NNDA share insights on bringing businesses into the northern Nevada region
With all the new companies coming into the region, what goes into bringing a business into the northern Nevada region.
One of the region’s economic development agencies, the Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA) gives a sneak peek into how the process is conducted.
NNDA actively recruits companies to the region, usually through recruitment trips, tradeshows or outward marketing, according to NNDA’s Business Development Director Andrew Haskin. When NNDA representatives attend a tradeshow, it’s usually for a specific type of industry. There are also other times potential company leads are facilitated by a fee-based consultant.
On a recruiting trip, Haskin will try to meet with five to 10 companies in a geographic area that are looking to either relocate or expand their business by opening a new facility in Nevada.
“A typical recruitment trip client meeting usually takes place at their facility and we discuss the benefits of doing business in Nevada and answer their questions,” Haskin said in an interview via email with Northern Nevada Business Weekly. “Some of these trips are a team effort and generally include Jeff Brigger or John Hargrove from NV Energy’s Economic Development Department and sometimes members from NNDA’s Commercial Real Estate Committee. As for tradeshows we typically try to target events that focus on specific industries. The next step is to invite them to northern Nevada for a site visit.”
Sometimes potential clients interested in northern Nevada will contact NNDA directly, mostly through phone conversations.
When they do meet, Haskin will meet them personally, or with a team of NNDA representatives. Other times it’s just Haskin and NNDA executive director Rob Hooper. Sometimes companies also want the meetings to be confidential for a variety of reasons.
“If they choose to meet with a team, it usually consists of county/city representatives, a commercial broker from our committee, utility representatives, if they are looking to build they might meet with a construction representative, and anyone else that may be able to answer questions related to their specific project, Haskin said. “The team varies by project, we try to tailor it so all of the client’s questions get answered.”
From there, companies may decide to schedule a site visit right away or they may wait for a convenient time company representatives happen to be in the area.
“When a client is in northern Nevada for a site visit and their project is far enough along to consider buying/leasing property we connect them with one of the brokers on our Commercial Real Estate Committee,” Haskin said. “Once a project is further along, NNDA will hold a round table meeting with county/city officials to discuss the process, determine what kind of permits are necessary, and make sure there are no surprises that will slow a company down from moving into the area.”
When a company is interested in the area Haskins said the most common question is workforce availability. He adds that with unemployment rates dropping across northern Nevada and nationally, companies want to make sure they can find the employees they need before relocating.
“We generally focus on the excellent workforce training programs offered by Western Nevada College and other programs in the area,” Haskin said. “NNDA will also compile wage and employment data for a company and the specific positions they would be looking to fill.”
Companies also inquire about other aspects of the region including business regulatory climate, and quality of life for themselves and their employees. Haskin admits the state compares over tax structure and regulatory issues, making the area attractive to companies.
But what happens if a company decides to go in a different direction or has NNDA ever actually turned a company down? Haskin said NNDA does its due diligence to make sure such scenarios don’t happen.
“We will usually ask a company about their project: timeline, how many jobs, their average wage, how much they plan to spend on equipment, and what their building requirements (are). We also ask about their processes so we can begin to determine what permits will be required.”
Site selectors, a third-party specialist that is hired by companies to serve as a guide in helping find a place to relocate have been a huge benefit to economic development agencies such as NNDA.
“A company will typically give a site selector a list of requirements and it’s the site selector’s job to compile a list of sites that meet those requirements and determine which one is the best fit based on land/building costs, regulatory environment, incentives and many other factors,” Haskin said. “When a site selector contacts NNDA we work closely with them to find a suitable location for their client and put together an attractive package.”
Once a company has picked northern Nevada as its destination, Haskin indicated they close the deal through various communication channels, including face-to-face meetings, phone conversations and countless emails. They sift through a myriad of information including finding a building, applying for incentives, getting permits, and of course finding employees.
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.