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David Ober interview, October 11, 2017: transcript






Tucson, Arizona, native David Ober moved to Las Vegas twice. He arrived reluctantly the first time in 1978 with his parents as a high-school student, when his father, Hal Ober, came to Las Vegas to begin building and marketing the U.S. Home (now Lennar) brand. While the elder Ober soon left U.S. Home to open his own home-building business, R.A. Homes, his youngest child left Las Vegas shortly after his high school graduation to return to his native Tucson, follow in the footsteps of his siblings, and attend the University of Arizona. After graduating from the University of Arizona David Ober opened his own mortgage company and began building a life in Phoenix. In the late 1980s he agreed to take a large pay cut, return to Las Vegas, and learn his father's business from the ground up. At the time, Hal Ober was developing his award-winning, master-planned community, Desert Shores. David Ober, the youngest of the five children of Hal and D'Vorre (Dee) Ober, agreed to participate in the

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Ober, David Interview, 2017 October 11. OH-03251. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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i AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID OBER 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, 2017 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 Tucson, Arizona, native David Ober moved to Las Vegas twice. He arrived reluctantly the first time in 1978 with his parents as a high-school student, when his father, Hal Ober, came to Las Vegas to begin building and marketing the U.S. Home (now Lennar) brand. While the elder Ober soon left U.S. Home to open his own home-building business, R.A. Homes, his youngest child left Las Vegas shortly after his high school graduation to return to his native Tucson, follow in the footsteps of his siblings, and attend the University of Arizona. After graduating from the University of Arizona David Ober opened his own mortgage company and began building a life in Phoenix. In the late 1980s he agreed to take a large pay cut, return to Las Vegas, and learn his father's business from the ground up. At the time, Hal Ober was developing his award-winning, master-planned community, Desert Shores. David Ober, the youngest of the five children of Hal and D'Vorre (Dee) Ober, agreed to participate in the Building Las Vegas collecting initiative on behalf of his parents. Throughout the interview, he speaks little of himself. Instead, he focuses on his parents as moral leaders for their children, the building community, and the Jewish community; on his father as an innovator and trailblazer among developers, and on his mother as a volunteer, advocate, and educator for blind students in both Arizona and Nevada. Through their son's words, Hal and Dee Ober come alive and remind us how lucky Southern Nevada became when U.S. Home chose to expand their brand to Las Vegas and entice Hal Ober and his family to leave their beloved Tucson and build a new legacy of charity, religion, family, and community in Las Vegas. In 2001Clark County School District honored the couple by dedicating the D'Vorre & Hal Ober Elementary School, which was guided in its opening years by Principal Scott Ober, their son and David's brother. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with David Ober October 11, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Stefani Evans Preface…………………………………………………………………………………..………..iv Parents, siblings, University of Arizona, Tucson, extended family, and Sunday dinners. Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, Camp Tatiyee, religion, Temple Beth Sholom. Father car dealer to real estate, U.S. Homes. Las Vegas, Valley High School, Jewish youth group. University of Arizona (business and marketing 1983), building mortgage business in Phoenix. Bob Bellinger, bartender, choosing Las Vegas…………………………………………..……..……………. 1–11 Father, Las Vegas, U.S. Home (now Lennar), Hal Cole, Mel Ritter, and R.A. Homes (later Ober Homes). Father and charity; joining/learning father's company; Desert Shores, innovations, Ezra Nilson (Woodside Homes), and "good" business; cooperating with outside Realtors. Desert Shores beach club, mixed use, and gathering space. Parents, philanthropy, community leadership, and friendships…………………………………………………..………………………………. 11–20 Sterling Springs, Homer Awards, Dennis Smith, and Home Builder Research (now The Orange Report). R.A. Homes, Ober Homes, and Pageantry Homes. Vista Homes and Avante Homes. Cobblestone, Gene Squitieri, and Jorant Commercial. Mother, Clark County School District educator for deaf and blind students; D'Vorre & Hal Ober Elementary School. Parents and legacy of charity, religion, family, and community……………………………………..….………. 20–30 Appendix I, Obituaries for Hal and D'Vorre Ober…..…………………………..….………. 32–36 Appendix II, Ober Family Photographs…..……………..…………………………..………. 