Within the state of Nevada, a group of men and women have been brought together by something called the NNRDA, Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority. This group constitutes both public and private members who, in their varied positions in work and life, feel the tug to become stakeholders in the future of Northeastern Nevada’s development.
When, in 2012, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) was established people from Eureka, Elko, White Pine and Lander counties were brought together under the Executive Director, Sheldon Mudd to discuss, plan and implement ideas and routes to ward off the most economic recessions Nevadans had ever seen. In that effort the first annual Economic Development Conference was held in Elko on September 18, 2023.
Along with Mr. Mudd, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NNRDA Matthew Miller from Kinross Gold Corporation, Vice Chair Mackenna Velez of Southwest Gas, and Past Chair Donna Bath of Silver Lion Farms, were our very own Eureka Director of Tourism Dana Lee Fruend, Garney Marshall ofEureka Restoration and yours truly, (but I don’t know why!) Trina Machacek, The Eureka County Star.
The day was set up in the Elko Convention Center and was split into several panels to discuss the state of our economy, site selectors for new businesses coming into Northeastern Nevada and financing possibilities. There were 9 panels and the moderators asked each panelist from big business like Peter Richardson, Executive Managing Director Nevada Gold Mines; Laila Miquel, CFO of Ram Enterprise; and Chris Zaharis, Executive VP, of Empire Caterpillar, questions about what their companies look for in deciding on building and creating companies in new and existing areas.
Garney Marshall of Eureka Restoration was on the Small Business panel and she discussed some of the trials and successes she has faced in building business in a small community. Garney has been successful in both opening new businesses or opening older buildings within Eureka with extensive restoration projects. Both of which have kept downtown Eureka alive and with extensive restoration projects.
Dana Lee Fruend, Eureka Director of Tourism, was a member of the local government panel, sitting in for Commissioner Richard McKay. Dana spoke of the work our community is putting forth to grow our tourism trade along with providing events and information services for our residents. Dana has put her best foot forward as Director of Tourism to develop two Eureka Visitors guides that she has placed throughout northeastern Nevada and beyond to attract people and businesses to visit and locate in our area.
At the end of the conference Sheldon awarded one member of the panelists the first Economic Development TOP GUN Award for excellence in growing Nevada’s businesses.
In his remarks awarding the TOP GUN award Sheldon remarked;
“The Economic Development TOP GUN award was created to recognize an individual or an organization who has demonstrated efforts above and beyond the call of duty resulting in economic development, progress, and diversification in Northeastern Nevada. A sub-committee of the NNRDA board was assembled in order to consider candidates and determine who stood out within the region as an Economic TOP GUN. For this first award, committee members considered the last several years of activity within the region, and although it was difficult, landed on a single recipient who will be awarded a custom-made sterling silver trophy buckle adorned with the title “Economic Development TOP GUN for 2023.”
But before we get to that, it is important to note a few honorable mentions: Komatsu Mining for choosing Northeastern Nevada for their 189,000 sq ft, $47-Million-dollar service facility in 2018 as well as their current 50,000 sq ft warehouse that is under construction at the same location.
Nevada Gold Mines for injecting millions into local communities through their COVID-19 response efforts, Community Development Committees, and I-80 small business fund.
Silver Lion Farms, for choosing Northeastern Nevada for their $150-Million-dollar state-of-the-art hemp production facility that has completely redefined the economic outlook for White Pine County and the region as a whole. And further, for staying the course after being faced with unforeseen and exceedingly burdensome challenges.
A big thank you goes out to our Honorable Mention businesses!
In July of 2020 a technical report was published by the University of Nevada Reno Center for Economic Development after nearly a year of collaboration with NNRDA and its member communities. Within that document participants identified and expressed concern that Rural Nevada Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs were not able to access sufficient capital resources stating “the region’s overall capacity to provide technical assistance to small businesses in the region is relatively high but that the region’s overall capacity to provide financial assistance to small businesses is relatively low.” This year’s Economic Development TOP GUN has painstakingly worked to establish and deploy a program that creates a pathway by which prospective entrepreneurs can access opportunities that they would not otherwise have. Today, these small businesses can secure low-cost financing that will help them kick start their dream. No longer is access to capital an issue for Northeastern Nevada small businesses….
And it’s all due to the collaborative and motivated efforts of our Economic TOP GUN who have distributed and managed millions of dollars in small business capital since 2020. Your 2023 Economic Development TOP GUN Award Winner–
The Rural Nevada Development Corporation (RNDC), Mary Kerner, CEO.”
As the first recipient of an RNDC loan in 1993 I was happy to see Mary receive this award. It has always been a struggle for entrepreneurs in rural Nevada to acquire financing. With the creation of RNDC in 1993 we were able to secure financing to open Eureka True Value Hardware which we opened and ran for nearly 25 years when we sold the business.
Hooray Mary, Dana, Garney, Sheldon and all the participants of this conference for stepping up to cultivate and grow Rural Northeastern Nevada.