The DVA Announces its Board of Directors for 21-22
The voting members of the Downtown Vegas Alliance has approved the organization’s new Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
We are excited to have these remarkable and diverse business professionals join our leadership team. These individuals bring tremendous leadership and industry experience as well as financial and governance expertise. Coupled with their passion for the downtown community, this new Board of Directors will help drive our mission to advocate for downtown and create a thriving business environment in the heart of our city.
Please join us in welcoming them to the Board!
CHAIR OF THE BOARD
Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Patrick Reilly is a commercial litigator who handles a wide range of complex and high-profile business cases, including real estate litigation, shareholder and corporate disputes and class actions. A highly effective advocate, he has tried to conclusion dozens of cases before judges, juries, arbitrators and administrative hearing officers. He has been part of some of the most impacting, historic litigation in Nevada. Combining a practical approach with in-depth knowledge, he assists his clients as they navigate their way through an extremely complex web of laws and regulations. Pat is an author for the Nevada Civil Practice Manual and a Master of the Bench in the American Inns of Court. He also serves as a judge for Nevada’s We The People competition, and is an active Rotarian. He previously served on the DVA Board of Directors as Chair of the Operations Committee.
Bill Paredes leads the Southern Nevada corporate banking team that serves companies throughout the region, including gaming and hospitality venues, contractors, manufacturers, healthcare organizations and more, as well as high-net-worth individuals. He is active in the community as a board member and treasurer for Goodwill of Southern Nevada and as a board member for The Economic Club of Las Vegas. Bill has served two terms on the DVA’s Executive Committee as the organization’s Treasurer.
Owner, Classic Jewel
Ryan Brown is an entrepreneur and community leader from Las Vegas, NV. In 2015 Ryan made the decision to return to Las Vegas to invest in her hometown. She led the charge in opening Classic Jewel cocktail lounge in downtown Las Vegas. Since 2015 Classic Jewel has quickly become a cultural, community hub. The overwhelming amount of support caused Ryan and Partners to expand, doubling in size. Ryan was able to successfully lead the charge in increased gross sales by 40% year over year along with an increased Net Operating Income by 25% year over year. In 2020, Ryan invested in the purchase of the commercial real estate taking her commitment to the growth of her community one step further. Ryan confidently stepped into entrepreneurship with over twelve years of experience working in sports and entertainment. Her primary focus being account management and business development. After graduating college at Arizona State University she went on to work in both Atlanta and New York City. Her career would allow her to work for an NBA and NHL franchise as well as iHeart Radio. While living in New York Ryan managed multi million dollar advertising campaigns. Although she enjoyed the fast pace of NYC the goal was always to return home and transition into entrepreneurship.Ryan uses her platform as a small business owner to remain active in her community. She makes it a priority to regularly speak on community panels, as well as mentor aspiring entrepreneurs.
Vice President, Cragin & Pike
Dulcinea Rongavilla provides business owners with strategic planning, expert guidance, and superior customer service in today’s ever-changing employee benefits marketplace. Dulcinea has over 20 years of experience in executive leadership and business development in Nevada and Arizona. From 2010 to 2013, Dulcinea served as the President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, where she was responsible for oversight of a $5 million operating budget, leading 28 board members and nearly 100 employees. Dulcinea is an accomplished professional who serves on numerous prestigious boards and foundations. She is the immediate past Chair of the Neon Museum Board of Trustees and remains passionate about preserving the bright history of Las Vegas.
Field Marketing Director, Cox Business
Cody Sims offers 20+ years of business experience in product development, product management and marketing. Cody has a talent for guiding successful outcomes for internal and external partners through thoughtful and innovative solutions. His experience covers strategic business development, market analytics, market share capture plans, product evangelism, and operational excellence. Throughout his career, he has received numerous company awards including excellence in performance awards from Windstream Communications, McLeodUSA, Cinergy Communications, and Norlight Telecommunications and while at Cox received six market performance awards, two Marketing Excellence awards, and the president’s “Winner’s Circle” Award. Cody has been a member of the Cox team since January of 2012 and has led the Las Vegas team to marque successes in product deployments, meaningful customer engagements, and critical sponsor partnerships with both the Aviators at the Las Vegas Ball Park and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium, all contributing to double-digit market growth. In collaboration with the Nevada Governor’s Pandemic Response team, the Elaine Wynn Foundation, Communities in Schools, and Clark County School District, Cody helped ensure 100% of all CCSD students and families had access to high speed, broadband internet access for the 2020-2021 school year.
Director of Brand Experience, Zappos
Tyler Williams heads up Zappos Brand Aura; a group that specializes in creating Zappos’ unique and quirky persona via events, campaigns and experiences nationwide. Tyler started his journey at Zappos as a Fungineer creating company rituals like “Boots and Shorts Thursdays” and “Tutu Tuesdays.” Prior to joining the Zappos in 2011, Tyler did everything from production and construction to drumming for a rock band!
