Month: June 2014

Tesla in Reno

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The possibility of Tesla opening a battery factory in Reno has been the hot topic lately, and it’s no surprise. Tesla’s decision to move here would change this area dramatically. First, they would bring 6,500 skilled jobs to the region, which will lower our unemployment rate and remove Nevada from the top of the unemployment list. The bigger discussion is the ripple effect those jobs will have on the region. The facility by itself is supposed to be 10 million square feet, and therefore the construction industry will be the first to benefit from the decision. Once the facility is built, all 6,500 employees will need support businesses, which will create more jobs. Support businesses could be anything: dry cleaning, entertainment, home improvement, etc. The RGJ posted article that estimated 6,500 jobs would bring a total of 15,500 jobs.

In addition to the obvious job impact, there could be implications in unknown markets. Support businesses for Tesla would likely pop up, bringing additional skilled jobs in the lithium battery manufacturing field, among others. This could assist in creating the landscape entrepreneurs in Reno are dreaming of. If new businesses can emerge from Tesla’s decision, it could put Reno on the map as an entrepreneurial hub. In addition to attracting entrepreneurs, Tesla’s decision would likely attract other businesses. In fact, the publicity they are already generating isn’t bad for Reno. They would increase our list of existing corporations: Apple, Patagonia, Amazon, Microsoft and more. This would also assist in bettering Reno’s reputation.

Tesla’s decision would not come with out some negative impacts: We currently have very low inventory in the housing market. This low inventory has caused housing prices to increase quickly. This is good for homeowners, as many will see their equity restored, or rising. However it’s bad for buyer’s because it will increase competition, and even push some buyer’s out of the market. For example: If a buyer is qualified up to a $150k purchase price and housing prices increase significantly, that person may not be able to find anything. If Tesla’s decision has an immediate effect on average income, qualification may not be a problem. But I don’t think Tesla’s decision will cause other employers to increase wages, at least in the short term. Schools and freeways will also become more crowded, as well as ski resorts. Overall I think Tesla in Reno would bring many more benefits than problems. If you think Tesla in Reno would be a good thing, pat yourself on the back. If you think it would be a bad thing, punch yourself in the face. I’m just kidding, don’t do that. Maybe you can just leave me a comment and explain your logic.

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Mt. Tallac Hike

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When I left the house this morning, I had no idea what adventure I was in for. Overall it was an incredible, and grueling. Soon after we began the hike, the trail was covered in river rock. We noted that it would have been a good idea to bring very thick shoes or hiking boots. About a mile in, we saw the most spectacular waterfall on the whole hike, which you can see in the photo below. We continued through the forested area, which paralleled a stream. As we gained elevation, we noted the surrounding peaks which still contained some snow. We couldn’t help but discuss which peaks we would like to ride in the winter.

As we continued, the amount of mosquitoes increased, and we were constantly swatting them off of us. We noted mosquito repellent would have been a nice item. The trail led us to a series of boulders, which we deiced to climb. The rock stacks other hikers had left indicated we must be going the right way. After scrambling for a suspicious amount of time, one of us spotted the trail in the distance. We got back on the trail, and the hike was much easier. Soon after we stopped for lunch, and I felt foolish for not bringing more food. I forgot how hungry long hikes make me. Fortunately we brought a ton of water, which kept us hydrated and refreshed all day.

Eventually we arrived at Gilmore Lake, a classic alpine Sierra Mtn Lake. It was amazing, as you can see from the photo below. We didn’t stay for long due to the mosquitoes, and we continued up. The 40 minutes leading to the summit were tough. The trail was steep and the high elevation made it difficult to breathe. Once at the summit, the obstacles we had faced were well worth it. We had a 360 degree view of Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Aloha, and Emerald Bay. Check out the pictures below!

