How Millennials are shaping the economy | NevadaAppeal.com

How Millennials are shaping the economy

Sally Roberts
sroberts@nnbw.biz

Millennials are changing the employment landscape, according to panelists at a luncheon discussion about the Evolving Economic Environment.

“Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are not so much driven by dollars as by creativity,” said Rob Hooper, of the Northern Nevada Development Authority.

“If we don’t have an environment where Millennials want to be, we won’t attract the companies that need (them),” said Mike Kazmierski of EDAWN.

Hooper and Kazmierski were part of a five-person panel discussion, moderated by Brent Boynton, of KNPB, during the Nevada Economic Development Conference last month at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers in the workplace.

They seek out communities who have an artisan culture, and an abundance of outdoor recreation.

For Millennials with an entrepreneurial spirit, the development of place should include business incubators: buildings that house multiple companies paying lower rents, Hooper said. It’s “a place where they want to be.”

Part of the shift to Millennial ways of thinking was the Next City Vanguard Big Idea Challenge 2015 May 6-8. The challenge brought 55 young urban leaders to the community to imagine six projects to improve three areas of the city in need of a face lift.

The proposals addressed issues of walkability, safety and encouraged public activity, aspects that also appeal to Millennials.

The Next City activity brought new energy to community planning. But what Reno has always had going for it is location.

“In reality, one of our unique advantages — we (at EDAWN) promote this aggressively — is our location,” Kazmierski said.

“We’re within one transportation day of anywhere in the West,” he said.

‘We’re in proximity to one of the natural wonders of the world, Lake Tahoe, and close proximity to the Bay Area. We pay less in taxes, less cost of living expenses and less traffic aggravation,” he added, making northwestern Nevada an ideal location for Millennial entrepreneurs.

“The neat thing is, we have all the components (Millennials want),” Hooper said. “We’ve got lifestyle coming out our pores. But we need to promote it better.”

Another aspect of the Evolving Economic Environment was a discussion on the special needs in Northern Nevada’s rural areas.

“How do we keep our kids there?” asked Bill Sims, of the Humboldt Economic Development Authority.

“We have a good house, now we have to get all the furniture.”

“Our older communities are kind of tired,” said Pam Borda of the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority. “They need to be revitalized, some of our downtown areas, and to assist startups.”

The Internet Age has opened new opportunities for rural areas.

Residents in the Fallon area have responded with an entrepreneurial spirit, creating a network of home-based businesses, said Bob Shriver of the Highway 95 Regional Development Authority.

Shriver told the story of a Fallon resident who needed a new sleeping bag and drove into a major Reno/Sparks sporting-goods store. After his purchase, he noticed on the label that it was made in Fallon.

“They use connections to sell products all over the world.”