Category Archives: Las Vegas Observations

Unedited feature articles.




By Chet Yarbrough


Union strikes are big news.  They stop traffic, interrupt business, and disrupt lives.  But “big news” hides the real story, the things that union’s do that few know about.


Crystal Slaughter is a Teamster member, President of WACA (Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association), and Director of Convention and Construction Training for Teamsters Local 631.  Slaughter set up a meeting to discuss union apprenticeship programs.  Slaughter invited Tommy Blitsch who is the Union Chairman of Teamsters 631 Convention Training Program, and Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 631.

Every convention that comes to town is dependent on performance of Teamsters to deliver, set up, and breakdown convention exhibits.  Las Vegas could not be the convention superstar it is without union help.  That help begins with a training program organized by Teamsters Local 631 that specializes in convention construction and customer service.

Slaughter said, “We just opened applications for our (Convention Training) program and had nearly 1,000 people apply.”  Slaughter noted that Teamsters Local 631 offers applicants America’s “…premier tradeshow and convention industry training program”.  Local 631 created the first Department of Labor’-accredited and registered convention apprenticeship program in the United States.  As part of training in transport, set-up, and breakdown, Teamsters Local 631 offers OSHA safety classes, certification and re-certification of Journeyman equipment operators, and earned credits toward a college degree.  Slaughter said, “Since 2001, we have trained over 1,000 apprentices who are now Journeyman and Convention Industry professionals.  (For more information call 702-651-0344 or email

Careers are made by Union Apprenticeship programs.


Meeting Bobbie Whitmore, a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, offers a behind-the-curtain look at a union member.  Whitmore said, “I have been a union member for 34 years.”  Having started in the hospitality industry, Whitmore felt there was another career to better suit her ambition.

Whitmore said, “I was introduced to the Carpenters’ Union through CETA (the Comprehensive Employment Training Act passed during the Nixon Administration) and began volunteering to support and recruit women to join the union.”  With that union introduction, Whitmore joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to apprentice with a Journeyman Carpenter. Whitmore explained, “It changed my life”.  Whitmore’s take-home pay as an apprentice doubled after joining the union.  She raised 6 children on her family’s income.


Whitmore is now the “Female Programs & Outreach Coordinator” for the “Southwest Carpenters Training Fund”, located at 4131 E. Bonanza Road in Las Vegas.  Whitmore participates as a fund representative at colleges, high schools and community organizations to share the opportunities available for men and women through apprenticeship training.  Whitmore said, “Construction is still considered a man’s job by many, which creates its own challenges, but the key to achievement in any field is education.”  She goes on to say, “We need more women applying for apprenticeships in all trades because recruitment is not keeping pace with member retirement.”

The “Southwest Carpenters Training Fund” is a non-profit union affiliate that promotes and trains men and women for a career in the carpentry fields.  The “…Training Fund” is designed to teach construction specialties ranging from foundation form work to drywall finishing to general carpentry and weatherization.  It is a myth to suggest construction was better before the advent of construction specialization.  Without training offered by unions like the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, quality construction would suffer, production would diminish, and worker safety would decrease.

In looking at the website for the “Southwest Carpenters Training Fund” (, one can see that there are career opportunities in the carpentry fields.  The website is a good information source on how to start a career in construction.


Whitmore introduced Lily McCann and Jeffrey Kelley, two apprentices in the program.  McCann explained, “I was working two jobs when my mother told me about a Union apprenticeship opportunity.”  McCann said, “It helped to know someone to get into the program but once enrolled, it offered a career opportunity for a working mom.”

Jeffrey Kelley just graduated from “Job Corps” in Colorado.  He said, “Job Corps” gave me work experience that improved my eligibility for a Union apprenticeship job through the ‘Southwest Carpenters Training Fund’”.  Whitmore explained, “Getting into an Apprenticeship program is a great opportunity because you get paid while you are learning.”  Whitmore noted, “It is important for young people to get a high school diploma or GED because basic education is essential for success in the workplace.”

Ron Warde, a Site Facilitator for SWCTF, said, “Every Carpenter apprentice and Journeyman receive a training card with a posted QR code that provides every  employer a detailed resume of carpentry experience and job safety training for the person pictured on the card”.CARPETERS UNION_2610An employer knows exactly what training and certifications a union employee has when he/she comes to the job.  Warde explained, “When an employer calls for a particular number of foundation framers, finish carpenters, drywall hangers, or drywall finishers, the union is able to respond with exactly what the employer needs.”  Union training reduces an employer’s concern about job safety training and work qualification when union employees come to the job.

A part of job satisfaction comes from camaraderie inherent in being a part of something larger than one self.  The “Southwest Carpenters Training Fund” sponsors a labor fest once a year (except for last year because of the economy) to celebrate the experience that apprentice and journeymen union members receive through training and work.  Food, competition, and education fill the hall in a celebration of American labor.


Marvin Gebers, the Director of Training for the Operative, Plasterers & Cement Masons, is always looking for new apprentices.  Three of the most physically demanding jobs in construction are concrete placement and finish, masonry, and plastering.  Gebers said, “When the market was blowing and going, we had 2,000 skilled laborers in this Local–now, we have less than 1,100.”  Gerbers indicated that reduction in members is related to the market but a big concern is retiring journeymen and lack of young people coming into the trades.

Gerbers explained, “We are competing with higher education, office work, and less rigorous physical requirements of other jobs.”  Anyone wishing to join the OPCM, must have a high school diploma and be willing to work hard.  Before being considered for training, an aspiring apprentice needs to pass a written test which includes basic math and geometry learned in high school.


A chosen apprentice has the opportunity to be paid while learning how to work.  There is no guarantee of on-job training because it depends on market demand but at least there is an opportunity to earn while you learn.     A qualified applicant will spend 4 years with 640 hours of class and 5,000 hours of on-job-training to become a journeyman.  Gebers explained, “We are presently teaching two classes with the first having 10 cement masons and 12 plasterers, and a second class with 6 cement masons and no plasterers.”  The apprentices range in age from 22 to 50.  Gerbers said, “The College of Southern Nevada offers 29 college credits for successful completion of the OPCM classes.”

This is hard work.  It is not for everyone but apprenticeship wages, when jobs are available, are 50% to 70% of journeyman wages, or between $17 and $20 per hour take home pay.   As the apprentice becomes more skilled, health benefits become part of their pay package.

An applicant needs to be physically fit as well as educationally prepared.  Plasterers and masons, like many trade disciplines, are primarily taught through Union apprenticeship programs like that offered by Local 797 of the Operative, Plasterers & Cement Masons union.  Marvin Gebers can be contacted at (702) 452-8809 or emailed at


Another fascinating trade is represented by Jon Yunker, the President/Coordinator of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators.  The union apprenticeship telephone number is (702) 649-7897.  Yunker’s email address is . (Yunker is also a General Foreman for Southwest Specialty Contractors.)

Yunker and Aaron Quiroz, V.P. Local #135 (who is also an instructor for the class room), offered a guided tour during one of the evening classes.  Yunker explained, “All fabrication in these class rooms was done by students or journeymen that contributed their time to demonstrate skills of the trade.”

Yunker said, “We are considered one of the best heat and frost insulator apprenticeships in the country”.  Nearly every casino in Las Vegas has been worked on by apprentices taught at this school.  Everything from heat gain and loss analysis to insulation fabrication for heating and cooling systems is taught at this school.  Yunker noted, “Thousands of dollars in monthly office and casino building operating costs have been saved through conservation measures made by heat and frost insulators trained at this school.”


The heat and frost insulator school is totally supported by unions that are part of WACA.  No other educational facility offers more hands on practical experience.  A Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) will select apprentices for the training.  When applications are open (advertised 2X/year in the Las Vegas Review Journal), six criteria must be met by aspiring apprentices.

  1. Birth Certificate 18 years of age. Original will be photocopied and returned.
  2. High School Diploma or G.E.D. Original will be photocopied and returned.
  3. High School Transcripts. Original will be photocopied and returned.
  4. Must be physically able to perform the work of the trade.
  5. Those who meet the minimum qualifications will be scheduled for an oral interview.
  6. Those applicants selected are subject to a substance abuse test, prior to being selected for the apprenticeship program.  The date and time to be determined.