37–58 vi 1 Good afternoon. This is Stefani Evans. It is October 11th, 2017, and I am with David Ober. Mr. Ober, may I ask you to spell your first and last names, please? David, D-A-V-I-D. Ober, O-B-E-R. Thank you so much. And as promised I'm going to ask you to tell us about your early life. Tell us about your childhood and where that was and what made you happy. We were a very close-knit family. I'm the youngest of five kids. We grew up in Tucson, Arizona, very cozy neighborhood. It was the type of days where all the neighbors were able to get to know each other. My father moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and my mom was from Pennsylvania, as well. My dad was from Johnstown and my mom from Uniontown. My oldest brother, Ron, was born back east in Pennsylvania. The next in line was my brother Eddie, and he was born in Pennsylvania. My sister, Jami, was also born in Pennsylvania. Then my mom and dad decided that they wanted to make a change, so my dad got in the station wagon with my Uncle Lennie and headed west. Your mom and the three older kids? The three kids that were already born headed west with my mom after my dad settled. My parents really didn't know where they were going to end up. They went through Texas and contemplated staying in Amarillo, Texas. Eventually, the road led him to Tucson, Arizona, and they settled in Tucson. My next brother in line, the fourth, is Scott; he was born in Tucson. Then I'm the youngest of the five; I was born in Tucson. My father, Hal Ober, was always a hard worker. He showed us how to handle ourselves in life by example. We were able to see how he provided for his family. He started off in the car business as a salesman and eventually worked his way to where he had a small dealership. As a young child I remember he would be in charge of all the salespeople; they'd go to sell cars and 2 they would say how these people don't qualify for a loan. My dad said, "There's nobody that doesn't qualify for a loan; they just need to have a bigger down payment, and we need to figure out how to get them into a car." He was always of that positive mentality, and that drove him. So he was in the car business. He was a very talented young guy. He was an actor and a singer. When he was four years old, he sang and danced in New York at Radio City [Music Hall] and eventually performed with Gene Kelly. He always had a love for the theater. In Tucson he would always work, work, work, work, work, and he had a love for acting, so he performed at a theater called Playbox Theatre, a small theater in Tucson, and he always acted or sang in different plays or musicals. As a young child, I remember The Most Happy Fella, The Sound of Music. He was an extremely talented singer, a great musician, and he loved to act. His favorite role was Tevye in The Fiddler on the Roof. Growing up as the youngest of five, what stood out to me the most was the expectations that my father bestowed upon his kids. My mom was always the nurturing one. She would always make sure that we were getting the TLC [tender loving care] that we all needed while my dad drove us; he wanted to make sure that we were all successful. There was not a question of would we go to college, it's where are you going to college and what are you going to do? Growing up being the youngest of five, it was the easiest for me. I knew what I had to do, and I had great examples set by my older brothers and sister. My oldest brother, Ron—now that my father is gone—is like the patriarch of our family. He always wanted to make sure that his younger brothers and sister were good. In the real estate business, Ron originally was the one that worked with my father. He still is a great mentor, and he's—aside from my parents—the greatest influence for me. He went to the University of Arizona, like the rest of us brothers and 3 sisters. He always had an affinity for politics and he ended up with his own business; it's called Policy Development Group. He is a political lobbyist. He found his love and stayed with his love and is great at it. He ran for student body president at the University of Arizona. He initially won the election. They had a disparity in counting the votes; they redid the election and he lost by a handful of votes, but it was a great experience for him. The one thing that stood out is, as an eighteen-year-old kid—if you look back at what most twenty-three-year-olds are thinking and doing, they're still developing—he was the campaign manager for a United States Senator's campaign, Dennis DeConcini in Arizona. At twenty-three. Had he graduated from college at that point? He was in college. That's when you knew he was a little bit different, so a very sharp guy. I would have to say he's a chip off the block with my father. My father thought differently and was innovative, and my oldest brother, I think, was the closest of all of us kids to the way my father functioned and worked. Is Ron in Tucson still? Ron is in Phoenix. Ron is married with two kids; one of them is married with a child and the other one works in his company, just dynamic and sharp kids. They were raised the same way we were. Getting to the next in line, my brother Eddie, Eddie was born with what we think was too much oxygen at birth and it affected his eyesight. He never has driven a car except once when he wasn't supposed to, and that didn't turn out well. Probably not. No. But he was always involved with causes. He grew up working at a handicap camp called Camp Tatiyee in northern Arizona. He was the program director, absolutely philanthropic with 4 the way that he had to live his life. He's a published poet. His book is called Handicaps and Other Advantages, which in a nutshell tells you what he's all about. He's what I call the even-keeled one of all of us kids. He would