Although it was a great trip, I have no desire to do it again. Our trip totaled about 7 hours, I’m sunburned and I’m going to be covered in mosquito bites tomorrow. Mt. Tallac was something I’ve been wanting to conquer for awhile and I’m happy to check it off the list. It’s one of those hikes that you have to do at least once. It’s probably not a hike you will do often, unless you’re a hardcore mountain goat. Hikes like this one reinforce my love for Reno. I think it’s so unique I can be on top of a huge mountain in Tahoe and back at my house in Reno in the same day. If you have hiked Tallac, tell me about your experience in a comment! If you have hiked to one of the other destinations around Tallac, what would you recommend?

The Waterfall!

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Chris climbing a huge tree early in the hike. Lucky he survived.

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Rock stacks marking the way.

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EJ and I at Gilmore Lake

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At the summit.

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Amazing Views!

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Maybe we will return in the winter to ride?

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Recent Reno Changes

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Recently there have been a few changes occurring, or proposed, in and around downtown Reno. First, the Aces developer, Herb Simon, is at least affiliated with the Bundox property purchase. According to Washoe County documents, the property sold for $1.95 miilion. The property sits a 0 Lake Street, between the river and the Aces Ball Park. Nobody is certain what Simon plans to use the property for, but it will likely compliment the Freight House/Aces Stadium. Tim Ruffin from Colliers International thinks it will be used for retail-based businesses such as bars and restaurants. You can read a little bit about the history on the Downtown Reno Makeover Blog.

Next, some investor group called the Siegal Group is going to buy the El Cortez Hotel. Their plan includes upgrades to the building, but they want to keep the “historical character” intact. Specifically, the plan to paint, upgrade the floors, modernize the equipment and appliances, etc. A priority will be to fill the western retail spaces and apparently they’re already entertaining offers from potential tenants. I found an interesting article about the history of the El Cortez that you can read here. I’m interested to see what happens with this property, as the El Cortez would not seem attractive to me if I were an investor. I think serious renovations will be necessary to turn the place around. Further, there are already so many hotels in Reno, I’m curious how investors are going to differentiate themselves from the competition?

I guess UNR is gaining popularity. To make accommodations for the influx of students, the University plans to demolish Lincoln Hall to build new residence halls. Lincoln Hall was built in 1896, making it one of the oldest operating resident halls on the west coast. The outside of the building has never been modified since its original construction. This initiative is being met with much resistance in the community because people see it as a landmark on the UNR campus and they feel it’s important to UNR’s historic legacy. This link will lead you to a petition that you can sign if you feel strongly about preserving the building. Personally I think we should get rid of the old and welcome the new. In my opinion, functionality and practicality for the present should take priority over the past.

farmThe Lost City Farm was officially opened around September of last year, but I didn’t realize they were fully operational. Therefore I’m considering them a recent change and I’m blogging about them. This urban farm is located at 512 South Center Street, very close to SUP in midtown. All of the vegetables and flowers grown at this location are herbicide and pesticide free. Food from this farm is sold to local restaurants within a five mile radius. You can check their website to learn about events the organization holds. They sell produce directly to the public from their onsite farm stand once a week. Growing is seasonal so don’t expect fresh tomatoes when it’s below freezing in December. (Photo Credit)

It’s good to hear changes happening in Downtown. I hope the investors mentioned in this blog see an incredible ROI for their purchases. It would be ideal if their success sparked the interest of other investors, as that could encourage more purchases and renovations around downtown. Downtown Reno still has a long road until the downtown area is as attractive as other cities, but I consider all of the things mentioned to be steps in the right direction. What do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

Positively Fourth Street

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The merchants on fourth street are tired of fourth street’s reputation. They want you to know 4th street is a lively street of local businesses, not hookers and bums. To combat the image of fourth street, local business owners created the annual event, which will consist of an open-air market between Center St. and Wells Ave. This year, Positively Fourth Street is Occurring tomorrow, Saturday 6/14/14 from 10am until 9pm.

The primary businesses behind this initiative are Bodega Nightclub, Bootleg Courier Co, Cuddleworks, Reno Bike Project, Under The Rose and Valley Arts. The event will consist of  a farmers market, public art installations, kids activities, a pop-up dining experience, biking, bus tours and more. Local restaurants Homage, Campo and Süp will serve brunch, and Heritage and Tournant will serve dinner in the Cuddle Works art space. Be sure to check out Porterbeer Ice Cream, Reno’s first bicycle-based ice creamery. How much does it cost you ask? Nothing, it’s free. Enjoy the event on your own schedule.

4th streetIn addition to what I’ve already mentioned, there will be a beer garden at the back of Under the Rose Brewery. The food trucks the Electric Blue Elephant and Full Belly Deli will be there to provide food. Kids activities will include dunk tanks, petting zoo and kids art. String Beings four-piece will perform in the back alley in the evening. There will also be a backpack drive for Volunteers of America. Anyone who donates a backpack or school supplies will receive a 1 year membership to the Reno Bike Project or dollar off beer specials at Under the Rose. A list of the events can be seen to the left. (Photo Credit.)

 

It’s nice to see members of Reno taking charge to change perceptions. It’s something the city desperately needs. It would be great if the 4th street initiative were extended to all of downtown. Although I respect this initiative, I don’t know that it would entice me personally. If I had kids, the event would probably be much more appealing. Would you like to see more initiatives to change perceptions while promoting local businesses in Reno? If so, leave me a comment and let me know what you have in mind.

 

 

 

 

BBQ, Blues and Brews

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I just heard about this event and I’m excited to check it out, as it’s 3 amazing things in one festival. The name really hits it home: BBQ food, 50 microbreweries and blues music. Musicians will include: “John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band and Friends, including Alex Ligertwood of Santana and Wally Palmer of The Romantics.” The BBQ Blue and Brews festival will be held on June 20-21 from 2-8pm.

If you’re rich you can buy a VIP pass for $100 single day pass, or a $120 2 day pass, which will include:

  • One commemorative tasting mug with unlimited beer tasting wrist band
  • One 64oz Growler filled once with choice of Brew Brothers micro beer
  • One BBQ platter from main food booth
  • *Two day pass includes unlimited beer tasting wrist band for both days.

I’m going to elect for the $30 1 day tasting package. There will be microbreweries from around the world. Last year’s list included: “Battle Born, Lagunitas, Sam Adams, Anheuser-Busch, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Alaskan Brewing Co., Kona Brewing Co., High Sierra Brewing Co., Deschutes Brewery, Moab Brewery, Lost Coast Brewery and many more.” Since the ElDorado is sponsoring the event, beers on tap from Brew Brothers will also be available.

Eldorado_BrewFestCrowd_(2)_resizedThere will be 2 stages for music. On Friday the music starts at 3pm and ends at 7pm. On Saturday the music starts at 11am and ends at 7pm. I don’t recognize a single person on the line up, but I can appreciate any good blues music. If I’m drinking good beer and the music is good, I don’t need to recognize the musicians. You can see the lineup, and photo credit, HERE. 

Although the festival itself sounds great, I have bigger plans for the day. I want to assemble a large group to float the river from Mayberry park to downtown before proceeding to the event. That’s why I love Reno. Where else can you float down a river, get out in the middle of downtown and walk to an awesome event that revolves around good beer, food and music? Nowhere. Have you attended this event in the past? Do you have some feedback to provide? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

You’re Friends are Visiting, What To Do?

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CrewOn Memorial day weekend I had three friends from Oregon visit. One was my former roommate in the dorms, Reilly (left,) who very recently survived cancer! It was so good to see him healthy and happy again. I had not seen the other 2 of them since my undergraduate days, and not one of them had been to Reno. The video below summarizes our adventures, and the pictures below give you a more accurate image.