Once an apprentice signs up, he/she will attend a minimum of five years of night school with 720 hours of classroom training and 8,000 hours of On-the-Job-Training.  A Commercial Apprentice will earn 50% of Commercial Journeyman wages when on the job (Journeymen presently earn $41/hour).  Union schools, unlike academic institutions, pay students to learn through on-the-job experience.


Moshe Bialac is a Socratic gadfly for Southwest unions.  By title, he is the Statewide Job Coordinator at Nevada State AFL-CIO but one of his specific tasks, sponsored by a State of Nevada grant, is to assist employees that have received warning notices of imminent layoffs.  When large employers face economic conditions that require mass layoffs, Bialac assists management in transitioning the soon-to-be-unemployed through a “Rapid Response Lay-Off Aversion” program.

Bialac travels the State, from Gabbs to Ely—from Jackpot to Las Vegas, to help employees work through loss of their jobs.  Bialac explains how to write resumes, change careers, and capitalize on learned skills. In his travels, he speaks at special events, K-12 schools, and Indian Reservations to emphasize the importance of getting a basic education.

Bialac said, “People often do not realize how much they know and how many of their skills translate to other kinds of jobs.”  He adds, “There are many training opportunities offered by Nevada Unions that are not known by job seekers.”  Losing a job is hard.  Jobs give American’s identity.  Bialac knows what it is like to change direction in life.  Working in the film industry, Bialac lost the use of his legs in a camera accident.  Bialac’s experience reinforces the talks he gives at Rapid Response meetings.

In his bag of brochures, Bialac carries a Nevada State AFL-CIO pamphlet titled “A Directory of Nevada Unions and Training Programs”.  There are 65 pages of contact numbers for apprenticeship programs sponsored by various Union Locals throughout the State of Nevada.

Bialac noted, “Rural youths are difficult to recruit into trades because they do not know or understand their alternatives.”  College is often out of reach because of its expense.  The military is an avenue out of town, but now the military is becoming less available.  Bialac said, “A part of my mission in life is to explain to young and old that there are many alternatives for a good and prosperous life in Nevada.”

Learning a trade carries as much weight as a college degree.  Unions help make a good life possible for many who cannot afford college or cannot wait to begin their adult life.  Union apprenticeships are a win-win for American society.

(Visited 510 time, 1 visit today)





Las Vegas leaps into the film and television business in 2013 with its first boutique school.  The new school is the International Academy of Film and Television, a school designed to educate students in the business of film making and acting.


IAFT is planning its first classes in November 2013.  Suzanne Noel (office 702 454-3469, cell 716 830-0772), a former Director of Admissions at the Art Institute of Las Vegas, is the Senior Admissions Director.  The doors of IAFT are barely open but Noel said, “We are ready for enrollment with our first classes scheduled to begin November 11, 2013.”

Some building modifications are required to accommodate cameras, sound equipment, lights, and digital needs of the school but Noel insists the school will be ready to open in November.


The Campus Director, Ron Herbes, said, “My life has been a preparation for starting a school like this.”  Herbes began working in the film industry when his father was Director-VP of Facilities at 20th Century Fox Film Corporation in Ventura, California.  Working at Fox Film Corporation, Universal Studios, Disney and many major Hollywood studios, Herbes lived and learned everything he could about acting, film, and sound production in the movie and television industry.  His lessons in learning-by-doing are the sine qua non of his philosophy for IAFT.

Herbes was involved in every aspect of the film industry from editing to post production supervision.  Though still young, Herbes said, “I have been in the industry for 20 years, working on thousands of films and a number of television series.”  In 2001, Herbes moved to Las Vegas to teach audio and visual media to local studios and schools as a consultant.


Rather than continue as an independent consultant, Herbes was hired by International Academy of Design & Technology to expand their existing Audio Program.  The program grew to be the largest Audio training program in Nevada.  Herbes was promoted to Manager of Community Relations until his departure in September of 2013.

Rumors were spreading that a film making and actor training school was planning entry into Las Vegas.  Herbes called IAFT on August 26th, interviewed on August 28th, and started work September 16, 2013.

The International Academy of Film and Television was founded by Michael Gleissner in 2004 in the Philippines.  After Gleissner’s success with IAFT’s Cebu island school in the Philippines, Gleissner started schools in Miami, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong.

IAFT offers two and four-term programs for filmmaking and acting.  Depending on student interest and performance, the two term program leads to a Certificates of Completion and the four term program leads to a Diploma.  The Cebu school contains “state of the art” equipment according to IAFT’s promotional brochure.

Herbes is the Las Vegas Campus Director.  His plan, which worked well in the past, is to recruit filmmakers and actors that are active in their professions to be teachers.  They will teach interested students the art and administration of filmmaking, screenwriting, and acting based on their personal experience.  The design of classes is based on industry fundamentals with hands-on work in film editing, screen writing, and acting as part of the curriculum.  Herbes will hire active filmmakers and actors that have the time to teach classes based on the school’s curriculum.

Acting and filmmaking are the arts of the movie and television industry.  An aspiring actor or filmmaker needs enthusiasm and talent but training and contacts are the ingredients that create entertainment industry breaks.  Classes with teachers that are actively working in the industry are inherently contact relevant.  Herbes’ management approach to IAFT’s Las Vegas School synergistically reinforces career opportunities.

IAFT offers a unique opportunity for continuing education.  A high school diploma is not enough for most people to succeed in America.  Every industry opportunity is suffused with an element of “who-you-know” and Herbes’ idea of attracting industry experts to teach the crafts of film making and acting offers industry contacts as well as education and experience.

The school will open its doors with 4 full-time employees but will be staffed by part-time industry professionals based on their job experience and the curriculum of IAFT.  As the school grows, more full-time staff will be hired with continued emphasis on teachers that have learned their profession by working in the industry.

There are two ten week terms in the Certificate program and four ten week terms in the Diploma program.  Each term at the school will have 140 classroom hours and 85 lab hours.  Classes will range from screenwriting to film making to financing, marketing, and distribution.  Lab hours will include on job training with everything from acting exercises to film editing to sound production.  The maximum students-to-teacher ratio in class rooms or labs is 12:1.

Classes will be held 4 days or evenings per week with an additional 8 ½ hour lab per week.  The first two terms are the same for the Certificate and Diploma programs.  The Diploma program extends the training of the first two terms but adds documentary film making, financing, marketing & distribution, career development and other advanced classes.

Film making labs will include cameras, microphones, lighting instruments, lighting control equipment, cables, camera, lighting support hardware, and computers.  Acting labs will include costumes, wigs, make-up and props.

The school plans to have a lending library of film making books, magazines and periodicals with the library open to students from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday-Friday, except for holidays.  According to the school catalog, students“…will have access to ‘The Filmmakers Series DVD Collection.  This is IAFT’s customized instructional series featuring essential basic methods on screenwriting, directing and cinematography.”

There are four criteria for graduation.  To receive a Certificate of Completion or Diploma, a student must:

  1. Achieve a minimum cumulative average grade percentage of 70%.
  2. Attend 90% of course hours.
  3. Complete all courses.
  4. Pay tuition in full and be cleared of all financial obligations.

Graduates from IAFT are offered help for job placement after graduation. According to the IAFT catalog, the school will maintain a “…current list of industry job openings and makes this information available to graduates.”  There are no guarantees of job placement but getting a job after graduation is everyone’s goal.  Networking is certainly given a head start by the structure of Herbes’ plan to use industry employees to teach classes.

According to IAFT’s 2013-2014 Catalog, Las Vegas’s IAFT’ school is licensed by the State to “…operate as a private postsecondary institution.”

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accredits IAFT and offers a limited number of grants for attendance.  All prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED to apply to IAFT.  Also, the new Las Vegas school will have a limited number of IAFT 50/50 scholarship awards.  Noel provided a scholarship application package that explains there are three criteria for eligibility:

  1. A high level of motivation to train for a career in film or acting
  2. Minimum GPA 2.50 from the last school graduated; and
  3. Household earnings are under $40,000 per year, and a need is determined.

