2017 Finalists

Hareesh Achi
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Hareesh Achi

Operations Manager, Microsoft
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Hareesh Achi leads the operations for $7B Advertising Business of Microsoft for the America’s and Asia regions.  Within a span of 2 years Hareesh has transformed the business by defining clear vision to the team, going after the bold ambitions of the organization and delivering success that supported a 15% annual growth of the Advertising business at Microsoft. Hareesh has a strong passion for community development and strongly believes that technology can help improve lives of every person and every community.  It’s with this belief that Hareesh has been actively engaged in the community to bring technology awareness among high schoolers and university students through hosting and leading the Microsoft Reno Hackathon and collaborating with other tech companies in the region.    Hareesh holds a Master’s degree in computer science from Illinois institute of technology and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from University of Chicago Booth school of business
Kevin Annis
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Kevin Annis

Broker/Principal of ArchCrest Commercial Partners
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Kevin Annis, SIOR, CCIM is the Broker, Principal and a founding member of ArchCrestCommercial Partners. Annis is a licensed Nevada real estate broker with over 12 years of experience dedicatedspecifically to the leasing and sales of commercial properties and associated investment sales in NorthernNevada. Over the course of his career he has been a part of over 400 transactions totaling well over 5 milliontotal square feet. As the firm’s broker of record, Annis is in charge of overseeing and managing all aspects ofthe commercial brokerage company. In 2014, Annis and his partner, Mike Van Blaricom, were awarded theNorthern Nevada Summit Award for Largest Single Lease Transaction.Annis is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in business administration and minorin Physics and has also received the designation of a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) fromthe CCIM Institute and the SIOR designation from the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®. Theseorganizations encompass the brightest and most professional members of the commercial real estate industry.In 2010 and 2015 Annis served as the president of the CCIM Northern Nevada Chapter.Prior to forming ArchCrest Commercial Partners, Annis worked with its predecessor Tanamera CommercialBrokerage Company where he was responsible for the leasing and sales of millions of square feet of developedprojects, as well as maintaining and building a substantial outside brokerage business. Prior to that, Annisspent four years as an office leasing and investment sales specialist with Colliers International where hereceived numerous awards and was a finalist for rookie of the year company wide.Annis is very active in the Northern Nevada community where he is a two time past President and formersecretary board member for the CCIM Northern Nevada chapter, member of the Reno/Sparks Chamber ofCommerce and a graduate of the Sparks Chamber of Commerce PACE Leadership Program. Annis also sits onthe board of directors for the Northern Nevada Children Cancer Foundation and the Northern Nevada Autism Coalition. Annis was one of the founders, current chairman and a critical part of theSummit Awards, an annual awards ceremony dedicated to the recognition andcelebration of commercial real estate development and brokerage, where he was also a winner of the Extra Mile Award.
Zeina Barkawi
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Zeina Barkawi

Senior Vice President, Staffing Manager at Bank of America
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Brianna Bullentini
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Brianna Bullentini

Creator, Rawbry
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Brianna Bullentini, Founder of RAWBRY and Scratch BRIANNA BULLENTINI is an experiential and architectural designer with a passion and focus of development strategy that builds community. After living all over the world, Brianna moved back to her hometown of Reno in 2014 to spearhead the reimaginationof Reno’s old Downtown Post Office. Leading the design andprogramming, she transformed the historical building into an urban underground marketplace called The Basement, which has since become a beacon of the ‘new Reno.’ She took one of the spaces herself to open her first business, RAWBRY. RAWBRY is an alternative lifestyle brand and cold-pressed juice bar. When The Basement was complete shefurther led redevelopment of Downtown Reno by bringing West Elm to the area, which was the first national retailer in downtown Reno in over 30 years. Recently, she single-handedly brought UberEatsto the Reno market as well. Working very closely with The City Of Reno on different policies and initiatives, Brianna was asked tobe one of three leaders of the Downtown Development Board, as well as one of nine on the Reno Tahoe International Airport Boardthis past year. Her efforts of change got her an invite to give a TEDtalk on ‘design as problem solving’ in 2015, on top of earning the ‘Visionary of the Year’ award in 2016 by EDAWN. Brianna has a Bachelors in Sustainable Architecture from ParsonsSchool of Design in New York City. Which led her to work for the prestigious design firm ICRAVE for 3 years, as well as work as Michel Jordan’s personal designer, and on the show Extreme Makeover Home Edition.Currently she is focusing on design & developmentfor clients across the country, with an extra passion on thereimagination of her hometown, Reno.”
Melissa Davies
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Melissa Davies