always think rationally and would be a good negotiator as far as finding middle ground amongst us siblings. He has two children; one is married and the other owns her own business. Both of my older brothers have been married to their wives for many, many, many years, and they’re great guys. And Eddie is where? Eddie is in Phoenix. We're Arizona people. How I ended in Vegas is an interesting story, which I'll share with you later. My sister, who still lives in Tucson, has three children. They're all grown. My sister is...It's kind of which side of the family did they come from, my dad who was the businessman or my mom who was the educator? My oldest brother was from my dad's tree. My brother Eddie was kind of a tweener. He's a lawyer now for mostly Social Security. He wants to always help people. My sister is an educator and she has been a teacher her whole life. My next in line is my brother Scott. He's retired. He lives in Las Vegas with me. He is married with four children, two that his wife had previously and the two that he had with his wife, two boys. He was a principal of a gold-ribbon school—[Cyril S.] Wengert Elementary [School]—if I recall correctly. He opened the school named after my mom and dad [D'Vorre & Hal Ober Elementary School]. He was the initial principal there. That gets to me, the youngest of five. All of the older brothers and sisters earned their undergraduate degrees from the University of Arizona, so we're avid Arizona people. I graduated from University of Arizona, as well. I surmise my father, who was an avid UNLV fan, didn't like the University of Arizona as much because he wrote a lot of checks to the University of Arizona. 5 It is kind of like an internal private joke. We have amongst our, two, three, four—this is excluding the parents—four, five, six, degrees, so two went beyond undergraduate college. My mom got her Doctorate at the University of Arizona. We were just embedded in Tucson, Arizona. 6 Getting back to Tucson, the irony was, as involved and interwoven in the fabric of Las Vegas' history for my parents, they had equal time in Tucson where they have the same type of history. They left Tucson in 1978. I was born in 1962. My brother was three years older, in '59. So I surmise they were there in the mid-1950s, late 1950s and were there for twenty years. They were involved in numerous charities, boards, as well as their synagogue. Certainly, my mom and dad taught us that giving was the best way to handle yourself in life. To elaborate a bit on my mother, while my father worked in the car business, which he eventually in Tucson transitioned into real estate, my mother was taking a pause from her education to raise us kids. While my dad worked and worked as well as acted, my mom was as good a mother as any child could ever want. In those days life was a lot more simple. You would be out playing in the neighborhood. There were no phones. She would ring the dinner bell; that meant it's time to come home for dinner. It was a really wonderful childhood growing up. We had lots of family in Tucson. My mom's two sisters lived there as well as my grandparents on my mom's side as well as my father's side, so we had tons of family. It was kind of an interesting way to grow up because who wasn't our family was our family, so friends were Uncle This and Aunt That just because we were all so close. In those days Tucson was a small town, similar to Vegas when they first got here. It was a simple childhood and a great childhood. The biggest thing that I remember growing up—then I'll get back to my mother—is our Sunday night dinners. We would make sure every Sunday that no matter where the kids were, no matter who was doing what, we sat down for Sunday night dinner. That means you sat at dinner Sunday night and you'd better be ready for a nice long dinner and that's when we talked about the world, we talked about politics, we talked about Tucson, we talked about how we fit into things, what we all want, what we dream. 7 Even when you were small. When I was small. Sunday nights, that's what that day was for; it was a family day. We were always taught when we had food on the table—even when it got low—you always make sure everybody else had food before you fed yourself. If the French fries got low or the meatloaf got low, you say, "Does anybody else want any meatloaf?" It seemed it was always me asking that question. They took that last piece of meatloaf and cut it up a little bit and left me just a little bit; I think they did it just to get a rise out of me and maybe to reinforce the concept that we really mean it when we offer to share. It's not a verbal thing; it's a real thing. Those Sunday nights were special. Getting back to my mother, she was as good a mother as you could ever want. Always we would spend time. The end of the night would be in her room watching TV or whatever we're doing. If we scratched my mom's feet, that was her soft spot. Whatever time we had to go to bed seemed to just kind of cruise by. We knew just how to get to her. Where she was just soft enough, my father was firm enough, so they worked really well together and complimented each other. I remember getting straight A's in school, so my dad would say, "Good job, Son." It always was high expectations with him. My mom, as we grew older, found the time to go back to school. She went back to school and she worked for the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind. She was always involved with the handicapped. Maybe it had something to do with my older brother Eddie. She just stood out in that way. My sister followed her footsteps and worked with the handicapped, as well. As I said, my brother Eddie was a director of Camp Tatiyee in Lakeside, Arizona, which is a camp for people with handicaps. We always gravitated towards helping people who are less fortunate. Growing up, I worked with muscular dystrophy. I went to numerous muscular dystrophy camps. 