Students will be interviewed by the Admissions Director to confirm student interest and course offerings.  Tuition ranges from $3,990 to $12,990.

IAFT is not the only school in Las Vegas that teaches the business of filmmaking and acting but it is the only school that specializes in those disciplines.  UNLV offers an undergraduate program in the “Department of Film”.  The undergraduate classes include English composition, literature, American history, mathematics, social science, computer science, foreign language, electives, and finally, film classes.  It is a four year program for a generalized education leading to a Bachelor’s Degree.

There are also some acting “schools” in Las Vegas.  There is John Armond “Actor’s Studio” and Brad Garrett’s “Acting Classes”.  John Armond offers class times on Mondays from 6:00 p.m.  To 8:30 p.m. for $125/month and private lessons for $60/hour.  Brad Garrett’s school is taught by Adam Hill, an actor that has worked on and off-Broadway.  Classes for Garrett’s school are $175/month for one class per week or $225/month for two classes per week.

IAFT is a completely different approach to filmmaking and actor training.  It is a boutique school with a singularly focused agenda.

IAFT’s address is 6363 S. Pecos Rd., Suite 103, Las Vegas, NV 89120.  The school is off the main street but is ideal for class study and offers great potential for growth.  Herbes said, “I can see a studio lot being created in the available warehouses behind the school.”

Timing could not be better.  After some cheerleading from Mayor Carolyn Goodman and lobbying by actor Nicolas Cage, Governor Sandoval signed tax incentive legislation for the film and television industry to encourage film making and movie production in Nevada.  Laura Carroll wrote in the Las Vegas Review Journal–“Beginning Jan. 1, productions that shoot at least 60 percent in-state can earn transferable tax credits of 15 percent to 19 percent of their qualified production expenses, including Nevada  cast, crew, labor, gear, rentals, purchases and expenses.”

Las Vegas seems primed for job growth in the film and television industry.  The table is set with Herbes promotion of IAFT and his recruitment of film and television personnel.  With warehouse availability at IAFT’s backdoor, and tax incentives from the State, the plates, silverware, coffee cups and glasses are on the table. The question is whether the film and television industry is willing to dine.

Las Vegas has been a movie-making town since 1960.   Frank Sinatra defined cool in “Ocean’s Eleven”.  Nicholas Cage, in his incredible Academy award-winning performance in “Leaving Las Vegas” defined human tragedy in 1995.Steven Soderbergh, with “Oceans Thirteen”, re-invented slick in 2007, and Galifianakis rocked the house with comedy in “The Hangover”, 2009.

Television shows in Las Vegas date back to 1962 with something called “Teenbeat Club”.  Since then–wildly popular productions like “Married with Children” and “CSI: Crime Investigation” have been set in Las Vegas.  Not all scenes in these movies and television series were filmed in Las Vegas but with a school like IAFT, a potential studio lot, an industry experienced promoter, and the State’s support a lot more jobs in the industry may come to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world.  It seems the perfect spot for the training of a new generation of film and television moguls.  IAFT may be a door opener for further Las Vegas industry diversification.

(Visited 210 time, 1 visit today)


VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL                                          10/27/13




Mark your calendar.  Beginning October 1, 2013, the Federal Government required uninsured residents enroll in one of four health care insurance plans.  The following information explains how the Affordable Care Act works, how your premium can be calculated, where to go to get help, and what effect it has on business and the uninsured in Nevada.

Approximately $7,000,000 in grant money has been awarded to private Nevada companies and Nevada government agencies to explain and implement the insurance plan.  Much of that $7,000,000 is designed to educate the public on insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.  Nevada created an advisory board and insurance exchange website (HealthCare.Gov) to explain the Affordable Care Act to Nevada residents.

Nevada presently has seven potential insurance providers:

  1. Aetna
  2. Anthem BlueCross BlueShield
  3. Coventry
  4. Health Plan of Nevada
  5. Humana
  6. Sierra Health and Life
  7. UnitedHealthOne

As of 9/15/13, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield and Health Plan of Nevada participate in the planned insurance exchange authorized by Governor Sandoval.   Aetna indicates on their website that “…Aetna has periodically updated the Aetna Advantage Plans for Individuals, Families and the Self-Employed to include any necessary changes (to comply with the Affordable Care Act). It is important for you to know that your Aetna Advantage Plan will always comply with all of the new federal health care reform legislation.”  Without presuming too much, the remaining insurance providers are considering the Affordable Care Act in their business plans.

Preventative care will compel medical service business expansion.  Preventative care is included in all four insurance plans mandated by the act.  (In retrospect, this feature of the Act may eliminate a consumer’s right to keep their current insurance plan because more health services are required than some existing policies offer.)

Office space for routine check-ups and preventative care will be needed to staff new businesses.  Health care facilities are popping up around the valley to meet expected demand.  Many entry level positions in the medical field will be needed.

Companies that specialize in health service insurance policies will expand their employment opportunities and facilities to accommodate rising demand.  With 600,000 uninsured Nevadans, and an estimated 29 million citizens nationwide, management and administration of health services will be monumental job creators.

As long as the health policy you have is either grandfathered in by the company you work for, or the policy you have meets “Essential Medical Services” of the Affordable Care Act, no fines are mandated for non-compliance with the Act. (Medicare/Medicaid complies with “Essential Medical Services” outlined in the Affordable Care Act.) 


  1. You already have insurance from your employer or you have a private policy that complies with the AHC coverage requirements.
  2. You have Medicare/Medicaid

With an estimated 600,000 uninsured Nevada residents, the Affordable Care Act offers a number of immediate short-term and long-term employment opportunities.  A part of Federal and State grant dollars to private companies is used to hire and train part-time employees to help Nevada residents enroll in Affordable Care’ health insurance plans.  The title of the part-time position is “Enrollment Assistant”.    Training and education programs will require more classrooms and teachers to train needed enrollment and medical services personnel.

In addition to part-time “Enrollment Assistant” positions, the Affordable Care Act is expected to increase demand for hospital and medical service staff to meet needs of formerly uninsured residents.

Uninsured Nevada residents will become eligible for preventative medical services in 2014.  Routine check-up, vaccination, and pre-natal care are mandated by the Affordable Care Act.


Companies like “Urgent Care Extra” have come to town with the capability of supplementing preventative medical services outlined in the Affordable Care Act.  Ty Hanks, the Medical Director, of this new company opened its first clinic in December of 2012.  Since then, five “Urgent Care Extra” facilities have opened in the Las Vegas Valley.  The latest opening is at 4575 Charleston Blvd., near the intersection of Charleston and Decatur.  Dr. Hanks said, “Five more clinics are planned in the next six months.”


“Urgent Care Extra” started seven years ago in Gilbert, Arizona.  Hanks and his wife, Jacki, opened a new chapter in their lives by moving from Gilbert to Las Vegas.  They expanded “Urgent Care Extra” Arizona to build a chapter of “Urgent Care Extra” in Las Vegas.  Dr. Hanks observed, “The Affordable Health Care Act is not the primary focus of their business model but they will be able to expand their service with its implementation”.

The objective of the clinic’s business model is to offer the “in-between” medical service needed by patients that either do not have a primary family physician or need medical help when their primary family physician is not available.  Dr. Hanks, a board certified orthopedist, explained, “We want to complement Las Vegas Valley’ physician’ services by developing working relationships in the medical community.”  If a patient needs help because of a broken leg at 3:00 p.m. on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, “Urgent Care Extra” will X-ray the break, identify severity and either cast the injury or refer the patient to an appropriate specialist or primary physician for follow-up.  Dr. Hanks said, “Our objective is to be patient centered; with referral to specialists or primary family physician’s (if there is one) after immediate care has been given”.

Dr. Hanks said, “We have 12 part and full-time physicians for the five current ‘Urgent Care Extra’ clinics.”  Each facility is staffed by one or two physicians (either on-site or on-call), one or two medical assistants, a medical tech, and one or two front office personnel.

Ms. Hanks said, “We interview ten people for every job opening.”  She explained, “Social skill and technical ability are essential qualifications for employment because the clinic’s focus is on patient service.”  “Urgent Care Extra” uses IPAD and internet feedback applications to monitor patient perception of clinic services.  Ms. Hanks said, “I use patient feedback to improve staff morale and patient relationships.”

