Part 1: Interviewed by Stefani Evans. Myron G. Martin, President and CEO, and Donald D. Snyder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, share their memories of the founding of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts from the first non-for-profit foundation formed in 1996. The second iteration led by Snyder in 1999 brought in Martin--former Director of UNLV Performing Arts Center--and created a sustainable business plan for a center for the performing arts that would be accessible geographically and culturally for all segments of Nevada society. Here, Martin and Snyder recall how land, funding, and legislation for The Smith Center depended on the ""power of the project"" and the Snyder-Martin team's ability to overcome skeptics in the public, the Nevada Legislature, the Clark County Commission, the Las Vegas City Council, and the Don Reynolds Foundation. Martin and Snyder satisfied the various requirements for each organization and earned unanimous approval at each stop--in fact, the $50 million donation to The Smith Center was the largest the Don Reynolds Foundation had ever granted largest. That the approvals came on three consecutive days from competing municipal jurisdictions makes the accomplishment even sweeter. Subjects: Las Vegas, NV; Cultural center; Performing arts; The Smith Center for the Performing Arts; The Smith Center; Not-for-profit;; Nevada Legislature; Clark County Commission; Las Vegas City Council; The Don Reynolds Foundation; Fundraising; Planning; Endowment; Part 2: Interviewed by Stefani Evans. Martin, who was the youngest of three boys raised in suburban Houston, Texas, likes to say that in college at the University of North Texas he played for the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers. So he did--as the organist. He earned a Bachelors of Music in piano, organ, and voice and an MBA from Golden Gate University. He came to Las Vegas after a fifteen-year career with the Baldwin Piano Company as executive director of the Liberace Foundation; he later became president of UNLV?s Performing Arts Center and in 1999 he became president of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation. Here, Martin and Snyder recall the process whereby they hired architect David Schwarz of Washington, DC, to create The Smith Center's ""timeless, elegant"" look; creating a ""shared vocabulary"" by visiting 14 performing venues in 5 European countries; the City of Las Vegas's RFP that resulted in hiring Whiting-Turner Contracting Company; the exterior art/artists, significance of the bell tower, Founding Fifty(seven), and the ability of the theater to adapt from staging The Book of Mormon to staging a community funeral for two slain police officers. Subjects: The Smith Center; The Smith Center for the Performing Arts; Architecture; Fundraising; Acoustics; Public private partnerships; Request for proposals; Whiting-Turner; Theater Projects Group; vocabulary; Part 3: Interviewed by Stefani Evans. Author Jack Sheehan, joining this third session on The Smith Center in his role as Don Snyder's biographer, explains the way he envisions the place of The Smith Center in the larger context of Las Vegas. Martin and Snyder provide names for the group that grew out of the Call to Action meeting and founded the original Las Vegas Performing Arts Foundation. They share anecdotes of a 2005 trip, wherein they were joined by Las Vegas City Councilman Lawrence Weekly, City of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, and consultant to the City of Las Vegas Dan Van Epp to visit City Place and the Kravis Center for Performing Arts in West Palm Beach as an example of a place where a performing arts center was a catalyst for revitalization in an area of underused and underutilized urban land. They discuss opening night, March 10, 2012, /From Dust To Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center For The Performing Arts/, which was produced broadcast live on national Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television stations, produced by George Stevens Jr. and directed and produced by Michael Stevens for The Stevens Company; hosted by Neil Patrick Harris; and featuring Jennifer Hudson, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Martina McBride, Carole King, Arturo Sandoval, Joshua Bell, Mavis Staples, Pat Monahan; American Ballet Theater dancers Marcello Gomes and Luciana Paris; also Broadway performers Brian Stokes Mitchell, Laura Osnes, Cheyenne Jackson, Sherie Rene Scott, Montego Glover, and Benjamin Walker. Martin describes how provisions of Nevada SB235--introduced March 6, 2017, signed into law by Governor Bob Sandoval, and became effective October 1, 2017--for the regulation of ticket sales to an athletic contest or live entertainment event affect The Smith Center ticket sales. They talk of providing 3,600 good construction jobs during the recession, of Discovery Childrens Museum, of future development plans for the entire 61-acre Symphony Park parcel, and of a second capital campaign to increase the endowment to $100 million to enable The Smith Center to be economically sustainable.
Martin, Myron and Snyder, Donald Interviews, 2017 November 30, 2017 December 06, 2018 March 08. OH-03349. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1gm84g3t
