WaterStart, a water technology incubator based at the Desert Research Institute (DRI), announced today the addition of new members to its Board of Directors: MGM Resorts International Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Cindy Ortega, DRI President Dr. Kristen Averyt and Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) Executive Director Paul Anderson.
“I am excited about the added experience and expertise that Cindy Ortega, Dr. Kristen Averyt and Paul Anderson will bring to our Board of Directors,” said WaterStart Executive Director Nate Allen. “The WaterStart board is made of up influential and talented members of the community who play a key role in furthering WaterStart’s mission to become an international hub for tech companies working to address today’s global water challenges.”
Throughout MGM Resorts International, Cindy Ortega oversees the development and implementation of strategies for environmental sustainability and awareness, including natural resource conservation, sustainable new construction and environmentally sensitive company operations. She was recognized by Green Building & Design as one of The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sustainability in the United States.
“Water is our world’s most precious natural resource. Creative and sustainable management of our water resources is critical to maintaining and enhancing the quality of life of all people,” said Ortega. “I am honored to be part of the Board of Directors of WaterStart and its mission to accelerate innovation and economic growth in the water sector.”
Dr. Kristen Averyt is the eighth and first female president of the DRI. For more than 50 years DRI research faculty, students, and staff have applied scientific understanding to support the effective management of natural resources while meeting Nevada’s needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities. Dr. Averyt oversees two state-of-the-art research campuses in Las Vegas and Reno, and leads a team of more than 400 scientists, technologist, students, and support staff working on cutting-edge research across all seven continents.
“DRI is proud to have helped launch and continue supporting WaterStart because it addresses a critical need in our state,” said President Averyt. “Connecting exciting startups and emerging water technology firms with Nevada’s scientists, students, and local partners has not only created new jobs for Nevada, but more importantly bolstered our reputation as world-renown leaders in water research and the application of new technologies to solve some of our toughest environmental problems – such as ongoing drought in the West.”
Another new addition to WaterStart’s Board of Directors is former State Assemblyman Paul Anderson, who will be taking Steve Hill’s place as executive director of GOED. Elected to three terms in the Nevada Assembly, Anderson is a Las Vegas native and is a widely-respected legislator and entrepreneur. In his second term, he was elected assembly majority leader and helped guide the legislature through one of the most productive sessions in Nevada history. In the assembly, he worked to pass major economic and education reforms into law, including during the special sessions for the Tesla Gigafactory, the Apex Industrial Park and the Las Vegas stadium and convention center.
“This is not only an issue for Nevada and the West – the smart the sustainable management of water as a resource is a global issue and an area in which Nevada, through WaterStart, is uniquely poised to be a global leader,” said Anderson. “I am excited to join the WaterStart board and to welcome our new board members, who are true experts in the field.”