The Affordable Health Care Act will significantly increase demand for preventative care.  “Urgent Care Extra” is a needed and welcomed service in the Las Vegas Valley.

If you do not have employer-provided, personal, or family medical insurance that meets “Essential Medical Services”’ requirements, the Affordable Care Act requires purchase of health insurance from qualified private insurers  or through Silver State Health Insurance Exchange by  the end of 2013. 


1)You have no insurance for yourself or family.  You have three alternatives:

  • Seek insurance from Nevada’s Silver State Insurance Exchange.
  • Seek insurance from Nevada Health Co-Op.
  • Buy a policy from an insurance company that complies with “Essential Medical Services required by the ACA.

2)You refuse to buy medical insurance.  There are consequences:

  1. Pay a fine to the Federal Government. Beginning January 1, 2014, most un-insured will have to have health insurance or pay a fine. The fine is $95 per adult and $45.50 per child, up to a family maximum of $285 or 1 percent of family income.
  2. In 2015, fines increase to $325 per adult, $162.50 per child, and a family maximum of $975 or 2 percent of family income.
  3. In 21016, fines increase to $695 per adult, $347.50 per child, and a family maximum of $2,085 or 2.5 percent of family income.

Call “Silver State Insurance Exchange” at (775) 687-9939 or click www.nevadahealthlink for questions. For enrollment assistance ask for a “Navigator” to help you through the enrollment process.  Nevada Health CO-OP (not associated with “Silver State Insurance Exchange) at  (phone number 702-823-COOP) is also making appointments for enrollment in one of the 4 Essential Health Benefit plans required by the Affordable Care Act.

SUMMARY: The Affordable Care Act–signed into law on March 23, 2010.  The most significant impact for Nevada begins January 1 of 2014.

Effect on Business’ Group-Health Insurance:   

If a business has 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees, employers must provide employee health insurance beginning January 1, 2015.

There are no penalties for 50-employee-companies until 2015.  Beginning January 1, 2015, a $2,000 annual penalty will be charged for each worker after the first 30.

All businesses with less than 50 full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees are exempt from the Affordable Care Act until 2016; at which time 1 to 100 employee companies will have to offer health insurance.

Small Businesses, fewer than 50 employees, are eligible for tax credits if they provide health insurance to their employees. For details on the tax credit, visit

By checking small businesses will find what tax credits are available for small businesses.

Businesses should carefully review hours of work. Even if employees do not work 30+ hours a week, which is the definition of a full-time employee, one equivalent employee is created when total part-time hours worked per week are divided by 120 with the nearest whole number being classified an equivalent full-time employee.

If an employer has not significantly changed their group medical coverage plan since March 23, 2010, the plan in place is grandfathered and the Affordable Care Act does not apply.

All non-grandfathered group health insurance plans are to eliminate annual or life time dollar limits.

If premium costs exceed 9.5 percent of an employee’s annual income, the coverage is considered “unaffordable” and the employer must look at “affordability safe harbors” provided in the Affordable Care Act.

Policies must have no lifetime or annual limits. Individuals cannot be removed from the plan.

Preventative health services are to be included. Coverage to be extended to the age of 26 for children of covered employees.

The insurance provider is to follow a proscribed format to explain provided insurance coverage that has minimum coverage in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.

Starting in 2014, health insurers will only be able to use age, composition of family, geographic area and tobacco as rating factors for insurance rates. (Same for individual policy)

Pre-existing condition exclusions and concomitant pricing of group policies will be prohibited beginning January 1, 2014. (Same for individual policy.)

Essential Health Benefits are a set of health care services that must be covered with no “annual or lifetime dollar limits.” These benefits may still have other limitations, such as a visit limit. (See essential benefits on Family Insurance side-same for group and private policies.)

Starting in 2014—if insurance companies spend less than 80 percent of their premiums on medical costs–they have to pay a rebate to their enrollees. For health plans that are operating in the large group market, if their medical costs are below 85 percent of the premiums, then they have to pay rebates to their enrollees.

There is wide disagreement on loss of jobs as a result of the Affordable Care Act.  Concern is raised about companies that will reduce employees or reduce hours of employees to stay below the 50 employee threshold.  Part time employee hours are aggregated and divided by 120 to classify employment numbers.   (Essential health benefit requirements are the same for ACA’ group health policies as private policies.)

Effect on Family Health Insurance:

If a Nevada resident does not have Medicare or a personal health insurance policy, beginning January 1, 2014, individual insurance policies become available through (aka Silver State Health Insurance Exchange).

Beginning January 1, 2014, health insurance cannot be denied to individuals for current or past health issues.  Also, no annual or lifetime dollar limits can be applied to insurance coverage.

If an individual adult makes less than $46,022 and does not receive health insurance from an employer, he/she is likely eligible for private policy premium assistance or Medicaid through the

If a family of four makes less than $93,701 and does not receive health insurance from an employer, they are likely eligible for private policy premium assistance or Medicaid through

Subsidized premiums for eligible individuals and families can be calculated by entering family income in a calculator shown at

Starting in 2014, health insurers will only be able to use age, composition of family, geographic area and tobacco as rating factors for insurance rates.

Beginning January 1, 2014, most people will have to have health insurance or pay a fine.  The fine is $95 per adult and $45.50 per child, up to a family maximum of $285 or 1 percent of family income.

In 2015, fines increase to $325 per adult, $162.50 per child, and a family maximum of $975 or 2 percent of family income.

In 2016, fines increase to $695 per adult, $347.50 per child, and a family maximum of $2,085 or 2.5 percent of family income.

Fines can be waived for several reasons, including financial hardship or religious beliefs.

Use the calculator @ to determine whether your family income is too low to require any payment for an insurance premium.  For example, if you enter $16,000 as family income for 2, no premium is charged and no fine for the insurance you sign up for is due.

Tax refunds may be withheld for non-compliance fines.

There are four categories of health plan.

  1. Bronze-covers 60% of medical costs.
  2. Silver-covers 70% of medical costs.
  3. Gold-covers 80% of medical costs
  4. Platinum-covers 90% of medical costs.

Adults under 30 can opt for lower-cost catastrophic plans. (Same for individual family policies.

Pre-existing condition exclusions and concomitant pricing of group policies will be prohibited beginning January 1, 2014.

ESSENTIAL benefits include:

  1. Ambulatory patient services;
  2. Emergency services;
  3. Hospitalization;
  4. Maternity and newborn care;
  5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment;
  6. Prescription drugs; Rehabilitative and facilitative services and devices;
  7. Laboratory services; Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and
  8. Pediatric services, including dental and vision care.

Preventive care services must be provided without any cost-sharing to you long as the service is provided by a network provider.

This means that a network provider cannot charge co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance to you or your family.

  1. These services include, but are not limited to: Blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests;
  2. Many cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies;
  3. Counseling on such topics as smoking cessation, weight loss, eating healthy, treating depression, and reducing alcohol use;
  4. Regular well-baby and well-child visits from birth to age 21;
  5. Routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, polio and meningitis;
  6. Counseling, screening and vaccines to ensure healthy pregnancies; and
  7. Flu and Pneumonia shots.

NBC News reports that the average premium for one person making $25,000/year, after federal tax credit is applied, will be $145/mo. for a “Silver” plan.  For a family of four making $50,000/year, after federal tax credit is applied, will be $282/mo. for a “Silver” plan.  One person making $46,000/year or more will receive no tax credit.

(Visited 34 time, 1 visit today)



By Chet Yarbrough


bally technologiesBally Technologies has been at the forefront of casino gaming since its beginning in 1932.  Bally Technologies offers a wide range of technology and entertainment solutions to casinos around the globe.  Services to the casino industry by Bally Technologies include gaming machines, mobile applications, iGaming platforms, casino-management systems, and player-marketing solutions.  More importantly, they are at the forefront of online gambling as it gains approval in the United States.  Bally Technologies is headquartered here, in Las Vegas, Nevada.


