LAS VEGAS -- Besides the governor, there is one man responsible for plotting Nevada's economic future. Steve Hill is the director of Nevada's economic development office. The governor has tasked him with enabling private companies to create 50,000 jobs in Nevada within two years.
Economic diversification for Nevada means relying less on the old the standbys of gaming and construction and focusing more on manufacturing.
Every governor since Bob List left office in 1983, has left behind an economic diversification plan for Nevada. But rising gaming revenues made it convenient for Nevada to shelve those plans over the years. It's Governor Sandoval's turn now. His point man is Steve Hill, the founder of Silver State Materials Corporation.
"I understand the skeptics," said Hill. "I don't sense right now that people around Nevada doubt that the energy will be behind this. I think they need to see results. I think that's understandable. It's different now because the economy is so different. We had a real game change in 2008/2009."
One difference is finding out where Nevada gets it wrong. The low-scoring public education is known to scare off high-tech companies.
"The information we have is anecdotal. We are starting a process to compile that so that we actually have data on the reasons that cause concern or cause companies not to come to Nevada," Hill said.
The I-Team's George Knapp highlighted the ways the state can benefit from using the Nevada Test Site, something Hill is looking at too.
"I do think that it provides opportunities in data storage. I think the renewable energy efforts that are going on out there. It's a wide open space and there's a tremendous amount of talent," he said.
The I-Team's Colleen McCarty highlighted Zappos' CEO Tony Hsieh's downtown developments. Hill is betting there are similar entrepreneurs already in Nevada just waiting to take advantage of growth opportunities.
"Tony Hsiehs' don't grow on trees and we're really happy to have him here and really happy to have him doing what he's doing," Hill said.
Nevada is also looking to its neighbor.
"The folks in Utah have been very helpful in helping us craft our economic development effort. I think they offer an example at times that we should follow."
One positive development Hill mentioned was that increased state budgets will lead to the likelihood the "knowledge fund" would actually get funded. That would help UNLV hire staff tasked with inventing products and services that would be the basis for job-creating spin-off companies.