Tuesday, July 05, 2005

ERC PRESIDENT/CEO WILL LEAVE TO ACCEPT TOP ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPOT IN GREELEY/WELD COUNTY, COLORADO

Larry Burkhardt announced today that he will resign his position as President/CEO of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council (ERC), effective August 26. Burkhardt, who has served as ERC’s first President since October, 1996, will leave ERC to assume the position of President/CEO of the Greeley/Weld Economic Development Action Partnership (EDAP) in Greeley, Colorado.

“Significant life changes are always somewhat unsettling,” said Burkhardt. “While Linda and I will very much miss the many friends we have made during the past nine years, and the wonderful lifestyle available in Nevada County, the chance to serve as the lead economic developer in a dynamic community like Weld County, Colorado is a very exciting and exceptional opportunity.”

EDAP is a local economic development corporation, with the same structure as ERC: a public/private nonprofit. In his capacity as President of EDAP, Burkhardt will oversee an annual economic development operation with 2004 revenues of $498,000, and a support staff of three. In addition to industry retention/expansion, entrepreneurial support and industry attraction programs, EDAP staff manages the Greeley/Weld Enterprise Zone, which processed 108 business certifications for state income tax credits last year. The organization also administers a revolving loan fund for local companies, providing “gap financing” for capital investment. The current loan portfolio exceeds $3 million.

Weld County is located in northern Colorado, with Greeley situated 50 miles north of Denver. One of the State’s largest counties, it covers 4,000 square miles with a population of 210,000, and is the size of Delaware, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. combined. The area is home to large facilities operated by Eastman Kodak, Swift & Company and State Farm Insurance, and has recently attracted a large bottle manufacturing plant being built by Fortune 500 company Owens Illinois. The area is a large oil and gas producer, and is home to a growing renewable energy cluster. In addition, Weld County is one of Colorado’s largest agricultural producers, including a packing plant operated by Monfort Beef, a division of Con Agra.

During his time in Nevada County, ERC has provided support to many local employers in the form of industry retention, expansion and attraction projects. He will leave having established ERC as an economic development organization that has achieved State-wide recognition as an innovator. ERC’s online GIS Business ReLocator has been used as a model by other California communities attempting to establish a web-based industrial property search function, and the ERC itself has served as an example for other California economic development organizations. Overall, Burkhardt is proudest of the fact that ERC has become a credible, professional business organization serving Nevada County through the efforts of the many dedicated members of its Board of Directors, staff and volunteers. “We’ve come a long way since my first day on the job, when I walked into the office which consisted of a card table, a folding metal chair and a telephone,” Burkhardt said.

Burkhardt served in several leadership roles, including four years as Chair of the 20-County Upstate California Economic Development Council, President of the national Rural Telecommunications Congress, and as a member of Comstock’s Business Magazine’s Editorial Board. Prior to his move to California, he served 11 years as a City Councilman and two years as Mayor of Longmont, Colorado.

“ERC will immediately begin a search for its new President, and anticipates continuity in service to our business clients during this transition,” said ERC Chair, Judy Hess.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ERC Activity Report

The ERC supports many different businesses in western Nevada County. We provide business assistance, conduct employer visits, and support a diverse group ofinvestor/partners. Below is a map showing this activity from January 2004 to June 2005. Red pins represent employer visits. Green pins represent business assistance. Blue pins represent our investor partners. While the ERC does provide support to businesses in south county and other unincorporated areas, they are not shown in this map.
activity_map.jpg
To see a larger image, open a .pdf document here.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

PUBLIC SECTOR EXPANDS FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF ERC

Whereas some communities fold economic development services into a formal local government department, as is done in Placer and El Dorado Counties, Nevada County long ago determined that a better model is the public/private nonprofit. The advantage in this particular structure lies in the fact that both public and private sectors are at the table, woven into an organizational fabric whose success depends on collaboration, and creates an entity where local government is no longer distant, but actually part and parcel of the economic development efforts.

