Business recruiter Nevada Business Connections moves into new office
Two years after establishing Nevada Business Connections, a private business recruitment firm, executive director Kris Holt finally has a desk.
A big wooden one. With a name plate.
Holt moved into a new office inside the Ormsby-Rosser House on Minnesota Street last week after spending nearly two years in an office inside an industrial park off of Arrowhead Drive.
Holt said more changes are coming for his organization, which aims to recruit businesses to the region. Holt said NBC has so far attracted three companies, two from Oregon and one from California, all of them setting up shop in Reno. He adds the organization also has grown to 213 members.
“I feel that we accomplished our mission right off the bat during this two years,” Holt said. “It’s like, guess who got on their toes? The economic development groups, the state guys and the chambers. Everybody’s got on their toes. It’s not just because of the economy because competition has been pushed and that’s healthy.”
Holt sat down with the Nevada Appeal on Thursday.
Nevada Appeal: What has changed since Nevada Business Connections was established in June 2008?
Kris Holt: It’s interesting to see the trends because they’re unexpected in my book. Out of the 213 members, 90 are from Washoe County and 60 are from Carson City and the rest are spread out through the rural counties…
The other thing too is the interest has changed. I’m really surprised. I get the majority of our leads from our members and existing manufacturers, and I would say the interest, head and shoulders, is in Washoe County… and then follows Douglas County, which is a shocker to me, and then it’s Lyon and then it’s Storey. And Carson is actually at the bottom of that list.
Think about this, though, (Carson City’s) target is manufacturers. We don’t go after retail we don’t after any high tech…
We love small medium manufacturers. We play off our base, we have 20 clusters. They like being around each other. We are averaging 10 maybe 12 inquires a month, out of those inquiries we have two to four visits. These are numbers that are way, way down from five to six years ago. And from those we try to land one company a month…
“We’ve landed three so far and it’s taken two years to do that. Three are done deals in Washoe County.”
NAP: While there has been a lot of interest in Reno, what are the efforts to attract business to Carson City?
KH: “We plan a trip every other month. My next trip is for sure scheduled at the end of August.
When I drive a guy around this area, we have 160 manufacturers alone. I can say this is where they came from, this is how many employees, this is how many square feet. They say ‘I want to talk to him’, and that’s when the marriage happens. It’s where the rubber hits the road is guys doing business here.”
NAP: So why this new office?
KH: To be close to city hall and restaurants. It’s going to generate some activity again. Being out there, it was kind of quiet.
NAP: What’s in the future for Carson City and what needs to change for it to recover?
KH: The state of Nevada is unpredictable right now. It’s up in the air, so I’m talking out of two sides of my mouth when I go to Oregon. Come on down, no personal, no corporate income tax. Who knows what’s going to happen, it’s going to be a blood bath. What are we $3 billion upside down? So No. 1 is the uncertainty of our business climate.
No. 2 is the situation that (companies are) in. Mainly it’s real estate. They’re in a lease and they can’t get out of it. They’re going to take a hit, they’re trying to justify if that hit is worth taking and that return on investment is worth it.
And the third thing is our power rates. It’s a negative… we’re not very competitive when it comes to electricity. And that hurts…
I think Carson City has come along and it’s going to progress. I think the image still is Reno is the metro and this is country, it’s still rural even through we’re past the 50,000 mark. It’s a totally different market than Reno-Sparks. I think that quaint image is real cool.
I think Carson City has a very glowing future. You can pick up the phone and get things done… I love the fact that we are a combined city and county, people love that.