Q&A with new SNS director Dan Reuter

Reuter brings extensive regional planning experience to Southern Nevada from Georgia

After an extensive national search, Dan Reuter was selected as the new director of Southern Nevada Strong (SNS). Dan started his new post on January 2 after relocating from Decatur, Ga., in late December. Dan is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP), and comes to Southern Nevada after spending nearly three decades in urban and regional planning in Georgia.

We sat down with Dan for a quick Q&A in mid-January to see how his transition to Southern Nevada was going. For Dan’s full bio and resume, click here.

So Dan, you relocated to Southern Nevada less than a month ago. What are your first impressions of the region?

There’s definitely a lot to do here, which is great. I’m looking forward to all of the recreation, entertainment, and dining options. And the natural environment – especially the snow-capped mountains – is stunning.

Has anything surprised you?

It’s been a little colder than I expected. We some rain and snow recently, which surprised me a bit.

There is less traffic and congestion here. I think it has a real impact on people. Folks seem a little less anxious, maybe even a little more pleasant, than in Atlanta.

What part of town are you living in?

I rented a loft condo in Downtown Las Vegas, which I picked because it’s so close to the RTC office. I didn’t bring a car with me from Atlanta, so being within biking distance was a must for me.

Wait, you’re going car-free?

That’s the plan. And so far, it’s been pretty easy. I can get to the office in less than 10 minutes using Bike Share. For longer trips, I can utilize the transit system, Uber or Lyft, or even rent a car. Overall, it’s going to be much cheaper and cleaner than owning a car.

What are you going to miss most about Georgia?

Both of my daughters are in college back in Atlanta. I miss them a lot. But I’m sure they’re going to enjoy coming out here for visits.

You have a wealth of local and regional planning experience. Summarize it for us in less than 30 seconds. Ready, set, go!

Wow, that’s quite the test.

You’ve already lost 2 seconds.

OK, I led regional planning initiatives and programs at the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for 17 years and helped establish major public-private economic programs in Atlanta, including the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance and Peachtree Gateway Partnership.

Prior to that, from 1989 to 1999, I served as a transportation planner and director at several Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in Georgia, including in Athens, Savannah, Glynn County, and Douglas County.

I spent the past two years consulting on projects to advance the role of public-private organizations working on metro Atlanta planning.

You earned your bachelor’s degree from University of Georgia, a master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State, and taught graduate-level regional planning courses at Georgia Tech. All great schools. But where do your college football allegiances lie?

I’m a Georgia Bulldog at heart. My first job was selling Coke sodas at Georgia football games.

What about Southern Nevada and SNS drew you to the other side of the country?

I was ready for new challenge, and there’s so much opportunity here. I spent two-plus decades in Atlanta working to advance transit-oriented development (TOD) and Livable Center Initiative (LCI) projects, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity for those types of projects here. When I call it a career, I want to be able to say I helped create good urban and suburban places on both sides of the country.

I also love the outdoors and being out west offers a ton of new hiking, biking, and camping opportunities.

Regional planning is the norm in Georgia, but is a relatively new concept for Southern Nevada. How does that change?

I think we have to demonstrate how regional planning and collaboration benefits everyone. Most of the pressing issues in any region cross borders and jurisdictional lines. Air quality and water conservation and the education system impact the entire region and can only be addressed through regional efforts.

What are your priorities for your first 100 days on the job?

A lot of listening and absorbing, as well as building relationships with staff the RTC, elected officials, and our regional partners. I want to learn as much about the history of planning and growth in the valley as I can. And I want to get a better idea of activities that are currently underway that SNS may be able to bolster, especially within housing, health, and sustainability efforts. Supporting the MPO and others working on advancing TOD planning also seems like an obvious priority too.