Economic developers set record for year |

Economic developers set record for year

John Seelmeyer

While much of the talk about economic development in northern Nevada in the last year focused on companies moving from California, those relocations accounted for a fairly small piece of the action.

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada last week reported that its work reaped $240 million in economic benefits for the region in the 12 months ended June 30.

That’s an 82 percent increase over last year, and it’s 50 percent ahead of a goal that EDAWN’s board established for the year.

It’s also a 12-month record.

Seven of the 20 companies moving to region last year came to California.

Together they accounted for an economic benefit of about $71.1 million.

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Significant as that may be, EDAWN’s work with existing local businesses provided even more pop.

The economic development agency said it was involved in projects to retain or expand existing companies that resulted in economic benefits of $115 million and kept 720 jobs in the regional economy.

A year earlier, similar efforts created $36 million in economic benefits and generated 288 jobs.

Chuck Alvey, president and chief executive officer of EDAWN, said the 12-month results reflect a decision by EDAWN to muscle up.

It increased its staffing with new positions dedicated to working with new companies, retaining existing businesses and building a stronger image for the region in the nation’s media.

That beefed-up effort, Alvey said, hit the market just as the national economy was improving and companies planned to use low interest rates to launch expansion projects.

Ongoing media campaigns to target California businesses helped as well as they kept northern Nevada’s message in front of newspaper readers across the nation.

Of the 20 companies that relocated to the region in the previous 12 months, 12 were manufacturers.

Four are in the distribution business, two are service companies and two are corporate headquarters.

Those companies came from California, Utah, Massachusetts, George, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Hawaii and Florida.

The next 12 months look to stay strong, said Lisa Plummer, EDAWN’s director of business development.

“There is a lot in the hopper for the next year,” she said.

EDAWN’s “stretch goal” for the coming 12 months is creation of $283 million in economic benefit to the region, either by attracting new employers or helping existing companies to stay rooted in northern Nevada.

It’s part of a five-year effort to double the $188 million in economic impact generated by EDAWN in its 2000-2001 fiscal year.