to the Gohres Companies, Las Vegas, Nevada
William "Bill" Gohres
the casual observer, W.L. (Bill) Gohres is somewhat of an enigma. As President
and CEO of Rancho Del Norte Communities, Inc., a real estate development
company whose credits include the impressive Rancho Del Norte and multiple
other projects, a current director of Gohres Construction Co., Inc. and CEO of
several other Nevada
corporations, the former Californian seems surprisingly low-keyed and
down-to-earth. A physically tough, burly man, he's also a disarmingly caring
and gracious host. But make no mistake, Gohres is both incredibly energetic and
incredibly focused, a fact which, when combined with the previously mentioned
characteristics, make him a formidable competitor in the high finance world of
real estate development. Unlike many in the field who drift into real estate
investing later into adulthood, Gohres was hooked early on. As a matter of
fact, he entered into a joint venture with his parents to develop an orange
grove when he was 18 and bought his first house at the age of 20. "I guess
that was relatively rare for a single man, especially a young one," he
says. "However, I rented it out. It was an investment and it served me
very well. Since that time, I've been involved in all facets of real
estate." Interestingly enough, Gohres began his career as a box boy at the
age of 15 for Alpha Beta Markets in California.
His prodigious drive and ability did not go unnoticed and within a surprisingly
short time he worked his way up to a managerial position. But working for the
retail food chain provided him with another big break, he says. It was here
that he also met his wife Millie, who at the time was employed as a cashier.
"A few months after Millie and I married, I did something which I guess
most people in their right mind wouldn't do ... I quit my job as manager and
went to work for my brother's building contracting company. I started from
scratch, making $25 a day. I was a quick study though, and before long I was a
foreman. Shortly after that, I got my license and went into business for
myself, becoming my brother's leading competitor." As for Millie, Gohres
maintains that meeting her was really the turning point in his career.
"For one thing, Millie got me to settle down," he laughs. "Beyond
that, the two of us became partners in every sense of the word. We'd buy
apartments and fix them up, doing the work ourselves. We sell them, make a
profit, and then buy more. When we got into larger projects, we took on some
partners, but Millie has always remained very much involved. She's an astute
businesswoman and I credit her in large part with the success we've achieved.
We're self-made - Millie and I. We got where we are by buying and investing, by
managing our resources well and, most of all, by working very, very hard.
Nobody gave it to us. Together, we've cleaned houses and apartments; we've
painted them; we've done it all. The world owes you a living, but you have to
work for it." According to Gohres, most people tend to hang onto a
property for too long. "Millie and I aren't greedy. We know when to buy,
when to hang-on and when to sell. We've bought some properties, fixed them up
and then turned around and sold them the next month. And we did the right thing
in doing that. As my father often said, 'You never go broke making a
profit." The other thing is that many well-educated, well-off people don't
want to get dirty. They don't really want to be 'hands-on' owners and prefer to
have someone else do the dirty work. We don't. In one instance I had a crew of five
... I was the fifth one. It's important to know exactly what's happening with
your business or your property. Millie and I understand this and we've profited
as a result."
Born and raised in Orange
County, Gohres says he
often rode his horse over the area that is now Disneyland.
Although his parents were Sunkist growers, his father was also a real estate
investor; his brother, a builder. That the Gohres got into real estate and land
development, then, was almost predictable. Too, with California's legendary growth and booming
economy, the timing was right. For those willing to take a few risks, the state
was the pot of Sold at the end of the rainbow. "If you have the guts
enough," Gohres says, "developing real estate is rewarding. But it's
the highest risk venture there is because you have to put so much into
it." The only difference between people is zeros." While the couple
"got into apartments", Gohres says his forte was mainly industrial
parks, which proved to be enormously lucrative. Eventually, though, the Gohres
felt that it was time to move on and the two began carefully and methodically
researching other market areas. "This was between 1983 and 1985,"
Gohres says. "Our goal was to get out of California and find a more promising land...
someplace which would be more economically feasible in the long run. Nevada's favorable tax
structure, weather and other advantages made it an excellent choice for us. We
began liquidating our California
assets and were able to buy some Nevada
properties for cash. I could buy more in '85 and '86 because Las Vegas was not really in its heyday. It
was a rare opportunity and we grabbed it. Rancho
Del Norte is the first planned
unit development in the city of North
Las Vegas and it has done exceedingly well. Naturally,
we're delighted. In fact, we also have another project in the works now on an
adjoining property." Gohres believes in running a "lean and
mean" operation. "We were the new kid on the block," he
explains. "We do try to keep a fairly low profile. I'm a working owner
and, behind the scenes, Millie is still a working partner, helping with the
books and other aspects of the operation. You've got to be there. We go to city
council meetings or city planning meetings. Generally, a staff person will do
this. Believe me; a lot is involved in putting together a development of this
magnitude. There are the permits, the zoning, and the general infrastructure.
It's sometimes a challenge, but I know exactly what's going on at every level,
because we make it a point to."
