Nevada economic official Steve Hill praised for accomplishments

Updated January 19, 2018 - 12:12 am

Steve Hill participated in his last board meeting Thursday of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development as executive director.

Hill has led the economic development office since Gov. Brian Sandoval created the office in 2011, a time when Nevada’s 13 percent unemployment rate led the country and companies like Apple and Tesla were far from being associated with the Silver State.

In February 2012, Gov. Brian Sandoval made a public goal to add 50,000 jobs in the state by 2014.

“I remember the state economist pulling me aside privately and saying, ‘Please don’t do that. It’s not going to happen, it’s just not an attainable goal,’” Sandoval recalled Thursday.

By the third quarter of 2017, Nevada added more than 182,000 private-sector jobs in industries that have helped to the state to diversify, according to data from the economic development office.

“All but one of Nevada’s emerging sectors grew by more than 27 percent of what would be expected after taking out national growth trends. For example, manufacturing growth over the past six years exceeded expected growth by 101.4 percent followed by logistics and operations (77.3 percent), information technology (58.9 percent), health and medical (54.9 percent), and aerospace and defense (27.8 percent),” wrote Bob Potts, research director at the economic development office, in a recent newsletter.

Much of that progress can be attributed to “strategic economic development and diversification efforts,” he wrote.

‘Got it done’

In a dose of praise Thursday from the governor and others on the economic development board, Sandoval said, “Steve got it done.”

Hill played a role in securing a presence from Apple, Tesla and Hyperloop in Nevada, among other companies through the use of tax abatements.

And each time Sandoval heard whispers of such potential big-wins for Nevada, he recalled Thursday, he had the same reaction: “Come on, really?”

Under Hill’s direction, Nevada successfully pursued becoming one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s original six test sites and created economic development programs to help employers end up with the employees they need and to help students end up with the skills they need that employers want.

Sandoval said he will issue a proclamation Friday, marking Jan. 19, 2018, as “a day in honor of Steve Hill.”

Future efforts

Hill encouraged the economic development office to continue to be proactive. Instead of waiting for technologies to make their mark, Nevada ought to position itself now to benefit from the positive aspects of those technologies as they are developed and when they mature, Hill said.

He also said the state is positioned to take advantage of an opportunity in sports medicine with the growing sports environment in the state.

What’s next

Hill’s last day on the job will be Friday.

Sandoval is slated to appoint former Republican Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson to take over for Hill at the economic development office.

Hill will start a new role at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Monday as president and chief operating officer.

Contact Nicole Raz at nraz@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

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