When Carry-On Trailer Corp. expanded its operations from east of the Mississippi to a site in Winnemucca, it knew that hiring 125 people would be a challenge.
So says Bill Sims, coordinator at the Humboldt County Development Authority. "We're going beyond the norm to help them in hiring," he says.
One way he'd like to help is by staging out-of-state job fairs to find and recruit for all the companies at the Winnemucca Airport Industrial Park.
With the arrival of Carry-On, which broke ground last week on a 155,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, those companies now number two. The park pioneer was Carwil LLC, a welding and fabrication business that relocated from the town of Winnemucca, where it employed 12. In its roomy new digs on five acres, it employs 40. So far, about 100 acres of the 400-acre park have been developed with infrastructure, says Sims.
Carry-On even plans to hire its leadership team locally, says Sims, because they want their key management people to be Westerners, in order to better relate to the casual mode of the workers.
He admits that launching a recruitment road show is "creative thinking, out of the box."
But funding is the hitch.
"We're in the process of raising the funds to go recruit," says Sims, who adds that the first grant request was denied. However, his agency has resubmitted the request. The Northern Commission on Economic Development will announce grantees Wednesday.
The Humboldt agency is asking $10,000 to boost a total project cost of $25,000. It wants to put together advertising and marketing materials to prospect for people in Boise or Salt Lake City who want to move to a smaller community.
Although Winnemucca offers employers a population of only 17,000, Sims says the region can offer companies a strong support base of industry suppliers. Many of the companies already based there serve the heavy mining industry of central Nevada.
The funding is iffy. The Nevada Economic Development Fund has $3.5 million to distribute, says Kimberly Elliott, marketing director. But already 32 applicants have requested $9 million.
"It's going to be a real challenge for our commissioners," says Elliott.
Still, Humboldt County can remain hopeful because grant priority will go to plans with matching funds.