Speakers

Governor Brian Sandoval

Brian Sandoval Brian Sandoval was elected Governor of Nevada on November 2, 2010. He took the oath of office before Chief Justice Michael Douglas shortly after Noon on January 3, 2011. As Governor, Sandoval is Vice-Chair of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and is piloting the JAG program in eight Nevada schools in the next school year. A member of the National Governors Association and the Western Governors Association, Sandoval serves as Vice-Chair of the NGA Health and Homeland Security Committee. He was recently appointed Chair-elect of the Education Commission of the States. Sandoval is a member of the Republican Governors Association and the Hispanic Leadership Network. Read more...

Governor Sandoval comes to his office after a long career in public service. He was appointed United States District Judge for the District of Nevada by President George W. Bush in October 2005, becoming the state’s first Hispanic federal judge. He was elected Attorney General of Nevada in 2002.

Prior to his election as Attorney General, Sandoval served as a member and chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, which oversees Nevada’s gaming industry. At age 35, Sandoval was the youngest person ever to serve as the state’s chief gaming regulator. He also served for three years as Nevada’s at-large member of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (“TRPA”) Governing Board. The TRPA is a bi-state agency that governs land use policies at Lake Tahoe.

Before his Gaming Commission and TRPA appointments, Sandoval served two terms in the Nevada Legislature where he served on the Judiciary, Taxation and Natural Resources Committees and sponsored 14 bills that became law. As a legislator, he also served on the Nevada Legislative Commission, the Advisory Commission on Sentencing, the Juvenile Justice Commission, the Advisory Council on Community Notification of Sex Offenders and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Oversight Committee.

As a private practitioner, Sandoval had a varied law practice, where he engaged in litigation, administrative and adoption matters. Throughout his career, Sandoval has received several awards and certificates, including the Hispanics in Politics’ 1996 “Broche de Oro Award,” the Anti-Defamation League’s 2003 “Torch of Liberty Award,” the Nevada State Bar’s 2004 “Access to Justice Public Lawyer Award,” the Latino Coalition’s 2004 “Most Influential Hispanic in the U.S. Award,” the 2004 University of Nevada “Alumnus of the Year Award,” and the “Excellence in Leadership Award” from the Latino Coalition in 2010.

Governor Sandoval received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nevada in 1986 and his law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 1989.

Governor Sandoval and his wife, Kathleen, have three children. Governor Sandoval enjoys running, traveling and spending time with his family.

Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki

Brian Krolicki Brian Krolicki is a familiar face to most Nevadans as result of his many years of distinguished public service, and his many accomplishments have not gone unnoticed by the citizens of Nevada. In 2006, after having successfully served as State Treasurer for two terms, Brian Krolicki convincingly won his election to serve as Nevada’s 33rd Lieutenant Governor, and was re-elected to his second term in November 2010. As Lieutenant Governor, Krolicki serves as President of the State Senate, Chairman of the Commission on Tourism, Vice-Chairman of the State Board of Transportation, and as a member of the Governor’s Board of Economic Development. Read more...

He also serves as the Chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Winter Games Coalition – comprised of a distinguished group of private and public sector leaders from both Nevada and California dedicated to bringing the Winter Olympic Games back to the Lake Tahoe region and as a member of the Executive Branch Audit Committee. Earlier this year, Krolicki was honored to be selected by his peers around the country to serve as the Chairman of the National Republican Lieutenant Governors Association.

As Chairman of the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), Krolicki has the oversight responsibility for a variety of important projects and programs designed to enable the tourism and hospitality industries to remain the financial foundation for our state. NCOT’s strategic plans has been substantially overhauled to reflect the challenging realities facing our state, nation and world, and are focused on the critical missions of attracting visitors to the state of Nevada – generating both revenue and jobs.

Brian Krolicki’s call to public service is deeply personal and was born from tragedy. On Labor Day Monday, September 3, 1990, Krolicki was traveling in a twin engine airplane with four others. The plane was loaded with the enthusiasm and hopes of two winning political campaigns when the flight crashed in the Nevada desert on the outskirts of Fallon. The accident tragically took the life of Judy Seale, and severely injured former State Treasurer Bob Seale and Lieutenant Governor Sue Wagner. Krolicki, who was volunteering on the Seale campaign, was ejected from the aircraft upon impact, and, despite his injuries, managed to reach help at a farm house several miles away. In the months that followed the accident, several of the survivors endured numerous surgeries and emotional heartaches, and Seale’s ability to physically assume office was questioned. It was decided shortly prior to inauguration day that Krolicki, with his private sector banking and investment experience, would join Seale in the State Treasurer’s Office as the Chief Deputy State Treasurer to assist during the transition period. Although this was only expected to last about ninety days, Krolicki is now in his 19th year of public service.