i AN INTERVIEW WITH MYRON G. MARTIN AND DONALD D. SNYDER An Oral History Conducted by Stefani Evans The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2016 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editor: Stefani Evans Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Frances Smith Interviewers: Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White Project Manager: Stefani Evans iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of the UNLV University Libraries. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea and the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Building Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iv PREFACE "I might as well tell you now the punch line of my life. Oftentimes someone will introduce me and they will say, 'This is Myron. He used to play for the Atlanta Braves and for the Texas Rangers.'" —Myron G. Martin "[Our granddaughter] was four years old at the time. . . . [W]hen we were down on stage, I looked up at the box. . . . She sees me and she very subtly reaches over the banister and waves at me . . . . It was very emotional. I threw her a kiss. I joke all the time that four hundred women then threw a kiss back at me. " —Donald D. Snyder Myron G. Martin, President and CEO of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and Donald D. Snyder, Chairman Board of Directors, joke that they have been joined at the hip since 1999. While they are not quite on the level of George and Gracie Allen, they do enjoy telling each other's stories as they share their memories of the people and processes involved in founding, building, and opening of The Smith Center. Don recalls a call-to-action event hosted by Elaine and Steve Wynn and John Goolsby to establish a performing arts foundation; when the Wynns and Goolsby v left the group in 1999, Snyder assumed chair and in 2000 brought in Martin—former Director of UNLV Performing Arts Center—and the two created a sustainable business plan for a world-class performing arts center that would be run as a business and be accessible geographically and culturally for all segments of Nevada society. Martin, the youngest of three boys raised by their parents in suburban Houston, Texas, likes to say that in college at the University of North Texas he played for the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers. And so he did—as the organist. Martin earned a Bachelor's of Music degree in piano, organ, and voice and an MBA from Golden Gate University. Martin came to Las Vegas in 1996 after a fifteen-year career with the Baldwin Piano Company to serve as executive director of the Liberace Foundation; he later became president of UNLV’s Performing Arts Center, and in 1999, because of his dual foundations in music and business, he became president of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation. Here, Martin and Snyder recall hiring architect David Schwarz of Washington, DC, to create The Smith Center's "timeless, elegant" look; creating a "shared vocabulary" by visiting fourteen performing venues in six cities in five European countries; the hiring of Whiting-Turner Contracting Company by the City of Las Vegas, and the significance of The Smith Center's interior and exterior art/artists, the bell tower, the Founding Fifty(seven), and the ability of the theater to adapt from staging The Book of Mormon at night to staging a community funeral for two slain police officers the following day. They describe how land, funding, and legislation for The Smith Center depended on the "power of the project" and the Martin-Snyder team's ability to overcome skeptics in the public, the Don Reynolds Foundation, the Nevada State Legislature, the Clark County Commission, the Las Vegas City Council. Martin and Snyder satisfied the various requirements for each organization and earned unanimous approval at each stop. Along the way, they convinced the Don W. Reynolds Foundation to make its largest grant ever—a $50 million donation—to The Smith Center, a donation that Reynolds Foundation chairman, Fred W. Smith, immediately augmented with a personal donation of $1 million. The fact that the legislative, municipal, Reynolds Foundation, and Smith approvals/donations came on three consecutive days from four disparate entities makes the accomplishment even sweeter. Snyder discusses his consulting work with the Downtown Progress Association and joining the Fremont Street Experience for fifty percent of his time, of developing a strategic plan and hiring Kenny Wynn as the Fremont Street Experience's owners' representative, Jerde Partnership as architect, and Marnell Companies as contractor. He mentions joining the boards of Harveys Casinos and Household Bank and speaks to how the Fremont Street Experience changed popular attitudes about Downtown Las Vegas and spurred other redevelopment investments—a theme he also highlights with the construction of The Smith Center. He also talks about joining the Boyd Gaming board in 1966, becoming president 1997, developing and acting upon a corporate strategic plan, and retiring in 2005. vi Martin describes how provisions of Nevada SB235—introduced March 6, 2017, signed into law by Governor Bob Sandoval, and effective October 1, 2017—for the regulation of ticket sales to an athletic contest or live entertainment event affect