8 It just seemed that that was the way we were to conduct ourselves. The other thing I remember growing up is our foundation of religion. We're Jewish. I remember going to temple with my father on the High Holidays and when he introduced me to people, there was a higher level of pride knowing that that was the backdrop that he was introducing me; it was at temple. To this day, when I go to temple on High Holidays, that's the closest I feel to my mom and dad. Do you belong to a congregation? Yes, Temple Beth Sholom. We've been there since 1978, when my parents joined that temple when they were located on Oakey [Boulevard]. Now they're located on Town Center [Drive]. Our family had a foundation of education, charity, religion, family and being there for each other. As a kid it was easy. If you just plug in, follow the program, you're going to turn out well. You're going to leave a great foundation to pass along to the next generation—even with all the noise of the internet, phones, and social media, which makes our world much more complicated and much more difficult than what my parents had. But with the scene they had, it was a great childhood and a great way to grow up with high expectations. Tucson was a wonderful place to live. My dad transitioned in Tucson into real estate after owning his own car dealership. He went and started as a salesperson, worked his way up, in a company called Marv Ed in Tucson, which was bought out by U.S. Home as their sales company. My dad was given the opportunity to move to Las Vegas and open U.S. Home in Las Vegas in 1978. It was the middle of my junior year of high school. I was not happy about leaving all my friends, the only place I knew, to go to a new place and start anew in the middle of my junior year. I would like to say that selfishly it helped mold me into the person that I am today, because it was a very adverse circumstance to 9 start over again in the middle of high school. I moved to Las Vegas, went to Valley High School. We lived Sunrise Villas over off Pecos and Viking, I think. It was a small neighborhood. I walked to school and eventually I got a pickup truck. But it was definitely an eye-opener. I was not used to a diverse ethnicity, which Las Vegas offered. Tucson was mostly Hispanic and Caucasian, and here you had a lot of African Americans, so it was a big change. My first day of school was the last racial riot at Valley High School in 1978. It was scary. We were assured that Black History Week was over and that there would not be any racial tensions until the next year. It was an interesting time in 1978. Can you describe what that day was like, your first day? It was scary. If you look back in the 1970s, I wore bell bottoms; I was a fish out of water for sure. I grew up in Tucson, went to Sabino High School. Sabino was a great area. We were in the desert in Tucson, in Sabino Vista, near Sabino Canyon. The school had a lot of IBM-ers. I don't know what the right word is. But IBM came to Tucson. That was the industry. And that's where they all lived, in Sabino Vista. It was a very affluent, upscale neighborhood at that time. Then you moved to Sunrise Villas [in Las Vegas]. Which didn't bother me. The big change was going to a new place in the middle of my junior year. I wrestled in high school; there was no wrestling here. It was definitely a change of scene. I was fortunate enough that I was able to retain some of my Jewish friends from Tucson who were in the same Jewish youth group regionally—Las Vegas was in the same region. I joined the Jewish youth group here, so I was able to make a lot of new friends, which helped in a big way. I 10 remember that it was a challenging time, and adversity makes you stronger. I left Las Vegas in 1980. After I graduated high school here, I went back to Tucson, of course, to go to college. I had no desire of ever coming back to Las Vegas. I liked it, but it wasn't the place for me. The place for me was Arizona. I knew in high school I wanted to go into the mortgage business. Why or how, I don't know. I had a great college life in Tucson. I didn't join a fraternity, but had my aunts, uncles, and family there with a great support system. My older brother Eddie was still there, I believe, finishing up law school, and my sister lived in Tucson. My brother Scott and I lived together for a short time in college. I went to college in business and marketing. I enjoyed the lifestyle. I knew that I had to take care of my business, but I certainly had a great time. I graduated University of Arizona in '83, so I was there four years. My dad said four years, so I did four years. I graduated and moved to Phoenix and went to work for a mortgage company. I lived there for three years and built a business. I remember the first year eating Top Ramen and tuna in my small apartment and wondering if I was ever going to turn the corner. All the while, building a great base of friends and a great life. Then that's when I got a call from my dad. And what did he say? My father said, "Your older brother is leaving the family business and I would love to have one of my sons in the business. You have two weeks to decide." It was a three-hundred-percent pay cut. He said, "You'll learn a lot of great things and maybe someday you'll be owning your own business, maybe you'll be where I'm at. I want one of my kids to be in the business so they can learn the business." I remember toiling over it for two weeks. You took the whole two weeks? 