A new year — and renewed hope for better economic times — is at hand.
From small-business owners to major hotel-casino operators, from real estate to economic development, the year ahead will pose challenges to commerce as Northern Nevada slowly emerges from a years-long recession.
The Reno Gazette-Journal selected six people from key sectors of the greater Reno-Sparks business community to lend their insights on 2013 and their opinions on how best to restore prosperity.
At the end of each quarter, we will revisit with them to update where they stand over the course of 2013.
Dave Archer is President and CEO of Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology
Question: As 2013 begins, what do you want to achieve in the coming year?
Answer: In its earliest years, Nevada’s economy was driven by mining. We added gaming, then logistics, warehousing and manufacturing. Nevada recently entered a new phase, with rapid growth in the clean energy, software, aerospace and other high-tech sectors. For 2013, I want to see continued growth in the size and sophistication of these sectors, and perhaps the addition of new sectors.
Q: What must your industry do to improve on 2012?
A: Our educational institutions have done an excellent job in addressing the changing needs of Nevada’s employers. In 2013, we’ll need to continue to address changes in workforce needs by strengthening existing programs and developing new programs to ensure that graduating students and people already in the workforce have the skills needed by employers in the these high-tech sectors. And, we need to ensure that the business climate, at the local, state and federal levels, supports the growth of these sectors.
Q: Do you believe we have turned the corner on the recession? Why?
A: It’s too early to tell. Nevada’s businesses are incredibly resilient, but they need a stable and predictable climate in which to operate. We’re facing far too much uncertainty — mostly on the federal level — in the areas of taxation, regulation and health care. We need final decisions in each of these areas so that our businesses feel confident in making decisions regarding hiring and capital investments.
Q: How can Nevada keep and grow businesses in 2013?
A: Nevada is already one of the best places in the United States to start or operate a business, and certainly one of the best places to live. As we begin the 2013 legislative cycle, we need to make sure that Nevada retains its business friendly environment. I moved here from California, where the business, regulatory and taxation climate is frightening.
Q: What excites you most about Northern Nevada’s emerging tech sector?
A: I’ve been with NCET for about eight years, and Nevada’s high-tech future has never looked brighter. Look at some of our new high-tech sectors: clean energy, software and aerospace. Just those three represent a very diversified group of industries, each with different human, capital and resource needs, and each of which are positioned for rapid future growth.
Nevada is already a major player in geothermal and solar energy, has a wide range of rapidly growing software companies and could easily become a national leader in Remote Piloted Vehicles. From a technology standpoint, this is about as good as it gets.
Read Q&A with more business leaders here