Economic Development Plan
The Gilbert, Ariz., Economic Development Office (EDO) is actively developing a strategic plan to attract companies and researchers from around the world to its community.
Operating under a mandate from its town council, the EDO organized citizen work groups and has held numerous meetings with business and community leaders to discuss opportunities, challenges and initiatives to enhance its economic policies, workforce development and marketing and branding. Eliciting input from the work groups ensured that the needs of the business community were fully understood and that all stakeholders would be represented in the strategic plan.
Economic development consultant Dr. Ioanna Morfessis was contracted by Gilbert to facilitate collaboration and prioritize recommendations within the work groups to help Gilbert achieve its goals.
“This five-year Strategic Economic Development Plan will effectively channel Gilbert’s resources into producing positive, measured results to meet its goals,” Morfessis says.
As a result of the Gilbert Town Council mandate and Summer 2011 work group meetings, it was determined that Gilbert should focus its economic development strategy on science and technology industries with an emphasis on biotech and life sciences. Gilbert is recognized as a regional leader in life science research and treatments for cancer and for research and therapies utilizing adult stem cells.
“Attracting companies from the biotech and life science industry sectors will strengthen Gilbert economically and provide immeasurable future benefits to our community as we work to become a net importer of these jobs over the next 20 years,” says Gilbert Mayor John Lewis. “I would like to personally thank the participants of our recent work group meetings for their time and valuable contributions to our strategic plan.”
“The Greater Phoenix region is emerging as a leader in personalized medicine, and Gilbert is a great example of a progressive and strategic effort toward the biomedical and health science community,” says Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Gilbert’s wealth of health care assets, like MD Anderson, make it particularly well positioned under this mantle in the delivery of personalized care in the oncology sector.”
“Gilbert is fortunate to have several world-class anchor institutions, innovative private corporations and community assets that make it uniquely attractive to life science companies,” says Morfessis, founder of the international consulting firm, IO.INC.
Morfessis was recently recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her esteemed career of empowering communities and companies to prosper. She was the founding president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, working with Gilbert and other regional communities to attract more than 200 firms that generated more than 165,000 new direct jobs during her tenure.
For more information about Gilbert’s Economic Development Office and the five-year Strategic Economic Development Plan, visit gilbertaz.gov/econdev.