Laub, Mary & Bill Interview, 2017 September 15. OH-03240. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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i AN INTERVIEW WITH MARY M. LAUB AND BILL LAUB JR. An Oral History Conducted by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White 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 When Mother-and-son Laubs, Mary and Bill Jr., tell the intertwined stories of Southwest Gas Company, the Laub family, and their early years in Las Vegas they finish each other’s sentences. They should; they have shared these anecdotes for years. Until Bill Jr. retired in 2016, the Laub family had been inextricably linked with Southwest Gas Company since 1931, when Mary’s father-in-law, H. G. “Hal” Laub, first founded the company with two partners. As Mary and Bill Jr. share their personal histories of growing with the Company, they also share the Company’s history of growing with Las Vegas, and they delineate a separate Laub history of growing with Las Vegas from 1958. When Southwest Gas Company moved their headquarters to Las Vegas in 1958, the Company took over a three-story building at the intersection of St. Louis Avenue, Las Vegas Boulevard, and Main Street. As Mary and Bill Jr. describe it, the building began its life as a three-story hamburger stand built by an eccentric who wanted to "out-Kroc" v McDonald's founder Ray Kroc. The first floor was the open-air drive-through; the second floor housed food preparation, and the third floor was dedicated to the owner’s penthouse, which was served by a private elevator. While the overgrown hamburger business lasted only about one and a half years, Southwest Gas remained in the building for twenty years until they built their Spring Mountain Road headquarters. The building that formerly housed the three-story hamburger stand and Southwest Gas Company yet exists at that location and is now occupied by Alarmco. While offering anecdotes on Southwest Gas Company’s early years—including its flirtation with a nuclear bomb and owning a casino; its purchase of a Kingman, Arizona, ranch with an underground salt dome, and its involvement with the formation of Boyd Gaming—this oral history also reveals Bill Jr.’s role in applying his knowledge of natural gas infrastructure to promote extensive education about building codes, infrastructure, and engineered systems. In particular, Bill discusses EduCode, the internationally recognized, week-long building code institute held annually in Las Vegas that originally began more than twenty-five years ago and has since attracted worldwide participation. While Bill does not teach at the institute, he has helped organize the course since its inception and has been a consistent supporter. vi TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Mary M. Laub and Bill Laub Jr. September 15, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White Preface……………………………………………………………………………….………iv Bill and Mary talk about the beginning of Southwest Gas Company by Mary’s father in law, H. G. "Hal" Laub and two partners but mostly focus on the company after Hal and his son William "Bill" Laub Sr. brought the company headquarters and their families to Las Vegas in 1958. They recall Southwest going to the New York Stock Exchange in 1979; describe how Hal established the company in Southern Nevada and won the right from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to bring natural gas to the area; how father and son became badly burned by the unstable propane; the Company’s desire to purchase a nuclear bomb; verbally map the former headquarters at Las Vegas Boulevard and Main Street in its previous life as a three-story hamburger stand with penthouse suite and elevator; tell how the Company came to be the largest first-class mailer at the Sunset and Paradise Post Office; and share the Company's purchase of a ranch outside Kingman, AZ, with a big underground salt dome they planned to use for natural gas storage site..……………………………………………………………1-17 Bill speaks to the importance of utility infrastructure in the story of Southern Nevada's remarkable growth in the 1980s and 1990s: without the utilities doing their part, the houses, schools, and hotels could never have been completed. Tells stories of The Mirage volcano's piña colada gas smell and its fricasseed birds and gives an insider story of the PEPCON explosion. Talks of going to work at Southwest Gas because of his interest in alternative energies; shares the Company's involvement in the 1975 formation of Boyd Gaming; mentions Bill Laub Sr.'s 1988 termination; explains how, where the River Mountains Loop Trail goes into Lakeshore Drive out to Lake Las Vegas, the Trail Partners had to get Federal approval to lay the trail where they did because the path lay atop the Basic Management, Inc. (BMI) water line……………………………………………………………………………………..