John Connelly, Vice President of Business Development, said, “Bally Technologies is an international organization with offices around the world; we have offices in Amsterdam, Rome, and London, to name a few”.  Bally Technologies has more than 1,000 employees in Nevada.

In February of this year, Nevada became the first State to approve online gambling.  Connelly said, “In the last two years, because of pending national approval of online gambling, Bally Technologies has increased Las Vegas employment by more than 200 people.”  Connelly explained, “Additional state regulatory approvals of online gambling and improving mobile applications will increase the size of our online gaming division, which we call Bally Interactive.”  He said, “Two hundred hires may increase to 1500, depending on market growth.”

Connelly said, “Bally Technologies offers economies of scale to both large and small customers that are processing the complex activities of the gaming industry.” Connelly explained, “We have been serving the casino industry for more than eight decades.”  With Bally Technologies early entry and experience in electronic gaming, the advent of the internet became a superhighway for expansion of the company’s business.

Connelly noted, “Job searches for Bally Technologies are often worldwide because of highly specialized needs of the company”.  But, Connelly said, “We also hire employees straight from college and have on-the-job training and continuing education programs to meet present and future needs of the company.”  He said, “Bally Technologies extends services to casinos and online gaming companies around the world.”  Bally Technologies provides back-office services to 90 percent of Atlantic City casinos.  They offer contract services to mega-casinos like Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

Taking a peek at Bally Technologies’ website ( there are career openings for customer service, information technology, human resources, software development, project management, and engineering.

When asked about the effect of online gambling on casino table games, Connelly said, “Online gambling is another way of reaching the customer and its growth will complement the Casino customer base.”  He added, “Online poker will educate customers about the joy of the game.”


American Casino & Entertainment Properties (ACEP) is a locally based company that owns the Stratosphere and Arizona Charlie’s casinos in Las Vegas.  They also own and operate the Aquarius Casino Resort (formerly the Flamingo) in Laughlin, Nevada.


Alec Driscoll is the Director of Gaming Development for ACEP.  Driscoll explained, “ACEP has been gearing up for a rollout of online gambling for the last two years.”  He said, “ACEP researched the market, particularly in Europe where online gambling is legal, to prepare for a launch of our own online gambling website in the United States,” rolled out in February of this year.  “It is presently a no-money website but pending regulatory approval, we plan to become a pay-for-play online gambling site,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll explained, “The website launch is a great promotional tool for their brick and mortar casinos.”  One can access directly or through ACEP’s casino website addresses.  The launch offers an educational experience for players wanting to know more about casino entertainment and gambling.  Driscoll said, “Right now, our focus is on Nevada, but we have plans to expand our online poker site as more States approve online gambling.”

Driscoll explained, “Online gambling has been around for a long time but is, just now, beginning to be legalized in the United States.”  Prior to legalization in Nevada, online gaming was a “gray market” because its base of operations was outside the United States.

Driscoll said, “ACEP’s entry to online gaming has required a great deal of research, re-education of employees, and hiring of new employees to serve what is expected to be a significant marketing opportunity.”  When asked about the steps in the process of opening an online site, Driscoll said, “We talked to operators and employees in other countries and contacted local companies like Bally Technologies to see what they could offer that fit ACEP’s corporate objectives.”

ACEP chose to create a separate company that would offer online gaming, initially as a marketing tool for their brick and mortar casinos.  The longer term objective is to become a licensed gambling website.  Driscoll said, “ACEP decided to use Bally Technologies’ gaming-platform to initiate ACEP’s entry into the online market.”  Driscoll explained, “No date-certain has been set for launching their real-money online gambling site but it is a high priority for the company.”  He added, “In the meantime, has been a great marketing tool.”

Current job openings for ACEP’s online gaming and properties can be found at

Online gaming dates back to 1969.  The success of online gaming is partly limited by technology and significantly influenced by government regulation.

WILLIAM HIGINBOTHAM (Also a member of the team that developed the first atomic bomb.)
WILLIAM HIGINBOTHAM (Also a member of the team that developed the first atomic bomb.)

The upper limits of technology have been pushed higher with programming platforms that connect people to play games.  Beginning with William Higinbotham in 1958 with “Tennis for Two”, gaming on a monitor (actually an oscilloscope screen) became a local opportunity.  By 1980, local game-player’ opportunities morphed into international game-player’ connections; video games became valuable copywriter-secured assets; e.g. Atari’s “Asteroids” and “Lunar Lander”.

With the advent of ARPANET, linking the University of California to the Stanford Research Institute in 1969, the potential for gaming became national.  In 1973, with the creation of a common computer language, local networks combined to create the internet.  With advent of the internet, a worldwide opportunity became possible for online gaming. In the background of this new environment, online gambling is introduced to the online entertainment world.


In 1994, Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean passed the Free Trade & Processing Act that provided for online licensing of casinos.   Internet gambling sites have increased from 15 in 1996 to 200 in 1997 (Wikipedia quote). A global industry consulting company, Frost & Sullivan, reports that online gambling revenues exceeded $830 million in 1998.

Christiansen Capital Advisors (an LLC that focuses on gaming and wagering) reportedly said that 23,000,000 people participated in some form of online gambling in 2005 on an estimated 2,000 websites.  A November 2012 report by “Global Casinos & Online Gambling” ( estimates 2012 revenue from casino and online gambling is nearly $127 billion.  An estimate from “intellogiX” ( projects that $17-19 billion of that $127 billion will be from online gambling.

ULTIMAT POKERThe United States is a late-comer to online gambling with its first online site beginning in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first licensed online gambling site in the United States was launched by Fertitta Interactive LLC.   Fertitta Interactive was founded in 2010 but a real-money online poker site had to wait until December 2011 for Nevada’s approval of online gambling.  At 9:00 am Pacific Time, April 30, 2013, Ultimate was launched.  The Golden Nugget and Station Casinos became their exclusive clients.  It has been a long march and because Fertitta Interactive is first to capitalize on a new market opportunity, they are the pioneers of real-money, American online poker.  An online source of information about what is happening in the industry is

Fertittta Interactive is blazing its own trail in this growing form of American entertainment.  In 2011, when Fertitta Interactive purchased the Oakland, California based company, Cyber/Arts Licensing LLC, they became a self-sufficient, vertically integrated online gambling enterprise.  Other Las Vegas based casino owners have taken a different road.

ACEP, Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation, and MGM decide to partner with outside companies that have developed proprietary online gambling platforms.  As noted earlier, ACEP partners with Global Technologies. Caesar’s chooses 888 Holdings PLC, a Gibraltar-based company that works with online United Kingdom’ casinos; and MGM announces plans to work with Bwin, the largest publically traded online gambling company in the world.  Both 888 and Bwin incorporated in Gibraltar in 1997.  (Gibraltar is a peninsula at the entry to the Mediterranean, off the south coast of Spain.)  Both are publicly held companies.  Bwin, in terms of employment, is the biggest with an estimated 3,000 world-wide employees.

Nevadans are at the beginning of a new era of online gaming.  Station Casinos, with its continued appeal to local resident interest in games of skill and chance, chooses to focus on creating a local brand of online poker with .  ACEP, Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation, and MGM are partnering with international gaming companies to pursue world wide appeal.  This is not to say Station Casinos will not tap the world-wide market but their beginning points are different.

A common thread in casino’ online gaming websites (both pay-to-play and no-money gaming sites) is public introduction to respective casino entertainment networks.  Everything from education in the art of gambling, to player benefits, to pictures and explanations of casino amenities will be advertised on online sites.  Online gambling sites may offer many of the same players’ benefits that casino visitors are eligible for when they play at the casino.


In 1988, UNLV created the Center for Gaming Research.  David Schwartz is the Gaming Research Center’s highly accessible Director.  He is a great source of information about the gaming industry.  The Center has a state-of-the-art library on gaming.  Schwartz said, “Online gambling is a job creator that compliments the casino industry”.  In addition to software programmers and service providers of online gambling, ancillary businesses like geo-location companies will grow.

Schwartz noted, “With New Jersey’s and Delaware’s approval, the history of online gambling is still being written.”  Swartz explained, “New Jersey and Delaware approval of online gambling includes other casino games while Nevada’s approval is for online poker only.”    Every state may have a different model for online gambling approval.

