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Press Release:

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A first place prize was awarded to “Build a Better Las Vegas,” a local multi-disciplinary team of professionals that developed a proposal to create an Unmanned Aerial & Robotics Resource Center at Cashman Center. Members of the winning team include Brandon Wiegand from Focus Development, Zachary Conine and Michael Russell from Joseph Beare & Co., Sallie Doebler from The Korte Company and Curt Carlson from SHARCHITECTURE. Six teams that submitted proposals for consideration in Strong Cities Strong Communities (SC2) Las Vegas, a global economic development challenge, were awarded a total of $800,000 in cash prizes following a vote today by the Las Vegas city council.  The winning teams were recommended by a volunteer selection committee of seven well respected business and community leaders who reviewed the plans and heard presentations by the participating teams. Representing the selection committee at city council with its recommendations were Don Snyder, presidential advisor, UNLV; and Jason Mendenhall, executive vice president, Cloud, Switch SUPERNAP.

Other selection panel members include Tina Quigley, general manager, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada; Curtis Myles, president and CEO, Las Vegas Monorail Company; Jonas Peterson, president and CEO, Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance; Rich Worthington, president, The Molasky Companies; and Betsy Fretwell, manager, city of Las Vegas.

Also on hand for the announcement was U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Jay Williams.  The competition was federally funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Secretary Williams congratulated the city of Las Vegas on the innovative proposals they received through the SC2 competition. “The competitive SC2 Visioning Challenge was designed to spark economic development in communities that have faced significant long-term challenges in developing and implementing their economic strategies.  I congratulate the city of Las Vegas and all of the strategists for working with us to build local capacity and spur economic growth.”

According to Snyder and Mendenhall, who made the recommendations at city council today, the grand prize winning plan, while initially proposed for Cashman Center, can be easily adapted for other valley locations for added flexibility.  “Unmanned aerial vehicles and robotics are rapidly growing industries that have broad applications for a wide range of businesses,” said Snyder.  “Establishing a true resource center where research and development, manufacturing and design and testing occurs under one roof will create synergy, attract and retain talent, generate jobs and put Las Vegas on the map as a leader in this exciting and emerging field.”

Hosted by the city of Las Vegas, SC2 Las Vegas was launched in early 2014 and drew interest from 49 states and 48 countries.  Following an initial administrative review, 17 teams advanced to compete in phase one during which their proposals were judged by another panel of volunteer community leaders.  Phase one judging resulted in 10 teams that advanced to compete in the final round.

“The winning proposals are very exciting, innovative and creative,” said Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, city of Las Vegas.  “We are especially appreciative of all the teams that took the time to think out of the box with new and fresh ideas for our city, and we are grateful to our esteemed panels of judges who spent considerable time carefully and thoughtfully reviewing the proposals.

SC2 is a prestigious international prize competition awarded in 2012 to three U.S. cities:  Las Vegas, Nevada; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Hartford, Connecticut.   In Las Vegas, winning plans were required to match the city’s needs, offer a feasible roadmap toward implementation, and represent innovative perspectives on economic development.

For more information on the Las Vegas Strong Cities, Strong Communities Challenge, please visit or contact Melissa Warren at Faiss Foley Warren Public Relations in Las Vegas at