Tim Corkins: Getting to know the Nevada County Economic Resource Council | TheUnion.com

Tim Corkins: Getting to know the Nevada County Economic Resource Council

For over 24 years, the Nevada County Economic Resource Council has been committed to ensuring a thriving, attractive business environment for Nevada County that in turn contributes to the overall prosperity of our community.

The council is guided by a 21-member volunteer board of directors that includes business executives, nonprofit leaders, local government officials and industry representatives. There is one full-time staff member. The executive committee, which includes officers of the board and members at large, oversees the operations of the council.

The Economic Resource Council is funded through contracts with Nevada County, Grass Valley, and Nevada City as well as membership, fundraisers and donations. Annual dues range from $500 to $5,000 and offer a wide array of benefits. Sponsorships are also available for events and activities.

The ERC's membership represents diverse industries that create quality jobs and promote entrepreneurship. An important aim is to bring business, industry, community colleges and schools, county and city governments, nonprofits, and service groups together for important discussions about pertinent economic issues and challenges of our region.

“There are a lot of tentacles that a community needs to ensure a successful economic climate. The ERC is the one organization that bridges the gap ...”- Jason Foyer, COO Cranmer Engineering

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Because the council operates off a small budget, the board is motivated to be innovative and creative in its approach to economic development. They focus a lot of attention on retaining and helping existing businesses succeed and grow.

"No other local organization does what the ERC does," said Mary Owens, immediate past board chair and president of Owens Estate and Wealth Strategies. "This year we took a different operational approach by identifying essential elements of what we'd like the ERC to accomplish. We broke those down into tasks and contracted with companies that have expertise to achieve those goals. Overall, we are very pleased with the progress so far."

"What the ERC does really well is to create an environment in which businesses can succeed," said ERC executive committee member Dale Creighton, principal at SCO Planning, Engineering, and Surveying, Inc. "When there is an issue, policy, or government regulation to be addressed, the Council can react and contribute our comprehensive knowledge base, which brings tremendous value to our business community. We are ready to collaborate and share resources with anyone who needs business support or counseling, basic business information, or economic resources to determine their market."

Shining a light on locals

The ERC focuses on businesses, entrepreneurs, and talent that draw from the national and global market, as well as the local workforce and economy. It works to help existing businesses, attract new businesses, and grow investments and revenue in Nevada County.

"There are a lot of tentacles that a community needs to ensure a successful economic climate," said Board Chair Jason Fouyer, COO of Cranmer Engineering and former Grass Valley Mayor. "The ERC is the one organization that bridges the gap between public and private cooperation. The Council is nimble and can react quickly."

The organization provides a platform for dialogue and collaboration among public and private entities to create strong, informed strategies for Nevada County's economic ecosystem.

For example, digital technology and high-tech manufacturing are high-wage and high-growth industries that support our local workforce by providing both local and remote work opportunities.

That's why the Economic Resource Council's board supports a combination of initiatives to develop, retain and attract tech talent and businesses to Nevada County through the Nevada County Tech Connection.

Western Nevada County is one of the four most highly-regarded digital media technology clusters in the U.S. It is the only one located in a rural area with desirable lifestyle amenities and options (the others are Portland, Seattle and Boston).

Companies contacted by the ERC are impressed when told the county has been recognized five times with Engineering Emmy Awards and National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences citations for pioneering contributions and substantial improvements to television technology.

While the ERC wants to reveal its successes, the fact is it works with many companies that want the internal workings of their businesses to remain private. Over the past year, the council's partnership with the Sierra Small Business Development Center has been instrumental in confidentially helping local companies become abundantly successful.

To find out more about the Economic Resource Council, call 530-274-8455 or go to the website at http://www.ncerc.org.

Tim Corkins is the interim executive director of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council and the CEO of ZAP Manufacturing, Inc.

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