Benefit Solutions Consultant, Clark and Associates
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Melissa joined the Clark & Associates team in 2007 and is a licensed Benefit Solutions Consultant. She hasalmost 10 years of experience assisting employers and HR professionals with comprehensive employee benefit solutions. The development of creative insurance solutions for employer groups of all sizes is Melissa’s specialty.Melissa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences from the University of Nevada, Reno & is licensed inboth Health & Life insurance as well as Property & Casualty insurance. She also received her Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) designation in 2013 and is a graduate of the Reno Sparks Chamber Leadership Program and the Washoe County Medical Society’s Mini-Internship Program.
Eaton Dunkelberger
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Eaton Dunkelberger

CEO, Sierra Nevada Journeys
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I am Eaton Dunkelberger and am very proud to lead our incredible team at Sierra Nevada Journeys.  Outdoor science education is a passion of mine and when not at work you can find me outside with my family exploring nature.  I have had the pleasure of watching Sierra Nevada Journeys grow to now educate 30,000 kids annually with high-impact outdoor and science education programs.Before joining SNJ, I led a startup business unit for McKesson. Prior to McKesson, I started a business in Kabul, Afghanistan; helping companies like Coca Cola Bottling and Serena Hotels implement successful Afghan hiring programs. I am an USMC veteran, and served as an Infantry Platoon Commander in Iraq in ’03. I earned my MBA at London Business School, a BS in Biology at Stanford University, and researched water and environment policy at the Brookings Institute. I proudly serve on the Board of the Marines’ Memorial Association in San Francisco and Sky Tavern in Reno. I live in Reno, NV with my wife and two children.
Andy Durling
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Andy Durling

Principal - planning | urban design
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Andy has over 18 years of experience serving both public and private clients across Nevada, California and Arizona. He has developed numerous plans that address the need to revitalize aging main streets and transportation corridors, an issue common to most communities. He demonstrates a keen ability to provide planning recommendations that address revitalization issues through complete street improvements, redevelopment opportunities, streetscape and urban design, and multimodal network enhancements. Andy has also completed several parks and recreation master planning efforts at the county-wide, neighborhood-wide, and regional park levels. Andy is especially skilled in public outreach and is often sought out to lead public engagement campaigns that reach diverse interest groups, build trust in the planning process, and foster reasoned dialogues surrounding contentious issues. Andy’s land development design and entitlement resume includes a diverse mix of projects that range from small urban infill to very large master planned communities. Whether single family, multifamily, commercial, office, industrial, mixed use or public facility, he has an in-depth knowledge of design requirements that translates to successful projects. Andy is able to represent clients in front of any board, commission or council and is a skilled consensus builder with diverse audiences.Andy has served in various leadership capacities with the American Planning Association, Nevada Chapter for the past 14 years. He currently serves as the President for the Nevada Chapter, providing leadership of chapter operations and representing the State of Nevada at national American Planning Association leadership forums. In 2015, he was named a Next City Vanguard and recognized as a top urban influencer in North America under the age of 40.Andy and his wife Ciera have five children and when the rare occasion presents itself, he may be found enjoying a glass of wine with his lovely wife, coaching and sharing his love of baseball, golfing, fly fishing, or firing up the barbeque smoker.
Shane Dyer
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Shane Dyer

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Shane Dyer is a business manager and director of various companies. He understands Project Management from financial, development, engineering, and construction perspectives. He is a registered Professional Engineer and has a masters degree in Civil Engineering from BYU, with a minor in Business Management with an entrepreneurial emphasis. As Vice President of Dyer Engineering Shane has been responsible for sustained growth of the company and expansion into new engineering sectors. He manages major infrastructure projects throughout the region including, dams, roads, developments, water infrastructure, mining, and aviation engineering. Mr. Dyer was awarded Young Engineer of the year by the American Society of Civil Engineers for 2014.In 2014 Shane Started Tricor construction as a design-build sister company to Dyer Engineering. The companies first contract was the Fox Peak Movie Theater in Fallon Nevada. The projects was built in 10 months for 12.5 Million, on schedule, and within budget. The company is currently building projects, and working towards there own development projects.Shane acts as a director of Key Medical, Inc. A company that he started with two business partners in 2012. Key Medical is a provider of durable medical equipment and now has 20+ Employees with major contracts from Hometown Heath, St. Marys, Medicare and others. The company controls a significant market share for medical equipment in the region. In the community Shane is on the Athlos Charter School Board, he is active in his church, and currently teaches Sunday School to the 7 year old class. He is an eagle scout, and has 4 sons with his wife Lauren Dyer.  
Colby Frey
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Colby Frey

