Manufacturer: Nevada move aids survival
Erika Meciar doesn’t pull any punches in describing the decision of her company to move all of its manufacturing operations to Reno from Livermore, Calif.
“Manufacturing in California,” Meciar says, “is suicide.”
LACO Inc. expects to employ as many 100 people at a new facility at 1150 Trademark within the next couple of years, and the number of jobs could reach 200 within five years.
The company is a contract manufacturer of wire and cable assemblies, sub-assemblies and final assemblies.
Faced with growing regulatory burdens in California that were eroding the company’s competitiveness, executives of LACO including Meciar, a founder and chief executive officer began scouting for new locations about a year ago.
Northern Nevada, she says, provided to be a central location to serve LACO’s customers in California, Arizona and Nevada. The region’s business-friendly tax and regulatory environment was another key. And the company was convinced by the supply of experienced assembly workers in the region.
The company undertakes a three-month training program to teach its quality and customer-service standards to new hires, but LACO executives believe that some workers in the Reno area already are sufficiently skilled to allow that training period to be shortened.
The skills of its workers are a key selling point for LACO, a two-decade-old company that distinguishes itself by quality manufacturing and close relationships with its customers, Meciar says.
The company already has moved more than 20 percent of its manufacturing operation to the 36,000-square-foot plant in South Meadows.
The South Meadows location, Meciar says, keeps the company close to suppliers and customers and also offers residential possibilities nearby for its workers.
LACO will maintain customer-support functions in Silicon Valley.
Tom Miller of Miller Industrial Properties in Sparks, who worked with Northern Nevada Development Authority to find space for the company, and Bob Kumnick of Lee and Associates Commercial Real Estate Services of Pleasanton, Calif., brokered the lease.
NNDA continues to provide services that are helping the company get settled, Meciar says.
At the same time that it’s moving into a new facility in a new state, LACO is widening its reach into new markets medical equipment, automotive components, energy systems.
That’s important diversification, says Meciar, because the company previously focused on production of computer circuit boards, a business that’s subject to boom-and-bust cycles.
“Unfortunately, once developers show up, history disappears and that’s what’s happening to Harrah’s Reno. Like the historic 1875 Adele’s building in Carson City, Bill Harrah’s crown jewel will disappear into the dustbin of history.”