Tag Archives: #NuggLife

Saying Goodbye to NuggLife

Resigning is never easy. And resigning from a job you love is heartbreaking.

After four-and-a-half years and five event seasons, I decided it was time to try something new and to leave behind my beloved NuggLife. I had reached a new level of burnout after Rib Cook-Off and I was constantly dealing with illness. I was working six to seven days a week and a lot of overtime hours. It was supposed to be my slow season, but when your company sells, life changes. In the last four-and-a-half years I’ve been through two back-to-back company sales, which is extremely challenging. There were so many signs, and I knew it was time to move on and find a job that would offer me a better life balance and normal working hours. So, with a heavy heart and just a smudge of anxiety, I decided it was time to try something new.

I hadn’t started seriously looking when my mother sent me the job listing for the Assistant Vice President of Community Relations at One Nevada Credit Union. I was honestly trying to resign and be unemployed over the holiday season, but this job listing was exactly what I was going to be looking for. It was a perfect opportunity! I applied and after several interviews, I received a great offer. I started working at One Nevada on December 5, 2016.

My new job duties at One Nevada include developing public relations programs, marketing, sponsorship development, and event planning to engage with members and build community awareness about One Nevada Credit Union.

Before leaving the Nugget, I gave four weeks’ notice. My last day was December 3, which was the night we held the inaugural Nugget Christmas Tree Lighting event and kicked off the 12 Nuggets of Christmas charity event. I gave the company a lot of notice because I wanted to make sure this event went well. I am a huge fan of the Nugget. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I received while working there, so I didn’t want to let them down and leave them right before a big event. I worked with a fantastic team and I will always be grateful to them for their support and friendship. It was hard to say goodbye to my coworkers that I absolutely loved and adored. We had so many great memories together!

My Last Week at the Nugget and the Last Supper

My last week of work was crazy. You would never even know I was leaving. I was taking care of business as normal and making sure that we were ready for the tree lighting and the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.  Even though we were busy, my team found time to have a going away lunch for me, Tim and Adam, who were also leaving at the end of the week. The Marketing Department tradition is that we walk down to Great Basin Brewery together for lunch and we take a group photo. This isn’t just any group photo, it is the Last Supper picture. The people leaving have plates held behind their heads just like halos. We all make a funny pose. I was so bummed to be leaving my coworkers, but I was glad we were able to celebrate together one last time. Below is the picture from our Last Supper of NuggLife.

My Last Day Working at the Nugget

Like any good workaholic, I made sure to put in a whole day for my last day. I started at 9:00 a.m. and I didn’t finish that night until nearly 11:00 p.m.

It was an exciting day because it was event day. I love event day! The excitement, the butterflies, the burst of weird event energy, it is always a good time. I started the day off by going through all the event details. I was responsible for the tree lighting ceremony and also for making sure the 12 Nuggets of Christmas was planned. Everything looked to be in order. The checks were printed for the charities, and everyone knew when and where they were supposed to be each night of the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.

The tree was magnificent! It was a towering 105 foot tall White Fir from Klamath Falls, Oregon. The tree was a gift from the Marnell Family and the Nugget to the community of Sparks. After a whole week of a sign company using cranes to decorate the tree, we were ready for the lighting. The ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. It started with Reno High School students singing Christmas carols. Mrs. Clause and Engine 39, the 39 North Downtown community train, delivered almost 300 unwrapped toys for local children in need. Then our general manager gave a welcome message, presented Toys for Tots with a $2,000 check, and we had the crowd countdown to light the tree. When the crowd gave the sign, my coworker’s two sons hit the big switch for show, and our Elf Greg hit the power box for real, and with a big pop the tree lit up. It was gorgeous!

The event went well, but if I was planning it again, I would add a big stage and have the general manager and an MC host the event. I would also add a DJ spinning high energy Christmas tunes and a few portable heaters. It was freezing out there!

After the ceremony and a lot of photos were taken, it was time to have a celebratory drink and then head back to my office to pack up. After I was gone, my coworkers told me that was the cleanest that office had ever been, even in the decade before I worked there.

I’m officially a recovering workaholic. It is a bit odd to go from working so much and in such an intense environment to working a normal schedule in a calm work place. I love my new job, but it is definitely different. I’m adjusting, but sometimes I miss my old coworkers and the high energy felt working in a casino. I’ve been going through files and old pictures trying to get organized and get my life back together at home. I’ve been finding a lot of souvenirs that bring back memories of NuggLife.

In my new role at One Nevada, I will continue to blog about event management, public relations, marketing, customer service, sponsorship relations, and community relations. I will also tell a few stories and share some memories of my crazy days at the Nugget. Now I can tell the really good stories! Stay tuned!