Frey Ranch Estate Distillery, Churchill Vineyards, Frey Farm, LLC.
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Colby Frey comes from a long line of Nevada farmers. In fact, Colby’s Great-Great Grandfather owned some of the first deeded property in Nevada. Colby’s heart has always been in farming, as a young boy he loved to move dirt with his toys and now as an adult, not much has changed. Colby (the single largest water/land owner in the Lahontan Valley) owns 1400 acres of contiguous farm ground in Churchill County and leases/farms another 1000. This dream came to fruition after graduating college. Seeing the problems young farmers face including high land costs and water issues, Colby wanted to create something that could sustain his family’s future in farming for the next 150 years and started Frey Ranch Estate Distillery where all of the primary ingredients for the spirits are grown on his farm. His proactive approach has allowed Colby, through crop rotation, to maximize his yields. He prides himself in utilizing grains and grapes grown on his own farm to create award winning products.In addition to owning Frey Ranch Estate Distillery, Colby also has a successful forage crop business, Frey Farm, LLC. His nutrient rich alfalfa is sold throughout Nevada and California. The Frey Family legacy is proudly shared every day, by Colby, through the award-winning spirits, where you can taste a quality that isn’t just made, but nurtured – from grain to greatness, from batch to bottle, From Ground to Glass™.
Lindsey Harmon
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Lindsey Harmon

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Lindsey Harmon served as Executive Director of Connect Nevada where she lead Connect Nevada’s involvement in state broadband and technology leadership initiatives with public and private sector stakeholders, including the Nevada Broadband Task Force. She also managed Connect Nevada programs including local broadband planning, broadband inventory mapping, research, and community solutions support. Lindsey served as the primary spokesperson to local, regional, and statewide media regarding Connect Nevada programs. She has worked tirelessly for the last 7 years, under guidance from the Governor's Office to improve broadband infrastructure across the State. Next time you make a phone call in Baker, NV you should think of her. Lindsey previously worked at Inyo Networks building and selling fiber optic networks. She also worked as an Alumni Relations Manager at the University of Nevada, Reno. Lindsey holds a bachelor of arts in journalism, public relations, and advertising, as well as a master of arts degree in secondary education from the University of Nevada, Reno. 
Jennifer Henderson
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Jennifer Henderson

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Professionally: I graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio w/ a Bachelors in Management. I managed various teams & programs for JPMorgan Chase for 8 years w/ the last being a Leadership Development Program that I created, implemented and managed prior to joining Intuit almost 6 years ago. Since being at Intuit, I’ve managed a Quality Program, implemented a Leadership Development Program, led Quickbooks Payroll Chat, Email and Social Media channels and am currently a BPO manager responsible for all Canada Quickbooks customer experiences. Personally: I’m born and raised in the great state of Texas w/ country roots. I’m recently engaged w/ plans to marry in September of 2018. My fiancé and I have been together for 5 years and have a beautiful fur child named Lucy. We love the outdoors and traveling to new places near and far!
Rikki Hensley-Ricker
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Rikki Hensley-Ricker

Director of Operations
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Rikki became part of the Bristlecone Family Resources team in 2014.  She has spent more than a decade working in the non-profit sector.  From youth programming to health centers, she believes in working for organizations that fill a service gap in our community. Rikki obtained a BA in political science from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.  She is also a 2016 graduate of the Chamber Leadership Reno-Sparks program.  Rikki has served on a variety of boards, Nevada State PTA, Great Basin Primary Care Association, Soroptimist International Truckee Meadows (President), and Making a Difference for Women Event (chair), as well as coaching girls softball and volunteering for local community agencies.  Rikki grew up in Carlisle, Ohio, and transplanted to Reno in 2006.  She and her son, Caleb and daughter, Madelyn are glad to call Reno their home.  When Rikki is not working, parenting, or volunteering, she is running her favorite loop through downtown and midtown, enjoying on of the many great restaurants in town, or planning her next adventure with her beau, Matt.
Erik Jimenez
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Erik Jimenez

