With an intent to understand rural areas and the smaller townships within Nevada’s borders, Joseph Amato, district director for Nevada’s Small Business Administration, made Hawthorne his first stop in a series of touring locations.
“I want to be relevant and try to help the cities that I visit, so I decided to take my staff and tour the smaller townships in Northern Nevada, hoping to hear from you the people, so I can truly see what Hawthorne needs and how we can assist.”
First, a facilitated tour of the historic USO building was presented by the Economic Development Director, Shelley Hartmann and her board members. An hour-long tour of the Hawthorne Army Depot was given by Lt. Col. Scott Bishop, which included some SOC employees and others that accompanied Amato. This tour was to familiarize guests with the layout of Nevada’s largest industrial opportunities available, at the Hawthorne Industrial Park. (An extensive map of this Industrial Park remains on display at the Economic Development offices in Hawthorne.)
The afternoon concluded at The El Capitan, with a presentational display given by various business entities, including Lt. Col. Bishop and Alyssa Burke, Commercial Coordinator for SOC, who reviewed the four-part oversight in securing base tenants who potentially desire to use governmentally owned and operated land.
“We currently have four tenants and are anxious to build more relationships with outside firms, by showcasing our base opportunities and by utilizing stagnant land. Our transportation and communications is a plus within our facilities,” Burke stated.
Owner Kellie Bartley from Top Rail, who specialized in the Business Development and Marketing division, gave a precise overview of the company by explaining who they are and the symbolism of their start date of 9/11/15, in honor of our nation’s tragedy. Sharing a combined, three-partner experience level of over 50 years in the rail industry, Bartley admitted that coming into the Hawthorne Industrial Park, with their secured agreement, will be providing services that range in the storage of empty rail cars, fleet management, repair and cleaning of rail cars, railroad operations, railway projects and various related expansion of industry services within the area.
Following Bartley, Amato shared, “I am a New Yorker, but I came from D.C., and I have been business minded since I was 17. I have successfully worked as a financial advocate, seeing over 2,000 projects succeed, with over 22 years owning my own professional development consultant firm.” He then explained his own correlation to 9/11, stating, “I was headed to the World Trade Center in a car, just five to six blocks away, when I heard the second plane hit the towers. I had them immediately turn the car around and we ended up watching it all unfold from mid-town New York. Needless to say, the paperwork I was going to sign didn’t happen.”
Amato introduced Philip Cowee, Nevada’s State Director from the United States Department of Agriculture, who shared his own story of being a seventh generation Nevadian, a Dayton resident and once an Entrepreneur who understands rural prosperity. Cowee shared the perimeters of using the USDA loans and the outline of how they can work closely with the SBA in seeing businesses prosper.
Also in attendance was Rachel Dahl, a former Economic Development Director in rural Nevada. She is now a part of the Northern Division within the SBA team under Amato’s direction.
Amato closed by saying, “I am getting people on board that will know how to secure businesses and where funding is available. I am on a quest to see Nevada succeed in the small business arena and with that people will succeed.”
With a welcomed audience participation, several local business members voiced their concerns about the controversial Interstate 11 project possibly avoiding the Hawthorne area, which Amato stated, “I am aware of this and I will be making phone calls to my Washington D.C. contacts about that.”