Welcome to the inaugural Nevada Business Awards! Thank you for being a part of this very special issue. There is a reason Nevada is known as the Battle Born state. Apart from the way Nevada became a state, the title resonates with Nevadans because of the resilience and perseverance it implies.
Battle Born is particularly applicable to Nevada businesses and entrepreneurs who have seen a rollercoaster of economic ups and downs over the past decade. Those that are still standing work leaner, better and are more adaptable to change.
The Nevada Business Awards exist to recognize these Battle Born businesses for their efforts and to applaud their hard work. The awards consist of eight distinct categories from micro enterprises to Business of the Year. Each category has three finalists in northern Nevada and three from southern Nevada. Finalists were chosen by two groups of judges representing both ends of the state and were selected from nominations submitted on their behalf.
The editorial team at Nevada Business Magazine thanks the judges for their work to choose the finalists. We also recognize that without our sponsor, Nevada State Bank, we would not be able to honor these businesses. Finally, we thank you, the business owners and executives that make up Nevada’s diverse professional landscape.
We hope to see you at the event this year and look forward to recognizing many more businesses in the future.
A special thank you to the distinguished panel of judges for their work in identifying this year’s finalists out of hundreds of nominees and for the unenviable task of choosing this year’s winners.
- Connie Brennan, Nevada Business Magazine
- Ann Silver, Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce
- Dave Archer, NCET
- Nancy McCormick, EDAWN
- Rick Thomas, Nevada State Bank
- Robert Hooper, Northern Nevada Development Authority
- Sam Males, UNR Small Business Development Center
- Jeff Leake, SCORE
- Joe Amato, Small Business Administration Nevada
- Lisa Chao, Henderson Chamber of Commerce
- Mary Beth Sewald, Vegas Chamber
- Megan Comfort, Nevada State Bank
- Mike Bindrup, UNLV Small Business Development Center
Small but Mighty
Hall and Wrye Plastic Surgeons
Founded by doctors Wesley Hall, Jr. and Scott Wrye over 20 years ago, Hall and Wrye Plastic Surgeons is a testament to friendship and how similar outlooks create success. Dr. Hall and Dr. Wrye attended their specialty training together and have been best friends since their residency days. They share a patient-centric philosophy that has helped them succeed over the years. With nine fulltime and seven part-time employees, the doctors believe that their size allows patients to build trust and creates lasting and meaningful relationships.
Sierra Nevada Properties
Hal Plummer began a realty company in San Francisco in the late 70s. That company was eventually purchased by his son, Darrell Plummer, who expanded it to have offices in Reno, Fallon and Fernley. Today the residential brokerage firm has over 100 independent contractors but only seven full-time employees. Because of the small size of the office, each of the team members understand their importance to the overall success of the company and they are able to achieve big things together.
A neighborhood wine shop with over 100 wines for $25 or less, Vino 100 brought accessibility and affordability to wine lovers. The Reno store is owned by Karen Hyatt-Miner and has overcome everything from a partnership split to shutdowns because of the COVID pandemic. Throughout it all, Vino 100 and the small staff that make it successful, are dedicated to helping their customers navigate the sometimes confusing world of wine. Karen has gotten creative with what Vino 100 offers. Services include corporate wine tastings, nightly wine flights, microbrews and hand-crafted drinks known as “Karentini’s.”
The former leader of a CPA firm, David Chavez founded Assured Strategy after encountering growth problems at previous companies he had owned. Realizing that business owners needed to have a solid strategy to grow effectively he set out to provide coaching to executive teams and develop services to address some of the biggest issues affecting business growth. With a team of nine full-time employees, David and Assured Strategy have the goal to, “Guide 100,000 lives through change by 2030.”
Central Nevada Hardware
In the days of online retailers, community hardware stores are few and farther between. However, in Tonopah, midway between Las Vegas and Reno, Central Nevada Hardware is still serving the community. Purchased by husband and wife, Zach and Vikki Newell a few years ago, Central Nevada Hardware is a staple in the Tonopah community. It was founded a little over 15 years ago. Today the store remains a small, family-owned operation with the Newell’s, their three children and the community, all pitching in to make it successful.
