Danny Estavillo is the Southwest Regional Director for The Nerdery. He’s the voice to a bunch of talented Nerds who focus on creating amazing digital experiences for The Nerdery’s customers. On any given day, he’s working on management, strategy for acquiring new customers and building new partnerships, and making sure his team has the resources necessary for growing their relationships in the southwest.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
I currently live in central Phoenix, which I totally love! However, home will always be southeastern Arizona (Willcox), where I grew up. There is something about the diversity of the cultures, the slower pace of life, and the amazing outdoor beauty of the Sulphur Springs Valley that will always call me home.
What is your background in tech?
My background in tech has been in technology infrastructure for fintech. I worked for Verizon Enterprise Solutions in program management and enterprise sales for nearly eight years. But believe it or not, the Marine Corps really was the catalyst for me getting involved in tech. I was a marine communicator and saw the amazing power that technology had to improve and transform the way that we as humans interact in our world. In the Marine Corps, technology plays a key role in helping to accomplish each mission and ensure that marines are safe. I wanted to use tech to make life better outside the Corps as well.
What is your favorite part about your role?
The diverse amount of Nerds and partners/companies we get to work with that have amazing ideas. That diversity keeps me engaged in very cool conversations across a wide variety of topics.
What is the biggest challenge in your role?
Building an awareness of what Nerds are capable of doing. We work on mobile apps, virtual reality, large enterprise ERPs, and more. We have grown out of the Midwest and we’re trying to grow that awareness out here in the southwest.
What do you hope to see happen in the tech world in the future?
In the tech world in general, what I’d love to see is a real focus on taking cutting-edge technologies and driving them toward more practical applications and adoptions. Certainly there are folks who are focused on doing this, but it would be more prolific throughout the industry to make everything we do more human-centered. We shouldn’t just build technology for technology’s sake, but rather for the impact that it will have on humans’ lives.
In Arizona in particular, I’m excited and encouraged by the ecosystem that’s been developing over the past couple decades. I see it becoming more of a tech hub through our growing innovation and work force.
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
I’m a native. As we grow, we’re making a shift from traditional tech infrastructure to being more high-tech digitally-focused; Arizona’s natural progression is to grow our talent into emerging tech markets.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
Arizona is so environmentally unique. I can be in Flagstaff skiing, or in the Grand Canyon, or Lake Havasu . . . all of that is available to me. I love being outdoors here.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
We’ve created some bipartisan issues. I think Arizona is uniquely positioned based on our location by the border, and we have so much talent that if we moved away from a bipartisan binary approach to a more collective and holistic approach, we would come up with better solutions for our problems.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
Our education system has a ways to go. Consistently our K-12 lacks, and there’s no reason why (given the amount of intelligence and outputs that our universities are providing) that we shouldn’t see a considerable increase in investment of time and resources into K-12 issues.
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
My wife and I love Windsor—they have a wicked bloody Mary bar.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
Cheese & Stuff.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
There are too many. Phoenix Ale Brewery, Sun Up, The Shop Beer Co., and anything that Fox Restaurant Concepts does is pretty awesome. I also love Tacos Atoyac and Paquime.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
The Refuge—100 percent of the proceeds go to support refugees.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
The bar at the Blue Hound or The Sanctuary. I also love to watch the game and have a drink at Wine Burger.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
It’s hard for me to pick one memory. It’s a collective of outdoor experiences in southeastern Arizona where I grew up. Some of the most beautiful places in Arizona are there, and I like looking back on the time I spent with my family.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
Seatbelt burns can leave scars. And cacti are not our only vegetation.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
Explore. From Douglas to Page and everything in between, there are so many amazing natural wonders that are unique to Arizona.