, who supports research for Lyme disease. “We hope by this summer Cannabition becomes one of the first (legal, public) experiences in the world where people can have a good time smoking cannabis with friends.”
40 Under 40
Marketing Account Director
Academy Program Director
Kirvin Doak Communications ■ 37
Communities In Schools of Southern Nevada ■ 30
ynn Wetzel credits her passion for creativity to her mother, an interior designer, and her business sense to her father, a finance executive. “Marketing was a natural career path for me to combine my strengths with something that I truly enjoy,” said Wetzel. A native of Southern California with a degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach, she joined Kirvin Doak Communications in November of 2016 as marketing account director, responsible for client development in the tech, gaming, government and nonprofit sectors. She leads strategic brand and campaign direction and oversees creative content development to ensure the team is delivering the highest caliber of output, and also works to build relationships, whether it’s with clients in functioning as an extension of their team, or in establishing strategic partnerships that tap into opportunities to further the goals of clients. “Last year, I led the marketing launch strategy for HyperX eSports Arena, and am proud that our newcomer campaign exceeded endemic performance on major gaming channels,” Wetzel said. “I also recently worked with the Department of Public Safety on statewide campaigns to improve safe driving behavior, and am especially proud of the designated-driver partnerships we put into place with Zero Fatalities, the Vegas Golden Knights and Anheuser Busch.” Away from the office, Wetzel supports Junior League of Las Vegas and is a member of Global Gaming Women.
orn in South Korea and raised in Southern California, Haejin Woo had a dream to design schools, leading her to study architecture at
UCLA. “After working as an architectural designer at a real estate development firm for a $130 million project, I decided I wanted to work with youth in the underserved community,” said Woo. She moved to Southern Nevada in 2014 to join Teach For America to fight for equity in education, and started a teaching career with the Clark County School District as a special education teacher. She joined Communities In Schools of Southern Nevada — which works to keep kids in school — as academy program director in August 2017. “I now work with seven high schools in CCSD and support 10 academy classes within those schools,” Woo said, adding that academy classes identify students at risk of not graduating. Those students are connected with trained site coordinators to help them tackle any obstacles, inclusive of tutoring, mental health services, credit retrieval and mentoring. “There are about 230 students enrolled in the program working on four major pillars: academic growth, career and college exploration, life skills, and service learning. I want the students to be able to recognize their unlimited potential and discover their passion before they leave high school, which can be a compass to guide their future.”
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is proud to congratulate
PATRICK NICHOLS Chief Strategy Officer
for being honored as one of VEGAS INC’S 2019 40 UNDER 40
he true deﬁnition of a leader is someone who has a vision and passion, who embodies honesty, inspires others, who is innovative and is able to lead by example
while never sacriﬁcing integrity in the process. On behalf of everyone at huntington
& ellis, A Real Estate
Agency, we would like to congratulate our ﬁerce and fearless leader, Craig Tann, on being honored as one of Las Vegas’ 40 Under 40!
UNLV Executive MBA past 40 Under 40 recipients: Amanda Klein (2018) Aga Abram (2017) Nikkole Liesse (2012)
Edgar Patino (2011) Gwen Migita (2008) Al Gourrier (2007)
Caroline Ciocca (2006) Steve McCraken (2006) Irene Bustamante (2005)
The Sunrise Health System honors Matt Cova, Chief Financial Officer, MountainView Hospital, for being recognized as one of Vegas Inc’s “40 Under 40.” Congratulations to 40 outstanding business and professional leaders under the age of 40 in Las Vegas.
Congratulations Jessica Halling! St. Jude’s Ranch for Children congratulates JESSICA HALLING, Program Director, on being selected for VEGAS INC’S 40 UNDER 40.
Congratulations 40 under 40! You take the cake!
S U N D AY, A P R I L 2 8 , 2 0 1 9 1:00 - 5:00 PM at the Enclave BENEFITING
Wine Tast ing • Appet izers • Marketplace Best in Shoe • Brunch • Fashion Show by Designer Ber ny Martin with Catou
W I N E W O M E N A N D S H O E S . C O M / LV
www.FreedsBakery.com email@example.com • 702 456 7762 Freed’s Bakery 9815 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89183 Freed’s Dessert Shop 6475 N Decatur Blvd #135, Las Vegas, NV 89131
2 AREA LOCATIONS RAINBOW
7305 S. Rainbow Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89113 (725) 333-8974
249 N. Stephanie St. Henderson, NV 89074 (702) 728-5721
Ask us about catering!
40 Under 40
BE PART OF SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
Every day, beautiful things are happening in Downtown Summerlin thanks to our Vegas Inc. Top 40 Under 40 Honoree Halee Harczynski. As the Marketing Director for Downtown Summerlin, Halee works tirelessly to promote the retail, dining, entertainment and now sports-centric destination with annual visitation exceeding 18 million. Whether sheâ€™s hosting the Holiday Parade, Lunar New Year, Summerlin Festival of Arts or volunteering her time to nonprofits such as Nathan Adelson Hospice or Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada, Halee is always up to something beautiful. Congratulations from all of your family at The Howard Hughes Corporation.
40 Under 40
STITCHED CONGRATULATES THE 2019 40 UNDER 40 HONOREES!
Las Vegas Weekly and Vegas Inc's annual 40 Under 40 Awards celebration. This is the 19th year we have highlighted 40 of Southern Nevada's mo...
Published on Mar 21, 2019
Las Vegas Weekly and Vegas Inc's annual 40 Under 40 Awards celebration. This is the 19th year we have highlighted 40 of Southern Nevada's mo...