The inaugural Nevada US 95 I-80 Futures conference held in late October highlighted Pershing and Humboldt counties’ future economic outlook, which includes a high demand for housing and workers for growing industries, according to several industry leaders. The conference, held Oct. 28 at the Boys & Girls Club of Winnemucca, brought together business leaders and community members from both counties, as well as the cities of Lovelock and Winnemucca, to seek collaborative solutions to economic roadblocks facing rural Northern Nevada. The get-together formerly known as “Winnemucca Futures” was hosted by the newly created Nevada 95-80 Regional Development Authority, the formation of which was approved this past July by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The new RDA joins Humboldt, Pershing, Winnemucca and Lovelock economic development efforts at the state level, qualifying the two-county region for state funding to promote economic growth in the dual-county region. Below are various highlights from the Oct. 28 event. Pershing County Economic Development Authority Director Heidi Lusby-Angvick told the audience she has seen subtle evidence of increased optimism in the community but added that economic renewal and housing solutions take time. “What I’m seeing is actual new homes and growth happening in our community and not just homes but businesses as well,” Lusby-Angvick said. “There’s a gentleman in the audience today that has a subdivision at the south end of town and he has brought in two or three homes already with other ones on order. He has been purchasing homes in our county and Humboldt County and refurbishing and flipping those homes. “Some of these old, retired, derelict homes are being put back into new housing stock.” Ralph Runge of West Coast Salmon, the Norwegian company that intends to build one of the world’s largest land-based fish farms in the high desert of Pershing County, told the crowd the farm will attract plenty of attention from overseas. “About five to seven years from now, this area’s going to have one of the largest, most technology-advanced aquaculture facilities in the world,” he said. “I can promise you there’s a lot of people in Europe, Scandinavia and South America that have had their maps out looking up Humboldt and Pershing counties. There will be a lot of people coming to visit this facility.” Lovelock Mayor Mike Giles added that the fish farm has been in the works for years. “Following West Coast Salmon, you can see what some of us in Lovelock and Pershing County have been working on since 2017,” he told the crowd. “This project will be beneficial to all the partners in the US-95 I-80 development authority.” Giles also explained how his community is prepared for economic and population growth. “The City of Lovelock and Pershing County have worked together to make it easier for a developer or a builder to come into our area,” he said. “A few years ago, the city took a hard look — are we ready for growth? We then went on a program to upgrade sewer, streets and we dragged the Lovelock Meadow Water District along with us in upgrading water.” Nevada Gold Mines Turquoise Ridge General Manager Paul Wilmot said the company currently has 850 employees onsite and 50 open roles, looking to add an additional 150 in 2023 with the site’s Mega Pit plan. Justin Manganaro, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations at sodium cyanide manufacturing company Cynaco, said the firm has had a turbulent past couple of years and has invested $150 million into its facility just outside Winnemucca and experienced a high turnover rate with the growth. Manganaro said the company had a challenge finding individuals with specialized skillsets and background needed for a chemical manufacturer and ended up hiring individuals outside the field to be trained, with most of the needed workforce nearly full now. Marigold Mines General Manager Don Dwyer said his team currently has 440 employees and hopes to grow to over 460 over the next year. Marigold is seeking operators, mechanics and maintenance technicians. The mining company is on track to produce over a quarter million ounces of gold this year, a new record. Many of the organizations on hand Oct. 28 mentioned partnering with Great Basin College in Winnemucca to produce skilled workers. Matt Gili, President/COO of i-80 Gold Corp., introduced himself as part of a newly formed mining group in Nevada that recently purchased the Lone Tree autoclave facility between Winnemucca and Battle Mountain, along with the Ruby Hill mine outside Eureka. Gili said i-80 Gold plans to recommission Lone Tree to process high-grade deposits from the bottom of existing pits, which require an autoclave for processing. Meanwhile, Nevada 95-80 Regional Development Authority Co-Director Jan Morrison said several housing developments are underway in the area and that the two main themes are “opportunity and optimism.” Winnemucca Farms General Manager Eric Hull said his organization is developing regenerative farming processes and exploring opportunities for land development. Mall Investments Inc. President Narinder Mall highlighted the development his company has accomplished in the McDermitt area, including road improvements and the addition of businesses like Conoco, choice hotels and a Subway restaurant. Mall said when the planned developments are complete, the company will provide jobs to 5% of the McDermitt community as a whole. Also speaking at the Oct. 28 conference, Seven Troughs Distilling Company owner Tom Adams said his Sparks distillery makes old time whiskey and will use local grain to expand production at a future Lovelock distillery. He said his recipe duplicates the whiskey consumed by pioneers as they crossed the Great Basin. Adams did his homework and claimed Lovelock has the “best whiskey water” in the state. “And, I am proud to say that we produce Nevada whiskey from Nevada grain and will continue to do so in Pershing County,” he said, drawing enthusiastic applause from the crowd.