Board told to enlist industry peers to attract businesses | NevadaAppeal.com

Board told to enlist industry peers to attract businesses

Nevada’s Economic Development Board was told Thursday that the two keys to bringing businesses here are developing a pitch tailored to each business sector as well as enlisting businesses to sell it.

“We need to get industry to tell that story to their peers,” said Michael Thomas of Noble Studios, the consulting firm working on the program.

His colleague Lorna Shepard said that pitch should be tailored to each of the seven industry categories targeted by economic development and “show there’s more to Nevada than the Strip.”

Shepard said existing industries make the best salesmen because they can detail the advantages they have seen from doing business in the Silver State.

But they said the pitch will be different depending on the industry involved: aerospace, defense, information technology and logistics as well as health/medical, manufacturing, renewable energy and tourism.

Shepard said it’s important that state and local officials as well as industry peers are all working together in each of those seven industry areas because corporations they have talked with see problems in that area.

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“They definitely conveyed that wasn’t happening as well here as in Utah and Texas,” she said.

“I like the idea of having current businesses that are happy as ambassadors,” said board member Kathleen Drakulich.

Board Chairman Gov. Brian Sandoval agreed.

Thomas said that carries a lot more weight with a business considering Nevada than a politician’s pitch because they know their peers understand their needs to succeed.

But they also cautioned that, eliminating roadblocks and problems for businesses interested in Nevada still needs some work.

“There were some griped that local governments are not making it easy,” Drakulich said citing hidden costs as an example. “They don’t necessarily feel as welcomed by local governments. At the state level, they say it’s very smooth.”

Thomas said it also varies by the type of business, that manufacturers, for example, “are saying there are a lot more hurdles.”

Economic Development Director Steve Hill said local governments are focused on this issues not but that there’s still some work to do.

Sam Routson of Winnemucca Farms, a major potato product producer in Fernley, said he has heard from city and county officials that, “this is the way we are required to do it by the state.”

Hill said his office is putting together a work group to review regulations that may need changing at both the state and local levels to smooth out the process and get everyone on the same page.

He said the other major challenge is bringing all the information together for each category of business so the sector data, laws and regulations, testimonials and everything else is readily available.

He said he wants to find sponsors to help buy iPads to load that package of data for each category of business onto so he can hand them to visiting CEOs. In addition, he said a team is now working to completely update and improve the program’s website which he said is not really functional right now.

He emphasized that he doesn’t think buying those iPads should be done with state money, that he wants private contributions to pay for them. He said he hopes that new site is up and running by June.