How EDAWN reinvented the region’s economy

Mike Kazmierski

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

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year at the Economic State Luncheon on January 26, open to the public. Most would agree that our economy in 2023 is very different from 1983. As the sole economic development agency in the community, EDAWN has much work to do in this transition. How did EDAWN start and what has it done to help reinvent our economy?

The recession in the early 1980s forced the community to consider economic development. In 1982, Reno had just lost Hewlett-Packard, a key prospect in finding a location for their new factory. This decision revealed that potential customers see communities as communities dominated by gaming culture, city officials do not support economic development, and inadequate regional planning. Nevada’s unemployment rate is up to 10%, construction activity has almost come to a halt as mortgage rates hover around 16%, the region’s tourism and gaming industries are starting to come under competitive pressure from local businesses. New casino opening in Atlantic City. It’s time for a change.

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