Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 | 2 a.m.
As Las Vegas prepares to welcome the annual CES, this week’s Where I Stand column is being turned over to Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.
Every year, someone asks me why we hold CES, the world’s largest technology event, here in Las Vegas. The answer, quite simply, is there’s nowhere else we’d rather be.
For 40 years, Las Vegas has been our home — and each year, we host business leaders, innovative entrepreneurs, technology visionaries, government policymakers and global leaders in this city. Las Vegas has always rolled out the welcome mat for all 170,000-plus of us.
Restaurants, hotels and shops pull out all the stops for our guests. And the city and the state are partnering to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center, recently approving a major addition and renovation. The expansion is not only a serious boost to the local economy, where it’s expected to create thousands of jobs, but also an investment in the continued partnership between CES and Las Vegas.
That’s why we want to give back to the city that gives us so much. By establishing the CTA Green Grant initiative, we help support and strengthen the city in terms of both safety and sustainability. In 2010, for instance, we helped the Metro Police Department purchase electric motorcycles. And in 2012, we worked with Green Chips, a Southern Nevada sustainability nonprofit, to install solar panels at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission — a nonprofit dedicated to helping the city’s homeless.
In recent years, we’ve focused on education initiatives, partnering with Green Our Planet to plant gardens throughout the Clark County School District. These gardens give students the chance to learn about the environment and healthy eating habits. We’ve supported Touro University as it’s taken steps toward sustainability, including installing electric vehicles and LED lights on campus.
We’ve also partnered with EVERFI — an education technology company — to create a digital course called CES Future Innovators. This interactive course teaches students in Clark County how to apply math and creative skills, think entrepreneurially about business concepts and prepare a pitch presentation. The curriculum is in 20 schools in the Las Vegas area, providing more than 2,500 hours of learning to students. I’m looking forward to the day when I’ll see one of these homegrown Nevada innovators on the floor at CES, living out her or his passion for entrepreneurship and innovation that was sparked by the course.
Although the partnership between CES and Las Vegas spans decades, returning to the city this year is particularly meaningful. Las Vegas suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last year with the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history. It shocked the country and the world, and we watched in horror as our second home was attacked.
Immediately following, the city banded together, working to provide recovery and relief to its residents and those affected. Returning to Las Vegas this year for CES 2018, we’re reminded that this is a place where the people are strong and can flourish. This year, we opened an office in Vegas, solidifying our dedication to the city and its communities.
Several years ago, we partnered with Green Chips on another sustainability initiative — to install solar-powered lights into the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Every year at CES, the sign reminds me of our work in the city — a great example of collaboration and innovation.
Las Vegas is the world’s top entertainment, event and trade show destination because of its focus on visitors and commitment to continual improvement of facilities, services and venues. With top-tier restaurants, hotels and convention space, there’s no place we’d rather be.
We look forward to working with the city for years to come, mutually investing in a promising future for Las Vegas.
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and author of The New York Times best-selling books, “Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses