Carson Perspective: Existing light manufacturers don’t want to be ignored by government
February 24, 2013
Light manufacturing isn’t likely to save Carson City by itself, but Ray Bacon believes it could help. Even more if government helps.But Bacon, Nevada Manufacturers Association executive director, is paid to believe that and work toward boosting manufacturing across the state. So why pay heed? Because his view reflects manufacturers’.When he heard that Walt Owens, CEO and general manager of Carson City’s Owens Precision, Inc., had said government should help existing manufacturers as well court new ones, Bacon cut a thick slice. “He’s right,” the lobbyist said, “and I’m working on it.” Bacon said the ways government can help include pushing to achieve a trained workforce, more deftly handling oversight and licensing or permits, making sure the business climate is friendly for manufacturers as well as other firms, and abatements. Good workers are a priority.”That will help the existing companies,” Bacon emphasized.He’s hoping a $10 million federal race-to-the-top grant received by the Carson City School District helps achieve a trained workforce ready for manufacturing employment as well as other jobs.Bacon said Carson City educators will tour manufacturing plants this week, which may help, and Western Nevada College offers courses for future machinists and welders.Owens’ comment about help for existing manufacturers came in answer to a question from Supervisor John McKenna last week during a Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting at which he appeared on another matter. Owens, who grew up in Carson City, summed it up the next day.“There’s nothing in place for existing business to help us out or get us to stay,” he said, adding Idaho keeps trying to lure him away.Owens Precision, which he started in 1978, does contract work using software and expertise for the medical, electronics, aerospace and high-tech fields. Plants in Carson and Mound House employ 62.The Carson City Chamber of Commerce website claims the city has 176 manufacturers, employing 17 percent of the workforce here. Next up, this week’s scheduled Community Center Sierra Room government meetings: Open Space Advisory Committee, 5:30 p.m. Monday; Board of Equalization, 9:30 a.m. Tuesday; Planning Commission, 3 p.m. Wednesday, Library Board, 5 p.m. Thursday.The Board of Supervisors meets at 8 a.m. Thursday in the Ormsby Room of the Sheriff’s Administration Building, 911 E. Musser St., for a strategic planning workshop. Among the agenda items: Discussion about the format and schedule for town hall meetings. • John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.