Lack of nearby residential development helped bring Tesla Motors’ battery plant to Northern Nevada, Ray Bacon, Nevada Manufacturing Association executive director, said Wednesday.
Bacon, speaking to members of Nevada Business Connections at a Carson City breakfast gathering, credited Nevada players for sticking together. He also mentioned the incentive package, which may reach $1.3 billion if employment and related targets are met, and the proposed plant location along Interstate 80 in northern Storey County as reasons the so-called 6,500 employees gigafactory is coming.
“Everybody stayed together,” Bacon said of Nevadans remaining single-minded in luring the plant. He particularly praised Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. Earlier, Kris Holt, NBC executive director, had congratulated and credited Tesla, Gov. Brian Sandoval and Steve Hill, head of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Bacon also stressed, however, when manufacturers, airports or the like wind up hemmed in by residential development the residents often complain and politicians react.
“When you get those conflicts, people are going to win,” he said. The residential factor isn’t in play in northern Storey County and at the mega-industrial park where the plant is to be built, Bacon asserted, and he saw that as no small part of Nevada’s success in beating out Texas for the plant.
“That’s huge,” he said, as are positive consequences and various challenges for the Silver State. Among the consequences are economic development for the region and state, as well as spinoff needs that will cause strains and stretch government services in places like Washoe, Storey and Lyon counties. He said Storey, with a small population, will benefit markedly despite some challenges.
He said schools and work force development needs in the region and state will be stretched, but training for workers is being done and can be ramped up. In the past, Nevada hasn’t done a great job with STEM (science, technical, engineering and math) skills training everywhere, he said, but a new day is dawning.
“Trust me; that’s going to change,” said Bacon. There already is solid training at Western Nevada College and some secondary schools in southern Nevada, he said, and many skilled workers from the south have left the state in the past. They now may come north, the manufacturing spokesman said.
During his talk about residential encroachment issues, Bacon referred to an example the preceding speaker had made about Carson City. Craig Mullet of CM Enterprises in Carson City, a manufacturing consultant, said when he was with Cygnet Stamping & Fabricating, a government contractor, it left Fairview Drive quarters in the capital city after rezoning prompted residential development and complaints about noise from stamping machines to escalated in the 1990s.