…17-35 Lists Southwest Gas presidents after Bill Laub Sr.: Kenny Guinn, Mike Maffie, Jeff Shaw, and John Hester and envisions a bright Southwest Gas future, because the fuel delivery system was originally designed to deliver natural gas, methane, and hydrogen. Bill and Mary describe Mary’s grandson’s work in California developing algorithms to predict solar voltaic demand for municipal electric vehicular fleets; discusses why Nevada had never combined its gas and electric utilities and talks about Nevada Power, which had originally formed as a consolidated power and telephone company. Bill praises Bob Weber, former director, and Ron Lynn, assistant director, both of Clark County Building Department, for their roles in cleaning up corruption in the local building industry and who have become world experts on building codes and engineered systems; talks about EduCode, the internationally recognized, week-long building code institute held annually in Las Vegas that originally began more than twenty-five years ago so Weber and Lynn could more efficiently train their employees in the five Clark County jurisdictions and grew well beyond all their expectations; speaks also of codes, compliance, and insurance coverage relative to the International Code Council (ICC), and of gifting personal papers to UNLV Special Collections and Archives…………………….35-55 vii viii 1 STEFANI: Today is September 15th, 2017. Stefani Evans and Claytee White are here with Mary Laub and her son, Bill Laub. Mary, we'll start with you. Would you please spell your first and last names for the tape? You mean Mary, M-A-R-Y? M, put an M in it. Mary M. Laub. Middle initial M. Very important. We just got hacked last week, but they dropped the M and I always put the M in. Plus there was another Mary Laub in Las Vegas. She's dead. I go to the doctor and the doctor said, "I want you to know Mary Laub died." And Bill? William or Bill. Bill Laub Jr. So you want the book to be Bill Laub Jr.? Yes. My dad was William, so, yes. Perfect. Bill, why don't we talk about your early life? Tell us where you were born. Born in 1951, Pasadena, California. Came [to Las Vegas] when the folks moved in 1958. We moved into this house in 1959. I've been here generally off and on—three other states, South Dakota, Arizona and California, but principally here. What did your dad do? In 1951 to '58—would you like to answer that? He was the CEO of Southwest Gas Company. Well, not at that time. Yes, he was. Well, starting in '64. There you go. 2 And before that? He was a vice president. For Southwest Gas. For Southwest Gas. And before that he was an attorney for the company and then he was also kind of do-anything- and-everything. But the company, you may not be aware, Southwest Gas generally started around 1931 as a propane, ethane, and butane company in Barstow. My grandfather, H.G. Laub, took it out of receivership in 1934, I believe. Oh, I didn't know that. Yes. Hal [H.G. Laub] had no assets, but he had three buddies; one, Gil Gray, who actually had the Gray Department Store in Reno, Nevada; the big rancher in Apple Valley—what was that name, do you remember?—and then the ex-mayor of Barstow. So they brought it out of receivership. You mean Koeneman? Koeneman, thank you. Koeneman was the ex-mayor? Well, he was at one time. Yes. I can't even think of Koeneman's first name. It was John. His name was John K. Koeneman. Changing the subject, too, I was in sales at Southwest Gas for decades. I learned I can never speak for the company. We became a quasi-public company probably in '58, '59, traded on the Pacific and Los Angeles Exchanges, really small exchanges. Became big time in 1978; that's when Southwest 3 Gas went to the New York Stock Exchange, I believe. That was really fun. We went on the stock exchange and they let us sit down on the floor. He (my husband, William Laub Sr.) bought the first stock of the day. That's a tradition with a new listee. At that time it was unusual. I don't know if you've ever seen a stock certificate. If you buy shares you got a certificate; you don't today. You had to have a person on it. Southwest Gas put an Indian on their certificate. Is that what you did? How funny. Yes, yes. So it was very colorful, very different. This was in what year? I'm not really sure. Wasn't it the middle seventies? It was the middle seventies. Seventy-eight, maybe; maybe 1980. [Ed. Note: Southwest Gas opened on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time as SWX on July 19, 1979.] I'm trying to remember. So many details. Yes. See, I'm not good on these types of details. I never had to call them up. I think it was earlier than that. I think it was in the sixties. Let's see. Sixty-four— That's when Hal passed. Yes, and that's when William Laub Sr. became president. It probably was the middle seventies. Because he took it on the stock exchange, your dad did. That's correct. Did you know you had to buy your way on the stock exchange? No. How much did that cost? I want to say it cost—oh, I don't know—I would say fifty thousand dollars, but I'm not sure. 4 I can't speak to that issue, but I think it's in that area. And in that period of time. Yes. When you went to the New York Stock Exchange—and I'm really speaking through my hat; I'm a salesperson, a methane provider, not a finance guy—you bought a seat because they had to do intraday trades and they didn't want to have—the New York Stock Exchange goal is you don't have these huge swings; everything kind of goes like this and like this. So you bought a seat to help their efforts to keep it level and smooth. You forgot to tell how we got into Las Vegas. No. How did we get into Las Vegas? Well, we had the propane company. What was the name of the propane company? I can't remember. Anyhow, we had a propane company. You're right. Anyhow, what they did is your dad bought the company in '54—I know that's when it was—in 1954 in Las Vegas and it was a propane company and they converted it to natural gas. H.G. Laub, the guy who brought Southwest Gas Company in Barstow out of receivership, the way he went to market—and he had to get a certain mass—in that he'd buy propane and butane companies all throughout the Southwest including Reno, multiple ones in Arizona—Coolidge, Casa Grande, think he bought. So Hal bought all these little propane companies and he bought actually three in Southern Nevada. I thought you were going to ask which propane company did we have in Southern Nevada and I'm like, I don't remember. I only knew this one. Then he brought them together, brought those customer bases. Let me back up. That was the beginning of the natural gas company in Las Vegas, in 1954. 5 I'm getting too much into minutia, I know. But when he bought these propane companies, he actually worked for another company; it's now called Southern California Gas Company, the second largest in the world with a residential customer base. But he was a high desert manager and he knew he wanted to get out, so he actually moonlighted, setting up Southwest Gas while working for another gas company. It was kind of funny. The weekends he did this. So he'd work in downtown Los Angeles at the big Southern California Gas Company office. Then after five he'd go to a little three-story shack with him and some attorneys that were developing Southwest Gas, but at that time it was propane. From '34 up to '51, it was a hundred percent propane play, but they knew that they were going to go into natural gas. My mother was talking about when PG&E [Pacific Gas & Electric Company] brought in their intra-state natural gas pipeline in to reinforce their southern division, which is Bakersfield, Fresno, and those areas. At that time, Hal saw an opportunity with Southwest and asked if they could tap into this PG&E line and finally start getting his propane and ethane and butane company into natural gas where he felt comfortable because he was an engineer with this other one. PG&E said no and basically he went to the United States Supreme Court, but at that time in the energy field it was called FERC, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He won a settlement, and that is when Southwest Gas became a natural gas company. Then in '54 to '58, Southwest Gas brought natural gas to Southern Nevada. I know too much minutia. It's not too much minutia. That's exactly what researchers are going to want to know. The thing that catches me is—this is all folklore and legend, but I think the researchers would find it interesting. So Hal is in Barstow. So you branch out to the next big city and for him it was Victorville, which is to the West. This was during the war. In the forties, he was putting these 6 little propane companies together, but with an underground system that could eventually go to natural gas. Propane, you probably aren't aware, is more of a liquid, so it's a higher BTU content and natural gas isn't. But he would build all the underground systems with larger pipe size with the hope of eventually going into natural gas. During World War II, they had metal shortages, and so the industry at that time was very leery on mixing pipe types. The electrons would travel from one pipe type to another and it would make holes as it would travel, so you had to be careful. But Hal was an engineer; he knew that stuff. He also innovated with plastic pipes. Actually, Southwest Gas was one of the first plastic pipe utilities in the United States just because he had no money. Hal had to push the envelope and he was successful at some of his gambles. I might add he was an engineer. What kind of engineer? I don't remember. I can't remember which engineer. Civil or mechanical? I don't remember, but he was very good. This is Hal? This is Hal, yes, all this. And Hal is also H.G.? H.G. I'm sorry. H.G. Laub. Yes, I talk too fast. No, not at all. So until 1951, what did we do here for gas? All propane, and there were three providers. When I talk propane, you think probably of the tanks and stuff. I'm thinking of people who have pipes that go underground and then provide 7 propane through a piping system to each house, and not tanks. So the whole infrastructure was built for the propane here? There were three companies trying to win control of the town, and it was still very young and new, so, yes. Did each company have a certain jurisdiction or were they all over? They were all over. It was a wildcat. Actually, Hal invested a little bit, him and his investors, and he invested also in Reno. They knew that eventually Southwest Gas was going to go here, so let's put some money into the propane companies. I met somebody a couple years later at a voting situation. He said, "Your father-in-law put us out of business." I said, "He did?" He said, "Yes, he bought our company." So