How EDAWN reinvented the region’s economy

Mike Kazmierski

This opinion column was submitted by RGJ columnist Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year at the State of the Economy Luncheon on January 26, which is open to the public. Most would agree that our economy in 2023 will be very different than it was in 1983. As the community’s only economic development agency, EDAWN has a significant stake in this transition. How did EDAWN get started, and what has it done to help revitalize our economy?

The recession of the early 1980s forced the community to think about economic development. In 1982, Reno had just lost Hewlett-Packard, a key prospect in finding a location for their new plant. This decision reveals that prospects view the community as one dominated by a gaming culture, city officials who do not support economic development, and insufficient regional planning. Unemployment in Nevada tops 10 percent, construction has nearly ground to a halt as mortgage interest rates hover around 16 percent, and the region’s gaming and tourism sector is beginning to feel competitive pressures. from the newly opened casinos in Atlantic City. It’s time for a change.

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