Competition to bring business to region

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

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Kris Holt took a big risk when he launched Nevada Business Connections last June.

As head of the privately funded economic development organization, Holt was hoping to repeat the success he had as executive director of Northern Nevada Development Authority from 1988 to 2002.

Working on a shoestring, he has been able to attract five businesses to relocate operations to the region NBC serves (Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties), as well as two startup operations, and facilitate expansions of seven other area businesses.

"I knew it would go, but this is beyond expectations," Holt said.

Some business owners came to Holt with the idea for NBC. They wanted someone who would go out and directly recruit businesses as Holt did when he was at NNDA.

"They said, this is what we want, so get your butt in gear, go knock on doors and bring some businesses to this area," Holt said.

And it's working.

Aloha Medicinals, a vitamin distributor, will bring 15 jobs to Carson City. Phoenix Aerospace is adding 12 jobs in Mound House. Oracle Racing, a sail manufacturer associated with Oracle software company founder Larry Ellison, is bringing 12 jobs to Minden.

Holt's two latest successes are AIM Kilns, which will be relocating from Grants Pass, Ore., adding six new jobs in Minden; and Custom Classic Parts, which is bringing six employees to Carson City from Atlanta.

Two startups that Holt helped are Hart Skis, which is planning on creating 50 jobs in Dayton, and Minatura, a mining equipment manufacturer bringing 15 jobs to Carson City.

Some see what Holt is doing with NBC as a competition with NNDA. But that's not how Holt views it.

"We want to work with them, but keep our separate identity," Holt said. "We've got the momentum and the energy, we are on a roll now."

Despite the current state of the economy, Holt said business interest in moving to Nevada is very strong.

"Some people thought we were crazy to start this in an economic downturn, but you know what, we are in the perfect position and I can feel the thunder," he said. "There is a feeling that California is really shooting themselves in the foot. I don't want to bash California, but they are doing it to themselves. When we hurt, they double hurt, and we'll take advantage of that."

Economics is only a part of why companies move to Nevada, according to Holt.

"The quality of life is at least 50 percent or more of the decision making process," Holt said. "When you get down to it, who's my client? Mom and Pop. Ninety percent are mom and pop shops. Pop's in the front seat working on the numbers, while mom is in the back seat trying to figure out where are the schools, the churches, the culture. When you are trying to figure out those answers, that's when I try to get them together with people who know the answers."

Holt uses a large network of contacts to help him sell business owners on moving to the area, especially in the manufacturing sector that he concentrates on.

"When manufacturers talk to other manufacturers, that's what really closes the deal," Holt said. "They talk about what it's really like to be in business here. My job is to fish. I catch'em, those guys filet them."

- Contact reporter Kirk Caraway at or (775) 881-1261.


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