An organization that creates custom phone booths and isolation solutions, Cubicall was founded by brothers Anthony and Nick Pucci. After seeing first-hand the challenges of privacy in an open office plan, the brothers sought out a way to solve the problem. They began by looking for old-school phone booths and quickly realized this was an issue that would require custom solution. Today, Cubicall helped launch the growing office privacy pod market. The organization is a micro enterprise with less than 10 employees and the Pucci brothers appreciate the flexibility their size gives them to pivot and seize opportunities.
All in the Family
Founded in Reno, Fingerprinting Express is a family run business that has grown to four locations and 20 employees. The organization was founded by Becky Rogers and her daughter, Monica Pappas, as a fingerprinting business. Now three generations are involved in the family business which has a generational succession plan. Leadership for Fingerprinting Express believes family is responsible for the company’s growth allowing ownership to be in several places at once to support employees and customers.
Frank Lepori Construction
Frank Lepori began Frank Lepori Construction from his garage in the mid-80s. Since then, he has seen booms and busts in northern Nevada but has remained committed to serving his community with his work ethic and craftsmanship. While some of Frank’s family do work in the business, more importantly, in his mind, is the dynamic family culture that runs throughout the organization. The construction firm has 82 employees. Several of his long-time employees have family who work for the business as well.
Nearly 50 years ago, owner Eric Robnett’s parents built a two-car garage next to their home to house Nevada Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. In 1997, they purchased their first shop off of Mill Street. Today, the business, known simply as Nevada Heating, has grown to a new facility in Spanish Springs, with customers throughout northern Nevada, nearly 30 employees and multiple job trucks and trailers. Eric took the company over from his family and continues his parent’s legacy.
Anyone in the building industry can speak on the challenges of permitting in Nevada. George Garcia saw those challenges firsthand as planning director for the City of Henderson. Realizing he could help, George founded G.C. Garcia just over 25 years ago with the intention of guiding developers and residents through the complex government process. His daughter, Melissa Eure, started as a receptionist during her summer vacation and now serves as president and owner along with her brother, Jordan Garcia, who is legal counsel for the organization.
Helix Electric was founded in 1985 by Gary Shekhter. The Nevada division began in 2001 and is ran by Victor Fuchs. The company is the largest merit shop electrical contractor in Nevada and has over 600 employees in the state. Gary’s son Boris is now president of Helix Electric and Victor’s son Lawrence is an assistant project manager in the Nevada division. Leadership believes that their family culture has been instrumental to developing a “people first” environment which has been a direct contributor to growth.
At just 17 years old, Nathan Whittacre began a computer repair business with his father, Jarrad, and brother, Brett. The company was known as Whittrio, Inc. and Jarrad and Nathan worked out of Brett’s garage to repair computers and install network equipment. Nathan eventually took over the family business and renamed it Stimulus Technologies. What began as a part-time gig for two brothers and their dad, has now grown to a technology firm that has 28 employees and serves over 300 local businesses.
Minority or Woman-Owned
King Dry Cleaners
Aristotle and Angelica Alquiza immigrated from the Philippines in 1993 and opened a restaurant in 2007. After selling the restaurant, the husband and wife opened Dry Cleaner Express as a delivery service. Entering the industry with no experience, the Alquiza’s joined the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute to learn from the ground up and began cold calling casinos and local businesses to acquire accounts. Today, the business has grown and is known as King Dry Cleaners. Aristotle is proud to say that the company retained one of their first and largest clients and continues to serve them with hard work and integrity.
Founded by sisters Kristen and Katie Giacomini, Flow Designs is an interior design studio. A dream shared with their mom, the company is part design studio and part event space and boutique. Kristen started the business in 2016 and, when the organization became an LLC in 2019, her sister Katie came on board to assist. When COVID caused the studio to close its doors, Kristen and Katie continued working and adjusted to a new way of doing business. Kristen said one of the biggest challenges the two face as women business owners is navigating the challenges of being successful while being good moms.