The public sector partners of ERC, the City of Nevada City, City of Grass Valley and County of Nevada recently concluded their individual budget processes for fiscal '05/'06. Each local government made a clear statement of support for ERC and local economic development by significantly increasing their financial support of the organization.

The decision to invest more in ERC could not have come at a better time. While in truth the organization's revenues have remained fairly flat for several years in the face of rising fixed costs; the fact is that ERC has identified several opportunities for enhancing its programs and increasing its overall effectiveness. The commitment of our public sector partners goes a long way toward stabilizing ERC financially, and allows ERC to direct its focus more towards its appropriate mission.

We wish to acknowledge the positive commitment to economic development on the part of our public sector partners in a budget climate where their own revenues have been severely compromised by State government. It is our task as a public/private partnership to aggressively support those job creation activities that will ultimately produce a broader revenue base for necessary local government services.





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Monday, June 13, 2005

Jump in ERC web visitors creates new opportunities

Since December 2004, the number of unique visitors to the ERC web site has grown by 33 percent. In May 2005 the site logged more than 144,000 hits, providing over 4,400 customers with information on our local economy, community and the economic development potential of Western Nevada County. The average growth month over month was over seven percent since December.

This growth is a testament to the value of the ERC web site and the services provided by the ERC on the Internet. Over 40 percent of all business relocation starts on the Internet, and the ERC is ready to provide key information. The most visited category in May was jobs and employment, with education second, and demographic information a close third.

With the rapid growth in Internet advertising, the ERC is exploring opportunities for local businesses to place ads on the ERC web site and blog. Watch for an announcement of this exciting new program in the coming weeks. You will hear about it first on this blog, so please bookmark ERCVision and visit often. This will insure you do not miss this exciting opportunity to target customers with a strong interest in Nevada County economic development. You will also learn about other exciting activities at the ERC.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Loma Rica Industrial Park Survey

The ERC has completed a survey of businesses in the Loma Rica Industrial Park. This survey is part of a larger effort by the Sierra Economic Development District to define the infrastructure improvements needed in this aging industrial park. Over 50 business shared their concerns, issues, and successes with Larry Burkhardt, ERC President, and his volunteer survey team. The results of the survey will be included in an SEDD Report to be published this fall.

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ERC working with several prospects

In a flurry of recent activity, ERC is working with several industrial expansion, retention and attraction clients:

Existing manufacturer: Local manufacturer looking to expand current operations by an additional 10,000 square feet of space.

Existing manufacturer: Local manufacturer expressing frustration with available local properties and workforce, expresses interest in moving company to Reno. Expects to grow from current job level of 6 to as many as 20. ERC providing assistance in referral of available buildings and workforce resources.

Existing manufacturer: Local manufacturer with new product looking to expand from current 6,000 square foot location to 15,000--25,000 square feet.

Startup company: Local high tech startup needs assistance with business planning and matching with investors. Referred to SBDC and Golden Capital Network for continued assistance.

Startup company: Local communications startup company needs assistance in clarifying permitting requirements associated with new business. ERC working to facilitate communication with local government to define requirements for new business category.

Startup company: Local broadcast startup looking for funding assitance. Referred to SBDC and Golden Capital Network for mentoring and introduction to potential investors.

Design lab: Out of state R & D firm investigating potential small Nevada County design facility. Costs of doing business will be key decision factor.

These clients have come forward for assistance within the last two weeks, providing substantial evidence that our local economy remains active.

opinion

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Consultant directory goes online June 1, 2005

Another ERC website enhancement will be launched 1 June, 2005. The Nevada County Consultant Directory will provide a listing of firms and individuals representing several disciplines. Each listing will include information about the consultant’s experience, area of specialty, target market, and competitive advantage. Category examples will include marketing, business assistance, non-profit development, meeting facilitation, corporate coaching, etc.

For more details call Julie at the ERC: 274-8455,

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Monday, May 23, 2005

ERC RADIO SHOW SCHEDULE

Larry Burkhardt and guest address important Nevada County business issues on KNCO at 12:30 each Tuesday.