Krolicki went on to serve eight years as Nevada’s Chief Deputy State Treasurer and as the Secretary to the State Board of Finance. When Treasurer Seale decided to step away from his public service, Krolicki found himself in a position to himself seek elected office – and did so successfully. Krolicki served two terms as State Treasurer. Among his many accomplishments, Krolicki considers his efforts to make a college education more affordable for Nevada families a cornerstone of his administration. He created the Nevada College Savings Plan and the Nevada Prepaid Tuition Program. Krolicki was also responsible for the “roll-out” and administration of the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship, a program that has helped enable tens of thousands of our state’s best and brightest students achieve their dream of attending college.

During Krolicki’s tenure as State Treasurer some of the largest corporate failures occurred – such as Enron and Worldcom – which threatened many public funds which had invested heavily in these and many other troubled assets. Under Krolicki’s supervision, Nevada taxpayers never lost a dime of their money in these or other investments because the state treasury had eliminated its exposure to these companies before they collapsed. Krolicki also pro-actively divested the state’s investment portfolios of approximately $500 million in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac holdings prior to these entities being shown to be largely a “house of cards,” which soured due to poor accounting practices and excessive sub-prime mortgage holdings. He provided special testimony to the Governing Board of the New York Stock Exchange urging that the iconic Wall Street marketplace enact improved governance, trading and transparency practices. Krolicki was instrumental in requiring the now bankrupt Las Vegas Monorail to secure insurance from AMBAC Financial Group guaranteeing the repayment of $649 million in Monorail debt, safely shielding Nevada’s taxpayers from this liability. Krolicki also advocated unsuccessfully to sell Nevada’s then projected $1.2 billion share of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in 2001. These annual payments have subsequently been reduced by 20% over the past decade, costing the state many millions of dollars in revenues – a reduction which now threatens the primary funding source of the Millennium Scholarship and multiple healthcare related programs.

Krolicki secured upgrades to the state’s credit ratings for the first time in almost 30 years, saving Nevada’s taxpayers millions of dollars in interest expenses. During his tenure, Nevada earned a credit rating just one level below the highest possible mark held by just a handful of states. During his service, Nevada became the first state treasury in the country to receive the Certificate of Excellence in Investment Policy awarded by the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada. It was also awarded the Nevada Taxpayers Association’s prestigious Cashman Good Government Award – the only public entity directly led by an elected official to win this prize.

Throughout his career in public service, Krolicki has been widely recognized for his leadership and ideas through national awards, advisory positions and leadership posts. His lieutenant governor colleagues from across the nation have selected Krolicki to serve on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Lieutenant Governors Association and he is currently Chairman of the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association. In 2006, Krolicki was honored to join two dozen other elected officials from around the country as a member of the prestigious Rodel Fellowship Program in Public Leadership at the Aspen Institute. This fellowship program convenes regularly to provide a bi-partisan forum for those individuals the Aspen Institute has identified as being the “true rising stars” in American politics – bringing together “this nation’s most promising young political leaders to achieve their fullest potential in public service.”

While State Treasurer, Krolicki was unanimously elected by his peers in 2002 to serve as president of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). During his term as president, Krolicki founded the NAST Committee on Corporate Governance and established the NAST Foundation, which promotes financial literacy and education throughout the nation. In 2003, Krolicki was appointed by President George W. Bush’s Administration to serve as a member of the United States Intergovernmental Advisory Committee on Trade (IGPAC), a position he was reappointed to in 2009. In 2004, Krolicki was selected by his state treasurer colleagues to receive the nation’s “Most Outstanding State Treasurer Award.” In 2004 his peers in the State Debt Management Network honored Krolicki by awarding him the distinguished “Award for Excellence in Public Finance,” given to a public or private sector individual for their demonstrated excellence in the municipal finance industry. Krolicki’s expertise in public finance even led to him providing expert testimony to Members of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill.