Director of Legislative Affairs
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Erik Jimenez currently serves as the Director of Legislative Affairs for Argentum Partners, which is a public affairs firm in Nevada. In this role, Erik has been at the forefront of advocating for substantial reforms to Nevada’s special education system, and has represented a variety of health care, gaming, mining, technology, energy, and nonprofit clients at the Nevada legislature.Active in state and local politics since 2008, Erik has quickly established himself as a young leader in Nevada politics. In 2009, he interned in the Office of former United States Senator John Ensign, where he assisted constituents in communicating with a variety of federal government agencies. Then in 2013, Erik worked under former U.S. Congressman, Cresent Hardy during the 77th session of the Nevada Legislature.Erik also believes in being involved with his community and currently serves as the Chairman of the Reno Access Advisory Committee, on the Board of Trustees for United Cerebral Palsy of Nevada, and also volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada. Erik holds both a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Nevada Reno.
Sarah Johns
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Sarah Johns

Anchor, KOLO 8
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KOLO 8 Anchor Sarah Johns joined Reno’s number one television station in October 2007, after several years in Reno broadcasting.Sarah began her television career in Reno after graduating from the University of Nevada in 2000 as a news editor. She then worked her way up the ranks and became a news producer, but in the back of her mind Sarah always wanted to be reporting on camera. So, she moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho in October of 2001 to gain some on-air experience and worked at the ABC affiliate there for two and a half years. As soon as that contract ended, Sarah came back “home” and worked as an anchor and reporter for three and a half years at another local station in town.Sarah’s reporting has run the gamut, from interviewing Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Mike Pence, riding in a Blue Angel F/A 18-Hornet to witnessing the 2006 execution of Daryl Linnie Mack. And her experiences have garnered her several awards. She is a three time Emmy nominee. Sarah was also recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists three times with two awards in Business and Consumer news reporting, and an award in Feature reporting.Sarah also received the Kristine Nagy-Johnson award from the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Task Force for her commitment to children and families with her Have a Heart series.Sarah is an active member of the Junior League of Reno; having served on the board as Chair of Marketing and Communications. Sarah was also a member of the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network. And Sarah served as a Regional Vice President for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences NorCal Chapter.Sarah is very proud of the fact that she is a former Shriner’s Hospital patient and wants people to feel free to ask her about her experience in the hospital.Sarah and her husband, Good Morning Reno anchor Dave Lawrence, had their first child this year.
Nathan Kanute
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Nathan Kanute

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Nathan is a proud Arizona Wildcat - graduating from the University of Arizona Eller College of Business and Management in 2002 with a BS in Business Economics and the James E. Rogers College of Law in 2005. After law school, Nathan spent two years clerking for Justice Michael Ryan at the Arizona Supreme Court before moving back to Tucson, Arizona to join his recent bride, Lisa, and the law firm of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. Nathan has spent ten years working for Snell & Wilmer and its clients in Arizona, Nevada, and California, the three states where he is licensed. Nathan represents corporate and financial services clients in transactional matters and litigation in state court, U.S. District Court, and U.S. Bankruptcy Court.Nathan and Lisa moved to Reno in 2014 and jumped right in to the community. Nathan has been a member of the Reno Red Mass steering committee since 2013 and chaired or co-chaired the event on a couple of occasions. Additionally, Nathan and Lisa became licensed foster parents in 2014 and have been fortunate to care for six wonderful girls during that time. Nathan and Lisa have adopted two of their girls and are looking forward to adopting two more. Nathan also became a member of the Washoe CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Foundation Board in April of 2016 and currently serves as the board secretary. As a CASA Foundation board member, Nathan hopes to increase the number of CASAs available to foster children and increase the financial resources available to CASAs and foster children.
David Lewandowski
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David Lewandowski

Associate, Fennemore Craig
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David is a corporate attorney at Fennemore Craig who has a passion for advising entrepreneurs and tech start-ups on legal issues that arise during the formation, financing, and operational phases of a business.  He counsels businesses and entrepreneurs in understanding their risks, effectively solving legal and strategic problems, and designing strategies to structure and capitalize on opportunities.  One of his recent accomplishments involved working with Dragonfly Energy, a Reno based startup, with their 2MM Series A financing.  David’s dedication to Northern Nevada’s startup community was recognized by NCET this year by naming him the “Technology Advocate of the Year.” He has been selected 3 times as a Mountain States Super Lawyers Rising Star & as Nevada Business Magazine Legal Elite.  David earned his JD/MBA from Gonzaga University and a BBA in Business Economics from the University of San Diego.  Since 2011, David has tremendously enjoyed serving as a big brother for BBBS of Northern Nevada.  David has previously served as a board member for the Women and Children’s Center of the Sierra, as well as, Safe Kids Washoe County.  David currently is the treasurer of Entrepreneurship Nevada, and a board member of Entrepreneur’s Assembly, which focus is on assisting and mentoring early staged businesses. 
Amber Maraccini
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Amber Maraccini