TUESDAY, MAY 24th. The Grape Affair, with guests Win Spiller and Chris Smith

TUESDAY, MAY 31st. BUB Industries, with President Denis Manning.

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ERC VISION AND GOALS

Be sure to revisit the ERC Vision and Goals for 2005, which we published in December 2004. Click here for a review.

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LOCAL WiFi HOT SPOT LIST & BROADBAND MAP

ERC publishes broadband map and provides list of local hot spots

Recognizing the importance of broadband access to the vitality of our local economy, ERC has long been working to expand that access throughout our County. The ERC Telecommunications Team, formed in 2000, has been involved in a number of activities that have helped facilitate greater access in and around the Grass Valley/Nevada City area.

Visitors to the ERC website (www.ncerc.org) will now have the opportunity to view a map that describes those areas where broadband is available. This map was developed through the efforts of ERC Telecommunications Team Chair, Russ Steele; County MIS Director Steve Monaghan and County GIS Director Diana Carolan, and her staff, including Donna Forbes.

Once there, you will also find a list of local hot spots which will be updated regularly. Click on any hot spot location listed on the far left, and it will be mapped for you. A big thanks to Spiral Studios for all their hard work on our behalf.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

LOMA RICA SURVEYS

ERC completing Loma Rica work

As a part of a study that will result in a masterplan for the Loma Rica Industrial Park, ERC is completing interviews with the Park’s business owners.

Funded by a grant administered by the County of Nevada, ERC is serving as a sub-contractor to the Sierra Economic Development District, who will construct the plan. Once completed, the plan will identify expansion potential of the Loma Rica businesses, infrastructure needs, and will outline possible options for future enhancements.

ERC has been assisted by several community volunteers in completing the interviews.

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SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH PROGRAM UPDATE

Small Business Growth Program in final stage

Funded by a grant written by ERC, the Small Business Growth Program represents an opportunity for small, emerging companies to receive valuable training and information to enhance their operations. Training sessions provide access to a wide variety of local resources in the areas of business planning, marketing, finance, human resources, business assistance and more.

The Program is an example of a successful partnership of local organizations, and is a collaboration of the County of Nevada, Sierra Economic Development District, Golden Sierra Job Training Center, Golden Capital Network, Sierra College Small Business Development Center, ERC and Citizens Bank.

We are currently involved in the third and final session of the program. In total, more than 60 local businesses have enrolled and received training resources.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

CAL POLY JOB FAIR

Cal Poly Career Fair a success

Representing four Nevada County employers, ERC participated in the recent Spring Career Fair at Cal Poly University. Recognized as one of the top engineering colleges in the country, Cal Poly graduates are typically in high demand. The four participating local employers, Vector Engineering, Holdrege and Kull, NID and High Country Tek are now following up on nearly forty student resumes presented at the Job Fair.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

WELCOME TO AN ERC INVESTOR PARTNER

Management Recruiters of Grass Valley has become an ERC's Investor/Partner. The company, which has conducted executive and management search since 1985 chose to join the more than one hundred local companies, organizations and individuals that provide ERC with its operating support. Currently located in Penn Valley, the company has plans to move to new space in Grass Valley this spring. Welcome to Geral Mitchell and all the Management Recruiters staff!

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Monday, January 24, 2005

NOTES FROM SEMINAR: TALENT AS FACTOR IN EMPLOYER LOCATION INCREASING IN IMPORTANCE

While attending the annual Leadership Summit of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), I continue to hear industry leaders speak about the importance of a community being able to attract and retain quality talent in order to sustain their competitiveness. Nothing new here, but it has significant implications within the context of offshoring and global competition.

We're kidding ourselves if we believe that any of our jobs cannot be offshored. While we argue about the quality of our education, children in India are attending school from 5 am to 7 pm, and half day on Saturday. Whereas a few years ago, American companies were content to send their manufacturing offshore while retaining the design and engineering functions here due to quality, that is increasingly no longer the case.