Schwartz said, “Online gambling will increase casino’ gaming revenues and state’ tax collections.”  It is too soon to know how big the increase will be.

NEVADALong term investors like Global Technologies may have a jump on the online gaming market but relative newcomers like Fertitta Interactive, 888, and Bwin are focused competitors that are keen to be the best.  To Nevadans, entrepreneurs that create jobs are just what the economy needs.

(A Version of this Article is Posted in the “Las Vegas Review Journal” 5/23/13)

(Visited 19 time, 1 visit today)


Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough


PHYSICS FOR FUTURE PRESIDENTSPhysics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

By Richard A. Muller 

Narrated by Peter Larkin


“Physics for Future Presidents” suggests that 21st century Presidents must understand some physics to be effective leaders. Richard Muller’s premise for understanding physics gives license to the author to explore everything from manned space flight, to satellite surveillance, to terrorist use of nuclear bombs.

Muller begins his book with the modern world’s effort to understand and contain terrorism.  Muller explores the possibility of a terrorist organization building a nuclear bomb and detonating it in the middle of an American City.  He looks at the possibility from three perspectives.  One, difficulty in acquiring fissionable material; two, difficulty of building a nuclear device and three, difficulty in delivering a weapon of mass destruction to a desired location. Miller suggests a greater danger is terrorist attack by private planes, loaded with highly flammable fuel, e.g. 9/11.  Or, for a terrorist organization to use chemical and biological agents that directly or indirectly infect population centers.

Muller, at times, seems to stand at the side of fictional character Dr. Strangelove in describing historical information about radiation poisoning from nuclear bombs and accidents.  Statistical deaths from the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombing, Three Mile Island’s shutdown, and Chernobyl’s meltdown suggest that direct attribution of death to nuclear radiation is small in comparison to other causes of death.

What Miller is driving at is that physics will determine what form a large terrorist attack will take.  Easiest-with-the-greatest-psychological-impact is the physics and political reality of terrorist attacks–Muller reasons that the more likely consequential (1000s killed) terrorist attack would be similar to 9/11/01; i.e. with a private plane (rather than public airline) filled with fuel that is flown into a major sports event.

There are a number of counter-intuitive insights in “Physics for Future Presidents”.  Muller believes manned space flight is a waste of money.  He argues that most of the greatest innovations in science have come from unmanned space flight.  Weather satellites, spy satellites, entertainment satellites, global positioning satellites, drones, exploration of planets and the solar system have all come from unmanned space flight.  Muller believes there is a time for manned space flight–but not now.  It is too dangerous and produces little new-science.

Muller argues that nuclear power can be used as a fail-safe source of energy by using the latest technology for nuclear power plants.  The latest technology (actually first used in the 1960s by Germany) is a pebble bed reactor (PBR).  It is considered safe because it does not rely on water cooling of the nuclear core in the event of an accident.


Muller argues that revisions of nuclear construction standards in the United States would make construction of pebble bed reactors less expensive than conventional American nuclear facilities.  The added benefit is a safer energy source that reduces the need for carbon based energy supplies that increase global warming.  A large part of Muller’s argument for the use of more nuclear power is based on the generally accepted scientific belief that global warming exists and is most likely caused by human activity.

“Physics for Future Presidents” is unlikely to be a popular book in Las Vegas, Nevada. Among other controversial subjects, Richard Muller believes Yucca Mountain is an adequately safe repository for nuclear waste and should be reopened.  His argument rests largely on the science of probability.  Muller infers that natural radiation in Colorado is as toxic and potentially lethal as the probability of radiation leaks at Yucca Mountain.


Muller spends a great deal of time explaining that global warming is not a 100% certainty but, in probability terms, is highly likely and significantly related to carbon-based energy use by human beings.  He notes that use of carbon-based energy is likely to increase with China and India’s continued economic growth.


Muller creates a sense of urgency in creating other sources of energy to offset global warming.  He strongly urges increasing motor vehicle mileage standards but questions the long-term viability of battery operated vehicles.  Muller believes the costs of battery replacement will drive consumers back to carbon-based energy models.

Muller sees potential in solar and wind energy production but believes conservation will do more short-term good than any new source of energy.  He clearly sees that the cost of energy is the primary driver of technological innovation.  As long as oil and coal are less expensive than other sources of energy, they will remain the primary source of power.  With that realization, Muller insists on technological innovation in conservation because it motivates the consumer to become a part of the solution in the energy crisis.  Consumer’ participation in reducing energy consumption is guaranteed because of pocket-book’ savings from use of more energy-efficient devices.


The key to the world’s future is energy.  Muller believes the short-term solution to decreasing global warming is energy conservation.  He believes long-term solution revolves around nuclear fission and fusion.  Fusion is a longer term prospect but offers an infinite source of energy.  Fission is shown to work now, with probabilities of failure that can be significantly reduced.


This circles back to the critical importance of storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and other specially designed nuclear waste sites.  Muller notes that the fragmented system of nuclear storage in the United States is a bigger risk to the environment than locating nuclear waste in a limited number of storage locations.  Yucca Mountain fits Muller’s criteria for safe storage of nuclear waste.  He acknowledges that nuclear accidents may occur but the probability of an accident at Yucca Mountain is less than the probability of accident at other relatively unsecure and fragmented sites in equally or more populated areas.

The physics that Muller insists Presidents must understand is that scientific proof is a matter of probability; not absolute certainty.  Muller warns Presidents to not be misled by cherry-picking fact finders that have political objectives that are not grounded by the truth of science.   One may conclude from Muller’s book that even if there is no certainty in science, knowing probabilities offer a basis for informed decision.  [contact-form-7 id=”4561″ title=”Comments?”]

(Visited 25 time, 1 visit today)



By Chet Yarbrough



American women in the workplace pursue equal rights. An irony of that pursuit is that women are disproportionately represented in executive management when women are America’s primary buying force in a consumer-driven economy.

(Sheryl Sandberg speech about women in the workforce at the TED conference:

Las Vegas is a premier example of a market that can hugely benefit from women in executive positions.   Retailers like the Miracle Mile Shops, at the center of the Las Vegas Strip, show that hiring women in executive positions is good business.  The Senior Director of Marketing for Miracle Mile Shops is Wendy Albert.


Wendy Albert reports directly to Miracle Mile Shops’ ownership group, David Edelstein and Aby Rosen.  Albert explained that promotion in a marketing company starts with hard work and passion.  She said, “Interest and passion drive women to executive promotion in any industry, whether it is finance, healthcare, entertainment, or retail.”

Albert has a point.  Interest and passion are important to every person that wants to advance in an organization.  Interest and passion motivates performance in oneself and in those around you.  Albert said, “I love the retail industry, so this position is a perfect fit.”  She explained that at the Miracle Mile Shops she works in many different areas including advertising, public relations, social media, promotions, merchant relations and leasing.  As a leader in these areas, Albert injects her interest and passion to improve performance of everyone around her.  Albert explained, “At Miracle Mile Shops, we have to make all these (disciplines) work together in order to create the ultimate shopping, dining and entertainment destination.”

When Albert was asked about opportunity for advancement in Las Vegas, she said, “I think Las Vegas is a great place for women.”  She explained, “I realize how important it is for women in the workplace to support and help each other succeed.”

Albert is a role model for women in executive positions having spent 20 years in marketing at nine different shopping centers.  Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook and author of the best seller “Lean In”, explained in her 2010 TED conference that role models are one of the three most essential needs for increasing the number of women in executive positions.  Sandberg suggests the other two are the will to lead and life balance.

Albert certainly shows her willingness to lead.  She said, “In 2001, I moved to Las Vegas because I was offered the position of Senior Director of Marketing at Desert Passage (now Miracle Mile Shops).”  When Albert arrived she explained, “I’d recommend taking on new challenges, whether that be offering to take the lead on a new project or taking time to suggest improvements for a system already in place.”  In Sandberg’s characterization of women executives, Albert “leans in”.