The Smith Center ticket sales. Martin and Snyder talk of providing 3,600 good construction jobs during the recession, of Discovery Childrens Museum, of future development plans for the entire 61-acre Symphony Park parcel, and of a second capital campaign to increase the endowment to $100 million to enable The Smith Center to be economically sustainable. Author Jack Sheehan joins the third interview session as Snyder's biographer. Martin and Snyder describe their visit to CityPlace and the Kravis Center for Performing Arts in West Palm Beach as example of a place where a performing arts center became a catalyst for revitalization in an area of underused and underutilized urban land. They reminisce about The Smith Center's opening night, March 10, 2012, From Dust To Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center For The Performing Arts, which was broadcast live on national Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television stations, produced by George Stevens Jr., and directed and produced by Michael Stevens for The Stevens Company; hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, and featuring Jennifer Hudson, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Martina McBride, Carole King, Arturo Sandoval, Joshua Bell, Mavis Staples, Pat Monahan; American Ballet Theater dancers Marcello Gomes and Luciana Paris; also Broadway performers Brian Stokes Mitchell, Laura Osnes, Cheyenne Jackson, Sherie Rene Scott, Montego Glover, and Benjamin Walker. And, of course, Don describes with fondness the kiss heard 'round The Smith Center: his tribute to four-year-old granddaughter, Zane. vii TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Myron G. Martin and Donald D. Snyder November 30, 2017; December 6, 2017, and March 8, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Stefani Evans Preface…………………………………………………………………………………..………..iv Two groups hoped to create performing arts center 1990s; community call-to-action meeting 1994, Elaine and Steve Wynn and John Goolsby; organizational framework and creation of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation; Don Snyder to chair Foundation; Don, Myron, and Keith Boman; Myron business and arts degrees; business plan, public-private partnership, seeking financially stable Foundation; Jan Laverty Jones, Virginia Valentine, Betsy Fretwell; The Smith Center as geographically and philosophically accessible community asset; Dori and Don Kemp, Summerlin, downtown Las Vegas. City of Las Vegas Union Pacific Railroad land; Billy Vassiliadis, statewide legislative effort, Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 (2001); Lorraine Hunt, Richard Perkins, Dema Guinn, and Governor Kenny Guinn. Nine-Eleven (2001), Neal Miller, Myron, and Veterans Day "Las Vegas is open for business" USO concert. Synergy of Myron's work on Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas appetite for world-class performing arts center, and vision for The Smith Center …..………………………………………………………………….…..1–21 2003 legislative session, funding source, Chris Giunchigliani, David Parks, Bill Raggio, car rental tax enabling legislation, and "the power of the project." City of Las Vegas, land, and full faith and credit; Clark County Commission and car rental tax 2004. Fred Smith, Keith Boman, Steve Anderson, and Donald W. Reynolds Foundation December 2004. February 2005 meetings Clark County Commission, the Las Vegas City council, and the Reynolds Foundation subcommittee. Reynolds Foundation's record-setting $50 million gift ………………………………….…..22–45 Financial sustainability and operating endowment; tour of Southern California performing arts centers. Theater consultant, acoustician, and architect. Goal to run The Smith Center as a business; catalyst for redevelopment. 2007 meeting with full Reynolds Foundation Board, $112 million more for complete build-out to avoid phasing, and another $100 million gift. Gift from City of Las Vegas of two acres for The Smith Center to manage as a park; Reynolds Foundation adopted Symphony Park, artist Tim Bavington donated sculpture, "Pipe Dream." The Smith Center, Symphony Park, Children's Museum, and parking structure together total Reynolds Foundation $200 million investment in seven-acre parcel. Topics for next session ………………….…..46–69 Myron: Houston, Texas, childhood and family life and studying organ at University of North Texas; Fun Machine and Baldwin Piano Company, father and Texas Gas, fourth grade and Jones Hall field trip. Bachelor's degree in Music, MBA, Liberace, the Liberace Foundation for the Arts, viii moving to Las Vegas 1996, and Liberace Museum. UNLV music scholarships, adjunct teaching marketing, and meeting Don Snyder and Keith Boman ………………………………….…..69–82 2005 legislative session; fifty-seven individual, corporate, and institutional $1 million Founding donors—names on Founders Wall, Don's retirement party, Boyd Gaming, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Bill Boyd's $1 million gift to dedicate/name Dee and Don Snyder Founders Room in Reynolds Hall. Don simultaneously and successfully fundraising for two projects that expand Las Vegas philanthropic infrastructure: UNLV's first capital campaign and The Smith Center. Selection and hiring of David M. Schwarz Architects (DMSAS) …………………….