As Chief Executive Officer and President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 1981 mechanical engineering graduate Steve Hill has combined the analytical skills of an engineer, the charisma of a leader and business acumen to transform Sin City into the sports and entertainment capital of the world transform.
This vision sent internationally renowned Formula 1 racing drivers racing across the city’s neon-covered strip this fall. Super Bowl LVIII approaches in February and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four is expected to take place in 2028.
In addition to these spectacles, the growing desert community has become home to championship-winning professional ice hockey and women’s basketball franchises, U2 opened the revolutionary 360-degree immersive theater MGM Sphere, and hosts performances by superstar musicians, magicians, comedians and other entertainers .
And of course there is also gambling.
“Las Vegas, with its resorts, casinos and conventions, is a city that is the most reliable in one industry: hospitality. My goal was to diversify as much as possible while showing the world that we are also a premier destination for sophisticated entertainment. “Culture, dining, technology and sports,” said Hill, a self-proclaimed “high-roller,” who is responsible for operating the Las Vegas Convention Center and is chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, which includes Allegiant Stadium, home of the National Football, Las Vegas Raiders of the league.
“I have the best job in the world and the easiest product to sell. “It’s a product where the mere mention of ‘Las Vegas’ puts a smile on everyone’s face and makes everyone’s eyes light up,” explained Hill. “Formula 1 racing and the Super Bowl are the two biggest events we could host, and the whole world is watching us do it.” If we do it right, people will say, “Yeah, we knew.” “That Vegas can do that.” It will also lead to confidence and everything else we have planned, so it’s key to our future.”
The Dayton, Ohio, native spent the first 30 years of his career away from the big lights, working in the manufacturing industry. He moved to the Las Vegas area and made valuable business contacts as founder and manager of Silver State Materials, senior vice president of CalPortland and chairman of Service1st Bank of Nevada. Former Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Hill in 2011 to head the governor’s office of economic development, where he attracted numerous companies to the state, including Tesla and Apple.
Seven years later, Hill became head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and helped navigate the city through COVID-19’s devastating impact on the hotel industry. The convention center unveiled a $1 billion, 1.4 million-square-foot expansion in 2021, and a partnership with The Boring Company has created an underground transportation system that allows guests to move around the convention center’s 200-acre campus to move. Hill is now actively involved in bringing a major tunnel application – the Vegas Loop – to downtown Las Vegas, the Strip and Allegiant Stadium.
“When we look back 10 years from now, Steve Hill will be remembered as one of the visionaries who reimagined what Las Vegas could become,” said Bill Hornbuckle, CEO of MGM Resorts Las Vegas Review Journal.
For his part, Hill noted, “I’ve always been a goal-oriented person who brings people together to achieve great things.” There are few, if any, engineers in leadership positions in the hospitality industry, but the way an engineer looks at things critically and Solving problems – skills he harnessed through a lot of hard work at Rose-Hulman are very important skills in this business.”