he was one of the [other] propane companies? The man I was talking to, yes, and the family. But they bought it. It's sort of interesting. This is a sideline. My husband was in charge of converting from— Oh, yes, a very interesting story, too. —propane to natural gas. This is '54. They have to flush the old propane system. They were flushing the system and some way or another he and his father got burned. Bill Sr. was burned on both arms and his face, and his father, Hal, was burned on just his face. Bill Sr.’s mother called me and said, "There's been an accident. I think you better come." Nobody told me; I'm in Pasadena. So I go up. I remember you lifting me up because they wouldn't let babies go into the burn ward at the county hospital. We went outside and found his window. Dad (Bill Sr.) was badly burned. Propane is heavier than air, so it sinks. You're basically in a hole as you're working to flush it 8 out. There was stuff that came and filled the hole that they weren't aware of. It ignited. It popped. He was standing on the edge of the hole, looking in. It flashed him up like this. The interesting part, there was a man working down in the hole. He didn't get burned at all because it goes up. Natural gas goes up. That's why I remember '54. I remember it very clearly. Because that's when he got burned. That's when he was burned so badly. And it was here [in Las Vegas]? Yes. Where was he treated? UMC [University Medical Center], but they didn't call it UMC. What was UMC called? Southern Nevada Memorial? No, it wasn't that either. It was just a little hospital that had a row of rooms going this way and a row of rooms going that way, a single story. It was very small. [Ed. Note: In the 1950s, the hospital on Charleston Boulevard that was originally built in 1931 as the Clark County Indigent Hospital and is now known as University Medical Center was called Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital.] But they took care of both of them [Bill Sr. and Hal]? Yes, for like about six weeks. I was there, but I wasn't, because you brought the kids up on one of the trips and since we were kids, they wouldn't let us in with the burns, infection. So you went outside and lifted us kids up one at a time into the windows where you could look in and Dad could look over and look at the kids. You're giving our life history. 9 That's pretty funny. It was sort of interesting at the time. There were four Laubs in the hospital and it's a little, tiny hospital—my husband, my father-in-law, Dr. Laub—Dr. Richard Laub—and his mother. Are they related? No. Not related to you? Not related at all. It's a very popular name in Germany. But, no, we're not related. There's a huge Mormon contingent of Laubs here. Dr. Laub was an old-time doctor here, very well-known and very popular and a really nice guy. Well, that's good. He had the same last name. It's good that he was popular. And they lived down the street. Two Laubs in the same... Yes. The mailman had a good time with all our mail, but he knew us all. A lot of interesting stories. If I can segue to the 1960s or '70s and tell you it's kind of interesting working—well, 1970s—working at the gas company and then hearing what the board is planning on, because most people don't get this side of it. If I can tell you just three kind of folklore things, I do have a lot of stuff and fact about the utility, which most people go, huh? One thing is that they were looking at purchasing a nuclear bomb. Actually, they cut a check rec or a purchase order for one and they were going to put it off into what now is the Summerlin area. Now, what's the story behind that? The story is that back in the sixties—and this is a seventies story—but back in the sixties the natural gas industry was looking at storage issues, and so they found out that if you get a special type of nuclear bomb, if you get a really hot one, it would make a 10 glass-lined hole underground. They had something in New Mexico where they did a test called Project Gasbuggy with atomic bombs. We liked the idea. My dad was active in the AGA, the American Gas Association, and Southwest Gas did a study at a site where nobody was at the time on the west side of town to blow up an underground atomic bomb. The board didn't authorize it and it wasn't because of the radioactivity, it was because the standing structure of the homes here. They thought they would get lawsuits up the ying-yang. But they did a lot of tests on that. When I saw the purchase order—and it became a joke after a while, really—one of our purchases—A.J. DeBuke, I don't remember if you remember him when he was a V.P. of purchasing. He had that purchase order hanging in his office, "one three-megaton bomb," da da da, for Summerlin area. Number two, if you don't mind me just rattling off stories, is that as a company you're there to maximize shareholder value. So they had a facility, which now has the Alarmco Building in it, which is at St. Louis [Avenue], Las Vegas Boulevard, and Main Street. There is a great story behind that building. It used to be a hamburger stand, a three-story big hamburger stand. But anyhow, when we decided to move— Do you remember what it was called? No. It only lasted a year and a half. But, man, I think the owner was a contemporary of Ray Kroc's and he decided he would out-Kroc McDonalds. They would outbid Ray Kroc. What it was, was that you drive in one side of the building—it's three-stories—when you just get in, you talk to the person right there, kind of a little glass cubicle thing because it was all open; [you would] order, and then your order would go up to the second floor on a chain. You could see the thing go, keeeee. 