In Heavenly’s shadow, business recruiter peddles ‘God’s country’ |

In Heavenly’s shadow, business recruiter peddles ‘God’s country’

Nick Coltrain

Kris Holt looped his SUV through the manufacturing center in Carson City and pointed out a building to his passenger.

“You don’t want that building,” said Holt, executive director of Nevada Business Connections. “Major EPA issues.”

He warned his passenger, the head of a California precision manufacturing firm aiming to relocate here, of other buildings with Environmental Protection Agency problems during his Thursday morning tour of the area. He also pointed out buildings he thinks would fit the manufacturer’s needs: Room to expand, cheap lease rates, high ceilings.

The potential newcomer asked to be identified only as J.B. in this story so that he wouldn’t worry his employees or give competition an advantage while he prepares to move.

J.B. spoke as though his decision to move to the area were settled. He said he looked at Oregon but didn’t like the higher property taxes. And Washington state taxed everything involved in business operations, he said.

Carson City, meanwhile, struck just the right pitch for him. On Thursday morning, he was just getting acquainted with what the area had to offer. Holt’s organization specializes in recruiting and expanding businesses for Nevada.

Holt noted the state’s boon of low business taxes, but he also noted its high-for-the-West energy costs – an honest acknowledgment that J.B. said he valued.

“I didn’t come here for a free lunch,” J.B. said. “I came here because I have the chance to be here tomorrow.”

The tour stretched from manufacturing hubs in Carson City to hubs in Dayton. Along the way, Holt named the companies and what they made.

“These guys love being around each other,” Holt said.

J.B. responded with glee more than once: He either uses many of those companies’ products or he makes parts for what they sell.

“That’s what make me so interested in the Carson City area,” J.B. said. “It’s the mecca of manufacturing.”

Holt spent most of the tour pointing out vacant buildings and their specifications. Since J.B. was the only one he was trying to woo, it was a different type of tour than usual.

“(Usually,) Dad is in the front seat trying to figure out how to make it all work,” Holt said. “Mom’s in the back looking for the schools and the arts and culture.”

Not that Holt didn’t also point out Carson’s non-manufacturing amenities, such as what he considered the best steakhouse in town or the Pony Express Pavilion. He also stopped for a moment to point out one of the things that makes the area so special.

“Look at these views,” Holt said, parked at the top of a hill and waving at the hills and mountains southeast of Carson City.

“Oh yeah,” said J.B., who’s called Wyoming home. “This is God’s country.”