Companies make the move |

Companies make the move

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealGreg Wallace of Tech Spec packages sets of motorcycle tank grips at the Minden facility on Thursday.

While standing on a platform overlooking the Northwest Territorial Mint’s expansive 118,000-square-foot Dayton plant, Project Manager Rob Vugteveen watches one of the company’s employees carefully place a 70-pound brick of silver into a flaming catalyst.

The employee, a young man, is one of the 85 local people the Auburn, Wash.- based company hired after acquiring the Medallic Arts Company in Dayton last year. The company also brought about two dozen employees from their Washington headquarters to Nevada.

“He’s local,” Vugteveen said of the employee. “These guys have gone through many, many hours of training.”

The company is one of nine that have relocated or expanded their operations in the region in the past year with the help of the Northern Nevada Development Authority, which recently released an economic impact report from the jobs created by the companies.

The relocations and expansions have meant about 450 jobs created in the region this year – that includes an additional 636 family members also moving to the region.

The NNDA estimates these new jobs have added $62.8 million in local spending, $1.7 million in local tax revenue and $666,420 going to state coffers this year.

Based on discussions with companies already in the region or considering a move, the NNDA estimates that by 2012 more than 900 jobs will have been created for about $283 million worth of economic impact by companies relocating or expanding in the region.

Besides Northwest Territorial Mint, the new companies that have expanded or are planning to move their operations to the region include Buffalo Wire Works in Sparks, Tech Spec in Minden, RiteMade Paper Converters in Reno and Bonnie Plants in Silver Springs and Swift Communications in Carson City, which owns the Nevada Appeal. Scougal Rubber and Saginaw Control and Engineer are opening facilities at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, too.

Swift Communications relocated its corporate headquarters, centralizing a design team in Carson City, which included 12 new jobs in the region. The NNDA estimates the new jobs brought in about $657,000 to the local economy.

“Centralizing the advertising design department for Swift was a smart move,” said Niki Gladys, publisher of the Nevada Appeal. “While many news organizations around the country choose to outsource ad design out of state or even out of the country, I’m proud that we’ve chosen to stay within Swift, centralizing right here in Carson City. What a strong statement for our community.”

Another new company, Tech Spec, which manufacturers grips for motorcycles, moved its facilities from California to Minden and opened its shop on Oct. 1.

“Nevada, its prices and its laws are a lot more lenient than what California had going on,” said Robbie Boulais, the production manager.

Currently the company has two full-time and four part-time employees in a 2,500-square-foot facility. They’re hoping to expand to 5,000 square feet and 10 full-time and six part-time employees.

“We’re just getting started, we’re definitely looking to grow,” Boulais said. “We just need to get our feet wet first.”

Over at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, Scougal Rubber, which makes rubber pads for bridges and freeway passes, will move most of its operations to the Storey County facility over the next year from its current headquarters in Seattle.

Matt Bowman, the president of the 94-year-old company, said Scougal Rubber employs about 100 people and about 90 of those jobs will come to Northern Nevada. They will share a facility with a sister company.

The company “had outgrown its facilities a few years ago, and moving was essential to improve the efficiency of the operations,” Bowman said. “Looking at reasons to move, it made sense to co-locate with a sister company.”

“The NNDA and the state also were able to make it welcoming situation for the company,” he said.

Saginaw Control and Engineering, based in Saginaw, Mich., is opening a distribution center at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. They started operations there in August with four employees.

Project manager Cole Van Strydonk said the company is likely to add two to four more jobs at the TRIC facility. He said the distribution center will help the company reach the West Coast market more efficiently.

“We started to ship out right away,” Van Strydonk said. “We’re getting it stocked up, so it should be pretty well stocked here by the end of December.”

Ross Hansen, the owner of the Northwest Territorial Mint, said there are still about 40 unfilled positions at the company’s Dayton facility, but those will require attracting people with a specific set of technical skills.

He said because of the region’s smaller labor pool it has been harder to find people to fill certain positions.

“They continue to impress me all the time,” Hansen said. “Raw talent that we can mold, because there’s a lot of talent in Nevada, but this is a new industry. We just need to take that talent and train it to our particular skills and then we’re good.”