11 Were they like tubes or something? No. I remember it was held with kind of a clip, and it just belted up to the second floor, and they'd cook the order and prepare the milk shakes and things like that. Then you kind of drive under with all these columns in it and come out the other side. All the stuff then would kind of come down from the floors above. I don't remember how it would come down. You can see why the idea probably didn't make it. Then they would all be brought there together. The first floor was kind of open and you drive through. The second floor is cooks and all the preparation. The third floor was his penthouse suite and he had an elevator there. This is really how I know this all happened, is because Southwest Gas bought the building when he went out of business and that elevator was funky. We moved offices and all this stuff. I hated that elevator. But it was just there for his third-floor penthouse. It was just kind of a different thing. That building then became Southwest Gas for about twenty years or so. What's the address, do you remember? Las Vegas Boulevard. St. Louis and Main. Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Louis, that corner. I call it the Alarmco Building is what I call it. It is called the Alarmco Building. Those gas lights you'll notice out in front, how did those get there? Although it's kind of just a funky story. That happened in, I don't know, 1958-ish—no, that had to happen in the 1960s because the fifties they were over here on East Charleston just off Main. When they were on East Charleston before we even moved up here, they had one of these rain things and it flooded underneath the railroad tracks. You know how it always used to flood? It 12 flooded back two blocks and their whole ground floor was flooded. That's probably what got them to move. That's why they moved, yes. Of course, all that when you drive by now, it's all been taken down, if you've been down on Charleston and about Second [Street] and Third [Street]. It's in that location. It's the Arts District, near the Arts Factory, well, a little further east. But I remember going and visiting in there, and that would be the early fifties. Yes, East Charleston address. I think the Alarmco Building must have been 1964 to '66; somewhere in there. Where were they when we moved up here? East Charleston and then the plant was over on Owens [Avenue]; it's now the Salvation Army. That's where they had the operations. The offices were over here. On East Charleston. And then you moved to the hamburger stand? That's correct, as the headquarters building. At that time we were in three states, California, Nevada and Arizona, but we probably only had seventy-five thousand customers in the three-state area. It wasn't very many. When my dad passed there were eight hundred thousand customers. Today there's two million customers. It's growing. But going back to when the hamburger stand sold, it was in 1972 because they built a building [at 5241] Spring Mountain [Road] at Decatur [Boulevard], which is their new headquarters—or old headquarters. They're still using that one. Oh, yes, they are. I got my flu shot the other day there, yes. So the Spring Mountain one is 1972? 13 That's correct. It was built and moved in, in 1973. It's an interesting building. A lot of it is underground, I bet you're not aware of. Actually, another thing about that building, there's three buildings. Building C, or the computer building, is underground and they have a mainframe. Two quick stories about the mainframe, if I could tell you. I'm kind of bouncing around, so I feel funny. It's fine. The mainframe basically does two things. One of them, it bills customers; it's our billing machine. All the meter readers bring their stuff. There's thirty days in a month; twenty days are business days. We divide those, now, two million into lists of twenty, and then we bill with paper billing, most of it. The paper billing comes in huge rolls probably as tall as this [gestures], and they go through seven and a half miles of paper every day to bill it. Then they take [the bills] over here to the Sunset Post Office. So that was one story. The Sunset and Paradise Post Office, when they built that place or just before they built it, they said, "Are you going to stay here? Because you're our largest first-class mailer. We want the income stream to justify the new Post Office." So in a sense, Southwest Gas paid for half of that building, and it was a good decision. We had had offers to move our building down to Phoenix at the time, and so we were heavily looking at it, and they knew it. But we're Las Vegas people. I remember, Bill, computers started in those days. And remember all the computer equipment was