California manufacturer eyes a move to Nevada
RENO – Frank Dutra didn’t quite make any promises Wednesday morning that he would expand his precision manufacturing company into the Carson City area – but did make it clear he’d prefer that to expanding its home in California.
His company, Advanced Machining Techniques, makes parts for airplane ejection seats and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, among other projects. It rests at 49 employees now, Dutra said, because adding a 50th would incur “financial penalties” from the state of California.
But it also gives a reason for him to pick Northern Nevada as a place to put that new employee to work.
“We have an improved version of everything, including the Family Medical Leave Act, for those that dare to hire the 50th employee,” he said Wednesday morning at the Nevada Business Connections breakfast at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno. Nevada Business Connections is an economic development firm.
The same with hazardous-waste disposal, Dutra said, relating a story of buying a coolant recycler that dropped his hazardous-waste output by 70 percent – but also turned him into a recycler, with all the new and ultimately un-worthwhile requirements that came with it.
On the flipside, he largely praised Nevada for its low taxes and business-friendly government.
“Here, the OSHA manual is 263 pages long,” Dutra said. “California’s is so vast that I couldn’t even find how many pages there are.”
He did blast Nevada’s high energy costs and encouraged Nevada Business Connections and the business owners at the breakfast to start demanding accountability and lower rates.
“There are no good reasons your power should be so expensive,” Dutra said, citing a recent story of power rates in Clark County rising as consumers used less.
He said he has plans in motion to move into Northern Nevada, with visible headway starting at the first of the year. Dutra hesitated to be more concrete or count the chickens before they hatch.
He said if his company does expand here, it would likely be in vacant industrial space in Mound House. The question of hiring local versus importing workers would depend on the available skilled-labor market, Dutra said.
But in the end, one thing is clear: Employee No. 50 definitely won’t be in California.
“Hiring the 50th doesn’t make sense (in California),” he said after his speech. “So (looking to move here) was a logical choice.”