11 Oh, yes. My dad's right-hand man at the time—his name was Bob Bellinger. He ended up owning his own company at a later date, BR Homes in Las Vegas. Bob flew down to Phoenix to see me and he said, "Here's the deal. I'm your dad's division president here. I'm going to be your boss. I'm going to be your best friend. Don't ever cross me. Don't go to your dad. You come to me. If you ever have a problem, you come to me. You get in trouble, you come to me." He goes, "I will be the one that guides you through, but don't ever go around me; don't go above me; don't go through me. You show your loyalty to me and everything is going to be good. I'm going to teach you everything I know." So he left. That was during that two-week period. Did your dad know he came? Absolutely. Oh, yes. I surmise it was my dad's design. I don't know if this story is right for me to share, but I'll share it. I remember the night before I was to make my decision, I still hadn't made a decision. I lived in Ahwatukee [an urban village in Phoenix]. I went to a local bar. I put twenty bucks down and I told the bartender my story. I said, "What do you do? You have your friends. You 12 have your life. You've got growth. Who knows where it will end? Or you take a chance. You move back to where you had a couple of years and learn the business from professionals and see what life will bring you." The bartender said to me, "A hundred percent I know what I would do." I said, "What do you do?" He goes, "You've got a great life. You should stay." So the next morning I called my dad and I said, "Dad, I don't want to be a bartender in Ahwatukee; I'm coming." You tell that story well. So I came to Las Vegas and went to work for my dad. I'm going to transition now to how my dad got here and then I'll share the beginning of my working relationship with my dad and how I evolved to where I'm at now. In 1978, my mom and dad packed us up. I think I was the only one of the five children living at home then, and we moved to Las Vegas. For the record, your dad is Hal Ober, right? Hal Ober, yes, absolutely. So Hal was offered to open up the Las Vegas branch of U.S. Home. He worked in their sales end of it in Tucson. It was a great opportunity for him. He moved to Las Vegas and started U.S. Home. I remember my dad mentioning a guy named Guy Odom, who was the national president—so my dad's in Las Vegas. This is going back to 1978, when I first moved here. He started the U.S. Home brand here, which is now Lennar in Las Vegas. It was an interesting time. My dad was a sales and marketing guy; he sold cars, marketed his car business and sold houses, marketed houses. There's two kinds of home builders, ones that come from sales and marketing and the others come from construction. To me, sales and marketing is where it's at. Construction, you learn how to build a widget. My dad was a sales and marketing guy. I remember the first community that he started was out in Henderson. He was on his 13 second or third community and they came out and said, "Hal, where is the red carpet and the sales office?" My dad said, "I think red's an angry color. I want blue; I want gray. I want something soothing, so when people come into our sales offices they feel comfortable, they feel calm instead of emotionally charged." They said, "Hal, U.S. Home likes red carpet." This is one of the head guys from U.S. Home. My dad said, "With all respect, I'd like to stay with the carpet we chose." They said, "The U.S. Home way is red carpet." They were pretty firm with him. My dad left U.S. Home. It was over that type of a difference in ideology. I remember he had three or four guys working under him who grew into long-term home builders. Roger Nix [of Durable Homes] was one of them. I forgot the other two or three. If it comes to me, I'll share that with you. But they all turned out to be successful. This was at U.S. Home. So he was grooming a lot of talented guys. He ended up leaving and opening up his own home building business. He partnered with Hal Cole and Mel Ritter from Arizona. They formed R.A. Homes. They were in Tucson, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Why R.A.? Ritter and Associates. This is when my dad was able to shine in Las Vegas. He transcended this town in every way. There were no vaulted ceilings. Now, every house has a vaulted ceiling. He brought vaulted ceilings to Las Vegas. His greatest accomplishment was his master planned community, Desert Shores, an unbelievable accomplishment. At that time, there was no Howard Hughes or Summerlin. There were no master plans. There was at the time, only a few home builders in Las Vegas including Lewis Homes and Signature Homes. There were just three or four brand home builders. I remember Larry Canarelli; I think he worked for Roger Nix at the time, and we know Larry Canarelli's success story [with American West Homes]. 