 

 

Eagle LakeMy friends arrived on Friday night, and we hung out since we were all tired. On Saturday we awoke from the dead, grabbed a few sandwiches from Capriottis and started our adventure to Eagle Falls. We hiked up Eagle Falls to Eagle Lake. The views were amazing and the Oregonians felt at home. The hike was pretty easy and it was perfect for Reilly.
Next we grabbed a baguette, salomi and cheese, and we hung out at King’s beach. The water was still pretty cold and so I opted for playing frisbee. After spending a few hours at the lake, we went to downtown Truckee and grabbed some food and drinks. Afterwards we went up to my family’s cabin, where we said hello to my parents and relaxed for awhile. Eventually we headed back to Reno and prepared for a night in downtown Reno. We got out in downtown late, but I managed to take the Oregonians to Imperial, Old Bridge and the Cal Neva. It was Katie’s first time in a casino and it was funny to listen to her reaction. The Oregonians weren’t particularly amazed with downtown Reno, so we called it a night.

ZombieThe next day we went to Archies to take advantage of the $3.50 bloody Mary special and the breakfast burritos. MMM. Then we bought a ton of ammo for my AR-15, and shot it for hours up on Peavine. I had a Zombie target that had spaces to insert clay pigeons. I inserted a bottle into the slot in the Zombie’s mouth. When I shot the bottle, it exploded in such a way that it actually severed the zombie’s head! I felt accomplished, as everyone know you can;t kill a zombie unless you shoot it in the head. Check out the photo.

 

 

 

 

PyramidNext we got camping supplies and ventured to pyramid lake. We spent the remainder of our night around a campfire, under the stars. Aside from the brief windstorm and bug infestation, it was gorgeous. Pyramid Lake is such a mystical place. The next day we walked over to the forbidden zone and climbed on the rocks. After that we packed up the campsite, drove back to Reno and I had to say goodbye to the Oregonians.

They all commented on how diverse and fun the weekend was. They also noted that they would never be able to show someone a similar weekend in Portland. If you liked my Memorial Day adventure, tweet it to your friends!

Review: The MBA Program at UNR

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Let me begin by saying you need to get your MBA for the right reasons: If you are looking to make a career change from another field to the business world then it’s a good option, especially considering you don’t need any educational background in business to be accepted. That was my purpose for pursuing the program. If you’re looking to advance your career by getting your MBA, it may not be a good decision. Unless your company vows to promote you once an MBA is achieved, I would argue your time and money is best spent working to earn a promotion, or gain the necessary credentials and experience to transfer to another company.

Jim McClenahan_350If you’re interested in the program for networking purposes, I would say it’s ok. When I started over 2 years ago, there wasn’t any formal networking in place. Now I have helped create the Nevada Business Connection Club, which should assist in creating a platform for MBA students to network with each other, as well as business professionals in the community. This effort and similar efforts are being promoted with the assistance of Jim McClenahan, Director of Corporate Outreach. You can see his beautiful face to the left. I’m confident that networking within the program will grow sustainably from this point forward. (Photo Credit)

The Program was ranked at the #4 part time MBA program in the country for the last few years, one slot above Berkeley’s part time program. Unfortunately we dropped to #24 this year. The program gets ranked on criteria such as affordability, #students per class, etc. I have certainly learned a lot in the program, and more importantly it has changed the way I think about business. However, I think there is room for improvement.

Here is the course curriculum for the MBA program. In my opinion, all of the core classes are not valuable. They’re almost no different than undergrad classes and they usually don’t add true value to real working environments. I think they should be revised completely. The “breadth” and elective courses have generally been much more valuable, and the level of value really depends on which classes you pick. Most of them require group projects/presentations and much of the coursework revolves around case studies. Therefore there is good real world application. Certain professors provoke discussions where you better learn to think on your feet, as you will get called on randomly. These are my favorite classes, as they are engaging.

The program is a lot of work, but it has given me a good business background that I didn’t have previously. Overall, I’m MUCH more satisfiedd with my education at UNR than I was at the University of Oregon, where I received my undergrad. I’m currently taking ENT 693 Entrepreneurship Topics, and it’s one of the best classes I’ve ever taken in my life. It would be great if the core courses in the program were restructured in an entrepreneurial context. For example: rather than learn about operations in a broad, forgettable manner, you would have to build a company and make the operations efficient by applying the concepts you learn in class. If you found some information in this article useful, buy me a beer the next time you see me.