When a business picks up and moves, the complex chain-reaction it sets off is a great study in economic impact. When a business picks up and moves to another state, those impacts can be amplified.
Reno has become the choice for many relocating businesses in the last several years. Some, like Tesla, have made headlines across the nation. Others, like Unmanned Aerial Vehicle business Flirtey, have flown largely under the radar.
But the thing they have in common is that when they moved hundreds (or thousands) of miles from home, they were forced to reevaluate their supply chain, relocate or find new business and distribution partners, and adapt to the requirements of a new state.
Reno’s economic rebirth is tightly tied to this ripple effect of relocating businesses. Whether it is Tesla’s multi-million-dollar impact on construction, distribution and professional service companies or drone companies like Ashima bringing an estimated 400 jobs to northern Nevada, these relocations will re-energize existing businesses that provide related services. They will also boost the morale of our local workforce, increase the sense that northern Nevada is a special place to be, and give our college graduates hope for a bright future.
Northern Nevada has been recently pegged as the “Detroit of Drones” or the “Silicon Valley of Drones.” While the comparisons are optimistic, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry is a good example of the intricate web of businesses and organizations that comprise a successful sector of the economy. The Federal Aviation Administration has designated Nevada as one of only six UAV test sites. The University of Nevada, Reno conducts and supports UAV research, while simultaneously providing educational programs to ensure that a skilled workforce will be available as the drone industry grows
We are seeing northern Nevada build something that is larger than the sum of its parts. The region is growing an economic ecosystem that will sustain a wide range of businesses for years to come. This critical mass of tech, distribution, manufacturing and hardware companies are setting off a new round of economic growth for industries like professional services that rely on a strong business sector for their livelihood.
Tesla, drone-maker Ashima Devices and other relocating businesses might make all the headlines, but the ripple effect they have on northern Nevada businesses could be the real economic development story.
Dora Lane is a partner with Holland & Hart in Reno, where she advises businesses on labor and employment issues.