Director Of Special Projects, Renown Regional Medical Center
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Amber M. Maraccini, PhD is the Director of Special Projects and Interim Service Excellence Director at Renown Health. She received her Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno, where she studied the human behavior in organizations. Dr. Maraccini has served as a student officer for the Nevada Association for Behavior Analysis and as the previous awards coordinator for the Organizational Behavior Management Network. Her professional interests include the study of communication and motivation as it applies to organizational leadership, and the application of behavioral systems analysis to guide the assessment and improvement of patient experience within healthcare.
Brock Marquez
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Brock Marquez

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Colie McManus
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Colie McManus

Marketing Director, Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows
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Marketing director, Colie McManus is responsible for delivering membership growth, improving awareness and increasing donations for the 21 Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows sites across northern Nevada. Earlier this year she and her team secured the Club’s second Gold Award for Best Comprehensive Marketing Strategy in the United States from Boys & Girls Club of America. When she’s not at the Club, she’s in the gym leading high-intensity boot camp classes, and spinning sweat sessions. Colie has a passion for youth development and athletics so she marries the two by coaching youth soccer. “Calmly teaching someone else’s nine-year-old how to keep both feet on the ground during a throw in, may be one of my life’s greatest achievements.”She has served on several non-profit boards, but her longest tenure is with the American Advertising Federation of Reno, where she served as President in 2016. The organization prides themselves on their ability to award university scholarships for young adults pursuing journalism or marketing careers. Colie believes the best way to spend a paycheck is on concert tickets and travel.
Jake Merrill
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Jake Merrill

Jag Specialist
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2016-17 JAG Specialist of the Year, Jake Merrill has worn many hats over the years.  He has worked as a plumber, truck driver, car salesman, motorcycle mechanic, forklift operator, and short order cook, all before finding his passion in working with at-risk youth.  He brings these manifold experiences as well as his passion to bear in the classroom, working as a JAG Specialist, helping guide students through their most trying high school years and sees them off into the real world of college, military service, the workforce, or a combination.Jake was born in Los Angeles, California, and is not only a first generation college student, but a first generation high school graduate as well.  His own personal struggles in high school and after have helped him to develop a unique perspective and insight into the minds of the at-risk students in his classes.Jake plans on continuing with JAG and continuing to advocate for his students and is looking forward to seeing the organization grow as its continued successes become more publicly known.
Jason Oetjen
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Jason Oetjen

CPA/Shareholder
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Jason Oetjen is a CPA and Shareholder at Pfrommer & McCune, Ltd. A Reno native, Jason graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Jason currently focuses his practice in the tax area of the accounting profession, working with individuals, corporations, partnerships, trusts and estates, and non-profit entities. Prior to becoming a CPA, Jason worked in business development at the Nevada Small Business Development Center and in research and analytics at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Truckee Meadows Community College. Jason and his wife, Suzanne, have a ten-year old daughter named Mia.
Eric Olson
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Eric Olson

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Kate Patay
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Kate Patay

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Nate Pearson
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Nate Pearson

CEO & Co-Founder of Trainer Road
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Courtney Pino
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Courtney Pino

Employee Benefits Consultant at Assured Partners Consulting
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Courtney recently joined Assured Partners Consulting as an Employee Benefits Consultant. In her role as a consultant, she helps companies create unique benefits strategies that help promote their company culture as well as help to recruit and retain their workforce. In addition, she specializes in all aspects of employee benefits consulting, including compliance, cost containment, negotiations, wellness programs, communications, human resource support and general new business development of a wide range of small to large size businesses.Courtney is also a member of the Rotary Club of Reno Centennial Sunset, is the current Reno Programs Chair for the Northern Nevada Human Resource Association, is a “Big Sister” for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada, and is involved in Toastmasters, the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network, and the Builders Association of Northern Nevada (BANN).
Mary Powell
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Mary Powell

Executive Director
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Andrea Quiruz
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Andrea Quiruz