Working for a consulting firm out of Las Vegas, Karen Purcell relocated to Reno at the age of 28 to start her own firm. Even though she had a couple clients to begin with, Karen faced challenges when moving to the “Biggest Little City”. Reno decision makers prefer doing business with other Reno companies and newcomers sometimes struggle to break in. “As a face with a new business, and as a woman in a heavily dominated male field, it took time to earn trust, become part of the community and build a professional reputation,” explained Karen.
Business Continuity Technologies
Founded by brothers Lester and Earle Keizer, Business Continuity Technologies (BCT) was born as Connecting Point in the early-80s. It started as a retail store for computers and printers and has evolved to sell hardware and software to casinos. The brothers grew up in Southeast Asia and they believe part of their strength comes from incorporating a diversity of cultures which leads to unity and loyal employees. As the brothers plan to retire, they are working toward making an employee-owned enterprise and have already begun by naming some employees minority owners.
Community Management Group
Courtney Murphy began Community Management Group (CMG) in 2009 to implement some ideas she had from working in the homeowner’s association industry. She started with the intention to run her business with a strong ethic and integrity. “At the end of the day, anyone can make promises to a staff member or client but it’s the follow through that sets us apart,” said Courtney. A young female entrepreneur, she’s faced challenges and had to prove herself, but Courtney believes her woman-owned status allows her to be more equitable and fairer across the board.
Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
Dr. Rex Liu has been a hard worker since his first job at the age of 10 selling golf balls at the Dunes Country Club. Dr. Liu became a dentist at the young age of 24. He took over the practice of another dentist in 1992 and has since worked hard to make Family and Cosmetic Dentistry the practice it is today. As an Asian business leader, Dr. Liu has seen more challenges in the general practice of doing business than in his ethnicity. His advice to business owners is to, “Find the joy in what you do and try to make your workplace someplace your staff enjoy and can contribute.”
Founded by longtime friends Tabitha Schneider and Fred Turnier in 2019, the Reno Hive is an innovative co-working space and business incubator in downtown Reno. Tabitha credits the success of the Hive to experience and research prior to opening and said, “Being a serial entrepreneur has helped.” She believes it’s important to constantly reevaluate the market and competitors, stay customer centric and give back to the community. The Reno Hive donates 5 percent of profits to local entrepreneurs and organizes volunteer days for members of the community.
Thrive was founded by Kat Geiger after she saw a need for a fully integrated wellness clinic in northern Nevada. “We know the best health outcomes for patients occur when primary care, therapist, psychiatry and any other providers are openly and regularly communicating in an integrated team environment,” she explained. In a short time, the organization has grown to 40 full-time and 30 part-time employees. “I have learned so much about our community, the tremendous network of providers we already have and the continued need for additional mental health and medical providers in the community,” Kat added.
Having established Tolles Development Company (TDC) just five short years ago, Par Tolles hit the ground running. The organization has already acquired several thousand square feet of commercial real estate to develop and has partnered on the 105,000 square foot, $65 million mixed-use project, Village at Rancharrah. Par has a strong history in northern Nevada, and he believes he has a responsibility to help build a better community. He and TDC do this through creating developments that benefit both businesses and residents of the community.
Sergio Montegrande was in the real estate business for 17 years before he opened Bella Vita at the District with his wife, Alex. His passion for food, people and music has turned the restaurant into something special that brings back customers night after night. “Sergio is definitely the reason this restaurant is as successful as it is,” said Giovanna Paolella, director of food and beverage operations. “He really interacts with all the customers, makes relationships with them and makes them feel like family. That’s what we’re about here, we’re definitely not just a restaurant.” Sergio hopes to have five locations in the southern Nevada community.
Founded under the belief that modular housing can be both innovative and efficient, Boxabl is a company that creates living spaces that can be delivered and set up in just one day. Paulo Tiramani, Galiano Tiramani and Kyle Denman founded the organization in 2017. They hope that, through Boxabl, a new standard for building construction that is affordable, high quality and sustainable can be created. One of the challenges the organization has faced is learning how to scale up a massive manufacturing factory in just a few months. They are working through that challenge and expect to ship their first product, the Casita, within a year.