…...83–103 Design process, Bass Hall as inspiration; Las Vegas bathrooms, "potty parity," and Myron's bathroom book; and David Schwarz, Hoover Dam, and Art Deco architecture. Intense design trip--fourteen venues in six cities in five countries in four and a half days—to Europe's grand opera houses to develop shared vocabulary among select board/design team members, acoustician, theater designer, and architect; desire for timeless, elegant building; ways to partner with education. First world-class performing arts complex to be LEED certified gold; building acoustics, spaces, and flexibility; thirty-four-month design process to complete building on time, on budget, with no change orders…………………………………………..………….…..103–123 Function driving form; owner's representative; dedication of Myron's Cabaret Jazz, and Mary Smith, the Founders Room pig, and irises. Public sector and private sector funding mostly secured; hiring Whiting-Turner, cost estimates of 2007, the 2008–2009 Great Recession, and effect on budget and affordability of contractors, subcontractors, and materials. Whiting-Turner, Paul Schmitt, and Willard Hackerman. Bell tower as a symbol and civic statement; engraving names on bells for fundraising; tolling of the bells for two murdered police officers, weddings. Exterior art: Tim Bavington sculpture, “Pipe Dream”; sculptures of Fred and Mary Smith and of Donald W. Reynolds by William Behrends; sculpture by Albert Paley. Roger Thomas service to Board and community. Interior art: Roger Thomas's mirrors; Benjamin Victor's "Genius In Flight," The Smith Center lobby; Ed Mell’s paintings in the Boman Pavilion lobby; Ellsworth Kelly's Founders Room botanical drawings. Local artists David Ryan and Shawn Hummel ………………….…..123–144 Jack Sheehan. John Von Szeliski and Associates' Feasibility and Planning Study for the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center (1997). First executive committee for creating a performing arts center in Las Vegas. Initial community call-to-action meeting attendees. Mayor Oscar Goodman, The Related Companies, CityPlace and Kravis Center of West Palm Beach, Florida. Paul Beard, formerly at Bass Hall, now The Smith Center chief operating officer since 2007. Liberace Museum collection…………………………………………………………………...………….…..144–163 Liberace, Lawrence Welk, Wayne Newton. The Smith Center opening night: producers George and Michael Stevens, host Neil Patrick Harris, singers Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Martina McBride, Jennifer Hudson, Mavis Staples. Carole King; violinist Joshua Bell; all tickets purchased; Broadway performers and a local choir of professional singers. Hamilton and ix The Smith Center's reputation in the theatrical world. Las Vegas, Steve Wynn, Avenue Q, and collegiality among directors of performing arts centers. Ticket scalpers, Lin-Manuel Miranda, bots, and Public Law No: 114-274; The Smith Center, Nevada legislature, and anti-scalping law S.B. 235 (2017) …………………………………………………………………………….…..164–180 Working with Whiting-Turner and Paul Schmitt. The Smith Center, 3,600 construction jobs, and the Great Recession. Historic challenge of Union Pacific Railroad (sixty-one acres) property; proposed build-out, and Great Recession; The Smith Center as catalyst, Nevada Museum of Art; redevelopment, physical remediation, and "undoing" attitudes toward a rail yard. Discovery Children's Museum. Tony Hsieh and Zappo's. The closing of F Street. Goals for The Smith Center tenth anniversary and endowment ……………..………………….……………….….…..181–195 APPENDIXES ...…………………………………………….………………………………..…..196 A.B. 16 (Chapter 15, 20th Special Session) ; A.B. 456 (Chapter 362) …………….….…..197–198 E. Eugene Shutler and Nancy Houssels for LVPAC Foundation to Lorraine Hunt, letter, 12 May 1995 …………….……………………………………………………………………..…..199–201 Nancy Houssels for LVPAC Foundation to William Boyd, letter, 19 June 1995 ………….…..202 Nancy Houssels for LVPAC Foundation to Foundation, letter, 6 July 1995 and Susan Greene, "Downtown Arts Center Eyed," Las Vegas (Nevada) Review-Journal, [p. 3B] ………..…203–204 LVPAC Foundation Executive Committee Meeting Agenda, 15 May 2002…………….....…..205 x xi xii 1 Good morning. It's November 30th, 2017. This is Stefani Evans, and I am at The Smith "Center with Don Snyder and Myron Martin. Mr. Martin, may I ask you, please, to spell your first and last names? Yes. Myron, M-Y-R-O-N. My middle initial is G. Martin, M-A-R-T-I-N. You have a first name and a last name that could be either, correct? I've never thought of that, but thanks for pointing it out. You're welcome. Don, let's talk about how this interview is going to go today. I think the primary focus of the interview should be on The Smith Center and how we got to this point. Myron and I both talk a lot about the fact that we had been locked at the hip for a long time. We met each other in late 1999 or early 2000 and since that time have been locked at the hip. There is some history for the Performing Arts Center before it became The Smith Center that precedes our being locked at the hip. I think what I will do is probably focus a little bit more of my time on those pre-2000 years (the "pre-Myron-Martin" years), kind of how we got started. Myron can fill in some blanks because, while he wasn't necessarily directly involved, he knows a lot of the history and if I miss something he