As Lieutenant Governor, Krolicki has also taken on the important cause of highlighting the service of our state’s military men and women and addressing the unique needs of these individuals and their families. Recognizing that every Nevadan should do all they can to embrace our returning service members who have been directly or indirectly deployed in support of combat operations since the attacks of September 11th, Krolicki has pursued a broad range of veterans’ initiatives within his office. These include co-hosting annual Global War on Terrorism Veterans Conferences since 2008 with the Nevada Office of Veterans Services; joining the Governor and the Nevada Adjutant General in participating in a Community Covenant signing ceremony; and compiling oral histories from those who have served or lost loved ones in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The oral histories will soon be published in a book entitled Battle Born: Nevada War Stories.

Other activities and community service for Krolicki include: Planning Commissioner for Douglas County, Nevada from 1990-1998; Member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Task Force in 2009; Member of the National Association of State Treasurers Foundation from 2002 to present; and as a Board Member of the Davidson Academy in Reno, Nevada – a school dedicated to educating the most profoundly gifted young students in this country.

Prior to Krolicki’s entry into public service, his private sector experience included working at Banker’s Trust Company in New York City, NY and Smith Barney in both San Francisco, CA and Manama, Bahrain – the Persian Gulf. He is a graduate of Stanford University. Brian Krolicki and his wife, Kelly, have three daughters.

Susan Sweeney

Susan_SweeneySusan Sweeney is a best-selling author, an internationally recognized Internet marketing and e-business expert and a partner in eLearningU, an online education portal specifically for the travel and tourism industry. As a professional Internet marketing speaker, Susan has delivered lively keynotes, workshops and bootcamps to audiences on four continents. Read more...

Susan Sweeney is the author of eight Internet marketing books, including 101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site and Social Media for Business. She also is the Dean of eLearningU.com, an online eLearning portal that offers travel and tourism business courses from the industry's leading experts.

 

Vincent Macri

Vincent_MacriVinnie works as a Senior Account Manager on the Google Travel Team where he serves as a marketing and brand consultant to DMOs, CVBs, and theme parks. His expertise is in managing and optimizing campaign performance specific to search engine marketing, display networks, online video, and social. Read more...

He is passionate about driving innovative solutions to his partners to produce business growth and drive tourism through the digital space. Vinnie has a bachelors degree in Economics & Computer Applications from the University of Notre Dame.

 

James Taylor

James TaylorAt Harrison Group, Taylor directs syndicated research, including management of the nation’s foremost wealth research program--the American Express Publishing Harrison Group Annual Survey of Wealth and Affluence, an annual package goods purchase modeling study sponsored by Deloitte, an annual home and business energy consumption and sustainability project with Deloitte, an annual study of digital publishing sponsored by Qualcomm and the annual travel study sponsored by Y Partnership. Read more...

He is an acknowledged expert in the fields of branding, real estate markets and strategy, the use of interactive media, future forecasting and customer acquisition and retention. Taylor advises C-level marketers and executives at some of the world’s leading companies with current forecasting, branding, and market management engagements in businesses with primary interests in packaged goods, software, digital publishing, media, banking, customer service, business and financial services corporations.

Taylor has served as Chief Executive Officer of Yankelovich, Skelly & White; and later, was Executive Vice President and head of Hill and Knowlton’s flagship New York office.

He was Chief Marketing Officer of Ernst & Young and also held similar positions at Gateway Computers, Iomega Corporation and The Lyle Anderson Company.

He was named one of America’s five leading business futurists by the Wall Street Journal, “Marketer of the Year” by Brandweek, and among its Distinguished Alumni by his alma mater, Michigan State. Virtually every major business publication in America and most in Europe and Japan have quoted him. Moreover, he has contributed articles to a variety of top, far-ranging national publications, notably the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Economist, Bloomberg, CBS, ABC, Reuters, Advertising Age, Brandweek, Science, American Demographics, Consumer Insights, Fast Company, Inc., National Geographic, New York Times, and Public Affairs, among many others.

Taylor is a highly sought-after speaker. His teachings, writings and lectures focus on the future, technology and marketplace strategy, wealth marketing, trends in domestic and international business, the nature of a company’s brand persona, and the integration of technology, culture and business profitability.