Director of Marketing & Special Events
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Andrea has the immense pleasure of working for the PGA TOUR’s Barracuda Championship, a local level-A professional sporting event and nonprofit. The Barracuda Championship, operated by the Reno-Tahoe Open Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) centered on giving back to a number of worthy charities. To-date they have donated nearly $4 million to charities and schools and are working hard every day to grow that number.She is also the proud owner/lead content writer for RenoContent.com. She spend my nights and weekends helping small businesses drive traffic to their websites using engaging and honest content marketing. She has fun writing blogs, editorials, web pages, product descriptions, you name it. As a graduate of University of Nevada, Reno and a long-time resident of northern Nevada, Andrea is proud to serve her community as a member of the Board of Directors for both NCET and Each One Tell One.
Ty Rogers
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Ty Rogers

Director of Sales & Marketing, Quick Space
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Kylie Rowe
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Kylie Rowe

Vice President of Relocation & Corporate Services
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Kylie Rowe is the Vice President of Relocation and Corporate Services at Dickson Realty. She is a Trustee on the Board of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) and a Team Member of TEDxUniversityofNevada. Kylie was the founding Assistant Director of the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship in The College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno and the President of Nevada's Graduate Student Association. She studied Economics as an undergraduate, later earned a Masters in Social Work and completed a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2017. Kylie is a contributor to This is Reno, Getaway Reno/Tahoe, and she was recently named “Best Talk Show Host of Northern Nevada”. Follow Kylie online @KyRoBiz!
Peter Sewell
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Peter Sewell

Description
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Like many I don’t particularly like writing about myself, but I’ll try and paint a quick picture for you of who I am, and what I’ve done. I was born and raised in a small town in Northern California by two of the best parents a person could ask for. I spent most of my youth, outside of school, either playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors in one form or another. After high school, I enlisted in the Marine Corps, and volunteered for the infantry. I did a number of tours in Iraq including being part of operation Phantom Fury, the battle of Fallujah. I grew up very quickly in the Marine Corps. It was some of the hardest years of my life, but also some of the best. I had the honor of fighting side by side with some of our nation’s greatest men, as well as the honor of leading some of them in combat. I learnt the true meaning of service, sacrifice, hard work, and espirit de corps.After finishing my active duty time in the Marines I was accepted to the University of Nevada Reno. At UNR I majored in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I even managed to graduate with straight A’s. Something that to this day I still don’t believe I was able to accomplish. As my time in the Marines helped to truly shape my character my time at UNR did the same for my relationships. I had the pleasure of meeting, and working with, some of the most amazing folks over those couple years. I was also able to spend a lot of time serving at my church, and in the surrounding community. It was during my time at UNR that I fell in love with Reno.As much as I enjoyed Reno, and my time at UNR, I felt the draw of serving this great nation again. So, after graduation I got on with the operational side of the State Department. I went back overseas, working out of the Embassy in Afghanistan, and did high threat protection and counter terrorism operations for the next few years. They were some intense years of hard work, lots of traveling, and crazy adventures, but I loved every minute of it. I finally decided it was time to come home, and really set my roots somewhere. I could think of nowhere else I’d rather be than Reno. I got accepted to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and jumped at the opportunity. I’ve been with the Sheriff’s Office now for a little over four years. I worked in the Jail for a short period before getting a spot as a Bailiff at the District Court house. After a couple years as a Bailiff I transferred to the patrol division where I am currently working. Two years ago I had the tremendous pleasure of marrying a truly wonderful woman, my wife Ciera. She is an absolute inspiration to me, and pushes me to be a better person every day. I am also currently in the Nevada National Guard where I specialize in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as well as natural disaster preparedness and response.I consider myself a simple man that has been truly blessed in his life. Looking back I’m amazed and humbled at everything that my life has been so far. I’ve traveled the world, felt true pain as well as true joy, given much, lost much, gained even more. I’ve learned what love is, and what it isn’t. I thank God every day for the opportunity to serve Him, this country, this community, and all the incredible people in my life. I’ll end there with a quote from the scholar B. Currington, God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.
Katie Silva
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Katie Silva

Corporate Communications Manager
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Katie Silva is the Corporate Communications Manager for Peppermill Resorts Inc. She is an accomplished marketing professional with over 12 years of experience in internet and traditional marketing, advertising, social media, and public relations. After receiving her B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University, Katie soon found her niche in the hospitality industry. Her past positions have included marketing for the prominent La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, and the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau (San Diego’s tourism authority). Since moving to Reno in 2010, she has worked at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, where she was promoted from Internet Marketing Manager to Corporate Communications Manager, with job responsibilities ranging from managing the Peppermill’s social media presence, to making online and traditional ad buys, to overseeing the redesign and relaunch of the Peppermill’s website, to serving as the company’s public relations spokesperson. Katie is a passionate participant in giving back to the Reno community through her activities in several community groups, including the Junior League of Reno. Katie is heavily involved with the advocacy group Dysautonomia International, where she has received several proclamations from City and State leaders to help raise awareness of dysautonomia. In her free time, Katie enjoys spending time with her husband, Steve, and their three children: Aidan (3), Avery (1.5), and Graham (1.5), whether at Lake Tahoe or dining at a locally-owned restaurant or bakery or taking in a community event.
Don Tatro
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Don Tatro