can fill it in. I think that a lot of the pre-2000 chronology gets to Myron's own story, and I think that it would probably be good after we get through talking about The Smith Center and what got us to this point. Where you feel the need to fill in some personal history on Myron, you can, but some of his history will be part of the story that we talk about. Myron will talk about how in the fourth grade he was exposed to something that changed his life forever and charted a path that got us together to build The Smith Center, so I think he can talk about that. I think it will provide some context and it will provide some direction, then, for what you might want to do in terms of 2 getting a little bit more personal history and what got Myron to the fourth grade and what got him from the fourth grade beyond that. Or maybe Don could just tell my story because he knows it really well. We'll actually come in at the middle, go to the end with Don, and then we'll backtrack with Myron. I think we can make it work and we've certainly done this enough on our side to be flexible and to pause for questions. But I also thought that if we get through the basic story as I mentioned before, in the next interview there will be some questions that you have that you might want to dig a little bit deeper on. We can have Jack Sheehan be part of that since he's doing my memoirs or my biography. I think he's participating in that after he's seen the transcript of what we talk about here; I think that could be an interesting four-way conversation next time if we could arrange it. That would be wonderful. The focus really is going to be on what got us to this point. The Smith Center has now been open for about five and a half years, a little bit more than five and a half years; it will be six years in March of 2018, and so it's a little bit more than five and a half years. In one sense that time has gone very quickly and in another sense a lot of people say it seems like The Smith Center has always been here because it's become such a fabric of our community for so many people, which is something we had talked about at the outset, from the very beginning. My involvement with this project started in 1994. In 1994, I was leading the efforts to develop the Fremont Street Experience. I was very involved with all the downtown casino owners, but Barry Shier, in particular, who was president of the Golden Nugget, I worked with very, very closely, and, of course, he working with Steve Wynn, who owned the Golden Nugget 3 at that time, put me into contact a lot with Steve Wynn and Elaine, Steve's wife at the time. There had been an effort—Myron, you may be able to fill in the blanks a little bit more than I can or maybe we schedule another interview—but there were some conversations that preceded 1994, so I'm going to touch on that, step back a little bit before tuning into 1994. There was a small group of people that had been involved in arts conversations for a long time; people like Nancy Houssels, Scott MacTaggart, and Keith Boman. Do you have any other names to throw into that group? If I start a list, I'm going to miss somebody, because there were quite a few people involved back then. We can always fill in if we miss somebody. I think this tees up going back and looking at some of those. The truth is there were really two different groups of people having conversations simultaneously about the need for a performing arts center. Yes. But there was this smaller group that is now part of our group. I'm going to talk a little bit about it. You reminded me about the two separate groups, and so I'm going to elaborate about that, because there is a connection to Mayor Jan Jones in that conversation. But there was a smaller group that had been involved in arts and arts conversations and talked about at some point creating some form of performing arts center. But it was really in 1994 that there was what I refer to as the community call-to-action meeting and it was a meeting hosted at the Golden Nugget; it was hosted by Steve and Elaine Wynn and John Goolsby. Barry Shier, who I mentioned, kind of helped with a lot of logistics in terms of hosting that meeting at the hotel that he was president of. John at the time was the president and CEO of Howard Hughes Corporation, the developers of Summerlin. I had a strong personal history with John as well, because when I 4 first came here in 1987 to be the CEO of First Interstate Bank, John was on the board of directors for First Interstate Bank. John was both somebody from a business point of view that I had a lot of contact with, and he and his wife, Judy, had become good friends of Dee and me. With those people hosting it and with a little bit of encouragement, because of my involvement with the Fremont Street Experience, I had my arm twisted to attend this community call-to-action meeting. There were probably fifty or sixty people in attendance at that meeting, some of those folks had been involved in the earlier conversations that really hadn't materialized into anything tangible at that point in time. Steve Wynn stood up in that meeting and the line that I remember him telling most clearly was, "We're the largest community in North America that doesn't have its own world-class performing arts center and we need to change that," is