As a result, a lot of people, including us, have benefited greatly. Rancho Del
Norte is a $500-million project. If nothing else, we have put a lot of people
to work and have thereby strengthened the local economy considerably." Rancho Del
Norte has over 2,000 homes, representing six successful builders. In addition
to two city parks, exercise stations and other amenities, it also features a
600,000 square-foot shopping center complex. At this point, we're focused on
the building phase. We're constantly fine tuning things, getting more
sophisticated. Despite a hectic, often over-loaded schedule, Gohres says he and
Millie make themselves take the time to relax. "We love to take cruises.
Last year, for ex ample, we went on a 91-day world cruise. It's one of the greatest
relaxations. You're away from everything. Someone else is driving and the food
is wonderful. To me it's the ultimate in travel and when you consider the costs
of your transportation, room, food and entertainment, it certainly makes sense
economically. We love it and look forward to it." Gohres says the two also
enjoy going out to dinner often, particularly to Phillips Supper House, owned
by Phillip Deale. The restaurant has become their favorite because of the
atmosphere, food and service. But Gohres admits to another form of relaxation:
exotic cars. "Men, I guess, are born with a love for cars. It's in their
genes. I've been fortunate - I've been able to have a Ferrari, an Aston Martin
and some other great cars. These cars were all paid for, by the way. I once
traded a Ferrari for an apartment building, though. I fixed the place up, kept
it for about two and a half months and then sold it for a nice profit.
Sometimes you have to put things into perspective." Several years ago, the
Gohres built their dream home, the opulent 10,000-square- foot Villa de Reve
located near Jones and Palmyra
in western Las Vegas.
Boasting seven elaborately hand-carved fireplaces, Plus ornate and extensive
custom woodwork, a 1,525-square-foot master bedroom suite, gymnasium, gourmet
kitchen, eight bathrooms and other amenities too numerous to mention, the home
obviously lends itself well to entertaining.
"Christmas is our thing," Gohres says. "We always have a big
Christmas party every year for our family, friends and associates. It's one of
the ways we like to say "thank-you". Millie especially loves this
time of year and goes all out as far as decorating is concerned. We have a six
car garage and it's filled with all our Christmas decorations, mechanical
animals and toys and such, she does a beautiful job and its fun for us."
In 1991, Merrill Lynch and Inc. magazine put Gohres in the running for
Entrepreneur of the Year. Although he didn't win the highly coveted title, he
says the fact that he was nominated at all was an enormous thrill. "I feel
very good about this. Millie and I have worked very hard and it hasn't always
been easy. You know, I'm convinced you don't get any brains until after you're
35," he says philosophically. "We've learned a lot. If you make a
mistake, jump on it, clean it up and move on. If you've got a problem, talk to
the people involved. Get another opinion. Sometimes getting past little defeats
will bring some big wins. I'll tell you something else: It's not a degree
that's important; it's what you do with your knowledge that counts. The best
degree I can think of is practical experience. The day you think you know it
all, you're in big trouble."
Recognition of William Gohres
1990 Entrepreneur Of The Year
To honor those individuals and companies
whose ingenuity, hard work and innovation have created successful and growing
This certificate of Nomination is presented
William L. Gohres
honor of the ground breaking for Rancho Del Norte Villas community to be
built in the Rancho Del Norte Masterplan.
October 17, 1996
Harry Reid, United States Senator
STATE OF NEVADA
BY THE GOVERNOR
the realization for growth of community housing in the North Las Vegas area
requires commitment and dedication from developers along with community
concern and assistance; and
Whereas, local master developer W.L. "Bill" Gohres of Gohres
Development has been investing in and building properties in Southern Nevada
for more then 10 years; and
Whereas, in 1988 Gohres began developing the luxurious 320-acre Rancho Del
Norte, which is comprised of 2,000 homes and commercial sites designed by 14
Whereas, Thursday, October 17, 1996 will be a North Las Vegas ground breaking
for Rancho Del Norte Villas community by Gohres Development, which is the
final community to be built in the Rancho Del Norte Masterplan;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BOB MILLER,
GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, do hereby proclaim Thursday, October 17,
A Day in the Honor
W.L. "BILL" GOHRES
"The Dream Comes True"
Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the
State of Nevada to be affixed at the State Capitol in Carson City, this 15th
day of October in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ninety
BOB MILLER GOVERNOR
WHEREAS, the realization for
growth of community housing in the north Las Vegas area requires commitment
and dedication from developers along with community care and assistance; and
WHEREAS, local Master Developer W. L. "Bill" Gohres of Gohres
Development has been investing in and building up properties in Southern
Nevada for more than 10 years; and
WHERAS, in 1988 Gohres began developing the 320-acre Rancho Del Norte, which
is comprised of 2,000 homes and commercial sites designed by 14 builders; and
WHERAS, on Thursday, October 17, 1996, ground will he broken for the Rancho
Del Norte Villas community by Gohres Development, the final community to be
built in the Rancho Del Norte Masterplan.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES K.
SEASTRAND, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF
NORTH LAS VEGAS, do hereby proclaim Thursday, October 17, 1996, as
W.L. "BILL" GOHRES DAY
in North Las Vegas in recognition of his
contributions to our community.
IN WITNESS WEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the
City of North Las Vegas to be affixed this 16th day of October 1996.
JAMES K. SEASTRAND, Mayor
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