Though Albert shows that women can achieve executive level positions, only a small number of Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs.  In 2011, only 18 women are Chief Executive Officers in Fortune 500 companies (Forbes Magazine reported women CEOs dropped to 12 in May of 2011).  Additionally, women hold only 15.7% of board seats in Fortune 500 companies.

GRAPH OF WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACEWhy do most major companies fail to advance capable women to upper management positions?  What is holding women back?

It is certainly not education because more women than men graduate from college in America.  It is also not smaller numbers of women working in corporate America.  According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, women nearly equal men in work force numbers with less than 30% of executive positions.

With better education, improved child-care facilities, better corporate acceptance of flex-work hours, employment legislation, maternity leave, and marginally improving male acceptance of family responsibilities, more women are choosing to pursue corporate careers without proportional success.


ROSIE THE RIVETER Since WWII women have become increasingly important to American productivity but before the Great War, most women stayed home.
HOW MANY COMPETENT EXECUTIVES ARE LEFT BEHIND?Competent executives are not doers of things but developers of people.  Change comes in well-managed companies that realize developing one’s replacement is an opportunity and not a threat to one’s position.  Not accepting this management belief creates fear in the executive office.  Less competent executives and supervisors are threatened by competent subordinates rather than energized by liberated management time.

Another explanation is the competitive nature of business. Men have traditionally held most executive positions; some are competent, some not. However, men have been in the arena of competition longer. Some have been promoted to their level of incompetence and seniority often trumps competence.

When a good manager has a competent subordinate, less time is required to assist or mentor upcoming executive.  Less time needed for mentoring subordinates leaves more time for development of others.  Companies that wish to be competitive must capitalize on human resources based on what people can do; not what sex, race, or religion they belong to. The question to be asked and answered is who are the managers that positively contribute to company profitability.

If a subordinate can do part of an executive’s job with less supervision, competent executives move on to other management opportunities; i.e. he/she is than able to spend more time with other potential superstar managers.  Part of the reason for women’s proportionate disadvantage is a late arrival in the executive arena; i.e. they are competing with men that have been in the arena longer and in greater numbers.

Another argument for women’s lag in executive positions is that there are not enough role models; e.g. an April 23, 2013 special section of the New York Times is headlined “Wall Street Makes Progress, but Lack of Role Models Impedes Equality, Say Female Executives.”  Not that there are no role models:


America, like most of the world, is unconscionably patriarchal rather than gender neutral–beginning


with religion and continuing through most governments and economies.  The Catholic Church says women cannot be clergy.  God is a man in Christian, Jewish, and Moslem religions.  Christian teaching says a woman comes from the rib of a man and that man fell from grace because of Eve’s betrayal of God’s law by biting the apple of knowledge and offering it to Adam.  Traditional Judaism says women are separate but equal but in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court suggests that “separate but equal” is inherently unequal.  The Muslim’ Koran says men maintain women and women are to be devoutly obedient to men.


Women did not have the right to vote in the United States until the late 19th century.  The U.S. Constitution did not pass the Nineteenth Amendment, which guarantees the right to vote, until 1920.  The United Kingdom did not allow women to vote until 1918 and than women had to have property and be at least 30 years old.  All of these examples explain why women’s position in the corporate world is more often challenged than supported by demographic reality.

Advance of women in business and their disproportionate representation in the executive office goes beyond patriarchal history.  There is competition, the human drive for money, power, and prestige.  Good management skill alone is not enough for promotion.

Human development in business is not about gender but about productivity.  Humans, male and female, have strengths and weaknesses.  Good managers build on strengths and work around weaknesses by organizing human and technical resources to maximize results.  These fundamental business truths will eventually level the playing field for executive promotion.  MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUSMen are neither from Mars nor women from Venus when it comes to business; i.e. all have a drive for money, power, and prestige which are the sine quo non for profit.  Business women that demonstrate the ability to get things done without supervision should and will be paid, praised, and promoted for the same reasons as men–improved productivity.  When women are not treated equally, productivity is diminished by the loss of an equivalent and possibly greater source of competent managers.

It is important to understand demographics for corporations and governments to capitalize on change.  Women are nearly half the work force in America.  Corporations and the government must change business policies and practices when it is more difficult for women to receive equal pay for equal work.  Attempted government action is illustrated by the 2013 Paycheck Fairness Act that recently failed (for a second time) in the United States’ Congress.


If child care interferes with corporate advancement, then corporations need to create an environment that allows parents to choose how they will share child-care responsibility.  If both husband and wife are pursuing executive careers, each bears the burden of family responsibility equally.  To the extent that government and business can help husbands and wives make family decisions by offering child-care services or family counseling, the nation’s economy is benefited.  In 2012, Fortune Magazine reports that “Nearly a third of Best Companies offer a on site child-care center.”  The Las Vegas Review Journal offers family counseling as part of their medical benefits plan for employees.  Companies like Stephens Media, the owner of the Review Journal, realize that hiring an employee is an investment in a whole human being, including the person that is part of a family that competes for an employer’s time and attention.

Choosing to pursue executive management positions and getting the job are two different realities but the bar for success is set higher for women than men.  The bar is higher for women because of patriarchal history but also because of changes in post-industrial economies, the relative late arrival of women in the workplace, and fewer female role models.

Some argue that it is because women have familial responsibility that interferes with work commitments.  That is a weak argument.  Other than the act of birth, family responsibility is the same for both parents—one day, or one week, or one month of absence from work hardly interferes with a worker’s contribution to a company.  Not to mention, some women choose to have a career; not have children and not become mothers.  The ridiculous suggestion that mothers have to be primary care-givers for children is borne from cultural bias.

Women may represent the greatest market opportunity of 21st century working America.  Women dominate consumer choice while slowly gaining corporate management experience.  With an economy dependent on consumer buying decisions, one supposes women have a better understanding of consumers than men.  With value conscious input about consumption and gained experience in business management, women can improve corporate contribution-to-fixed-cost (aka profit).  Unfortunately, only a small percentage of corporate management acts as though they understand that opportunity.  Statistics suggest Corporate America fails to endorse employment practices that provide equal opportunity for women in executive management.

Women, just as men, have earned the right for promotion in business based on a level playing field.   Executive management skill is learned.  It is not a privileged domain of gender.

(A Version of this Article is Posted in the “Las Vegas Review Journal” 4/21/13)

(Visited 76 time, 1 visit today)



By Chet Yarbrough


Nevada mining makes an outsized contribution to the State’s economy.  Tourism, gaming, mining, and ranching are Nevada’s “big four” industry groups.   According to, Nevada’s mining industry increased employment by 12.2% between Q2-2011 and Q2-2012, the largest percentage gain in any of Nevada’s four main industries.

Over 15,000 people are directly or indirectly employed in the Nevada mining industry.  Average annual wages are estimated at $88,000. NMA estimates Nevada taxes collected on worker contributions, and mining industry sales are near $417 million in 2011.  (Their calculation is based on a combination of state, county, and federal taxes.)


American Vanadium Corp. plans to develop the Gibellini Mine Project in Nevada, the only vanadium mine operation in the United States.    Michael Doyle, Executive Vice President of Operations in Sparks, Nevada said, “The projected life of the mine is 7 years with significant additional resources currently being evaluated.”  In 2011, Bill Radvak, CEO of American Vanadium, said “We are in the permitting phase.”  In a best case projection, the mine would be open in late 2013.

The planned location for the mine is 25 miles south of Eureka, Nevada—off State Road 379, 325 miles north of Las Vegas and 346 miles east of Reno.  Though not near Nevada’s big cities, it will impact employment in the Eureka, Ely, and Elko communities.


American Vanadium estimates employment of 130 people at the time of peak development with operating personnel averaging 91 employees during mine operation.  Doyle said, “The initial capital investment is estimated at nearly $100,000,000 with infrastructure costs, including on site and offsite development for project access, material transport, water, sewer, and administrative office construction.”  The new mine will have wide impact on the entire state with purchase and/or lease of manufactured material and equipment for development and operation of the mine.  Estimated tax payments from operation of the mine are $12.3 million, excluding tax contribution from employee spending.


