Business in Focus
March 2017 (VOL.1)
Written by Robert Hoshowsky
With its rugged, scenic beauty, Northeastern Nevada has a reputation as one of the finest tourist destinations in the United States. From skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling during the winter months to fishing, hunting, boating, birdwatching and hiking in the Ruby Mountains – known as the Swiss Alps of Nevada – the area has many teasures waiting to be discovered.
Exceptional for tourists, the area attracts thousands of visitors annually, along with new residents and industries seeking to locate or expand to Elko County, Nevada. Famous as a major gold producer for decades, Elko County is also known as one of the most business-friendly locations in the United States, with no personal, corporate, or state income tax. Combined with a superior standard of living and all the amenities of much larger communities but without the hassle of big cities, the benefits are tremendous.
“Not only does a business not pay that tax, but their employees don’t pay that tax, which is huge,” says Pam Borda. As Executive Director of the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority (NNRDA) for the past seven years, she has seen the area grow and attract companies. “We are actually one of the lowest states in the U.S. for taxes, so we are very attractive from that standpoint, and that is one of the reasons we are one of the fastest-growing states.” Gambling and tribal gaming, which has long been legal in Nevada, is used to generate revenue in lieu of a state income tax.
A former government executive and business consultant, Borda and her team of four at the NNRDA – which she hopes to expand to six this summer – are dedicated to serving the needs of new and existing businesses alike. Assisting with relocating, expanding, and growing businesses, the organization also provides assistance with any red tape companies may encounter, and is on hand to answer questions. From helping businesses find new locations in the region, to navigating through permitting and licensing, and even helping companies complete the paperwork, the organization takes whatever steps are necessary to ensure a smooth transition.
Formed about 20 years ago, the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority initially focused on economic development in Elko County. Today, the NNRDA covers a much broader territory. Originally serving the business needs of CArlin, Elko, Wells and West Wendover, the organization has grown to meet the needs of all of Northeastern Nevada, encompassing five (5) counties, White Pine, Eureka, Lander, Humboldt, and Elko. NNRDA values new and existing businesses equally, and ensuresw existing companies’ needs are met.
Serving as a communications conduit, Borda is called upon to facilitate or arbitrate any issues that might arise. “We can get involved in any number of things,” she says. “Typically with our existing companies, it is keeping them apprised of opportunities that might be arising, what we are doing, and who might be coming to the region that they might want to partner with.”
Relocation and expansion
Ready, willing, and able to help, the NNRDA works with businesses for relocations, expansions, and more, providing free and confidential services and assistance with everything from permit coordination to incentive applications, economic impact reports, feasibility studies, site or building selection, workforce, housing, networking, and introductions to project managers, contractors, and other key players.
With its business-friendly tax climate, Elko County, Nevada remains a highly desirable place to locate an established or new enterprise. Recognized for tourism and agriculture, specifically cattle ranching, Elko remains best-known for its gold.
As the fourth-largest gold producing area in the world – after Australia, South Africa, and China – the County remains one of the fastest-growing areas in the state of Nevada. Elko is home to numberous gold mines and approximately 1,200 mining support companies which offer services ranging from reclamation to maintenance, conveyor belt production, processing, construction, trucking, and more.
While some may still have the nostalgic view of old-time miners with pickaxes, Borda says this is a misconception. “We haven’t had a bust in well over 50 years,” she states of the area’s solid economy. “Mining is an entirely different animal these days, with very sophisticated technology, and we don’t have those ups and downs anymore.” Along with gold, the County is also known for mining silver, copper, barite, molybdenum, magnesium, and lithium, is active in oil and gas exploration, and is ranked high in the seven Western states in all renewable energy sectors, particularly geothermal, solar, and wind.
With a number of large and respected mining-related businesses already operating in Elko county, including underground and surface mining manufacturer Joy Global Inc., Cashman Equipment Co., and the Komatsu Equipment Company, the area is interested in diversifying, and targeting manufacturers of products used in the mining industry. Although Elko County already boasts solid support and service for mining, the NNRDA wants to get the message out to makers of specialized products for aboveground and underground mining.
An ideal location
Recently, Elko County has been home to a number of recent business relocations and expansions, including Pacific Steel & Recycling, SAS Global, CAT Logistics, Codale Electric Inc., Cummins Rocky Mountain, and Sandvik. With affordable, available industrial park sites, the cities of Elko County are also ideally situated. Midway between Salt Lake City and Reno on I-80, the County’s location is ideal for businesses and customers serving the Pacific Coast and inter-mountain west, with one-day truck service to all of California and Oregon, Salt Lake City, Boise, and areas of Arizona. With outstanding infrastructure, quality schools, airports, hospitals, senior citizen’s centers, parks, playgrounds, a convention center, Chamber of Commerce facilities, and more, the area’s communities are growing in popularity with businesses and families alike.
Considered a micropolitan – an urban area with population between 10,000 and 50,000 – Elko County may be sparsely populated, but is nothing less than full-service. With an exceptional college, there is ample local support for education, along with extensive training programs for mining and other industries. “We are kind of unique, and I think that’s part of why we are a micropolitan,” says Borda. “Typically, rural communities don’t have schools, hospitals, and these types of services.” Attractive to not only businesses but employees, there is a diverse range of available housing stock, from apartments and condominiums to single-family and large, custom-built homes to meet the needs of all preesent and future residents. Clean, comfortable, and with easy access to the great outdoors, Elko County remains an ideal location to live, work, and play. “I like to tell people that this has to be one of the best places on earth to raise a family.”
From its strategic location, including three interchanges on Interstate 80 – the major route between California and Utah – and Highway 50, which runs through Central Nevada and connects Reno with Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, to its numerous tax advantages, available land for development, willing and able workforce, schools, hospitals, spectacular scenery and more, Elko County offers many incentives for businesses of all types. And with assistance from the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority, companies calling Elko County home will continue to meet with success.
“I would like to continue on with our vision of steady but planned growth,” states Borda. “We don’t want to be haphazard; we want good growth, along with good wages, good jobs, and keeping our economy very healthy. The way we have been growing is very comfortable, and I think that’s going to be our target for the future.”