Executive Director, The Builders Association of Northern Nevada
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Don Tatro is the executive director of Builders Association of Northern Nevada (BANN). He formerly served as the director of public affairs and membership for BANN. He is a board member of the Builder Association Charity, Chairman of the City of Reno’s Building and Development Task Force, and a member of Washoe County’s Operational Effectiveness Committee. Tatro started working at an early age in construction and for local horse trainers. Since then, he has acquired a wide range of experience from working for a large risk management firm to working in the United States Senate and on various political campaigns in Washington, D.C. He later successfully launched his own small business – an appraisal management company– and was partner in a development group focusing on rural healthcare needs.He is a Carson City native and earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.Tatro was drawn back to Reno to be close to family. He is excited to be back in northern Nevada with his wife and two children, who are his motivation to be an active participant within the community.
Melissa Taylor
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Melissa Taylor

Executive Director
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Melissa Taylor is currently the Executive Director of Reno Little Theater: Nevada's longest-running community theater. With RLT since 2013, Melissa is originally from Atlantic City, NJ where she spent over a decade working in entertainment at the Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa as the Box Office and Showroom Supervisor managing rooms for acts like The Rolling Stones, Jerry Seinfeld, Janet Jackson, Billy Joel, and many more. She holds a BA in Theater Performance from Stockton University and an MA in Arts Administration from Rowan University. An avid believer in the importance of community engagement and the healing power of the arts, she has been privileged to serve on the Board of Directors for the David J. Drakulich Art Foundation (with whom she still works as an Advisory Board Member) and to work on arts projects with several other community organizations including Step2 and Renown Children’s Hospital. In addition to her administrative role at RLT, Melissa regularly directs and occasionally makes her way to the stage. Melissa is also the proud mom of Maddie and Chase, and can't wait to welcome her third kiddo this Spring.
Michael Tragash
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Michael Tragash

Community Manager
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Michael Tragash is a community connector and storyteller, who also happens to be Yelp.com’s Reno Community Director. His mission is to tell the #storiesbehindstorefronts, connecting us with great local businesses, organizations, and hip happenings in our community. Think of him as a one-man PR and marketing agency for local businesses, organizations and events. Combining synergistic partnerships, creative marketing, engaging social media campaigns, interactive and experiential events, Yelp Reno’s Local Yelp newsletter, and strong local media relationships, he’s able to shine a spotlight on the brave business owners, non-profit professionals, and event organizers who have chosen to share their passions with us. Ask Michael for a recommendation and you’ll not only find out where to go, but also who you’ll meet walking in and a little bit about what makes that business so special. What’s the latest and greatest? Cocktails at Stamp Social Club in The Basement, and the diversity of Indian cuisine offered at Bawarchi in South Reno. When he’s not sharing stories one-on-one, he’s keeping us connected as a recurring contributor to Mornings On Fox 11, 100.1 The X, Edible-Reno Tahoe, and most other local media outlets. Most importantly though, he’s a true advocate for our community, and a very accessible local resource! He’s been named one of the American Advertising Federation’s “Ad People of The Year”, “Influencer of the Year” by the American Marketing Association, and recognized by state and local government for his work in spreading the good word about everything in the Biggest Little City. If you’re interested in connecting with Michael and the Yelp community, email [email protected], find Michael T on Yelp, and on all other social platforms as Yelp Reno.
Vanessa Vancour
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Vanessa Vancour

Editor, Noticiero Movil
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Vanessa is a former TV anchor with a passion for bilingual storytelling. She is passionate about equity, inclusion and thoughtful diversity initiatives. In 2015, Vanessa launched the first bilingual, Spanish-English newsroom for Reynolds students at the University of Nevada, Reno called "Noticiero Móvil." The innovative program was made possible by the Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. In February of this year, she launched a print version of the student work in the area’s first bilingual magazine titled “Somos Nevada” in an effort to make the content accessible to all members of the community. Earlier this year, she also delivered a TEDx talk at the University of Nevada, Reno in which she challenges the public to face and manage their assumptions about others.
Rudy vonRavensberg
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Rudy vonRavensberg

