Dan Stewart is vice president of development at the Gardner Co., which recently was chosen by the UNLV Research Foundation to develop the Harry Reid Research and Technology Park. Construction on two buildings at the park, including a 100,000-square-foot space for a specialty pharmacy, began last year. Gardner Co. is recruiting additional tenants to the park.
The Gardner Co. recently expanded to Southern Nevada. Why was this the right time to do so?
Gardner Co. is one of the largest commercial, office and retail developers in northern Utah, as well as Idaho. We have been looking to expand into other markets and the opportunity arose to respond to the UNLV Research Foundation’s request for proposals on the UNLV Harry Reid Research and Technology Park. This was GC’s chance to expand into another market and, at the same time, into an area of development for which GC has the greatest amount of expertise and experience — research parks.
Describe the services the Gardner Co. offers.
GC is a full-service developer. We offer the complete package of real estate development, from ground acquisition, design and planning, construction, leasing and property management, either through build-to-suit-retain-own model or build-to-suit for an owner.
You were recently named the vice president of development for the Southern Nevada office. To what do you owe your success?
Hard work, persistence, fairness and honesty, the education I received, and simply living in Southern Nevada my entire life and working in the construction, real estate, engineering and development industries.
Because of this, I have met a lot of great people. Also, I owe what limited success I have achieved to luck but most of all, to my dad, who set a great example for me. He taught me to work at a young age and gave me my initial opportunities to grow, mature and develop into a leader.
You have experience that includes construction, real estate and entrepreneurship. What drew your interest to these industries and how did you end up where you are today?
I began working in the heavy, civil-construction industry in a family-owned business, and was given leadership responsibilities at a young age. I enjoyed the process of building and constructing projects. This led me to want to get the education necessary to perform at the highest levels, and I subsequently received a bachelor’s degree from BYU in civil engineering and my master’s from Stanford in construction management.
Once my wife, Mary, and family and I returned to Southern Nevada, I worked my way up through the ranks at the family-owned construction business, all the while having a desire to eventually morph into the development business.
The entire process of bringing projects to fruition fascinates me, and I love the challenge.
It’s important to never feel like or think you are the smartest guy in the room. I am always open to learning, growing and doing better at whatever I am involved in.
What is the Harry Reid Research and Technology Park, and what are your plans for it?
The UNLV Tech Park has the potential to change the way people of influence, both inside Southern Nevada and outside, view UNLV. In a very big way, it can and should facilitate UNLV getting to that next level that everyone involved has been working toward: a true research institution. GC has been successful in working with high-tech companies, such as Adobe and eBay, in northern Utah. It is our desire to entice these companies to come to Southern Nevada and locate in the Tech Park. Working with UNLV and its many talented people in a wide range of schools, we are certain that together, we can make a major difference in our community.
What other development projects are you working on here?
I have been working on the remediation and reclamation of the Three Kids Mine in Henderson.
Why are environmentally friendly developments a priority for your business?
Obviously, with the type of tenants and high-tech industry GC is trying to bring to the Park, it is essential we develop in the most environmentally friendly way possible. High-tech and eco-friendly designed-built-managed projects simply go hand-in-hand.
What has been your most exciting professional project?
There are two. The first was a long-term one. It was my work at LandWell in the foundational environmental work we did to facilitate the eventual remediation and reclamation of some 2,500 acres of environmentally challenged property. We were involved in some state-of-the-art insurance vehicles that allowed the eventual cleanup of the property and its development into a premier master-planned community. Since I’m nearly a 40-year resident of Henderson, it was satisfying to be involved in a project that had such a major impact on the community.
The other short-term project was being involved in Haiti, trying to build affordable housing for the tens of thousands of people who were displaced by the earthquake. We had a great concept of erecting pre-manufactured steel homes from China. I spent many weeks in Haiti constructing a prototype, but the political and governmental climate did not allow us to pursue this venture in any meaningful, large-scale way. Although we were not allowed to see this project to fruition, I was blessed to have had the opportunity to at least try to help some very disadvantaged people.
Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years?
I see GC being a major player in the development business/industry in Southern Nevada, providing opportunities for employment and building creative, sustainable and innovative buildings, projects and communities.
What is something that people might not know about you?
I am working on recertifying for my pilot’s license.
Whom do you admire?
My dad, because of his intelligence, ambition, work ethic, drive and toughness, and that he was respected by everyone that either worked for him or with him.
And Winston Churchill, because of his leadership capabilities.