A Q. & A. with Dave Mendiola, Humboldt County Manager and Jan Morrison, Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authorities' Development Officer for Humboldt County
In 2018, Winnemucca and surrounding areas have pulled together to create a vibrant and responsive regional economy. As we look ahead to 2019, we asked Humboldt County Executive Director Dave Mendiola and Jan Morrison, Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authorities' Development Officer for Humboldt County how the region can build upon these efforts.
Q. What is the County focus on economic development in 2018 and beyond?
Dave Mendiola. We are providing additional flexibility and resources for smart, cross-sector economic planning and growth at a local scale. Our economic development ambassadors on the Humboldt Development Authority are leading the way in the attraction and growth of businesses that are compatible with the interests and concerns of Humboldt County residents.
Jan Morrison. The focus in 2019, as it was this year, is to effectively handle the day-to-day inquiries with perspective new businesses and link them up with community resources and government officials. We also lead them to the state's incentive programs and workforce training initiatives. It can be a one or two year process to score an "overnight success."
Q. When we think of economic development we often think of attracting new companies that expand our work force. What are the opportunities we are looking toward in company attraction for 2019?
Dave Mendiola. We have all realized that we aren't equipped to get the marquee companies like our neighbors to the west. However, we are focusing on “industry clusters” such as small manufacturing, new agribusiness opportunities and the local mining supply chains. These can all succeed in Humboldt County.
Q. What are of these perspectives companies looking for when relocating?
Jan Morrison. A trained workforce is always a good tool to attract new companies. Our education partners have been beefing up existing student resources and adding new ones that can increase the local talent pool.
Q. What can the City and County do to help attract these companies?
Dave Mendiola. Sometimes taken for granted in the economic development tool box is creating and maintaining our local infrastructure. This is the water and sewer plants, public safety, access to quality health care, housing and broadband service that is available and affordable for our citizens and future citizens. The Board of Commissioners gives a high budget priority to these quality of life programs.
Jan Morrison. On housing, we are working on some very exciting programs to meet the housing questions that communities in America are also dealing with. This is a high priority as we expect a larger workforce in 2019 with planned expansions at mining and mining supply chain companies along with increased interest in our Airport Industrial Center where tenants like Alphabet's Project Loon, CarWil and Carry-On Trailers are already thriving and growing.
Q. How have we engaged with the community in these economic development efforts?
Jan Morrison. Since the summer of this year, we have been working on a strategic plan for economic development in our County. Many of you have taken the time to share your insights and expertise on where the future is brightest for Humboldt County, and we thank you.
Dave Mendiola. it was apparent during this outreach that Humboldt County residents cherish their high quality of life, living as they do in a robust natural environment far from the pitfalls of city life. Finding like-minded business where quality of life is an important decision note will be a key factor in our outreach efforts.
Q. How can we learn more about economic development and the business outlook in Humboldt County in the coming year and beyond?
Jan Morrison. We invite folks to join us at Winnemucca Futures 2019, Thursday, Jan. 31 , 2019 at the Boys and Girls Club of Winnemucca. Winnemucca Futures is a fast-paced series of panels featuring topics and speakers that chart the year ahead.
Log on to this site www.hdanv.org/winnemucca-futures/