Protective Force International
With 170 full-time employees and 34 part-time employees, Protective Force International (PFI) scaled up in big way in a short time. Founded by Chief Jonathan Alvarez and Deputy Chief Andre Scott, the company was formed to provide professional security. After seeing security guards at the October 1 shootings struggle with administering first aid and trauma care, Jonathan realized lives could have been saved had they been better trained and equipped. He attributes the success of PFI to the investment in his employees and community as well as the team he works with.
Luther Haws was a self-employed master plumber and sheet metal contractor. While making the rounds as a sanitation inspector, he noticed a need for a better way for children to have drinking water in public school (they were all drinking from a shared tin cup). He created the world’s first drinking faucet and Haws Corporation was born. The company moved to Nevada in 1977 and is still family run today. Each new generation of leadership is taught to build the business and enact service leadership to hand over a better company than the one they took over.
Founded by Russ Sheltra in the early 70s, Bonanza Casino is a staple in northern Nevada and run today but Russ’ son and general manager, Ryan Sheltra. “You must have honesty and integrity in your business dealings,” explained Ryan. “When my father started this business in 1973, he never needed a contract. If he said he was going to do something, he did it. I try to live by the same principles.” Ryan credits the Bonanza’s long run and success through the years to a focus on customer service, quality service, loyal guests and outstanding employees.
A residential HVAC shop, Sierra Air was started, and is run today, by Ronald Ford. He believes that if you treat your employees well, they’ll treat your customers well and your business will be a success. He advises any company that is looking to be in business for a long time to build a support network, be specific with goals and find a niche and stick to it. Today Sierra Air has 95 employees and the organization gives back to the community through a variety of events including Food Bank of Northern Nevada, Humane Society and Volunteers of America, just to name a few.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers
One of the most recognized cancer care centers in the Southwest, Comprehensive Cancer Centers was founded by a group of renowned doctors to bring a variety of cancer care needs under one roof. The organization is run today by Jon Bilstein who attributes its success over the past 47 years to the organization’s clinical research programs, technological advancements and investments in local medical education. Comprehensive is strongly entrenched in the community and the organization is working to support patients and families fighting cancer in a comprehensive, holistic way.
Investment Counsel Company
Randy Garcia, CEO of Investment Counsel Company (ICC) founded the business after a five-year thoughtful process of writing a solid business plan, raising capital and forming the groundwork before opening. His patience paid off and today, Randy’s company is a nationally recognized investment advisory company. Randy’s advice for new companies just starting out is to, “Be overprepared. Think three, four steps ahead and never take business-related risks too lightly.” He added that, “It is less costly to learn from the mistakes of others versus our own.”
Dr. Leon Steinberg moved to Las Vegas in 1958 to serve as the first radiologist at Sunrise Hospital. There he saw a need for a patient-friendly approach to medical imaging and an idea was born. With his son, Dr. David Steinberg, and Dr. Mark Winkler serving as his partners, he started Steinberg Diagnostic Imaging 30 years after moving to southern Nevada. The organization is dedicated to their team members and the community. Steinberg was founded on Dr. Leon’s philosophy that, “If you practice great medicine, patients will follow.”
Philanthropy and Giving
Originally known as Laxalt, Berry and Allison, the law firm Allison MacKenzie was founded by George Allison, Peter Laxalt and Robert Berry. The firm has made a commitment to serving northern Nevada and its leadership believe their success is directly tied to the strength of the community. One of the firm’s founders, George Allison, said it best. “I believe we all have a responsibility to pay forward the fortune of our own lives. I don’t think you can really be successful if the community around you is not also successful,” he said.
Nevada Gold Mines
A joint venture between Barrick and Newmont, Nevada Gold Mines was created just a few short years ago and is now the single largest gold-producing complex in the world. Leadership at the organization believes that profitability of the business and corporate social responsibility go hand in hand. In 2020, the company invested $2.35 billion in the Nevada community. In addition, $9.9 million in COVID community relief was given to Nevada’s at-risk populations and $5.5 million was invested in education in the state. The company’s vision is to create long-term value for all of Nevada.
