State mines data to attract California companies |

State mines data to attract California companies

John Seelmeyer

Owners of fast-growing businesses in California last week began receiving letters from Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, who encouraged them to locate new facilities in Nevada.

The letters result from a sophisticated data-mining campaign developed by the Nevada Commission on Economic Development.

Commission staffers identified California companies that are growing fast, even during the economic downturn.

A second run through the data attempts to identify those that will need new facilities soon, says Michael Skaggs, executive director of the Commission on Economic Development.

The letters from Gibbons are timed to arrive as California business owners prepare to pay their state income taxes and worry about the possibility of even-higher taxes to make up budget shortfalls in the Golden


The campaign also plays on the problems that California business owners face with a state regulatory system that Skaggs calls “one of the most severe in the nation.”

Unlike many traditional industrial recruitment efforts, the new campaign by Nevada officials doesn’t focus on any specific industries.

Instead, Skaggs says state economic officials hope to be in front of potential new companies at the right time just when they’re beginning to think about new facilities.

Staff of the Commission on Economic Development and local development authorities such as the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada in Reno and the Northern Nevada Development

Authority in Carson City will follow up on the leads generated by the data-mining campaign.

Industrial real estate is available throughout Nevada at reasonable prices, Skaggs says, and skilled workers are ready to get to work.

“This is the perfect time for us to be putting ourselves in front of them,” the economic development official says.

The campaign aims to jump-start an effort to create jobs in Nevada that has slowed to a crawl with the

nation’s recession.

“My close rate is not good, and the problem is the credit markets,” says Skaggs. “I’ve got to get more deals

in the pipeline.”

He noted that potential new employers appear ready to make a decision to locate facilities in Nevada, but they’re waiting for the economic skies to clear enough that they feel confident that new facilities will pay for themselves.

Skaggs, however, feels more urgency. He’s haunted by the number of jobless families in Nevada. Near his desk, attached to a wall by a push pin, is a piece of paper that reads, “There are 128,000 unemployed Nevadans today. What have I done today to help them?”