I love Sparks because…

Ribs Sky View

Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off 

We now have proof that special events in Sparks, Nevada are incredibly important to citizens in the community!

The City of Sparks just finished the first phase of #IgniteSparks, the planning process to develop the 2030 vision statement for the community. The goal of the first round of surveys was to find opinions on what is important to citizens in the community, how the city should grow, and what should be included in the next master plan for Sparks. The initial phase was a year-long collection of surveys with the goal of finding answers to three very important questions.

The questions…

  1. I love Sparks because…
  2. My biggest concern for Sparks in the year 2030 is…
  3. My wish to make Sparks better by 2030…

According to the Sparks Tribune, 743 survey responses were collected.  The results for the first question were no surprise to me.  The responses to I love Sparks because… 15.06% small town, 13.16 % community, and 10.04% events.  These are the main reasons I enjoy working in Sparks! I couldn’t agree with the responses more!

When people ask me about planning events in Sparks I tell them “We have small town charm and big city events.” We truly enjoy working with our friends at the City of Sparks during events season because there is a sense of community, it feels like a small town, and everyone is friendly. This survey really captures the City of Sparks greatest strengths, and something we should continue to grow and nurture.

It is no secret that the great people in Sparks take pride in their special events. I’m glad to see this is important to them and that it leads to civic pride. I hope they will continue to support special events in the future. There are many challenges on the horizon for event producers. Having support from the community is vital. The company I work for is interested in producing more events; we just need the support of the community to make them successful.

The next phase of #IgniteSparks will include a more detailed questionnaire that asks how the city should grow. If people love special events and want more of them it would be interesting to see what type of events they favor and enjoy attending. We look forward to seeing the feedback and hope it will help us as we develop new events and keep the legacy events that Sparks residents take pride in for future generations.

For more information about #IgniteSparks 2030 vision planning process please go to www.IgniteSparksNV.com/

Star Spangled Sparks Event Recap

Following a long tradition, this year the Nugget Casino Resort hosted the 16th Annual Star Spangled Sparks 4th of July fireworks show. This event was a tradition started under the Ascuaga family ownership of the Nugget Casino. The Nugget began hosting the fireworks show after several other shows in the area were canceled due to a lack of funding. Local legend is that John Ascuaga stood up after other fireworks shows were canceled and declared someone needed to provide fireworks, so he volunteered to put on the fireworks show to save the community’s Fourth of July celebration.

The fireworks were a success this year, we shot them at 9:49pm which was only a 4 minute delay. I’d call that show on-time. Not too shabby for a show with 5,000 pounds of fireworks. About 50,000 people filled Victorian Square to enjoy the FREE fireworks show. We had a good crowd this year. The police report for the annual event is usually about three pages long, this year it was only one page. Everyone enjoyed the show and the cooler weather helped keep everyone calm and relaxed.

Fox 11 Morning Show - Star Spangled Sparks

Lisa Jansen & Lauren Garber talking about Star Spangled Sparks with Bill Frankmore on Fox 11 Morning Show

The weather was a little rough on us leading up to the event this year. Our pyro team had to work around the daily thunder storms. Turns out it is a little dangerous to put together explosives on the roof of a casino in thunder storms. The rain is also an issue. The techs couldn’t put the explosives together if they got wet. So the crew worked around the weather and then at the last minute we had additional pyro team members show up to help finish the last part of setup. It was a challenge but it all turned out well in the end. The event attendees enjoyed the show and were delighted with some of the new types of fireworks.

We are already making plans and discussing next year’s Star Spangled Sparks event. The event has become extremely expensive. It costs approximately $150,000 to host this event. We’ve been lucky to have sponsors help cover some of the expenses over the years, but in the end the Nugget has spent about $100,000 each year to make sure Reno/Sparks has a great fireworks show on the 4th of July. The Nugget plans to continue hosting Star Spangled Sparks, but is looking for more community support in the form of local business sponsorships.

Drone Video:

July 4, 2015

Director of PR Lauren Garber & Director of Special Events Lisa Jansen AKA Team #NuggLife

Next year the event will look quite different. There are two new housing developments going into Victorian Square that will change the look and feel of Star Spangled Sparks. The Nugget has worked with the City of Sparks on these developments and made a land-swap to guarantee there is still room for special events over the summer.

The community doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate it yet, but at some point they will wake up and realize the new owners of the Nugget are committed to supporting a vibrant downtown area and keeping special events alive in the old rail city. The new owners continue to donate to local causes and support the community, they may not have a public image like the Ascuagas with their involvement of these causes, but they are there in the background supporting area programs, special events, and charitable organizations. Both Star Spangled Sparks and the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off will continue to grow and be events locals can be proud of that make our community a great place to live.

If your company would like to become a sponsor of Star Spangled Sparks please contact me at Lisa.Jansen@NuggetResort.com

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