As CEO and President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 1981 mechanical engineer Steve Hill has blended an engineer’s analytical skills, a leader’s charisma and business acumen to transform Sin City into the sports and entertainment capital of the world.
That vision had internationally recognized Formula 1 racers zooming down the city’s neon-lined Strip this fall. Super Bowl LVIII is approaching in February and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four is set to tip in 2028.
On top of these performances, the growing desert community has become home to championship-winning professional hockey and women’s basketball franchises, U2 has opened the revolutionary MGM Sphere 360-degree immersive theater and hosts performances by superstar musicians, magicians, comedians and other entertainers.
And of course there is also gambling.
“Las Vegas is a city that is most reliable in one industry, hospitality, with its resorts, casinos and conventions. My goal has been 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 League’s Las Vegas Raiders.
“I have the best job in the world with the easiest product to sell. It’s a product where just mentioning ‘Las Vegas’ brings a smile and lights up everyone’s eyes,” said Hill. “Formula 1 races and the Super Bowl are the two biggest events we could possibly host, and the whole world is watching how we do it. If we get it right, people will say, ‘Yeah, we knew Vegas could do it.’ It will also lead to trust and everything else that we have planned, so that is key to our future.”
The Dayton, Ohio, native spent the first 30 years of his career away from the limelight, working in the manufacturing industry. He moved to the Las Vegas area and made valuable business connections as founder and manager of Silver State Materials, senior vice president of CalPortland and president of Service1st Bank of Nevada. Former Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Hill in 2011 to lead the governor’s Office of Economic Development, where he lured several companies to the state, including Tesla and Apple.
Seven years later, Hill became head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and has helped navigate the city through the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry. The convention center unveiled a $1 billion, 1.4 million square foot expansion in 2021, and a partnership with The Boring Company has brought an underground transportation system that allows guests to move around the 200-acre convention center campus. 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 seen as one of the visionaries who reimagined what Las Vegas could be,” MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said. 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 roles in the restaurant industry, but how an engineer critically looks at things and solves problems, skills honed through lots of hard work at Rose-Hulman are very important skills to have in this business.”