Kris Holt: Feedback from the Manufacturing Center of the State

Kris Holt, executive director of Nevada Business Connections, which is located in the First Independent Bank Carson City Branch at 1818 East College Parkway.

Kris Holt, executive director of Nevada Business Connections, which is located in the First Independent Bank Carson City Branch at 1818 East College Parkway.

There are 140 manufacturers in Carson City who employ 1,400 workers. In Nevada, there are a total of 1,900 manufacturers who employ 41,000 people.

I have had the great pleasure and opportunity to visit 35 manufacturers in Carson City during the past two months. These businesses represent 910 employees and occupy 985,000 square feet of industrial space. The 35, one on one, nose to nose, toe to toe interviews provided great information and insight to what is really happening in Carson City’s important, major economic sector. Here are some of the findings:

All companies are satisfied with Northern Nevada’s quality of life.

All manufacturers have 100 employees or less.

28 of 35 businesses are family owned.

All companies feel threatened and are upset with the proposed “Margins Tax” (which funds may not go to the classroom). Eight manufacturers are ready to leave the state if it passes — with 240 employees.

7 manufacturers are planning to expand in Carson City during the next 18 months, adding 87,000 square feet and 40 new jobs.

80 percent are originally from California.

All offer employee benefits.

Most importantly, all are experiencing labor issues. Lack of qualified employees, drug problems, no shows, etc.

Manufacturers around the airport feel neglected and are unappreciated. They believe there is not adequate security and road maintenance. Most government officials and elected politicians don’t know or understand the importance of manufacturing. “They don’t know we even exist.”

Industrial zoned land is limited, 600 out of 1,800 acres are undeveloped/left.

Lack of industrial buildings to relocate (35 buildings are empty) out of 132 total buildings equals an 8 percent vacancy rate.

Electric rates are extremely high compared to the other western states.

Transportation is adequate without rail.

Most live in Carson City. One commutes from Incline, two from Douglas County and three from Reno.

Thirty-one out of 35 manufacturers would like to see more manufacturers recruited to the region for the synergy of employees, support services and political leverage.

One of 35 have EPA issues. They are not water, air or hazardous waste material abusers.

Half complained about local government. No growth, development and anti-business attitudes.

Seventeen of the 35 manufacturers were recruited by the NNDA during the 1990s.

Western Nevada College is a huge asset.

Healthcare is good. Most go to Reno for major health issues.

Bottom line, manufacturers like the quality of life, overall costs of doing business and sensible regulations.

Based on the “6 Key Components of a Positive Business Climate:” Education, infrastructure, taxes, regulations, entrepreneurship and atttitude I give Carson City an overall B+ for their manufacturing business climate. Congratulations? You still remain the “Manufacturing Center of the State.”

Kris Holt is executive director of Nevada Business Connections. He can be reached at kris@nevadabusiness NBC hosts monthly breakfast meeting in Reno and Carson City. 14 Manufactures and 12 business leaders have made presentations during the last 12 months. The public is welcome to attend.


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