Plenty of reasons why Northern Nevada is a great place to live, work and play
Special to the NNBV
RENO, Nev. — Ann Silver knows a lot about what it takes to relocate and plant your flag in northern Nevada — she held several high-powered C-level positions at organizations in New York City prior to moving to Reno in the mid-2000s.
The wealth and diversity of job opportunities throughout the Truckee Meadows and surrounding areas allows newcomers and longtime residents alike to reinvent themselves and find employment in a wide range of industries, said Silver, chief executive officer of the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
“Reno is an absolute employee marketplace that’s driven by employee desire — you could have a different job every day or every month; there are that many open jobs, Silver says. “Whether it is Panasonic trying to fill 500 jobs or the Atlantis trying to find 40 hotel cleaning people, you are at the mercy of employees who need more money, want more money and can demand more money.
“They have many opportunities to choose from, and many people are moving here because there are jobs for every age, from age 18 to 90.”
A white-hot employment market is one of many factors that newcomers to Reno, Sparks or outlying communities such as Verdi, North Valleys or South Meadows find desirable. The region attracts a large share of retirees, especially from California, who’ve cashed out considerable equity in their homes and found more affordable housing in the high desert region of Nevada.
But Northern Nevada is much more than just a safe haven for retirees. It’s long been a mecca for outdoors enthusiasts — the 1960 Winter Olympics were held in Squaw Valley just an hour’s drive west of town.
Reno’s proximity to Silicon Valley, combined with its affordable land, low cost of power and lack of a state income tax, have drawn some of technology’s largest companies to the region in recent years. Technology and tech entrepreneurship have become flourishing industries in the Truckee Meadows and join historic anchor industries such as gaming, tourism, construction and logistics.
It’s these many different factors that make Northern Nevada such a great place to live, work and play.
Bullish on the Silver State
Phil DeLone, president and CEO of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, says the many benefits of living in Greater Reno-Sparks are obvious.
For many, many decades, the region was primarily a tourism-based economy, with gaming and tourism and resort development,” DeLone says. “Today, more than 400 to 500 new companies have moved into region in the last five years, and they are offering a much broader base of employment. For people who have moved here or are considering moving here, there’s no other place in the western U.S. that offers the combination of attractive housing prices compared to our neighbors in California, with a low tax base, corporate taxes are extremely reasonable, and Nevada does not have any personal income tax.
“This region offers a good school system for families, an excellent university for higher education, and a very well-respected community college. And there’s no better place in the western U.S. for ease of access to outdoor recreation in all seasons.”
Several of the western region’s premier ski resorts are located just a short drive from Reno. In more temperate month’s it’s easy to find a plethora of places for camping, boating, fishing, hiking, golfing, or simply spending the day frolicking on the sandy beaches of Lake Tahoe.
The secret has long been out: Greater Reno-Sparks offers residents a tremendous work-life balance. That’s one of the reasons why some residents of the Truckee Meadows have lived here their entire lives.
Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, spends much of his time promoting the region’s economic, cultural and recreational diversity to new businesses seeking to relocate or expand their western-region operations.
The message of Northern Nevada, Kazmierski says, includes Reno’s flourishing arts and cultural opportunities, the strength of its K-12 and higher education systems, and the overall business-friendly nature of the state.
“We are an up-and-coming community,” he says. “Local governments are generally pro-business, and the state is small enough to help companies when they need it. We have a pro-business agenda statewide, and supportive local governments to assist us. Sometimes it just comes down to dollars and cents, and we still are dramatically less than California and other competing states.”
Write your own story
Reno is also a great place for career exploration, the chamber’s Silver says, and it’s also a great place for kids to start their own careers because there are so many different training resources and agencies available to help get them started in new professions.
“You have the option to write your own book here,” she says. “You literally can make it what you want — I know I did. I transplanted from Manhattan, and I didn’t know anyone (here). This city and community is very welcoming in terms of diversity of background, skill set, or lack of skill set. This town is ripe for change, innovation and wide-open thinking.”
Silver is writing her own story after working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada and JOIN — plus, she’s the first female to head the Reno + Sparks chamber, which is nearing its 100th year in existence.
For newcomers to Northern Nevada, the pages remain blank and await fresh ink. The opportunities for exploration, innovation and career advancement are as vast and numerous as the wide-open desert basins that form the heart of the Silver State.
The story is there for the writing.
Rob Sabo is a Reno-based freelance writer and former reporter for the Northern Nevada Business View.
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