Greg Bortolin is the director of communications and government affairs at the Desert Research Institute. He is a registered lobbyist in the Nevada Legislature and DRI’s point of contact with Nevada’s Congressional delegation. He is also DRI’s representative on the Nevada Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Advisory Committee.
As a member of DRI President Dr. Stephen Wells’ cabinet, Bortolin oversees DRI’s media, marketing and outreach activities. He manages the annual Nevada Medal Dinner, which raises $400,000 annually in unrestricted funds.
In an effort to establish a marketing and branding effort at DRI, Bortolin reorganized the institute’s communications office by creating a webmaster position in addition to adding public information officers on DRI’s campuses in Las Vegas and Reno. In 2009, Bortolin coordinated a year-long celebration of DRI’s 50th Anniversary, which received national media attention in addition to the creation of a commemorative history.
With the support of NV Energy, Bortolin oversees DRI’s GreenPower program, which has been reorganized to help provide teachers at 150 schools throughout Nevada a curriculum that meets the state’s science standards. The GreenPower program has reinstated DRI’s science box program with “Green Boxes” that are available throughout Nevada due in large part to more than $300,000 in fund raising annually.
Bortolin was instrumental in working with Dr. Wells to secure funding that resulted in $7 million in federal support for renewable energy programs at DRI and the Nevada System of Higher Education. He headed up DRI’s communications’ efforts in the $10 million Walker Basin research project with the University of Nevada, Reno. He has also played a key role in preserving DRI’s historic cloud seeding program, which has doubled its annual funding to $1 million after state appropriations ended in 2009.
Bortolin came to DRI in 2006 after working as Henderson mayor Jim Gibson’s communications’ director for his gubernatorial campaign. Bortolin spent four years as Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn’s director of communications and press secretary. He developed a communications plan for the Governor and coordinated the Governor’s media- and public-relations efforts during two legislative regular sessions and five special sessions. He organized and created a Joint Information Center within the Department of Emergency Management that included public information officers from throughout Nevada. He also spearheaded an effort to install a satellite uplink to the capitol’s press room. In 2005, Guinn was named by TIME magazine as one of the country’s best governors.
“As Nevada’s economy changes, it’s critical that we work to promote job creation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. This has been the Desert Research Institute’s mission since we were formed more than 50 years ago.”