Turf battles in economic development have long been a problem for Nevada, as various groups compete for attention and credit. But recently in Northern Nevada, the State Commission on Economic Development (CED), the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), the Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA) and Sierra Pacific Power Company have been developing a strategic marketing plan for a long overdue joint effort.
The team will inform the others about its projects and will coordinate all new relocation and expansion announcements while setting job creation goals.
I was fortunate and honored to have been the executive director of the NNDA from 1988 to 2002. It was a fantastic experience working with hundreds of companies and to help create over 5,000 primary jobs.
The NNDA is the local economic development organization responsible for creating jobs and new investment (non-gaming or non-mining) in Carson City, Douglas County and parts of Lyon and Storey counties. NNDA aggressively targets and recruits manufacturers and service related businesses into the region.
The key objective is to encourage business relocations and assist with expansions (capital investment) to help broaden, diversify and increase the tax base while creating jobs with career opportunities for local citizens.
One of the main reasons The Capital Region is so successful in its business recruitment and development efforts is due to the team approach. From the commissioners and supervisors, the city manager to the Community Development Department, the Capital Region is prepared and most importantly "marching to the same sheet of music." Businesses looking to relocate to the area appreciate hearing the same, consistent sales presentation from the "team." The team consists of business, education and government leaders.
NNDA promotes the capital region as a great place to conduct business with four simple selling points.
1. Carson City is the manufacturing hub of the state with a 14 percent manufacturing employment base. More than 300 manufacturers do business in The Capital Region. (Manufacturers love to be near other manufacturers.)
2. EPA regulations are sensible, less stringent and under the state jurisdiction with no city or county requirements stacked on top of state policies.
3. The overall cost of doing business is about 10 percent less than the metro areas of Nevada (Reno and Las Vegas) which means savings on the costs of labor, industrial land, facilities (no impact fees), property taxes and even the cost of buying a home.
4. Most importantly, the quality of life issues: Education, arts and entertainment, recreation, churches, crime, smog, cultural, proximity to shopping, sports, etc. (Everyone has their own definition of quality of life.)
Usually, NNDA is the initial contact when a company comes to visit Northern Nevada. The typical client is a family-owned, 20- to 80-employee manufacturing operation from California.
Most clients have commented on how helpful it was to be able to go to just one source for information and assistance.
NNDA refers clients to the local business community: brokers, CPAs, attorneys, contractors, educators, utility representatives, suppliers and support services and city/public officials.
"NNDA representatives are not the experts, but they know who the experts are," was our slogan. Give NNDA a few hours, and we would eliminate three weeks in getting a client information and answers.
NNDA's strength was the business network we developed over the years. Of the 300 manufacturers in The Capital Region, NNDA had a relationship with at least 200 of them.
Some of the new and outstanding companies that have moved into the to Capital Region during the last decade include: Chromalloy, Model-Die Casting, Starbucks, T & D Machine Products, Sierra Mold, Duro Manufacturing, U.S. Welding Corporation, Ametherm, Custom Stamping, Calculated Industries, Taiyo America, Harley Credit Corporation, LSP Specialty Products, Polam Precision, MC-21, ESP West, Maxton, Perma-Cal, Tower Structures, EZE-Lap Diamond Products, and Triangle Labs, among numerous others.
Remember, primary jobs enhance the wealth of community.
Kris E. Holt is a senior advisor for Grubb & Ellis in Carson City.