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North Tahoe’s economy diversifying

Alanna Lungren

TAHOE CITY – One may tend to think that tourism and construction are the only industries around Truckee and North Lake Tahoe, but you would be only partially correct.

North Lake Tahoe Resort Association Executive Director Steve Teshara rattled off a list of different industries in Truckee and Tahoe.

“We recognize that we have a lot of diversity,” Teshara stated, “but we need to do more.”

Citing health care (the expansion of Tahoe Forest Hospital), education (Sierra College’s campus in Truckee), science and research (the new environmental center at Sierra Nevada College and the potential re-opening and improvement of the fish hatchery) and green building, Teshara made the case for existing diversity of our Tahoe economy, and the need to ride its wave.

The NLTRA and Pathway 2007 see this issue as a top priority. Made clear in the NLTRA’s 2004 Tourism and Master Plan, diversifying the tourist dollar is important to resort communities.

And while ski resorts like Squaw Valley and Northstar, with their development of their base villages, recognize that they need to market themselves and provide a year-round destination for visitors, not just a ski mountain, many feel that similar things need to be done for Tahoe.

Mike Hawkins, a resident and member of the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council and Pathway 2007, has argued the need for additional diversification.

“Businesses that don’t depend on people walking in the door buying anything,” is Hawkins’ general description of what industries should locate in Tahoe.

One example of a technology-based company, or a business providing services and employment without reliance on tourism, is Clear Capital. Headquartered in Truckee, it was established in 2002 by Duane Andrews and Kevin Marshall.

“In a nutshell,” Marshall said, “we provide valuations and inspections for mortgage companies and banks that are purchasing loans to sell in mortgage-backed securities.”

Presently, the company, whose competitors include valuation divisions of large title companies, employs 95 people and are currently expanding their offices.

Also, Tahoe is no stranger to money coming from outside the community – take the restaurants packed on holiday weekends with visitors, and revenues accrued from the transient occupancy tax. Tourist dollars impact business.

In addition to development, also fueled by visitor dollars, is the growing interest in green building.

“We are trying to make Truckee-North Tahoe a center for green building,” said Teshara, referring to redevelopment and the retrofitting of existing homes with green materials and elements. “A building and design trade without developing raw land – there’s a great deal of potential.”


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