Business community updated on job expansion at Carson City meeting

New manufacturing jobs in Nevada could triple next year, but Carson City may get a smaller share of those jobs than it has in the past.

Most of the new jobs are going to be located in Storey County, thanks to Tesla Motors, which is building its battery factory at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center there.

And some may go to Douglas County, which is attracting new businesses, according to Kris Holt, executive director, Nevada Business Connection, a private-sector economic developer.

“Minden is on fire right now, folks, not Carson City,” Holt told NBC members attending a monthly breakfast meeting Wednesday at Gold Dust West. “There hasn’t been a shovel turn in the last five years here, which is a bummer. Carson City has always been the manufacturing hub of the state.”

In the last five years, the state has added about 1,000 new manufacturing jobs each year, Ray Bacon, executive director, Nevada Manufacturers Association, told the meeting.

“With Tesla and other companies coming in, we’ll be close to 3,000 new jobs next year and, after that, 5,000,” Bacon said.

Six new manufacturers moved to Carson City last year, including Ganesha Enterprises and AART Inc., while three — UCS Spirit, VIP Rubber and American Helicopters, set up shop in Douglas County, said Holt.

He said four companies visited the area looking for sites in the last month, and two are serious prospects for locating in Carson City or either Douglas or Lyon counties.

One key issue for the entire region is workforce education. Bacon said next month a representative from the national manufacturers group will be in the state for two days to talk about educating the next generation of workers.

“The quality of the programs we have at schools is fine, but we need more volume,” said Bacon.

Triangle Labs Inc. relocated to Carson City from Silicon Valley in 2005 and John-Michael Gray, the company’s president, said it was a really good call despite a few challenges.

Gray, the featured speaker at NBC’s breakfast, said workers, including engineers, are hard to find and recruit, and electricity costs are high.

Gray said the company, which makes custom circuit boards for customers in the defense, commercial and medical industries, pays a $1,500 monthly demand fee to have power available in case all its machinery is turned on at once.

Still, the benefits here outweigh those next door. Gray said the company made the decision to relocate here after trying to get a waste disposal permit in San Jose, Calif.

“The waste discharge fee was $248,000,” said Gray. “We came here and it was $167.”

In addition to a friendlier permitting process, local government and agencies are more responsive, housing is more affordable and the cost of doing business is lower, said Gray.

“The manufacturing business is full of peaks and valleys and we’re able to weather the valleys better here,” he said.

Triangle Labs may soon reach one of those peaks. The company is breaking ground in the next few months on a 5,000 square-foot expansion of its existing 20,000 square-foot facility and is in talks with a national space industry firm about making 12,000 boards annually, six times Triangle’s entire production volume now.


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