The former executive director of the Churchill Economic Development Authority has been appointed Nevada’s new senior area manager.
Rachel Dahl, who grew up in Fallon, began her new job with the Small Business Administration on Monday. She will be based out of Carson City where she will be serving Northern Nevada cities, towns and rural communities. She will also assist District Director Joseph Amato with multiple outreach initiatives including state government, local communities and other stakeholders serving Nevada’s underserved businesses.
For the past 19 months, Dahl worked with economic development in Mesquite — a small community like Fallon —85 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
“It’s a terrific opportunity,” Dahl told the Lahontan Valley News on Wednesday. “In this day and age, it’s the best time to be in the SBA. It’s interesting to see how this organization works.”
Dahl, who became CEDA’s executive director in March 2014, said the relationships she built in economic development have been good. Additionally, with her office being relocated to Carson City from Reno, Dahl said she will be able to build relationships with other agencies including the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). During the past four years, Dahl said she has been able to see the explosion in economic development in both Northern and Southern Nevada.
“I’ll be here when the legislature is in session,” she said. “It’s a really good decision to be here.”
Dahl’s office is in the Adams Center. She said the position is civil service, not a political appointment.
Although she will miss Mesquite, she said the opportunity to work around the state is an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“I’m humbled and honored to have been appointed,” she said of her new job. “It (the position) has been vacant for two years, so we’ll be building from ground up.”
Dahl, worked for CEDA and former director Shirley Walker from 1992-1993 and then served with the Lahontan Valley Environmental Alliance from 1994-2000 before joining Nevada U.S. Sen. John Ensign’s staff. She returned to Fallon after working several years for Ensign to become a consultant. She taught English for the Churchill County School District from 2007-2014 and also served on the Fallon City Council for almost six years.
During her time at CEDA, the county began to attract increased interest for new businesses after the recession. She cited the success of downtown revitalization to make the Maine Street corridor the place to go for trade and enjoyment. CEDA received a grant to establish a food hub, which opened in 2016 on East Center Street. The Food Hub provides fresh produce and other items grown in Churchill County and surrounding areas such as Yerington.
Both she and current CEDA executive director Nathan Strong share the same view of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center 15 miles east of Sparks. They said Fallon could be benefit from the growth at TRIC. She said “chain industry projects” associated with TRIC must be located within 60 miles to provide services. Fallon is 45 miles east.
Strong, who was appointed CEDA’s executive director in 2017, said her appointment will be positive for both the local communities and the entire state.
“CEDA has a strong relationship with her,” Strong said, adding her appointment will be good for economic development in Churchill County and Northern Nevada. “Having her position filled will help.”