Dayton’s new chamber director
October 12, 2004
he Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director knows his way around small business.
Ed Peck formerly served as the director of the Yerington Chamber of Commerce and also worked in the Yerington Information Center and with the Lyon County Development Authority.
An eight-year resident of Yerington, Peck took a break in March from helping other business owners to build his own, small, home-based Web business, Cyber Design.
Over the years as a key figure in the Yerington business community, Peck worked closely with Roxie Paine, the former executive director of the Dayton chamber. As a Web designer, he also worked on the site for that chamber.
When Paine decided to retire, she suggested Peck apply. He was ready to get back in the action.
“Opening your own business is nice – working at home, having control – but the cash flow is intermittent,” Peck, 41, said Tuesday during an interview at the chamber’s office in the Dayton Historical Society Museum.
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For now, Peck is commuting from Yerington, but plans to move to the Dayton area when he finds the right place, including ramps. Peck works from a wheelchair. As a 16-year-old in upstate New York, he fell off a tractor and broke his back.
His path to the West and now Dayton has included work in collections in San Mateo, as a 911 dispatcher in San Jose, in telecommunications, as a fire dispatcher for the Air Force and as a paralegal.
“I like Dayton and the excitement that’s going on now with growth and economic development,” he said.
“At this point, I didn’t think (Yerington) presented as much opportunity as Dayton.”
As Dayton grows, so do the number of businesses in the community. Businesses in Carson City are also interested in joining the Dayton chamber.
“Growth here is beneficial to Carson City,” he said. “The people who are moving here are spending most of their money in Carson City.”
Currently about 20 member businesses are in Carson City. He expects that to grow.
He also expects growth in the number of Dayton-based businesses joining the chamber.
On the front burner is member recruitment with the help of the chamber’s Ambassadors program, in which 12 members who assist with mixers, programs and ribbon cuttings. He’ll also update the Web site to provide more comprehensive information for members, people looking to move to Dayton and businesses considering relocation.
Although Peck’s No. 1 focus is the members of the Dayton chamber, he also understands the importance of seeing Dayton as part of a larger picture. His experience in regional business development will be put to use.
“I’ll work with the (Northern Nevada Development Authority) and other area chambers of commerce to address common problems,” he said.
That includes keeping an eye on legislative issues that affect small businesses, such as supporting a bill expected to be submitted to the 2005 Legislature that would lower workers’ compensation payments.
Peck is also the chairman of the Pioneer Territory, which promotes events and tourism in the region from Death Valley, east to Pioche and north to Dayton. Formerly part of the Reno-Tahoe Territory, Dayton was recently re-categorized by the state tourism office to better serve that community.
“I will also be involved with the Reno-Tahoe Territory because of the close proximity,” Peck said.
Restoration of the Dayton Station is a focal point of the community’s tourism future. Besides becoming a visitors’ and rail-history information center, it will also house the offices of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce – in time.
“I’m trying to be positive about it. Things just go slow.”
What’s most certain is that Dayton is growing and evolving from primarily a bedroom community to many people both living and working in the community. Peck noted that a software development company was looking at relocating to Dayton, which would bring high-paying jobs.
“Incorporation is on the ballot,” he said. “If that happens, it will be a big step for Dayton. There will be more retail, more industry.”