New EDAWN CEO: Relationships a key first step
Mike Kazmierski, newly hired president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, expects to spend his first 100 days on the job forging the critical relationships that ultimately will foster economic growth in the region.
Kazmierski, introduced last week as the successor to longtime EDAWN head Chuck Alvey, says meeting with state and local government officials and economic development partners is his first priority. Additionally, he’ll delve deeper into the workings and operations of EDAWN.
“My first week is to get involved and understand the EDAWN team better,” he says. “What are we doing, how are we doing it, what our numbers are. I also need to meet with state, local and regional economic development partners and get face-to-face opportunities with them, as well as reach out to some of our elected officials and leaders across the region.”
Kazmierski comes to Reno from Colorado Springs, where he led that city’s Economic Development Authority since 2005. He was hired after a five-month search to succeed Alvey, who announced in May his plans to step down.
Kazmierski says his meetings during the next three months will help him get a clearer understanding of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities present in northern Nevada. He’ll also spend some time traveling to help shape and strengthen the perception of northern Nevada to businesses and other key individuals throughout the country.
“I have to get on a plane, talk to consultants and potential prospects around the country and find out what they think about Reno, and help them understand what Reno has to offer and really start the process of connecting,” he says. “I have to meet with national site selection consultants and make sure they understand that Reno is in play. I need to make sure that Reno is on their short list.”
After six years in the post in Colorado Springs, Kazmierski resigned in May. At the time, media reports in the Colorado City said he had encountered conflict with the board of directors of the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. about the organization’s direction.
Kazmierskisays says he had looked at top economic development positions in similar-sized markets, but he chose Reno in part because of the enthusiasm of the EDAWN search committee.
“To see the energy of the people in this community has been fascinating,” he says.
Kazmierski says he’s got one other task his first few months in town. He has yet to partake in the area’s famed ski slopes, but he and his son have cast their eyes on Mt. Rose.
“My son really likes skiing, and my job is to not die while skiing, he says with a laugh. “That is my wife’s edict to me.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.