Frankly, the recruitment and retention of quality engineering talent is one area where Nevada County employers have always enjoyed something of an edge. The ability to retain superior talent in the technology industries can provide some offset to rising costs in other areas, but there is a tipping point. Anecdotal information from employer visits would indicate some erosion in that situation, particularly due to our rapidly rising housing costs relative to wages.

In addition, every successful technology company cannot survive without a topnotch support staff, including administrative, clerical and other lower-paid employees. As housing costs in Nevada County, California and throughout much of the West continue to rise, we are seeing the viability of our employment base placed in greater jeopardy.

The question to be asked is whether our community is realistically assessing these trends and responding appropriately. We cannot afford to wait until we see more evidence locally of a slippage. At that point, it’s too late to reverse the trend. Your comments?


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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH FAIR

ERC is partnering with Sierra Economic Development District, Sierra College Small Business Development Center, Golden Capital Network, Golden Sierra Job Training Center, the County of Nevada and Citizens Bank to produce a series of training classes for income-qualified small business owners in Nevada County. The purpose of the classes is to provide comprehensive, hands-on business information designed to ready businesses for debt or equity financing.

The second session of classes will kick off in early February. An informational event is scheduled for Thursday, January 20, 2005 from 6:00--8:00 p.m. at the Nevada City City Hall, 317 Broad St. Attendees will have the chance to meet with representatives of the partner organizations, as well as lenders and investors.

For more information, or to reserve a space at the January 20 event, call Robbin at 823-4703, or e-mail to elevation@sedd.org.

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Thursday, December 02, 2004

VISION: The ERC Vision and Goals

The Economic Resource Council Vision can be found by clicking here.

The ERC Goals are presented here.

Earlier this year, the Nevada County Economic Resource Council (ERC) began to encourage discussion regarding a commonly-accepted community vision. Local housing costs have risen 98% from1997 to 2003. During the same time, wages have risen only 21%. Our average age in this community is 43, compared to California's average of 33. Have we consciously decided to become a retirement community? Twenty seven percent of our workforce commutes to jobs outside the community each day. Have we decided to become a bedroom community?

In fact, our community has not formally decided what it wants to become. Given the many impacts of rapidly rising housing costs, we have become concerned that change is re-shaping our community without our having a focused, clear strategy for our long term future.

ERC has developed and adopted the attached vision to provide a context in which to conduct economic development efforts. Obviously, an economic development work plan for a retirement community will look very different from that of a community content to be a bedroom community, or from that of a community striving to achieve a balance of opportunity for residents regardless of age, personal wealth or ethnic background.

We invite your comments. We ask that you register when commenting on the Vision or Goals. You only have to register once, then your future comments will be accepted. By registering, we can follow up if you have questions or would like more information.

This is a vision that has implications for our community. What are your thoughts? Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this important project.

_______________________________________________________

"I have the following comments, some of which pertain specifically to the
telecommunications infastructure that this task force is working so
diligently on expanding."

Nick Jedenoff

======================

"I recommend that the category of "utilities" be enumerated in the NCERC Governing Principles and Priorities. Utility services necessary to modern business vitality include electrical power and telecommunications services. (Telecommunications includes broadband internet access). These can be viewed as portions of business infastructure that are not classical "physical infrastructure", yet do not fall neatly into "facilities" in the brick-and-mortar sense (or typical for Nevada County, fir-and-nails). "

_______________________________________________________


"Nick brings up good points and timely (but perhaps insurmountable) opportunities. I don't know whether the ERC has any other committee or task force like the one we're working on for telecomm, but these comments most certainly point to potential benefits from ERC's fielding of a 'Technical Infrastructure Committee' or 'Technology Task Force' that has the more comprehensive purview one can draw from Nick's remarks. If the ERC Board sees wisdom in this, perhaps the current Telecomm Committee can serve as the seed for such broader ERC effort and jump start the process. "

George Rebane

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