His latest book, Selling to the New Elite (with Doug Harrison and Steve Kraus) released in February 2011, exposes the lives and minds of America’s richest people, revealing what and how these titans of wealth buy; and how to sell to them. Taylor also co-authored (with Watts Wacker) The 500 Year Delta: What Happens After What Comes Next, The Visionary’s Handbook and The New Elite: Inside the Mind of the Truly Wealthy (with Doug Harrison and Steve Kraus). Taylor has an undergraduate degree in Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley and Masters and PhD degrees from Michigan State University. He is particularly proud of his honorary PhD in Futurology from MacDonald’s Hamburger University and serves a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Math and Science Education.

Jim Taylor is a happily married father and grandfather, and resides in Connecticut.

Rossi Ralenkotter

Rossi_RalenkotterAs President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), Rossi Ralenkotter is responsible for marketing and branding Las Vegas and Southern Nevada as the world’s most desirable destination for leisure and business travel. Under Mr. Ralenkotter’s leadership, the LVCVA successfully launched “Vegas Stories,” the most successful branding campaign in tourism history. The campaign is best known for its oft-repeated tagline, “What happens here, stays here.™” It was selected the No. 1 campaign by the voting public and was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2011. The LVCVA owns and operates the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center. Read more...

As President/CEO of the LVCVA, Mr. Ralenkotter has launched the Las Vegas Global Business District, a transformational project that will project Las Vegas years ahead of its competition in the meetings and conventions industry. The project will further establish Las Vegas as a leading business destination in the world with improvements to the Las Vegas Convention Center, development of a centralized transportation hub, and further utilizing the World Trade Center designation at the convention center.

Mr. Ralenkotter began his career at the LVCVA 40 years ago as a research analyst. Prior to becoming President/CEO in 2004, he was the Authority’s Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President of Marketing. Before joining the LVCVA, Mr. Ralenkotter worked for a local telephone company and served in the United States Air Force.

Mr. Ralenkotter is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents, Destination Marketing Association International, the American Society of Association Executives, and the Hotel Sales Marketing Association. He also is the immediate past Chair of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association. Mr. Ralenkotter recently completed his term as Chair to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the U.S. Department of Commerce and remains on the Board.

Eric Bello

Eric_BelloAs Vice President of Sales, Mr. Bello oversees a sales staff largely responsible for filling the more than 7,100 luxurious suites available at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino combined with the newly opened Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas as well as the 3000 suite property at Venetian Macao and 2700 suites at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and Sands Bethlehem (PA). As Vice President of Sales over the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Mr. Bello is responsible for maximizing the occupancy of a convention center with more than 1.9 million square feet of show floor and meeting space. Read more...

Mr. Bello has an extensive background in the tradeshow industry having worked with industry leading organizations during his celebrated career. In both 2006 and 2008, Mr. Bello was named one of the top 100 most influential people in the trade show industry by Trade Show Week magazine. He also serves as Chairman of the Board for the Nevada Hotel Lodging Association (NHLA).

Chuck Underwood

Chuck UnderwoodChuck Underwood is one of the handful of people who developed and popularized the discipline of generational study.  His original principles are a permanent part of this discipline. As the founder/principal of consulting firm The Generational Imperative, Inc., he consults and trains American business, government, education, religion, and other institutions on Generational Marketplace Strategies, Generational Workforce Strategies, and other niche applications of generational study. Read more...

He has also pioneered breakthrough training programs in Generational Behavioral Healthcare Strategy and Generational Leadership Study.

Mr. Underwood is one of the elite generational consultants, with clients that include Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Time Warner Cable, Macy’s, State Farm, United States Military, American Council On Education, Veterans Healthcare Administration, and hundreds more across virtually all industries.

His book, The Generational Imperative, is the most comprehensive presentation of generational business and personal-life dynamics. In addition, Mr. Underwood is the host of the public-television series America’s Generations With Chuck Underwood, the first multigenerational presentation in the history of national television.

Duane Knapp

Duane KnappDuane Knapp is Founder and Chairman of BrandStrategy, Inc., which has advised over 325 brands in 15 countries worldwide including corporations, communities, societies, professional associations, institutions, countries, world-class professionals, celebrities and successful individuals who desire to optimize their perception, image and success. Read more...

