Community Profile: Stuart Yount, a community member who has found many different areas to become involved in, from TRPA to Sierra Nevada College
By Jean Eick
Stu Yount stands in front of the Crystal Bay home that he and his wife built after moving to the area.
Bonanza Photo -Jen Schmidt
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza: As a resident of Incline Village/Crystal Bay, Stuart Yount is known for his work with the Tahoe Regional Planning Association … or the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation … or Sierra Nevada College … or for his own business, Fortifiber. Because he is so involved in many different phases of the community, other residents have had an opportunity to meet him. He also has a passion for ranching, fine dining and wine.
Growing up as a California native
Yount was born in Los Angeles but actually lived in San Marino, a small town near Pasadena, California. It was in San Marino that he grew up, attended school and graduated from San Marino High School. His wife Geri attended the same school, followed by their children.
While Yount was a student in school he participated in theater and drama productions. Some of those included, “Guys and Dolls,” “The Music Man,” “Little Foxes,” Brigadoon” and “Carousel.”
Although his wife attended the same high school Yount said they did not date or know each other well during that time. It was later, after high school when they were reintroduced to each other at the wedding of a mutual friend that they started dating. They have been married now for 38 years.
After completing high school Yount took a summer course at Pasadena City College. Then he moved on to the University of Nevada, Reno for awhile.
“I went to UNR because my father went there in 1926,” he said.
Yount said he had always been interested in business, so he continued to pursue this area with his education. At one point he was offered a job as a trainee with a clothing manufacturer in California.
But his father suggested vocational testing.
“The results showed that I should go to work for my father’s business,” he said. “I was naive at that age.”
Joining the family business
His father, Stanley Yount, started a privately held family business, Fortifiber, in 1939. It manufactures building system products and now has three different locations for factories across the country. One is located in Fernley, Nev., while the others are located in Attleboro, Mass. and South Valdosta, Ga.
Yount has worked at Fortifiber for 40 years and it is in its third generation with his own son now joining the business. Yount said his father’s favorite saying was “change is the price of living.” And even though times are tough right now, Yount said because his company is very conservative, it will do well in the future.
Yount and his father also had another business relationship. They purchased property on the Hollister Ranch, 30 miles north of Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1976. It is a working cattle ranch and features more than 100 miles of hiking and riding trails.
“Dad saw an ad in the Wall Street Journal,” Yount said.
Because they had just sold a beach house and wanted a place for a family retreat this turned out to be the ideal property.
“It is pristine,” Yount said. “You can walk for hours on the beach without seeing anyone.
The property not only features unbelievable scenery but also has eight and one half miles of private beach. Yount said it is definitely his favorite family retreat and he enjoys spending as much time as possible there with his family but admits this year he was not there as much as usual.
Moving to Nevada to retire
“I think we need to think about where we want to retire,” Yount said he told his wife.
The small town of San Marino was not where they wanted to continue to live once their youngest child was off to college. But he knew that he wanted to live in the continental U.S. and near a major airport in order to continue with his business.
“I had enjoyed Lake Tahoe when going to UNR,” he said.
So along with Yount, the entire headquarters for Fortifiber, including 11 families, moved to Incline Village/Crystal Bay. Yount has lived here full time since 1996.
It was also in 1996 that construction started on the home in Crystal Bay. Yount is very proud of the technology included in this home.
“The property is surrounded with cameras and when you walk through the house, the lights come on automatically.”
“Love, happiness, health, wealth and time to share with family and friends”
One of the other interests that Yount has is in fine dining and wine. He is particularly fond of the Napa Valley cabernets. Of course he does have family ties to the Napa Valley vineyards. A relative, George Calvert Yount, is the pioneer for which the town of Yountville in Napa Valley is named, as he is considered the first person to have planted a vineyard in Napa Valley.
His fine dining interest includes memberships in many clubs that feature fine dining. He is a member of the Magic Castle club in the Hollywood Hills. It is considered a showplace for famous magicians. Dinner at the Magic Castle includes an atmosphere of Victorian elegance and lots of magic.
“I love magic,” Yount said. “Any magic.”
Another dining experience that Yount enjoys is at Disneyland. He has been a member of Disneyland Club 33 for 22 years.
But it is in Crystal Bay where Yount built his home for his retirement. However that does not mean he plans to retire anytime in the near future.
“I have no plans for retirement,” Yount said. “I will always participate in business. But this is last house I am building.”
It did not take long for Yount to become totally involved in the many organizations and activities available in his new community.
“The TRPA is a big challenge,” he said. “It is very important to the lake.”
Yount has served as the presidential appointee on the TRPA since 2002 and will continue with this position until he is officially replaced.
He became involved with the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation in 1999 and was the director in charge of the building. He is still active on this board as well.
His position with Sierra Nevada College has changed a couple of times. He started as a trustee in 1999 and also was vice chairman of the board. But now that it is the Sierra Nevada Foundation Board he is again a trustee.
Yount has also been involved on the Incline Village Community Hospital and many other local organizations.
“It is the best community on the lake,” Yount said. “We tried it in all seasons before moving here.”
Yount said he has always had a need to live near water and feels that in his Crystal Bay home he is able to enjoy the best of both worlds — the water and an area without gloom.
“It is a nice community to meet people and there is a whole different attitude here,” he said.
Family: Wife, Geri
Two children and two grandchildren
Hometown: San Marino, Calif.
Education: Undergraduate at Pasadena City College; University of Nevada, Reno; University of California, Los Angeles; California Institute of Technology; Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Business at Claremont McKenna University; Maudlin College; and Cambridge University, England. Postgraduate education at Harvard Graduate School of Business.
Interests: Boating, travel, scuba diving, fine dining and wines, cattle ranching
Philosophy: “Love, happiness, health, wealth and time to share with family and friends”