Editorial, Record Searchlight, April 2013

The economy limps along supported by the twin crutches of federal deficits and Fed money-printing. America builds nothing anymore. Shasta County doesn’t have the know-how to compete in the high-tech economy.

We’ve heard the complaints. Dan Morrow’s probably heard them too.

But the owner of Redding-based Op-Test plainly doesn’t waste much time dwelling on them. He’s too busy growing his business.

The 13-year-old Redding company, which specializes in precision testing of increasingly popular LED lights, is moving into a new north Redding industrial space. The company will double its square footage and, Morrow hopes, its work force over
the next two years. If Op-Test’s business plan proves out, it will need still more space soon after that.

But wait, why was this vacancy open? The company that had occupied Op-Test’s new building, in the Mountain Lakes Industrial Park, was VisionCare Devices, a local medical-equipment manufacturer. VisionCare expanded into the former Millipore
plant in Anderson, which had closed in a corporate consolidation in 2009. That painful shutdown left more than 50 employees out of work just as the national economy was crashing and alternatives were exceptionally scarce. Still, even difficult
changes create opportunities.

The still-wobbly economy makes for difficult times for all too many people. At the same time, the world still rewards creative thinking, good service, the ability to help others make money, and quality products at the right price. Lots of
businesses are thriving, including many that are run by and employ our neighbors.

The Economic Development Corporation of Shasta County has in the past year or so focused on promoting and encouraging these “Made in Shasta County” companies,
more than the old-fashioned hunting of industrial whales. Fostering the entrepreneurial drive of those in our midst, the theory goes, will give us the best kind of home-grown job growth.

And experience is showing it’s more than a theory.