14 My dad started Desert Shores in the mid-eighties, so he probably started R.A. Homes in the early eighties. The reason I say that is my dad had his own company. This was before I ever thought to go to work with him; I was in the mortgage business. I started very humbly and it took two or three years to build my business. The first vacation I took was in my third year. I talked to my mom and dad every weekend, and I said, "I'm going on vacation." My dad said, "When are you going?" I said, "Two weeks." He goes, "Where are you going?" I said, "Mexico. I'm going on a cruise." He goes, "That's good." He said at the time, "I'm going to have Rosie call you." Rosie was my dad's right hand at work. Rosie called me the next week and said, "Clear your calendar. Your dad is flying in Thursday night. He wants to take you to dinner. You'll pick him up at the airport at five thirty and he's to be put back on the plane at eight thirty." That was my phone call. So I pick up my dad. We go and sit down and he looks at me and he goes, "So what do you think, son?" I said, "About what?" He goes, "You're going on vacation. I'm really proud of you. That means you've earned it." He goes, "You know what's going to make that vacation sweet?" I said, "What?" He goes, "You give to charity first." He goes, "So let's talk about what charities you might have an interest in, and let's talk about a meaningful gift, so when you go on your vacation you'll have a sweet vacation." Wow. He flies in to teach me that lesson in life and flies out. As I alluded to before, one of the values of what he and my mother instilled in us is charity. I took my vacation, enjoyed my vacation, and gave to different charities; at the time I think it was probably muscular dystrophy because I was passionate about it from when I was younger. Goodness, I don't remember now, but it might have been Jewish Federation. I went on my vacation, had a great time. 15 At that time my oldest brother was working for my dad. He was heading up the Arizona, Phoenix operation. I always thought that my brother belonged in politics, but he was working with my father. He was highly involved in Desert Shores and getting Desert Shores off the ground, my brother was. This was probably the mid-eighties at that time. Then my brother came to my father and said, "I want to leave the family business. I want to go back into politics; that's what I like." So he went to work, started his own policy development company, I believe, at that time, and became a political lobbyist. This is a guy who at twenty-three ran a successful senator's campaign, a United States Senator's campaign, went to work for him. For DeConcini? For DeConcini. He lived in Washington many years. He had a great reputation in the political arena. He never ran for public office, but still to this day, owns his own company and goes to Washington, D.C. a couple of times a month. He found his love and his passion, which is what it's all about. So my dad calls me. I come to Las Vegas. I go to work. This was the days of Sig Rogich and R&R Advertising. Sig ran R&R at that time before Billy [Vassiliadis] took over. I remember Tony Stepanov from Southwest Gas [Corporation], all the old-timers. My dad taught me the business the right way through Bob Bellinger. He didn't give me a golden spoon and say, "Here you go; you're an executive; here's the business; go do your thing." So I went to work for him [at R.A. Homes], for a third of my pay. I started off in marketing. I was the marketing director, so I did all the advertising, designed all the model homes, and worked with the architects while learning from the ground up with marketing. One day a week Bob would have me go and work construction as a laborer. He said, "You want to 16 learn the business; you've got to learn it from the ground up." So I went and spent time in the field. One day a week I would be out in the field. I was sweeping houses and scraping sidewalks. I would go and ask lots of questions; some of them would be answered, some wouldn't. But the construction people made it clear that I was not the boss' son, and I was out there to do what they wanted me to do. I think that was part of the plan. I'd spend one day a week doing construction. Then I got my real estate license and became a salesperson. So I did marketing, some construction and now I'm a salesperson. I'm being groomed to learn the business. What neighborhoods in Desert Shores had been built by that time? Probably at this time Desert Shores was just being completed. 17 So the infrastructure was being completed? Just getting worked on. It won its Homer Award in 1989, so it probably was when I moved to Las Vegas at the beginning in the marketing end was when Desert Shores was underway. How did your dad get the idea for Desert Shores, especially for the four lakes? He always wanted to do something big and special. With the lakes, I'm not sure how he came up with that idea. I know what he did with the idea. People came to my dad and said, "Are you going to name anything after yourself, like the Ober View Bridge?" He goes, "I don't want anything named after me. We're going to name the [Desert Shores] lakes after the oldest female grandchild in each family." That was the legacy that he wanted. So we've got Lake Jacqueline, Lake Sarah, Lake Madison, and Lake Lindsey after the four oldest female grandchild in each family. That was the w