GM exec: Community efforts saved parts facility
The decision by General Motors to keep
its big parts distribution center in northern
Nevada was a close call, and a top GM
official last week credited cooperation from
Reno-area officials as a deciding influence.
Because so much of the business at the
distribution facility in Sparks is generated
by California customers, GM officials
looked seriously at moving to Stockton,
Calif., said Ray Culbert, an executive in the
GM service and parts operation.
In fact, he told members of the
Economic Development Authority of
Western Nevada, the dollars-and-cents
analysis between the two cities was very
“You wanted us here in the Reno area,”
Culbert said. “You sold us on the thought
of staying in the city.”
The upshot is the construction, now
under way, of a 404,000-square-foot building
384,000 square feet of warehouse,
20,000 square feet of office in Stead.
GM’s decision was critical to the region’s
economy, said Chuck Alvey, president and
chief executive of EDAWN. His agency
estimates the economic impact of the GM
facility at $30 million annually.
At the same time, Alvey said,GM’s
presence in the area is a key selling point as
EDAWN talks with other companies looking
to locate facilities in the region.
The Stead facility, which will replace the
existing GM distribution facility in Sparks,
is expected to be operating in mid-2003.
Construction by Clark and Sullivan on
behalf of the development firm Prologis is
right on schedule, Culbert said.
The new building includes physical fitness
facilities as well as a dedicated room
for training. Culbert said the training room
will get heavy use.
GM has budgeted about $1 million to
train the approximately 200 people who
will work at the distribution center. Culbert
said a good relationship between the company
and the United Auto Workers, which
represents workers at the facility, helped
convince GM of the wisdom of staying in
Whenever GM looks at locations,
Culbert said, the strength of community
services is among the first factors it examines.
Key factors, he said, include:
* A strong school system.
* A solid system of medical care, in part
because of a community that cares about
health will create a healthy workforce.
* A qualified workforce to fill future jobs
* An inventory of good-quality, affordable
* A quality of life its employees will find
* A favorable tax structure.
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