Sierra Car Care and Tire Center
Founded by Steve Yarborough when he was just 20 years old, Sierra Car Care and Tire Center is an auto repair station. Steven, and his wife Laurie, run the business and together started the Gas for Goodness program. The program adopts a different organization each month and, every Wednesday, the company donates one cent for each gallon of gas sold from the business’ three service stations. The selected cause is featured on Sierra Car’s social media outlets to help raise awareness for local non-profits. In 2019, the company donated over $12,000 to local charities.
Broadbent & Associates
Bob Broadbent formed Broadbent & Associates with a mission to build long-term client relationships by providing scientific solutions to comprehensive resource management challenges. Led today by Doug Guerrant, president, Broadbent leadership and staff have made building relationships and giving back to the community a tenet of the company’s mission. The organization has a passion for promoting STEM to encourage students to pursue career opportunities in that field. Some organizations that Broadbent support are Robert Taylor Elementary, the Karma Box project and the Shade Tree.
CIM Marketing Partners
Started by Darcy Neighbors 25 years ago, CIM Marketing Partners is a local marketing company. In 2003, Darcy spearheaded the creation of DJs for PJs to collect pajamas for children in need. Garnering assistance from local radio DJs, the nonprofit is transitioning from a once annual collection to a year-round collection that directly benefits Child Haven, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and Safe Nest. Since its inception, DJs for PJs has donated over 100,000 pajamas. CIM continues to provide pro bono marketing services to charities throughout southern Nevada.
Founded by Dr. Robert Taylor, Dr. Harris Knudson and Dr. James Lum, Desert Radiology is run today by Richard Bodager, executive vice president and CEO. The company is Vegas-born and leadership has a strong commitment to southern Nevada. In 2020, Desert Radiology donated over $200,000 in monetary contributions, services and equipment. The diagnostic imaging organization supports a multitude of local nonprofits, and its team members are empowered to leverage the company’s resources to make impactful changes in the Las Vegas Valley. The practice has a “DR Do-Gooders” team who have donated thousands of hours of volunteer work in the community.
Hearts Wide Open
Elko Friends in Service Helping (FISH)
The mission of Elko FISH is, “To determine and provide for the needs of individuals seeking urgent or supplemental assistance in Elko County and surrounding northeastern Nevada. Through compassionate service, we strive toward a goal of renewed hope, dignity and self-sufficiency for all.” Ran by Sherry Smith, Elko FISH has stepped up in the midst of the pandemic to help the community. The nonprofit received over 524,500 pounds of food and offers a food pantry, thrift store, mail service and emergency assistance, among other services.
Note-Able Music Therapy Services
A music class transformed into a performing group, the Note-Ables, which has transformed into a nonprofit. Manal Toppozada, who founded the nonprofit recognized a need for creative outlets for people with disabilities. The organization has multiple programs that bring music therapy to nearly 2,000 individuals. Note-Able’s mission is, “To create lasting change in the lives of people of all abilities through music. The organization’s primary purpose is to improve the social, mental and physical health of our community through intentional and research-based music interventions.”
Veteran’s Guest House
Founded by Chuck Fuklerson 30 years ago, Veteran’s Guest House was formed in response to the overwhelming number of spouses, families and veterans traveling who had nowhere to stay when seeking medical care in northern Nevada and, in some cases, ended up sleeping in their car. The Veteran’s Guest House is a resource for service members and their families during times of medical need. The organization’s mission is, “To provide veterans and their families temporary overnight accommodations when receiving treatment at a medical facility in the Reno-Sparks area.”
Nevada’s Jewish Federation
A movement that started in 1935 as a pathway for donors to support the Jewish Community, the Jewish Federation was founded in Nevada in 1966. The organization’ is overseen today by Stefanie Tuzman, president and CEO. Jewish Nevada supports the community through a variety of programs and activities and was able to provide over $400,000 of relief to those facing hardship from the COVID pandemic. The mission of the organization is to, “Engage our community to invest, enrich and ensure the vibrancy and continuity of Jewish life in Nevada, Israel and around the world.”