He is the author of several books including The BrandPromise® and The BrandMindset®, published by McGraw-Hill, Global Destination BrandScienceTM and Destination BrandScienceTM. His newest book, Global Destination BrandScience explains how a successful destination strategy goes beyond merely tourism; it becomes a focal point for the entire community in making strategic decisions regarding economic opportunity. The BrandMindset book was selected by IBM and American Express as the “must read” book for their top 400 executives. It is available in seven languages and is considered the definitive guide to building Genuine Brands.

He has held a variety of senior executive positions, including chief executive officer, president, executive vice president, vice president of corporate marketing, vice president corporate development and corporate strategist at both public and private companies. These include Westin Hotels (Westin Enterprises and Discoveries retail stores and catalogs), Holiday Corporation (Holiday Inn and Holiday Clubs, Perkins Family Restaurants), The Promus Companies (Embassy Suites, Residence Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Harrah’s Casinos) and Cinnabon World Famous Cinnamon Rolls.

Dr. Peter E. Tarlow

Peter_TarlowDr. Tarlow is a world-renowned speaker and expert specializing in such areas as the impact of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and economic development. Tarlow lectures on current and future trends in the tourism industry, rural tourism economic development, the gaming industry, issues of crime and terrorism, the role of police departments in urban economic development, and international trade. Read more...

Tarlow is also well known in the area of rural tourism having lectured on this subject in numerous states throughout the United States. Tarlow publishes extensively in these areas and writes numerous professional reports for US governmental agencies and for businesses throughout the world. He also functions as an expert witness for the US courts in matters concerning tourism security and safety. Tarlow also writes and publishes the popular on-line tourism newsletter Tourism Tidbits read by thousands of tourism and travel professionals around the world.

 

Karen Chen

Karen_ChenKaren Chen is the Chief Representative of Nevada Commission on Tourism in People’s Republic of China, and the managing director of NCOT China Ltd. (Hong Kong). She has more than 20 years’ work experience in China and throughout the globe, bringing a rich knowledge and experience in management, marketing and government affairs. Read more...

In June of 2004, Ms. Chen established the NCOT China office in Beijing, marking the first official tourism office from the United States to be approved by China Centre government. For ten years, Ms. Chen has worked with Chinese officials, travel industry professional and media to ensure Nevada retains strong relationships with key government and industry leaders. Prior to working with the Nevada Commission on Tourism, Ms. Chen was the General Manager for Hainan Airlines in South Korea. There she established the first international flight for Hainan Airlines. In 2001, as Foreign Affairs Manager for China Hainan Airline, Ms. Chen served as the official liaison between the U.S and Chinese governments for all business development and issues management situations.

 

Andrew Edelfsen

Andrew_EdelfsenAndrew Edlefsen currently serves as Nevada Director of the US Commercial Service. His Las Vegas office works directly with Nevada companies providing export-related and international business-related assistance, including USCS market research and matchmaking services. Read more...

Andrew has a wealth of experience in international business, particularly in the aviation industry, having done consulting work for over 10 years for international aviation companies exploring China, in addition to having spent several years living and working in Taiwan and other parts of Asia. He was one of the original organizers and creators of the China GA Forum, an annual aviation event held in China which focuses on general aviation industry issues and B2B networking in that market.

 

Jeff Netzer

Jeff NetzerJeff has spent most of his professional career dedicated to launching and managing loyalty rewards programs. Brands such as Neiman Marcus, Mandarin Oriental Hotels, and Wynn Las Vegas Resorts have borrowed from Jeff’s unique experiences for their own loyalty, retention and promotional strategies. Read more...

His thoughts on loyalty marketing have been featured in several publications including Loylty360 Magazine, an industry leading resource for loyalty marketers. Now engaged with a 24-month old VC startup, Jeff is applying his expertise to design and execute unique partnership marketing opportunities in the social gaming space. PLAYSTUDIOS has developed a game-based marketing platform that enables it and its partners to acquire, engage, and monetize the enormous community of social and mobile gamers. Its first game, myVEGAS, extends the magic of Las Vegas onto the Facebook platform and will be available on mobile devices in Q4’13. By leveraging iconic brands, proven game mechanics, and a Facebook-first loyalty program, the Company has established a unique and compelling marketing model. The myVEGAS rewards program boasts a smart collaboration among innovative organizations designed with the intent to meet their respective business goals and to leverage their own complimentary strengths. It is considered to be the only Facebook social game that offers real world, tangible rewards to online players.