Men of the Moment: The Men Shaping the Future of Vegas Right Now

As told to Bree DeLano, Emmy Kasten and Abby Tegnelia | March 30, 2018 | People

Unpretentious and focused, these are Vegas’ endearing pioneers that are having their year, right now. Can we please clone them?

JON GRAY

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“We [wife Ruth and sons Nash and Knox] moved back a year ago March. It was so surreal coming back to the Palms for the first time. It felt like going to your grandmother’s house and seeing a lot of cousins who you hadn’t seen in years. The Palms is obviously a passion project of mine; I’m here every morning by 6am. [Gray previously worked there from 2005 to 2012.] Phase I, done in May, includes Camden Lounge, which is connected to the high-limit lounge, and APEX where Ghostbar used to be. Scotch 80 is incredible. Chef Barry [S. Dakake, of N9ne Steakhouse, formerly in the space] is back. It’s got an extensive meat program, not just steak, and awesome dessert. We added a huge decorative window and patio. N9NE Steakhouse didn’t have any natural light! I want people to feel my passion for the project and the team. That’s important to me. My stepdad always talked about how guys are a ‘good hand,’ meaning they got their hands dirty. That’s the number-one thing I care about the team thinking about me, that I helped and pitched in and was a good hand, that I saw something coming down the pike and jumped in to help.”

LARRY RUVO

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“With the incomparable financial support of the Las Vegas community, the Lou Ruvo Center will evolve into a 24/7 operation with the introduction of the Angie Ruvo Caregiving Chair, named after my mother and conceptualized and spearheaded by my wife, Camille. Our mission for the Angie Ruvo Caregiving Chair is for caregiving to no longer be trial and error. This quality of care can’t exist without philanthropy. [This year] marks the 22nd annual Power of Love Gala, the biggest to date, and I am more grateful and inspired than ever to share my mission with the city of Las Vegas.”

DEREK NELSON

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“Esports in Vegas is about to explode. For me, as a local, building relationships with new partners in Vegas who are all helping build esports locally has been the most exciting thing happening recently. MGM launched an esports arena at the Luxor at the end of March. Caesars will soon be hosting a professional league with dozens of players from around the world living and competing full time in Vegas. Find Your Grind, an L.A.-based nonprofit, is working with us on local projects to assist young adults wanting to make a career in esports. Local government officials, including the governor’s office, have reached out to offer support. It’s been unbelievable. The enthusiasm from the Las Vegas community is going to quickly turn this town into an esports mecca. And make no mistake—Rogue is the Vegas home team.”

ERIK HAULA, COLIN MILLER, AND JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT

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ERIK: “I bought a house in Summerlin and just finished a full renovation, so that feels nice. I always go home to Finland over the summer, and I also plan to spend time in Minnesota. But before that, the focus is to finish the regular season strong. With the playoffs coming, the team is looking forward to starting a new quest.”

COLIN: “I think the start of the season was special for us in light of what happened [in Las Vegas] on Oct. 1, and the energy just snowballed. As the season got going, we got more and more confident. It’s nice to see that even people from other cities are catching on. We are all looking forward to the next part of the season, and hopefully we’ll have a long one. It’s all hockey, all the time, but I’m also looking forward to spending some time on the lake this summer.”

JONATHAN: “What’s next? I’m moving into a new house in March [in Summerlin] and having a new baby in April! As far as the team, we play every two days, so we are in survival mode— taking care of our bodies, eating right and playing games. We just need to be ready.”

KEVIN T. ORROCK

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“The whole area is basically transforming before our eyes. With the downtown Summerlin area, we created something that nobody else in this Valley can create in a single location. In these 400 acres, at the end of the day, you could have as many as 10,000 to 15,000 people that literally could walk to all the amenities we’ve created. And downtown Summerlin is only going to grow and get even better with more amenities as it continues to evolve. There’s a lot going on, and it mirrors what’s going on in the Valley with the Raiders, the Golden Knights, the Lights and the Aces coming in. Sports is really something that creates activity and vibrancy, and it spurs development. What we’re seeing on a macro scale in Las Vegas, we’re seeing on a micro scale in Summerlin.”

REHAN CHOUDHRY

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“I love the ground-level, raw creative process of starting something new. That awe of a kid seeing Christmas morning for the first time—that’s what I try to re-create. I sold my owner’s share of Life Is Beautiful in 2016, and Emerge was originally scheduled for last November. (We postponed it after the shootings.) Life Is Beautiful developed a lasting community in Las Vegas, left a thumbprint on the city. Emerge will take that to the next level. Historically, festivals were political movements. Woodstock, Live Aid: They were large-scale events to foster change. Now, festivals are more into escapism, taking our minds off what’s going on. But the world is an interesting place now, and there is lots of room in Vegas culture for something people haven’t seen before. Emerge’s showcases are a mix of musical performances and speeches, each with a theme such as mental wealth and speaking truth to power. We’re charging only $125 for all three days, because we want a wide range of people. With Emerge, we can play a collective role and come together to inspire a movement. It’s a killer opportunity and worth it only if people leave wanting to make change.”



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Photography by: PHOTOGRPAHY BY BRYAN HAINER & EMILY WILSON