how he positioned it. He had commissioned some research to be done that helped to put a little more meat on the bones, so to speak, with regard to that statement. I don't remember what everybody else said. I'm sure that John Goolsby had some things to say at the time and probably Nancy Houssels, because she's always been part of the dialogue. But it was really the "Steve Wynn show" in terms of doing what he can do, and that is to bring people together to create something. We had that meeting and I think it resonated pretty well with a few of us, both people that had strong arts orientation and felt that the cultural aspects of a performing arts center was certainly a motivating factor. I will tell you that from my point of view, the motivation didn't come as much from the arts side as it did the business side. As I sat there and listened to the conversation, I reflected back on my time as CEO of First Interstate Bank of Nevada. One of the toughest jobs that I had was recruiting executive talent to Las Vegas, to move to Las Vegas to be an executive at First Interstate Bank. I could get the person excited about the professional 5 opportunity so that they could go back and talk with their family. Being from San Francisco or Los Angeles or Chicago or Phoenix, even—other major cities—the typical reaction was, "You want us to move where?" We didn't have a lot of those things that those other communities have, and a performing arts center and a cultural foundation was certainly part of that. I also have joked over the years that, oh, yeah, I was really driven from the arts point of view; I was born in South Dakota and I grew up in Wyoming, where we have lots of world-class performing arts centers. Well, no, we didn't have. So I wasn't drawn to the project from the cultural side, from the performing arts side; I was really drawn to it from the business side. But that was important too, because it was part of what has become a big part of what I've done over the years, and that is what I refer to as community building. This is one of those elements of infrastructure that was missing and there are other elements of infrastructure—education, healthcare and other things beyond roads and highways—that are infrastructure elements that are missing in our community. I saw it as something that could help to make others be able to recruit people here and get people comfortable with living in Las Vegas, and so that's what drew me to it. Coming out of that meeting there were probably ten or twelve of us. At some point in time it might be nice to put together a list of who the ten or twelve were. Scott MacTaggart was one. Keith Boman was one. Bob Forbuss. Bob Forbuss was one. He was probably involved in that initial meeting as well. I think we do need to come up with that list because that list was the group of people— Houssels? Nancy Houssels. That was the group of people that says, we heard some things today that really should motivate us to move forward. 6 Goolsby? Goolsby was part of that. Barry Shier was part of it. Steve and Elaine Wynn, Elaine more than Steve in terms of picking up the ball. I give Steve tremendous amount of credit for kicking the ball down the field, but it was Elaine and Barry, more from his corporate point of view, that picked up the ball and ran with it. Jan Laverty Jones was the mayor in 1994; Jan was at the meeting and was a very key figure here. Her involvement became very critical as we moved this project forward. [Ed. Note: Jan Laverty Jones (now Blackhurst) served as Mayor of the City of Las Vegas 1991–99.] This smaller group of us from the fifty or sixty that were present at the community call-to-action meeting met subsequently, and we said, "It's time for us to do something." So we did what community groups do; we started to create an organizational framework. Scott MacTaggart was involved in helping us to create the 501(c)(3). The official name was the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation. We created that 501(c)(3) and started moving the process forward. As we became organized we did what groups typically do; you meet every two or three months and you talk about where you are; you hire some consultants to help paint the picture a little bit more clearly, and we did that. We moved the ball forward a little bit every time, but it was all volunteers at the time and we all had busy day lives. We moved things along, but over the years, although we had a clear sense of what we wanted to do, there wasn't a totally clear sense of what that meant and how we were going to get there. Then it was in March of 2000 that MGM Corporation acquired Mirage Resorts, Steve Wynn's company. It was right after the formal announcement of that transaction—I don't remember if it was the formal announcement of the transaction or the completion of the transaction; that's some historical research we can do—but it was after that transaction had 7 become official that Elaine came to one of our Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation board meetings and said in the context of Mirage Resorts just having been acquired, "Steve and I don't know what we're going to do in the next chapter of our lives," and those are almost her exact words. "We don't know what we're going to do in the next chapter of our lives, but we know that