Vanadium, discovered in 1801, is a naturally occurring chemical element.  Its chemical characteristics give it wide use in industrial and medical industries.  Without knowing what uses will be made of vanadium from the Gibellini mine, it is interesting that American Vanadium recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Germany’s Gildemeister AG, a maker of vanadium redox flow rechargeable batteries.  A representative of American Vanadium explained, “Rechargeable batteries for electrical-storage offers renewable energy production and optimization of the nation’s energy grid.”  A successful demonstration of a vanadium redox flow battery was shown in the 1980s.  In these batteries, the energy is actually stored in the vanadium, which represents 40% of their cost.


American Vanadium Corp. will be a welcome addition to Nevada’s mining industry.  Gibellini mine production has the potential for creating ancillary businesses that may directly or indirectly benefit Nevada’s economy.


Not far from Nevada’s southwest border, about 100 miles from Las Vegas, Molycorp is planning to reinvest in a rare-earth mine.  There are 17 rare earth metals in the periodic table.  These rare earth metals are important chemical elements in everything from Mercury-vapor lamps to lasers that are used for both medical and industrial applications.  Ninety percent of these rare earth metals are produced in China where 65 percent of the metals are consumed.  Uses of rare metals vary from smartphones, electric car batteries to missiles and energy facilities.

Molycorp is a world-wide company with 26 locations in 11 countries.  It employs 2,700 people.  Molycorp mines 13 of the 17 rare earth metals.  It began mining for bastnasite, a rare earth ore, at Mountain Pass mine on the California/Nevada border in 1949.

Molycorp is planning to re-invest an estimated $532 million in the Mountain Pass Mine.  After a nine-year hiatus, the mine re-opened in 2011.  The rare earth metals sought in the reinvestment are Cerium, Lanthanum, and Yttrium (all found in basnasite).  Cerium is used in Carbon-Arc lights to illuminate movie sets and projector screens.  It is also an element in the petroleum refinement process.  Lanthanum is used in glass and camera lenses.  It is also used in X-ray films and different types of lasers.   Yttrium is used in microwave filters, laser systems, and alloys of chromium, aluminium (a chemical element in the boron group), or magnesium because of its strengthening qualities.

Mountain Pass is the only rare-earth-metals mine in America.  The reinvestment plan for the mine is to employ 200 people who will operate 3 shifts on a 24/7 basis.  Many of these employees will commute from Las Vegas.  Molycorp’s website shows they are presently looking for a Journeyman Plant Mechanic, Mine Operator, Plant Mechanic A, Plant Mechanic B, Journeyman Electrician, and Operator Trainee.  The website is a good place to learn about company careers, benefits, values, and history.

COMSTOCK LODE-Remains of the Combination Shaft, 2011. The Combination Shaft, located near Virginia City, began in 1875 when the mine owners combined their efforts to sink a shaft to explore the Comstock Lode at a greater depth. The Combination was the deepest shaft ever sunk on the Comstock, reaching a depth of 3,250 feet. It was used until 1886.
COMSTOCK LODE-Remains of the Combination Shaft, 2011. The Combination Shaft, located near Virginia City, began in 1875 when the mine owners combined their efforts to sink a shaft to explore the Comstock Lode at a greater depth. The Combination was the deepest shaft ever sunk on the Comstock, reaching a depth of 3,250 feet. It was used until 1886.

Nevada is a storied mining state.  The 1858 Comstock Lode opens silver mining in Nevada.  In the 1870s, gold is discovered in Eureka County but the low-grade deposits are too small to create much excitement; at least until 1961, when Newmont Mining Corporation moves into the Carlin area and begins producing gold from low-grade deposits.  In the late 1970s, when gold prices were deregulated, gold mining in Nevada boomed.  Newmont Mining Corporation continues major mining operations in Nevada.  They employ 40,000 people worldwide.   In 2011, 14 open-pit mines and 4 underground mines were operating in the Carlin area.  On March 8, 2013, Newmont’s website lists 38 job openings in Nevada.

By 2009, Nevada is producing 79% of all the gold in the United States.  In 2007, 6,037,000 ounces of gold were produced in Nevada.  The most prolific gold producing mine in Nevada is the Betze-Post Mine, owned and operated by Barrick Gold, the world’s leading gold producer.


The mine is operated by Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc.  It is located in the upper middle part of the State, 75 miles southwest of Elko.   They have 1503 full time employees, 200 contract employees, and produce 1,819,115 ounces of gold and 117,750 ounces of silver.  On March 8, 2013, Barrick Mines website lists 57 job openings in Nevada.

Another gold mining company in Nevada is Scorpio Gold Corporation that holds a 70% interest in the Mineral Ridge Gold Mine (Waterton Global Value L.P. owns the other 30%).  The Mineral Ridge Gold Mine is approximately 217 miles northeast of Las Vegas.  It is one of the smaller gold and silver mining operations in the State.  It produces both gold and silver with most recent production showing 13,951 ounces of gold and 7,907 ounces of silver.  The Mineral Ridge Mine employs 46 full-time personnel and 2 contract employees.

An often overlooked and underappreciated mining operation in the United States is sand and gravel mining.  It is certainly one of the most accessible natural resources.  It is a critical component of the construction industry.  Construction sand and gravel valued at $6.4 billion was produced by 6,500 mining operations in 50 states in 2012 (2013 USGS Minerals Information Report).  Sand and gravel is used in road bases, concrete aggregates, blocks, bricks, pipes, plaster and many other construction industry materials.

 In 2008, Sand and Gravel was the third most valuable commodity produced in Nevada.  Sand and gravel was valued at $225 million.   The most important source of sand and gravel aggregate is in the Lone Mountain area in northwest Las Vegas.  One of the five biggest producers in 2008 was Impact Sand and Gravel.  Each of the big five in Nevada produced more than 900,000 tons of aggregate.


Impact Sand and Gravel, located in Las Vegas, started in 1996 as Cactus Sand and Gravel with incorporation as Impact Sand and Gravel in 1999. Alora Edwards, in the Recruiting Administration Department explained, “Currently, there are about 60 employees at Impact Sand and Gravel.”  She said, “That includes in office and out in the field with approximately 45 full-time employees and 15 part-time.”  All full-time employees have medical insurance.

When asked what skill sets are required at Impact Sand & Gravel, Edwards said, “The skill set we look for in an individual varies depending on the position but with all of our employees or candidates, we look for people who match our company and core values.”  There is a social consciousness in the employment practice of Impact Sand and Gravel.   She explained, “We have hired several homeless people to fill security and labor positions.”

Just as in any mining operation, Impact looks for equipment operators, mechanics, accountants, admins, leaders, scale house operators; etc.  Edwards said, “At the moment, our most difficult position to fill is the Mechanics position.”  She adds, “In general, we do have some difficulty finding qualified individuals to fill our higher Management positions.”

Impact operates four quarry sites in the Las Vegas area– one near Cactus and Maryland Parkway, one at Rail Road Pass, one at Lone Mountain, and one in Boulder City.  When asked about how the business is affected by the economy, Edwards said, “The economy hurt almost everyone in 2009 and 2010.”  She said, “Fuel prices and the lack of construction have been the biggest challenges, ” and added, “Obama care is expected to more than double our health insurance costs.”

In terms of direct employment, Nevada’s mining industry is at the bottom of nonfarm payroll employment but the industry directly employs 16,300 full-time employees according to the Nevada Workforce Research and Analysis Bureau. Mining is at the top of employment percentage increases on a year-to-year comparison of the four major industries in Nevada.

The Bureau of Land Management reports, “In 2011, the top four gold producing countries in the world were #1 China, #2 Australia, #3 USA, and #4 South Africa.   They go on to say that “Nevada has the largest mineral materials program in the Bureau in terms of volume and value of mineral materials disposed.”   In production, Nevada is ranked (“Gold Investing” newsletter -January 13, 2011) as the fourth largest gold producer in the world.  “In 2011, Nevada’s gold mining industry produced approximately $8.8 billion in gross revenue” (Gannett report-March 5, 2013).

The Nevada Mining Association estimates that “Since 1990, mining has contributed more than $100 million each year to Nevada and local economies.”

Mining is big business in Nevada.

(A Version of this Article is Posted in the “Las Vegas Review Journal” 3/24/13)

(Visited 29 time, 1 visit today)