Nathan Adelson Hospice
Nathan Adelson Hospice’s mission is to be, “The hospice of choice, employer of preference, training center of excellence and the community’s trusted partner for comprehensive end-of-life care. Our vision is that no one should end the journey of life alone, afraid or in-pain.” Founded by Irwin Molasky it is run today by Karen Rubel. The 400-employee strong organization is named for a beloved hospital administrator, Nathan Adelson, after he lost his battle with stomach cancer. The nonprofit is southern Nevada’s first home care hospice and has set the standard for hospices nationwide.
Special Olympics Nevada
Founded in 1968 as a way for people with intellectual disabilities to showcase their talents in sports, the Special Olympics is recognized worldwide. Special Olympics began in Nevada in 2001 and is run by Terrence Thornton. Their mission is, “To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.” In the midst of the pandemic, Terrence credits his, “small but mighty” team for their ability to provide social engagement for a sometimes-marginalized group of people.
Spirit of Nevada
Business of the Year
After moving to Reno in 1950, John Dermody started a regional franchise. After selling the franchise, he kept the building, became a landlord and started a legacy. When his son, Michael began working for the firm he quickly saw that having an inventory of commercial properties for customers was critical. He founded Dermody Properties to hold that inventory. The rest is history. “Nevada gave us the opportunity to become what we are today,” Michael said. “The Nevada community has embraced us and given us the space to grow and learn.”
Founded by friends Jeff Lynch, Dan Allen and Darryl Bader, ITS Logistics is a third-party logistic company providing creative supply chain solutions. When it began, ITS brought each of the founder’s strengths under one roof, combining logistics, distribution and strong financial knowledge. The combination clearly worked; the company broke $1 million in revenue in its first year of operation. Today the business is run by CEO Scott Pruneau and is set to have record growth in 2021. It has been ranked 35th in the nation within its industry and recently created a charitable giving committee to help support northern Nevadans.
Originally known as the Washoe Health System, Renown began during the 1862 smallpox outbreak and became Nevada’s first hospital when the state was formed. Today Renown has over 100 sites and has added a nonprofit insurance plan to its roster. At the helm is Dr. Anthony Slonim, president and CEO who has guided the hospital through the challenges of a worldwide pandemic. Renown has been at the forefront of innovations during the COVID outbreak and has received national recognition for the efforts made. Dr. Slonim appreciates the challenge Nevada poses with its low-rankings and has taken tangible steps to address the challenge of community health in comprehensive ways.
American Nevada Company
Began by Hank and Barbara Greenspun, American Nevada Company was formed to develop what is now known as the 7,800 acres that comprises Green Valley in Henderson. The company is run today by Phil Ralston, president, who oversees company growth. His advice to other companies hoping to be successful is simple, “Do business in southern Nevada!” American Nevada has illustrated how vision can change landscapes. The Greenspuns, and Phil today, are strong supporters of the community and have given back in a multitude of ways.
James “Big Jim” Cashman moved to southern Nevada in 1905 in search of opportunities. With his entrepreneurial spirit, he found them. He began a stagecoach line, automobile dealership, the state’s first franchised airline and the annual festival, Helldorado Days. He was also heavily involved in the building of Hoover Dam and Cashman Equipment was created to sell the project tractors. Today Cashman is owned by MaryKaye Cashman, the wife of Big Jim’s grandson, Jim Cashman, III. She has been instrumental in its success today.
Founded by George Tate just over 60 years ago, TSK Architects has one of the most recognizable portfolios in the Southwest. Some of the company’s designs include McCarran International Airport’s Terminal D, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and the UNLV Student Union, among others. J Windom Kimsey runs the company today and has been a champion for Nevada communities. TSK recently moved their headquarters to downtown Henderson, recognizing the boom potential of the area. Looking forward, leadership at TSK has been working to help solve the challenges of climate change through sustainable building.