if this project—the performing arts center project—is going to move forward, it's going to take a lot of energy; it's going to take a lot of focus, and Steve and I just don't know if we're prepared to provide that focus. We'll continue to be supportive, but we can't provide the same drive that we had before," essentially. Shortly before that, John Goolsby retired from Howard Hughes Corporation and moved out of town, originally to Arizona and eventually back to his home state of Texas. All of a sudden, the people that probably were most responsible for getting us together were stepping away from the project. The rest of the board at that time—I don't remember specifically which one—Keith Boman was probably one and maybe Nancy Houssels was the other—maybe talking with them we'll get some of their recollection—but it was probably the two of them that approached me on behalf of the board and asked if I'd be interested in becoming the chairman of the board of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation. I said, "This project is important to me. I want to be involved and I am prepared to provide some leadership, but there's some conditions, three conditions that are important to me for me to accept the job. The first condition is that we need to bring some new board members on to replace those that have left or are leaving and we need to have board members who are prepared and oriented toward helping us move this project forward. We talked a lot about what we want to do. It's time for us to get busy on how we're going to do it and actually doing it. So we need some new board members, some new blood, so to speak, and a perspective towards action. The second condition is we need to go 8 through a business planning process." Very similar to what we've talked about that I've done every place I've been over the course of the last thirty-five years or so and most recently with the Fremont Street Experience, most recently at that particular time with the Fremont Street Experience. So that was the second condition. We need to get the board members on, we need to go through a planning process with everybody sitting around the table and participating in that process. And then I said, "The third condition is we need to have someone who can help us volunteers, somebody whose day job it is to help us get this project moved forward." The board agreed to those conditions. I became chairman and I was introduced to Myron Martin at that time by Keith Boman. Myron can talk a little bit more about his history and what he was doing at the time. I was taken by two aspects of what I saw when I met Myron; one is he had run the performing arts center for the university, so he certainly had a background that was relevant to what we were doing. I also saw a lot of history. He can talk about the fourth grade. I won't talk about his fourth grade experience. But I could tell that he had a lot of history in the arts and specifically the performing arts. But the other thing that as a businessperson resonated with me is that Myron had an MBA. I've been involved with enough organizations to know that many of these organizations and particularly in the arts don't run like businesses. I felt it was important for us to bring a business mentality to the table. I was certainly committed to doing that. When I met Myron I saw a guy that had both the arts background, specifically the performing arts experience, and had an MBA. I said, "Boy, for a guy that we need to provide a day job exposure, Myron is the right guy." Very quickly I got comfortable with Myron. In the business world and probably in the world of building world-class performing arts center, he was pretty young in his career, but I saw the elements of things that were very important to me. So Myron started with us and he started first as the volunteer as we were initiating 9 these—I don't remember the exact time frames when we went through some of these steps and perhaps Myron does—but he started initially by volunteering his time. His volunteer time reinforced every instinct that I had that he was the right person. We then engaged Myron on a consulting basis with some compensation, not a hell of a lot of compensation, but on a part-time basis. It wasn't certainly a full-time job. Myron and I then led the business planning or the strategic planning process using my model that I have shared with you. We developed a business plan that engaged everybody that was on the board and I think was truly a catalyst to us understanding what it is that we're going to do, why we're going to do it, and, importantly, what are the steps that we need to go through to do that. That business plan became the document that then guided us for the next several years, really, right up until the time we're ready to start construction. The business plan and what was in it was important for a lot of different points of view. It certainly laid out a good path. It identified that this has to be a public sector/private sector partnership; that was important. That we were going to run it like a business; that was important. That we were going to do this on a sustainable basis because as we went through this process we saw that too often nonprofit organizations in the arts and beyond just don't have the financial sustainability that they need.