Senior Account Executive, Lyft
Jillian is an international speaker, entertainer, producer, Intuitive Life Design Coach, and Senior Regional Sales Executive with Lyft that takes a holistic approach to empower people to achieve success in their career, relationships, health, and pursuit of purpose through harnessing the power of authenticity. In her role at Lyft for the past 5 years, Jillian helped launch and grow Lyft to become a leading rideshare transportation service here in Las Vegas. Both in her professional role at Lyft and her personal life, Jillian is a curator of community relationships and opportunities. Jillian is a SoHo Playhouse Las Vegas 2021 grant recipient to develop the off-Broadway play she’s developing that will premiere in Downtown Las Vegas. Prior to Lyft, Jillian worked in sales/marketing in hospitality and entertainment for TAO Group, ESPN, and Disney. Jillian earned a B.A. from GVSU in Communications with an emphasis on content creation. In addition to her position at Lyft, Jillian enjoys performing on stage (specifically with the Righteous Brothers in their Las Vegas residency), producing film/tv shows, writing, event production, traveling, and swing dancing. Jillian has previously served on the DVA’s Board of Directors as a Member at Large.
ARTS & CULTURE CHAIR
Deputy Director, Nevada Museum of Art
Heather Harmon leads the effort to establish an art museum in Symphony Park and works with Museum staff and trustees to build community relations and research efforts, to fundraise, coordinate the architecture selection process, co-produce pop-up events, and more. A native of Las Vegas going back several generations, Heather Harmon is a seasoned project manager who is well-connected in the international contemporary art world and speaks Spanish as a second language. She received her B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and M.A. in theory and criticism from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. From 2008 to 2013, she worked as director of Regen Projects in Los Angeles where she managed a stable of established artists, oversaw exhibitions, worked directly with clients, museum directors and curators worldwide, and was responsible for procuring sales. Most recently, she led advancement efforts for Artists Space in New York.
MEMBER AT LARGE
President & CEO, Fremont Street Experience
Andrew Simon has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment and hospitality industries. Since 2007, Simon served as chief executive officer of sports for Mark Cuban’s AXS TV. Simon created the AXS TV Fights brand and professional sports strategy that grew network distribution by 700% during his tenure and made history with the first nationally broadcast live sporting event from Fremont Street Experience. Before joining AXS TV, Simon worked for COX Communications in Las Vegas as vice president of marketing and sales where he conceived the award-winning “Channel 1 Guy” campaign. Prior to COX Communications, Simon held executive positions with COX Business Services | Hospitality Network, NXTV and Deloitte.
MEMBER AT LARGE
CEO, Fifth Street Gaming & Chairman of Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino
Seth Schorr is an internationally known hospitality and gaming expert with over 20 years of experience, specializing in building strategic alliances with organizations to align and drive business strategies. As the CEO of Fifth Street Gaming, he owns and operates five casinos and over fifty food and beverage concepts. Schorr also serves as the Chairman of Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino, an authentic urban casino resort he developed from the ground up. Schorr is endorsed for his ability to build and scale profitable casinos focused on optimizing business performance, delivering superior guest service, and achieving growth and profitability.
He is continually on the forefront of introducing cutting edge technology and processes to create a competitive advantage. Schorr has held various senior executive and board positions at several international hot
els, casinos, and resorts, including Bellagio Hotel & Casino, The Mirage Hotel & Casino and Treasure Island. He began his hospitality career in 1991 serving on the executive leadership team with Wynn Resorts where he developed the International Marketing department in Macau, the Interactive Gaming division, and The Wynn Collection of Fine Art. Seth has served on the DVA’s Board of Directors for many years as the Communications Chair.
MEMBER AT LARGE
CEO, Co-Founder, and Chief of Security at Protective Force International
Jonathan Alvarez leads a team of over 200+ elite Security Officers, including K9 Officers, Investigators, and Command Staff Officers all with the goal of keeping the State of Nevada safe. Jonathan is a 17-year law enforcement, military, and security industry Veteran with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Leadership with honors and is an Internationally Credentialed Counter Terrorism Practitioner.
MEMBER AT LARGE
Partner, KRE Capital LL
A partner at KRE Capital LLC, a private equity firm in Beverly Hills, CA since March 2014, Uri Vaknin oversees the firm’s largest investment – five condo properties comprised of 1,300 units in Las Vegas, Nev. valued at more than $450M and purchased in partnership with Dune Real Estate Partners and Northcap. For the portfolio, which, today includes The Ogden and Juhl in Downtown Las Vegas and One Las Vegas on South Las Vegas Blvd., Vaknin assumes full management. This includes sales, marketing, advertising, PR, social media, leasing operations, design of common spaces, landscaping, furnished models, construction of common spaces, unit upgrades, and lender and investor relations. Uri has previously served on the DVA Board of Directors as Vice Chair and the Arts & Culture Committee Chair.
IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR
President & CEO, The Mob Museum
Jonathan Ullman is responsible for leading the organization that has been named both a “Top Workplace” and “Best Museum” by the Las Vegas Review Journal and ranked #20 on TripAdvisor’s list of top museums in the United States. Jonathan has spent over 20 years in a variety of management and leadership roles within the nonprofit industry. Jonathan’s museum career began at Liberty Science Center, New Jersey’s most visited museum, where he was intimately involved in the strategic planning and operationalizing of the facility following a $109 million capital expansion. Over the years, Jonathan served in numerous capacities with responsibilities including intensive staff management, program oversight, and external relations. Immediately prior to joining The Mob Museum, Jonathan was the president and COO at the National Soccer Hall of Fame, where he led the dramatic transformation of the organization’s operating model. Jonathan has served two terms on the DVA’s Executive Committee as the organization’s Chairman and has helped lead the organization’s growth to help it become one of the most vital resources to businesses in the downtown community.
DF: Downtown was great as a kid and it is even greater as an adult. I love all of downtown’s hidden gems, its vibrancy, history and sense of connection. Rae is relatively newer to Las Vegas, but just as passionate about downtown. Downtown lends itself to the shared experience, and as a couple we both love seeing this part of the city through each other's eyes. Photo: Lucky Wenzel- Dayvid Figler and Rae Lathrop
Some of the best nights I’ve experienced started out with no plan other than walking around to check out what’s going on. The great thing about having so many bars and restaurants downtown is the ability to move around if you’re not feeling the vibe in one place. There are plenty of options just outside the door. Photo: Lucky Wenzel- Rob Ponte
The downtown Las Vegas of today has much to attract residents - a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene, growing diversity of businesses, and major centers of art and culture. Plus, living downtown I am easily within walking or biking distance of it all. Photo: Lucky Wenzel- Brandon Wiegand
It is always a pleasure to deal with the city of Las Vegas’ economic development department. The staff is really interested in helping create a positive business environment to work with.- Hank Gordon, Chairman of Laurich Properties
As our company continues its rapid growth, we quickly realized the need to set up a formal U.S. headquarters. We explored multiple cities and were about to make the move to San Francisco, and then we heard about the complete reinvention of downtown Las Vegas. Coming from China where things are booming and growing, we love that downtown Vegas now has a similar vibe of energy and change. Not only is there an exciting tech community here and much lower costs than the Bay Area, but we love the fact that almost every industry group brings their conventions to our front door once a year.- Jonathan Jenkins, Founder & CEO of OrderWithMe
We love the vibrancy and energy of Las Vegas, and downtown is at the heart of it all. That's why we've launched our mobile platform with a focus on downtown. This is an exciting time in Las Vegas history, where community, commerce and technology are all converging at once. Downtown is our city's hidden gem.- Andy Hsieh, Owner of Lux Delux
We chose to relocate from the suburbs to downtown for several reasons. Our brand image and that of downtown’s mesh perfectly. The new downtown Las Vegas reflects a more hip, startup, social media-style image. Additionally, downtown’s emerging technology corridor, anchored by Zappos, is an environment that enhances our ability to recruit the types of technical skill sets required for our continued growth and success.- Ramesh Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Partnerships of SocialWellth
I think downtown Las Vegas is a unique blend of intimacy and great energy. Plus, in contrast to The Strip, it’s so easy to walk around…The Golden Gate has been here for over 100 years and with all the changes going on downtown, it feels like a new era. It truly is a renaissance—the rebirth of a classic.- Mark Brandenburg, President of Golden Gate
The city has been great in helping us with the licensing and procedures necessary to start a business. There hasn't been a brewery built in the city of Las Vegas for probably 10 years. So for them it hasn't been a typical ‘cut and paste’ thing. We're something different. It was a team work process to get us opened – a lot of talk and listening on both sides. And now the city started opening up the doors for other breweries once we were up and running. Good news for us and good news for the future. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)- Roberto Mendoza, Co-owner of Banger Brewing
This downtown area… is emerging and where many events are happening.- Alexandra Epstein, Executive Vice President of El Cortez Casino Hotel
The city and the department of economic development have been very helpful to us and all the other downtown business owners. It’s such a community here, and everyone asks you what you need. That kind of help launching a business is amazing and priceless.- Meghan Mossler, Owner of Stitch Factory
The city is so supportive of new businesses. Things are popping up constantly. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)- Pamela Dylag, Co-owner of Velveteen Rabbit
Downtown is becoming very much in demand…there’s a limited supply. Run fast, don’t walk.- Marc Abelman, CFO & Co-owner of Inside Style
For a while, downtown was one of the only places in the valley you would see cranes when you drove around. It was nice that city government stepped up and the private sector married with the public sector to create amazing projects that filled the gap. That was very important for us.- Sam Cherry, CEO of Cherry Development
Our business is booming amid the foot traffic on Fremont Street, and we’ve started to see how tourists are falling in love with downtown as they discover it. In the past year, we’re increasingly hearing things like, ‘Wow, next time we’ll stay downtown instead of on The Strip,’ or ‘We’ve visited downtown many times, but this is the first year we’ve actually stayed in a downtown hotel.’ They like that there is more to do within a smaller walking radius.- Johnny Jimenez, Owner of Toy Shack of Las Vegas
Historically, downtown Las Vegas has not been a top destination for many locals, but in recent years… that trend is reversing itself. Given all the recent openings and progress, there’s much to explore and experience downtown.- Rich Worthington, President and CEO of The Molasky Group of Companies