Jobs pipeline begins to refill, EDAWN says

The good news in EDAWN's annual report last week was that the pace of job creation in the Reno-Tahoe area picked up steam in the past year.

The even-better news, however, is that pipeline of prospects is growing at the economic development agency, and the next 12 months holds strong promise of further improvement in job growth in the region.

"It's trending up," says Stan Thomas, vice president of business development for the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. "A year ago, we didn't have much of anything in the pipeline. Now companies are visiting, and they are making decisions."

At the June 30 end of its fiscal year, EDAWN was working with 24 companies that it considers to be good prospects that are likely to make decisions about relocations or expansions within the next 12 months.

Combined, they account for somewhere between 1,000 and 1,400 new jobs.

On average, that's about 60 jobs per prospective employer the sort of solid companies that help diversify the region's economy without causing too much reliance on one or two big payrolls, Thomas says.

The distribution sector particularly operations that fill the orders placed by consumers over the Internet continues to lead in potential jobs creation.

Logistics companies account for half of the 24 top prospects on the books at EDAWN after a year that saw the decisions by several retailers such as Toys R Us and Urban Outfitters to open e-commerce fulfillments centers in northern Nevada.

"We're still getting a lot of looks from big-box e-commerce," Thomas says.

That's potentially good news for the region's construction industry as few of the big warehouse spaces are currently available to meet the needs of major fulfillment centers.

Already, Urban Outfitters is building a new distribution center at Stead, and NOW Foods is building along Vista Boulevard in Sparks.

The region gets a close look for e-commerce distribution centers, Thomas says, because online retailers want to provide one-day delivery to their customers. From Reno, one-day service is available to about 50 million consumers in 11 Western states.

Along with logistics companies, other prospects looking at Greater Reno-Tahoe include seven manufacturers, three business and financial services companies, a software operation and one company from an undisclosed sector.

Ten of the companies are headquartered in the West, four in the Southeast, and the rest are based on the East Coast and in the Midwest, EDAWN says.

In the fiscal year that ended on June 30, EDAWN worked with 17 companies that brought 670 jobs to the region, either through relocations or expansion projects.

A year earlier, EDAWN worked with 11 companies that created 513 jobs. During the past four years, an average of 646 jobs a year has been created by companies assisted by EDAWN.

Thomas is quick to note, however, that EDAWN is assisted by government agencies, commercial real estate brokers, other development groups, organizations such as NV Energy and individual businesspeople who generate leads for EDAWN.

"It takes the whole community to recruit these guys," Thomas says.

In recent months, for instance:

* The College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno, help Multifamily Technology Solutions Inc. recruit workers for a marketing and sales office in Reno that will employ 26.

* Neil Krutz of the City of Sparks provided key assistance to help land Ziegler & Ames, a distributor of urns that is moving its headquarters to a 24,000-square-foot distribution center in Sparks. The company will employ 10.

* Nevada JobConnect also provided important data to help French Gourmet decide to move its headquarters and manufacturing operations to a 71,000-square-foot facility in Sparks. It will employ 38.


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