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Economic developers form industry group

John Seelmeyer

Nevada’s economic development professionals the folks who work to attract new industry and help existing companies grow have banded together.

Organizers hope the Nevada Economic Development Association proves to be a crossroads where news and tips about economic development in the state can be shared.

That’s particularly important because the state’s regions have dramatically different track records on economic development, said Michael Majewski, president of the new group and an economic development executive with the city of North Las Vegas.

While Nevada’s metropolitan areas northwestern Nevada and the Las Vegas region have been successful in attracting new companies and building employment, many rural areas in the state continue to lose population, Majewski said.

“We have to work together,” he told about 50 economic professionals gathered in Reno for the Nevada Economic Development Conference a few days ago.

“Sharing our information is extremely vital to us.”

Among the types of information that can be shared, he said, are commercial real estate surveys, the use of statistical analysis, economic impact analysis and strategies for workforce development.

The group is creating a web site at nveda.org and plans to use it as a bulletin board.

Among the northern Nevada organizers of the group is Stan Thomas, economic development manager with Sierra Pacific Power.

Thomas, the group’s vice president for public relations, said the economic development association plans to track legislation but doesn’t currently envision a more active lobbying role writing legislation for introduction, for instance.

The group’s initial board also includes Chuck Alvey, president and chief executive officer of the Reno-based Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

Similar associations are common in other states, but a predecessor to the Nevada Economic Development Association became inactive about a decade ago.

Membership in the group is $100 per person.

Organizers said they kept the fee low to attract the widest possible group, including economic development professionals, elected officials, consultants, commercial real brokers and developers.