down below ground? It was this huge room and you couldn't go in it because it was all air-conditioned and all kinds of stuff. And it was a raised floor. The early computers were there and that was where I learned that the first computers were. I 14 think they had them at UNLV, too. Oh, the super computer, you bet, a variety of super computers. So in '72 that room was built specifically for the computers? Yes, it was. That's correct. The main office came first in '72, then they did an expansion for the bosses, and then the computer building came in. So the computer has kind of been moving around. Things you don't need to know is that they have what's called a business emergency plan; meaning what happens if there's a seismic event here and it knocks everything out? Southwest Gas has a mirror site in Seattle of all the billing information, so we'll always be able to bill you. It has like a thirty-second or a forty-five-second lag or delay, so they'll lose thirty seconds of stuff or maybe forty. But outside of that, it's boom. So it's pretty amazing technology. The computer that you're talking about that used to take a whole building? Well, now it's probably the size of this [indicating the micro recorder] or, if not, smaller. It's just unbelievable. Have you ever been to Switch, by any chance, and seen those computers? Not yet. That is a story in the making, I'll tell you. We're so excited about it. Are you going? We hope to. We want to interview Betsy Fretwell. We interviewed her when she was with the City [of Las Vegas], and we were going to hit her up again. Do you know the Thomas boys [sons of Las Vegas banker E. Parry Thomas]? They own 25 percent of it—well, 22 percent of it. All the Thomas boys? 15 No. Actually, Tommy represents the 22 interest. What about Peter? It's probably that entity. Doesn't Tom work for Peter? We interviewed Tom. Right. See, he's on the board of Southwest Gas and this has become an issue, because Southwest Gas buys about a $180,000 worth of computer services from Switch, and since he's a director, they say, "We're self-aggrandizing you, Mr. Director." So they have to have the legal staff publish his ownership to all the shareholders and make it transparent. And he was already... Yes. But it doesn't matter. He told me they're going to have an IPO this December because they want to start giving some of the business success to their employees. All these kids grew up with my kids, very handy. Very handy, indeed. Two tall tales there, sorry. No, that's wonderful. CLAYTEE: We like those. The gas company also helped film a movie called Mars Attacks! Have you ever heard of Mars Attacks!? Yes. We bought a ranch outside of Kingman because we have Arizona properties and we wanted to make a natural gas storage site. It was a big salt dome underneath the ranch. It's up in the hills just before you get to Kingman. We wanted underground, and we were going through regulatory approvals for salt mining, which, by the way, never happened. But what we were going to do 16 was build nine big caverns. What you do is you just draw out the salt, store it. It's toxic stuff, so we were going to take it down to the Sea of Cortez and float it over to Japan, where we found some buyers for the salt out of these caverns. It's pretty amazing how these things go, and then you hear they don't go. We were going to use two of the caverns as emergency electrical generation because you pressurize the caverns with—well, they were there for one reason; to store natural gas so we can use them in peak demand. But since you have a pressurized vehicle, if you put a generator here and run pressurized gas from one to another, a containment vessel, you can make power. So we were going to sell some really expensive electricity if Nevada Power ever needed it at that time. The third thing is we're going to build some other caverns and just put nuclear waste in it and toxic materials. Those all passed, but the natural gas storage didn't. FERC says, "No, we're not going to allow it. There is storage in New Mexico and there is storage in Southern California, so we're not going to allow you to put those casks into the rate base." Shareholders didn't want to take a gamble on the dangerous stuff, so we didn't. I think this happens to a lot of companies, but, see, this never comes out. I'd love to hear what the casinos look at but never do because there have got to be projects that they've had opportunities that just make you go, whoa. We've got drawings from architects of casinos that— Of concepts, you bet. —that never happened. Those are fun. I bet. I bet. In fact, Special Collections at UNLV is doing an exhibition opening in February, I think, called "Built," and there's a section called "Unbuilt," and that's the things that never got built. It's going to be fun to look at. 17 I'm going to jump into building codes right now because something with the built environment, which probably didn't connect with a lot of people, but you said you saw my resume: a lot of the building codes in the world were developed here. Now, you're going to go, bullshit. Well, I'm in sales, and so you've got to put that in together. The best way is to segue into it, and then I'll expla