NCET Special Event – Lessons from Northern Nevada’s Fastest Growing Companies – January 22

Wednesday, January 21, 2020 | 11:00 am – 1:30 pm

Reno-Sparks Convention Center

Northern Nevada is home to some of Inc. 5000’s Fastest Growing Companies, and NCET’s January Special Event luncheon brings them – along with some other special companies – together to share the successes and challenges they faced, and to offer advice for growing YOUR company.

Our panelists include:

Read speaker bios

NCET members may bring an unlimited number of guests at member prices. Join before you RSVP for this event and your savings will pay for some or all of your membership!  Join NCET now and save.

Wednesday, January 22 – Register Now

Networking:  11:00 am – Noon
Lunch and Program:  Noon  –  1:30 pm

•  Prices:  $45 – NCET members  /  $55 – non-members

Tables for 8 – includes premium location at front of room, table signage and recognition from the podium during the luncheon.

•  $360 – NCET members  /  $440 – non-member

All NCET luncheon events must be paid for in advance.  Unpaid reservations will be cancelled automatically.

NCET events have been selling out! RSVP early so you don’t miss this great event.

The Fine Print:

  • Advance reservations required.  (Walk-in registration is not available.)
  • No-shows will be charged the full amount of the reservation unless cancelled at least 48 hours prior to the event.

Reno-Sparks Convention Center
4590 S. Virginia St, Reno NV 89502

For more information about NCET or any of its events, please call (775) 453-0130 or


Tray Abney

Tray Abney is a partner of the Abney Tauchen Group (ATG), offering a wide range of services to help navigate Nevada’s complex political landscape.  Tray is proud to represent clients in the retail, agricultural, pharmacy, health insurance, behavioral health services, energy efficiency, and drone delivery industries before local, state, and federal government entities.  Tray provides a unique blend of experience that includes a deep understanding of the political process, along with strong public policy expertise, and a history of successfully educating, lobbying, and influencing elected officials.

Prior to co-founding ATG, Tray served as the Director of Government Relations for The Reno+Sparks Chamber of Commerce for over ten years and was responsible for ensuring that the largest broad-based business organization in Northern Nevada had a voice at all levels of government, including city, county, state, and federal.  Tray has experienced seven Nevada State Legislative Sessions (so far) and has been a key voice on business and taxation/government spending and efficiency issues in Carson City.  He has successfully helped steer critical bills to signature (and veto) and maintains great relationships with elected officials from throughout Nevada and on both sides of the political aisle.

Before the Chamber, Tray served as Legislative Director for Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons and spent four years working for Gibbons, including as a senior legislative staff member in his Washington, DC congressional office.  During the 2007 Nevada Legislative Session, Tray served as the Governor’s chief lobbyist in the legislative building.  He was responsible for spearheading the Governor’s agenda and ensuring it was approved by the Legislature.

Tray graduated summa cum laude from Missouri State University in 2003, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and Public Administration.  Tray received his Master of Arts Degree in Political Management from the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University in Washington, DC in 2005.

Tray currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Reno Civil Service Commission and the Chair of Bristlecone Family Resources.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of Jobs for Nevada’s Graduates.

Tray currently resides with his wife, Dawn, and their son, Noah, in Reno.  His daughter, Katelyn, is attending the University of Arkansas.

Steve Conine

Steve Conine is a speaker, workshop facilitator, and a successful business consultant who has effectively taken the principles that he learned as an operations manager and recruiter for 25 years. Steve Conine has conducted thousands of interviews and assisted companies of all sizes to successfully hire and manage everyone from simple warehousemen to senior level managers. Steve has trained managers and executives how to attract, hire and retain top talent.

  • Certified workshop Trainer for “You’re NOT the Person I Hired! A CEO’s Guide to Hiring Top Talent” and a strategic planning facilitator.
  • Conine has worked for and recruited for public companies such as Wal-Mart,, Urban Outfitters, IGo and many others.
  • Conine served as President of Franchise Advisory Council for AccuStaff, a national staffing franchise subsidiary of Randstad, the World’s second largest employment company.
  • He is the owner and founder of Talent Framework, one of Nevada’s top full service staffing and recruiting agencies. His firm focuses on workforce planning, temporary staffing, executive search, and retention and engagement issues. Conine was also a regular content contributor to the Northern Nevada Business Weekly and co-host of the SOSU TV radio program “Starting Over, Starting Up”
  • Conine was named the Best New Entrepreneur of 2013 for Talent Framework Medical Staffing as well as the Best Mentorship Program for “Megaminds” sponsored by the Entrepreneurs Organization and is a repeat guest speaker for the University of Nevada Reno School of Business.
  • He is also the former Chapter President, former US West Communications Director and Regional Director for the Entrepreneurs Organization, a worldwide organization dedicated to helping leading entrepreneurs learn and grow.
  • Conine can speak to a number of topics relating to staff supervision, performance measurements, employee engagement growth strategies, interviews for managers and job seekers.

Kunall Patel

Kunall Patel is the Owner of Davidson’s Organic Tea, the first certified organic, fair trade and specialty tea company in the U.S.

As a third generation tea grower with family-owned farms in Darjeeling, India, Patel has introduced over 300 loose leaf and bagged tea varieties to the national market. Along with his wife and co-owner, Promilla Mohan, he has maintained an 80 percent women-run company while providing jobs for international communities.

This year, Patel led Davidson’s to acquire a prestigious SQF certification, which is the highest level of food safety for a company of this kind. Over the past several years, Patel has doubled the size of his warehouse facility, and has launched over 15 new products, including a line of dosha-balancing Ayurvedic Teas, and a special energizing tea blend for service industry professionals. 

Patel earned his Bachelor’s in Operations Management from Rutgers University, New Jersey. He worked as a commercial banker at JP Morgan Chase in New York before combining his extensive financial knowledge with his background in tea production. Patel is a member of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade and the Organic Trade Association.

Relina Shirley

Relina is the Co-Founder and CEO of HIDEit Mounts. As a self-funded entrepreneur whose initial investment was paid back within the first year of business, Relina and her husband Chuck turned their frustration with electronic clutter into a successful global brand and new market segment: technology device wall mounts. Under Relina’s leadership, HIDEit Mounts can be found in the offices of Buzzfeed, Indeed, and Nationwide Insurance, the Legoland UK Hotel, dozens of hospitals including Stanford Children’s Hospital, school districts across the country, plus hundreds of thousands of homes around the world. HIDEit has been recognized as an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company for the last 2 years; in 2018 at #339, HIDEit topped the list of Inc. 5000 companies in Northern Nevada. Relina resides in Reno, Nevada with her husband/co-founder and three sons. When she’s not busy at work on her latest home DIY project, watching her sons sports, or cooking for family and friends, she’s connecting with local business owners and attending EO events.

Ty Whitaker

Ty is the Chief Executive Officer & Founder of the Abbi Agency. He’s the eye of the storm, the cool, calm, clear-eyed, level-headed ambassador of logic. A guy who began his professional life as, get this, a water quality scientist.

Yeah, The Abbi Agency’s CEO is a freaking scientist. In a company of dreamers, Ty is the analytical left-brain who keeps every idea anchored to results. He brings rigor and objectivity to the table, embracing data and fiscal responsibility as kin.

Ty’s belief that brands are part of a greater ecosystem enables him to envision new common-sense contexts for their continued relevance and strategic growth. Ahh, the beauty of science.