Co-Owner & Psychotherapist
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Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, a Galena High alum, and a two time University of Nevada graduate, Rudy von Ravensberg is a co-owner and psychotherapist at Great Basin Behavioral Health and The Anxiety Treatment Center of Nevada.  In mid 2018, Rudy will complete his Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and is presently working toward finishing his doctoral project, which focuses on the treatment of anxiety disorders.  Rudy founded Great Basin Behavioral in 2013 and has been instrumental in growing the agency to our current capacity, which serves over 200 families per week and is presently staffed with 15 committed professionals.  Additionally, along with his business partner Chris Edwards, Rudy has committed to ongoing charitable work, including his committing funds annually to Swope Middle School’s Panther Prowl fundraiser, founding and fully funding the annual Jason Walenta Memorial Scholarship at UNR, and providing ongoing pro-bono work through a partnership with the University of Nevada as an educational placement for graduate student interns as part of their Master’s and Doctoral degree programs.  In his free time, Rudy is a devoted trail runner and loves camping with his wife and two children.
Chandler Walker
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Chandler Walker

Entrepreneur Founder StoneAgeFuel/Out of the Cave Media/CMO MadLab Business Group
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Chandler Walker is an entrepreneur who has built successful business from the ground up. While studying Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Nevada Reno Chandler started a blog he called StoneAgeFuel devoted to dispelling the myths in the fitness and supplement world.The blog garnered a following all over the world and he was quickly invited to speaking in many different fitness businesses about the concepts in the blog. From this Chandler opened StoneAgeFuel in Reno NV focused on Fitness for Life and Youth Weightlifting and sports performance. With his experience in the gym industry and understanding how to build relationships Chandler was brought on to be the Chief Marketing Officer for the MadLab Business Group where he designed a global strategy to propel the group into a customer centric model and ultimately build a relationship with followers of the brand. Armed with the concepts, strategies and execution of the concepts from relationship marketing Chandler started Out of the Cave Media. A large scale media organization devoted to building a culture of caring in as many businesses as possible by focusing on the relationship with consumers and building an environment to where staff and customers are always happy and excited!
Jennifer Walker
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Jennifer Walker

Director of Clinical Excellence Renown Health
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Jen Walker was born and raised in Sparks, Nevada. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Nevada, Reno. She began her career at Renown Health in 2002 working in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit. Jen is currently the Director of Clinical Excellence where she is committed to ensuring that patients and families receive safe, effective and compassionate care. After her husband unexpectedly passed away in 2015 she started The Journey Within, Inc. TJW is a local non-profit organization established to help ease the way for young families, widows and widowers suffering tragic loss. Earlier in the year Jen was honored by the Nevada Women’s Fund as a Northern Nevada Woman of Achievement.
Shay Wells
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Shay Wells

Attorney, Woodburn and Wedge
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Shay L. Wells is an attorney at Woodburn and Wedge. His practice focuses on business and corporate law, entity selection and formation, mergers and acquisitions, and real estate and other commercial transactions. Shay is a former president of the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network and former chair of YPN’s Community Involvement Committee. During his time as chair of the Community Involvement Committee, Shay oversaw the rebirth and rebranding of YPN’s Non-Profit Night, which has since grown into Northern Nevada’s largest event showcasing local non-profits. Shay was also the 2013 recipient of the Nevada Legal Services “Champion of Justice” award, and regularly gives his time to various community activities and pro bono events.
Cortney Young
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Cortney Young

Mediator
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Cortney Young is a Mediator at Fennemore Craig, P.C. Her approach to dispute resolution combines years of litigation experience with a pragmatic problem solving style. She has resolved disputes ranging from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of millions of dollars.Ms. Young spent over a decade with the Litigation and Trial team at Chapman Law firm, which has resolved millions of dollars annually in eminent domain and other real property claims. Additionally, Ms. Young was a key player in the firm’s ADR Litigation practice, and she continues that work at Fennemore Craig, P.C., representing clients in mediations concerning complex civil litigation.Ms. Young’s mediation practice is focused on the resolution of litigated disputes, including, but not limited to, asset valuation, securities, breach of contract, homeowner association disputes, foreclosure and super-priority mediation, trust disputes, boundary disputes, landlord-tenant, and complex civil litigation. Ms. Young is available for mediations throughout the United States.